Are you a millennial stuck in a job you hate? Got kids but not earning enough to make ends meet? Still haven’t paid off that student loan? Maybe it’s time to start your own small business. I’ve got 29 great business ideas for those of you over 29—and one business to avoid.

Whether it’s a side gig while you keep your day job, or if you’ve got a chance to go all in, you’ve got a number of advantages, especially if you’re a millennial. You’re digitally native, so you’re comfortable with tech, and you know what appeals to your fellow millennials, a highly coveted demographic.

The 29 businesses I’ve listed all require little money to start, though some may require some training and all will require some time and effort.
  1. Instagram marketing. Good with Instagram and snapping pics and videos? Help keep other companies’ Instagram feeds full.
  2. IT support specialist. You’ll need some training. Complete Google’s IT Support Professional Certificate in 8 months. If you’re a veteran, you may qualify for a scholarship.
  3. Remote teacher. Have you mastered yoga? Cake decorating? Financial planning? Teach via Skype, FaceTime, or WhatsApp.
  4. Brewer. Craft beer is hot. The difficulty level may be high, but the coolness factor is too.
  5. Adventure tour leader. Love adventure and the outdoors? Travel while running your company.
  6. Doula. You may not deliver celebrity babies like Latham Thomas does, founder of MamaGlow, but you’ll find work as a birthing coach rewarding.
  7. Doggy day camp. Love dogs? Have space? Make money looking after Fido and Fifi. Find clients on Rover.com and Wag!
  8. Bookkeeping program advisor. If you’re good at numbers, get some training and master a bookkeeping program, like Quickbooks, Xero, or FreshBooks.
  9. IT for seniors. The Internet is a lifeline for shut-in seniors, but they need help setting up their iPads and Netflix accounts.
  10. College loan counselor. Help students saddled with debt come up with a repayment plan, and help entering students figure out how to reduce debt.
  11. Social media marketing consultant. A lot of companies need help, especially with their LinkedIn and Facebook presence.
  12. Beekeeper. Start in your backyard and sell your honey at farmers markets and in stores.
  13. Gardener/landscape design. Have a green thumb and a good eye for design?
  14. Graphic designer. If you’ve got a good eye and design sense, master some online design tools and create graphics for other small businesses.
  15. Farmer. The world needs you! Start small—rent land and sell at farmers markets.
  16. Realtor. Evening and weekend hours make this a great choice as a side gig or if you’ve got a 9-5 spouse to watch the kids.
  17. Copy Editing. You excelled in your English class, so market your services on a site like Reedsy or Editorial Freelancers Association.
  18. Personal chef or caterer. People want to eat healthy, home-cooked meals but don’t have time to cook.
  19. Digital media conversion. Yes, people out there still have video on VHS.
  20. Tutoring. Specialize in a subject, the SATs, or college-level courses.
  21. Patient advocacy. Help people manage their elderly parents from afar, and deal with insurance.
  22. Personal trainer. Already living at the gym? Start training others.
  23. Micro-infuencer/brand ambassador. Already have a large social media following? Get paid to plug your favorite products.
  24. Sustainability consultant. Help organizations reduce their footprint and prepare for climate change.
  25. Sell on Etsy. Do your friends and family admire your handiwork? Sell it on Etsy.
  26. Online dating consultant/profile writer. Have a knack for writing? Help someone find the love of their life, or their love for a night.
  27. WordPress website builder. 31% of the web is built on WordPress. Learn to master it with a course from Udemy.
  28. Fundraiser. Every non-profit and good cause needs people to help raise money.
  29. DJ. If you love music, electronics, and hanging out at clubs until 4am, this is the job for you.

The business to avoid: any business structured as multi-level marketing or “network marketing,” where you’re encouraged to inveigle others to sell the same products. Statistically, you have very, very little chance of actually making a profit.


Copyright Rhonda Abrams, 2018

This article originally ran in USA Today on September 12, 2018