A Comprehensive List of Self-Employment Ideas

For some people the hardest part about being self-employed is deciding on what it is they want to do for a living.  There are so many options these days that there is definitely an opportunity out there for everyone.  The best way to figure out what it is you want to do with your life is to mentally try a bunch of ideas on for size – so to speak.  Below you’ll find a list of 500 business and self-employment ideas in various prices ranges.  I suggest you print the list and then go trough it and cross out careers that don’t work for you and circle some of the ideas that resonate with you.  Then little by little start narrowing down to a hand full of ideas that you can research further.

The lists come from Adams Businesses You Can Start Almanac

81 Businesses You Can Start With Under $1,000

  • Airbrush Artist
    Animal Registration/ID Services
    Apartment Preparation Service
    Arts Festival Promoter
    Athletic Recruiter/Scout
    Auction House
    Auto Paint Touch-Up Professional
    Automotive Loan Broker
    Band Manager
    Bankruptcy Services
    Bar tending Services
    Barter Systems
    Blade-Sharpening Service
    Boardinghouse Operator
    Book Indexer
    Bounty Hunter
    Cake Decorator
    Calligrapher
    Candle Maker
    Caning Specialist
    Cartoonist
    Child Care Referral Service
    Childbirth Instructor
    College Application Consultant
    Comedy Writer
    Commercial Plant Watering Service
    Coupon Distributor
    Doll Repair Service
    Etiquette Adviser
    First Aid/CPR Instructor
    Garage Sale Coordinator
    Genealogical Service (Family History Writer)
    Gerontology Consultant
    Graphologist
    Handbill Distribution
    Handyman Network
    Home Schooling Consultant
    Horse Trainer
    Hospitality Service
    Ice Sculpting
    Incorporation Service for Businesses
    Jewelry Designer
    Knitting/Crocheting Lessons
    In-Home Mail Service
    Lactation Consultant
    Laundry/Ironing Service Law Library Management
    Lawn Care Service
    Literary Agent
    Magician
    Makeup Artist
    Mall Promotion
    Merchandise Demonstrator
    Mobile Book/Magazine Distributor
    Mortgage Loan Broker
    Motor Vehicle Transportation
    Movie Site Scout
    Multilevel Marketing (careful with this!)
    Mystery Shopper
    Notary Public
    Nutrition Consultant
    Packing/Unpacking Service
    Parapsychologist
    Party Planner
    Personal Instructor/Fitness Trainer
    Personal Menu Service
    Personal Shopper
    Pet Psychologist
    Private Tutor
    Professional Organizer
    Real Estate Agent/Home Researcher
    Reminder Service
    Roommate Referral Service
    Scanning Service
    Silk Flower Arranger
    Storyteller
    Stress Management Counselor
    Taste Tester for Food Companies
    Toy Cleaning Service
    Vacation Rentals Broker
    Wellness Instructor

136 businesses you can start with $1,000-$5,000

  • Abstracting Service
    Accountant
    Adoption Search Service
    Advertising Sales Representative
    Alterations/Seamstress Business
    Arbitration Service
    Art Broker/Corporate Art Consultant
    Association Management Services
    Audio Recording for Trade Show and Seminars
    Auto Maintenance
    Background Music Leasing
    Boat Maintenance/Cleaning Service
    Book Binder
    Book Packager
    Bookkeeping Service
    Bridal Consultant
    Broadcast Sales/Advertising Broker
    Bulletin Board Services
    Business Broker
    Buyer’s Information Service
    Calendar Service
    Carpet/Upholstery Cleaning
    Chimney Sweep
    City Planner
    Clip Art Service
    Clipping Service
    College Internship Placement
    Color Consultant
    Commercial Actor
    Commercial Photographer
    Conference Call Facilitator
    Construction Management Services
    Consumer Researcher
    Cooking Class Instructor
    Counselor/Psychologist
    Credit Cardholders’ Service
    Credit Card Merchant Broker
    Credit Consultant
    Dance Instructor
    Data Retrieval Service
    Day Care Service
    Desktop Publisher: Community-Based Coupon Books
    Direct Marketing/Sales
    Disability Consultant
    Dog Trainer
    Economic Development Consultant
    Emergency Response Service
    Employee Harmony Consultant
    Environmental Consultant/Contractor
    Factory Locating Consultant
    Fan Club Management
    Farm-Sitting
    Farmer of Fruits or Vegetables
    Feed Consultant/Broker
    Financial Aid Consultant
    Flea Market Organizer
    Food Delivery Service
    Food Item Manufacturer
    Food Manufacturing Consultant
    Forensic Consultant
    Freelance Writer/Editor/Illustrator
    Fund-Raising Firm
    Government Contract Consulting
    Grants/Proposal Writer
    Herb/Flowers Farming
    Image Consultant
    Interior Designer
    Internet Marketing Specialist
    Interviewer
    Invention Consultant/Broker
    Investment Broker/Club
    Jewelry/Clock/Watch Repair
    Labor Relations Consultant
    Licensing Agent
    Liquidator
    Lobbyist
    Manufacturer’s Representative
    Massage Therapist
    Medical Management Consultant
    Meeting Planner
    Meteorological Consultant
    Mobile Hair Salon
    Money Broker
    Motivational Speaker
    Mover
    Murder Mystery Producer
    Newspaper Delivery Service
    Oil and Gas Field Services
    On-Line Job Search
    On-Line Services Consultant
    Paralegal
    Parenting Specialist
    Payroll Administrative Services
    Personality Analysis/Testing Service
    Personalized Check Service
    Personnel Safety Consultant
    Pharmaceutical Returns Consulting
    Political Campaign Management
    Pollster
    Printing Broker
    Product Developer
    Profit Sharing Plan Consultant
    Property Management Service
    Recreation Activities Consultant
    Recycling
    Referral Service
    Relocation Consultant
    Respiratory Equipment Repair
    Resume Service
    Retail Bakery/Specialty Food Store
    Retirement Planner
    Reunion Organizer
    Sales of Novelty and Promotional Products
    Seamstress/Alterations Business
    Secretarial Service
    Software Conversion Service
    Speechwriter
    Standardized Test Preparatory Services
    Stenciling
    Stenography Service
    Systems Integrator
    Taxidermist
    Time-Management Specialist
    Trademark Agent
    Translation Services
    Travel Agent
    Tree Service
    Tropical Fish Servicing
    Upholsterer
    Vending Machine Owner
    Venture Capitalist
    Water Pumping Service
    Window Treatment Specialist
    Window Washing Service
    Wood Splitter
    World Wide Web Home Page Creator

149 businesses you can start with $5,000-$15,000

  • Accident Reconstruction Service
    Acoustical Services
    Advertising Agency
    Agricultural Marketing
    Ambulatory Services
    Animal Broker/Dealer
    Archaeological Services
    Art Restoration Services
    Art/Photo Representative
    Auditing Specialist
    Auto Swap Meet Promotion
    Automobile Window Stickers
    Automotive Detailing
    Automotive Marketing and Training Services
    Balloon Delivery Service
    Bicycle Rental
    Boudoir Photography
    Bridal Show Promotions
    Business Plan Writer/Packager
    Career Counselor
    Carpet Installation
    Casting Director
    Classified Advertising Newspaper
    Coffee Bar/Tea Salon
    Collectibles/Memorabilia
    Collection Agency
    Computer Consultant
    Computer Maintenance Service
    Computer Software Sales
    Computer Trainer
    Construction Services
    Corporate Insurance Broker
    Corporate Trainer
    Cost Reduction Consultant
    Database Consultant
    Dating Service
    Decks/Outdoor Furniture
    Designer/Retail Items
    Doula/Midwife
    Draftsman/Blueprinting Service
    Drive-by Broadcasting
    Efficiency Expert
    Electrical Contractor/Electrician
    Employee Benefits Consultant
    Executive Search Firm
    Expert Witness
    Fabric Coverings
    Fax-on-Demand Service
    Financial Planner
    Firewood Service
    Fisherman
    Franchise Idea Center
    Furniture Refinisher
    Gardening Consultant
    Gift Basket Business
    Graffiti Removal
    Graphic Designer
    Greeting Card Sender
    Hauling Service
    Herbal Products Distributor
    Home Entertainment System Service
    Home Office Consultant
    Human Resource Services
    Incentive Programs/Promotional Material
    Information Consultant
    Insurance Agent
    Inventory Control
    Invisible Fencing Sales/Installation
    Irrigation Services
    Job Hot Line
    Lead Exchange/Business Networking Service
    Legal Cost Control/Litigation Management Services
    Lie Detection Service
    Lock Box Service
    Locksmith
    Maid Service
    Mailing List Service
    Management Consultant
    Manicurist
    Market Mapping Service
    Marketing Consultant
    Mediator
    Medical Claims Processing
    Medical Products Manufacturer
    Medical Transcriptionist
    Middleman
    Mini-Blind Cleaning Service
    Mobile Disc Jockey Service
    Modeling School/Agency
    Money Order Service
    Monogramming Service
    Motion Picture Research Consultant
    Networking Services
    New Product Researcher
    Newspaper Features Syndicate
    Noise Control Consultant
    Office Equipment Leasing
    On-Line Internet Researcher
    Outdoor Adventures
    Packaging Consultant
    Paging Services
    Patient Gift Packager
    Personalized Children’s Books
    Pet Breeder
    Pet Grooming/Care
    Photocopying Service
    Political Marketing Consultant
    Portrait Photographer/Artist
    Private Detective/Intelligence Specialist
    Public Pay Phone Services
    Public Relations
    Public Speaking Consultant
    Rare Book Dealer/Search Service
    Real Estate Appraiser
    Recreational Coupon Distributor
    Remanufacturing: Laser Printer Cartridges
    Rental Business
    Residence for the Elderly
    Restoration Services
    Rubber Stamp Business
    Sales Trainer
    Security Systems Consultant
    Seminar (Speakers) Service
    Shipping/Customs Consultant
    Short-Term Auto Rental Service
    Sightseeing Excursions
    Small Business Consultant
    Snow Plow Service
    Software Development/CD-ROM Packaging
    Software Engineer/Programmer
    Surveyor
    Talent Agency
    Tax Preparation Service
    Technical Writer (Documentation and On-Screen Text)
    Telecommunications Consultant
    Telemarketing Service
    Television Program Distributor
    Textile Broker
    Theatrical Lighting Service
    Traffic Control Consultant
    Used Boat Sales
    Used Computer Sales
    Used Industrial Equipment Sales
    Vacuum Cleaner Repair
    Video Transfer Service
    Water Quality Services
    Wilderness-Based Therapeutic Programs
    Word-Processing Service
    Workers’ Compensation Consultant

58 businesses you can start with $15,000-$40,000

  • Aerial Applicator
    Antiques Dealer
    Architect
    Art Gallery
    Automotive Parts Rebuilder
    Banquet Facility
    Biofeedback Therapist
    Boat Operation Instructor
    Building Maintenance Service
    Bungee Jumping Instructor
    Business Form Sales and Service
    Catalog Retailer
    Caterer
    Child ID Products
    Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Service
    Computer Composer
    Computerized Special Effects Designer
    Concert Promoter
    Consulting Engineer
    Damage Restoration Service
    Desktop Publisher
    Digital Imaging Service
    Educational Product Development
    Employee Leasing
    Entertainment Directory Publisher
    Fish Restocking
    Floral Shop
    Health Centers for Corporations
    Home Inspector
    Horse/Cargo Trailer Service
    Hot Air Balloon Rides
    Importing/Exporting
    International Business Consultant
    Landscape Designer
    Lawyer
    Mail-Order Computer and Component Sales
    Message Retrieval Service (Answering Service)
    Mobile Car Inspection/Repair
    Mobile Paper-Shredding Service
    Motor Vehicle License Bureau
    Multimedia Service
    Nanny Service
    Occupational Health Care Services
    Outplacement Services
    Overnight Delivery Service
    Paramedical Services
    Pest Control Service
    Pet Taxi Service
    Pool Maintenance
    Power Wash Service
    Recording Studio Rental
    Television Repair
    Ticket Broker
    Transportation Provider (Limousine/Van)
    Videotext Service
    Voice Messages Service Center
    Voice-Activated Home Automation
    Winery

77 businesses you can start with $40,000+

  • Air Charter Service
    Arcade/Party Rentals
    Assembly Work
    Audiobook Producer/Distributor
    Automotive Testing Equipment
    Bed & Breakfast
    Beer Brewery
    Boat Tours
    Canoe Livery
    Car Wash
    Child Development Center
    Coin-Operated Laundry
    Color Separation and Film Assembly Services
    Commodities Broker
    Creative Arts Day Camp
    Custom Embroidery
    Day Spa
    Demolition/Wrecking Contractor
    Diaper Service
    Distributor
    Drug Testing Service
    Dry Cleaning Service
    Earthquake Products/Services
    Fiber Optic Transmission Systems
    Fitness Rental Equipment.
    Framing Service
    Franchisee
    Freelance TVProducer
    Funeral Home
    Geologic Drilling Service
    Ground Water Assessing
    Health Club
    Home Health Care Service
    Indoor Playspace
    Instant Signs
    Key Control Systems Manufacturer/ Distributor
    Leak Detection Service
    Long-Distance Phone Services
    Machinery Rebuilding/Repair
    Mailbox Rental Service
    Manufacturer of Licensed Products
    Manufacturer of Self-Adhesive Printed Labels
    Manufacturer/Retail Item
    Map Publisher/Distributor
    Messenger Service
    Miniature Golf Course
    Musical Instrument Leasing
    900-Number Service
    Pilot/Flying Lessons
    Pinball/Electronic Game Arcade
    Prefab Home Sales/Construction
    Professional Diver
    Real Estate Investor
    Repair Service
    Resale Shop
    Restaurant
    Restaurant Equipment and Supplies
    Retailer
    Satellite Equipment/Systems (Wholesale)
    Shipping/Freight Forwarding Service
    Specialty Paper Producer/Distributor
    Sports Equipment Sales/Service
    Stock Photo Service
    Storage Service
    Tanning Booth Operation
    Taxi Service
    Temporary Employment Agency
    Tow Boat Operator
    Trophy/Engraving service
    Trucking Broker
    Uniform Service
    Used Car Leasing
    Video Production Company
    Video-on-Demand
    Weight Loss Center
    Wholesaler
    X-Ray Inspection Service

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