15 Best States to Quit Your Job and Start Your Own Business

If you’re looking to strike out on your own, these states may be a good place to start.
Updated May 3, 2024
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Changes in the job market due to the pandemic have made some workers consider quitting and starting their own businesses.

Perhaps you’re one of the workers who want more work-from-home opportunities or you would like to make a side hustle your full-time job. Whatever your reason, you wouldn’t be alone in deciding to start a new business.

But which states are the best states for a new business? CNBC recently published its survey of top states for business, so find out if your state is one of the 15 to start your next endeavor.

15. Ohio

Branden/Adobe Jefferson County Courthouse

Ohio placed second on CNBC’s ranking of states by infrastructure, which could be helpful to a new business. The state has ports along Lake Erie for shipping and plenty of highways for the easy movement of goods.

The state is also well known for its manufacturing, which may be a good stepping stone if you want to start a business that makes goods.

14. Indiana

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Indianapolis Indiana USA Skyline

The Hoosier State topped the list of CNBC’s state rankings for infrastructure. Good roads and a port on Lake Michigan helped boost Indiana’s ranking. It’s also an affordable place to operate, ranking second overall when it comes to the cost of doing business.

The state is home to automotive companies like Cummins and a Toyota plant as well as the corporate headquarters for pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly.

13. North Dakota

Zak Zeinert/Adobe golden hour over Wind Canyon in Theodore Roosevelt National Park

North Dakota ranked first in business friendliness in CNBC’s survey, making it a potentially great place to start a business. The Upper Midwest state also ranked fourth in life and health in the study, helped by livability factors like reduced crime rates and environment. 

The state also has the 13th-best economic stability in the country, bolstering its potential for entrepreneurs who want to start their own businesses.

12. Iowa

muratart/Adobe sunrise over the corn field

The state is a major producer of corn in the U.S., and its Midwest location lends itself to a distribution system to serve the rest of the country. It also has a low unemployment rate, helping workers be competitive in a changing economy.

11. Florida

allouphoto/Adobe Florida Everglades airboat rides and alligators

Florida has a growing economy and ranks fourth overall in CNBC’s rankings of economic factors in states. Potential new businesses may be attracted to the state because there is no personal income tax for residents. 

Businesses also have a corporate tax rate that tops off at 5.5%, which may make Florida more appealing for some start-up companies.

10. Georgia

ksudu94/Adobe autumn in Atlanta

Georgia has seen an increase in population in recent years, helping it move up in the rankings when it comes to skilled employees. In fact, the state ranked third in CNBC’s rankings of state workforces.

The state is home to company headquarters for major corporations including The Home Depot, UPS, and Coca-Cola.

9. Minnesota

Dennis/Adobe stormy waters at Split Rock

Minnesota earned a high spot on the list because it landed in the top 10 for state rankings in infrastructure, life and health, and technology and innovation. The state is home to the Mayo Clinic, which is considered one of the best hospitals in the country.

8. Utah

pabrady63/Adobe Historic Gifford Barn in Capitol Reef National Park Utah

Utah ranked eighth in workforce and sixth in economy, giving it a boost in the survey by CNBC. It also is in the top 10 for business friendliness. 

That might make it a good option if you’re starting from scratch and want a state that may be willing to give you some extra support as you get your new business off the ground.

7. Nebraska

mandritoiu/Adobe panorama of Lincoln Nebraska under a dramatic sunset

Nebraska ranked seventh in life and health on CNBC”s study and also had good showings in business friendliness and economy. Those factors combined could make the Cornhusker State appealing for starting a new business.

6. Tennessee

jdross75/Adobe Nashville Skyline with stadium

Tennessee has the second-best economy in the U.S, according to CNBC, taking into account job growth, the real estate market, and the diversity of the economy, among other things. 

The state also ranked in the top 10 for infrastructure and cost of doing business, which could help when you’re starting a new company.

5. Texas

leekris/Adobe Texas bluebonnet wildflower spring field at sunrise

The Lone Star State was ranked the second-best state for its workforce, which may be good for new businesses. And CNBC also ranked it high on economy and technology and innovation.

Texas also has no income tax or corporate tax, which may make it more attractive to new businesses. But be aware that it does impose a 6.25% sales tax, which could affect your business depending on the cost of your products.

4. Colorado

Sean Xu/Adobe colorful autumn view of Marble Colorado USA

A big advantage for Colorado is that it has the best workforce in the country, making it an enticing place to build a new business. It also ranked high on CNBC’s list for technology and innovation. 

The state has a rich aviation history with the Air Force Academy located in Colorado Springs as well as major hubs for United Airlines and Lockheed Martin.

3. Virginia

Kevin Ruck/Adobe downtown Richmond Virginia USA drone skyline

Virginia ranked sixth in business friendliness, which could make it appealing to new companies. The state also ranked second in education, giving potential employers a good pool of educated workers.

2. Washington

f11photo/aDOBE Jefferson Memorial during the Cherry Blossom Festival

The state of Washington ranked second in the country for technology and innovation, according to CNBC. 

That’s not a surprise when you consider companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and T-Mobile have their headquarters there. The state also earned high marks for its economy and lifestyle and health needs.

1. North Carolina

Nikola/Adobe beautiful Greenville downtown Falls park

One of the biggest items in North Carolina’s favor is its economy. The state ranked first in CNBC’s rankings of state economies, which factored in things like job growth and credit rating.

North Carolina has growing business interests as well as headquarters for major companies like Bank of America and Lowe’s. The state also has the Research Triangle, which is an area of innovation as well as education. 

The University of North Carolina and Duke University are in the triangle and may be good sources for young talent.

Bottom line

deagreez/Adobe wealthy bearded guy holding in hands bunch of money

If you’ve been pursuing ways to make extra money, you may be considering turning that into a full-time business. Or maybe you’ve been nurturing an idea for a business and have decided now is the time to launch it.

Knowing which states offer the best economic climate for new businesses and a friendly tax structure are important things to consider before you make the leap.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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