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12 Business Ideas for Social Workers

Written by:

Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

12 Business Ideas for Social Workers

Social work is a noble pursuit, though not terribly lucrative. If you want to help people but would rather make a better living, many alternative businesses might be right up your alley. Some fall into the category of social entrepreneurship – a business that makes money while serving a social purpose.

This handy guide highlights 12 great business ideas for social workers that can boost your income while making the world a better place. Now that’s a win-win! 

1. Consultancy

Consultancy Business Idea for Social Workers

You can use your knowledge, skills, and experience to provide guidance and insight to nonprofits and social service agencies. If you have business knowledge, even better, as you can provide financial advice as well. Either way, you can charge a decent hourly rate and turn it into a profitable consulting business

2. Blog

Blog Business Idea for Social Workers

If you have writing skills, you could start a blog, perhaps aimed at supporting social workers or a certain cause. You can make money with ads or affiliate marketing, which means making deals with companies to earn a commission if a sale of their product is generated from a link on your site.

3. Speaking 

Speaking Business Idea for Social Workers

Many organizations hire speakers to educate their members and employees about social problems and potential solutions. If you’re a great public speaker, you could choose a topic that fits your experience and speak at conferences and meetings. You could do the same at schools as well, and build up a nice public speaking business. 

4. Corporate Social Work

Corporate Social Work Business Idea

Companies these days are more focused on employee well-being and diversity and building a positive culture. You could work with companies to develop programs to advance those goals. It takes special skills to create a positive workplace, and your social work experience could be a great fit.

5. Online Social Work Courses

Online Social Work Course

Millions of people are ready to learn online, which is why global e-learning is expected to be worth a trillion dollars by 2027. You can start an online social work courses business, spread some quality knowledge, and grab a sliver of this vast market. To get started, hop on a platform like Udemy, SkillShare, or MasterClass and start bringing in revenue right away. 

6. Life Coach

Life Coach Business Idea for Social Workers

Business executives have long used life coaches to elevate their performance, but now people of all ages and backgrounds are seeking them out to boost personal and professional performance. You could launch a life coaching business from the comfort of your own home and help people lead more fulfilling lives while making a good living. 

7. Microlending

Microlending Business Idea for Social Workers

Microlending provides small, low-interest loans to those that lack access to funding to help them start their own businesses and become financially self-sufficient. Often, organizations like Kiva solicit the loan funds from individuals, who then receive payments from the recipients. The business earns revenue from the interest paid on each loan. 

8. Socially Conscious Products

Socially Conscious Products

Consumers are increasingly seeking socially conscious products, which come in many forms. You could produce sustainably made clothing or source products from people in developing countries, pay them for their work, and sell the items for a profit. 

9. Sustainable Packaging

Sustainable Packaging Business Idea for Social Workers

Sustainable packaging is also gaining ground, as it’s less harmful to the environment. You could start a business creating sustainable packaging for small businesses, which you could start on a small scale and grow it into a big operation with its own facility. 

10. Thrift Store

Thrift Store Business Idea for Social Workers

Thrift stores are a great idea, providing places for people to donate their unwanted goods, which others then snap up at affordable prices. The revenue thrift stores earn sustains the business and pays the employees and could even  make a profit. You could start an online thrift store, where people send in their unwanted items to be offered for sale online.

11. Buy One Give One

Buy One Give One Business Idea for Social Workers

Companies like Tom’s Shoes have popularized the buy-one give-one model, and you could do the same by giving one of item X to an underserved community for every one you sell. Maybe it’s coats, or textbooks, or T-shirts? Choose a product that can really make a difference. 

12. Mental Health Facility

Mental Health Facility

Private mental health facilities, whether for people with disorders or those suffering from addiction, make good money. Many insurance companies and sometimes Medicaid will pay for client stays in these facilities, so you wouldn’t have to turn away people who lack the funds. You could make a huge difference in your community and use your skills by opening your own mental health facility.


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12 Business Ideas for Social Workers