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Top 24 profitable small business ideas for 2022

In the year 2022, business opportunities are abound. Driven by the internet and the economy, a new sense of entrepreneurship has emerged, and as a result, it has never been easier to earn money on your own terms.

Let’s take a look at 24 money-making ventures that require limited (and sometimes zero) capital, and that almost anyone can try their hand at. These are a small business, new business, mobile, home-based and online business opportunities that could see you grabbing control of your own destiny.

New business opportunities

Our modern, tech-driven world offers entrepreneurs endless opportunities to earn cash for their time, effort, knowledge and skill, as demonstrated by the business opportunities below.

1. Driving/chauffeuring/delivering

In the days of mobile apps and GPS, if you have a car, you have a business opportunity. Rideshare companies and food delivery services allow anyone with a driver’s licence and an appropriate set of wheels to earn cash, Uber and Uber Eats being the most notable examples. If you own a slightly fancier car or one with extra seats, you can earn slightly more for the rides you provide. The best thing about this work is that you are in total control of your hours – work whenever you want for as long as you want!

2. Airbnb management

Property investors know that while long-term tenants offer stability and a regular income, short-term tenants, like those who book through Airbnb, will pay far more to stay. Many property investors don’t have the time to manage an Airbnb however – between cleaning, laundry, maintenance and guest communication it can be a time-consuming task… which is where you come in. Airbnb managers take care of the property for the owner and take a percentage of the earnings for the pleasure!

3. Web design

Have you built a website before, for yourself or a friend? You could have all the skills and experience to become a website designer! Web design is a fantastic side hustle, with freelancers able to put profiles up on gig economy marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork, offering their services to anyone who needs them. With tools like Square Online making website construction easier than ever, it can be surprisingly simple to build up a database of happy clients!

4. App development

For those who bring the necessary skills to the table, app development can prove an incredibly lucrative business opportunity, as big brands will pay a pretty penny to develop a proprietary app. While it’s a more difficult space to make a name for yourself in, creating a profile on Fiverr or Upwork is a great place to start.

5. Cybersecurity/ethical hacking

Cybersecurity is a never-ending arms race, with cybersecurity experts constantly responding to new and ever more clever hacking strategies. The nature of cybersecurity means that it’s difficult for security experts to be proactive because it’s difficult to know what threats will come next. But those with deep IT expertise can help. Ethical hackers are employed to find holes in an organisation’s cybersecurity strategy so that they can be fixed before an actual hacker finds them. This is a deeply technical space, so only the most skilled and knowledgeable professionals will find opportunities here.

Home-based business opportunities

Many of us have experienced working from home in recent times. If you enjoyed it, why not consider making it a permanent move and work for yourself!

6. Consulting

Do you bring deep skills and experience in a particular area? Do you enjoy guiding, giving advice, and helping others achieve success? Consulting might be for you! You could become a business coach who helps business owners achieve success. You could offer yourself up as a Google Ads expert, helping brands with their digital marketing strategy. If you’ve built up a significant amount of knowledge in a particular field, people may be willing to pay for it!

7. Tutoring

Did you earn good marks throughout your primary, secondary and tertiary schooling? Tutoring is a popular business opportunity because there are always new students in need of a helping hand. You could focus on the subjects that you did well in at school and uni, or you could use your language or music skills to offer tutoring in those spaces. Customers can be found by posting about your services wherever students hang out, both in-person and online.

8. Customer support

As more and more businesses trade physical offices for virtual equivalents, many are beginning to employ work-from-home contractors as customer support representatives. All you need to do is log in at your allotted times and begin taking calls or answering messages!

9. Virtual assisting

Other businesses use contractors to help with internal work. These are usually the simple yet time-consuming tasks that the business would rather not do themselves (if it can avoid it.) Perhaps data needs to be entered, accounts need to be reconciled or social media posts need to be scheduled. This means that this job is generally entry-level and doesn’t demand an endless list of qualifications. It also allows you to work from the comfort of your own home!

Online business opportunities

The internet is a playground for budding entrepreneurs. The money-making opportunities are almost endless, but here are a few of the most popular.

10. Dropshipping

Imagine owning a store without needing to invest a cent in renting and fitting out a property or even buying stock. This is the promise of dropshipping, which sees an entrepreneur set up an online store, fill it with items and begin taking orders. Once an order is placed, however, it is sent straight to the supplier for delivery. As a dropshipper your main responsibilities are as a salesperson and customer service representative – you find the customers, take the orders and field any questions on behalf of the supplier, and take a cut (of your choice) for the pleasure. You can read more about the world of dropshipping here.

11. Affiliate marketing

Another opportunity to play salesperson comes in the form of affiliate marketing, in which you are paid a small percentage of a sale that you’ve brought to another brand. Many of the world’s largest brands, from Shopify to Amazon, offer affiliate programs, in which you recommend products via ads, blogs, your website or social media profiles. If someone uses your particular link to buy that product, you earn a commission!

12. Social media influencing

Do you have a large and dedicated group of followers on social media? A cousin of affiliate marketing, as a social media influencer you’ll promote certain brands and products through your channels, but you’ll generally be paid a lump sum rather than a percentage of the resulting sales. Social media influencing can be a bit of a tightrope walk – you should only commit to partnerships that align deeply with your personal brand, and that you believe your followers will gain value from, otherwise, you risk losing your audience.

13. Professional gaming/streaming

Getting paid to play – it’s the dream of many a gamer, and one that is increasingly able to be realised. The e-sports industry is now well established, with top players getting paid incredible sums. There are also streaming services like Twitch, where everyday gamers can build an audience that can eventually become profitable.

14. Course creation

Online learning is a huge business, with the eLearning industry worth US$240 billion in 2022. An increasing number of clever entrepreneurs are making the most of this growth, by designing courses that teach paying students. If you have deep knowledge in a particular field – software development, public speaking, photography, the list goes on and endlessly on – you can craft a static course that you sell and send out, you can host a live course, or you can get other experts to create courses which you can sell on their behalf.

Mobile business opportunities

There’s something romantic about life on the road, and as the operator of a mobile business, you can enjoy exactly that!

15. Dog walking

Do you like puppies? Do you like to exercise? Then why not combine the two! As a dog walker, you’ll get fit, enjoy time with furry friends, and get paid for the pleasure! Consider posting about your services online or placing your details on a noticeboard in an affluent area.

16. Home handyperson

Those who like working with their hands might enjoy the freedom and satisfaction of helping people with odd jobs around the house. As a home handyperson, you could be asked to do any number of general jobs: building furniture, installing wall-hangings, painting, fixing doors and more. Every day is different in this job, making it perfect for those who enjoy meeting new people and seeing new places.

17. Gardening/landscaping

If your talents lay outside of the home, consider starting a gardening or landscaping business. You’ll need to be physically fit, what with the mowing, trimming, weeding, watering, digging and planting, but you’ll enjoy the satisfaction of transforming backyards on the regular.

18. Cleaning

Cleaning is one of the most accessible options for anyone who wants to earn money on their own terms. Perfect for those who like things neat and tidy, as a cleaner-for-hire you can choose to work in private homes, businesses or a mixture of both. Be aware that many businesses will want their cleaners to come in outside of work hours, though this does mean that you can charge a healthy rate.

19. Babysitting

Perhaps you took care of your younger siblings, helped friends with their kids, or even had children yourself! If you love spending time with young ones, babysitting could be the job for you – in fact, it might not feel like a job at all. The work can span any part of the day or week, with weekend and evening work usually paying a little more per hour.

Creative (art) business ideas

Are you a creative soul? Do you dream of making money from your art? Good news – by choosing any of the business opportunities below, you can do just that!

20. Print-on-demand

A heady mix of art and fashion, on-demand printing is similar to dropshipping, in that you take orders from a customer then send them onto a supplier to fulfil. While it is equally simple and low risk, on-demand differs from dropshipping in the fact that you’re selling your own designs. You could offer visual art printed on canvas, a t-shirt, a mug or any other product, meaning that you get to sell one-of-a-kind items that you can be truly proud of.

21. Blogging/writing

Have you ever stopped to consider that the entire internet – every word on every page, including this one – had to be written by someone? If you’ve always dreamed of becoming a professional writer, this could be your opportunity. Every brand needs to create content, whether in the form of a blog, web copy, social media posts, emails or advertisements. By creating a profile on a job marketplace like Fiverr or Upwork, you could be a published author before you know it!

22. 3D printing

The age of 3D printing is upon us, and many entrepreneurs are already capitalising on it. The purchase of a 3D printer opens up a world of possibilities, from designing and selling sculptures to printing 3D prototypes for any business that needs them. As these printers become cheaper and cheaper this will become an ever more profitable business.

23. Selling handmade products

As more people begin to shop local and support small businesses, handmade goods are making a real comeback. If you enjoy the creative process, consider pouring that passion into things that you can sell. Clothing, jewellery, candles, bouquets, wooden toys, soaps, preserves; the list of potential products goes on and on. You can then set up a market stall (taking payment by card reader), an online store (taking online payment), or a profile on a marketplace like Etsy.

24. Photography

Many people love photography, and a similar amount has convinced themselves that they could never make a living off it… but if you have the talent, there’s every chance you can. Brands, websites and image marketplaces are always looking for beautiful photography, while families and event organisers are willing to pay a pretty penny for you to capture memories that will last a lifetime.

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