My work-at-home heart swells with pride every time I see someone take their financial future into their own hands. Too many people these days are too content being a victim of circumstance crying, “But there are no jobs.” Pick yourself up. Dust yourself off. Create your own job.
Regardless of your education, background or location, you have at least one in-demand skill. And many of the best businesses to start in a small town require little, if any, startup cash.
Auto Detailing – Many businesses today are “mobile,” meaning the business comes to the client as opposed to the other way around. Auto detailing can be one such business. Provided you have access to an electrical outlet (for your vacuum) and a hydrant (for car washing) you are good to go.
Babysitting – If you are just babysitting a couple kids you probably won’t need a license (check anyway). Brush up on your CPR skills regardless.
Baking – So many people these days are making a great side income through specialized baking. Many people in small towns would prefer to get their wedding, baby shower, birthday cakes, cookies and cupcakes locally as opposed to having to worry about making a special trip to the city on their big day and transport a delicate confection for miles.
Business Cleaning – homes are not the only thing in need of cleaning. Inquire with local office buildings about their cleaning needs.
Business Service Provider – There are likely small businesses in your town without an online presence. Help them out by creating social media profiles, ecommerce sites, etc.
Career Consultant – Competition over available jobs can be especially fierce in a small town. Help your clients identify why they aren’t being hired despite all those applications.
Catering – Access to catering companies can be limited in rural areas. That doesn’t mean small businesses, organizations and even individuals don’t want them, however. It may not be daily work but a luncheon here and a wedding there can certainly help cover some bills.
Direct Sales – The home party plan industry has been booming since the 50s. There are opportunities available today ranging from housewares to healthy living products.
Elder Care – This service can run the gamut from simply stopping by to check on your client’s welfare each day to cleaning, cooking and running errands.
Errand Service – When you live in a small town but commute to a big town for a job you can never get local stuff done. Most places won’t let you take off early every time you need to pick something up by 4. This is where you come to the rescue.
Handcrafted Items (knitting, crocheting, quilting)
Handywoman – Do you know how to fix a leaky faucet or squeaky door hinge? WAHM to the rescue!
Health Insurance Consultant – Most people still have no idea what’s required or where to get help when it comes to the new health insurance regulations. If you have a background in insurance or human resources you may be able to pick up some part-time work at local business helping their employees get signed up and educated.
House Staging – There is a big demand for professionals that can get a home picture perfect and ready to sell.
Housecleaning – I know so many stay at home moms who have created a second income cleaning houses while their kids are in school.
Interior Decorating – This home business option would pair nicely with the house staging mentioned above. The only difference is these clients are staying in their homes as opposed to (hopefully) leaving.
Meal Prep – Busy folks and the elderly sometimes like some help with meals. The food prep industry is highly regulated. Check with your local government for necessary licenses and inspections before starting any of the cooking and baking ideas on our list.
Mobile Locksmith – Just because you live in a small town does not mean you don’t lock yourself out of your car or house occasionally. And many small towns do not have a locksmith. With the know-how, you could surely pick up a few extra bucks a month.
Traveling Notary Public – We all need a document notarized from time to time. You won’t get rich with this one. Your maximum fees will be determined by your state (here in Nebraska it is $1 to $5 plus mileage). But, it can be added to almost any other business for additional income and demand.
Online Consignment – Helps others in your community sell their unwanted items on sites like eBay, thredUP and Twice then keep a portion of the selling price.
Pet Care – Sitting, grooming and even taking Fido to his vet visits
Photographer – Families on a budget can’t always afford that fancy photographer the next town over. Brush up on your skills and offer inexpensive packages to seniors, new parents and soon-to-be newlyweds.
Pooper Scooper – You know what it is and you know there are plenty of people willing to pay for it.
Preparing Legal Documents – If you come from a paralegal background you may be able to help clients with filling out a few basic legal documents. This job would combine nicely with a Notary Public gig.
Pro Cost Cutter – Many women made it through the recession sharing their savvy shopping tips with others. Coupon classes were commonplace, and they are still in demand. And it doesn’t need to be just coupons. Think of all of the household bills those in your community are probably receiving. How much can you help them cut? If you can get 20 ladies together for a night of savings education and charge $5 a head, you just made $100 for a few hours’ work.
Professional Organizer – There are messy closets and basements in your town. Help clear them out. You can even turn around and help sell those items online. Or, plan a city wide garage sale to help clients get rid of the clutter and recoup your fees. That’s a selling point if I ever heard one!
Real Estate Agent
Sell Produce – You can scale your produce business as well. Check your area for local co-ops.
Taxi Service – Additional liability insurance may be required. Check with your insurance carrier.
Teach a Dance Class
Teach a Fitness Class
Tech Support – This type of business can offer everything from teaching basic computer skills to IT support.
Upcycling – Repurposed items are still big. If you have an eye for this kind of thing you may be able to make a good living selling at craft fairs or online community groups.
When considering your small business ideas think about things people don’t want to or can’t do themselves. These are the things people will pay for.
And no excuses! If a fourteen-year-old kid in your neighborhood can rake in $100+ per week mowing yards after school and on weekends, why can’t you? Is he more skilled than you? No. Is he more educated than you? No. Did he have a lawn care empire handed down to him? No. He was just willing to ask for it.
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