Let’s face it: trying to stand out or be different isn’t something you’d prioritize as a first-time entrepreneur. After all, society has taught you to play it safe and blend in until you gain enough experience to innovate.
But with the global economy becoming more and more competitive, it’s crucial to find ways to set yourself apart from other companies from Day 1 of your entrepreneurial career. In that context, nothing beats the edge you gain by adopting a unique business idea.
Unique businesses tend to have less competition, but the competition they do have ensures there’s a demand for the product. It’s important to differentiate yourself, but the success of your venture depends less on what your business idea is and more on how you execute that idea.
If you’re looking for a unique business idea, here’s a few to get you started:
8 unique business ideas to try in 2022
1. Become a personal shopper and promote your services on TikTok
Did you know that TikTok is a fast-growing source of revenue for ecommerce businesses? That’s right—a lot of TikTok users are buying products directly on the video-sharing app rather than shopping from brands’ websites. But not all users have the time to make shopping choices—and that’s where you can build a business by providing personal shopping services.
Personal shopping is where you purchase items on behalf of another person—in this case, a TikTok user. You’ll need to demonstrate skills in finding the best buys on TikTok, so it helps to learn how to research products on the app. Additionally, you’ll need to know how to use the app’s ecommerce features to make a direct purchase. It can be a good idea to offer your service to friends who use TikTok, so you can gain some experience and get a testimonial or two to share with future clients.
Once you’re fully comfortable doing product research and shopping for items on TikTok, you can promote your services via word of mouth, social media, and offline marketing.
2. Launch your own novelty t-shirt brand
If you’re a creative person and you can reflect people’s passions via art, you can get a slice of the $3.91 billion market that is custom t-shirts. People use t-shirts to express themselves: their identities, values, interests, or sometimes just the influencers they like.
You might not think of t-shirts themselves as unique, but the reason the business seems so viable is because the niching opportunities are endless. Whether they feature stunning artwork, intricate designs, catchy jokes, or LGBTQ slogans—no other brand will be selling your designs.
To get started, find yourself a good print-on-demand company and set up a storefront on Shopify. Then come up with original designs, add them to your shirts, and get paid when someone orders from your business.
3. Launch a podcast and build multiple income streams
Podcasts may be free to download, but the people making them don’t always work for free. Through affiliate programs, tiered Patreon subscriptions, and online live events, any podcaster can start making an income from their content.
Podcasting begins with a topic you’re passionate about—a book, a hobby, or an educational topic. Then, with people who love discussing those topics, you can put together a weekly podcast in which you inform and explore.
You’ll need recording gear and a little knowledge of audio editing to create podcast episodes. Set yourself up a weekly recording session and get your voice out there to build an audience. With time, you can start using different monetization strategies to generate revenue from your podcast.
4. Offer virtual assistance to other businesses
With so many companies shifting their focus to online operations, the demand for virtual assistants is growing. These individuals are contracted workers who can handle a wide range of tasks, from bookkeeping to email marketing to personal tasks like managing schedules or arranging trips. You could assist virtually as a full-time business or a side job.
Since business owners can hire virtual assistants from anywhere in the world, this business doesn’t restrict you to a specific location. To set yourself apart from the competition, become skilled at handling specific tasks that businesses struggle to find talent for, like optimizing sales funnels or building post-purchase email campaigns.
5. Start a gifts and flower delivery business
Everyone loves that feeling of receiving a thoughtful gift basket or flowers from people who care. Why not try your hand at being the one who gives people that feeling? Requiring only an initial investment and a little creativity, you can quickly build a venture that you can manage from the comfort of your own home.
Using social media sites such as Facebook or Instagram, investigate what gifts are popular in your area, then design a set of packages for potential customers. Or base your ideas on popular themes like:
- Celebration gifts: birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Days, marriages, or new babies
- Household baskets: cleaning, car, or gardening products; cheese, chocolate, or beer or wine selections
- Personal care: spa/beauty products
- Hobbies: coffee or tea baskets, games, films, or seasonal products
You can gradually spread out to other areas after beginning with a focus on local delivery.
6. Offer mobile detailing services in your area
Ever heard of mobile detailing? It’s the act of thoroughly cleaning and restoring a vehicle directly in the premises of its owner. This eliminates the need for a physical business location, reducing the initial startup and overhead costs.
You can start your own mobile detailing business with relatively low investment—most detailing kits cost less than $100. Most of your customers will come from gated communities, suburbs, and areas where people keep more than one vehicle.
Get the word out that you’re offering auto detailing services by distributing flyers in your target market. Offer gift cards and discounts to first-time customers to generate repeat business. Also consider making a Google Business Profile and sending customers its link so they can leave a review about your service. Positive reviews can influence other people’s perception of your service in a good way, bringing more clientele without any ad and marketing spend.
7. Create and sell travel guides
Travelers love exploring their holiday destinations, and who better to show them around than a local? Whether looking for cinemas, restaurants, events, or just the best historical sites, people who reside in a travel destination often have first-hand knowledge of the places to visit there.
You can compile your knowledge of your local area into a travel guide that serves as a handy resource for tourists. But don’t limit your revenue stream to one product—you could sell books, maps, audio walking tours, and even augmented reality tours to grow your business income.
The best part is that you don’t have to live in a big city like London or Paris to create guides for travelers. Often, smaller tourist destinations provide greater opportunities, since fewer tourist resources are available.
And you don’t have to niche by just your location either. You might make travel guides or maps for a specific group of hobbyists. For example, Skater Maps offers skate park maps for skateboarders and BMX riders, detailing the best routes through Australia.
8. Open a tea room and sell products to patrons
If you love tea and can judge its quality even before tasting it, a tea room business may be a good fit for you. This business doesn’t require the crowds that flock to Starbucks, but you’ll still need a unique menu to draw patrons from your neighborhood and beyond. To get some inspiration, check out these tea menu templates available online.
Choosing the right location is also highly important. Tea consumers often have a spontaneous desire to drink the aromatic beverage, so your shop needs to be where people spend time, such as near shopping malls, local attractions, and fuel stations.
Once you’re set up, you can look into expanding your menu beyond just tea. For example, you can offer sandwiches, biscuits, and cakes to complement your beverages. You can even look into making and selling your own merch, much as shops like Starbucks do. Customers who love your shop will undoubtedly enjoy the chance to sport their own shirts, travel mugs, and tote bags featuring your logo and branding.
Jump-start your entrepreneurial career with a unique business idea
Starting a new business is exciting and daunting in equal measure. You’ll need to come up with an idea, but also execute it differently to ensure you stand out from the competition.
Try not to get bogged down in coming up with something no other company has touched. Rather, think about how you can create a more memorable experience with an existing idea in your audience’s minds.
With a bit of effort and creativity, you can build a highly successful and valuable business.
Unique business ideas FAQ
What are some unique business ideas?
The best business ideas either cater to a niche, underserved market or offer a new spin on an existing product or service. To get some inspiration, check out our list of unique businesses above.
How do you come up with a unique business idea?
To come up with a unique business idea, think about successful companies you find inspiring. What is it about their product or service that makes them stand out? How do they approach other aspects of business, like marketing and customer service? Often, analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of other businesses can spark an idea for your own successful small business.
How can you make business ideas profitable?
There’s no blueprint for making a business profitable, but if you’re providing a unique service, it helps to promote your brand through email and social media marketing, as well as to have multiple revenue streams to draw from.