Key takeaways

  • Depending on the side hustle or business, startup costs can be low.
  • Securing startup funding may be a challenge, but there are various financing options to help you get your business up and running.
  • It's best to conduct market research and develop a business plan before launching your business.

Looking for your next business opportunity? There are a lot of ways to start making money in 2024. Most business ideas take some time to get started, and it takes time to make money, meaning you’ll need funds upfront to begin. According to the 2022 Small Business Credit Survey, 80 percent of businesses younger than two years old are funded by personal savings, while 42 percent use a financial institution or lender.

We’ve gathered some easy business ideas to launch as a side hustle or your new venture. And with these 18 in-demand businesses that have relatively low startup costs, a startup loan, although a viable option, may not be required.

1. Social media management

With so many businesses looking to establish a presence on social media, there is a growing demand for social media management services. All you need is your phone or computer and some social media know-how to launch this business.

Start marketing your business by building a gleaming social media profile of your own, and reach out to businesses or influencers to ask if they need help.

2. Personal shopping and styling

If you have an eye for fashion and enjoy helping people look their best, you could start a personal shopping and styling service. You can shop in stores if you want, but with tons of online shopping options, you can easily do all your shopping from the comfort of your home.

3. Content creation

As more businesses move online, there is a growing need for content creators who can produce high-quality blog posts, videos and social media content. And almost everyone needs content, so you could specialize in any area you want. Whether you want to write blog posts about restaurants, take videos for real estate listings or something completely different, there are lots of ways to create content.

4. Graphic design

Graphic designers are in demand for everything from creating logos to designing marketing materials. Typically, you need to get a four-year degree to become a graphic designer, but some shorter programs exist. About 265,000 jobs in graphic design exist in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the number of available jobs is expected to continue growing.

5. Event planning

If you have experience planning events, you could start your own event-planning business. The biggest industry within event planning is wedding planning — in 2023, the market size of the U.S. wedding industry is $70.3 billion.

However, you could also plan corporate events, parties, funerals or any event that needs careful organizing. Becoming an event planner only requires being organized and knowing how to make a plan and execute it successfully.

Bankrate insight
Data from the 2023 Report on Nonemployer Firms revealed that men own 53 percent of startup nonemployer firms, while women own 48 percent. It was also found that 87 percent of these firms are located in urban areas.

6. Online tutoring

With the rise of e-learning, there is a growing demand for online tutors who can help students learn new subjects. Is there a certain subject you excelled at in school? Or a topic you know a lot about now, thanks to your job? You could tutor students from home.

You can sign on with a tutoring website or build your own website for a tutoring service. All you need is a computer and the patience to work through the subject material a student struggles with.

7. Cleaning services

Cleaning services are always in demand, and you can launch a cleaning business with relatively low startup costs. You will need cleaning supplies, some elbow grease and a vehicle to get around in. Some cleaners charge by the hour, and others by the size of the space. The average hourly charge is between $25 and $90.

8. Pet care services

Now that many workers have returned to the office, there is a growing need for pet care services like dog walking and pet sitting. If you like animals, this could be a great way to do something you love and get paid. Typically, you don’t need anything to start a pet care business unless you wish to offer grooming services.

You can use an app like Rover to find clients or market your services through fliers or local Facebook groups. Using a pet care app typically means they will take a percentage of what you earn, but you may find clients easier if you use one.

9. Remote assistance

Many businesses are looking for remote assistants who can help with tasks like email management, scheduling, and customer support. The actual work of virtual assistants varies depending on your employer, but you’ll typically complete tasks that other staff don’t have the time or capacity to do. Some businesses need someone for a few hours a week, while others need a full-time virtual assistant.

Bankrate insight

Even though launching a business of any size can be a thrilling adventure, it’s important to acknowledge the challenges that lie ahead. Securing startup funding is one of the main obstacles new businesses face, but there are lots of ways to access capital for your business venture, such as:

10. Online coaching

Do you like guiding people toward success? You could start an online coaching business to help people achieve their goals. There are all sorts of online coaches: business, life, finance and health and wellness.

Becoming a coach doesn’t require a formal degree, but you should be able to show you have the expertise you claim. You could start by taking on one client for free in exchange for allowing you to use their results to market your services.

11. Translation services

With more businesses looking to expand globally, there is a growing demand for translation services. People need personal documents, websites, instruction manuals and books translated all the time. If you know multiple languages, use your expertise to start a business.

12. Personal training

Love the gym? You could start your own personal training business. Help clients make their fitness dreams come true by creating fitness sessions tailored to their body goals.

You will need to invest in some fitness equipment. And, if you want clients to come to you, you may need a space where you can host training sessions. Or you could get your start and build a reputation by working at an existing gym, which will save you those costs.

13. Web design

As more businesses move online, there is a growing need for web designers who can create attractive and functional websites. Some web designers are self-taught, but you may also need some school to learn more about web design. This service is in demand because a lot of people don’t know how to design a website, but most businesses need one.

14. App development

With the growing popularity of mobile apps, there is a huge demand for app developers who can create apps for businesses and consumers. You need programming and coding experience. If you have a proven track record of creating effective apps, you could sell your services and make apps for other businesses.

15. Lawn care and landscaping

Creating and maintaining beautiful outdoor spaces is an art, and not everyone has the time or skill to do it. If you want to work outside, start mowing lawns and taking care of landscaping. You will need equipment, like a lawn mower, and a vehicle to transport everything. Consider an equipment loan to fund these purchases.

16. Arts and crafts

If you have an artsy side, making art, jewelry, furniture or something else can be a legitimate business. It’s easy to start selling your creations online if you use a site like Etsy or sell items on Instagram. Or you can grab a booth at a local craft fair or farmer’s market.

You’ll need creativity, time, supplies and shipping materials. Don’t forget to factor your labor into the sales price.

Bankrate insight
There are ways to finance an Etsy business if you’re not sure how to get started or don’t necessarily have the funds to start.

17. Furniture flipping

If you like perusing Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, furniture flipping may be for you. Flipping furniture involves buying items with relatively low prices and making small changes to increase their value. Then, you resell the item for a profit.

You can specialize in a specific type of item, like couches, or you could buy all different types of furniture and flip them to a certain style. You only need a little cash to make your first purchase and acquire paint, varnish or other supplies.

18. Virtual plant store

Houseplants are all the rage these days, and if you have a green thumb, you could make money with your plants. Start by propagating your own plants, taking pictures and posting them online. You could create a website, set up an Etsy store or post in one of the many houseplant sales groups on social media.

You will need to research the best ways to ship plants because they are living things that require sunlight, air and water. However, if you are good at growing, you will have an endless supply for your business.

The bottom line

Remember, starting any business requires careful planning. It’s important to assess your skills and resources, conduct market research and create a solid business plan before launching your business.

Some businesses require more funding to start than you have available. To help you get started, consider options including crowdfunding, small business loans and SBA loans. You can also use a business loan calculator to help determine which financing option is best for you and your business. Be sure to use the resources available to prepare yourself for running a successful business, but don’t be afraid to learn as you go.

Frequently asked questions

  • To succeed in business in 2024, business owners should prepare for the predicted recession. Although the odds of a recession occurring between now and September 2024 have decreased by 46 percent, it won’t hurt to focus on building savings, paying down debt, securing new financing sources and reassessing expenses to create a more resilient business.
  • Yes, it is good to start a business in 2024, as many businesses have experienced steady growth over the past year. According to Bank of America’s 2023 Small Business Owner Report, 65 percent of business owners expected revenue to increase in the next 12 months. Additionally, 48 percent of businesses plan to expand over the next 12 months.  
  • According to the Economic Innovation Group, with data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Business Formation Statistics, as of July 2023, accommodation and food services, retail, arts and entertainment, and healthcare small business applications have increased. It is likely that these types of businesses will continue to grow in 2024.