If you're a creative person looking for small business ideas to help get started on your next venture - this post should definitely help.
As a professional SEO and content marketer - who started out in journalism and copywriting - I've got over 20 years' experience working in the creative industries as my own boss.
And one thing's for sure, if you're willing to work hard and be entrepreneurial - the creative small business lifestyle can have many rewards (not least financially).
So let's have a look at the types of ventures that are ideal for creative people who want to live life on their own terms...
If photography is your passion, then perhaps it's time to take this passion to the next level. Professional photographers are always in demand, especially if you niche down. Whether it's weddings, corporate events, family portraits or local festivals, talented photographers capture the essence of these events forever. You can build this business from home with few costs as well.
2. Event Planning
Is planning and organisation your forte? Then you can try your hand at event planning. As an event planner, you’ll manage the logistics of coordinating major events. Perhaps you can begin by planning your friends’ birthday party or your dad’s retirement party before scaling up? Pull off one great party and soon word-of-mouth recommendations will do the rest.
3. Renting Storage Space
If you live in a city or built up area and you've got a secure space not being used, you could always rent it out for storage. We live in a world where people just have too much 'stuff' - so letting storage space is big business. Perhaps it's time to give that garage or workshop a tidy up and get it listed locally?
4. Interior Design
If you love designing interiors, why not turn it into a source of income? Start with a friend or someone from your personal network and use that work to find better business opportunities as an interior designer. You can even partner up with your local furniture stores and manufacturers for a commission. It means they can bring you new projects to work on too.
5. Furniture Making
Take your love of working with woodwork to the next level by opening a business crafting custom-made furniture. You could also offer a repair service for existing pieces of wooden furniture that require renovation. Get a website going to market yourself in your local area and this one could be a winner.
6. Graphic Design
This is a good business opportunity for those who love art and design - and who also know their way round an Apple iMac or similar. With a little training, you can start a graphic design business with minimum expenses - and build up a portfolio of designs for friends and family first. Your main investment would be the Adobe Creative Suite, which can now be purchased with a simple monthly payment.
7. Bed & Breakfast
If you live in or near an interesting tourist destination or major city - and your home has a guesthouse or a spare bedroom, you could start running a B&B. If you love cooking and entertaining guests, you can use the extra space in your home to earn some money. You can list your room or guesthouse on sites such as Airbnb, HomeToGo, and Bookings.com to reach potential customers.
Starting a catering service is a good idea if you are a qualified chef or a talented amateur cook. After you've got some experience working for a local restaurant or pub, you can then consider branching out to be your own boss. There are loads of high quality cookery courses that can help you along your career path too.
9. Craft Baking
Designer breads and artisan baking is all the rage at the moment, especially in trendy middle class areas of big cities. So if you're a talented amateur chef or have some baking experience under your apron strings, serving this lucrative niche market could be a great move. You can start small by baking at home and selling in your local neighbourhood - before scaling up to open your own bakery.
10. Landscaping Services
You can consider starting your own landscaping business if you have an eye for design along with a green thumb. Apart from mowing lawns, planting flowers and maintaining gardens, you can design beautiful landscape plans for homes and commercial spaces too. Look up your local adult learning centre as they often run great courses and certifications to get started with.
11. Walking/Biking Guide
Starting a walking or bike tour venture is a great idea if you live near a tourist attraction or in a beautiful rural location. If you're fascinated by local history and do some in-depth research, you can show people around the historic parts of your area. If you also have a love of nature, you can also share some of knowledge of the local wildlife and topography with your guide groups. You'll get fit too 🙂
If you are fluent in a foreign language, or if you are an expert in maths, science or writing, you can offer your services as a tutor. You can even provide classes online through YouTube videos or your own membership websites. This is a highly lucrative business as tutors earn anything between £29 to £41 per hour.
13. Music/Art Lessons
If you are a trained musician or artist, you can become a freelance music/art teacher quite easily. You can offer lessons out of your own home, either personally or virtually. Thousands of people turn to the internet to learn new skills every day, so you would be well placed to help them realize their dream of becoming a musician/artist. You could also reach out to local schools to advertise your services.
Blogging is a business model all of its own - it's hard work but if you get it right you can earn a lot of money either selling your services (like I have), or earning through affiliate marketing, Adsense or online courses. Read this article if you want to know how to start your own blog using WordPress. This is a personal favourite of mine and could be the best move you ever make to earn an independent income.
15. Website Design
If your skills lie in web development and design, this is a good time to start your new venture in this area. Almost every business (including the corner shop in your neighbourhood) is going online these days. However, most of them don’t know how to set up a website or who to approach to build one. If you bundle your web designs skills with other services on the back end - such as SEO and social media management - you could make a lot of money.
16. Clothing Alteration
The clothing, needlework and alterations industry offers you various opportunities to show your talent. People always need clothing to be mended or have alterations made on their favourite outfit. Perhaps you could start small with a home-based alterations service, or tie up with local clothing stores? As your client base and reputation grows, you can move from basic alteration services to creating your own designs and custom clothing pieces.
17. Social Media Management
If you love using social media and know the tips and tricks to keep your followers engaged across multiple platforms - you can take this knowledge to the next level by offering social media management services. Being active on social media is now a prerequisite for every business that wants to succeed online, so if you market yourself proactively you'll never be short of work.
If you're a creative person looking to start your own business then hopefully this list has given you some food for thought (especially if you're thinking of becoming a chef or going into the catering industry).
If we've missed out your favourite small business idea or you have another one to add to the list, then keep us posted in the comments below.