When I wrote this article, I set out to create the best list of small business ideas for women available online. These are the 16 businesses in which women are positioned well to succeed. It’s either because women have proven their dominance in these fields or because some really good opportunities have opened up for women who want to dominate. I looked at all industries to find opportunities. From the industries I found, I’ve identified the best small businesses which you can start within each industry. If marketing is your thing, there are small businesses you can start. If finance is your thing – there are even new opportunities for women within that industry. These small business ideas for women are ideas from all industries – because of course, women can dominate in any industry in the 21st century.

For instance, women dominate the field of human relations at 69.30% vs. men at 30.70%. So what’s the best small business idea for women that can be gleaned from that knowledge? Of course. A head hunting firm. You’ll see that listed as number one.

That’s what I did to discover all 16 of these business ideas for women. These ideas have been hand-selected because they are the best money-making options for doing what you hopefully already enjoy and excel at doing. Choosing one of the small businesses on this list puts you in a good position from day ONE. Have fun choosing!

1. Head Hunting

women as headhunte

What a fantastic small business idea for women. Here, women DOMINATE. And head hunting sounds cool, doesn’t it?

Although it’s a pretty accurate description, it’s just what most people call recruiters. Recruiters are also known as talent acquisition specialists, recruitment advisers, talent scouts or a number of other names.

A recruiting firm finds qualified candidates for businesses that need employees. For instance, your niche could be banking. You keep tabs on banks and find out when they have an opening. Then you look through your talent pool for someone who both fits the job description and would enjoy the new position. You act basically as a professional matchmaker. Once the match is made and the employee is hired, you receive a fee. In banking, the fee is often the amount equal to 1/3 of what the employee earns annually. This fee comes from the bank directly, not from the employee’s actual salary. The service is free for whoever is matched. If you place someone who earns $100,000 per year, you would get about $33,000. This is a small business, dominated by women, wherein BIG money can be made.

You can pick a niche and do very good business. Keep in mind that the more money the candidates would earn, the larger your commission. But most people choose industries they formerly worked in. Because you’re well positioned. You already know the industry (good for conversation) and you know people. But no niche is off limits. Good talent is needed everywhere!

What You Need to Succeed:

  • Patience
  • Great interpersonal communication
  • Excellent phone manners
  • Organizational skills
  • Resume skills (or someone you can point your candidate to for help)
  • Interview coaching skills to help your candidates improve their chances for success
  • Social media savvy
  • Sales skills

Links for Getting Inspired:

Men Are the Best Recruiters on the Planet. Except for Women.

Why Are Most Recruiters Female?

2. Interior Design

joanna gaines from HGTV's Fixer Upper shows a home she recently remodeled

Small business ideas for women are available everywhere.

Do you watch so much HGTV that you can practically host your own show? Do you love the passionate and hard working women of HGTV and DIY: Hilary Farr, Egypt Sherrod, Nicole Curtis, Joanna Gains and the others. Do you know patterns, paints, prints, pots and plates? If so, why not monetize your skill? Yes, women can earn a fantastic income from owning an interior design business. People actually prefer hiring women for this kind of business. It’s reverse sexism, if you will.

If you want to get more specialized, consider these other opportunities: professional organizing, landscaping, home staging, home appraisal, restoration/preservation, interior decorator and more. Really… women own this space.

What You Need to Succeed:

  • The all important ‘eye for design’
  • 25 states require interior designers to become certified. The only way to get certified is by completing the prerequisite requirements and then taking the exams provided by The Council for Interior Design. Learn more about the exams on this page of the council’s website.
  • A good knowledge of local services. Note: Contact your Chamber of Commerce to find out what businesses are in town if you’re not a local expert yet
  • Sales skills
  • Managing people
  • Giving accurate estimates

Links for Getting Inspired:

The 5 Most Famous Female Interior Designers (besides the aforementioned TV personalities)

3. Event Planning

female wedding planners successfully planning a wedding

What exactly is event planning? What events do you plan? Weddings, for one. Talk about one of the best small business ideas for women.

Event planning is the process of managing a social project from beginning to end. These are the types of events you can plan: weddings, birthdays, reunions, anniversaries, graduations, baby showers, corporate events and more. You can even find a niche that doesn’t have a national conference and start one!

If you’re a woman who can throw a party, event planning should be your business.

If you want to specialize, you can become just one type of planner, such as a wedding planner. According to the most recent data I could find, 98% of wedding planners are female wedding planners. And women have an inside track on the industry as a whole.

What You Need to Succeed:

  • Planning skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Social skills
  • Negotiation skills

Links for Getting Inspired:

Many Women Have Knack for Meeting/Event Planning: Industry Requires People Who Have Good Organizational and Communication Skills-Traits Females Are Known For

Jennifer Gilbert, Save the Date Founder, on How She Built Her $30m Event Planning Company

4. Tax Preparation/Accounting

a female tax experts explains a woman's taxes to her

If you enjoy accounting and tax prep and you’re a woman – that’s a slam dunk. Why? Because 71.10% of tax prepares are women! That means women dominate this field. You won’t have a hard time having your business taken seriously. You will also have an easier time attracting like-minded individuals. Furthermore, if you want to do really well in this field, starting your own small firm has a distinct advantage over working for a large firm. That’s because the percentage of female partners is highest at smaller CPA firms. If you weren’t getting ahead before, you should start your own small firm. As a woman, you’re in an excellent position. The top small business ideas for women don’t all primarily use the right side of the brain.

What You Need to Succeed:

  • Accounting/tax prep skills
  • Have a thorough understanding of the tax code
  • To go far, you will need a CPA license
  • Organizational skills
  • Integrity
  • Initiative – it’s not so much about listening to a client as it is letting them know what they should be doing.

Links for Getting Inspired:

The Most Powerful Women in Accounting

5. A Blog

a female blogs at the end of a long table

Blogging definitely deserves a spot on our list of small business ideas for women. If you can build an audience, you can build a pile of cash – in the 21st century, it’s as simple as that.

As with social media, women are more likely than men to have a blog. If you already have a blog, you’re off to a great start. For a successful blog, you need to be likable as well as informative. The most successful blogs are where women help other women, while doing it in a fun and engaging way. I know it sounds cliche but think about the blogs you read. Fun and engaging gets views.

Once an audience is built, blogging becomes largely about affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is the process where the blogger offers a product/service for sale on her blog. The blogger then receives a commission. So if you say you enjoy a cook book, for instance, you can include a link for people to buy it on Amazon, for instance. You will receive a commission for anyone who buys the book via the link you included on your site. This is an example of an affiliate link for a cook book. A quick example would be if you sell a $40 cook book and receive a 6% commission. That’s pretty typical of Amazon. You then would receive $2.40 per sale. The commission structure varies but there are many women earning TONS with affiliate marketing. Like I said, if you’re a woman with the ability to grow an audience, you’re in a good spot to start the business of blogging as a woman.

What You Need to Succeed:

  • A self-hosted website – buy the domain name from NameCheap and host it with Bluehost. Other paid platforms work as well, I’ve just had good luck withe NameCheap and Bluehost. Avoid free platforms – they are a terrible idea for many reasons. Comment below or Google it if you wonder why.
  • Time to build an audience – give it 6 months
  • A vast understanding of social media
  • Marketing skills
  • Web design skills
  • A pleasant online personality – and a pleasant offline personality for when you get famous IRL 😉

Links for Getting Inspired:

BlogHer – a site supporting the work of female bloggers

6 Inspiring Female Bloggers

6. An Upholstery Shop

woman sewing

Small business ideas for women are sometimes obvious. According to Forbes, one of the best-paying jobs for women in 2015 was an upholsterer. Now that I’ve got your attention, let’s talk about what an upholsterer actually does.

An upholsterer creates, fixes and/or restores furniture. Think home furniture, cars, window seats, heck, even saddles. If you like to measure, cut and sew, this small business is yours.

What You Need to Succeed:

  • Attention to detail
  • An interest in furniture history and design
  • An understanding and appreciation of fabric and patterns
  • Ability to take accurate measurements

Links for Getting Inspired:

Our Family Upholstery Business: It Started as an Occasional Sideline, but Popular Demand Led the Author and Her Husband into Running an Upholstery Business Full Time

7. An Etsy Shop

etsy even has a mobile app that's easy to use

You’ve probably already heard of Etsy But in case you’re not in the know… Etsy is a peer-to-peer e-commerce service where you can buy and sell handmade items, vintage items or even very specialized manufactured items.

According to Fortune, 86% of Etsy sellers are women. That’s why Etsy-preneurs are included on our small business ideas for women list.

Since most items can be made in your home, the barrier of entry is low and the opportunities are great. What could you buy and sell on Etsy? View the listing categories page on Etsy for inspiration.

Remember also that anything done on this website can be done on many other ecommerce sites as well. So once you have the Etsy formula figured out, take your small business to new audiences. That may be starting a small business storefront in your downtown. Or it may be adding another digital storefront on a site like Amazon or creating a personal website. Opportunities are abundant.

What You Need to Succeed:

  • An idea of what to sell
  • Photography skills
  • Organizational skills
  • The ability to manufacturer (either at home or off-site) your product quickly
  • A thorough understanding of shipping items safely/quickly
  • Patent laws – if your product is unique
  • Here’s a post about how to turn Etsy into a full-time income

Links for Getting Inspired:

How This Woman Became the Biggest Seller on Etsy with $80,000 a Month in Sales

10 Most Successful Etsy Shops in 2015

8. Reputation Management Agency

female reputation managers platforms they use: facebook, google plus, etc.

This may be all you need on your small business ideas for women quest.

Before anyone is hired at a company, the hiring manager will Google them. This can be the make or break moment when someone is either hired or dismissed. What will the boss find? Rather, what will you show them?

This is a critical moment in a person’s career. With all this money floating in the air, there’s a lot of money for you to make as a reputation manager. Simply put, a reputation manager makes sure a persons digital life is as rainbows and butterflies as possible. Reputation agencies manage social media accounts, buy domain names and even manage a personal website for their clients.

Women Dominate Every Social Media Network — Except One (Infographic). It’s safe to say that means women know how to rock them better than men. So what’s a woman to do? Of course, you start a reputation management agency. Right now. There’s money on the table. Time to pick it up.

What You Need to Succeed:

  • Excellent grammar (and a quick wit is very helpful)
  • Search engine optimization knowledge
  • Interpersonal communication skills
  • Resume writing skills – as this is essentially what you’ll be doing for many clients
  • A firm understanding of social media automation tools (automation is essential or else it will be difficult to acquire a serious number of customers)

Links for Getting Inspired:

5 Ways Women Drive Social Media

20 Best Marketing And Social Media Blogs By Women

9. Fitness Studio

a female lifts weights at a gym

If you’re physically fit, how did you get that way? Running? Weights? Cycling? Pilates? Yoga? Richard Simmons? Women and men are always looking for ways to look better. You can show them how you did it (and make money) by opening your own fitness studio. One interesting way of doing this is to open a females-only fitness studio.

This small business idea has a downfall, which is the desire for startup capital. To rent a space. But you can start out by giving private lessons at home. Or meeting in parks. You can get creative until you have enough for a monthly lease in a new space.

What You Need to Succeed:

  • Startup capital or time
  • A hot body – let’s face it, people enjoy taking fitness advice from people who are fit themselves – this is why I was always irritated at my fat basketball coach
  • A unique value-add proposition compared with other local gyms
  • Ability to make workouts look easy
  • Staffing skills

Links for Getting Inspired:

How 13 Women Started Their Own Fitness Studios

10. Financial Planning Firm

a female financial advisor types at her desk

This business idea for women is counter-intuitive from all the others I’ve listed thus far. Instead of focusing on proven business ideas for women, we’re looking at areas with great untapped potential. Financial planning is such an area.

A financial planner (financial advisor, money coach – whatever you want to call it) helps people organize their personal finances. And do you know what’s always said about this career? It’s about people, not money. I’ve worked in a financial planning firm and that’s absolutely true. It is never about the person who does math well in their head. It’s about the person who can manage relationships. It’s more personal than financial. With that said, women really have an inside track. Seriously. Any woman who seems intrigued by this business should get to it. And starting your own firm means you don’t have to deal with as many sexist men who look like dead presidents.

What You Need to Succeed:

  • The proper licensing for what you’d like to do – most commonly it’s a FINRA Series 7
  • The desire to create and manage a large portfolio of wealthy clients
  • The ability to differentiate yourself form other advisers – being a woman is a good start
  • Ability to sell

Links for Getting Inspired:

For Female Financial Planners, the Glass Is Half Full

Top 100 Women Financial Advisors

11. After school Program

a woman running an after school program for young children in a classroom like setting

Yes, this is a small business idea for women. Business. Because it can be a serious business.

If you have the mindset of a teacher, (but want your own business) consider starting an after school program. Starting a business like this takes a creative mind. Each community is different and so are the needs. You could start a program based around religion, the child’s gender, reading, strictly homework help with amazing tutors, offer a technology angle like teaching them about robots – you name it.

What You Need to Succeed:

  • A love of children
  • A good footing in your community
  • Ability to develop strategic partnerships
  • Either live close to a school, have a facility close to a school or be good with transportation logistics
  • Willingness to work with state regulators
  • Planning skills

Links for Getting Inspired:

A Guide To Choosing An After-School Program (what to base yours around)

afterschoolalliance.org – fantastic resources for getting your idea off the ground

12. Daycare – Child or Adult

a child blows bubbles at daycare

Again, small business ideas for women are sometimes right in front of our noses. Do you enjoy helping others? Then you should perhaps make a business out of it. Women definitely have the inside track on this small business idea. Such an inside track, in fact, that many people don’t even like hiring males as caretakers.

This is especially appealing for women because the business can be run out of the home – along with your own children or parents. You know daycare costs are high – so why not capitalize on it? Make lemons with lemonade.

What You Need to Succeed:

  • A local market need
  • A safe environment for children or adults
  • Help – because you can’t do everything alone
  • A willingness to understand local/state/federal regulations for such a space

Links for Getting Inspired:

What Makes a Great Daycare

Grants to Start an Adult Daycare Center

13. Matchmaking

a couple that has been matched by a matchmaking service

Matchmaking is the process of matching, usually two people, typically for marriage. If you like pairing your friends up, this is a good small business idea for you.

P.S. You needn’t worry about Tinder taking away your potential clients. Because… have you used Tinder? This will stay on our list of small business ideas for women for a long time to come.

What You Need to Succeed:

  • Confidence – and the ability to project it on others
  • A large network of singles
  • The ability to quickly assess a person
  • The ability to do a little life coaching
  • You should probably be in a happy relationship yourself

Links for Getting Inspired:

See what Amy Laurent is up to.

14. Real Estate

a female real estate agent holding a set of keys

Small business ideas for women are all over TV. You probably already watch House Hunters on HGTV enough to know what it’s like to be a real estate agent. But instead of being just an agent, open your own agency. Help others find homes and keep the commissions to yourself. Starting a real estate business isn’t as complicated or expensive as you may think. Many people start out selling mortgages, serving as property managers or renting places to people instead of selling to them. Soon you’ll be able to purely find and sell homes. This career has GREAT income potential and a low barrier of entry. And most real estate agents are women. Small business ideas for women don’t always have to be where you start out on your own.

What You Need to Succeed:

  • Sales skills (actually nearly all small business ideas for women ((or men)) require such skills
  • A vast knowledge of local real estate prices, local contractor connections, other agents, how to assess a home and answers to ‘fix-it’ questions
  • Patience – commissions aren’t earned every day

Links for Getting Inspired:

Field Guide to Women in Real Estate

This Is Why You Want A Woman As Your Real Estate Agent – use this with potential clients

15. Maid Service

an employee at a maid service doing light physical labor - sweeping a porch

Small business ideas for women can be positions that really put you in charge. 88% of maids and housekeepers are women. So why not slide into the leadership spot? You can start a maid service via a variety of angles: residential, commercial, apartments, hotels and more. If you don’t want to go the small business route alone, you can always start with a Merry Maids franchise.

What You Need to Succeed:

  • An eye for detail
  • Sales skills
  • Sourcing cleaning products at low cost
  • Manage large crews of skilled laborers – this small business is very much people-oriented
  • Customer service skills

Links for Getting Inspired:

How to Start a Cleaning Business

16. Home Spa

a relaxing area in someone's home spsa

This is the most relaxing (maybe!) of our small business ideas for women. Do you enjoy beauty and well-being? I knew one woman who started by posting her services on Groupon. Several months later, she had built up a consistent client base and was able to quit her full-time job. And she just ran the spa out of her basement.

What You Need to Succeed:

  • A knowledge of cosmetology/dermatology/massage – whatever you’d like your niche to be
  • Training and state license as an esthetician. Contact your State Board of Cosmetology for more information.
  • Obtain the appropriate permits (sales tax, federal tax ID) and liability insurance
  • The ability to do procedures yourself – until you have the money to hire a staff
  • Startup capital for product and tools such as a chair, microdermabrasion wand, and the list can go on for tools – start with what you need and expand as you go

Links for Getting Inspired:

Top Female Entrepreneurs in the Beauty Industry

I hope you enjoyed thinking about these small business ideas for women.