The 64 Best Small Business Ideas For 2020

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The world is changing, and so are businesses.

Because of the pandemic, nearly all businesses have gone digital - with many brick & mortar businesses being put on pause until the virus is gone.

However, it is still a great time to start a business. Some of the most successful businesses were started during the 2008 recession.

We went through our database of case studies and found the best businesses to be starting in 2020.

Here they are:

Start an anxiety blankets business

Aaron Spivak started Hush Blankets, which sells anxiety blankets and is making $2,000,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 20 employees.

Who would have thought that a background in the software (ScopeLeads.io) and restaurant space (Revitasize.ca) would lead to a health product. We’ve always been entrepreneurs, both dropping out of university and with the mindset that we can create more for ourselves than school would ever provide us.

The idea for Hush started when my partner, Lior, worked at an overnight camp for special needs children. They had a room there called the "Stimulation Room" and it had all sorts of devices and tools that were sensory-related. One of them was a weighted blanket.

If your current idea isn’t successful, don’t give up until you’ve hustled at it for 4 months straight.

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Aaron Spivak, on starting Hush Blankets ($2,000,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a silicone rings business

KC Holiday started QALO, which sells silicone rings and is making $2,000,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 45 employees.

We are often asked the story of how we came up with the concept, and I wish I had some elaborate story about almost losing a finger, but my life isn’t dangerous enough for that.

The simple answer is, we got married.

Ted and I married our wives in 2012, a few months apart from one another. We were both living in Los Angeles pursuing a career in film and television, which really meant we spent a lot of our time working in a restaurant together.

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KC Holiday, on starting QALO ($2,000,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a drinkware business

Dylan Jacob started BrüMate, which sells drinkware and is making $1,100,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 2 employees.

BruMate is my 3rd company but the first where I was actually doing any real product development or design. My first company I started in high-school was a part supply company for repair shops / tech centers (batteries, LCD screens, flex cables, etc).

I went on to sell that company to a franchise customer of ours in 2014 after I dropped out of engineering school and decided to pursue entrepreneurship full time.

I thought the idea of creating a product people actually needed and being able to walk around and see people using my creation was the absolute coolest concept.

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Dylan Jacob, on starting BrüMate ($1,100,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a smart camera business

Yun Zhang started Wyze Cam, which sells smart camera and is making $1,000,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 3 co-founders and has 30 employees.

Wyze has four co-founders and we all met while working at Amazon. As a team, we have a very deep understanding of retail operations, including both e-commerce and big box chains. Team members have worked at Microsoft, Best Buy, REI, Groupon, etc. At each of these companies, as well as Amazon, roles varied between team members. Some of our team members have expertise in operations, some in marketing, some in sales, and so on. We complement each other very well when we bring it all together. This is absolutely at the core of our success since we are able to see problems from many angles and perspectives.

We discovered that in the smart home market, customers only have two options:

  1. Expensive premium brands
  2. Cheap, low quality me-too brands with little-to-no customer service.

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Yun Zhang, on starting Wyze Cam ($1,000,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start an underwear business

Fran Dunaway started TomboyX, which sells underwear and is making $500,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 15 employees.

When we started the company, my co-founder (and wife) Naomi and I didn’t know a knit from a woven. We just had a burning desire to make beautiful button-up shirts, like a Ben Sherman for women.

We wanted to create a shirt with fine quality fabric, fun details and fit for a woman’s body. At the time, we both had careers that we loved and made a decent living with vacations and paychecks… This was just a side project for us.

We chose the name TomboyX because we thought it was cute.

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Fran Dunaway, on starting TomboyX ($500,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start an e-commerce fulfillment business

Joe Spisak started ShipDaddy, which sells e-commerce fulfillment and is making $400,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 4 co-founders and has 11 employees.

I created ShipDaddy after having nightmare experiences fulfilling products for my first collaboratively-developed company, Dicey. As we managed the fulfillment of Dicey orders, using three different 3PL (third party logistics) companies, I would frequently experience ridiculous pricing and incorrect billing, lost inventory, products that wouldn’t ship, orders that didn’t contain everything in the box, frustration when I couldn’t get ahold of anyone in charge, large amounts of damaged goods, international customs issues, general sloppiness handling our product, and worst of all, not being flexible enough to help out with the inevitable ‘one-offs’ that occur as a result of being a growing company.

After being completely fed up, I asked my best friend and Marine Veteran, Brady Farrell, to help fulfill and ship the Dicey units for us. Brady did a fantastic job and really enjoyed the work as it aligns perfectly with his current degree path in logistics. I decided to sign on a few more customers with whom I had worked with in the past who were having similar issues, and things really took off from there!

We’ve made mistakes, we’re human. We’ve sent out bad orders, we’ve had a ceiling leak damage a small bit of product, we poked a hole in a wall with our forklift while stacking pallets. There was only one remedy - immediately owning up to our mistakes and making them right.

how-we-launched-a-4-8m-fulfillment-service-starting-in-our-garage

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Joe Spisak, on starting ShipDaddy ($400,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a seafood delivery business

Cameron Manesh started Cameron's Seafood, which sells seafood delivery and is making $300,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 10 employees.

My father invested in the first retail seafood location in 1985 and my uncle ran it. My father and I built our Apartment Brokerage while my uncle and his son built what is now the largest retail Maryland crab company in the world.

My cousin, Pey, and I are second generation and we wanted to ship Maryland Crabs from the Chesapeake Bay to people who can’t get them real thing, nationwide.

One morning, a crab-lover from West Virginia rolled up to one of our family-owned food trucks in Hagerstown, MD, to buy a bushel of Maryland blue crabs. He told my cousin Pey, who was working on the food truck that day, that he was so sick of paying exorbitant prices for dodgy crabs in WV, and to him it was worth driving 6 hours, round trip, to come get the real Maryland crabs from us.

cameron-s-seafood-175k-per-month-selling-maryland-crabs

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Cameron Manesh, on starting Cameron's Seafood ($300,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start an office furniture business

Greg Hayes started Branch Furniture, which sells office furniture and is making $300,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 2 co-founders and has 7 employees.

My co-founders and I have no background in office furniture. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise: it’s common that great solutions come from people with no preconceptions about how to solve a problem in the first place. What we do have is plenty of personal experience with the problem itself.

In my case, I spent the first five years of my career in institutional commercial real estate. I loved my job and the team I worked with, and I truly thought I would spend my entire career working for the same fund. But as luck would have it, life came knocking: my girlfriend (now wife) Taylre moved to New York City for work, and it wasn’t long before I followed suit. The change of scenery prompted me to think about a change of career for the first time. It wasn’t long before I was interviewing with startups and companies in the proptech world, eventually landing at a fast-growing company called Breather that built and operated flexible office space for growing companies. It was at Breather that the pains of procuring office furniture presented themselves to me for the first time.

Breather was growing at an incredible pace; they had identified needs in two large markets within the world of commercial real estate (short-term meeting spaces and flexible office spaces), and both investors and customers were throwing money at them, fueling breakneck growth. In the two years, I spent at Breather their portfolio of spaces grew from less than 150 to over 500 units. As you can imagine, that meant Breather was buying a lot of office furniture, and they were being plagued by a problem that had faced enumerable companies before them: they wanted beautiful, high-quality furniture for the spaces, but the cost of buying it was beyond justification.

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Greg Hayes, on starting Branch Furniture ($300,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a reusable cotton swab business

Isabel Aagaard started LastSwab, which sells reusable cotton swab and is making $240,097 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 2 co-founders and has 4 employees.

We are three independent designers that together wanted to create designs that help our planet. I am more specifically a co-designer and have always been very interested in waste reduction and sustainable design solutions. Everything that I have done throughout the years has in some way tapped into these interests.

The idea for LastSwab came to us when we were researching which single-use items were the most harmful for our planet and the cotton swab was surprisingly quite high on this list. We found that one of the biggest issues was that people didn’t discard them properly, mainly because they are so small. If flushed down the toilet they often don’t get caught by filtration systems and are dumped directly into the ocean, and later end up in the stomachs of sea creatures. We felt that by solving this problem, we would create an impact on marine life as well as single-use pollution.

We find it valuable to validate our ideas through crowdfunding platforms. We work with the community to change and improve our ideas and outreach.

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Isabel Aagaard, on starting LastSwab ($240,097 revenue/mo) full story

Start a knife sharpening business

Mikael Soderlindh started Knife Aid, which sells knife sharpening and is making $200,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 4 co-founders and has 20 employees.

I have a long and successful history in branding and starting businesses, one of them being my biggest success, Happy Socks, which I started 12 years ago. The biggest motivator for me to create my own companies is being free and in control of my own destiny and constantly living an adventure. It’s about the journey of creating something from the beginning that is built on the need or desire of people and then trying to put it in front of as many people as possible to be successful. Shortly after writing our business plan I found Magnus Petersson. With 30 years’ experience in knife sharpening, and having achieved celebrity status among chefs in the high-end restaurants in Los Angeles, and coincidentally originally from Sweden, Magnus was the perfect lead Knifesmith for the company.

Me and my family, moved to California to start this idea, and Knife Aid was established in Malibu with Mikael as CEO and Magnus as Master Knifesmith, training and overseeing a team of knife sharpeners.

how-we-started-a-200k-month-mail-knife-sharpening-service

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Mikael Soderlindh, on starting Knife Aid ($200,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a furnace filters online supplier business

Jay Vasantharajah started PureFilters, which sells furnace filters online supplier and is making $200,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 4 employees.

Honestly… I accidentally got into the business.

I run a digital marketing agency and at the time we had a lot of HVAC Contractors as clients. One of my clients was explaining to me how he sells furnace filters to customers that he visits, and wondered if he could sell them online instead. I researched this for him and concluded that there were a ton of Google searches for furnace filters. I pitched him on creating a new campaign to sell these filters online. He decided not to do it.

Once an idea comes into my head, I don’t rest until its given a fair shot, that’s just how I am. Even though my client said "no", I still wanted to do it because I was curious. I saw it as an opportunity to get a better understanding of the e-commerce landscape and the marketing challenges involved.

launching-a-furnace-filter-store-and-growing-to-60k-month

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Jay Vasantharajah, on starting PureFilters ($200,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a supplements business

Benjamin Hebert started Natural Stacks, which sells supplements and is making $200,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 10 employees.

I got my first experience in e-commerce at an e-commerce startup called Gift Card Rescue - a type of secondary marketplace for unused gift cards. I started as an intern while at the University of Maryland and eventually went full-time as the first employee. I was working full-time and going to school full-time.

It was an awesome experience of really “being in the trenches”. Kwame, the founder of Gift Card Rescue, got on the first season of Shark Tank which led to explosive growth for the company.

What I took from that experience was how to build a bootstrapped or self-funded business. It’s a lot easier to learn these lessons the first time when the mistakes aren’t your own dollars! Since then, I’ve founded and sold three other companies.

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Benjamin Hebert, on starting Natural Stacks ($200,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a hangover supplement business

Eddie Huai started Flyby, which sells hangover supplement and is making $200,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 1 employee.

In my opinion, traveling is one of the best ways to spark your imagination.

In March of 2015, while I was still a senior at NYU, I traveled to to Japan. Japanese people are the embodiment of work hard, play hard. Heavy drinking is an ingrained aspect of society and business culture there, spawning a $178 million hangover cure industry.

Image result for tokyo hangover drinks

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Eddie Huai, on starting Flyby ($200,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a time locking container business

David Krippendorf started Kitchen Safe, which sells time locking container and is making $150,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 2 co-founders and has 3 employees.

I had put on some extra pounds from snacking on junk food before dinner, and so I wanted something to help me enjoy the occasional dessert, without allowing me to snack throughout the day.

My first solution involved my wife Jenny hiding the junk food, but in the event of a strong craving, I could find anything.

After playing hide and seek with my cookies for a few years, the idea dawned on me. If I had a container with a timed locking mechanism to store my food, I would not be able to snack, and my Wife and I could stop with the hide and seek games.

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David Krippendorf, on starting Kitchen Safe ($150,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a men's grooming products business

Eric Bandholz started Beardbrand, which sells men's grooming products and is making $100,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 17 employees.

Before starting Beardbrand, I was a financial advisor at a big bank. I felt the corporate pressures to look and behave a certain way and it was too much for me. So I left that career, grew out my beard and started a graphic design business.

As I rocked a beard in the business world, I heard a lot of typical bearded stereotypes - Grizzly Adams, ZZ Top, and Duck Dynasty. While those are interesting people, they weren’t lifestyles that I personally identified with.

We launched the Beardbrand e-commerce store a few days before I found out that my wife was pregnant with our first child. That gave me a tight deadline.

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Eric Bandholz, on starting Beardbrand ($100,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a respiratory masks business

Michael Vahey started Breathe Healthy, which sells respiratory masks and is making $90,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 3 employees.

After leaving the military, I met someone who had developed a mask that was comfortable, re-usable, and worked very well for allergies and other general purpose uses.

The masks had gained a small following among some cancer warriors and people with COPD. COPD is a disease that causes difficulty in breathing and can be helped by the appropriate mask that allows room for oxygen tubes.

Don’t let the naysayers bother you: they are probably just jealous anyway.

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Michael Vahey, on starting Breathe Healthy ($90,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a graphic design tool business

Christopher Gimmer started Snappa, which sells graphic design tool and is making $85,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 4 employees.

I started off my career in finance working for the federal government. Then in 2010, I took a trip to southeast Asia that changed my life. Towards the end of the trip, I dreaded the thought of going back to the office and I no longer wanted to do work that I didn’t enjoy. That’s when I first started thinking about starting a business that would give me more freedom and meaning in my life.

One of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned over the years is the power of the long game. For starters, this applies to business and life in general. Sometimes you just need to play the game and things will happen.

A few years later I met Marc (now my co-founder) at work. After we became friends, I found out that he knew how to code and he was dabbling in some side projects. We discussed the idea of starting a business together and we were both pumped to do so.

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Christopher Gimmer, on starting Snappa ($85,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a luxury shoes business

Kartik Gurmule started KASA, which sells luxury shoes and is making $80,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business as a solo founder with no employees.

I started KASA as my first company as a 16 years teenager in the summer before high school, although it was not my first business. Since I was 12 years old, I traded social media accounts (Instagrams/Youtube) and gaming accounts, where I grew accounts with my friend and sold them to clients. We were making over $10,000 per month profit at that age.

When secondary school ended, I came to know about FlightClub, StockX, and Sneakerdon and got introduced to the sneaker culture around the world. With my connections made in the previous venture, I was able to get inside contacts in big sneaker brands who could supply me with the shoes skipping the waiting line.

But, due to strict Indian customs and taxations, this business failed in the first month itself. I was able to import the shoes at my home but was unable to sell for a good profit because it charged high custom fees and high international courier charges as potential customers were in the USA.

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Kartik Gurmule, on starting KASA ($80,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a dog onesie business

Tyson Walters started Shed Defeder , which sells dog onesie and is making $70,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 1 employee.

I came up with the idea in 2011 because I had a big hairy St. Bernard who was shedding like crazy.

My car and house were full of tumbleweeds of her hair and whenever I brought Harley other places such as a family member’s or a friend’s house they would complain about her hair getting everywhere.

If you can’t figure out the answer to a problem or don’t know where to start, find someone who is smarter than you to help you out.

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Tyson Walters, on starting Shed Defeder ($70,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a poster prints business

Humphrey Yang started Craft Oak, which sells poster prints and is making $60,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 3 employees.

My backstory is that I had quit my job at a mobile gaming company in Nov. 2016, where I had been working for nearly 3 years in monetization. My goal at that job was to monetize our users via in-app purchases based on data that was available to me within the game’s ecosystem.

To be honest, I had zero experience in e-Commerce, but I did know from my previous job that I was good at learning from data, setting up and creating experiments over and over again, and making business decisions with the information provided to me.

I had always wanted to "start" something on my own, and when I was talking about doing that in January of 2017, I was approached by a friend who wanted to also start something - but for him, it would be a side gig because he had a full-time job already. This friend would become my business partner, and still is a part of the business today - he would like to remain anonymous for the purpose of this Starter Story.

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Humphrey Yang, on starting Craft Oak ($60,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a cold email platform business

Arthur Backouche started COLDINBOX, which sells cold email platform and is making $35,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 0 employees.

I recently got my diploma in computer sciences and had the opportunity to move to Australia.

When I arrived in Sydney with $1,000 in my pocket, I spent 3 weeks looking every single day for a new job in growth/digital marketing.

It was a real challenge to engage with all the startups' CEOs in Sydney, and ask if they’re hiring for one reason: It’s a repetitive process.

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Arthur Backouche, on starting COLDINBOX ($35,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a content marketing business

Dani Mancini started Scribly.io, which sells content marketing and is making $30,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 3 employees.

Ok, this has the potential to be a long one, so maybe grab a cuppa or a coffee ☕.

I'm a first-time entrepreneur with a fairly eclectic background.

I studied French and Russian at uni (Oui, Я немного говорю по русски!) and began my career in policy design for the UK government. After 2 years of trying to fit in and failing terribly, I decided to jump ship and retrain as a UX designer.

I was terrified, but also fired up. I had zero experience of anything to do with being self-employed, I had literally never sent a manual invoice the day that I quit my job. I don't even think I had a business bank account by that point.

how-dani-mancini-transformed-her-freelance-gigs-into-a-saas-business

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Dani Mancini, on starting Scribly.io ($30,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a swin trunks business

Evan Waldenberg started Junk In Your Trunks, which sells swin trunks and is making $25,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 1 employee.

My background is in media and advertising; prior to this, I worked for three years as a consultant working on organizational design and strategic sales strategies for legacy media brands, digital media brands, and ad-tech firms.

It was definitely pretty interesting stuff and was an awesome gig, but I felt so distant from the fun marketing and branding side of things (AKA why I gravitated toward advertising in the first place) and so I got a little burnt out after grinding there for a few years.

I’m the type of person that has always had a million ideas for things I want to do (ideas for businesses to start and otherwise) and I had saved up a little bit of cash and had no real-life responsibilities so it felt like the right time to test myself and see if I could put some of these ideas to work.

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Evan Waldenberg, on starting Junk In Your Trunks ($25,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a chimney repair business

Mitchell Blackmon started Patriot Chimney, which sells chimney repair and is making $21,398 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 2 co-founders and has 5 employees.

When I was in college, I was involved in a lot of extracurricular activities and always working. When I graduated, frankly, I became bored after work. My mom owned a housekeeping company when I was younger and I thought that would be a good idea, so I created a housekeeping company and hired her and my aunt to work it. My brother, Matt, and I would talk about creating different businesses together since he was out of the Marines and we’d go back and forth between things like home health, more housekeeping, or even a landscaping company, but we never really could agree on one.

The most important thing you can do is communicate - who does what, set due dates that you all agree on, hold each other accountable, and create consequences for failures.

During this time, Matt started working for one of our competitors in the Roanoke valley and used his GI Bill to get certified through the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), which is the main chimney/dryer vent education association in the USA. After a while, Matt helped his friend Billy get a job at the same company. They noticed some shady practices, their paychecks bouncing, and their ideas to help grow the business were cast aside by the owner. They made it through the burn season (the busiest time in the industry) but that following summer they were let go.

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Mitchell Blackmon, on starting Patriot Chimney ($21,398 revenue/mo) full story

Start a cbd business

Jackson Jesionowski started FullBodyZen, which sells cbd and is making $17,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 4 employees.

Eight months ago I crashed snowboarding. Not your typical crash, the last thing I remember was thinking “I'm going too fast” approaching a jump and the next, waking up in a hospital throwing up violently. Afterward, I did not feel like myself, there was a substantial concussion and my cognitive abilities were lacking. I thought there had to be SOMETHING I should be taking.

how-i-left-college-to-start-a-17k-month-business-selling-cbd-hemp-products

Through my research, I found marijuana, CBD specifically, reduces the swelling that is causing damage to the neurons. I went shopping and boy were it expensive, to get the most bang for my buck I settled on vape juice, given its high bioavailability compared to oral products.

how-i-left-college-to-start-a-17k-month-business-selling-cbd-hemp-products

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Jackson Jesionowski, on starting FullBodyZen ($17,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a tutoring business

Adam Shlomi started SoFlo SAT Tutoring, which sells tutoring and is making $15,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 1 employee.

I come from an entrepreneurial family. My father works for himself and my maternal grandfather started a clothing factory. Working for myself has always been encouraged by my family, but before I could get started, I needed to learn a skill. At Georgetown, I study international politics and business. Most students with these backgrounds go on to work at prestigious firms like J.P. Morgan. I really didn’t know what kind of business I could start, and frankly, planned to work as a (boring) data analyst after graduation.

If you have an idea but don’t have the knowledge to execute, use that idea as motivation and go learn how to turn your vision into reality.

Tutoring first came to mind because I had spent significant time working for other tutoring companies and cutting my teeth/learning how the industry works during my teen years. I first started tutoring when I was 15. I was hired by College Experts, a local test prep center in Davie, Florida. My first student was three years older than me, and I spent our first session teaching him how to use his calculator rather than trying to explain any complicated formulas. Being a student myself, I was able to bring a student’s perspective to tutoring. I worked for College Experts until my senior year of high school when I began tutoring on my own and finding clients on Craigslist.

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Adam Shlomi, on starting SoFlo SAT Tutoring ($15,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a fine prints business

Artur Kurasiński started Astrography, which sells fine prints and is making $12,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 2 co-founders and has 2 employees.

As I mentioned earlier: luck. Adam never assumed that he would have something to do with the print business. When there were a lot of positive comments and then the matter went to the media: information about Adam's hobby appeared in the national media.

We couldn't leave it at that and decided that we would risk creating MVP - in our case, it was a simple website based on WordPress and WooCommerce. We connected a payment operator and...on the first day we sold our first job. We set ourselves a milestone that "if we have 10 sales a month, we'll take this business seriously". And it happened very quickly to our surprise.

how-we-started-a-12k-month-business-selling-cosmos-inspired-fine-prints

how-we-started-a-12k-month-business-selling-cosmos-inspired-fine-prints

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Artur Kurasiński, on starting Astrography ($12,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start an e-commerce marketing business

Zac Cherin started Sidekick, which sells e-commerce marketing and is making $12,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 2 employees.

During my last year of college at UC Santa Barbara, I started interning at a local startup called Graphiq. As chance would have it, my very first manager was Brendan: the co-founder of Sidekick!

how-we-started-a-12k-month-marketing-agency-for-ecommerces A blossoming friendship and partnership

Brendan and I spent about two years working together at Graphiq (first in Santa Barbara and then in New York) building data visualization products for clients like the Associated Press, Reuters, NBC, and Fox. In the Summer of 2017, Graphiq was acquired by Amazon. Brendan and I spent a year working at Amazon and then in June 2018, we left to start our own company…

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Zac Cherin, on starting Sidekick ($12,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a coaching business

Sinem Günel started Personal Growth Base, which sells coaching and is making $10,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 0 employees.

One and a half years after starting my studies in business administration I came into touch with entrepreneurship and I immediately knew that I wanted to dig deeper into how to build your own business and be your own boss.

So I started reading books, especially biographies, of successful entrepreneurs.

Pretty soon I found out there’s one major component all of them have in common: They all talk about their personal growth and how they had to improve themselves so that their businesses could grow.

This immediately triggered me and I started digging deeper into the topic of personal growth.

how-i-started-a-10k-month-personal-growth-advice-business

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Sinem Günel, on starting Personal Growth Base ($10,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a bed pillows business

Tracey Wallace started Doris Sleep, which sells bed pillows and is making $10,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business as a solo founder with no employees.

I’m lucky in that my family owns a cotton and bed pillow manufacturing company. My grandfather started in in 1956, and today it is run by my aunts and my mom. Soon, my brother and cousins will take it over. It’s the business that has given me everything in my life –– a nice house, a college education, family who could take off when needed to be there for important events.

Not all days will be winners in the beginning, but you are building something. You are breathing life into something. That takes time. That takes focus. That takes work. Give it everything you have!

My grandfather was raised in a shack in north Dallas, and after WWII, decided he needed to do something to provide for himself and his family now and for the future. And that’s exactly what he did. I’m incredibly grateful to him. He was my favorite person, and is still a mentor in how I navigate this life.

how-i-launched-a-direct-to-consumer-bed-pillow-business

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Tracey Wallace, on starting Doris Sleep ($10,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a home goods business

Nan, Wendy and Jessica started Ocochi, which sells home goods and is making $10,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 2 co-founders and has 3 employees.

We came up with the idea back in July 2016 when Wendy went out to China to spend a week with Jess who was living and working in Shanghai. It was on a trip to a nearby water town that we came across local women who were fluffing up handfuls of a candy floss looking fiber and using it to make duvets. This was where we discovered mulberry silk duvets.

The skill and artistry of the women were incredible, and we watched as they made everything by hand to the finest standards as exemplified in the fine stitching. We were enthralled and came away determined to find out more.

On our journey into the story behind mulberry silk, we also came across bamboo bedding and immediately fell in love with it because it, too, was sustainable, soft and beautiful to work with. We saw the two products as complementary, both in their environmentally friendly origins and in the way that they improve the quality of sleep.

how-we-started-a-10k-month-all-natural-bedding-brand

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Nan, Wendy and Jessica, on starting Ocochi ($10,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a marketing agency business

Sam Wilcox started Tribecto Automations, which sells marketing agency and is making $10,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business as a solo founder with no employees.

I’ve been in the sales and marketing space for over 10 years now, starting from the bottom and working my way up. I started out as a lot of sales professionals do, hitting the phone in a call center environment. I was pretty good at it but it wasn’t something that got me excited about getting out of bed in the morning so I decided I wanted to get involved with marketing and the agency space.

I should have prioritized my physical and mental health sooner. In the beginning, the business was all consuming. I was working extremely long days and not seeing much of the outside world.

I came up with the idea for Tribecto while working at InvisiblePPC a white label PPC agency. I had re-designed and re-built the sales process a few times while working there and had really learned how to wield the CRM and automation tools to build better experiences for our customers.

how-i-started-a-10k-month-business-developing-marketing-and-sales-automations

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Sam Wilcox, on starting Tribecto Automations ($10,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a freelance writing business

Arlie Peyton started Writing Income Accelerator, which sells freelance writing and is making $10,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 1 employee.

I came up with my idea after failing at a digital marketing course I bought for $1,000. When I was finished, I tried to apply what I learned but I forgot most of it. In a way, I thought the course was too good to be true. However, since I spent a lot on the course I decided to retake it and master the business model. I ended up getting my first client two weeks later and making good money. To this day, I still own a boutique marketing agency that provides a steady income for minimal work.

I thought the course was genius so I wrote the owner. I offered to do a free write-up on the course and what others have achieved. The owner was delighted with the idea and I got it published on Medium.com.

A few weeks later, that article went viral. Also, it got ranked on page #1 of Google for several key terms in the social media marketing agency (SMMA) industry. The owner was surprised and hired me to write other articles for him. This time I charged him!

how-i-started-a-10k-month-business-writing-custom-long-form-articles

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Arlie Peyton, on starting Writing Income Accelerator ($10,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a camerpervan transformation service business

Bryan and Jen Danger started ZENVANZ, which sells camerpervan transformation service and is making $8,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 3 employees.

As a part of our nomadic lifestyle, we built out a campervan simply to facilitate our own travels, whether it be a summer spent on the coast of Baja or chasing snow from mountain to mountain in the Canadian Rockies.

We really never had the intention of starting a business… In fact, we said no for a couple of years to those asking us to either buy our campervan or for us to build one for them. We loved the process and loved the idea of helping others to get out and enjoy more nature/adventure the way we had, but the idea of giving up some of our own freedom to go back to working in the shop simply wasn’t attractive.

Eventually, friends came to us and convinced us to start the business. To simply show them how to do what we had learned and for us to simply continue “marketing” the business as we already had been (by camping and attending events and simply talking to others who saw the van when we opened the doors). Those friends were also looking to make a transition in life as they wanted out of their 9-5s, and we saw it as an opportunity we couldn’t refuse- both to help them and to help others we had talked to about van builds over the years.

how-we-started-a-8k-month-business-transforming-campervans-while-traveling

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Bryan and Jen Danger, on starting ZENVANZ ($8,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a sports data business

Tyler M started Moneypicks, which sells sports data and is making $8,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business as a solo founder with no employees.

I started betting on sports during the World Cup South Africa in 2008. Like 99% of bettors I was completely over my head. I spent the next 10 years learning the hard way. I would not be writing this paragraph if I didn’t go through lots of losing. Humans only learn when we fail. Remember that.

I never went into this to make money. I was just helping people. Doing this gained the trust of my community before I ever asked for a dollar, so when I finally did start charging business flooded through the door.

Among my friends it got around that I had sharp picks. I started off by texting the picks to my friends for years. When the list of people getting picks got to be too much work a friend suggested I make an Instagram page to get them out.

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Tyler M, on starting Moneypicks ($8,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a hot sauce business

Theo Lee started KPOP Foods, which sells hot sauce and is making $6,500 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 5 employees.

Growing up in Korean American families, we were fortunate to be surrounded by Korean food all the time. However, along with the food, an important principle that was instilled in us was the connection between Korean food and family, friends, and fun.

Mike and I met at business school at UCLA Anderson where we would take large groups of friends to Koreatown in Los Angeles to enjoy Korean food. Along with enjoying the food, our friends embraced the Korean culture and the energetic atmosphere.

This is what sparked the idea for KPOP Foods. We wanted to replicate the sensory and social experience our friends had at Korean BBQ and share it with the world!

how-two-students-made-100k-bringing-korean-hot-sauce-to-america

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Theo Lee, on starting KPOP Foods ($6,500 revenue/mo) full story

Start a patches business

Cailey Golden started The Patchsmith, which sells patches and is making $6,500 revenue/mo.

They started the business as a solo founder with no employees.

I’ve been in the customization industry for over 10 years. I started with screen printing first. Eventually I was hired to work for the Yankees and was taught how to embroider caps. A company reached out to me for a production embroidery job and I accepted. I was taught how to run production but was left alone a lot. I ended up teaching myself a lot of different embroidery methods, it was also the place I made my first patch. I ended up creating patches for my supporters club of the local MLS team, NYCFC, and sold them for $7 each. I stopped after a few months and didn’t think about patches for awhile.

In 2017 I was going through a huge change in my life, a previous employer in the City attempted to permanently remove me from the industry, very unsuccessfully. I’d say it’s part of the reason why I’ve been able to be as successful as I have been so far. I spent months grasping at straws to come up with a business idea that I knew could do while keeping my mind busy while I was on a rollercoaster of repercussions from that employer.

I was in the bank one day after work and was sitting down with a representative, I did that a few months prior with the same guy and we spoke a bit about my career. This time he asked me if I was able to embroider patches for his fantasy football league called “Fight Club”. It was the first time anyone had ever asked for patches, I had no idea what to charge him but I knew I could definitely do it. I said yes and charged him $6 per patch for 25 of them. He was all too excited and agreed. I had no idea if I undercharged, overcharged or was right on the money but it was too easy. I was completely hooked.

how-i-m-turning-my-patch-embroidery-side-project-into-a-full-time-business

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Cailey Golden, on starting The Patchsmith ($6,500 revenue/mo) full story

Start a courses business

Bram Kanstein started No-Code MVP, which sells courses and is making $6,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business as a solo founder with no employees.

Ever since I was younger, like 15 or 16, I’ve been using the internet to find new products and services to try out. I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of time: “why are people spending time on this idea or product?”. Time is our most scarce asset, even if I see an idea that seems invaluable to me, there are still people spending time on it. So there must something there that they believe in, right? As a side-business, I was selling self burned CDs with music I got from Napster, and from the proceeds, we threw parties for our friends.

It seems that when I was 18 and had to choose a study to follow, I totally didn’t realize that I could actually pursue a path of digital and online entrepreneurship. So after starting and quitting the study of political science after four months, followed by two years of med school, I decided to drop out again. I went backpacking in Australia and realized I forgot what I liked as a kid. I came back to Amsterdam and finished a study called “Communication and Multimedia Design” where I learned how to look at markets, spot trends, come up with ideas, create prototypes (basic coding), create videos, write marketing and business plans, etc. Basically everything you need to know to go from idea to business (in theory of course ;)).

I wrote my final paper on the Lean Startup Methodology while working on a product idea at The Next Web, then worked at a small investor for 2.5 years, launched Startup Stash (1.000.000+ users), worked at Product Hunt, freelanced for startups, launched a growth marketing agency, got burned out, became a Lean Innovation coach at one of The Netherland’s biggest banks, Sold Startup Stash, Sold another side-project, then became a father and took time off as you have read above! This is the short summary, I threw away around 20 ideas I had in the meantime.

creating-and-launching-a-6000-month-course-as-a-stay-at-home-dad

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Bram Kanstein, on starting No-Code MVP ($6,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a design services business

Mimi Council started Above 8000 Creative, which sells design services and is making $6,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 2 employees.

I realized that Delaney and I were constantly getting asked by friends for “help” or “advice” when starting a business or side project. We realized we were helping out friends and doling out advice when we could be getting paid for it.

Our friends noticed the success and great branding we had at our bakery, Dessert’D Organic Bake Shop, and asked who we were using for certain things. When we said “us” for all those frequently asked questions, I realized we should be doing this for other people’s businesses.

how-we-went-from-side-hustle-to-profitable-agency

how-we-went-from-side-hustle-to-profitable-agency

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Mimi Council, on starting Above 8000 Creative ($6,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a natural supplements business

Ronell Firouz started Pilly Labs, which sells natural supplements and is making $5,500 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 1 employee.

I’ve heard it a million times… “you’re starting a business that sells WHAT?! There’s literally no way you’ll follow through with that.” Well, in order to understand why I got that reaction so often, I’ll have to give you all some context.

For the past three years, I worked as an investment banker at my company’s Consumer division. That means I had the privilege of advising on everything from IPO’s, mergers, acquisitions, and growth equity raises for some of the coolest consumer companies around in a lot of unique verticals - cosmetics, nutraceuticals, apparel, footwear, you name it.

You will hear “No” a million times. People will laugh. People will reject you. People will say your business idea is bad. But instead of proving them right, use that negativity as fuel to prove them wrong.

starting-a-5k-month-supplement-brand-while-holding-down-an-80-hr-week-job

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Ronell Firouz, on starting Pilly Labs ($5,500 revenue/mo) full story

Start a button downs business

Steve Radke started Short Steve Button Downs, which sells button downs and is making $5,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 1 employee.

My backstory took a turn when I started this because I was working in commercial real estate and had no experience in the apparel or fashion industries. The abridged version is that I was born and raised in Pittsburgh. I went to college at Villanova University and upon graduation in 2013, I took a job in Baltimore with a commercial real estate investment advisory firm.

I have no background in apparel or fashion, so I did what any millennial with a question does, I Googled it. I typed in ‘How to make a shirt?’

I lived in Baltimore for four and a half years before moving up to New York City in June 2018 to work for a commercial real estate development firm that constructed the building next to Katz’s Deli. In September 2018, while working my full-time role in real estate, I came up with the idea that would become Short Steve Button Downs. From there, I legally formed the company in January 2019 and quit my job in real estate in May 2019 in order to pursue this full-time.

quitting-my-job-to-start-a-short-sleeve-button-down-brand

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Steve Radke, on starting Short Steve Button Downs ($5,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a boxer briefs business

Krystian Frencel started Bunch of Animals, which sells boxer briefs and is making $5,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business as a solo founder with no employees.

In late 2014, I came across a very unique underwear brand from Australia, Stonemen Underwear. I think I found them on Instagram.

What really drew me to the underwear were the seamless prints which looked like pieces of art sprawling across like a painting on a canvas.

how-we-built-a-boxer-briefs-brand-to-5k-month-with-zero-experience

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Krystian Frencel, on starting Bunch of Animals ($5,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a tourist visa information business

Hari Krishna Dulipudi started Visa List, which sells tourist visa information and is making $5,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business as a solo founder with no employees.

I quit my job in 2017 as a product manager and started travelling to new countries and building products along the way. I had been working on my second micro start-up, ACrypto, back then. It was successful and was generating basic income for me. It was during one of my travel plans to the Philippines, I realised how difficult the whole visa process is. Two months before my trip, I searched on Google and found that it’s visa-free, so I booked my flights and hotel accommodation. I don't know why but I searched for the same thing a week before my travel date and found that what I saw was a Google snippet and it was for Singapore citizens and in fact visa is required for Indian. So I had to rush to the embassy which was not in my city. I ended up talking to multiple visa agencies where every promised different time frames and prices. At the end, there was a holiday in the Philippines and the embassy was closed and I couldn't get my visa and I ended up cancelling the trip.

Soon I realized that you need a visa to get into most of the countries and that, while a few have Visa on Arrival (VOA), most require that you go through their embassy in your home country. I wanted to find the countries I could go to without having to wait three weeks to get a visa, so I did some research. I had to wade through a few blogs and websites, but I eventually found a list with the information I need, and off I went! After a few months, I wanted to travel to another country, but I’d lost the original list I’d found so I had to start my research all over again. Luckily, I found a new site that listed even more countries offering VOA.

A friend of mine told me that when he was researching visa information for Vietnam, he found almost 10 websites with a .gov address, which was really confusing. In my own research, I found that many blogs don’t have links to official embassy websites, which is ultimately unhelpful.

how-i-launched-a-5k-month-website-about-tourist-visas-and-got-150k-users-in-the-first-month

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Hari Krishna Dulipudi, on starting Visa List ($5,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a natural beauty products business

Mel young started Flowerdale Valley, which sells natural beauty products and is making $5,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business as a solo founder with no employees.

I always wanted to work for myself. So I was always thinking about business ideas. Not everyone wants to work for themselves and not everyone is suited to the lifestyle, so if you have the dream, make sure you pursue it!

My business started when I was working as a cook at a local reception venue. A bride wanted some local honey wedding favors, which I provided. Doing this made me find a jar supplier, register my home kitchen as a food premise, prepare an invoice, etc.

From here, I began selling honey to the public and then I experimented with other ideas (making jam, personalized wedding favors, etc) before going into skincare. I had quite a few failures in this period!

how-a-mother-of-two-started-a-5k-month-skincare-business-from-home

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Mel young , on starting Flowerdale Valley ($5,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a sneakers reseller business

Chris Casseday started 513 Kicks, which sells sneakers reseller and is making $5,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 1 employee.

Growing up I was a huge Michael Jordan fan. The 90s were dominated by the Chicago Bulls (except when Michael decided to play baseball), and I soaked it all in. Being such a fan of MJ, I would always notice what shoes he was wearing on the court. Naturally, I had to have whatever pair he was wearing. At this point, the Air Jordan line was already well-established in the market, but nothing compared to what we see today.

Do not let someone else determine your success. It can be easy to look at similar businesses and make assumptions that they are better than yours, causing you to get discouraged.

I have vivid memories of going to a local sneaker store, typically Just For Feet, with my dad. If anyone remembers this store, they were famous for having a basketball hoop inside. This meant that you could take your new kicks for a spin before walking out of the door. It was simply the best.

how-i-started-a-side-hustle-reselling-sneakers-for-profit

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Chris Casseday, on starting 513 Kicks ($5,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a t-shirts business

Chris Durso started The Foodnited States, which sells t-shirts and is making $5,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business as a solo founder with no employees.

The Foodnited States actually started as an idea from my then 8-yr-old son, Cameron. His idea to “make each state out of food” turned into a photo series that I developed and it eventually went viral on Instagram in 2015.

FoodnitedStates.com launched on Shopify in summer of 2017 on a shoestring. I designed it, built it and promoted it myself -- taking only a chunk out of a credit card.

The story of the Foodnited States was mentioned on The Today Show and featured on Newsday, Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler and many others. Cameron and I were even able to score an appearance on The Rachael Ray Show.

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Chris Durso, on starting The Foodnited States ($5,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a dress shirts business

Tanya Zhang started Nimble Made, which sells dress shirts and is making $5,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 0 employees.

Born and raised in LA, I have STEM education in Interdisciplinary Computing & the Arts from UC San Diego and Minor in Writing. I started my career as an art director working on integrated creative ad campaigns at TBWA\CHIAT\DAY NY. I moved on to be the first brand hire at fintech start-up Better.com. Most recently, I was a Senior UX/UI (user-centric interaction design and user experience) consultant advising for financial services clients at Ernst & Young LLP.

There are so many obstacles to overcome and take on on a daily basis and having the perseverance to get through them is, honestly, most of the battle.

My co-founder Wesley Kang is a slimmer Taiwanese-American who was at the time working in finance and had to wear a dress shirt every day to work. He often had a hard time finding a well-fitting dress shirt off-the-rack that fit his build at 5’5” in height and 140 lbs in weight. I saw the same issue with my father who immigrated to the states from China and always stated that “American dress shirts didn’t fit [him]” because they were either too baggy, long in length, or had excess fabric when tucked at the waist. Traditional dress shirt retailers size through a function of neck size and sleeve length e.g. 14.5” neck / 32 sleeve length (usually the smallest size offered… which was still too large for Wesley) and we knew we could create something better for slimmer guys who’ve felt averaged out by the dress shirt industry.

how-we-started-a-5k-month-actually-slim-dress-shirts-brand

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Tanya Zhang, on starting Nimble Made ($5,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a sports coaching business

Sarah Wolfer started Girl Boss Sports, which sells sports coaching and is making $4,759 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 1 employee.

As an athlete and coach myself, I have experienced many situations that left me feeling dismayed at the state of affairs for women and girls involved in sports. I recall one such instance where I was playing at a very competitive level and the head coach screamed at me from 2 inches away with every expletive he could think of in front of our entire team because I asked him a question about the drill that was being done. I still vividly remember the spittle flying out of his mouth and hitting me in the face and not knowing what to do. The powerlessness I felt at that moment, coupled with the lack of appropriate response by the system when I reported him left me feeling hopeless for my future in sports. I ended up quitting soccer and refused to touch a ball for an entire year.

On the coaching side - as someone with 16 years of experience now, there are still instances in which I am treated differently than my male counterparts. One such example was when I was on the sideline waiting for the referee to come over and check my team prior to the start of the game. I was dressed in my coaching attire, had the whistle around my neck, the clipboard in my hand, and the player cards ready to be presented when the referee walked over to our sideline. He made eye contact with me and then proceeded to walk over the dad who happened to be on our side tying his daughter’s shoe and assumed that he was the coach.

Take time for yourself! Being an entrepreneur is hard work and you can’t do it to the best of your ability if you haven’t taken time for yourself to rest and rejuvenate. Self-care is integral to success.

how-i-started-a-4-8k-month-business-offering-sports-coaching-services-by-women

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Sarah Wolfer, on starting Girl Boss Sports ($4,759 revenue/mo) full story

Start a pet portraits business

Sarah Miller started sarahpaintspets, which sells pet portraits and is making $4,500 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 1 employee.

No one believes me when I say this, but I had never taken an art class before starting a career as an artist. I’ve always been a doodler in class, but nothing much beyond that.

Understanding the WHY of what you’re doing is the most important thing. Your purpose will guide you forward because without having to question yourself, you are free from fear and doubt holding you back.

It all started my junior year of college when I decided to paint my boyfriend’s cat for our one-year anniversary in November 2016. The deciding factors were that Charlie is obsessed with his cat Merlin and I was too broke to buy him anything nice.

sarah-miller-started-a-business-selling-her-own-artwork-online

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Sarah Miller, on starting sarahpaintspets ($4,500 revenue/mo) full story

Start a pet portraits business

Sarah Miller started sarahpaintspets, which sells pet portraits and is making $4,500 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 1 employee.

ama-with-sarah-miller-founder-of-4-500k-month-custom-pet-portraits

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Sarah Miller, on starting sarahpaintspets ($4,500 revenue/mo) full story

Start an user design inspiration business

Ramy Khuffash started Page Flows, which sells user design inspiration and is making $4,487 revenue/mo.

They started the business as a solo founder with no employees.

I studied accounting and information systems at university, but by the time I graduated I realized I didn’t want to be an accountant or work in Information Systems. After a few years of working various jobs, experimenting with WordPress, and co-founding a failed consumer startup, I started my path as a web developer.

Throughout my career, I built side projects to improve my skills and make progress towards starting a business of my own. One of those side projects was a newsletter called UI Movement, which is a design inspiration newsletter. It was by far my most successful side project and quickly gained thousands of subscribers after launching on Product Hunt.

If you’re a solo founder, I also highly recommend joining a mastermind group. I and two other founders get on a call every Monday. Having a group of likeminded people to keep me accountable has been massively helpful.

how-i-started-a-4-5k-month-website-with-user-flow-design-inspiration

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Ramy Khuffash, on starting Page Flows ($4,487 revenue/mo) full story

Start a robes business

Evan and Jackie Streusand started Highway Robery, which sells robes and is making $10,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 0 employees.

We are Jackie and Evan Streusand - a married couple, living in Austin, Texas. (When not robe-ing) Jackie works as an interior designer for SLIC Design. Evan has owned and operated a sustainable women’s shoe brand called Fortress of Inca since 2010. Highway Robery was the inevitable outcome of our combined powers - Jackie (design + production) and Evan (business development + marketing).

Early in the summer of 2016 we took a road trip out to west Texas and spent a few days taking scenic drives and lounging around. There were a pair of colorful robes in the place that we were staying and naturally, we put them on. For the better part of the next few days they didn't really come off. We ate in them, we drank in them, we yada yada'd in them, and we slept in them. We had a great time and eventually we came back home to Austin.

That first $7,000 is all we have ever put into the business. We have grown it organically since then. As they say, slow and steady wins the race.

how-this-couple-launched-a-premium-robe-business

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Evan and Jackie Streusand, on starting Highway Robery ($10,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start an adventure blog business

Jessica Serna started My Curly Adventures, which sells adventure blog and is making $4,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 1 employee.

Two years ago I was working a 9-5 and while I loved it, with limited PTO I couldn't jetset around the world.

In order to cure my wanderlust I would look for places close to home that I could visit. I would go sand surfing at Monahans, go on a safari in Glen Rose, try cuisines from around the world in Houston, and visit the wine country in Fredericksburg. I would post pictures on my social media for fun. I had also worked as a semi-professional photographer so I did have photography experience.

how-i-started-a-niche-blog-and-quit-my-9-to-5-job

how-i-started-a-niche-blog-and-quit-my-9-to-5-job

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Jessica Serna, on starting My Curly Adventures ($4,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a niche e-commerce business

Amanda Austin started Little Shop of Miniatures, which sells niche e-commerce and is making $4,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business as a solo founder with no employees.

I was unhappily working in marketing for a Fortune 500 insurance company when I started looking at ways to create a new income stream. I became interested in ecommerce and invested in a course to learn more. I compiled a list of keywords for products that had decent search volume and not terribly competitive to rank for in organic search. I used Long Tail Pro to get ideas--I had so many when I first started!

My business is a small, mostly passive income stream and I’m okay with that. There is so much more I could be doing with my store, but right now I am loving the extra income stream that allows me to work part-time at my day job and spend more time with my infant daughter.

A bunch of keywords in the dollhouse miniatures space fit the bill. I used Long Tail Pro and looked for keywords that were competitive--which on there is a score in the twenties or low thirties. I also wanted them to have at least 2,000 searches per month. This is not a ton, but five keywords with that search volume that are not that competitive can lead to a decent number of organic traffic if you build your site the right way. My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to find a niche with a nice handful of keywords you can rank for with quality content and a nice backlinking strategy. Don’t try to be number one for some saturated keyword that has a million searches a month. Go for keywords where you stand a chance of ranking--this is usually so-called long tail keywords that are really phrases--for example, “wooden dollhouse furniture” instead of just “dollhouse.”

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Amanda Austin, on starting Little Shop of Miniatures ($4,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a business writing services business

Daniel Waldman started Daniel Waldman Writing, which sells business writing services and is making $3,500 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 1 employee.

I started my career wanting to be a magazine editor. After I finished college, I got my first job as an editor at a vanity press, where people essentially pay to have their work published. It was possibly one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had. Editing really poorly written poetry made me want to poke my eyes out, and the pay was almost nothing.

Too often, I see entrepreneurs who are more interested in being an entrepreneur than building a business. They spend a lot of time and energy talking about their business, but not actually doing things that will contribute to the bottom line.

At the time, it was the first dot com boom, and I became really interested in how people were using this new communication channel and how ideas spread online. I decided to go back to school to get my Masters in Communications. While I was there, I attended an event at my school’s career center where an SVP of Ketchum was talking about a career in PR. Everything she said sounded exactly what I wanted to do professionally, and so I dove into

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Daniel Waldman, on starting Daniel Waldman Writing ($3,500 revenue/mo) full story

Start a hair gel business

Nathan Failla started PocketGel, which sells hair gel and is making $2,500 revenue/mo.

They started the business as a solo founder with no employees.

When I started my senior year at Duquesne University, the plan was to continue my education in law school. I had a dual major in Legal Studies and Entrepreneurial Studies in order to become a lawyer to help small businesses. But I always knew that starting a business was a goal that I always had and PocketGel came to me at the right time, when I started to discover that law school wasn’t for me.

I always knew that starting a business was a goal that I always had and PocketGel came to me at the right time, when I started to discover that law school wasn’t for me.

The idea of PocketGel was a chance moment while I was a senior at Duquesne. That moment happened when I was meeting my family for dinner on a typical, rainy day in Pittsburgh. I was going to walk to the restaurant to meet them there, but the hair styling product I just put in my hair would be ruined by the rain.

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Nathan Failla, on starting PocketGel ($2,500 revenue/mo) full story

Start a sex toys business

Liam Valentine started Sex Toys For Men Co., which sells sex toys and is making $2,400 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 2 co-founders and has 0 employees.

So now you’re probably wondering… why in the world are we in this business? And how did we get started?

Well, we’re glad you asked.

We’d already been involved in the internet marketing world for several years and we were interested in trying out a different niche.

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Liam Valentine, on starting Sex Toys For Men Co. ($2,400 revenue/mo) full story

Start a resume writing services business

Alex Benjamin started Recruiter Written, which sells resume writing services and is making $2,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 1 employee.

Supporting the pharmaceutical industry over the last 13 years has taught me a couple of lessons. First, hiring is cyclical and it is much better to passively search for a new position while things are going well, rather than waiting until you are miserable, or even worse, laid off. Second, being highly educated and well-compensated doesn’t necessarily provide strong resume writing abilities.

As a recruiter, the average vacancy that I support requires at least five years of a very specific set of skills and pays over $100k+ (some above $300k). After reviewing hundreds of thousands of resumes, it was abundantly clear that resume writing is a unique skill that most people don’t necessarily possess. Year after year, speaking with insanely talented people whose resumes were subpar at best, was enough motivation to start researching the process of setting up my own company.

The major challenge was that working a full-time job along with helping my wife raise our two young daughters didn’t leave a lot of time for another endeavor. Creating a side hustle that allowed flexible hours (nights and weekends) was a must!

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Alex Benjamin, on starting Recruiter Written ($2,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start an educational products business

Alex Bricker started ESL With Purpose, which sells educational products and is making $1,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business as a solo founder with no employees.

I started teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) during my undergraduate studies on a volunteer level. Over time, I acquired a TEFL certification and more experience while working other full-time jobs and growing my skills in other interests. My heart, however, was always drawn to hanging out with international friends and helping them improve their English.

Don’t give up. If I would have quit when I lost $17,000, I wouldn’t have learned anything. It was a good educational moment. Failure does not define your business. How you respond to situations does define it.

Phrase It grew out of need to enhance student learning in a fun and dynamic way. Specifically, I developed a dice game to help English language learners through the use of phrasal verbs. Then it turned into a card game.

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Alex Bricker, on starting ESL With Purpose ($1,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a subscription box business

Meredith Vaish started Pause Box LLC, which sells subscription box and is making $1,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business as a solo founder with no employees.

In June 2018, I left my corporate gig after 16 years. I had a severe repetitive stress injury in my neck and shoulder that just wasn’t improving. I figured there was no way cubicle culture was going to allow me to get better. I told colleagues I was leaving to pursue “creative projects.”

Don’t wait until you know what you’re doing. Just start. Say yes more than you say no.

Those projects turned out to include naps, walks with my dog, cooking healthy meals, journaling, yoga, meditation and a series of personal growth courses.

how-i-launched-a-1k-month-business-helping-people-to-take-a-break

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Meredith Vaish, on starting Pause Box LLC ($1,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a laptop stand business

Aidan Breen started Posture, which sells laptop stand and is making $1,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 1 employee.

When I finished in university in the west of Ireland, I moved with my partner to Dublin to try and grow my business. It was a massive change for us, coming from small towns to the big city, and living in really cramped shared accommodation.

I spent most of my time going to startup and business networking events, which was exhausting as an introvert who had just spent 4 years working alone on a PhD. When I had time (and energy…) I took on short-term freelance projects. I worked at hot-desks, open workspaces and snuck into university libraries - anything to get out of the house and get my name out there.

It was a pretty tough time. My future was far from certain. My business wasn’t making very much money so I depended on my partner’s salary as a part-time teacher. On top of that, my first client refused to pay me for three months of work! I was so eager to get a client at the time, I didn’t bother with a deposit.

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Aidan Breen, on starting Posture ($1,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a men's underwear business

Zaid Shahatit started Nooks, which sells men's underwear and is making $800 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 1 employee.

I was always going to go to med school as far back as I remember. I busted my a-- in high school and university - balanced fitness with a good GPA, extra-curricular, research, etc. Unfortunately, I applied and didn’t get in, so I decided to start working on a Masters Degree in Genetics and Bipolar Disorder research. Although it’s still currently my “day job”, I have to say that I really didn’t like having to go somewhere 9-5 and waste 3 hours a day on a commute.

I’ve always wanted to start selling online. I looked at brands like Chubbies and Dr. Squatch and absolutely loved their humor-packed marketing to regular guys. Fast forward to needing to buy underwear, and I remember not really connecting to brands like Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger - they show ripped dudes with 10-pack abs and play off of “sexy” marketing. Although they do cater to a certain segment of the market, and clearly their marketing works, I thought that “regular guys” (including me) were being underserved. Plus, their materials are either cotton (which isn’t very… ”friendly”) or synthetic materials. Both of them are uncomfortable, get sweaty and are generally unpleasant to wear.

Here’s a simple test to see if you really connect with a brand. Ask yourself “what underwear am I wearing?”. I’m willing to bet that for most guys, they don’t really know. When it comes to underwear, most guys don’t consider what they’re wearing. All they know is that it’s something you wear under your clothes. I thought - hey, let me try to get guys excited about underwear.

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Zaid Shahatit, on starting Nooks ($800 revenue/mo) full story

Start a journaling cards business

Jared Gold started PurposeCards, which sells journaling cards and is making $300 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 0 employees.

I think I first caught the entrepreneurial bug like most people...I read The Four Hour Workweek (or rather, listened on Audible) back when I was 22, just graduated college, and absolutely hated my job.

Since then, I have been self-employed in stints of multiple years, as well as had the chance to work at two very successful tech startups here in DC.

I have a lot of ideas come into my head with the context of “This should exist.”

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Jared Gold, on starting PurposeCards ($300 revenue/mo) full story

Start an online exercise business

Stephen Bilko started Exercise Simple, which sells online exercise and is making $0 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 1 employee.

I’ve been a teacher and coach since 2005. I was actually a high school English teacher and basketball coach, in my younger years; before I became a trainer and entrepreneur. I’ve worked with thousands of people, from every corner of the earth. Most of us, want to be healthy. Most of us, are kinda lazy though too. And so I just always knew we needed to build something that appealed to that market -- folks who internally really do care about their health, but have been failed by the traditional institutions. Most of us don’t like going to a gym, don’t have time to go to a gym, or don’t have the means to have a gym membership .. and I was adamant on building a tool to help people.

I was reading the Steve Jobs’ biography in 2012 and his insistence on simplicity; in design, in UX, in well, everything. It’s the maxim attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” … and that was a lightbulb moment for this.

So much of the traditional methods rely on going somewhere to exercise, or buying workouts with super fit people in them, or clicking through page after page after page of in-app workouts. My wife walked into our office, and I remember saying to her, “it is exercise, simple -- that’s how we help people!”

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Stephen Bilko, on starting Exercise Simple ($0 revenue/mo) full story
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Starter Story,   Founder of Starter Story