10 Business Ideas You Can Start in a Year or Less


4 min read


Table of Contents

What business ideas can you start in a year or less?

Undertaking the conception and building of a business is a rewarding venture, but it takes time—at least for some ideas. Learn what ten entrepreneurs and business leaders consider worthwhile business ventures, from freelancing to becoming a consultant, that you can start in a year or less.

  • Build What You Know
  • Start Freelancing
  • Write A Passion Blog
  • Start An Affiliate Marketing Website
  • Invest In An Audio Transcription Service
  • Get Into Real Estate
  • Consider An Event And Decorating Studio
  • Dropshipping Is Ideal
  • Sell Digital Products
  • Become A Consultant

Build What You Know 

Depending on what your passion and strength are, I think you can truly start any business in a year or less. Whether it is creating and selling art or consulting for small companies in certain fields, you just need to be an expert in it! The key is to not start a company in a field you are neither passionate nor an expert in—that will certainly take more than a year and may not be built on the most solid foundation.

Vanessa Molica, The Lash Professional

Start Freelancing

There are so many good freelancing platforms like Upwork and Fiverr that make it super easy to get started. Freelancing gigs can be quite lucrative, especially if you already have the necessary skills and professional expertise. You can also offer a wide range of service options either on those platforms or if you create your own. This is a great way to develop a good side hustle that can eventually turn into your main source of income.

Rronniba Pemberton, Markitors

Write A Passion Blog

One of the simplest ways to build a business is a blog—it doesn’t require any special skills or knowledge. It’s simple technology: Your regular laptop will very likely be sufficient hardware, and Google Docs is enough for the software needed. The effective costs are limited to a domain name and a few dollars for hosting. Skip the WordPress sales bubble and go straight to a modern solution such as Squarespace or Ghost. Within a day, you can be up and running. With this, it’s over to you; get writing!

Adam Garcia, The Stock Dork

Start An Affiliate Marketing Website 

I’ve started and managed affiliate websites that have made money within a few months of creation. Once you understand enough about SEO and building a website, making money will come pretty quickly. My first affiliate website made $10,000 its first year and had low start-up costs since I was writing all of the content myself. I don’t come from a technical background, but I did have a mentor who ran his own website. If you have no website experience, you’d likely need to invest in a course, which costs anywhere from $500-$2,000, for an actionable course.

Kristine Thorndyke, Test Prep Nerds

Invest In Audio Transcription Service 

The demand for transcription services continues to grow because many interactions that used to take place in person are now being conducted online via Zoom, such as business meetings and qualitative research. There’s also a constant stream of digital content being produced, like podcasts, webinars, and coaching sessions. All you need to launch your transcription business is some low-cost software, including a word processing program, transcription software like Express Scribe, and a solution for secure file transfer. These can be set up immediately for under $100. This business is quick and easy to set up and has a low monthly overhead. 

Chloe Brittain, Opal Transcription Services

Get Into Real Estate

Starting a real estate business can take as little as under a year, depending on how much work you are willing to put in. Contrary to popular opinion, you do not need a real estate license to start a real estate business. In order to start your business, you should have knowledge of the multiple types of real estate investments available, which can be easily obtained from online sources such as blogs, articles, videos, and webinars. Once you are informed of the ins and outs of the industry, the next step is to set up an LLC, which can be formed in as little as 2 to 3 months. Of course, be sure to develop a business plan that will set the trajectory of your business on the path to success. As you set out on your new business adventure, be sure to network with professionals in the real estate industry to gain insight and build connections.

Than Merrill, Fortune Builders

Consider An Event And Decorating Studio 

Personal experience and flair for festive event organizations may turn into a small business venture quite easily. If you have a sense of aesthetics and passion for celebrating, you may already have organized a bunch of ceremonies and memorable events. With a bit of networking and admin work, you can start doing it commercially.

Rebeca Sena, GetSpace.Digital

Dropshipping is Ideal 

This business model means you can create a storefront through an e-commerce platform without a physical inventory to manage. It’s great for people who want to have an e-commerce business without the expensive capital requirement that deals with inventory. Get the ball rolling by paying for a domain subscription and associated fees from a dropshipping platform. As a dropshipper, you don’t have to make the products to get started. Instead, you partner with a manufacturer who has the products and ships them to your customers. This way, you can focus on customer experience and marketing, minus the headache of building a big capital to fund your business.

Anton Konopliov, Palma Violets Loans

Sell Digital Products 

Selling almost any digital product on sites like Etsy can be started in a matter of weeks, with some people earning five figures from this every month. The hardest part is designing the products themselves, but once your potential product range has been developed, it simply becomes a question of applying the right keyword and design strategies to attract customers. All you have to do is check Etsy and other similar sites for the range of products on offer, such as printable and digital planners, to see just how big a market there is for items like this. The best part is, once you’ve built your business up enough—which can easily be done within a year—there is very little ongoing work needed on your part. This is probably why a lot of people consider this as their ideal side hustle.

Anna Barker, Logical Dollar

Become A Consultant 

If you are an expert in a particular field, you can likely go on your own to offer your services as a consultant. Professional relationships developed in the corporate environment can help you find clients at the beginning. After some time, you may employ junior consultants and provide services as a company rather than a solopreneur.

Michael Sena, Senacea

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