- 64% said they make as much money or more than they did before opening their business.
- 61% said they expect their revenues to grow in the near term.
- 94% said they are happy with their choice to become their own boss.
While there’s no denying the challenges entrepreneurs might face, (and surely not every new business succeeds), it’s good to know you’re not forging this path alone. But what if you aren’t exactly sure what path you’ll follow? You might be itching to become your own boss but lacking a business idea, a common plight among aspiring entrepreneurs. Research has also shown that women sometimes hesitate to break out on their own if they aren’t pursuing a particular passion. (In fact, only 29% of women entrepreneurs indicated they started a business based on a personal passion.) Not everyone agrees that passion is the key to success; building a business around your strengths that dovetail with pronounced needs or opportunities in the marketplace is another smart approach. Whether you’re passionate about your vocation or just plain great at it, providing a useful service that people want is a necessary component of any great business. In any case, if you’re searching for ideas that align with your strengths, you’ve come to the right place. We reached out to readers asking for their thoughts on the best small business ideas for women, and compiled some of their responses below. The list is by no means comprehensive. Leaving aside the myriad ideas that drive markets—and the fact that there are as many opinions about job satisfaction as there are people—we tried to represent some ideas that might resonate with the greatest number of readers.
Unsure how to market your new business? Download our marketing workbook for time-saving templates, planners, calendars, and more!
Business Ideas For Women, From Female Entrepreneurs
1. Start a digital marketing agency.“A digital marketing agency that provides online marketing and advertising services to businesses can be a great business idea for women. These services can include search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) management, social media marketing, and email marketing. As a woman entrepreneur, you can use your skills and knowledge in these areas to create a successful agency. ” —Harriet Chan of CocoFinder
2. Become a seller on Amazon or another ecommerce platform.“Being an online seller offers the opportunity to set a flexible schedule that can work around family and other commitments; it also has a low barrier to entry (minimal investment required). In addition, given that 80% of household purchases are made by women, a female seller has the advantage of knowing and understanding their target audience and what motivates them to buy. Lastly, there is still a lot of growth to be had in ecommerce for niche products, so there’s an opportunity to stand out with a unique product.” —Lesley Hensell of Riverbend Consulting
3. Start a home-based business.“Home businesses have low overhead costs and can be started with little to no money upfront. Additionally, there are online resources and support groups available to help women succeed.” —Kate Zhang of Kate Backdrop
What are the top businesses for women?A recent survey by Guidant offers some insight into the most prevalent small businesses for women in 2022. The majority of survey participants, 22.32%, work in retail (storefront and eCommerce). The second largest group (16.07%) works in health, beauty, and fitness services. Business services (12.50%), food and restaurants (11.61%), and education and training (5.36%) round out the top five industry categories.
4. Start a franchise.“Another great option for women entrepreneurs is starting a franchise. Franchises are a low-cost way to start a business, [and] they offer the opportunity to be your own boss while still having the support of an established brand. Many franchises offer programs and resources specifically for women franchisees.” —Kate Zhang of Kate Backdrop
5. Become an insurance sales agent.“Running an insurance agency is an ideal path for women entrepreneurs. It allows flexibility in schedule, a clear path for growth, and an opportunity to work for yourself but not by yourself.” —Sarah Loy of Gallacher Cochran Agency of American National Insurance Company
6. Open a consignment/used goods store.“People spend a lot of money on clothing and decor, and everyone has garments and home items that are still in mint shape but are no longer wanted. This is the perfect low-cost biz, whether online or off. You can do it locally or globally, start very small and expand, and do it from your home, a booth space, a retail space, or from your website or blog. Personally, I have had two physical vintage/consignment stores—one in Los Angeles and one in Richmond, Virginia. I also have a local website for selling locally, and I’ve dealt with rag houses as well as designers and even the movie studios in L.A. This market will never go away; it’s as popular today as it always was.” —Angela Hobbs of Color My Agenda
7. Become a coach.“Take your expertise and use it to make an impact on the world by coaching people through what you have already mastered. Pay it forward. Change someone’s life for the better by giving them the tools to be successful without experiencing the failures that you experienced.” —Angela Newhouse
“Whether [you] are looking for a side hustle or a career that fits around other responsibilities, being a wellness coach offers the flexibility to work when and where you want. More importantly, you can start with a minimal investment, and it offers both active and passive income opportunities.” —Kris Fleet of Fleet Creative
8. Start an online skincare and beauty business.“The global skincare industry is growing rapidly. I suggest opening an e-commerce store where customers can order their favorite beauty products and get valuable tips to handle skincare-related problems. This store will attract two types of customers: 1) Women who seek useful advice from other women [or knowledgeable store owners] about how to improve their aesthetics and skincare health; and, 2) Working women who can’t go to the store but who can explore a variety of products online and order their favorites. This type of business has great potential for women who want to become successful entrepreneurs.” —Sara Graves of USTitleLoans