Starting your own business can seem like a formidable mountain you have to climb. From the bottom, it may look like an impossible task, but it’s the start of your entrepreneurial dream – it’s an incredibly exciting time of your life.

This ambition to form a company is very well-placed as, since 2010, UK business as a whole has been described as ‘the golden age for small firms’: the UK is ranked as the number one entrepreneurial country in Europe. This isn’t a bold claim, it’s an accurate label.

However, with small businesses becoming ever more popular, where do you even begin? Well, it all starts with an idea, of course. So, to help you decide which path to take, we’ve compiled a list of small businesses that not only have the potential to be incredibly profitable but, most crucially, are also the easiest ones to run on your own.

Online e-commerce

Now, more than ever, people are buying and trading online, and this trend is only going to keep on growing. This is, essentially, ‘modern business’. Small firms notoriously struggle in keeping up with the ever-expanding digital world, however considering the array of online tools and helpful guides peppered across the internet, gaining the knowledge you need to be as profitable as possible in this field is literally only a few clicks away.

Of course, starting any business is a difficult procedure, and one with many things to think about, but e-commerce features on this list because it’s easy to run this type of business at home.

All you need to begin with is not a product (yet), but a target audience. Who do you want to sell to? You need to find out what they like, don’t like, and what they are buying. Let’s say, for example, you want to sell to students and you find out that, at the moment, hot sauce is all the rage. OK, so what types are they buying? What sorts of things are they saying about it, and where are they buying it from? Based on the answers to these sorts of questions, your job is then to figure out how to create something different, that will appeal to the same audience. This applies to every single market – find a need, a niche, and exploit it: considering that 1 in 4 shoppers, according to a PwC UK Total Retail Survey, do their business online, your opportunities are endless.

How you proceed with this online venture is also entirely up to you. For example, you could buy products off eBay and sell them for a greater price, or if you’ve got the skill to craft products on your own, you could try and sell them for profit. You could even start a blog, and make some money through affiliate marketing. The choices are boundless, it’s just up to you find the niche and work hard to exploit it.

Food and wellbeing

The food industry is absolutely massive at the moment, and, like online shopping, it’s only going to get bigger. For example, a Barclays 2015 survey suggested that the convenience food sector will grow by 30% over the next five years (so very profitable) – people are now ditching the weekly shop and opting for daily food shopping instead. However, that still presents a problem: people want fast food. So then, can fast food be healthy? Yes, it can, as companies such as ‘Hello Fresh’ are targeting busy city-workers who don’t have enough time to cook for themselves or shop – they get fresh and healthy produce delivered to them, all ready to go. Once again, it’s all about finding your target audience, and exploiting their needs in a new and exciting way.

If you happen to be handy in the kitchen, why not start your own food delivery service? People love healthy recipes and, importantly, new ideas. Similarly, why not begin your own YouTube food channel to showcase your recipes to the wider public? You could join the trend of starting your own street food stall – all you need to do is register with the environmental health service (which is free).

With breaking scientific research uncovering new health benefits in natural produce all the time, there is always some new fad that people go crazy for – the latest being birch water (100% birch tree sap found in Scandinavia and North America). So, how can you jump on the food and wellbeing bandwagon? Well, luckily, you don’t necessarily have to find some new miracle product that is going to change lives – there’s plenty of ways you can succeed in this on your own.

The reason the food industry is so profitable at the moment is, sadly, because of how manipulative it can be. People absolutely love to follow the latest new diet, training regime, or superfood trend – irrespective of how effective they actually are. Sure, you could do that, but if you offer people tangible, relevant, and proven good health information through food, then you will be on to a winner: this market never stagnates, and there is always room for fresh ideas.

Professional freelancer

A business is defined as something that offers a service or product, therefore you yourself can be just that. Becoming self-employed is now more popular than ever, especially in young people. In fact, according to a GEM UK report in 2013, young people aged 18-24 are twice as likely to start a business compared to any other, older age group – the reason being is that the government are actively encouraging this to happen.

So, where can you find freelance work, then? Well, the answer is anywhere. More and more small businesses are being formed, and they dominate the business industry. Many of these are young companies who perhaps cannot afford a full-time employee, so the opportunities for freelance work are only increasing.

By discovering what your skill set contains, whether that be in content, design, fitness, or even teaching, you can market yourself as a business where people buy your product or service. This is a trend that is becoming popular because of marketability via the internet: think of all the websites you can visit where you can display your profile and skill set so people can actively seek you and your services out. Once again, this is something you can do from home, so you don’t need an office – all you need is a platform, maybe your own website, for example, to showcase yourself on.

Success in each of these examples comes down to one thing: personal drive. New businesses in industries such as construction can potentially rely on a unique service, or even investment to get them on the map, but these aren’t easy to do on your own. By going it alone, you must have resilience and ambition, along with a good idea, and willingness to start at the very bottom. If you have that, you’re halfway there – the next step is actually doing it.

Want to find out more about starting or running your own business? You’ll find tonnes of information in our knowledge hub and on our blog.