Looking to start a business to make some extra money? This guide will look at unique business ideas and provide you with the resources to get started.
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Are you looking for unique business ideas? A niche where your talents and hobbies can take root and grow? You’ve come to the right place!
In this article, we’ll discuss niche business ideas, look at the best platforms for accepting payments, and offer resources to help you get your unique business idea off the ground and make money!
5 Unique Business Ideas
From urban farming to digital materials, the vast range of unique business ideas spans markets, talents, and structures. Read on to learn more about some unique ideas you can consider in your journey to becoming a small business owner!
What are microgreens? These superfoods are seedlings of vegetables and herbs that are not harvested by cutting or trimming like their mature counterparts. While their use is constantly expanding, they are popular as garnishes or greens for sandwiches.
Microgreens are extremely profitable due to the small amount of space they take up (hence, micro), low set-up costs, and quick growing cycle. This means you can plant, harvest, and sell your first crop in just a few weeks!
Here are some of the important details about selling microgreens:
- Customers: Residential & professional chefs, farmers market goers, grocery stores, wholesalers
- Startup Costs: You can get started with one or two 10″ x 20″ trays of microgreens and grow (literally) from there. Each tray costs around $2 with soil and seeds.
- Turnaround Time: Microgreens are ready to harvest in as little as 1 week.
- Pricing: Your pricing depends on how much you want to be paid for an hour of your time. Factor in the time it takes you each day, your general startup costs, taxes, electricity, etc. Determine your desired profit margin and set your prices. If you can, research local competitors to make sure your rates are comparable.
When embarking on a microgreens business venture, you have to make sure you are taking detailed records (amount of water, variety of greens, time in the sun, etc.) and doing in-depth research to find high-quality information.
No, we aren’t talking about flipping pages, though that is certainly encouraged. We’re talking about flipping used books for a profit! Used books are a massive business in the US, the book publishing industry brought in an estimated $25.71 billion in 2020.
Book flipping takes advantage of the price difference between the book buyer’s and bookseller’s market. You buy a book for a lower price from one market and resell it on another. If you can sell it for a higher price, your profit will be the difference.
Here are the key takeaways when considering flipping books:
- Types Of Books: You can flip just about any book. Textbooks, first-editions, rare books, used classics. The foundation of your book-flipping business might even be sitting in your home gathering dust as we speak!
- Startup Costs: If you don’t have inventory, you can find books for relatively low prices at thrift stores or garage sales. Check out your Facebook Buy Nothing groups for bookshelf cleaning lots or Craigslist for college students selling their textbooks from last semester.
- Where To Sell: Bookseller sites like BookScouter.com or AbeBooks are popular options for book flippers. Be aware of the fees these sites may charge. You can also consider Amazon, eBay, Craiglist, Facebook Marketplace, or even brick-and-mortar booksellers.
The best part about book flipping is that it only takes one book to get started! Just make sure you’re checking the ISBN number (not the title) to get an idea of the value of your inventory, choose the right marketplace, and plan to get the book to your customer in a timely manner.
Short-Term Pet Sitting
The pet-sitting industry has many different niches. Some pet-sitters specialize in “drop-by” visits for more independent furry (or scaley, or winged) friends while others may take a sort of “live-in” approach and stay in the home of a client to keep a constant eye on their wards.
A specific kind of pet sitting that’s becoming more and more popular is short-term pet sitting. No, we don’t mean a long weekend away, we mean watching pets for owners returning to the office full or part-time after working from home for the past two years. Some pets adopted during that time don’t know anything different than having a human around them 24/7 and can experience high anxiety that could impact their physical and mental well-being.
- Protections: Some pet-sitters pride themselves on being insured and bonded. Some risks come with watching other people’s pets, and you don’t want to be responsible for the costs of being sued, damage to your client’s property, or vet bills if an animal gets injured in your care.
- Best Practices: It’s always a good idea to meet your potential clients (and their owners) before deciding whether or not you’re a good fit.
- Location: While some owners may prefer you care for their pets where they’re most comfortable, in their own home, some may prefer to drop them off before their day begins and pick them back up in the evenings. This can be especially lucrative if you live near a large number of businesses or have access to plentiful green spaces.
While this business can become a full-time gig, short-term pet sitting can complement your current remote work. You may find it nice to have some company while you work your regular job.
Digital products are a popular business idea for many reasons including the ease of distribution, their continued popularity, and the ability to pair them with physical items or services. (Think: Sell a digital birthday card; possibly offer a printing service to go with it.)
The best part about selling some digital products is that they only need to be made once and can be sold over and over again to different customers with no need to restock. They’re a great form of passive income.
Here are some reasons why selling digital products might be right for you:
- Variety Of Products: You can sell seemingly endless kinds of digital products. You can sell guides, tutorials, music, fonts, photo editing presets, courses, invitations, marketing services, or other online services.
- Variety Of Online Platforms To Sell Products: It’s easy to create an online store using a platform like Shopify or Square to sell your digital products. These platforms include apps that make connecting to your store and delivering PDF purchases easy.
Organizing & Decluttering
With New Year’s resolutions, spring cleaning, and movements like the Marie Kondo Method sweeping through communities, decluttering is on people’s minds more than ever.
Do some research to see if there are professional organizations in your area like the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals offer great resources to help. An easy way to practice your skills and see if you have what it takes to cut it as a professional is to practice on your friends and family members.
Here are some important things to know about professional organizing/decluttering:
- Before And After Photos: Photos of your work are more important than you may know. Set up social media accounts and a professional website to show real results from your clients. Everyone loves a good before and after!
- Know Your Strengths: Think about what you are passionate about and determine what services you’ll offer based on your strengths. Focus on translating these to your clients and offer specialized services. You can even consider becoming certified to work with clients with specific conditions impacting their living situations like OCD, ADHD, or hoarding tendencies.
- Discretion: Because you will be going through some clients’ dirty laundry, you may come across sensitive paperwork like financial documents, divorce details, and doctor’s notes. You can easily decide to turn a blind eye to these kinds of private materials, but it can increase the credibility of your small business to offer a confidentiality agreement.
How To Create Your Unique Business Idea
None of these ideas tickle your fancy?
The great news is that you can make anything into a business if you’re passionate. Do your research, and make a plan. Think about your hobbies and interests. What do you love that is unique? Have you ever thought, “Why doesn’t this exist?”
When looking for a product or service? It doesn’t exist because you haven’t started it, yet! Any niche hobby can become a business idea if you focus on the uniqueness of the idea or your intended audience.
Things like cat coffeehouses, insect artwork, food delivery for seniors, and power washing can help you support yourself and your loved ones and can also be fulfilling in ways a traditional business may not be. Once you have your unique business idea, you’ll need to make a plan to help you bring it to life.
Check out our article on writing a one page business plan to get started!
Best Platforms To Accept Payments For Your Unique Business Idea
For your niche business idea, you may only need to accept payments physically or online, or you may want to accept both. We’d recommend having at least some way to accept payments online and in person, but that decision is entirely up to you. You can even consider operating a cash-only business if you want to avoid dealing with payment processors or POS systems.
With a payment processor, you can offer subscription services and send invoices to your clients/customers. This is an easy way to ensure that you’re getting paid. We recommend checking out platforms that provide services for low-volume merchants with no payment history.
For more information about how credit card processing works for your small business, check out The Beginner’s Guide To Credit Card Processing.
Square Is Great For Unique Business Because…
Square is a massive ecosystem of scaleable products and services for businesses of any shape and size. Square offers eCommerce options, appointment scheduling software, and plans for specific industries like restaurants.
Square Payments is the platform’s credit card payment processing system and has no monthly fee. For swiped, dipped, and tapped transactions, business owners will pay a flat rate of 2.6% + $0.10. These fees will vary for online and keyed-in transactions. Chip card readers are available at a low price, and they even offer a free card swiper when you make a free account.
Square is affordable and easy to use making it ideal for new small business owners.
Read our in-depth review: Square Credit Card Processing Review (Square Payments).
Shopify Is Great For Unique Business Because…
Shopify is one of the most popular payment processing platforms.
It allows users to easily build their own eCommerce website or an online store at a reasonable price. There are six plans to fit any business’s needs and stylish free templates for you. They also offer a free trial if you want to test the platform before investing!
The most basic plan, Shopify Starter, has a monthly fee of $5 and only allows users to sell through social media accounts. In contrast, the Advanced Shopify plan costs $229 a month and allows you to make international sales and take advantage of advanced features. If you choose to use Shopify payments, the credit card rate is 2.9% + $0.30 for online transactions, a straight 2.7% for in-person transactions, and a 2.0% Shopify transaction fee if you use another payment processor.
Shopify’s tiered pricing makes it easy for small business owners to pay for exactly what they need. Choose your plan and go up or down as your business grows and changes.
Read our in-depth review: Shopify Review 2023.
Lightspeed Is Great For Unique Business Because…
LightSpeed Retail POS is an option for existing larger businesses or your small business’s future.
This POS system allows you to take advantage of features like inventory management, an eCommerce platform, and built-in payment processing. They accept other payment options if you choose not to use their payment processor.
This platform is the priciest of the three, making it less accessible to first-time small business owners, with plans starting at $89/month ($69/month billed annually). This lowest tier (the LightSpeed POS Lean package) offers retail POS, payment processing, and a free terminal. Rates for tapped, inserted, or swiped payments are 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction while manual entries will cost your small business 2.6% + $0.30 per transaction.
LightSpeed is a great option for medium to large-sized businesses looking for more advanced features. With built-in marketing tools, multi-store support, and customer loyalty programs, LightSpeed offers unique services for unique businesses!
Read our in-depth review: LightSpeed Retail POS Review.
Resources To Start Your Unique Business
Now that you have some unique business ideas and a general path, let us give you more resources to help you take your first steps!
Accounting Resources For Unique Businesses
Accounting is a daunting world for the uninitiated. We have some resources that can help!
If you plan on having employees at any point or are wondering if you need insurance for your small business, we have some articles you should check out.
Funding Your Unique Business
If you don’t have the capital to start your business, you’re going to need to look into funding options. The options are almost endless for loans, grants, lines of credit, and crowdfunding! Check out our reviews and guides for gathering funding for your business.
FAQ: Unique Business Ideas
How do I find a unique business idea?
Coming up with a unique business idea is mostly about knowing your own strengths. Do you have professional knowledge you can turn into a guide? Are you really good at your hobby and need to finally start selling? Find what you are good at and hone in on your niche to begin marketing your own existing strengths.
How can I take a payment for my business idea?
We recommend platforms like Square or Shopify to start taking payments for a unique business, or any small business just starting out. For businesses that don’t have existing income or business history, these platforms democratize payments to just about anyone (accept high-risk businesses). You can sign up and start selling on the same day, with little to no money upfront. Just be sure to understand if your type of business is accepted, and be aware that holds can happen, especially with larger sums of cash.