50 Best Self Employed Business Ideas For 2020 (Ultimate List)

Seeking to start a self-employed business but not quite sure what to start?

The good news is, there are so many opportunities to become your own boss and build an innovative product/service in this line of work.

If you're looking to start your own self-employed business, there are several low-investment options you can choose from.

We put a list together below of the most profitable self-employed business ideas you can start today!

Here they are:

1. Start a mobile app development business ($984K/year)

Tim Bornholdt from Minneapolis, MN, USA started The Jed Mahonis Group over 8 years ago, a mobile app development business.

  • Revenue: $82,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 6
  • Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA

Growing up, I’ve always been into technology. I built my first website when I was in first grade, I built my first graphing calculator app when I was in sixth grade, and I used to run the internet’s largest website dedicated to Ralph Wiggum from The Simpsons.

I waited in line for the iPhone the day it launched in 2007, and I was instantly hooked. I knew I had to learn how to build software for this device. Eventually, I learned how to jailbreak my device which allowed me to run custom apps on it (this being before the launch of the App Store).

Even though I had a passion for technology, I never really wanted a career in it. My dream job was to work as a technical director for live television broadcasts, and the only class that was close to that at my school was the capstone course for the Professional Journalism program. I ended up switching my major from Computer Engineering to that and abandoned any dreams of professionally writing software.

how-we-started-a-82k-month-custom-ios-and-android-apps-development-agency

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Tim Bornholdt, on starting The Jed Mahonis Group ($82,000/month) full story ➜

2. Become a nutritionist ($24K/year)

Haley Hughes from Greeley, Colorado, USA started RDRx Nutrition almost 7 years ago, a nutritionist.

  • Revenue: $2,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Greeley, Colorado, USA

I have always been a strong-willed, hard-working, and sometimes stubborn person.

I’m definitely “The Achiever” on the enneagram test, so working for myself has been a great change for the most part. I stand up for what I believe in, especially when it comes to patient care.

After graduating with a Master’s degree in dietetics, completing a 2-year-long internship process and taking a huge exam I was so excited to start my career. My dream job (so I thought) was to be an intensive care unit dietitian, because I felt it would be challenging and rewarding.

leaving-my-9-to-5-to-start-my-own-nutrition-counseling-private-practice

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Haley Hughes, on starting RDRx Nutrition ($2,000/month) full story ➜

3. Start a food truck ($18M/year)

Jeffrey Mora from Los Angeles, California, USA started Food Fleet over 8 years ago, a food truck.

  • Revenue: $1,500,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 6
  • Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

We started the food truck business in 2012.

We kept finding it very difficult to find locations to operate. We had a booker that we used to find our locations but fell short and we let her go. I took over our booking and found that most people did not want to book just one truck, not only that they were upset that most of the time the trucks didn’t show up or were late.

We learned the real need was not only helping the trucks but providing a turnkey service for the corporations. This was a game-changer for us, we were really struggling financially.

how-i-took-food-trucks-corporate-and-built-a-18m-business

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Jeffrey Mora, on starting Food Fleet ($1,500,000/month) full story ➜

4. Start a sewing and alteration business ($12K/year)

Saara Hafeez from New York, New York, USA started ALTRD over 2 years ago, a sewing and alteration business.

  • Revenue: $1,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: New York, New York, USA

We’ve been friends for awhile - we met right out of college in New York and stayed close even though we took fairly different professional paths.

Saara worked in the corporate world for a number of years before moving to Mexico where she launched a jewelry business aimed at rehabilitating sex trafficking survivors. Stephanie was a business consultant before going to law school and becoming a corporate lawyer; along the way, she launched an argan oil company that empowers women in Morocco.

these-two-founders-started-an-on-demand-clothing-alterations-startup

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Saara Hafeez, on starting ALTRD ($1,000/month) full story ➜

5. Start a lead generation business ($216K/year)

James Harper from Denver, Colorado, USA started GoEdison almost 5 years ago, a lead generation business.

  • Revenue: $18,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Denver, Colorado, USA

GoEdison was founded because my partner and I saw a major need in the small business realm for better marketing. This was at the time when marketing agencies were popping up everywhere and charging smaller businesses large retainers with getting them very little return.

Too often we want to get a little too creative with our new services. Do what works and do what’s simple when you first start out.

Three years prior I had launched two other smaller agencies get off the ground and make a ton of money. The problem was, I wasn’t truly invested in those companies. I was as a key employee, but nothing more than that. So instead of helping others get rich quickly, we knew we could provide a better service and overall client experience and make it our own thing versus working for someone else.

on-starting-a-20k-month-lead-gen-marketing-agency

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James Harper , on starting GoEdison ($18,000/month) full story ➜

6. Start a video production company ($6M/year)

Hope Horner from Los Angeles, California, USA started Lemonlight over 6 years ago, a video production company.

  • Revenue: $500,000/ month
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 45
  • Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

I grew up in Johnson City, TN - a small town in the northeast corner of the state. For as long as I can remember, I dreamed of moving to Los Angeles and starting my own business. When I was 18, I moved to LA to attend college and haven’t left yet.

I started my first business in 2008 when the startup culture was very limited in Los Angeles. Resources were scarce and it was difficult to learn how to start and run a company with no experience. Nonetheless, I trudged through the journey for a few years trying to figure it out. It was filled with some success and a lot of learning lessons, but ultimately, it didn’t end the way I had hoped. I spent a few more years working with startup companies and learning more about the landscape and how to hone my skills as a leader and entrepreneur.

In April of 2014, I started my second company, Lemonlight, out of a second bedroom with my two co-founders, Daniel Marlow, and Chad Rogers. Lemonlight’s mission was to offer small and medium-sized businesses access to high-quality, affordable video content that they could use to advertise their brand online.

how-i-started-a-500k-month-video-production-company-from-my-bedroom-in-la

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Hope Horner, on starting Lemonlight ($500,000/month) full story ➜

7. Start a personal training business ($720K/year)

Chris Anderson from Overland Park, Kansas, USA started Live Fit over 9 years ago, a personal training business.

  • Revenue: $60,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Overland Park, Kansas, USA

I started Live Fit because I felt I was running out of options in the industry I loved so much. Personally, I felt the misses in the personal training industry and wanted to change that. Personal Training, as well as all types of fitness, can be very intimidating to most people. And honestly, the people that are most intimidated by fitness are often the people that need it the most. I set out to create a company that provided the same types of exercises, programming, and results as generally all fitness companies, but I wanted to make it a comfortable experience from the moment a potential client stepped through our doors.

All our processes, our studio layout, our team of trainers we have hired, and our entire mission are based on making clients feel comfortable, appreciated, and valued. We do things differently and over the past 10 years, I have seen other companies in our area follow our lead. Long gone are the days of slamming weights, extremely loud music, and uncomfortable gym environments. People want to go where they feel comfortable and respected.

I have always loved sports and started at a young age, with my dad as my coach. I continued athletics through high school and went on to run college track where I based my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees entirely on building my career in the fitness industry. The last thing I was willing to do was to throw it all away based on a lack of opportunity, so I created my own with Live Fit. I believe in spirituality and the law of attraction and base my life on those principles. So in early 2011 when I couldn’t focus on my spiritual study and spiritual growth because my mind was consumed with running numbers about opening my own company, I knew that was a sign from God it was time to create something great.

how-i-started-a-60k-month-personal-training-company

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Chris Anderson, on starting Live Fit ($60,000/month) full story ➜

8. Become a proofreader ($24K/year)

Lenny Bron from New York, New York, USA started The Blog Proofreader over 4 years ago, a proofreader.

  • Revenue: $2,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: New York, New York, USA

This business idea was born in 2016, but the journey really began in 2014.

After working for a company for 8 years, I hadn’t really gotten far financially and felt stuck. I decided to find a job with better financial prospects and the possibility of advancement. After 6 months of searching, I was hired at a new employer and managed to double my salary in one fell swoop!

Just start! That little voice inside your head giving you doubts will always be there. Push through that voice and keep going until you reach a point where you’re lost.

how-i-added-2-000-to-my-monthly-income-proofreading-blog-posts

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Lenny Bron, on starting The Blog Proofreader ($2,000/month) full story ➜

9. Start a seo business ($33.6K/year)

Nick Swan from Bude, England, United Kingdom started SanityCheck over 3 years ago, a SEO business.

  • Revenue: $2,800/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Bude, England, United Kingdom

I have been building websites and doing SEO since around 1998 (yes I’m 39!) which was pre-Google. The good old days of Alta Vista, Excite, keyword stuffing and transparent text on pages!

I studied Software Engineering at University and helped fund this by building websites and doing SEO in the evenings and spare time.

After a few years of employment after leaving University, I co-founded a business that built tools and extensions for Microsoft SharePoint. Part of my role in this business was looking after the marketing website and so I continued to work in the SEO space.

how-my-daughter-s-leukemia-diagnosis-gave-me-a-new-perspective

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Nick Swan, on starting SanityCheck ($2,800/month) full story ➜

10. Start a dropshipping business ($144K/year)

Amanda Austin from Erie, Pennsylvania, USA started Little Shop of Miniatures over 3 years ago, a dropshipping business.

  • Revenue: $12,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Erie, Pennsylvania, USA

I was unhappily working in marketing for a Fortune 500 insurance company when I started looking at ways to create a new income stream. I became interested in ecommerce and invested in a course to learn more. I compiled a list of keywords for products that had decent search volume and not terribly competitive to rank for in organic search. I used Long Tail Pro to get ideas--I had so many when I first started!

My business is a small, mostly passive income stream and I’m okay with that. There is so much more I could be doing with my store, but right now I am loving the extra income stream that allows me to work part-time at my day job and spend more time with my infant daughter.

A bunch of keywords in the dollhouse miniatures space fit the bill. I used Long Tail Pro and looked for keywords that were competitive--which on there is a score in the twenties or low thirties. I also wanted them to have at least 2,000 searches per month. This is not a ton, but five keywords with that search volume that are not that competitive can lead to a decent number of organic traffic if you build your site the right way. My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to find a niche with a nice handful of keywords you can rank for with quality content and a nice backlinking strategy. Don’t try to be number one for some saturated keyword that has a million searches a month. Go for keywords where you stand a chance of ranking--this is usually so-called long tail keywords that are really phrases--for example, “wooden dollhouse furniture” instead of just “dollhouse.”

how-i-started-a-part-time-dropship-business-on-shopify

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Amanda Austin, on starting Little Shop of Miniatures ($12,000/month) full story ➜

11. Start a catering business ($240K/year)

Nestor Nidome from Crestmore, California, USA started Elegante Catering ago, a catering business.

  • Revenue: $20,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 10
  • Location: Crestmore, California, USA

For as long as I can remember I have always been attracted to the idea of being a business owner. I’ve tried many businesses starting with my own DJ company. I got some business cards, printed them at Staples, passed them out, and waited for the calls.

It took a bit of time, but eventually, the calls started to come in and bookings started to happen. I did that for a couple of years until one of the DJ gigs some gangsters got into it and I was almost in the middle of a gang fight. Thank GOD things calmed down, but after that, I started looking for another business!

During this same time, the whole tech bubble was growing and I wanted a part of it. I took some coding classes in college and started using HTML to code my website from scratch. I kind of borrowed a lot of ideas from Yahoo but it was going to be mainly focused on my local city. I visited some businesses and got some of them to advertise. Things seemed to be going well when the bubble burst and I was once more left to venture out and look for something else.

how-i-found-success-with-a-20k-month-catering-company-after-starting-many-businesses

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Nestor Nidome, on starting Elegante Catering ($20,000/month) full story ➜

12. Start a publishing business ($18M/year)

Adam Witty from Charleston, South Carolina, USA started Advantage Media Group over 15 years ago, a publishing business.

  • Revenue: $1,500,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 81
  • Location: Charleston, South Carolina, USA

As a kid, I didn’t grow up wanting to be a publisher. In fact, no kid does!

While in high school, my parents made me get a summer job. Our neighbor worked for a publishing company and offered an internship. I thought I would hate it. I ended up really liking it. I found the creation of books, the marketing, and sales of books absolutely fascinating. But I went off to college not really thinking about it again.

While in school at Clemson, my boss at the publishing company ventured out and started his own publishing business. He asked me if I wanted to partner with him. I did. We worked together for about a year, but we had different visions for the company. I wanted to create a big business. He wanted a lifestyle business that would employ his family members and he could work from home. We parted ways.

how-i-started-a-1-5m-month-publishing-and-marketing-company

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Adam Witty, on starting Advantage Media Group ($1,500,000/month) full story ➜

13. Start a blogging business ($60K/year)

Chhavi Agarwal from New Delhi, Delhi, India started Mrs Daaku Studio over 2 years ago, a blogging business.

  • Revenue: $5,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 3
  • Location: New Delhi, Delhi, India

I am a licensed attorney in India and right after my master’s in law, I started working with a leading company as a lawyer. I worked there for about two years before I quit my job to become more location independent.

Choose a niche in whatever you start. It is critical for streamlining your efforts and make money.

My job paid me well but I worked 12 hours a day, I was exhausted by the end of each day, spent my weekends sleeping and I almost quit the things I liked to do - for example, sketching, yoga, traveling, etc.

how-this-couple-makes-5k-month-generating-content-about-ways-to-make-money-online

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Chhavi Agarwal, on starting Mrs Daaku Studio ($5,000/month) full story ➜

14. Start a tax consulting business

Examples of a successful tax consulting business:

15. Start an affiliate marketing business

Examples of a successful affiliate marketing business:

16. Start a virtual assistance business

Examples of a successful virtual assistance business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a virtual assistance business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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17. Start a copywriting business

Examples of a successful copywriting business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a copywriting business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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18. Start a podcasting business

Examples of a successful podcasting business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a podcasting business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

19. Start a social media marketing business

Examples of a successful social media marketing business:

20. Start a home tutoring business

Examples of a successful home tutoring business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a home tutoring business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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21. Start a stock photography business

Examples of a successful stock photography business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a stock photography business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

22. Become a youtube personality

Examples of a successful youtube personality:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a youtube personality:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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23. Start a management consulting business

Examples of a successful management consulting business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a management consulting business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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24. Start a pop up business

Examples of a successful pop up business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a pop up business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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25. Start a membership site business

Examples of a successful membership site business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a membership site business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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26. Start a data analysis business

Examples of a successful data analysis business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a data analysis business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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27. Start a wedding photography business

Examples of a successful wedding photography business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a wedding photography business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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28. Start a digital marketing business

Examples of a successful digital marketing business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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29. Start a graphic designing business

Examples of a successful graphic designing business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a graphic designing business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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30. Become a yoga instructor

Examples of a successful yoga instructor:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a yoga instructor:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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31. Start a transcription service business ($1.2M/year)

Examples of a successful transcription service business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a transcription service business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Check out all of our transcription service business case studies ➜

And for some real world inspiration, give Ben Walker's story on creating Transcription Outsourcing a read:

My name is Ben Walker and I am the CEO and Founder of Transcription Outsourcing, LLC in Denver, Colorado.

Transcription Outsourcing was awarded the NASPO ValuePoint ($16 billion in annual sales from 65 contracts) transcription services contract three years ago, over 26 other companies, and haven’t looked back since.

how-we-started-a-100k-month-company-that-provides-transcription-services

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Ben Walker, on starting Transcription Outsourcing ($100,000/month) full story ➜

32. Start a tour guide business

Examples of a successful tour guide business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a tour guide business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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33. Start an advertisment business

Examples of a successful advertisment business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a advertisment business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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34. Start a recruiting business

Examples of a successful recruiting business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a recruiting business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

35. Start an investment advisory business

Examples of a successful investment advisory business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a investment advisory business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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36. Start a voice over service buisness

Examples of a successful voice over service buisness:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a voice over service buisness:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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37. Start a bakery business

Examples of a successful bakery business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a bakery business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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38. Start a photo editing business

Examples of a successful photo editing business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a photo editing business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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39. Become a social media consultant

Examples of a successful social media consultant:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a social media consultant:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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40. Start a bookkeeping business

Examples of a successful bookkeeping business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a bookkeeping business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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41. Start a travel consulting business

Examples of a successful travel consulting business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a travel consulting business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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42. Start an interior designing business

Examples of a successful interior designing business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a interior designing business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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43. Start an apparel boutique business

Examples of a successful apparel boutique business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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44. Become a personal chef

Examples of a successful personal chef:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a personal chef:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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45. Become a massage therapist

Examples of a successful massage therapist:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a massage therapist:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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46. Start a real estate crowdfunding business

Examples of a successful real estate crowdfunding business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a real estate crowdfunding business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

47. Start a daycare

Examples of a successful daycare:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a daycare:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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48. Start a language translation service

Examples of a successful language translation service:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a language translation service:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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49. Start a website theme development business

Examples of a successful website theme development business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a website theme development business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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50. Start an automation service business

Examples of a successful automation service business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a automation service business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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Starter Story,   Founder of Starter Story

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