Top 20 Self-Employed Business Ideas

Top 20 Self-Employed Business Ideas
Ready to get out of the rat race and take your career into your own hands? Not sure where to start? Try one of these low-cost self-employed business ideas.
by Square Jul 07, 2022 — 7 min read
Top 20 Self-Employed Business Ideas

Is your job getting you down? Maybe it’s time you cast off the corporate yoke and took your career into your own hands. Self-employment is a fantastic way to create your own opportunities and make good money doing something that you enjoy and excel at. What’s more, creating your own self-employed business, building your own brand and establishing relationships with clients can also be rewarding and fun.

Still, starting a business often requires substantial overhead costs. You don’t want to start your burgeoning career in self-employment mired in startup loan payments. You want your business to be as profitable as possible as quickly as possible. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the top 20 profitable self-employed business ideas that you can start working on straight away. In most cases, you won’t even need to quit your day job. You can register your dream business and start in your free time, and transition to full-time self-employment as your new business grows more profitable. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some profitable ideas for self-employment.

1. Copywriter

In an age where businesses of all shapes and sizes are looking to expand their online presence, the demand for copywriters has never been higher. If you have a way with words and can work to a deadline, there are a plethora of agencies to which you could lend your skills on a freelance basis. Once you’ve proven yourself to a network of agency and small business clients, freelance copywriting can be a very lucrative career.

2. Graphic designer

With record numbers of new businesses launching in Australia, the climate for new startups is more competitive than ever. New SMBs are looking for ways to create a visual brand identity and differentiate themselves from their competitors.

This creates a lot of opportunities for gifted graphic designers to deliver logos, website templates and images that are uniquely attuned to the client’s branding.

3. Dropshipping store

You want to open your own online store. But you don’t want to fork out a fortune for warehouse space (or spend your days hip-deep in inventory at home). Dropshipping is an ideal e-commerce model for sellers who want to sell goods to the public but don’t want to invest a huge chunk of their profits in storage space.

Dropshippers act as an intermediary between manufacturers or suppliers and consumers. The manufacturer or supplier handles storage, shipping and handling for products that you sell from your online store.

You market and sell the products and accept payment online, and the supplier or manufacturer handles the logistics.

4. Dog walker/pet sitter

Did you know that there are almost 29 million pets in Australia today? That means that three out of five Australian households have at least one pet. That creates many business opportunities for animal loversas busy professional couples and families need a helping hand giving the pets the TLC they deserve.

5. Cleaning business

Australians are working harder and for longer than ever, with the average employee adding 1.5 hours of overtime to their workload each week in 2021. For the ambitious and hardworking, this leaves very little time for domestic duties.

With your own cleaning business, you can earn good money keeping people’s homes clean. You also get to decide your own working hours and manage your own schedule using Square Appointments.

6. Virtual assistant

If you have great administrative skills and want to work from home, a career as a virtual assistant could be a great fit for you. Virtual assistants provide administrative support for businesses that are struggling with current workloads but don’t have the capital to take on a new member of staff.

You’ll need to work around your client’s needs, but there is still scope for you to choose your own working hours, especially if you’re working with international clients operating in different time zones.

7. App developer

If you’re a canny coder with a knack for creative problem-solving, you could enjoy a very prosperous career with your own app development business. Many apps are developed by small teams and even individuals. And because apps are a great way for businesses to provide accessibility and convenience for their customers, the demand can be huge.

8. Handyman business

The digital age has provided a wealth of opportunities for anyone with access to a laptop, intelligence and ambition to make a living in self-employment. But if you’ve always been more comfortable with a mallet than a mouse in your hand, there are still ample opportunities to make good money on your own terms.

As a handyman, you’ll help households in your area with all manner of repairs and odd jobs. A great career option for skilled DIYers with outstanding problem-solving skills.

If you have the tools, talent and people skills, there’s a lot of opportunity to help people in and around your local area with minimal upfront costs.

9. Handmade candle business

The homemade candle business is booming, with an estimated value of over $200 million in Australia. The warm glow and subtle natural scents of homemade candles add a wonderful ambience to any home. And unlike mass-manufactured candles, they are made with all-natural ingredients, making them a more ethical and eco-friendly choice.

Moreover, the cost of ingredients is fairly minimal and making the candles is a satisfying and enjoyable process. Build a brand that resonates with consumers, and it could prove highly lucrative, too.

10. Clothing business

Are you a talented tailor or a skilled seamstress? Consumers have increasingly had their fill of fast fashion. They want to shop small and dress themselves more ethically and sustainably, with Gen Z consumers leading the charge for more sustainable fashion in Australia.

Creating, upcycling or repurposing clothing is a great way to start a business with relatively minimal outlay. If you can turn tatty fabric into tasty fashion, you could be on the cusp of self-employment success!

11. Floral business

There was a time when being a florist meant drumming up the cash to rent a physical store. In the digital age, however, those with a passion for plants can make good money assembling and distributing their own handmade bouquets.

The floristry industry is booming, with an estimated value of $826 million in Australia alone. With more and more of us working from home, we’re putting more effort into beautifying our living and working spaces. This is creating great opportunities for online florists to engage new customers.

12. Translator

In this age of digitally interconnected business, companies are increasingly looking to establish business relationships overseas. However, this often means having to navigate a language barrier. Self-employed translators can help to facilitate international business and grease the wheels of overseas commerce. Skilled polyglots can find good work offering translation services for web copy and a whole range of other marketing collateral.

13. Personal training business

Fanatical about fitness? Want to help others achieve their personal health goals? Using your knowledge and expertise to help clients get in the shape they’ve always dreamed of is an extremely rewarding way to make a living. Plus, you get total autonomy over your working hours, managing your own schedule and accepting payments either in person or online.

14. Decluttering services business

Clutter can not only be detrimental to a home’s aesthetic, it can also be damaging to our mental health. There are many who live in cluttered surroundings, but don’t have the time or the energy to clear out their homes and garages.

A growing industry of decluttering services has arisen in recent years, helping households to clear out belongings that no longer have value and providing the peace of mind that comes with having a clean and well-organised living space.

15. Computer skills tutor

The future is digital. Businesses, non-profits, government bodies and all manner of organisations now make digital technologies central to their operations, maximising productivity and operational efficiency.

Nonetheless, there are many in the workforce who feel left behind by the increasingly rapid march of technology and struggle with their digital literacy. If you have tech abilities, great people skills and a talent for teaching, you may find working as a freelance computer skills tutor to be a great career option.

16. Online craft store

Are you able to create beautiful and unique works of art? Why not turn your passion for crafts into a career? There are all kinds of online platforms where the crafty and creative can sell their creations to a highly motivated target audience. Alternatively, you can create your own e-commerce store from scratch and keep more of the profits.

17. Social media consultancy services

Brands of all shapes and sizes are desperate to engage their audiences on social media. The trouble is that they either don’t have the time to dedicate to their social feeds, or they don’t know enough about how social platforms work to make themselves visible to audiences.

Social media consultants work with businesses to implement social media marketing strategies and boost their visibility online. If you have a background in social media marketing and want to create a thriving career on your own terms, this is a great self-employed business idea.

18. Event planning business

Do you love making people happy? Are you able to foster great relationships with local businesses, caterers and venues? Then, you might just be missing your calling in event planning. Running an event planning business, you will help private and business clients manage all kinds of events from birthdays and weddings to corporate retreats and product launches.

19. Furniture restoration and upcycling business

Those with a flair for carpentry, an eye for detail and a finger on the pulse of interior design trends may find great opportunity in the realm of furniture restoration and upcycling. A combination of DIY expertise and creative flair can enable you to turn battered charity shop bargains into valuable must-haves. These can be sold directly to the consumers at makers’ markets or via your Online Store.

20. Homemade beauty products store

Finally, many consumers have grown disillusioned with the beauty products available in their local stores. Now we know more than ever about the harmful effects of sulphates, parabens and other nasties on our bodies (and the planet), we’re all on the lookout for natural and ethical beauty products. Many of us have long been making our own beauty products using simple and affordable ingredients. But if you think you have what it takes to market your creations to the masses, you could have a very lucrative idea for an e-commerce store.

How we can help you take control of your career

Square’s digital solutions provides newly self-employed entrepreneurs with an easy-to-use set of tools to power their businesses. We can help with everything from taking on-site and online payments to arranging your schedule and even managing your team’s payroll.

The Bottom Line is brought to you by a global team of collaborators who believe that anyone should be able to participate and thrive in the economy.


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