50 Business Ideas that Women can do too

10 Mar 2022

Setting up a business from scratch takes an abundance of personal and professional qualities. Courage, perseverance, competitiveness, determination, and talent - these traits will pave your road to success in any industry. Though, you'll also need access to the proper funding; get that finance wrong at the start, and your progress can be limited. Fresh entrepreneurs can also overlook the more 'serious' aspects of running a business, such as probability and risk. It would help if you thought about what companies have the best chance of success while limiting your financial risk.

50 ideas for Women

Why do women go into business?

Did you know that 96% of businesses in the UK employ less than ten people? Did you also know that the majority of female entrepreneurs run one-person businesses? That said, perhaps female entrepreneurs prefer to work alone or create micro businesses? This could be for a variety of reasons, such as:

· Limiting financial risk at the start.

· Women are often homemakers, who sometimes juggle several jobs while looking after the kids.

· They may suffer discrimination when trying to raise funds.

Though ironic, being rejected for funding might make some inventive initially, providing a more determined mindset and a better overall outlook, having achieved success on a limited budget.

Where do women achieve success?

According to recent research, nearly one-third of UK entrepreneurs are female. Approximately 38% of female owners run one-person businesses, and only 23.44% of female-led enterprises employ four or more people.

There's also a fascinating north-south divide concerning female entrepreneurs in the UK. According to the research, the top UK cities for female businesses are in the north of England. Derby, Doncaster, Hull, Sheffield, Liverpool and Manchester occupy the top six places, with London coming in ninth.

Many of these cities also have some of the UK's highest unemployment rates and lowest wages. Could a conclusion be drawn that women create their opportunities rather than wait on improving fortunes?

What type of businesses do female entrepreneurs set up?

Women entrepreneurship appears concentrated in creative industries and the beauty industry. Statistically, 76% of the hair and beauty, 67% of gifts and occasions and 62% of the wellness sectors are led by female entrepreneurs. Women are noticeably underrepresented in electronics and appliances (3%) and construction (5%). These figures chime with recent estimates identifying women as only 13% of the UK construction industry's workforce.

If women succeed in the hair, beauty, gifts, hospitality, and wellness industries, is that logically where females should concentrate their efforts? Not necessarily. Financial services firms are now 20% led by females, a significant rise from previous years.

However, setting up a financial services firm with the cost, compliance, time and qualifications required might deter women based on the time-poor issues relating to bringing up children previously mentioned.

Women are muscling in on previously male-dominated spheres.

Recently, there's been an exciting shift in the self-employed workspace as women move into previously male-dominated sectors. Painters and decorators, plumbers, electricians, architects and coders; women are moving quickly industries seen once as the sole preserve of men.

Open any local newspaper, and you'll see adverts for women-only services. Women feel less threatened by other women in their homes, having become tired of toxic masculinity and the mansplaining before a quote is delivered.

Moving on, let's jump in with fifty great business ideas for women that have a good chance of success while also limiting risk.

Fifty business ideas for women by industry

This section will list the various industries women tend to do well in and then apply a brief analysis of the opportunities in those specific areas. The fifty business ideas for women list considers the probability of success versus the risk and potential reward. Therefore, we've left out some businesses that might require significant funding to start up or grow. Instead, we'll concentrate on opportunities you can start within weeks, needing only a tiny amount of capital, instead of enterprises that might take tens of thousands to get off the ground.

However, don't lose sight of the basics. Any small business still requires a tremendous amount of energy to get going. You need to make sure you've identified a gap in the market, have a USP (unique selling point) over any competition and have the necessary skills, enthusiasm and funds to start up and survive those early months of limited income.

Hair and beauty

Hair salons – still one of the most popular self-employment routes for women. Low start-up costs, plenty of unoccupied space on high streets and shopping centres. Remarkably recession-proof; a luxury that many don't give up.

Mobile hairdressers – if you can't afford the typical front-end cost in setting up a high street salon, could you go mobile? Good option if you have a loyal customer base or have identified a niche market. For example, could you offer a service to housebound clients?

Tanning salons – have experienced an improvement in health and safety standards over recent years. There's also the opportunity of spray tans.

Wedding attire – if your high street or area is missing a wedding dress retailer, it could be a good gap to fill. Good profits on the dresses and an opportunity to either design if you have the skills and offer other services like planning.

Wedding and unique occasion event organiser – weddings, 21st parties, graduations, gender reveal parties, baby showers; people in the UK seem to love any excuse to throw a party. One benefit is that you can fix the cost to the client's budget; if they have £5K to spend, you know how much you have as a budget to make a profit.

Nail bars – similar to all beauty businesses, these outlets appear recession-proof. A low set-up cost and a low charge per service make this a great small business that should hit the ground running if you choose the right area.

Beauty salons – are covered in all of the above. You could open an emporium covering all the above services if you have the budget.

Barbers – some of the best barbers are women who prefer barbering to women's hairdressing, and they'll specifically train at barber's only colleges. Younger males pay for grooming more frequently than in previous decades.

Dressmaking and tailoring – if you have a talent for creating clothes, you could begin in this field while also working on alterations.

Party planner – selling cosmetics, skincare ranges, perfume, and other parties aren't a new concept. Still, it's viable and profitable with low overheads. Your primary financial commitment is stock.

Home services

Launderers – taking in laundry and ironing services are terrific business opportunities. For time-poor working people who get home at 7 pm and start the working day again at 7 am, the last thing they want to do at the weekend is washing and ironing. If you could take care of a full laundry bag a week for each client, you might be onto something.

Personal shopping has grown in appeal with the vast range of clothes and other fashion items on the market. An excellent choice if you're a fashion student, mainly if you concentrate on expensive high-end items.

Cleaners – see above. Try targeting professionals and middle-income families. You could also extend the service to industry or local councils who might pay you to clean clients' homes.

Landscapers – garden landscaping doesn't have to be a seasonal business; the need is there 365 days a year. 

Painters – female decorators are in demand, especially if they offer design services.

Electricians – as mentioned above, many female customers prefer having other women in their homes. Though remember, you need relevant electrical safety training to qualify.

Plumber – similar to electricians, you need to prove you have the credentials.

Dog walker – if you love dogs, you can make decent money walking someone's dog and feeding it once a day. If you have five clients, you can build a decent part-time income with close to zero overheads.

Pet sitter – many animals, are traumatised going into kennels, especially if they came from a rescue service. You'll be busy in school holidays, though you may find it hard to cope with demand if you don't have much competition locally.

Kennels – this industry is already well established, so it's tricky to break into unless you offer something different. If you have a big home and garden, you might be able to take in pets, and some clients might prefer this homely feel versus kennels.

Childminding – not a new business idea; you need qualifications and proof of an enhanced CRB check. Always lucrative due to the UK work culture.

Driving school – many females prefer a female instructor. Naturally, you need to pass the relevant tests. But driving lessons are costly nowadays, so there are plenty of opportunities to lower the price to gain a foothold in a highly competitive industry.

Catering and hospitality

Baker or patisserie – doesn't have to be a high street business; you can set up a website and spread by word of mouth to make cakes etc., at home for special occasions.

Outdoor catering – linking up with wedding specialists and event organisers could reap great rewards if you have the talent and ability. Once you've bought the kit, your overheads mainly concern staffing on the days.

Sandwich delivery - can be superb if you can identify a gap, whether delivered by car or van. Tour a few industrial estates and ask if they get sandwich and snack deliveries. Even if they do, there might be room for others to operate.

Café – generally a low start-up cost but lots of competition. You only need to cook basic wholesome food and make basic sandwiches, to eat in or take out.

Restaurant – can be a high start-up cost compared to other small businesses, but if you have the passion for food and the skills, it can be a winner.

Mobile van catering –you can buy ready to go catering vans. You keep it simple, hot and cold drinks, toasties, sandwiches, snacks. It can be a better option than cafes, and you could also get mobile work at gigs and outside events.

Deliveries – it's a tough gig working for some leading delivery firms. You have to do many drops to earn a decent income. However, could you set up on your own and deliver for more local specialist outlets?


Occupational therapy – requires specialist skills, training and qualifications but is incredibly fulfilling.

Gym instructor – many gyms now let instructors bring their private clients to gyms for a set fee.

Personal trainer – similar to gym instructors, you build a client base you train at home, in the park or at gyms.

Hypnotherapy – needs qualifications and intense training to begin a start-up in this fascinating space.

Reflexology – requires training, qualifications and the ability to create relationships with local health professionals.

Swim instructor – you can arrange lessons in local pools at a fee, organise wild swimming excursions as groups, or organise female-only classes for older clients. Your credentials are imperative; live-saving certificates etc.

Climbing instructor – climbing has undergone an enormous boom in the UK. Indoor climbing centres might allow you to instruct privately for a fee. You could also organise your excursions on walls.

Yoga, meditation, Barre studio or classes - are trendy classes nowadays that you can offer through an existing studio if they have the space or invest in your studio.

Professional services

Freelance copywriter – copywriting is moving to outside freelancers as firms find it more economical. You need a track record to get the gigs.

Bookkeeper – lots of SMEs need bookkeeping services, a lot easier now if you use many of the software packages available.

Accountant – if you're a qualified accountant, going freelance on your own could be incredibly liberating.

Virtual assistant – many firms have outsourced their call centres over recent years. You could offer yourself on a freelance basis to answer customer enquiries.

Virtual personal assistant – you could become a virtual assistant to a busy executive, taking care of meetings, diaries, events etc.

Software developer – if you can code as a freelancer, you'll be in massive demand.

Website editorial – more and more firms hire freelancers to work from home to add or edit pages on their websites.

Translator – websites are international; translating English into a readable foreign language takes a great deal of skill. A software programme often misses the nuances. So, if you're bilingual or even multilingual, you're in a great place to freelance.

Search engine optimisation – if you have SEO skills, freelancing can be a superb option. You could work for several clients at the same time.

Web design – although many software packages allow you to effectively create a website or an online shop through a drag and drop options menu, many SMEs need a more sophisticated site. You could offer a low-cost service to create a site from scratch or offer a daily rate to improve an existing website.

Digital media production  – a lucrative business and highly specialised if you have the skills, can build the contacts and invest in the equipment.

Online retail and information services

Shops – buying a domain and setting up a shop through one of the more extensive services costs buttons. Even with SEO added to the cost, your whole online business can be up and running for £100 a month. You get busy with social media, and you've made a start that would have cost tens of thousands back in 2000.

Blog writing – if you have expertise in a sector or a passion for a subject and can write well, you might consider writing a blog. Or you can offer blog writing services for a fee. There's the opportunity of promoting products and banking click-through revenue with Google.

Generating leads – if your website or blog is informative, you might be able to capture information to sell services too. You could be a mortgage site and arrange to pass on (with the client's permission) the details to a lender. You get a commission or cash for a raw lead if they close the deal.

Online tutoring – parents will pay good money to help their kids pass exams such as the eleven plus to get into local grammar schools or GCSE tutoring. You can do this face to face and back it up with online mock exams and test examples that parents access for a fee.

Funding options for female-owned SME's

You've got our extensive list. The next question is, what type of finance would support such business ambitions if you do not have the savings to fund the start-up costs?

There are several funding options to consider raising small sums. An overdraft might be a more suitable option or using a business loan for working capital. You might need specific finance like leasing or hire purchase for a vehicle if your business is mobile. You can peruse here to isolate which options are suitable for you.

If you're a woman who's considering taking the plunge into the inviting pool of business opportunities, or looking to expand your already successful operation, then you've come to the right place. At Funding Options, we have a team of finance experts who can help identify and potentially secure your funds.

We also have a massive wealth of experienced business people who have built up knowledge and experience about what works and what doesn't in the business world. They have seen businesses flourish and have helped clients who come back for the next round of funding or extra funding for specific projects.

Whatever your funding requirements, at Funding Options, we have a team of finance specialists eager to help, and they can direct you to the most appropriate finance option.  

Apply for business finance

Courteney Way
Courteney Way

Marketing Director

Courteney Way is the Marketing Director at Funding Options, raising the profile of the fast-growth fintech within the ecosystem and building brand awareness as a vital provider of finance solutions to SMEs. For the past ten years, she has worked across UK, European and South African markets and In 2022, she was recognised as part of Women in Fintech Powerlist.

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