Small Business Ideas for Women

8 min read • May 24, 2021 • Katherine O'Malley

All right, ladies. It’s time to close the gap and open more women-owned small businesses.

As of 2019, there were more than 13 million women-owned businesses (including sole proprietorships and employer firms). That sounds like a lot, right?

But that number actually hides a trillion-dollar missed opportunity. According to Morgan Stanley, if women (and minority-owned) businesses were funded at the same rate as white male-owned businesses, gross receipts could increase by $4.4 trillion. And that was before the pandemic impacted both women-owned businesses and the women in the workforce.

Women can start any small business they want—including full-time or side businesses, franchises, and home-based businesses. Let’s take a look at services that are in high demand in 2021.

What’s a Good Small Business to Start in 2021?

To be a successful small business, you need customers. What’s the easiest way to get customers?  Give them what they want. With that in mind, here are industries that are poised for growth in 2021 and beyond.

Growth Industries for 2021 and Beyond

  • Cybersecurity
  • Delivery services
  • Education and e-learning
  • Fintech
  • Fitness
  • Human resources
  • Longevity
  • Mental health
  • Online shopping
  • Telehealth 
  • Virtual conferences and event planning

Why Are These Growth Industries?

Demographic changes, changes in consumer behavior, and of course, the pandemic have made these industries ripe opportunities for entrepreneurs.

For example, longevity industry projections are based on demographics—more senior citizens mean more services for the elderly are needed. Similarly, as digital-first becomes the norm for consumers and businesses, cybersecurity and technical industries at large will grow.

Social distancing rules forced some traditionally offline industries to online models (e.g., conferences and events)—thus opening up whole new customer markets. Some sectors, like telehealth and fintech, experienced accelerated consumer adoption due to pandemic-related closures.

Other industries may experience an increase in customers due to the long-term impacts of the pandemic. For example, mental health issues—substance abuse, anxiety, and depression—are more common due to the impact of economic shutdowns and social isolation.

Small Business Ideas for Women Who Want to Work From Home

Home-Based Small Business Ideas for Women

  • Consulting services for nonprofits
  • Cybersecurity consulting
  • E-Learning…anything!
  • Fintech franchise
  • Fitness coaching
  • Food-related services
  • Human Resource (HR) services
  • Online store

Why Are Home-Based Small Businesses Ideal for Women?

You can save money with a home-based business by eliminating offsite office expenses and (possibly) claiming tax deductions for part of your home. Eliminate your commute, and you have extra time in your day.

Nonprofits can be excellent clients for a home-based consulting service. Nonprofits have the same backend office processes as any other business—including HR, legal, administrative, and technology. But they typically have less support staff than a for-profit business. Evaluate your skill set (bonus points if it includes fundraising or grant writing) to find what you can market to a nonprofit.

The e-learning industry is projected to be more than a $240 billion industry by 2022. That screams “opportunity” if you are skilled in creating content, developing mobile apps, or administering backend learning management systems. If you aren’t tech-savvy, no worries. The education market has opportunities—children need catch-up tutoring to counter remote learning gaps, and adult workers require upskilling to prepare for new roles post-pandemic.

Fintech encompasses all those businesses that make mobile banking, peer-to-peer payments, and even contactless checkout at the grocery store possible. Fintech has its sights set on helping the financially underserved—widening its reach even more. If a fintech business interests you, consider a Lendio franchise to help fuel the American Dream for other small business owners.

Say the phrase “home-based food business,” and you might immediately think of making birthday cakes. That’s viable. But so are meal kits and meal delivery as the aging population and remote workers seek “home-cooked” meals that won’t require them to clean pots and pans.

Online shopping is here to stay, so you could set up an online store as your home-based business. An Etsy shop may be the perfect option if your products fit the art or creative categories (e.g., jewelry or woodworking items).

Side Business Ideas for Women

A side business can be a great way to try out your small business idea. You can also use it to supplement your day job—to step into full-time business ownership, earning extra income, or diversifying your income.

Side Business Ideas for Women

  • Caretaker services
  • Cleaning services
  • Coworking space franchises
  • Delivery services
  • Food service
  • Technology assistance services

Why Could These Side Businesses Be Successful for Women?

A side business or part-time business that targets industries with big markets helps set you up for success.

For example, your next customer could be aging in place to avoid the cost (and pandemic-related risks) of long-term care facilities. The so-called longevity industry is projected to be a $13.5 trillion industry by 2032. By 2034, the Census Bureau predicts that an estimated 77 million people will be 65 years of age or older. That’s a lot of elderly people who may need help with meals, household chores, home healthcare, transportation, and personal assistance.

Cleaning services aren’t glamorous, but they can be profitable. First Research predicts that global cleaning services may become a $74 billion industry by 2022. Businesses may increase their cleaning protocols post-pandemic, and remote workers often want to outsource household chores, so there’s an opportunity here.

Large corporations are predicted to shift to all-remote and hybrid work models, including “hubs” rather than one big office building. That means coworking spaces will increase in popularity. Coworking Insights predicts there will be “over 40,000 coworking spaces by 2024.” You could buy a coworking franchise as your side business.

Delivery service is another “boring” business that could be pretty profitable. Consumers have changed their behavior—items are now expected to magically appear on their doorstep. Your delivery service business could focus on food and grocery delivery or courier services.

How to Start a Woman-Owned Business

Starting a women-owned business follows the same principles for starting any business. Just be prepared to work a little harder to be “heard” over gender biases when seeking financing and support.

Broad steps to starting your woman-owned business include:

  1. Write your business plan.
  2. Secure your financing.
  3. Plan your pricing strategy.
  4. Launch your product or service.

Any of the ideas listed above could be your full-time small business, side hustle, or home-based business. Focusing on growth industries is helpful. Ultimately identify your unique abilities and passions and use those to launch your own successful woman-owned small business.

Katherine O'Malley

Katherine O'Malley is a contributor to the Lendio blog. A technology geek at heart, she splits her time between traveling, freelance writing, database administration work, and implementing SEO on her travel blog. In her free time, she loves to research the challenges small-to-midsize tourist suppliers face and find ways that technology can help them out.