20 Best Small Business Ideas for Women in 2024

Women’s entrepreneurship is rising. Of the approximately 33 million small businesses in the US, just less than 40% are women-owned, and from 2019 to 2022, women entrepreneurs were responsible for half of new US business filings.

According to the US Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, the US GDP would grow by $1 trillion over the next decade if women’s labor market participation increased to match that of countries like Sweden and the United Kingdom. To bolster this growth, the report recommends enhancing support and mentorship for women business owners. This includes boosting funding for Women’s Business Centers and aiming for a 5% allocation of federal contracting dollars to women-owned businesses.

If these changes are enacted, women entrepreneurs will see increased access to mentorship and capital—but it doesn’t mean you need to wait to start your business. Many business ideas require limited upfront investment, and you can use the abundance of existing online resources to learn how to run your company.

Here are profitable business ideas to help anyone get started with entrepreneurship.

Business ideas for women

  1. Photography business
  2. Makeup and hairstyling business
  3. Interior design business
  4. Digital marketing business
  5. Social media management business
  6. Freelance editing business
  7. Real estate business
  8. Graphic design business
  9. Event planning business
  10. Wedding planning business
  11. Small business consulting firm
  12. Pet-sitting business
  13. Freelance writing business
  14. Retail business
  15. Coaching business
  16. Virtual assistant business
  17. Landscaping business
  18. General contracting business
  19. Digital publication
  20. Dropshipping business

These small business ideas for women (or anyone) are profitable, flexible, and—dare we say—fun:

1. Photography business

If you’re a skilled photographer with a talent for making your subjects feel comfortable in front of the camera, earn money by starting your own photography business. Some women may feel more comfortable having other women photograph them. Consider focusing on events—like weddings, reunions, and corporate celebrations—portrait photography, family photos, or special sessions like engagement photo shoots or boudoir photography. You can also find a niche in areas that serve other businesses, like real estate photography, food photography, and stock photography.

2. Makeup and hairstyling business 

You don’t need to open a hair salon or give professional cuts to start a successful business in the beauty industry. If you have a talent for blowouts and updos, you can offer mobile styling services to clients who want to look their best for a big event or just want to learn a few styling tips in a hands-on way. If you’re a skilled makeup artist, consider adding makeup applications for a full-service package.

3. Interior design business

Designing functional, aesthetically coherent interiors can be challenging—and many homeowners will pay for professional help. If you know how to make indoor spaces more attractive and comfortable, start your own interior design business and help clients envision and furnish their dream homes.

4. Digital marketing business

If you have marketing experience, consider starting your own digital marketing agency to help businesses develop and implement marketing strategies tailored to their goals. You can hire contractors—like graphic designers and writers to augment your services—or eventually hire full-time employees as your business grows.

5. Social media management business

Social media managers need writing chops, graphic design skills, and a solid understanding of popular social media platform norms. If this describes you, earn money by helping businesses develop social media strategies, plan social campaigns, write copy, create graphics, and schedule social media posts.

6. Freelance editing business

If you have strong writing and copy editing skills, start your own online business as a freelance editor. Help clients revise written work to improve clarity and structure and fix typos, spelling, and grammatical errors.

7. Real estate business

Real estate agents are state-licensed professionals who help sell and purchase property. Their responsibilities include helping sellers prepare, list, and advertise properties, helping prospective buyers make informed decisions, and facilitating the legal elements of real estate transactions.

If you’re detail-oriented, like to work independently, and have strong interpersonal skills, obtain your real estate license and earn money as an independent real estate agent.

8. Graphic design business

Graphic designers help clients develop a unique visual brand identity and create eye-catching ads and brand collateral (such as website images, presentation graphics, email headers, and brochures). If you’re a skilled designer, start your own graphic design business and offer freelance design services.

9. Event planning business

A skilled event planner is an organizational mastermind with solid communication skills, an eye for detail, and a talent for understanding and manifesting their client’s aesthetic vision. If this sounds like you, consider starting an event planning business. Plan to spend most of your time designing décor and programs, communicating with vendors, and handling logistics.

10. Wedding planning business

You can also target a lucrative event-planning niche with a wedding planning business. Depending on your interests, you might focus on a particular type of celebration, like rustic outdoor weddings, destination weddings, or big-budget events.

11. Small business consulting firm

If you’re an experienced entrepreneur passionate about supporting business owners, start a consulting business and earn money helping small business owners overcome obstacles and meet their goals. To narrow down your target audience, you might focus on a particular business type, like retail businesses, ecommerce businesses, or service-based businesses.

12. Pet-sitting business

Dogs and cats occasionally travel with their owners. Fish, goats, and potbellied pigs—they rarely do. These animals need the same care they’re used to while their owners are away, and loving pet parents will often pay big bucks for this service.

If you like pets and are good at keeping them happy and healthy, pet-sitting can be a lucrative and fun business idea. You can board pets in your home, house-sit for clients, or offer drop-in visits for pets whose owners work long hours away from home.

13. Freelance writing business

Freelance writers offer contract services to businesses and individuals who need help producing high-quality written work. Offer a range of services suited to your skill set, such as writing emails, blog posts, and sales and marketing collateral like webpages or sales sheet copy. You might also offer a ghostwriting service and take on projects like thought leadership articles, speeches, or even full-length books.

14. Retail business

Start an online or brick-and-mortar business selling apparel, home goods, books, tools, plants, jewelry, furniture, electronics, or just about any other category of consumer products. Make products you can sell online or curate a collection and become a reseller. You might even consider establishing a niche and supporting other female entrepreneurs by featuring products from female-identified makers and business owners.

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15. Coaching business

Start a coaching business if you’re good at helping people set goals, stay accountable, and achieve personal growth. Depending on your areas of interest, you might offer your services as a life coach, fitness coach, or nutritional coach. You might even set up an online course to support your business model.

Coaches typically set their hours and meet with clients virtually, making coaching a great small business idea for stay-at-home moms and dads or people who want to earn extra money while holding a full-time job.

16. Virtual assistant business 

Virtual assistants offer administrative support to business owners and private individuals. Help clients respond to emails and messages, schedule appointments, make phone calls, arrange travel, and handle data entry and bookkeeping tasks.

17. Landscaping business 

If you’re looking for a profitable business idea that uses your design skills and involves time outside, start a landscaping business to help business owners and homeowners create gorgeous outdoor spaces. You can narrow in on a particular niche, like eco-friendly landscapes, English gardens, or working with fruit-bearing plants.

18. General contracting business

If you’re a DIY expert with a library of tools and a passion for hands-on projects, becoming a general contractor may be your next great business idea. Increase client confidence in your work by obtaining a license from your state and business insurance from your chosen provider.

19. Digital publication

Earn money by starting a blog or digital magazine. You might focus on subjects appealing to a specific audience like exotic plant care, model trains, or competitive dressage. You can write content for your blog, accept guest blog posts from other contributors, and earn money by hosting ads or affiliate links on your site.

20. Dropshipping business

Dropshipping business models involve using an online store to sell products provided by suppliers who ship purchases directly to customers, eliminating the need to warehouse products or handle fulfillment logistics.

Dropshipping can be lucrative because it requires limited up-front investment and minimal ongoing maintenance, making it one of the best online business ideas for passive income.

Business ideas for women FAQ

How do you choose the right business idea?

These steps can help you choose the best business ideas for you:

  • Determine how much time and money you can invest.
  • Make a list of your skills, talents, and areas of interest.
  • Brainstorm business types that suit your strengths, preferences, and start-up budget.
  • Conduct market research to identify relevant opportunities.
  • Select a lucrative business idea that meets customer needs.

What should you consider when starting a business?

Great business ideas meet a market need, so consider market demand for your products or services. Be sure to also factor in start-up costs and obtain necessary licenses.

What is the cheapest, most profitable business to start?

Dropshipping and affiliate marketing businesses are lucrative business ventures that require relatively limited upfront financial investment and provide a quick way to earn extra money online.

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