Small Business Ideas to Get You Started

Finding a business idea that works for you is the first step toward becoming a successful entrepreneur. But while you may be eager to start a new business and have tons of enthusiasm about your concept, you may be looking for some guidance to get started. With the shifting requirements of the world in mind, we've compiled a list of nine business ideas that have flourished in the past year, and allow you stand out in what you do while still reaching a worldwide audience. Don’t let the next greatest idea pass you by on your TikTok or Instagram feed!

1. Handmade Crafting

Blue and grey ombre crocheted tote bag with natural colored twist handles

Creating novelties by hand is a fun and unique way to start a small business. If you’re good at handmade crafting, you can turn your hobby into a lucrative business. Whether you make knitted comfort items, clay accessories, crochet, or ceramics you will find an audience that will love your work.

With the growth of the Internet, the options to sell your crafts appear to be limitless. It is simple to sell your goods on websites like Etsy. But, if you're serious about turning this into a business, you'll need to create your web presence. We recommend starting your own e-commerce platform (many even start out on a Shopify platform!) to truly establish your brand and have more freedom for pricing and marketing.

Speaking of marketing. As we’ve mentioned, there have been so many who have found their passion during the pandemic lockdown and have turned it into a substantial side hustle! Be sure to have an online presence via a social media platform you’re comfortable with and suits your handmade products.

Engage your audience through creative social media marketing like time-lapse or informative videos and optimize your website for the unique products you create. PackageHopper is here to support new small businesses and help you easily—and affordably—expand from the US to over 210 countries with our expert international shipping experience.

2. Pet Clothing & Accessories

A pug wearing a white-dotted black shirt

The golden rule of running a successful small business is to figure out what people are looking for. These days, with all the new owners of fluffy friends, pet accessories and clothing are almost a guaranteed success.

Designing pet apparel is a great idea if you understand textiles, materials, and pet needs—and are skilled at crafting and sewing. It REALLY helps if you have your own pet model to show off your designs. Even though it is a smaller market than huge fashion retailers, highly motivated clientele is easy to allure if you create high-quality pet apparel.

Rita Li, a fashion designer from San Francisco wanted to design fashionable and comfortable clothes for her puppy Rosie and that’s how rororiri was created. Now, she’s designing amazing apparel for dogs and has customers around the world. From bandanas to dog cardigans, have fun creating adorable designs and as a bonus—earn money!

3. Embroidery

Handmade embroidery in wooden hoops with blue and green patterns inspired by ocean satellite imagery.

Learning to embroider does not have to be difficult or overwhelming, and it should not feel like an arduous task and financial pitfall. If you’re looking to get started, there are so many great resources and communities full of fellow embroiderers who love to help grow their hobby space! It's truly a simple and easy hobby to get started with! To begin, all you need is a basic pattern for beginners, needle and thread, and creativity.

Danielle Curie is an artist who makes handmade embroidery inspired by ocean satellite imagery. Her Instagram page features gorgeous images of her work. She found a way to turn her hobby first into art, then into a lovely business.

Once you’ve reached a good number of followers and raving customers, we are here to make your international shipping experience as easy as possible. 

4. Painting & Portrait Commission

A 14” x 14” oil portrait of an elderly man by Simonjilliansart on Etsy

If you’re good at drawing, portrait commissions can be a fun way to make money. The most common subjects are portraits of people, children, pets, residences, equestrians, and marine life. (You’ll see pets are also dominant in this business form!) You can also specialize in creating replica spin-offs of famous artworks, like recreating Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” using someone’s favorite photo of the NYC skyline.

Simonjilliansart is a fantastic Etsy store that creates high-quality oil paintings from photos. Check out their art and how often people really appreciate a real painting.

It may seem intimidating at first to think about how you’d send your precious paintings around the world. Besides our trusty reliable shipping methods, coupled with your amazing packing and padding skills, we also offer PackageHopper Protect, which covers your package if it is lost or stolen, up to the time of delivery. The cost is $4.99 per $100 of merchandise value, with a maximum value of $500.

Find your art style and start bringing people joy with your work. 

5. Clothing Boutique or Fashion Designer

If you dream of building your fashion empire, get your needles and scissors and start sewing! Creating custom—couture—pieces of clothing is truly an art and if your skills lie in fashion design, this is a great way to spend your days doing the thing you love.

If patternmaking and stitching is not up your alley, you can also try curating a boutique of clothing and accessories that reflect your style. Fashion blogging, and now Instagram style influencing, is a BIG THING and people would love finding a way to copy your style if they love it!

People seek quirky and eccentric clothes where they can express their identity visually. Be sure to start a fashion-based social media account to share new product launches and outfit ideas with either your own hand-sewn pieces or items from your boutique! With inspiring social media accounts, and heavy community involvement, your dream is waiting to come true.

6. Jewelry Making

Jewelry making is a new up-and-coming enterprise. Newfound appreciation for unique, charming, and modest designs are finding their way onto the ears, fingers, and arms of fashion-lovers everywhere—even non-fashion-fanatics are loving them!

There is a lot of freedom in creating and with a clearly defined style and material use, you’ll find yourself with a loyal fanbase of customers in no time! Great places to sell when you’re starting out include websites like Etsy and eBay since people already know that it the place to find unique items. Be sure to support your sales with a website eventually and good marketing efforts, including building an email list and a social media presence. This will help you develop repeat customers, add new customers by word of mouth and build credibility.

7. Vintage Item Procurement

eBay is a great place to make money selling nearly anything as a side business idea, with the bonus of using the auction selling process to occasionally get more than you imagined for that action figure you found at a local street fair. It’s also a great place to sell niche and hard-to-find items. If you’re amazing at scouring the local consignment shops or yard sales and finding amazing and unique items, customers will start to follow your account in no time. Build a reputation of having good condition vintage items and having an eye for quality and build.

Furthermore, if the cost of web hosting is an issue for you, eBay would be a great place to set up shop because you won't need to maintain a whole website. To transform your eBay selling into a feasible business idea, look for opportunities to buy in-demand items that may be overlooked in pricing and then sell them for what they’re worth (usually higher) to collectors on eBay.

8. Hat Making

Two people wearing cowboy hats

Hat making is a very fun and creative way to enter the realm of fashion design. Create beautiful hats for everyone using any material and accessories that come to your mind. Opening an Instagram shop would be a great way to start.

Burning Heart Hats is a Texas-based hat-making business that designs custom cowboy hats. “I wanted to make something unique to wear during our engagement photos that fit my style. The first hat was dreamed up and created (Planting the Seed design). We went to a concert at Gruene Hall in Texas the next day and I kept getting asked who made my hat. I decided to dive in and Burning Heart Hats was born on the dance floor of Gruene Hall.”

9. Toy Making

A smiling young girl holding a green monster drawing and a custom toy based on her drawing

Playing is extremely important in the development of children. When children are playing, they come up with new ideas and are free to express themselves in different ways as they grow. Toys contribute to the development of cognitive and verbal skills. They support certain personality traits or playing styles.

Toy making can be a great business as parents always look for new toys to encourage the personal and emotional development of their children and you can contribute to a better tomorrow.

A great example is Budsies®, a South Florida-based company that brings artwork to life in the form of huggable, loveable stuffed animals. They state that the idea for this company was born “on a paper napkin”!

Whatever your business choice is we wish you a successful journey. To support that, PackageHopper is ready to make your international expansion as enjoyable as possible. Once you’ve established your brand and have all those international shipping requests rolling in, let us handle the rest. Being an entrepreneur is tough enough.


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