So, you want to be an entrepreneur, but you're still waiting for your "lightbulb moment." We've talked with business owners and experts to find out what bright ideas will be the best for aspiring entrepreneurs in the year ahead. Check out our 30 best business ideas you can start up in 2023.
1. Online Arbitrage
Online arbitrage is one of the most reliable ways to make money on the internet. It's essentially a fancy way of saying "ecommerce" or "online retail."
Chris Muller, VP of Money Under 30, says online selling and ecommerce are only going to keep growing. "The internet has made it possible for people to shop from anywhere at any time," he tells us. "This means that your customers do not have to be physically present in order for you to make sales."
As seen above, Amazon is the largest platform for online arbitrage, but there are plenty of others. The key with online arbitrage is that everything happens virtually, including sourcing and selecting inventory.
2. Product Flipping
If you love browsing thrift stores or perusing flea markets, you could turn your hobby into a very lucrative side gig. One person's trash is another person's treasure, and you're Indiana Jones on a mission to find it.
You'll need to have a great eye for design and stay on top of trends. For instance, mid-century modern is all the rage right now, and it commands a hefty price. But you have to know where to look to find the deals you can turn into dollars.
Check out estate sales, Facebook marketplace, and yard sales to snag the best deals. Remember that a picture is worth a thousand words (and maybe dollars) — make sure your photos are high-quality.
3. SEO Consulting
If you've got some experience with search engine optimization and want to start a home-based business, you could be on to a serious money-maker. Many businesses are looking to hire independent SEO consultants to help them optimize their websites for search.
Jeff Romero, the founder of Octiv Digital, says, "The ability to rank highly and naturally on search engines like Google is getting increasingly difficult. If you know what you're doing in this field, you may fast make a lot of money."
4. Startup Advising
If SEO isn't your jam, consider consulting for startups. Don Evans, CEO of Crewe Foundation, says, "There have been tens of thousands of new startups established every year over the past several years, making this a golden age for the startup industry."
He goes on to say the demand for skilled and knowledgeable startup consultants will soar. "In 2023, becoming a startup adviser might be a highly lucrative online business idea if you have worked with businesses at the management level, have substantial knowledge in the startup industry, and can give important insights to help them expand."
Wondering why a business would hire you as a startup advisor? Here are a few of the top reasons:
Depending on your state, there are some health-related jobs for which you don't need any specific licensing or qualification. You could be a home health aid or a personal assistant who helps around the house of an ill or infirm patient. But, like many of these ideas, it ultimately depends on your location.
"If you live in an area with a large number of retirees or people who have recently lost their jobs," Muller says, "then healthcare-related jobs are likely to grow."
If that sounds like your region, be sure to check with your Secretary of State and state licensing boards before exploring this avenue.
6. Travel App
Sure, there are millions of travel apps and services out there. But now that borders have reopened and some of the hiccups have quieted, the travel business is booming once again. Take advantage by looking for a unique niche within the travel industry you might be able to fill.
Martin Luenendonk — entrepreneur, startup enthusiast, and co-founder of Founder Jar — says, "Though various travel applications exist, an app that shows amenities, TSA line wait times, ground transportation options, and airport maps could be useful to passengers."
Get creative, and ask yourself what information would be most helpful to you while traveling. It's simpler than ever to develop an app (with some basic skills), but it's also easy and cost-effective to source a third-party developer. For the right idea, it might be worth the investment.
If you think you don't have what it takes to become a YouTube sensation, think again. There are children earning full-time incomes on the video platform — and even pets!
To make YouTube work, you'll have to create content people want to see and do so on a consistent basis. You'll also need to monetize your YouTube channel. This takes time and a steady flow of followers, but it can be done.
Popular YouTube content ideas include toy unboxing, video gaming, and product reviews.
8. Food Waste Reduction
The idea of food waste reduction has been gaining steam as we've become increasingly aware of just how much food goes to waste around the world.
Luenendonk says, "Creating a startup focused on reducing food waste could not only earn you some serious funding but also positively change the food system and help save grocery stores and restaurants money."
If you're looking for a modern business idea that allows you to do some good, this could be the perfect opportunity.
9. Affiliate Marketer
If you already have a platform that brings you an audience, this is a great way to earn mostly passive income with a truly low-cost business. Affiliate marketing is a professional arrangement where you promote an affiliate partner on your website. Here's how it works:
Make sure your partners consist of brands or providers your audience will take an interest in. Make sure you're always disclosing the fact that you might earn a profit if website visitors click a link and make a purchase.
10. Plant-Based Foods
Vegans of the world, unite! Plant-based foods are having a moment, and if you're smart, you could seriously cash in on it. "The plant-based market is exploding," Luenendonk says. "Creating a vegan supermarket or making meat-free versions of traditional foods could be the ticket to success for aspiring entrepreneurs."
The money and the market are already there waiting. All you have to do is think of a creative and unique way to reach the consumer, such as a subscription box or a plant-based food blog.
11. Donut Shop
Speaking of food items that are having a moment, donuts are heading to the top of the list. Everything from mochi donuts to booze-soaked donuts are growing in popularity and appealing to multiple tastes. Customers will wait in line or queue up online just to snag a delicious, doughy treat.
If you're into baking, gather up your friends for a taste-test party! Your new endeavor might require a brick-and-mortar location, but in the era of delivery, you may not need one.
12. Pet Products
Everyone loves their furry fam. With so many products marketed to pets and their owners, the industry is in a major boom. "Nearly 85 million U.S. households have at least one animal companion," says Luenendonk. "Look into developing innovative toys, accessories, or even clothing for furry friends."
Pet subscriptions, pet treats, and pet photography are all popular and in-demand pet-related professions.
13. Property Management
Property management is always a reliable business opportunity, but with the housing market in a state of flux, good property managers are even more in demand. Between steep home prices and rising interest rates, more people are choosing to rent. That means property owners require a dependable individual or team to be available to collect rent, respond to tenants' questions and concerns, or manage delinquent accounts.
14. Niche Blogging
Sure, everyone has a blog...but do they have the right blog? Readers don't want a generic mommy blog anymore — they want the ADHD crafty mommy blog (or something equally specific). That's where niche blogging becomes your best friend.
Luenendonk says, "Find a niche (think e-sports or urban farming) and create engaging content around it. You can earn money through advertising, affiliate links, and even product sales once you build an audience."
Food has been — and still is — the top niche, but even within that genre, you can get super specific to find an audience highly motivated to read, follow, and click.
15. Snow Removal/Seasonal Work
The winds are shifting, and for a large part of the country, this means dreaded snowfall approaches. If you're handy and enjoy physical labor — and you have access to the needed equipment — you can easily start a business that adjusts to the climate. Snow removal is a popular choice in the winter months, but you can always change to leaf removal, lawn mowing, weed mitigation, and more as the seasons change.
Got a knack for writing? You might find that ghostwriting is a great way to earn money while doing something you enjoy. Ghostwriting is the act of creating content for busy professionals who don't have the time or skill to write themselves, says Luenendonk. "If you don't mind not attaching your name to your writing, ghostwriting is a great way to earn money with little to no startup costs attached."
During the pandemic, many people turned to houseplants for a literal breath of fresh air. Now, houseplants are extremely popular, and rare cultivars can fetch a pretty penny. If you have a green thumb, you may want to look into opening a plant boutique or selling unusual or popular cuttings online. You might also opt to take a course on flower arranging so you can sell bouquets, wedding flowers, and more.
Once you're ready to start selling, use our Business Name Search Tool to find an available business name:
18. VR Developer
"VR is the future," says Luenendonk, "and the future is now. Create virtual reality experiences or accessories to tap into an industry that's projected to grow to a $44.7 billion market by 2024."
Virtual reality is going to boom very soon. If you get in early, you'll be more likely to ride the wave to business success.
19. SaaS Developer
Another technological advancement is the popularity of SaaS, or "software as a service." SaaS products can run the gamut in multiple industries, though fintech (financial technology) and tech are the most popular. To develop an amazing SaaS product that sells, you'll need to either have pretty extensive experience in the tech field or a killer idea you can have a third-party developer execute.
SaaS is an industry with longevity. However, keep in mind that it comes with a lengthy buying cycle that usually involves free trials and demos, so don't expect to make the big bucks right away.
20. Chatbot Developer
You might be noticing a trend here. If you have experience in software development or coding, you're going to be ahead of the curve. In this case, you might work on developing automated chatbots for brands that want to improve their customer service. Amazingly, more consumers than ever are comfortable with chatbots, and brands appreciate the help. "Chatbots have become more popular in recent years," says Luenendonk. "You can create one without knowing how to code."
21. GA4 Consultant
Google Analytics has long been an invaluable tool to marketers and brands who wanted to keep tabs on their performance. But the recent update to GA4 has thrown many for a loop. The tool itself is more robust and powerful than ever, but it also comes with a pretty steep learning curve. If you start now, you can acquire the knowledge and experience needed to serve as a GA4 consultant. This way, when the previous iteration of Google Analytics is phased out in 2023, you'll be ready to roll.
22. Eco-Friendly Health and Beauty
Many people want to look and feel their best, but they want to do it without impacting the planet. That's why there's an increasing demand for health and beauty products that are sustainable and ecologically low-impact.
"As people become more aware of the impact their personal choices have on their health and on the environment, they're looking for more health and beauty products that are also eco-friendly," says Luenendonk. By creating an eco-friendly health and beauty brand, you could fill a growing gap in the industry.
23. Ethical Hacking
It sounds a bit like an oxymoron, but ethical hacking is a legitimate business opportunity. With ethical hacking, the goal is to prevent companies from becoming vulnerable to hackers by exposing their vulnerabilities and weaknesses. In essence, your job is to intentionally hack your client in order to display their level of risk. You'll likely need an IT background to pull off a job like this, but with the right skill set, it can become a lucrative business opportunity.
24. Web Developer
It's a bit of an old standby, but web development is not going anywhere anytime soon. "The need for custom websites isn't ever going away," says Luenendonk. For those with the basic skills and knowledge, you can start a profitable website development startup. Again, this is one you'll need hard skills to pull off. But if you've got them, you'll likely never be out of work.
25. Web Hosting Reseller
If you don't have the experience to work as a web developer, there's another option to break into this fast-paced industry: become a web hosting reseller. As more businesses understand the importance of having a web presence, the fight for high-performing web domains increases.
You can buy up domains based on what you think might be popular, or you can use a hosting company that allows you to resell their servers. Then, all you need to do is create a website you can resell from that domain, and market your services from there.
26. Online Course Creator
What do you know better than anyone else? Whatever the subject, chances are there's someone out there who'd like to learn from you. If you're an expert in a popular subject, you can build an online course or look for a course marketplace to host. Courses can be text-based or video, but remember that video always performs best.
27. Website Flipper
Similar to being a website host reseller, being a website flipper is a great job if you're just breaking into the industry. You'll need to be patient, as web flipping involves buying up cheap domains and waiting until someone is interested in purchasing them. In the coming years, domains, especially those at coveted ".com" locations, will be harder and harder to acquire. The more you can grab up now, the more chance you'll have for future income.
28. WordPress Theme Developer
WordPress is an extremely popular open-source content management system. Many bloggers choose to host their websites there, and if you know the ins and outs of the platform, you can leverage your skills to earn some extra cash. Designing themes for WordPress is one way to make money via the platform. Once you've come up with a great theme that allows for user customization, you can offer it for purchase on your own website or via a marketplace that specializes in WordPress themes.
29. Virtual Translator
The world is becoming much smaller thanks to digital advancements. But for those traveling to far-flung locations or creating content for a global audience, translation can be a major sticking point. If you happen to be fluent in a language outside of English, you might have an opportunity to leverage your skill and turn it into a legitimate business. Many brands are looking for translators to work on product guides, content, and more. You can offer your services via platforms like Fiverr or Upwork, or you can create your own website.
30. Blogging Outreach Specialist
If you've ever worked in online marketing, you know how important it is to build backlinks, which are links from one website back to yours. But building them can be a tedious and frustrating process. However, if you have the know-how, you can offer your services as an outreach specialist to bloggers looking to grow their backlink portfolio. That might involve connecting with other blogs and websites within the industry or ghostwriting guest posts that can be pitched to third-party sites.
What Are the Top Five Small Businesses to Start in 2023?
Now that you've gone through 30 inspiring job ideas for 2023, you're probably wondering which are at the top of the list. We've pinpointed five jobs with the lowest overhead and startup costs, the lowest amount of required hard skills, and the least professional licensing requirements:
5. Website flipper
3. Product flipping/reselling
2. Niche blogger
1. Affiliate marketing
What Industry Will Boom in 2023?
It's still difficult to tell what the new, up-and-coming industry will be in 2023, but all indicators point to some sort of VR or augmented/mixed reality. But starting this type of business comes with a very specific skill set, and it's not for everyone.
For many potential entrepreneurs, ecommerce and online retail will continue to perform well in 2023 and beyond. After some sluggish movement through the pandemic, it seems ecommerce is back in a big way, and it's continuing to grow:
Did something here spark an idea? Perhaps the lightbulb flickered? Once you've got your brightest idea, you'll need to know what to do with it. Find out how to flip the switch on your dream of entrepreneurship and download our step-by-step Start a Business Guide.
Wendi is a freelance writer based in Indianapolis, IN, with over a decade of experience writing for a variety of industries from healthcare to manufacturing to nonprofit. When she isn't working on solutions for her clients, she can be found spending time with her kids and husband, working in the garden or doing more writing (of the fiction variety).