Small Business Ideas Ireland (Part Time)

Below is a list of suggestions to help give you small business ideas. While they are things you can also do part time, a lot of them can be scaled. Once you’ve built an audience and learned how to find customers you should always be focusing on the 20% of things which create 80% of the value. For example, if you’re teaching English, at a certain point it may make more sense for you to hire someone to teach so you can focus on getting more clients. 

In Ireland it’s very flexible to be both a PAYE worker and having a side business i.e. being self-employed or a sole trader. More information.

When reviewing your list of small business ideas make sure you select the one which solves a big pain point for your potential clients. You get paid for bringing value to the marketplace. The amount of money you’ll get paid for your small business idea will equal the value you bring multiplied by the number of people you can bring it to.

Content Creator

If you enjoy writing, conversation (podcast) or creating video content you have your first small business idea and an opportunity to create valuable content. Over time as your library of content grows so too will your community of followers. Within this community, you will build credibility and trust, something very valuable to businesses. 

Being a content creator is a long and slow process. It is difficult to continue creating content when you have little or no engagement. Whatever you decide to create, make sure it’s something you enjoy. Regardless of what type of media you choose, make sure you learn how to research topics that people are currently searching for. It will help you immensely to gain traction at the early stages of your new small business.

Before you start creating content for your small business idea, always remember this is a business not a hobby. Be very clear as to how you will make money from this. Typically, you can generate an income from advertising, sponsorship or through affiliate schemes. It’s important to select an audience in which you can develop valuable content which is also an audience which is valuable to companies.

Please don’t have any limiting beliefs about how difficult it is to create various content types. I have created a blog, a podcast and video content. Like you, I initially had misconceptions about how difficult it is to do. I use WordPress for blogs. There is a learning curve, but YouTube is filled with easy-to-follow guides. A podcast can be started with a recorder, a mic, earphones, phone, cable for phone to recorder and WhatsApp for a group conversation. It is not necessary but it’s better to edit out silences and brain farts. For video content you can use your phone and a cheap video editor. I use Vegas Pro which is €149 currently, but there is much cheaper software you can use.

Hobbies & Interests

Currently the market is saturated with those who were lucky enough to get in early and make money by creating content about their hobbies & interests. If you have a broad interest such as fitness it will be very difficult to compete with established content creators but not impossible. Generally, if one of your small business ideas involves creating content about a hobby it needs to be a niche hobby or geographically niche focused i.e. focusing on the Irish market.

For example, if you are a foodie, recommending recipes is nothing unique, the market is saturated. But if you start reviewing places to eat and drink in your local city you will have less competition and may have a better chance to get your small business idea off the ground.

Lifestyle

Lifestyle content is popular because it’s highly relatable. We are hardwired to enjoy stories, it’s a great way to learn from others. Being a professional and a parent is fraught with many challenges. Being able to see how others cope with life’s challenges is a very valuable learning tool and it is entertaining.

This applies to many different aspects of people’s lives. If you’re trying to get fitter and healthier, following a fitness content creator is valuable. If you’re looking for a restaurant or a place to travel to, there is a wealth of content available to you.

If one of your small business ideas involves going down the lifestyle route, make yourself as relatable as possible. Using Ireland as an aspect of your life is very beneficial as there are far less content creators in comparison to the US or the UK.

Job Or Career Advice

The majority of people need to work to pay the bills. The jobs market can be incredibly confusing to recent graduates and those at the early stage of their career. Coupled with the fact there are guidance counsellors who have no real-world experience of the industries they give advice on. There are recruitment agents who will give potential candidates inaccurate advice to get them to take a position so they can collect their commission. You can be a valuable compass, offering valuable content and giving them the right advice.

The added benefit of creating content for the Irish market is there are a lot of Europeans who have no idea how things work here. The content you create can offer guidance.

Research

People need information to make choices and the problem is there is too much of it and it is difficult to know what is the right information. What is the best current account in Ireland, who provides the cheapest car insurance, things to do in Naples, where should we eat for food?, which companies are currently offering fully remote jobs, what are the interview questions for a junior data analyst at Google in Dublin?.

People will pay to save time. They can pay you directly with money or indirectly through advertising revenue. You can create a blog which has free content to establish your credibility and authority on a subject and premium content for more valuable information. 

Content For Businesses

Businesses need content for many reasons which can include building trust and credibility and also for generating inbound leads. One entrepreneur, Susan Bourke, founder of LegalRSS.ie provides content for solicitors’ websites. Her service allows solicitors to focus on what they do best while also delivering valuable content to clients and potential clients of each solicitor she works with.   

Self-Publishing & Print On Demand

Amazon has a service called Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). The name is deceiving, it is not just for creating eBooks for Amazon’s Kindle device. It allows you to also create your own printed books. While you can create books if you live in Ireland, unfortunately people in Ireland can’t buy them. You have the option of ordering your own author copies which is roughly €2-3 each for 140 pages but you will need a UK virtual address and will need to cover the cost of shipping.

If you have an idea for a book which could sell internationally you have the option of publishing it with Amazon KDP. People are already creating a number of self-published books such as blank journals, colouring books, interesting facts and novels. The market is very competitive and don’t expect Amazon to be a channel which is going to help you reach your target audience. You will need to consider other audiences and you will need to have a lot of people ready to help you to get your initial reviews.

Amazon’s KDP service is a print on demand service. They don’t store inventory of your book, they print them as they are ordered. They also have another service called Merch On Demand which allows you to upload your designs to things such as t-shirts, hoodies, phone cases and tote bags. Amazon isn’t the only company offering this service. There are others such as Printful, Gelato & Printify.

Events Organiser

With so many people from around Ireland and Europe moving to Dublin for work it can create an opportunity for you to run events to help people new in the city to meet new people. This small business idea can generate revenue by people paying an entrance fee or by charging a fee to the venue for bringing them customers. You can consider different types of events such as sports, professional or social. If you organise your events during the week most pubs would be more than happy to host your event for free.

Teaching & Coaching

Since Covid people have become more open to online communication. Traditional teaching in schools has incredibly high costs. These businesses need to pay rent, insurance and employers PRSI. As someone who teaches online you have none of these costs. (You can even expense a portion of your own rent.) When teaching, the value comes primarily from the teacher and the course material.

To study a general English course, Kaplan charges €290 per week for a total of 15 hours of lessons, with 12 to 15 students in each class. This equates to a fee of €19.33 per hour per student. This gives you an opportunity to offer lower priced courses with smaller groups.

The hardest part of teaching and coaching will be finding clients. It will be impossible to sell your course or coaching service to a cold audience. You need to build trust and credibility first before trying to sell. Being a content creator can greatly help with this. Offering small value for free will help you sell your services. The long term goal for your small business idea could be to scale by hiring more teachers and or to pivot into selling online courses once you are established.

Exams

If you did particularly well in your exams there are many people who could use your help and it could be your next small business idea. There are many students who are either struggling with certain subjects or need to achieve high marks to secure their place in university. For those students studying for professional exams, there is the added bonus of greater career prospects so they may be more lucrative students.

Work Experience

You may take a lot of the skills you’ve acquired for granted. You’ve been using them for so long that many tasks are easy to perform without thinking. However, for others, they are still at the bottom of the learning curve. They have a lot to learn. Offering coaching to those at the early stage of their career can be very beneficial and is a small business idea you should consider. You can point them in the right direction as to what are the most important skills to learn and give them impartial advice from the real world.

Career Advice

My career path went in a zigzag direction. Coming out of university the job market was very confusing. I was given advice from counsellors who had no real world experience in my industry, recruiters whose advice was filtered through their targets and earning commission and companies desperate to hide how mundane their roles were. If one of your small business ideas is to offer genuine career advice,  I would have found it very useful to speak with someone who was 4 or 5 years ahead of me. It could have saved me years of wasting my time and I could have reached a higher salary much quicker. 

It would be helpful as well to know how a CV should be laid out and written. Often, companies will use very generic job descriptions. Knowing what to include on your CV, what are the key skills and experience the hiring manager is looking for which may not have been included within the job description is also very beneficial. 

English

As mentioned in the opening paragraph, in Ireland, English courses are big business. The cost for students to come here is very significant. Your small business idea could be to help students improve their English by offering lessons online. The market is competitive so you need to be clever in finding the right channel which will bring you students to teach. 

Hobby & Interests

If you have a hobby such as playing the guitar, dancing or you can help others do the same with your small business idea. For some things you’d like to teach, it may be better to do so in person. For example, most Irish men can’t dance so you could offer a service teaching couples to get prepared for the first dance at their wedding.

Coaching & Support

This small business idea is an overlap of some of the things already mentioned. As people work towards a goal, having an experienced person who can review their performance and offer advice on how to tweak their efforts to get improved results. Even just having someone who is going to check-in on their progress each week can be enough. Or having someone to listen to frustrations people are facing can be a very supportive service to helping people reach their goals.

Online Courses

If your small business idea is to offer online courses, it can offer you the opportunity to leverage technology to deliver value while also reducing the number of hours you need to work. As mentioned previously, you need to warm up your audience first. Trying to sell courses to a cold audience first will be a very difficult task. Also, don’t create your course first, try delivering free valuable content and see how people respond. Only when you have an audience in the form of an email list or followers should you start to build your course. Kajabi and teachable are some applications you might consider to build your course. 

For example, Kate Fleming started LawEd.ie. She teaches students and young adults about the law in a very understandable and relatable way. She pitched her course idea to a school first. They liked the idea and then she created the course when she saw there was a demand.  

Consulting

While it is difficult to get part-time consulting roles for large companies, you may be able to get one with a small business or a startup. With websites like fiverr & Upwork, you can advertise your services. The only problem is that living in Ireland you most likely will receive  much lower rates as you’re competing with people all over the world.

You could also try sharing useful content on Linkedin, Twitter or Reddit to establish yourself as an authority on the subject and people can contact you directly about freelance jobs.

Sales

Given the increasing complexity of technology and how people communicate, finding new customers can be a challenging process for small businesses owners. Most small business owners want to focus on creating and delivering the best product they can. This creates an opportunity for you and potentially a small business idea to consider.

For example, someone who runs a plumbing business may not have the skills needed to find new customers via social media, Google ads or SEO. Every business has a cost of finding a new client. If you can help them find clients you have a viable small business idea. You may already have a network created as a result of your job or your hobbies. For example you may work in a school and an outdoor activity company is looking for help contacting teachers to tell them about their services.

Ecommerce

If you have a good eye for products you could consider selling online. Initially you need to test if there is a demand for the product you want to sell. Don’t go to a wholesaler, buy stock and expect you’re going to sell what you buy. Setup a simple e-commerce website using (WordPress, Wix or Squarespace) with zero inventory. Then advertise your product and see if people try to buy. When they reach the buy page you can tell them the item is currently out of stock and you’ll let them know when the item is back in stock if they provide an email address.

When you’ve identified products people are interested in you can list your items on your website. Ideally you want to start with a low cost item you can give to people to get your initial reviews. If you’re considering selling on Amazon, it’s very difficult to sell anything without reviews, so make sure you know people who can help you. Also, Amazon offers a service called Fulfilment By Amazon (FBA) which allows you to ship your products directly from your wholesaler to Amazon and Amazon ships directly to your customers and handles customer service. It is not a cheap service and the fee structure is complicated. But they have a very handy calculator so you can calculate your costs in advance. 

Freelance Services

Current Job

Could your small business idea be a freelance service of what you currently do? If you’re an accountant could you provide financial advice to small businesses. If you’re a barber could you get your own equipment and offer an at home service? If you’re a gardener could you offer a grave care service? 

Admin / Assistant (Virtual / In person)

The world we live in is becoming increasingly complex. One of the biggest challenges of being a solopreneur is you need to be good at lots of different things in order for your business to run effectively. At times it can be impossible to run a business by yourself which creates a small business idea for you. Can you identify the tasks small business owners or people have in their life which they might outsource? 

For example, a business may need help with product research for a specific demographic? A start-up may need help finding a graphic designer, a web developer etc. A busy family might need help with light gardening or running simple errands. 

Photographer / Videographer

The next small business idea is linked to the above. Businesses need content for social media. Businesses also need product images. People need professional pictures for LinkedIn. If you’re interested in photography or videography you could help businesses in Ireland with their social media content. 

Customer Reviews

Customer reviews are a great way for a business to sell the products and services. It is also a small business idea you should consider. You can create the reviews yourself or you can hire someone to do them and you can record the video, audio review or image review. For new products on Amazon having reviews is essential and finding people to provide those initial reviews is a useful service.

Local Services: Childminder / Home help / Local Handyman

If you’re looking for a small business idea to earn additional income you could provide services in your local area. There are plenty of families who could use help with childcare. There are many older people on their own who could use help around the house. There are plenty of people who hate putting Ikea furniture together. These are some of the people you can provide a service to. Providing local services has the advantage of less competition. 

Recruitment

Companies in Ireland pay up to 25% of the first year salary to recruitment agents to find the right staff. There is a huge barrier to becoming a recruiter to the type of companies which pay these fees. If you are confident you can overcome this barrier or you have the right contacts, you have a very lucrative small business idea on your hands. Please note you need to have a licence to be a recruitment agent. More information here.

Crafts

If you like making things you could consider crafts. Anne Healy runs a business called Biddy’s Good Luck Horse Shoes. She takes used horseshoes which have been all over the countryside in Ireland and turns them into beautiful gifts. Each gift is unique. The horse shoes are sold through her online shop.

Digital Products

The last idea to discuss which you can consider for you potential small business ideas to try is digital products. Digital products have the benefit of being able to serve a wide market but the disadvantage of increased competition. Etsy is a very useful marketplace to get some ideas which can include CV templates, Excel templates, new client proposal templates, photographs, eBooks, music and website themes. 

There’s quite an extensive list of things to consider. The best place to start is to create something which solves a problem at a low cost.

Further Inspiration

It can be inspiring to hear the stories of people who’ve launched a business from the many small business ideas that exist. Below are a few YouTube channels you might enjoy watching:

  1. Starter Story
  2. Justin Welsh – Course Creator
  3. Made money as a digital writer
  4. Publish books on Amazon
  5. Oliur – Print on Demand
  6. Buying land and renting for camping
  7. Mail boxes
  8. Nicha – Offering Financial Advice
  9. Walter Dunphy – Irish Business Advice
  10. Marc Lou – SaaS Developer

List Of Small Business Ideas

  1. Tutoring (academic subjects, music, art, etc.)
  2. Social media management for small businesses
  3. Graphic design services
  4. Virtual assistant
  5. Content writing or copywriting
  6. Photography (events, portraits, stock photography)
  7. Personal training or fitness coaching
  8. Event planning and coordination
  9. Freelance bookkeeping or accounting services
  10. Website design and development
  11. Handmade crafts and artisan goods (jewellery, pottery, etc.)
  12. Consulting services (business, marketing, finance, etc.)
  13. Language translation services
  14. Pet sitting or dog walking
  15. Personal chef or catering services
  16. Gardening or landscaping services
  17. Music lessons (piano, guitar, violin, etc.)
  18. Babysitting or childcare services
  19. Mobile car detailing or car washing
  20. Airbnb management (cleaning, guest communication)
  21. Virtual event planning and hosting
  22. Social media influencer or brand ambassador
  23. Resume writing and career coaching
  24. House cleaning services
  25. Personal shopping or styling services
  26. Travel planning and itinerary creation
  27. Airbnb experiences (local tours, workshops, etc.)
  28. Podcast production or editing services
  29. Online course creation and instruction
  30. Bicycle repair and maintenance services
  1. Computer repair and IT support (Computer upgrades)
  2. Home organisation and decluttering services
  3. Interior design consulting
  4. Fitness class instructor (yoga, Pilates, etc.)
  5. E-commerce store owner (selling handmade goods, dropshipping, etc.)
  6. Property management services
  7. Medical transcription services
  8. Mobile beauty services (hair styling, makeup, etc.)
  9. Bookkeeping for small businesses
  10. Remote customer service representative
  11. Translation services for documents or websites
  12. Social media marketing consulting
  13. Blogging or content creation for niche topics
  14. Sewing and alterations services
  15. Musician for events or gigs
  16. Mobile car mechanic services
  17. Health coaching or nutrition consulting
  18. Art classes or workshops
  19. Personal finance coaching or advising
  20. Remote tech support for individuals or businesses
  21. Etsy or eBay seller (vintage items, handmade crafts, etc.)
  22. Ghost writing for books or articles
  23. Fitness boot camp instructor
  24. Career counselling services
  25. Wedding planning and coordination
  26. Mobile massage therapist
  27. Language tutoring (English as a second language, etc.)
  28. Social media influencer management agency
  29. Home-based day care or preschool services
  30. Voice over artist
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