Over 80 planner page templates editable in Canva. Commercial Use!
Find out how to start your own Virtual Assistant business!
type below and hit enter
read the blog
I'm Susan! I'm happy to help you find shortcuts to creating products and making more money in your business.
Nearly 13 million businesses in the U.S. are owned by women. If you dig into the multitudes of stats available online, you’ll find some interesting tidbits about these entrepreneurs and their companies. In their responses to wide-ranging surveys conducted by a host of agencies, organizations, and companies in government and the private sector:
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.
“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
“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
“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.
“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
“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.”
“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
“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.”
“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
“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
Whether you choose to pursue one of the above business ideas for women or something else entirely, executing your idea—and making your company profitable—will be an uphill battle. Most women entrepreneurs admit to working exceedingly long hours to make their vision a reality. In the building stages and beyond, it’s important to keep your strengths in mind, and to delegate, if and when you can marshal the resources.
“You cannot be everywhere all the time, so choose high-impact activities that work for you and play to your strengths,” says Paige Arnof-Fenn of Mavens & Moguls. “My advice is to pick a few things you enjoy doing and do them really well. For example, content marketing and thought leadership are great ways to build your organization’s brand, increase your visibility more broadly, raise your profile, and attract more clients/customers. Activities like speaking at a conference, writing articles, and building your following on social media all contribute to increasing your visibility [among] potential customers and building your credibility with a larger community.”
While social media can be a great tool for growth, it can also become a source of frustration. Arnof-Fenn advises not to let it drive you crazy. “You don’t need to be [on every platform], just pick one or two that are authentic to you. Your presence should look and sound like you and the brand you have built, whether it is polished or more informal, chatty or academic, humorous or snarky—look at it as a way for your personality to come through.”
Remember that not everyone is going to like you or hire you, she says. But for those potential customers who would be a great fit, strive to make and keep a connection with them. “Give them a reason to remember you, so that when they eventually need help they think of you first.”