33 Low Investment Business Ideas To Start In Massachusetts

Looking to start a business in Massachusetts, but you're not quite sure what to start?

To start, building your own business should be a direct result of something you’re passionate about and something you truly believe in.

We've put together 33 low investment business ideas to start in Massachusetts, and hopefully, you'll find a few that will really peak your interest!

Hightop gym sneakers ($35K/mo)

Darin Hager started Heyday Footwear, a Hightop Gym Sneakers business. They are now doing $35,000/month.

  • Location: Framingham, Massachusetts, USA
  • Revenue: $35,000/ month
  • Started: over 6 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 2

As a footwear designer, I couldn’t find the sneaker style I craved at retail and my designs were being hindered by the corporate footwear brands I’d been designing for a day in and day out for over 10 years. In 2007, I set out on my own to do what few other footwear designers had achieved; create my own sneaker brand, on my terms and by myself.

Today, Heyday Footwear designs produce and sell directly to consumer, design-driven performance high top gym sneakers for the freshest in fitness. Our customers are at the pinnacle of bodybuilding and fitness in all its forms or aspire to be. We combine flat soles needed by athletes and outstanding comfort that will enhance your gains with innovative designs and premium materials. We boost our customer's confidence by knowing they have the freshest kicks in the gym.

Heyday is only available online via our website. We cut out the middle man (the stores), so we (the brand) can bring our amazing, premium fitness sneakers directly to you (the customer) at an amazing (not premium) price. People want what nobody else has, and with production limited to just a few hundred pairs per style, you're guaranteed to be part of an exclusive family. As owner and Chief Everything Officer, I guarantee that our customers receive the most outstanding customer service they've ever experienced.

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Darin Hager, on starting Heyday Footwear ($35,000/month) full story ➜

Professional therapeutic cuddling. ($4.2K/mo)

Samantha Varnerin started Snuggle with Sam, a Professional therapeutic cuddling. business. They are now doing $4,200/month.

  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  • Revenue: $4,200/ month
  • Started: about 4 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

I stumbled upon professional cuddling by sheer accident while looking at a newsletter from Jason Zook (during my work hours in my freezing office at my day job) where he mentioned it in passing but made a point to say professional cuddlers was a real job that people get paid for.

About 300 people filled out the application form within a week of the article going live, and that was the starting point of what is now Snuggle with Sam, which about four months after the article went live I began to pursue full-time.

I remember thinking, “No it’s not. I’m gonna Google this right now and it’s not going to exist because if it does I’d be so good at it.” I was living paycheck to paycheck and getting burried in student loan debt, and since I found an agency that would have me charge $80/hour, I signed up with the first agency I saw on Google and applied, asking if I can do this around my full-time job (note: I do not recommend you do what I did).

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Samantha Varnerin, on starting Snuggle with Sam ($4,200/month) full story ➜

Automated management consulting. ($20K/mo)

Akhil Suresh Nair started Xena Intelligence by Parzenn Partners, a Automated management consulting. business. They are now doing $20,000/month.

  • Location: City of Westminster, England, United Kingdom
  • Revenue: $20,000/ month
  • Started: over 2 years ago
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 0

I had a couple of years of experience working for a large corporation back in India. I genuinely felt that I was just a cog in the wheel and that whatever I did had little to no impact in the real world.

We were at a crossroads at that time – filled with constant self-doubt about the career path we wanted to take. We could have easily applied for corporate jobs in the US or in India, but we chose to follow our hearts by continuing to work in our consulting business.

I reached out to a few small businesses I had developed good relationships during my corporate career and started helping them out on developing marketing strategy to scale their businesses and also to instill robust operational efficiencies in their business processes. I realized that I was able to add considerable value to their businesses and that I felt a sense of satisfaction in being able to make their lives better. I soon started consulting for over 20 small businesses in India.

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Akhil Suresh Nair, on starting Xena Intelligence by Parzenn Partners ($20,000/month) full story ➜

Outsourced marketing services ($700K/mo)

Chris Ciunci started TribalVision, a Outsourced Marketing Services business. They are now doing $700,000/month.

  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  • Revenue: $700,000/ month
  • Started: almost 11 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 70

Along with my partner Damien Cabral, I led the marketing efforts of a well-known Federal Savings Bank in Rhode Island. As the CMO, I was responsible for managing a multi-million dollar budget and was constantly approached by creative agencies who were trying to get their piece of it by selling me a variety of expensive creative that was, from our perspective, unnecessary. From an ROI perspective, the often recommended investments that were difficult to measure, which doesn’t align with an environment like finance where data determines the majority of business decisions. My experience with this substantial disconnect--what the average marketing agency wants to sell organizations, versus what those organizations actually need, fueled my desire to start a different type of marketing firm. From TribalVision’s start, we’ve strived to align our business with our clients’ objectives, placing a heavy focus on lead generation.

The leaders that form on your team are going to shape your internal culture which will ultimately decide how successful your business is.

Since I wanted to keep TribalVision’s focus on your client’s needs, I refrained from pursuing or accepting outside funding. Instead, I funded TribalVision’s launch with the little money I had saved up for this sort of effort. With a 12-month runway and very little else, I began working out of a local Borders bookstore and signed my first client for $2K/month soon thereafter. In the early days, while I was functioning as a one-man shop, I would meet with Damien on a monthly basis to continue to flesh out the business and finetune the model. Once TribalVision grew to a place where he and I felt that the business could support 2 employees, he joined TribalVision in an official capacity. Fast forward to four years later the organization had a healthy roster of thirty-five clients with twenty-five employees, spread over four offices and three countries. Today, those numbers have continued to grow. We now serve over eighty clients and employ seventy-five full-time marketing specialists.

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Chris Ciunci, on starting TribalVision ($700,000/month) full story ➜

Lockers on wheels ($34K/mo)

Molly O’Connor started The Mobile Locker Co, a Lockers on wheels business. They are now doing $34,000/month.

  • Location: Weymouth, Massachusetts, USA
  • Revenue: $34,000/ month
  • Started: about 6 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 2

As a runner I was experiencing a need for a more secure, more convenient option for my valuables and gear at road races. Scratching my own itch, I launched the service with a focus solely on running events in New England.

Utilizing my connections with other runners and syncing up with event organizers, we tested the concept for 8 months with a locker trailer before bringing the trucks on the road and rebranding as The Mobile Locker Co.

The initial launch with the locker trailer was self-funded from my personal savings. This allowed us to test our systems with minimal overhead and also gather real world feedback on the concept. Luckily, it was well received and we were able to secure funding to get our first two trucks on the road from personal connections through my two initial sweat-equity partners.

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Molly O’Connor, on starting The Mobile Locker Co ($34,000/month) full story ➜

Web design and seo services. ($20K/mo)

Scott Bishop started Up And Social, a web design and SEO services. business. They are now doing $20,000/month.

  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  • Revenue: $20,000/ month
  • Started: over 6 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

I began my business career with the family in-store sampling business, C.A. Courtesy, in the 1990s, while at the same time attending college at Johnson and Wales University, where I pursued a degree in Web Management & Internet Commerce.

I’ve always had a knack for marketing and technology, and when I left C.A. Courtesy, I was the Vice President of Marketing and Technology.

People don’t remember what you say as much as they remember how they felt when you said it.

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Scott Bishop, on starting Up And Social ($20,000/month) full story ➜

Personalized poetry at events ($35K/mo)

Daniel Zaltsman and Erick Szentmiklosy started The Haiku Guys & Gals, a Personalized Poetry At Events business. They are now doing $35,000/month.

  • Location: Remote
  • Revenue: $35,000/ month
  • Started: ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 2

People always ask us if we’re poets or writers. The short answer is yes, but it wasn’t always that way. In our adolescent years, we both wrote poetry here and there but individually decided we were pretty bad at it. Erick even failed poetry class in high school. Erick comes from Hungarian and Colombian parents, grew up skateboarding, listening to rock, and reading Henry Miller in Dover, NJ. Daniel was born in Saint Petersburg, emigrated to the US and grew up in Cliffside Park, NJ performing in Russian plays, ballroom dancing, and playing counter strike.

Both of us grew up in lower-middle-class households and our journeys crossed at freshman orientation of Montclair State University. We spent most of our time studying at the library and going on vision quests. Our studies, like our interests, intersected - Daniel’s Marketing and Sociology and Erick’s Mathematics and Philosophy. Later these would serve as foundations for running our business.

During senior year, we wanted to start a business but had no idea what business to start or how to go about it. Inspired by a late-night dazed encounter with a stop sign, we developed a logo that replaced STOP with START. Shortly thereafter, our friend Zach came back from a keynote by Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS Shoes, and was reeling about how inspired he was by the story. A lightbulb went off: we should interview entrepreneurs and share their stories on the internet as inspiration for other people to START going after their dreams. But how would we find these entrepreneurs?

how-we-started-a-35k-month-business-writing-personalized-poetry-at-events

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Daniel Zaltsman and Erick Szentmiklosy, on starting The Haiku Guys & Gals ($35,000/month) full story ➜

Reusable waterbottle ($1K/mo)

Regina Ye started Zirui, a Reusable Waterbottle business. They are now doing $1,000/month.

  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  • Revenue: $1,000/ month
  • Started: about 3 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 2

I am a big traveler and a beauty fanatic!

Being an international student, I traveled back and forth a lot between countries and continents. When I came up with the idea of ZIRUI I was 18 and had already traveled to more than 20 countries, so I was very familiar with the pain of traveling and having to pack my things nicely.

I was just getting very fed up with the standard startup rhetoric, and being in the ecosystem, I saw there was a lot of ego in the game. Some people are not working on what they truly believe in but just picking a problem that sounds cool because a “startup” is cool now.

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Regina Ye, on starting Zirui ($1,000/month) full story ➜

Portable monitors ($1M/mo)

Jack Yao started Mobile Pixels, a Portable Monitors business. They are now doing $1,000,000/month.

  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  • Revenue: $1,000,000/ month
  • Started: ago
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 4

I have used multiple screens my entire life as a professional and as a student. When I was forced to work on a small laptop screen at Amazon, I could not help but think about how much productivity was being lost across from the organization. That was the light bulb moment for me.

It is important to know your market and market size and then crafts your service or product specifically for that market.

I was discussing this problem over lunch with a colleague, and the idea of sliding a second monitor out from behind the first just came naturally. It was an idea that I could not shake.

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Jack Yao, on starting Mobile Pixels ($1,000,000/month) full story ➜

T-shirt quilts. ($800K/mo)

Ross Lohr started Project Repat, a T-shirt quilts. business. They are now doing $800,000/month.

  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  • Revenue: $800,000/ month
  • Started: over 8 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 2

The Project Repat story starts in Nairobi, Kenya, where I was doing non-profit education work. After sitting in traffic for 2 hours, he discovered the cause of the jam: an overturned fruit and vegetable rickshaw pushed by a Kenyan man wearing a t-shirt that said “I Danced My Ass Off at Josh’s Bar Mitzvah”

Amazed by all the incredible t-shirts that get sold off and sent overseas by nonprofit and for-profit companies in America, we began working with Kenyan artisans to design new products out of castaway t-shirts, including bags, scarves, and re-fabricated t-shirts.

The next thing we knew, we had sold 2,000 quilts in a week and that put $80,000 in our bank account. At the time, that felt like the most money we would ever see in our lives. We were sleeping in our office and showering at the gym at that time.

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Ross Lohr, on starting Project Repat ($800,000/month) full story ➜

Men's grooming products ($100K/mo)

Doug Geiger started CanYouHandlebar, a Men's Grooming Products business. They are now doing $100,000/month.

  • Location: Mount Clemens, Michigan, USA
  • Revenue: $100,000/ month
  • Started: about 8 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 10

Back in the halcyon days of 2010, on a whim, I decided to grow a handlebar moustache. It is hard to imagine now, but there once was a time where there were not too many people selling moustache wax or beard products.

There were no products available locally and most of those available online weren’t transparent about ingredients and felt kind of “homemade” (and not in the good way). My hunch was that well made and well-packaged beard products could do really well as a business. I sat on the idea for at least a year because I was tied up with my day job and a newborn in the home.

I’d had ideas for businesses for a very long time and had never followed through. I was afraid I would fail. Somewhere in there, I was probably afraid I might succeed. Either way I had by this point established a habit of daydreams without action that I needed to break.

how-i-turned-a-moustache-wax-recipe-into-a-million-dollar-business

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Doug Geiger, on starting CanYouHandlebar ($100,000/month) full story ➜

Laboratory mice mazes. ($100K/mo)

Shuhan He started MazeEngineers, a Laboratory mice mazes. business. They are now doing $100,000/month.

  • Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
  • Revenue: $100,000/ month
  • Started: almost 8 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 15

Before I became an entrepreneur and startup founder, I am first an MD, clocking in hours in the emergency room and conducting research in the field of neuroscience.

I have spent years in Harvard Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital and has done numerous research in neurological diseases, with over 20 publications in this area.

While some people might look at other companies as competitors, we look at them as collaborators.

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Shuhan He, on starting MazeEngineers ($100,000/month) full story ➜

Sperm analysis and storage ($150K/mo)

Khaled Kteily started Legacy, a Sperm Analysis And Storage business. They are now doing $150,000/month.

  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  • Revenue: $150,000/ month
  • Started: over 2 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 6

Believe it or not, I didn’t grow up dreaming of running a male fertility company. I don’t think most people do. But I always had had a deep interest in healthcare, and have held this strong belief that doing anything substantive in the world means doing something completely different.

It was a personal experience that drove me to the world of fertility. Years ago, a close friend of mine found out he had cancer, and he froze his sperm before beginning a chemotherapy process that would likely leave him infertile.

I had never heard of the concept of sperm freezing before that moment, but I had spent years working in Health & Life Sciences Consulting at a management consulting firm, Oliver Wyman. It triggered me to learn more about something that most of us, especially men, keep buried. I took coursework and eventually joined the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

how-we-started-a-150k-month-male-fertility-company-that-offers-sperm-analysis-and-storage

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Khaled Kteily, on starting Legacy ($150,000/month) full story ➜

Hype sneakers and streetwear ($500K/mo)

Andrew and Phillip Pevzner started LacedUp, a Hype Sneakers and Streetwear business. They are now doing $500,000/month.

  • Location: Albany, New York, USA
  • Revenue: $500,000/ month
  • Started: over 4 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 25

I am 23 years old and my brother Phillip is currently 24. Business and entrepreneurship have always been big passions for us. Laced Up was founded about 3.5 years ago, but there were 4 businesses before it, starting with a lawn care venture at age 10, that rolled into one another, leading us to this point. Our parents were immigrants from Belarus, and we grew up poor in New York. They always encouraged an entrepreneurial spirit in us, and as we grew up they started multiple businesses of their own.

Early on, we would hire our friends and anyone that was willing to work. To this day, not a single one of our original staff is still with us. Hiring the wrong people for the job will make your life miserable.

Our first business was a lawn care service we did in elementary school. We would go around and offer to mow neighbors lawns for some money. When middle school came around and Phil was about to get his driver’s license, we started a new venture based on Phil’s love of everything automotive, called Motorhead Parts. We would buy crashed motorcycles, ATVs, and dirt bikes on craigslist and part them out on eBay. This was our first taste of the opportunities of selling online. That business continued through high school, but it was not an easy business to run. Having to take apart and clean greasy mud-covered parts really helped to give some perspective for years to come. We finally ended the business in 2013, but soon after started up a new one in 2014, right after we both graduated from high school.

how-two-brothers-started-a-500k-month-chain-of-high-end-sneakers

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Andrew and Phillip Pevzner, on starting LacedUp ($500,000/month) full story ➜

Finance career advice ($140K/mo)

Patrick Curtis started Wall Street Oasis, a Finance Career Advice business. They are now doing $140,000/month.

  • Location: San Francisco, California, USA
  • Revenue: $140,000/ month
  • Started: over 14 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 10

After working 90+ hour weeks in investment banking at Rothschild for a few years out of college and then transitioning to private equity two years after that, I thought I had it made. I landed my dream job in private equity in my dream city (Boston) and had a much more healthy work/life balance.

The dream, however, quickly turned into a nightmare. In my first review less than 4 months on the job I was fired on the spot and asked to sign a waiver and take $10,000 to go away. I was confused and my confidence was shattered.

Even worse, I was blackballed from private equity in Boston. Every time I had an offer in hand it would get rescinded because the employer that fired me would only say that I worked there and wouldn’t give me a reference -- probably out of fear because I wouldn’t take the $10,000 or sign the waiver.

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Patrick Curtis, on starting Wall Street Oasis ($140,000/month) full story ➜

Car seat friendly coats ($50K/mo)

Dahlia Rizk started Buckle Me Baby Coats, a Car Seat Friendly Coats business. They are now doing $50,000/month.

  • Location: New Hampshire, USA
  • Revenue: $50,000/ month
  • Started: almost 4 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

As a mom of three, I was constantly concerned with doing it all right - making sure my kids had the best and safest - well - everything. During a car seat check, the Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) helping me shared that puffy coats should be taken off before putting children in the car seat due to the space the bunched up fabric creates under the harness in a crash.

I tried the take the coat off rule out for a while but my toddlers were not cooperative and I found myself dreaming up better ways. I realized if the shoulder seams opened and the zipper was to the side the entire front panel could be pulled aside - eliminating the need to take the coat off. Excited, I applied for a patent and contacted coat manufacturers thinking they would totally fall in love with my solution.

They didn't.

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Dahlia Rizk, on starting Buckle Me Baby Coats ($50,000/month) full story ➜

Short term luggage storage ($2K/mo)

Sangeetha started Cubby Inc, a Short Term Luggage Storage business. They are now doing $2,000/month.

  • Location: Remote
  • Revenue: $2,000/ month
  • Started: over 1 year ago
  • Founders: 4
  • Employees: 1

Have you ever looked at you’re vacation pictures and wondered if you could get rid of the bags or luggage photobombing the otherwise perfect vacation photograph? That’s our eureka moment! As a mom of five-year-old, I'm constantly clicking pictures of my son to keep up with him growing up so fast. After one of our vacations, I was trying to find the perfect picture to design for a keepsake. It didn’t exist.

Imagine my horror when I went back in time and still couldn’t find a picture without luggage. They were mostly ruined by either the stroller lurking around or the luggage staring back at us. Our sentiments were shared by our friends and we decided to do something about it. It got us thinking about how it could be changed. It then dawned on us that we had to lug around all our luggage because of the unavailability of lockers to store them when we didn’t need them.

Digging more into it, we soon realized that, lugging due to lack of convenient storage lockers were a huge problem and resonated with vacation rental guests, hotel guests, long layover air passengers, event attendees, etc,.This meant there’s definitely a need for a luggage storage solution. It must be simple, convenient and also affordable. Cubby was designed to keep these key factors and most importantly the safety of the bags.

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Sangeetha, on starting Cubby Inc ($2,000/month) full story ➜

Digital marketing coaching & consulting ($7.5K/mo)

Jay Vics started JVI Mobile Marketing, a Digital Marketing Coaching & Consulting business. They are now doing $7,500/month.

  • Location: Monahans, Texas, USA
  • Revenue: $7,500/ month
  • Started: over 8 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

I started my professional career in 1997 and I learned how to build websites with HTML. Over the years, I held several different types of jobs in web development, sales, and marketing, along with management. In 2010, I was working for a cell phone retailer, and went to a business growth workshop were someone I knew stood up and said: “I wish someone would teach me how to use my stupid smartphone!”

I remember immediately taking out a piece of paper and writing the words “how to use your stupid smartphone”, that day my company unknowingly began. Even though we didn't officially launch until 2012, I began teaching people how to use their Android devices. What I found is that most people coming to the workshops were a bit older, and they wanted to keep up with their kids and grandkids.

Trends come and go, and are out of your control. Momentum is something you can create by focusing on what you want.

how-i-started-a-7-5k-month-digital-marketing-coaching-and-consulting-business

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Jay Vics, on starting JVI Mobile Marketing ($7,500/month) full story ➜

Shoelaces. ($14K/mo)

Jason Flores started Laceez, Inc., a shoelaces. business. They are now doing $14,000/month.

  • Location: California, USA
  • Revenue: $14,000/ month
  • Started: almost 6 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 2

When our daughter Savannah was young and struggled with fine motor skills, tying shoes was a very time consuming and frustrating task. So Sarah got some elastic and made a homemade version for her shoes. When we realized how well they worked, Sarah made a pair for my Adidas and we saw that these are in fact very practical and we decided to turn it into a business.

At the time Shark Tank was a very hot new show, and although we thought about it, a competitor with a similar concept happened to beat us to it, so we went another route.

As far as background, we didn't have much experience with manufacturing, but I did have a background in business, wholesale and art design. We were able to build off of that enough to create a new business.

how-we-created-and-launched-a-16k-month-no-tie-shoelaces

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Jason Flores, on starting Laceez, Inc. ($14,000/month) full story ➜

Erin Hornyak started navyBLEU, a Navy Clothing business. They are now doing $15,000/month.

  • Location: Longmeadow, Massachusetts, USA
  • Revenue: $15,000/ month
  • Started: over 1 year ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

I am 46 years old and I am married with 4 teenage children. I have spent the last 10 years raising my family. Over the last few years, I had been searching for my next career move. I explored many different options. Since I had 9+ years of experience with owning my own retail and manufacturing company, it felt right jumping back into entrepreneurship!

There is no perfect time to start a business. You have to be willing to take a risk.

I have always been a huge fan of preppy, classic clothing and accessories! One morning while flipping through my Instagram feed, this idea for navyBLEU popped into my head! Why not create a site with all of the things that I LOVE with the color navy! I called my husband immediately and pitched my idea to him. He was supportive from day one. I quickly booked a ticket for my first apparel market trip and began plugging away at my business plan. I knew I did not want to get back into brick and mortar (I had two retail locations in the Boston area with my last company). With eCommerce moving at lighting speed, I felt this was the right business model for navyBLEU.

how-i-started-a-15k-month-online-clothing-store-that-sells-all-things-navy

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Erin Hornyak, on starting navyBLEU ($15,000/month) full story ➜

Outdoor gear. ($20K/mo)

Chez Brungraber started Gobi Gear, a Outdoor gear. business. They are now doing $20,000/month.

  • Location: Bend, Oregon, USA
  • Revenue: $20,000/ month
  • Started: over 6 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 1

I started Gobi Gear just before my big trip through Asia. My husband and I had a 3 month trip planned - also known as “travel until the money runs out”, and we were starting out with a 100-mile trek in the Nepali Himalaya. We had already decided we wouldn’t use porters and instead carry our own gear.

The best measure of success for isn’t just the bottom line, but rather walking through an airport and seeing a stranger with a Gobi Gear backpack on.

I had also committed to collecting botanical specimens, as part of my volunteering for the local University in Kathmandu. Never collected plants before? It’s waaaay slow. Ever the impatient hiker, I had to come up with an idea to still be able to cover a lot of ground even while collecting. I realized that the slowest part of the day would be packing/unpacking every morning/evening, and looked for a solution to make this go faster.

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Chez Brungraber, on starting Gobi Gear ($20,000/month) full story ➜

Mobile karaoke ($12K/mo)

Kelli L Bielema started The AirScream, a Mobile Karaoke business. They are now doing $12,000/month.

  • Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
  • Revenue: $12,000/ month
  • Started: over 1 year ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 2

The two of us met while working at Deloitte. I (Kelli) was an operations manager with an extensive background in event and entertainment production including creating live experiences at Universal Studios Hollywood. Vanessa was a year one CPA fresh out of the University of Washington who realized within just a few months in at the fall tax deadline that this was not her jam. She decided to jump ship and start a DJ & Karaoke Service. Barely a year later, I left the firm, as well as my then part-time event production company, began to take off & I was finally able to commit to it 100% when I got a contract with Boeing.

In just months after both launching our businesses respectively, our client rosters began to grow. Vanessa’s company and namesake moniker, Baby Van Beezly, dove into the private and corporate event vendor realm, spinning party tunes and wedding marches. My clients with my company, Shindig Events, began to move away from private individuals to corporate entities such as PopCap Games, Adobe, Boston Consulting Group, Oculus, and Facebook. I was able to hire Vanessa for all sorts of gigs over the course of the next 6 years.

While Vanessa’s Baby Van Beezly biz began to really take off, my Shindig Events were coming to a close. After 7 years I was ready for a change, a stress break and launched back into day-job land, where I currently reside. But there’s always that itch to do something creative and event-related so a side hustle was inevitable.

how-we-raised-45k-to-build-a-mobile-karaoke

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Kelli L Bielema, on starting The AirScream ($12,000/month) full story ➜

Four-way volleyball nets ($190K/mo)

Chris Meade started CROSSNET, a Four-Way Volleyball Nets business. They are now doing $190,000/month.

  • Location: Miami, Florida, USA
  • Revenue: $190,000/ month
  • Started: over 3 years ago
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 1

I graduated from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut with a film degree in 2014. Growing up in a small farm town in Woodstock, CT, my dream was always to make it big and become a famous horror movie director. I had such a strong passion for directing and cinematography, but after one cold morning in Chinatown at 4 am on the set of the HBO show GIRLS, I knew that I wasn’t cracked up for that life.

I then took my first sales job in 2015 at a software company in New York City called Contently to pay off my student loans. It ended up being one of the most important things I ever did as I learned invaluable sales and outreach skills that would help me later land deals for CROSSNET with retailers such as DICK’S, Target, Academy, Walmart, and Scheels.

After a lovely layoff in the spring of 2017, I got offered a gig as Uber’s first-ever external Account Executive in their NY HQ helping launching UberEats in Boston and Providence. Through Uber’s relaxed start-up culture and demanding sales quotas, I learned the value of providing autonomy and trust to my future employees and freelancers. Who cares if you take a 20-minute coffee break and take an extra day off if you are hitting 150% of your quota. I have that same mentality for all of my employees, as long as we are hitting our deadlines, putting out high-quality work, there’s no need to add extra stress in anybody's life.

how-we-invented-a-2-5m-year-four-way-volleyball-net

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Chris Meade, on starting CROSSNET ($190,000/month) full story ➜

Framed tweets ($25K/mo)

Zach Katz started Framed Tweets, a Framed Tweets business. They are now doing $25,000/month.

  • Location: New York, New York, USA
  • Revenue: $25,000/ month
  • Started: over 3 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

I dreamed up the idea for Framed Tweets a year prior to starting it.

It was December 2015, and I was holed up in my room, avoiding the New Year’s party my parents were hosting downstairs. I was scrolling through Twitter, when suddenly, I thought, “what if you could frame a tweet?” (Honestly, that’s how most ideas come about, at least for me. They just randomly happen.)

That night, I tweeted the link to some random people who I found by searching Twitter. The next morning, I woke up to find Framed Tweets featured on Product Hunt, Mashable, Uncrate, and a few other websites.

how-i-stumbled-into-a-300k-business-framing-tweets

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Zach Katz, on starting Framed Tweets ($25,000/month) full story ➜

Local coffee ($90K/mo)

Mike Mwenedata started Rwanda Bean Coffee, a local coffee business. They are now doing $90,000/month.

  • Location: South Portland, Maine, USA
  • Revenue: $90,000/ month
  • Started: almost 7 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 20

I am from Kigali, Rwanda and came here to the United States in 2011 after finishing college searching for a new opportunity. When I first arrived I saw so many coffee shops in Portland, Maine, and Boston. I saw the price that people would spend on a cup of coffee or latte ($3-6 each) sometimes multiple times per day.

This got me thinking about the Rwandan Coffee Farmers back at home and how hard they work, often more than 10 hours per day equally over 70 hours in the field per week.

Know your numbers and work on coming up with realistic projections. Money will run out quick, and it is much better to expect and be prepared for the worst and than be really happy if any better happens.

how-a-rwandan-immigrant-started-a-coffee-roasting-business

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Mike Mwenedata, on starting Rwanda Bean Coffee ($90,000/month) full story ➜

Gourmet whoopie pies ($25K/mo)

Marcia Wiggins started Cape Whoopies, a Gourmet Whoopie Pies business. They are now doing $25,000/month.

  • Location: South Portland, Maine, USA
  • Revenue: $25,000/ month
  • Started: almost 8 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 4

Before Cape Whoopies was conceived, I was enjoying being the mom of two kids in high school, the wife to an airline pilot, and an aerobics teacher at my local gym.

When my kids had gone off to college and my husband was in the air, I had much time on my hands. There was only so much time you could spend at the gym, so with the newfound extra time I splurged in one of the things I always loved doing: making delicious baked things for friends.

My husband and I spend time a local restaurant as a hangout when he was home, so we would go to DiMillos and take our server friends whoopie pies. Why whoopie pies? I had tasted the Maine creation and thought, "good idea, not great execution".

building-a-200k-year-pie-business-from-our-home-kitchen

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Marcia Wiggins, on starting Cape Whoopies ($25,000/month) full story ➜

Bag storage. ($15K/mo)

Cody Candee started Bounce, a Bag storage. business. They are now doing $15,000/month.

  • Location: San Francisco, California, USA
  • Revenue: $15,000/ month
  • Started: about 3 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 1

I’ve lived in a dozen cities in my life, both in the U.S. and internationally. Everything I own can fit in just three suitcases.

You won’t come up with something groundbreaking simply by mulling over ideas in your head or in an office with a whiteboard. You simply have to go put it in front of real customers.

Wherever work and my travels would take me, I noticed the recurring problem of people letting their “stuff” get in the way of their plans. People often have to schlep their bags with them from one place to the next, take extra time to drop them off at home, or cancel plans completely due to the burden of their things.

how-i-turned-a-landing-page-into-a-luggage-storage-startup

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Cody Candee, on starting Bounce ($15,000/month) full story ➜

Engagement rings ($385K/mo)

Nikolay Piriankov started Taylor & Hart, a Engagement Rings business. They are now doing $385,000/month.

  • Location: London, England, United Kingdom
  • Revenue: $385,000/ month
  • Started: about 7 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 27

It all started many years ago in South Africa where I grew up, originally born in Bulgaria though. At the age of 17, I got a job as a sales representative in a diamond store tailored for Chinese customers. That was the first time when I developed an interest for diamonds. After finishing high school, I headed to the U.K. to study digital marketing.

During this period, me and my high school friend David Sutton decided to start several websites and e-commerce businesses while studying at the University of Manchester​. Some teenage experiments and years later I reunited with David and we decided to start a real venture this time. That’s how the brand Rare Pink ( the first name of Taylor & Hart) was born in 2013.

Think whether or not you need an investment and when exactly to make an investment round. An investment makes you grow faster and potentially bigger than growing organically, but you need to think about what you are getting into.

starting-and-growing-a-jewelry-business-to-4-6m-year

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Nikolay Piriankov, on starting Taylor & Hart ($385,000/month) full story ➜

Gluten-free pastries ($64K/mo)

Kyra Bussanich started Kyra's Bake Shop, LLC, a Gluten-Free Pastries business. They are now doing $64,000/month.

  • Location: Lake Oswego
  • Revenue: $64,000/ month
  • Started: over 11 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 11

Before I went to pastry school, I had a very uncreative and unfulfilling job, but I didn’t know what I was “supposed” to do with my life. Added to that sense of directionless was the fact that I had been increasingly ill for nearly a decade. I wondered who would even hire me, and felt like I should just be grateful to have a job that was flexible and allowed me to work from home when I needed it.

As my health got worse, the thought of a career that would fulfill me became more and more distant, and I found myself in and out of the hospital, doing chemotox infusions every six weeks, and more days than not, curled up on the couch in the fetal position in pain. I had been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease but none of the medications seemed to help, not even the steroids that caused me to gain 18 pounds in a week so that my skin felt stretched like an overripe grape that was about to burst.

It wasn’t until my gastroenterologist wanted to remove the most diseased portions of my intestinal tract that I considered going gluten-free in order to reduce the inflammation in my body so that perhaps I would finally respond to the medications.

how-i-started-a-120k-month-business-selling-award-winning-pastries

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Kyra Bussanich, on starting Kyra's Bake Shop, LLC ($64,000/month) full story ➜

Music licensing clearance. ($210K/mo)

Aaron Green started Easy Song Licensing, a Music licensing clearance. business. They are now doing $210,000/month.

  • Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
  • Revenue: $210,000/ month
  • Started: over 15 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 6

I grew up with my business partner, Mark Meikle, in Plymouth, Minnesota (Mark is the President of ESL). We attended the Robbinsdale Spanish Language Immersion Elementary School in Golden Valley, MN, starting in the fall of 1987. This was the first public school in Minnesota to incorporate the Spanish language within the curriculum at the same time as English (learning to read/write/speak/math/science in a bilingual fashion K-5).

The old entrepreneurial saying comes to mind; ‘you need to reinvent yourself every 4-5 years to maintain success’, which we can personally attest to. Staying rigid and stubborn regarding your original business plan and execution can only lead to dead-ends if you do not experience any hint of the growth you were anticipating.

There, we were fortunate to meet 10 of our life-long best friends, whom we are still close with today. With the exception of college, Mark and I were classmates from kindergarten all the way through our graduation from Armstrong High School. Mark is one of my childhood best friends, who was always one of the smartest in our grade, as well as the fastest-running kid. Me, being a little overweight growing up, would use my early sales skills and motivation tactics to coach Mark around the running track and various sports in elementary school, so we’ve always been a team since the beginning of our friendship.

how-we-bootstrapped-a-music-licensing-business-to-2-5m-year

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Aaron Green, on starting Easy Song Licensing ($210,000/month) full story ➜

Fun socks. ($100K/mo)

Taylor Offer started FEAT Socks, a Fun socks. business. They are now doing $100,000/month.

  • Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
  • Revenue: $100,000/ month
  • Started: over 6 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 3

Well, I've always been an entrepreneur. During my undergrad studies at UMass Amherst, I started three different companies on campus. I started a company called Shack Shirt in my junior year, where I would sell customized t-shirts to fraternities and sororities.

On my first day of senior year, I met my co-founder, Parker in an entrepreneurship class. In the class I was flexing on my success from Shack Shirt, when Parker approached me explaining he also had a custom apparel business selling lacrosse uniforms. He told me he did over a million in sales. I was astounded.

We did this for the rest of senior year and ended up selling 20,000 pairs of socks.

starting-a-wildly-successful-sock-brand

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Taylor Offer, on starting FEAT Socks ($100,000/month) full story ➜

Special event design and production ($333K/mo)

Natasha Miller started Entire Productions, a Special Event Design and Production business. They are now doing $333,300/month.

  • Location: San Francisco, California, USA
  • Revenue: $333,300/ month
  • Started: almost 20 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 12

I thought that I’d be a performing artist touring the world and although I did leave a mark with my performances at esteemed concert venues and recorded 7 CD’s that I produced under my boutique label Poignant Records, I found myself being double and triple booked for private parties (this is how many musicians add to their income when not touring, recording or teaching).

I didn’t take a salary for years which in hindsight was a mistake. Even a modest, regular salary is something I’d suggest for anyone starting their business.

Instead of turning down the business I’d explain to my clients that I was already booked but I could bring to their event a group that was as good as mine if not better and manage the whole process. What I didn’t know at the time was that I was creating a mini empire and becoming a budding entrepreneur.

how-natasha-miller-started-a-4m-event-management-company

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Natasha Miller, on starting Entire Productions ($333,300/month) full story ➜

Software tools for ecommerce ($350K/mo)

Max Rice started SkyVerge, Inc., a Software Tools For eCommerce business. They are now doing $350,000/month.

  • Location: Remote, Oregon, USA
  • Revenue: $350,000/ month
  • Started: almost 8 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 32

In 2012 I was working for a small company as an IT Director, and they tasked me with rebuilding their eCommerce website. As I started looking at available platforms, I found an article by Justin comparing WooCommerce to another platform. He seemed really knowledgeable, so I reached out to him to ask some questions and I ended up bringing him on as a consultant for the project.

We worked really well together and the project had a very successful outcome, so we stayed in touch. A couple of months later we had a chance to work together on a joint consulting project, which led to more consulting for companies that needed help with their eCommerce stores.

You rarely get it right the first time. You make decisions based on the best available information, then you learn from the results and iterate.

how-we-started-a-350k-month-business-developing-software-tools-for-ecommerce-brands

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Max Rice, on starting SkyVerge, Inc. ($350,000/month) full story ➜

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Starter Story,   Founder of Starter Story

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