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Small Business Ideas for Women

Aine Hendron
23 Jun 2021

If you’re seeking financial freedom and want to break away from the 9-5 life, or you’re a graduate who hasn’t found your calling, or you’re ready to turn your passion project into a career, this blog is for you.

We have created a list of small business ideas for women, split into three categories: earned-income careers, profit income businesses and passive income ideas. These businesses are focused on low cost, minimal training and long-term growth and expansion potential. 

Earned income: self-managed business ideas

One particular study found that the earning potential for women who transitioned into male-dominated industries was three times higher than for women who remain in female-dominated sectors [1]. Many male-dominated industries are only made up of 25% or fewer women [2]. The following business ideas are within fields with gender imbalances, meaning that there is a higher likelihood of growth for female-led businesses. 

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths)

Worldwide, women only account for 24-27% of the STEM workforce [3]. Within the past decade, there has been a global effort to encourage women to enter STEM subjects.

Taking engineering as an example, one low start-up cost business idea is opening a technical consultancy business. Technical consultants work alongside businesses to improve their problem solving capabilities and innovate their technical abilities. Self employed consultants may earn more than six figures annually if they are established and in demand [4]. 

Digital careers

Online marketing is the preference of most emerging business owners in 2021 because of its affordability, ability to target a specific audience and the larger growth potential than traditional forms of marketing [5]. As a rapidly expanding industry, there are numerous business ideas related to digital marketing where you may want to freelance, or open your own company:

  • Content writing: creating blogs or website content
  • Social media management 
  • Graphic design

An added benefit of working within these roles as a freelancer, aside from deciding on your own wage, is that there are no ties to a specific location. Typically these careers can be managed from just about anywhere with good internet connection. These roles are also extremely versatile, which provide the option to accumulate experience from numerous industries at one time, and establish a strong network of fellow business owners. 


Bookkeepers often have very flexible workloads and work hours, often giving them an incredibly balanced lifestyle. Unlike accountants, bookkeepers do not require a degree or diploma to start practicing, meaning that if you can acquire proper training, and you have the relevant organizational and mathematical skills, you can open your own bookkeeping business. Entrepreneurs operating a self-run bookkeeping company can expect to earn around US$20-150+ per hour [6].

Profit income: monetize your skills

Monetize your unique skills, hobbies or specialist knowledge by sharing it with others. An added benefit of turning a pastime into a career often means your business idea will already have an established niche or audience.

Niche business specialist Lynda Falkenstein outlines five things which every successful company should have:

  1. It takes you where you want to go - it conforms to your long-term vision.
  2. It’s an in-demand product which customers want and need. 
  3. It's carefully planned and prepared.
  4. It's one-of-a-kind.
  5. It evolves, allowing you to develop different profit centers and still retain the core business, thus ensuring long-term success. [7

Online video classes

Recording and publishing video tutorials online is an extremely profitable side business idea, both for people seeking a career change, and for those wishing to gather a second stream of income alongside their current role.

Whether you work within the industry you wish to speak about, or you have gathered experience and research for fun, you can monetize this knowledge by sharing it with others online. 

You may want to deliver classes on Youtube, where payment is usually gained through sponsorships or adverts [8]. Another option includes creating a private group on social media sites, like Facebook or Instagram, where customers pay in advance in order to be accepted into the group where the material is available. These models work well for:

  • Fitness tutorials and home workouts
  • Make-up, hair and beauty industry courses
  • Beginner language classes which don’t require 1-1 lessons

If you’re confident going live, you may want to consider hosting classes via video chat. Again, payment can be sent in advance in exchange for a link to a live session. This also works for subject and language tutors, to name a few. 

Most of these classes can be delivered in person too, however advertising online helps appeal to a larger audience. 

Sell your skills with an e-commerce platform

If you’re particularly skilled at cooking, baking or creating specialist crafts, you may want to consider selling your work through an e-commerce platform. Open an online store where customers can order directly from you. There are limitless options:

  • Pre-made healthy meals or meal kits
  • Customized birthday cakes/online bakery
  • Modified/personalized clothing items and shoes
  • Embroidery, wall art, crochet or knitted work
  • Art prints and craft
  • Door wreaths or word-work
  • Hand-painted sports memorabilia

The business idea is two-fold: taking baking as an example, you could create a website where you share your recipes. Income will be generated through views/clicks if advertisers use your channel or website to promote, and you have the additional option of selling merchandise like a cookbook, or your actual cakes/desserts. Providing online demonstrations is also a free way to advertise and market your business, and humanizes your products even further.

Passive income: make money in your sleep

The previous two sections have included business ideas which depend on continual work in order to generate income. However, opening a successful passive-income business will allow for an additional source of income, without a heavy workload. 

Become an online author

Revenues from ebooks reached US$15,635 million in 2021 [9]. Similarly to selling online classes, creating a downloadable ebook has the potential to generate a large income with little to no publishing costs. You don’t have to write a novel - some of the most popular online books include calendars with daily inspirational messages, cookbooks and guides. 

Some of the top ranking non-fiction ebook genres include:

  • Religion and spirituality
  • Business and money
  • Self-help and motivational quotes 
  • Cook books, food and wine 
  • Politics and social sciences 
  • Health, fitness and dieting
  • Crafts, hobbies and home [10]

By writing and publishing a book online, you can quite literally make money while you sleep. Selecting a platform which automatically processes payment and sends customers a link to your book means that once you’ve completed the writing, editing and publishing element, you can earn revenue from your ebook indefinitely. 


Dropshipping is when sellers advertise a product they do not make themselves or physically have in stock. When a customer purchases the product, the seller then orders it from a wholesaler, who sends it directly to the customer. Sellers make profit as they markup the price of the drop-shipped items.

Since wholesalers generally handle the postage and packaging service, the seller's work is very minimal other than maintaining the retail platform that customers buy from. Dropshipping businesses are extremely versatile: there is no limit to the amount or type of products you can sell. As long as you can manage an efficient order system which sends payment and shipment requests directly to wholesalers, you can sell with a wide variety of customers with minimal effort. 

Renting and selling clothes online

If you own a large wardrobe and are interested in freeing up some of your storage, you may want to consider opening a clothes and accessory rental business. 

One in three young women consider clothing to be ‘old’ after wearing it once, and feel embarrassed by ‘outfit repeating’ [11]. However, taking a deposit and allowing customers to rent your formal wear and return it in the same condition resolves this throwaway fashion issue.

Catering to various sizes will promote the success of your business. Since you will often generate more money on renting out a particular item than you spend on buying it originally, it’s unlikely that you’ll lose money on this business model - unless you’re buying more than what’s in demand, of course. 

Globally, there are 357 ‘unicorn’ companies in 2021. Unicorns are startups which make more than US$1 billion within their first year. One of these was started by a female entrepreneur who rents designer dresses [12]. 

Manage your income with a point of sale system

All businesses can only operate as long as they have more money coming in than going out. Having a solid overview of finances and inventory is essential to ensuring your business is on track and moving in the right direction. Epos Now offers many services that cater specifically to retail operations. Our Order and Pay system is ideal for dropshippers, ecommerce websites, and food-service professionals.

Our retail platform provides stock overview, can integrate with your marketing software, and even connect to your accountancy/bookkeeping software - streamlining service so that you can focus on what matters most: your customers and your business. 

If you’d like more business ideas, or you want to learn more about maximizing profits, you may want to read:

What are the Most Profitable Small Businesses?

Pandemic Proof Business Ideas

How Much Do Small Business Owners Make?