The No. 1 rule in investing is to buy low and sell high. This basic concept also applies to business. To be successful, you must sell goods and services for more than what it costs to acquire or develop them.
The difference represents your profit margin. Historically, this has favored the service industry — where the single largest investment is time. In fact, most of the small business ideas on this list are service-oriented.
As you’ll soon see, though, the Internet has upended this paradigm, making “goods” more profitable than ever.
1. Accounting and Bookkeeping
Every business (including yours) needs to track income and expenses. Most people lack the skills to reconcile their books. If you have accounting knowledge, demand for your skills is already there.
This is particularly true if you’re licensed as a certified public accountant (CPA) or higher.
Professionals in this field enjoy an average net profit of 18.4%, which is exceptionally high — even among service jobs.
2. Real Estate
Millennials started joining the workforce during the height of the 2008 economic recession. Understandably, many from this demographic are hesitant about taking on massive amounts of debt to become a homeowner.
A lot of millennials are still trying to pay their student loans.
Real estate remains a competitive industry. However, the barriers to entry are quite low, with minimal startup costs. Although having a real estate license can help open many doors, there are almost zero legal requirements to get started.
3. Copywriting, Graphic Design, Web Development, and Coding
These are really four jobs rolled into one category. What they all have in common is that you can work remotely — providing specialized services to clients around the globe.
There are no official entry requirements for any of these fields — not even a high school diploma. How much you can make ultimately comes down to hustle, talent, and demand.
Picking a niche industry can also boost your earnings. For example, a programmer who specializes in renewable energy can often charge higher than a generalist who works with all types of clients.
Geography might also impact your profitability. Senior copywriters who service New York clients, for example, earn $93,000 on average. Those same copywriters can make this money go much further by living in a cheaper market and working remotely.
The Most Profitable Small Businesses in the Internet Age
Service-oriented jobs offer a lot of benefits:
- You don’t have to worry about inventory
- Equipment costs are minimal
- You can increasingly work from anywhere
There is one downside.
When working in services, you’re trading time for money. This places limits on your profit potential. Even if you charge $100 an hour, the most you can make in one day is $2,400.
That’s without sleeping.
The Internet has changed all of this.
It’s now possible to sell digital goods around the clock — whether you’re asleep or awake. Products that fall into this category include:
- Online courses
- Membership sites
- Music and photography
Creating these items often requires a substantial investment of time, money and expertise — all of which must be paid upfront. Once a digital item is created, you can sell it an unlimited number of times without incurring additional costs.
As such, your profit potential is theoretically unlimited, too.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be an overnight success. Demand for whatever you’re selling must exist. It also helps to already have some business acumen before you begin — but the profit potential is definitely there.
If and When You Launch Your Small Business…
We hope this list has inspired you. If and when you do start your business, you’ll need a fast, secure, and affordable way to collect payments from your continually increasing client base.
That’s where we can help.
Whenever you’re ready, schedule a free consultation with our small business team to learn more about our PCI-compliant payment processing solutions.