You've got the itch. You're fed up with your day job. You're totally self-motivated and willing to work a ton. You don't mind taking a little risk if it could lead to something great. You can network like a fiend.
In other words: You've got nearly everything it takes to be an entrepreneur--except for an actual business.
Fear not. Here at Inc., we've seen all sorts of businesses come and go, requiring all levels of experience, startup capital, and ability to grind it out. Here are 12 businesses pretty much anyone can start right now, without specialized technical training, a long history in an industry, or gobs of startup capital. In other words: No excuses.
1. Meditation studio
Meditation may not sound like much of a business, but meditation centers are fast becoming the new gym. You could rent out a space, advertise it, and hire a meditation teacher on a regular basis; other entrepreneurs even hold roving meditation classes that meet at different locations each week.
Everyone's good at something--and if your expertise is something others need, you're in luck. If you've ever changed fields, you've probably learned something as an "insider" that people selling into that industry would love to know. You might also prosper as a consultant using any specialized skills you've gained, such as accounting, communications skills, or anything related to leadership or personal development.
3. QA testing
Software companies need people to quality assurance, or QA. Yes, you could troubleshoot from home pretty much all day and get paid; much better is to pay others to do it, and concentrate on bringing in clients and cutting deals.
4. Online research
Hard as it is to believe, there are still plenty of questions that can't be answered with a simple Google search--and everyone from corporate attorneys to academics need the answers. If you've got the patience to learn to navigate your way through specialized databases and the ability to market your services, you could start a company offering online research services.
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5. Virtual assistant
It's a truism that we're all busier than ever. Who makes the busy-ness go away? A virtual assistant--or at least a good one does. You can expect to help clients with everything from secretarial duties to planning kids' birthday parties. Again, if you're successful, the key will be bringing in so much business that you have to hire someone else to do it, and you'll grow your business from there.
6. Corporate cleaning service
This is another great opportunity that you can either pounce on yourself or start hiring others to do. Startup costs for equipment are typically small, so the main requirement is that you can bring in business, and eventually, convince your employees to stay on board, since turnover in this business is high.
7. Dog walking
It's super-easy to get started in this business -- pretty much everyone knows someone who works full-time and needs someone to look after their dog. The trick is to expand into dog training, overnight dog-sitting, dog grooming, and other related services.
8. Lawn care and snow removal
Lawn care is not just for teenagers, and you can easily turn it into a year-round business. Take care of lawns in the spring and summer, shovel and plow snow in the winter, and hang holiday decorations in-between.
9. Homemade gourmet foods
Let's just start with birthday cakes--everyone knows the ones from the supermarket often don't taste that great, and not everyone has the time and ability to cook from scratch, or lives near a great neighborhood bakery. If you enjoy cooking and are good at it, there's an opportunity to make and sell all sorts of gourmet food, whatever your specialty may be. One catch: In some states you may need to find and rent space from a commercial kitchen. It's not always legal to sell food cooked from your home.
10. Green consulting
Plenty of businesses would like to "green" their operations, but don't know how and don't have the time to figure it out. If you're obsessed with conservation, recycling, and all things eco, why not set up a business helping others be more environmentally responsible?
11. Assembling Ikea furniture
Ikea furniture can be a great deal--if you're handy. For anyone else, that $80 dresser that took two days and lots of cursing to assemble may no longer look like such a great buy. If you're handy with a hex wrench and instructions meant for Swedes, you'll have an opportunity to build a business that converts a bunch of plywood into actual furniture.
12. Personal organizer