27 min read
Looking for creative business ideas to turn your passions into a source of income? Searching for a creative business to start?
Look no further! We’ve compiled a huge collection of small business opportunities for creative entrepreneurs like yourself to take the next step into launching an exciting new enterprise. Regardless of your interests, there’s something here for everybody.
48 Creative Business Ideas (That You Can Start Today!)
Teach Lessons Online
Sell Your Art
Market Great Products and Services
Creative Entrepreneurship for the Web
Home and Workshop Business Ideas
Teach Lessons Online
Education is a great way for a budding creative entrepreneur to explore ecommerce. With the rise of the internet as a learning resource, more and more people are finding ways to use their unique skill sets as the foundation of a business.
1. Teach Music
Online music lessons are a booming industry. The incredible flexibility of teaching online allows students to learn at their own pace, repeat lessons as needed, explore more deeply where their interests lie and take advantage of digital resources.
From a market perspective, teaching music lessons online is a great way for a creative entrepreneur to build up a whole range of digital products for sale. Fulfillment is simple and powerful, and you just have to focus on creating quality lessons and building up your student base.
2. Teach Art
Regardless of your medium, there’s a ton of demand out there for quality art instruction, making it one of the best art business ideas. You could focus on specific techniques, or create tutorials focused around different tools and materials. You could even offer one-on-one in-person sessions for customers in your area to complement your online offerings.
Already teaching art in the physical world? Even better! You have tons of material to draw from- dipping into the digital world just gives you a broader reach and the opportunity to explore an exciting new way to educate.
3. Teach Language
Any kind of language ability is an incredibly valuable skill in the modern economy. Even if you only speak English, if you can find creative ways to teach, there’s a market.
Consider offering a mix of one-on-one lessons and educational resources. Workbooks, tools for learning common phrases, and other downloadable content are all fantastic ways to build up a profitable side business. Think about where you will find students. The internet gives you tons of flexibility to teach Spanish to students in Australia, say, or English to students in China.
4. Teach Writing
Everybody wants to be a writer. Well, not everyone, but there are hordes of creatives out there looking to hone their craft and make something exciting and new. There’s also high demand for skilled writers in the workplace, regardless of industry.
Whether you have years of experience as a journalist, have written fully-funded grants, or published your third novel recently and need some time away from the typewriter, there’s an audience hungry for your experience, making this a great creative business to start.
Put your creative business ideas into action with a free 14-day trial with Selz – the Ecommerce platform for growing businesses.
5. Teach Vlogging
It may be a relatively new industry, but vlogging has already taken off with shocking results. From makeup tutorials to film reviews, you no longer need to be an expert in the traditional sense to be heard and monetize your skills. Building up an audience takes time and effort, but if you’re passionate about the topics and enjoy the process of creation, vlogging can be an incredibly rewarding creative business.
6. Teach Gardening or Home Agriculture
Millennials love their plants every bit as much as the generations before them, but urbanization and smaller homes and yards have led them to get creative with their flora. Consider making resources about maximizing land space, or best practices for raising plants inside.
Then again, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. If your resources are well-crafted and helpful, there’s a huge range of potential customers that you can reach. For creative business ideas like this, the key is in the execution.
Sell Your Art
Don’t be limited by traditional art business concepts for sharing and selling your work. One of the beauties of living in the digital age is the huge range of ways that your art can be featured in people’s day-to-day lives. These creative business ideas are about taking your art and getting it to consumers in exciting, unique ways.
One concern with selling online comes from issues with sites like Etsy, which can radically limit your growth and take a large chunk of the profits from each sale. Instead, sell from an independent store. The expansive branding opportunities and ability to drive organic traffic will pay off in the long run.
7. Sell T-Shirts
Whether you’re showcasing your quick wit, taste for vintage style, or unique illustrations, t-shirts are a great creative business idea. Just be sure to invest in quality material t-shirts. It may seem more costly upfront, but it will definitely make for happier customers, which makes for more repeat business.
This is one of our favorite creative business ideas and we’ve explored it in a ton of depth in our Definitive Guide on How to Start an Online T-Shirt Business.
8. Sell Enamel Pins
We got in early with a whole article on how to get in on this creative business craze. These little accessories have become big business over the past few years, with mega brands hopping on the trend, and fashionistas’ lapels sporting countless enamel pins.
9. Sell Patches
Patched jackets, backpacks, hats, and other wearables are a great way for people to show off their favorite artists, musicians, and causes. Think of this creative business to start like a tattoo for a piece of clothing. Patches are great because customers essentially advertise your work and pay you at the same time.
You’ll want to find a defined niche and style and test your designs with friends and acquaintances. Patches can combine nicely with several other creative business ideas- especially enamel pins and a t-shirt store.
10. Sell Embroidery with Attitude
Okay, admittedly, this one requires some mastery to get started. But, to be fair, anything worth doing is worth doing well. If you’re skilled with this traditional craft, considering taking a radical approach to it. Grab a little inspiration from these showstopping artistic designs or these sassy interpretations of traditional needlepoint.
Looking for more creative business ideas? Check out 10 Things To Make and Sell Online Today.
11. Posters and Prints
Let’s be honest, not everyone can afford original artwork. That’s why selling posters and prints of your work is a great way to make your artwork more accessible to fans! Think about how you will ship these goods, and include that cost in your prices. Consider offering framing services as well- at a premium, of course.
12. Sell Photography
There are a ton of creative business ideas around selling photography online. To start, there’s the traditional method of selling high-quality prints. Alternately, consider selling digital files of your shots and allowing the customer to decide what they want to use them for- be it for custom coffee mugs, t-shirts, or just about any other use.
13. Sell Your Ceramics
If there’s one common, classic way to upgrade your home from banal to luxurious, it’s bespoke ceramics, and buyers know it. A beautiful, one of a kind bowl, mug or pitcher is not only a great way to incorporate design into your home, but also the perfect gift for any occasion.
Whether you’re a master potter, or just handy at the wheel, this is a booming market. And, when you sell directly to customers, you can sell at full retail price, as opposed to dealing with boutiques.
Looking for the top-selling online stores this year? Read more here.
14. Sell Upcycled Furniture
Some people can spot potential a mile away, even for the most boring, paint-peeling chair in the thrift store. If you’ve ever upcycled one man’s trash into your own treasure, there’s nothing stopping you from doing the same thing for customers and selling your products online. Just make sure to get accurate shipping quotes, because shipping furniture can get expensive!
15. Sell Greeting Cards and Invitations
Unique invitations, thank you cards, and even blank greeting cards are always in style, which makes them an exceptional creative business to start.
Invitations and cards are a great way for illustrators to translate their work to accessible products, especially with a little extra attention to picture-perfect lettering.
The price of shipping a card isn’t much at all, since it’s just a little paper, but if you want to really incentivize buyers, consider selling sets of uniform or mixed cards. These are perfect for invitations, or for customers to have on hand. Find a printing company you like, or choose quality cardstock and print your own.
Want to learn more? Check out this helpful resource on the Spruce, How to Sell Handmade Greeting Cards.
16. Design Stencils
Precision makes perfect for stencils, so if you’re detail-oriented and just love lining up everything at the right angle, this is one of the best creative business ideas for you.
Although it’s not uncommon to make a stencil for clothing and accessories, the ones that you’re more likely to actually sell are those for home decor. Feature walls, murals, and the return of bold wallpaper are popular choices for people looking to customize their homes. Stencils let them do this without a huge commitment of time and money.
Consider a sweet silhouette of farm animals for a kid’s room, or intricate, on-trend Moroccan starburst stencils to help renovators brighten up a bedroom.
17. Sell Jewelry
The ecommerce jewelry market is one of the fastest growing, most profitable niches out there. There are a range of ways you can break into this space.
Will you sell unique vintage finds? Craft your own products? Create hybrid pieces from existing jewelry and your own vision? There are tons of options, and with the right combination of product and price point, you can make a solid profit.
18. Sell Glassworks
When it comes to glass, people will pay extra money for something unique. This is one of those art business ideas where it doesn’t matter if you’re whipping up bespoke paperweights or classy jewelry.
Buyers are on the hunt for one of a kind pieces. Just be sure to wrap your products up well for shipping!
19. Sell Illustrated Journals, Planners, and Calendars
It’s easy for artists to pigeonhole themselves into a just selling their art and prints of it, but when it comes to creative business ideas, applying your work to functional items is a great option too.
Think about which images are the most popular among customers and social media followers. Notebooks, planners, and calendars are all great ways to feature your work, and they’re conversation starters for your customers too!
Consider niche items, as well. If you paint watercolors of dreamy night landscapes, incorporate them into a dream journal. If you can capture heirloom fruits and vegetables like a professional illustrator, consider making a recipe card holder.
20. Sell Handmade Homewares
If you’ve got a knack for DIY projects and follow design trends, indulge your love of little projects and get to crafting. Whether you’re inlaying a chevron pattern on picture frames or applying a perfect mercury glass finish to upcycled vases, let your love of on-trend design projects work for you.
21. Sell Painted Accessories – Bags, Scarves, Hats
Wearable art is huge now. After all, what better way is there to display a unique piece than to wear it out?
Not only is this art business trend easily accessible for painters, but the good news is that placing a bulk order for snapback hats or canvas totes won’t cost much more than canvas.
No need to feel obliged to put hours into perfecting these styles, either. Simple, graphic images and patterns sell best. Check out this New York Times article about artist Delano Brown’s wearable creations to get inspired.
Market Great Products and Services
Maybe you’re not looking to sell a specific product so much as get your skill set out there. Many creative entrepreneur-types find creative business ideas in marketing and advertising rewarding because of the combination of creative and analytical thinking.
22. Affiliate Marketer
Affiliate marketing, or partnering with a brand to promote their products as an individual, is a great way for creative entrepreneurs to earn a side income. Essentially, affiliate marketing works similarly to starting a lifestyle brand. You’ll need a following, from something like a great blog, to start out, in a niche where your audience would consider purchasing related products.
Is your Instagram loaded with images relating to hiking, the outdoors, and the environment? There are tons of brands out there with similar values and imagery that would love to see their products organically promoted. The same is true of many fashion boutiques, sports brands, and more. Are you already selling online? Selz has a great program for affiliates.
23. Social Media Consultant
If you’ve ever helped out a friend with social media for their business, chances are you’ve got the makings of a social media consultant. It may be fun and intuitive for you, but for a lot of people, social media is the last thing they want to spend time on.
Many small business owners have so much stuff on their plate, that keeping up with posting can be overwhelming. Others may rise to the occasion, but have the wrong tone when writing copy, or take terrible photos.
This is where you come in with your creative small business ideas. You can sell your services as social community manager and content creator, by taking over posting content and engaging with followers.
Another option is to offer simple strategy consultations. Give your client an outline of exactly the type of content they should be posting, and how often.
24. Graphic Designer
From logos to posters, billboards to social graphics, the visual identity of a company is key to creating instant connections with potential customers.
For a lot of small businesses in particular, though, it can be a huge hassle. Your average coffee shop has no need to employ a graphic designer full-time, and so the quickest option is generally to contract that work out to a freelancer.
Enter: you. With your eye-for-design and can-do attitude, you can create superstar work at the drop of a hat. Graphic design is a great creative business idea for many creative entrepreneurs because it combines analytical, technical, and artistic thinking in one package.
Whether they know it or not, every business needs great writing. From email blasts to ad copy to high-quality content, a good writer can make a company feel unique and approachable. The first interaction many consumers have with a brand comes from reading.
If you have a way with words, a detail-oriented mindset, and access to the internet, you can start turning your skills into a paycheck. Fiverr and Upwork are great starting points for connecting with potential clients and building up a portfolio.
Unlike some creative business ideas, copywriting involves zero monetary investment up front- it’s all about time, perseverance, and excellent comma usage.
26. Package Designer
Presentation matters. That’s why packaging can have a huge impact on a small business’s success, and escalate an established business to new heights. Consider offering your services to fellow creative entrepreneurs.
For a nominal fee, help the develop on-brand packaging that complements their products, and assist in designing labels, inserts, and sourcing the appropriate paper and plastic goods. Learn more in The Ultimate Guide to Product Packaging Design.
27. Graphic Design Templates and Themes for Software Applications and Programs
Templates and themes are big business for graphic designers. Creative business ideas like this allow you to sell the same digital product over and over again, without the need to interface or consult with clients.
If you have the skill set, making the choice to sell digital downloads is a great business decision with high profit margins, and an excellent way to showcase your skill set. For a little inspiration check out this Founder Journey about 123Muse; two brothers who set up a business for the Adobe Muse niche with Selz and wound up getting acquired.
New to Ecommerce? Get started with Selz, the ecommerce platform for growing businesses.
28. Video Production
Video is one of the premier ways that businesses large and small get their message out, whether via YouTube or local TV ads, promos on their website, or as helpful on-boarding resources for new customers.
When information needs to come out quickly, efficiently, with low energy investment from consumers, video is the way to go. As such, talented camera operators, video editors, and other similarly skilled creative entrepreneurs are in high demand.
Your best chance, in many cases, is to start local. Connect with small businesses in your area to build up your portfolio and gradually explore a niche. It will take time to break in, but the payoff is definitely worth it.
Creative Entrepreneurship for the Web
The internet has opened up a vast new world of opportunities for the savvy business-person. Whether you are traditionally “tech-y” or not, there are a huge range of ways to bring your creative mindset to new challenges and bring in a new income.
29. Flipping Websites
While most of these creative business ideas take little to no cash starting out, flipping websites does involve a monetary investment from the beginning.
By buying and selling sites with valuable domains or an active user base, you can make a premium. Flipping websites can also involve building up a site yourself until it is valuable, then selling. In essence, it’s similar to flipping houses- buy low, sell high.
In practice, the process requires some solid know-how and an understanding of how value is created online. You won’t want to go in blind- take some time to get a sense of the market.
30. Site Design
Creative entrepreneurs with an eye for design and a set of technical skills are in high demand right now. Any business worth its salt is online in one form or another these days, but many need the services of a professional to build an attractive, eye-catching site.
A talented web developer can charge a solid premium for the time involved, without the constraints of working for an agency.
31. App Developer
We’ve all had that million dollar idea. We’ve all thought- “there should be an app for that.” Taking the next step and developing a solution to a common problem, though, takes time, dedication, and work. It’s also an incredibly rewarding way to build a new business.
Spend some time researching what’s already out there. Are you looking to offer a better version of an existing tool, or create something entirely new? What do similar applications cost? Where are they sold? Getting a sense of the app market is a great way to find your niche and set yourself on a path for success.
Home and Workshop Business Ideas
There’s an amazing set of skills that many of us don’t even think of ourselves as having, many of which are seamlessly built into our day-to-day lives. Find a creative way to present your product and watch the sales come rolling in.
32. Meal Planning
We all want to eat healthy, but with time constraints and lack of know-how, the prospect can be daunting. On the other hand, helpful meal plans online simplify the process and can take a ton of stress out of someone’s busy life. Be sure to include nutritional information, and cost estimates so people can budget their costs and calories.
Think about how you will present this product. Why should consumers buy from you specifically? What relevant experience or know-how do you bring to the table? Are you a health and fitness nut, or just a parent with tons of experience prepping quick, nutritious meals?
Do you have an excess of woodworking tools around the house? Are you a skilled, handy type looking to make an extra income on the side? From fixing up furniture to creating beautiful new pieces, there’s serious demand for a carpenter’s skillset.
34. Bike Building
Biking is seeing a renaissance in many towns and cities, and now is a great time to hop on and profit from the creative business ideas it offers. Once you have the parts and a solid bike frame, you can offer the product at a serious markup. Consider offering custom builds and tune-ups as a way to diversify your small business.
You will need to find affordable ways to get parts and frames. Consider looking into wholesalers, thrift stores, pawn shops, Craigslist, and other discount options.
Got a green thumb? A passion for plant life? Are you feeling the flora? Many people want to have beautiful gardens but lack the time or know-how to get them up and running. With the right mindset, a creative entrepreneur can open up a new income source via gardening.
Consider offering a range of packages- starter sessions to get the customer’s garden in shape for the coming season, or upkeep sessions throughout the summer.
36. Canning, Pickling, and Preserving
Part of the current artisanal renaissance has been the rebirth of processes like home canning, pickling, and preserving. Whether you grow the fruits and vegetables yourself or just spend a lot of time at your local farmer’s market, this can be a fun, rewarding creative business to start with tons of growth potential.
Think about how you will package and present your products. Will your branding focus mainly on the nutritional benefits of the product, or on the down-home country-style process by which it is made?
We all know that person who has already figured out what they are giving to everyone by the end of November. It gets trickier as you get older, and have to juggle gift giving for coworkers, neighbors, the folks in your volunteer group, your in-laws, your workout buddies, and everyone else who you can’t think of a gift for. This is where bulk gifts come in. Whether it’s homebaked superfood granola or handcrafted whimsical Christmas ornaments, the possibility of checking off everyone on your gift list in one afternoon can be exhilarating. If you’re creative and organized, put together and sell a few tutorials about different bulk gift projects your customers can tackle.
38. Candle Making
If playing with different scents, oils, waxes, and herbs sounds fun to you, why not try building it into a new business? There’s a lot of demand for artisanal candles right now. With solid advertising and a defined niche, you can absolutely find a market for this product. Consider using local ingredients and connecting with your local area first. Want to know more? Check out How to Make Your Own Candles.
39. Essential Oil Blending
More and more people are getting curious about making their own cleaning and body care products, and a singular aromatherapy experience can nudge them into a full-blown love of essential oils. However, so much free content online is just the same aromatherapy recipe recycled ad nauseum. If you’re a master of the practical application of these classic essences, and you have a great nose for scent combinations, consider creative business ideas that involve creating blends with specific purposes and selling them online, or offering a tutorial or class about blending essential oils. Essential oils also make great gifts for the holidays.
40. Repair or Restore Furniture and Art
We’ve all heard it: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. However, it’s very likely that it still looks like trash. Restoration requires a little imagination, know-how, and confidence. Are you skilled and looking for new creative business ideas? Guide ambitious consumers through refinishing wood furniture, upholstering, and nailing expensive-looking design details. One great strategy is to show how a single, commonly thrifted item can be upcycled into multiple new uses. Roll up your sleeves, and show them how it’s done.
41. Crafts for Kids
From overwhelmed parents to school teachers, customers are always looking for engaging ways to exercise their children’s imaginations. If you’re a crafty creative entrepreneur, you can probably think of a dozen fun, engaging seasonal projects to keep kids busy, right off the top of your head. Make sure to prioritize simplicity and easy cleanup. Check out this jam-packed list of ideas for inspiration: 100 Summer Crafts and Activities for Kids.
We all need help getting our lives in order from time-to-time, and there’s a whole industry of creative business ideas developing around these tasks. Even better, this industry is largely digital, meaning you can work from anywhere in an exciting new side hustle.
42. Travel planning
If you’re a bonafide globetrotter, travel doesn’t intimidate you- it excites you. But, for some of us, the idea of coordinating tickets, lodging, activities that all our travel partners will enjoy, and “playing it by ear” can be a source of great anxiety. Let your experience help guide travelers to new destinations, whether they’re island hopping in Bali, or relocating to a new city for an internship. Use content marketing to distinguish yourself as an expert on specific destinations, a travel methodology (like backpacking or road tripping), or even a very specific travel niche- such as wellness retreats, watersports, or in-the-know paleo foodie spots. For content and branding inspiration, check out these successful travel bloggers.
43. Digital Assistant
It’s not uncommon to need a little help running your brand or small business. If you’re organized, outgoing, and proactive, you can probably land a part-time digital assistant gig. You’ll mostly be sending emails, scheduling meetings, and organizing digital documents. When you charge appropriately for your work, this type of gig can put you in a really good, solid position to actively work on your art. The best part? If you need to go on the road with your band or travel out of town for an exhibit, you won’t need to take time off from your day job.
44. Budgeting and Financial Planning
No, we’re not talking about acting as a traditional financial advisor. Get creative. Think about the big financial issues affecting millennials, who are more likely to turn to an online service for help: credit card debt and student debt. In order to tailor effective, manageable strategies to destroy debt, you also need to focus on teaching better spending habits. By analyzing clients’ expenses, you can make educated suggestions to save money, slash debt, and boost credit scores.
Still looking for the right side business ideas for you? Take a look at our list of 105 Side Business Ideas.
45. Design and Create Ebooks
You can definitely use an Ebook to build your own brand, but, if you’ve ever done it before, you can also consider charging others for this service. Formatting, cover design, and copyediting are all valuable services.
Ebooks aren’t just highly saleable products, they’re great tools to boost email subscriptions and increase brand authority. Up and coming brands and small businesses are more likely to hire a freelancer for these types of projects than bring someone on full time, so you could build quite the registry of clients seeking your services!
We all want to be the best that we can be. The internet has proven to be a fantastic resource for finding new information and learning new skills, but sometimes we all need a little extra help. Enter: online coaching. By establishing a consistent connection via the internet, selling online training helps individuals meet their goals over time. As a coach, it’s a great method for getting new clients and interacting with them in a radically different way.
46. Health Coaching
With dietary allergies, intolerances, and obesity on the rise, many people are confused about what to eat for optimal health. If you’ve got a good understanding of nutrition, you can help people take control of their lives, three times a day. Helping individuals with various dietary restrictions and limitations achieve a clean, balanced diet for optimal health, requires knowledge, critical thinking skills, and open communication. However, customers are definitely willing to pay more for a custom plan tailored to their needs, than a fad diet. Interested? Check out our Founder’s Guide to Starting an Online Nutrition Business.
47. Fitness Coaching
There are a lot of things in life you need directions for, and exercise is a big one. Just about everybody looking to get in shape follows some sort of training program, and for good reason; physical fitness is all about constant improvement and progression. If you’re a talented personal trainer looking for creative business ideas, why not let your skills work for you online, as well as at the gym? Create a few simple, effective exercise programs, and make them available through your website. Or, offer one on one fitness consultations online, and build ongoing, digital relationships with your clients.
48. Life Coaching
If you’re the person that everyone comes to for motivation and advice, this could be a great business opportunity for you. The key here is to develop your life coaching business around concrete, sustainable goals. This could be anything from a program designed to unleash customers’ creativity, to helping individuals rebuild their lives after an illness or life-changing event. Whatever you choose, it should be something that you have personally had extensive experience with, and can communicate about authentically with your clients. It’s also imperative that you always consider what’s best for your clients, and recommend they seek outside help when necessary.
Ready to make one of these creative business ideas happen? This is just the beginning. Started selling online today with Selz, and sign up for a free 14-day trial today. You’ll be amazed at what you can create.