45 Businesses You Can Start While Keeping Your Day Job

45 Businesses You Can Start While Keeping Your Day Job

Some of the most successful businesses started as side projects.

If you are interested in starting a business but you still have a full-time job, you must pick an idea that can work with your busy work schedule, preferably something you can work during nights and weekends.

Here are 45 business ideas for people with a full-time job - all of these ideas come from real-world examples of entrepreneurs starting while they had a job:

Here's the list:

1. Speaker store

Johnathan Price started Down4SoundShop.Com about 7 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $1,000,000/month.

  • Product: Car Audio Products
  • Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
  • Revenue: $1,000,000/ month

Case Study

I’ve always been into car audio since I was 13-14. The older I got, the more obsessed with it I became. The very first system I had was 2 -12s on a 900-watt amp. Now the system in my Tahoe that’s known all across the world has over 78 speakers and 100,000 watts!

The bigger my system would get over the years, the more crazy reactions I would get from it every time I took it to car shows. The more it impressed people the more they started asking “Man where do you get your equipment from?”. Then one day, the light bulb went off in my head! I COULD BE SELLING THESE PEOPLE THIS STUFF! And from there the idea of down4sound was born! But, it was just an idea! I had no idea how to start a business, run a business… or anything about business really. I thought maybe I could figure it out but that was about it. All I could do is give it my best!

At the time I was pumping gas at an airport in the city of Greenville, Making I think $12 an hour and was super broke. I pretty much lived paycheck to paycheck even while living with my parents. It’s where I was born and raised. I did that full time while I cut grass on the side for some extra cash. My dad taught me how to cut the grass when I was younger as a way to make money to buy toys/candy or whatever else I wanted at that age. I kept cutting grass up until the time I decided to move to Las Vegas where I now don’t need to and also don’t have time to.


2. Newsletter

Matt Paulson started MarketBeat about 12 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $2,133,000/month.

  • Product: financial information
  • Location: Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA
  • Revenue: $2,133,000/ month

Case Study

MarketBeat is a business that has evolved and iterated upon overtime. MarketBeat’s predecessor, American Consumer News, started in my college dorm room in 2006.

There weren’t a lot of good ways for me to generate an income as a computer science student in a college town of about 7,000 people. When I was a freshman in college, I worked the cash register and the deep fryer at McDonalds. I knew I didn’t want to repeat that experience the following year. I was able to scrape together an income working a few odd jobs for the university, but what allowed me to graduate debt free was freelance writing.


3. Wireframing software business

Natalie Gould started Balsamiq almost 15 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $550,000/month.

  • Product: Wireframing Software
  • Location: Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • Revenue: $550,000/ month

Case Study

That company value starts out:

“Our team is filled with talented, skilled, and knowledgeable people, but we are also humble enough to know that there is always something more to learn - something that can be improved.”

Learning and constant improvement are important to us, but also in telling our story. There is a tendency to look at startup success as coming from a single moment’s inspired idea and perhaps from one individual genius founder. When Peldi launched Balsamiq Mockups in 2008, it may have appeared from the outside as an overnight success.


4. Museum tours business

Tasia Duske and Michael Alexis started Museum Hack over 9 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $250,000/month.

  • Product: museum tours
  • Location: New York, New York, USA
  • Revenue: $250,000/ month

Case Study

On a starlit evening in 2013, Museum Hack’s founder, Nick Gray, went on a date to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. That night Nick fell in love... with the museum. Over the next few weeks, Nick hosted renegade tours for his friends while working his day job at the family business--a company that sold electrical equipment for small airplanes.

Everything changed when a blog wrote about Nick’s tours. The next day more than 1,300 people emailed Nick wanting to join one of his tours.

The first real-time he started to charge was when he’d let people skip the waiting list. He’d say, “I’ve got like 1,500 people on the waiting list. If you want to skip it, you can pay and you can sign up for a couple of spots this weekend.”

However, on his first paid tour, he ended up giving everyone their money back. He said it felt wrong to have so much fun AND get paid.


5. Online course

Adrian Wood started Modern Producers almost 8 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $120,000/month.

  • Product: Music production tools.
  • Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
  • Revenue: $120,000/ month

Case Study

Before Modern Producers, I produced music for everyone from 50 Cent to Snoop Dogg, Rick Ross, Tech N9ne, Wu-Tang Clan and companies like Coca-Cola, Ford, Nike, BMW, MTV, NBA and the NFL.

I still am the head of Anno Domini Nation, one of the most renowned independent music production companies that helped pioneer the licensing of instrumental music online for artists, advertisers and TV/Film productions. We have won numerous awards and accolades over the years including multi-platinum certification for album sales.

Don’t think too hard. If you already have a business idea, dive right in and roll with the punches.


6. Skin care product line

Kismet Andrews started LoLo Body Care over 16 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $92,000/month.

  • Product: Sustainable Moisturizers
  • Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • Revenue: $92,000/ month

Case Study

My Grandmother taught me to make Face Cream when I was about thirteen. While I enjoyed the time we spent together, moisturizer was not something I used and while it was wasted on youth, the impact of women lining up outside her front door was not; it’s one of the things I remember most.

Fast forward to the ’80s, and you’ll find me working for a large medical center. I had a creative side and was asked by the Administration to decorate two medical facilities for the holidays. When I inquired about funds to make this holiday magic happen, I was told to “have a bake sale.” Baking cookies is not my thing so I reformulated my Grandmother's face cream into solid moisturizing bars - which by the way, were just beginning to show up in the marketplace.

Making them at night in my kitchen, I sold them during my lunch hour at a table strategically positioned between the front door and the cafeteria and on weekends at Medical Center sponsored events. I pulled a volunteer team together to help decorate and sell, and each year we raised enough money to fund the raw ingredients and decorations.


7. Shoe brand

Kartik Gurmule started KASA over 4 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $80,000/month.

  • Product: luxury shoes
  • Location: Nagpur, Maharashtra, India
  • Revenue: $80,000/ month

Case Study

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 did small projects like making websites and running marketing for clients.

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.


8. Dog walking business

Melodi Landi started Furry Fellas Pet Service LLC almost 17 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $54,000/month.

  • Product: Pet Sitting & Dog Walking
  • Location: Bristol, TN, USA
  • Revenue: $54,000/ month

Case Study

I have always had a passion for animals. I was going to school full time at the University of Rhode Island as a Pre-Vet student while working full time at a local veterinary hospital AND picking up pet sitting and dog walking clients on the side.

Since my late teenage years, I have known that I wanted to work with animals. While working at the animal hospital, I saw a great need for this type of service, and soon after decided to start this business!

I would often come across clients who had not traveled in years because their pets required specialized care or medications or because they did not know who to ask or whom they could trust with their pets and their home.


9. Litter removal business

Brian Winch started CleanLots.com over 41 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $55,000/month.

  • Product: Litter Cleaning Service
  • Location: Alberta, Canada
  • Revenue: $55,000/ month

Case Study

I was working a full-time job at a sporting goods store when I realized that I couldn’t see myself doing this for the rest of my life. I didn’t really mind the work but didn’t enjoy working within the same four walls every day, making the same income regardless of how hard I worked and having to put in my time before being able to go home.

The great thing about starting your business as a side hustle is being able to learn and grow and eventually be in a great position to decide for yourself if you want to quit your job or have the best of both worlds.

I started thinking about the possibility of working for myself rather than someone else. But what kind of business? I didn’t have much going for me as previously noted. So I started to evaluate opportunities to match my interests and resources. Keep in mind there was no internet in 1981. I bought a number of business opportunity magazines from the news-stands and started the process of elimination.


10. Boutique

Kara Brook Brown started Waxing Kara over 10 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $33,000/month.

  • Product: Bee Inspired Goods
  • Location: Maryland, USA
  • Revenue: $33,000/ month

Case Study

Waxing Kara grew organically from my work as an artist. I paint with encaustic, a paint made with beeswax, and in 2010, I started beekeeping on Maryland’s Eastern Shore to harvest wax for my encaustic paintings.

I became captivated by honey production and the plight of honey bees in this country. I learned about the importance of bees to the sustainability of our food supply, and the preciousness of honey, especially its nurturing and healing properties. Before launching Waxing Kara, I became a honey bee advocate and began raising bees on a small scale and have increased each year until 2020 when I will manage 18 hives on our 102-acre farm on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. For the bees, I began planting food sources such as sunflower, bergamot, and lavender. The goal was to cultivate a complex, organic environment that provides bees essential nutrients through nature. We have planted at least 40 acres of wildflowers, fruit trees, and berry bushes, an incredible habitat all for bees (and other winged creatures) with consistent blooms from May through October.

There isn’t one single life experience or educational achievement that has put me where I am today. Instead, it’s been a series of inspirations along the way. There was no master plan. In hindsight, everything that happened has flowed like honey to lead me down this path.


11. Video game modding business

Kyle started Hand Held Legend over 9 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $230,000/month.

  • Product: Gaming Modifications
  • Location: Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Revenue: $230,000/ month

Case Study

Hand Held Legend was born while I was in graduate school for a degree in the medical profession. In order to effectively study, one needs an escape for the mind; I found my escape restoring old, broken and dilapidated Game Boys for about 3 years. Not only did I have fun repairing, but I also found that I could make a buck or two modifying and upgrading old consoles as not everyone can complete technical mods.

I started off Hand Held Legend in my graduate school apartment with an old kitchen table and a soldering iron. Initially, I was selling 1-2 modified consoles per week as I completed and listed them on eBay. Soon enough this became time intensive and I searched for a way to bring in revenue while still maintaining time to study. Surrounding student loan debt is a great motivator!

To that extent, I began to create our first product, an LED backlight for the original Game Boy. This was something I had seen done before and it was not a novel or propriety idea although I thought I could make one better and keep a portion of my cost of goods sold. Sales started slowly as we had zero brand awareness. I had to engage with the local online internet community of gaming obsessed nerds like me. Soon enough the word got out but we have gone on to sell over 25,000 backlight panels for the original game boy console alone.


12. Mystery game store

Jimmy Cowe started Crimibox almost 6 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $85,000/month.

  • Product: unsolved murder cases.
  • Location: Ghent, Belgium
  • Revenue: $85,000/ month

Case Study

My day job is in the criminal investigations of the Federal Police in Belgium. Every day, I’m seeing dozens of cold cases on my desk. Over the last couple of years, most cases get solved at the detective’s desk instead of out in the field.

This involves double-checking witness reports, alibis, motives, … So that got me thinking of creating fictional murder cases and letting people solve it with the police file and online media.


13. Earring business

Jackie Burke started Tini Lux over 5 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $22,000/month.

  • Product: Earrings for sensitive ears
  • Location: New York, New York, USA
  • Revenue: $22,000/ month

Case Study

In college, I stopped wearing earrings because every pair I tried, even the ones labeled “hypoallergenic,” gave me extremely painful reactions and even caused my piercings to bleed. I researched online and asked around and so many people had the same problem. The solutions online said to try things like putting clear nail polish on your earrings or putting vaseline on your piercings. None of those “hacks” worked. At that point I just resigned myself to not wearing earrings again.

A few years later, when fashion influencers became really popular on Instagram, I started buying everything my favorite bloggers posted. Unfortunately, they always wore the cutest earrings and I could never buy any of them. So one day I decided to do some serious Google-ing because I knew there had to be someone that had created skin-friendly earrings by then.

Deep within the pages of Google, I found a woman who was selling very basic titanium studs. They were made of pure titanium and manufactured by a medical implant manufacturer. She explained how titanium is an inert metal that does not react with the human body, which is why it is used in medical implants. Because of that, it is perfect for earrings. I ordered a pair right away. They completely healed my piercings and I wore them for weeks with absolutely no issues. The only problem was that I wanted fun statement earrings and hoop earrings that looked high end and I couldn’t find any that were made with titanium.


14. Men's clothing line

Jeff Schattner started Lawrence Hunt about 7 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $20,000/month.

  • Product: sweat-free shirts
  • Location: Detroit, Michigan, USA
  • Revenue: $20,000/ month

Case Study

I’m a CPA by training and have worked in Finance my entire career, but my passion has always been in problem-solving and coming up with new business ideas. The idea for Lawrence Hunt came to me while I was a friend’s outdoor wedding during a sweltering 90-degree day. I wanted to enjoy the wedding, but all I could think about was how uncomfortable I was in my dress clothes, sweating my *ss off.

I went back to google to see what was on the market. This was around 2013 and the only options were traditional dress shirts that felt nice, but awful for hot/sweaty situations, sweat-shields (never wanted to try one), undershirts (even hotter), and these performance dress shirts like your lululemon/Nike long sleeve golf shirt. I got a few of the other performance dress shirts, and they were good for sweat, but they weren’t great for all body types, with a more silky look. And for someone in finance that needed to look professional, or for formal situations, they were not ideal. I needed something that combined the best of professional wear with the best of performance wear. And so...Lawrence Hunt Fashion was born.

The Lawrence Hunt design


15. Balloon decor business

Janeen Brown started Balloon Haus LLC about 5 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $20,000/month.

  • Product: Balloon Decorations
  • Location:
  • Revenue: $20,000/ month

Case Study

I’ve always had quite the entrepreneurial spirit, always thinking of the next best idea which is how my first business was created - a non-profit focused on helping young women, followed by an employee concierge, I started with my father Jeluxxe Lifestyle Solutions. I was always intrigued to hear about others’ journeys and how they became full-time entrepreneurs but never thought I’d get there but here I am, thanks to Balloon Haus INC. As well as, reading and learning have always been an interest of mine, which is why I was able to start this “little balloon company.”

Balloon Haus was a random idea that turned a successful business. A client from one of my other companies was looking for balloon decor and my assistant agreed to help with finding a vendor. This was much harder than we thought it would be and with no luck, we turned to youtube and figured out how to create the requested installation ourselves and the rest was history. I registered the business the same day, contacted my father and he told me, “this was the best decision you have ever made.” This was the only validation that I needed to know, this was going to be a successful business.

DO NOT TAKE ON A DIFFICULT CUSTOMER. If you notice communicating with the customer from the beginning is not easy - do not continue as you will regret it and most likely end up with an unhappy customer by the end of the transaction.


16. Digital agency

Kaila Piepkow started Dox Design about 5 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $20,000/month.

  • Product: Branding And Packaging Design
  • Location: Ann Arbor, MI, USA
  • Revenue: $20,000/ month

Case Study

Dox Design was kind of a happy accident. I had the fortunate experience of working in the agency world after I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree in graphic design, getting into one of the top design agencies in the Midwest and working with some pretty cool national brands.

I was on the fast track to working in a big city like New York which I thought was always my dream… but I quickly realized that working environment wasn't for me. I hated leaving my dogs every day and working a lot of long nights to meet deadlines for projects that didn’t totally inspire me. So here I was, still a fresh post-grad and thinking my career path isn’t what I thought it was going to be.

Identify where your sales are coming from and put your focus there. In today’s world, it’s really easy to fall into the comparison game and feel like everyone else has it figured out—when in reality, that is far from the truth. Stick to what works for you and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing!


17. Watch brand

Steve Christensen started NOVO watch over 11 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $20,000/month.

  • Product: Hand crafted watches.
  • Location: Alberta, Canada
  • Revenue: $20,000/ month

Case Study

I am a watch fanatic! Ever since I was a young boy I’ve loved watches. During a summer job, after failing to find a cool new watch to buy, I told my friends I was going to start my own watch company and I did!

It seems the best way to attract customers is the story. Customers are smart and if the story isn’t authentic they’ll see that.

My goal was to look at new unique ways to tell time and approach the watch world differently. For the next few semesters and throughout my masters program I would sit at the back of the class drawing designs, emailing people from China and sending money to unknown people in hopes I would see my ideas turn into reality. When I finally got my first products, I was hooked. Entrepreneurship in the watch world my dream and I was standing at the foot of it.


18. Surprise travel agency

Charlotte Curry McGhee started Whisked Away Surprise Travel about 6 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $15,000/month.

  • Product: Customized surprise travel planning.
  • Location: Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
  • Revenue: $15,000/ month

Case Study

I’ve been planning trips for myself and others for about 20 years. Before I took Whisked Away full time, I was an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher in the public school system for seven years, and I was really struggling with policy changes and how they were affecting my students.

Planning travel was a bright spot for me. I could envision the people I love having the time of their lives on the trips that I had planned for them, and it took my mind away from the issues at school.

My husband and I were on a weekend trip in Savannah, GA and, of course, I had planned the whole thing. We were having drinks at this cool rooftop bar, watching the boats come in and the sunset and he asked if I would ever consider planning trips for others, as a business.


19. Api

Ervin Ruci started Geocode.xyz over 6 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $30,000/month.

  • Product: Geocoding, geoparsing, POI geodata.
  • Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • Revenue: $30,000/ month

Case Study

I have a background in CS and Math (My master CS thesis was on a class of 3SUM hard problems in Computational Geometry)

I’ve been building independent bootstrapped startups since 2005, when I quit my last day job. One of those is geocoder.ca, a geocoding API for Canada and the US I started in 2005 (and is still going strong). It also served as the starting point to go global with geocode.xyz in 2016.

Identify your strengths and do what you like to do. Having a sense of purpose is important, especially when that purpose is to solve a problem you can muster the ability to solve.


20. Tutoring business

Adam Shlomi started SoFlo Tutors about 4 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $100,000/month.

  • Product: tutoring
  • Location: Miami, FL, USA
  • Revenue: $100,000/ month

Case Study

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.


21. Aftermarket car parts business

Mitchel Matthews started Adrenaline Offroad over 5 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $45,000/month.

  • Product: Aftermarket Vehicle Accessories
  • Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  • Revenue: $45,000/ month

Case Study

My passion for trucks started way before I could even drive. I always wanted to have a huge lifted truck and I loved the idea of driving a vehicle that could make it through conditions that most vehicles couldn’t such as a deep ditch full of water or 3 feet of snow! My grandfather willed me one of his trucks so when I was 16 years old I was blessed to now have his old truck as my own! It was completely bone stock with not a single modification done to it….YET! Over the years I saved pretty much every penny I made at my minimum wage jobs and invested it all into building my truck up to be the beast that it is today!

These before and after pictures below are almost 6 years apart!


22. Fitness equipment company

Joel St John started Thor Fitness Europe over 3 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $12,000/month.

  • Product: Crossfit Gear
  • Location: Tunbridge Wells, England, United Kingdom
  • Revenue: $12,000/ month

Case Study

Believe it or not, I came up with the idea whilst on my honeymoon (don’t tell my wife Emma!). I have always been very interested in design, art, music and so on. During my youth, part of it was probably misspent as I learned how to try and draw, handle a spray can and do graffiti at the legal paint hotspots in Brighton and London.

Further down the line, I purchased some turntables and learned how to mix, scratch (and beat juggle, badly). This lead onto music production where I read magazines and taught myself how to produce music over a 6 year period using programs such as Logic 8, Cubase and Reason. In total, I made a collection of around 170 tunes, mainly drum and bass, but also House, Hip Hop, Dubstep and other Electronic music. A very small number of the tracks got signed, but nothing was ever serious. I would literally spend hours in my little studio, every evening after work, before I started doing Crossfit. Unfortunately, all the DJing and studio time resulted in chronic tinnitus from constantly hammering my poor delicate eardrums, so I had to give up music as it were, leaving a creative vacuum was all that that time was once spent.

Thor for me became a creative outlet once it got going. I learned how to use Abode Illustrator and Photoshop, plus some other handy apps. I have a desire to read only books that I can glean knowledge. Never fiction - always self-help, learn-how or in some instances autobiographies - if I can learn from them. There is so much in the world we have been given, and don’t feel as humans that we should waste time with emptiness being lazy. We all have different gifts and talents - we should look to use and refine these skills - for the greater good of others if possible. I personally enjoy learning, solving problems and hearing other peoples' experiences. I also love to experience life for what it has to offer. My main work background is in electrical engineering and project management. My career has been multifaceted, so I’ve been able to apply many of the skills learned in this trade for e-commerce and ultimately the base-work that’s required for the founding of a brand.


23. Software integration plugin

Jae Jun started GORILLA ROI about 5 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $12,000/month.

  • Product: Amazon Seller GSheets Integration
  • Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
  • Revenue: $12,000/ month

Case Study

I’m sure you know that one person in the office who is a spreadsheet geek, right?

That person who can whip out some crazy complex spreadsheet without batting an eye and seems to enjoy playing around with thousands of little boxes on the screen.

That’s me.


24. Marketing agency

Michael Gardiner started Nomads with Solutions over 7 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $20,000/month.

  • Product: Digital Marketing for Businesses
  • Location: Stuart, Florida, USA
  • Revenue: $20,000/ month

Case Study

When I was 15 I was a sophomore in high school and primarily interested in normal kid things, including basketball, track, skateboarding, video games, hanging with friends, etc.. I happened to get injured playing basketball and in my free time applied for a job at a local pharmacy store. I had a really terrible interview process where the person interviewing me took very little interest in me and I thought to myself that I wanted to make money on my own terms.

Although my family has no entrepreneurs, nor did I know any, I got an idea for my first potential income stream. I had always followed themed accounts (nice cars, luxury houses, travel) on Instagram and figured I could build a big page to make money with eventually (and show off to my friends). Short story, I ended up growing a network of Instagram accounts to over 1,000,000 followers within a year and sold the network and used that money to fund my other ventures (of which most failed).

During that time period, I had the advantage of having two great loving parents who provided all I needed, so I could put all my money I wanted into business, for this, I am really grateful. During that time I also worked some jobs, including working for a library, elementary school, and a rehab center.


25. Planner brand

Jess Yasuda started Planner Peace over 7 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $22,541/month.

  • Product: Customisable, refillable planners
  • Location: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
  • Revenue: $22,541/ month

Case Study

When I started Chasing Planner Peace I was a mum of two very small children, working part-time in a job for the government. I found my job extremely unrewarding and boring and had a little avenue for creativity. I never dreamed that starting an Etsy store would lead to growing a company that could become a full-time career. I had always had it drummed into me to find a secure job and stick with it - don’t take risks!

After my second child was born I became interested in using a paper planner as a hobby. There’s actually quite a big community of people (mostly women) who combine organization and creativity and love using their planners as a memory-keeping, scrapbooking tool using stickers and washi tape to decorate.

I loved the idea of using Filofax type planners where you could really customize your planner by adding in what “inserts” (refill pages) you wanted. I would download printable inserts off Etsy for calendar pages, meal planning, etc. but I could never find a layout that really worked for me. I would also waste huge amounts of time, money and printer ink trying to print out the printable inserts - as every file was a different format.


26. Embroidery business

Mike Lecky started Vagabond Heart almost 6 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $10,000/month.

  • Product: travel patches and souvenirs
  • Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Revenue: $10,000/ month

Case Study

As I mentioned above, I’m a serial entrepreneur, and a lifelong maker. I’ve been selling online since the early 2000’s, well before Shopify made it easy, even before Amazon existed. In the past I’ve designed typefaces, ran a literary magazine, published books, sold vintage menswear, and even built and sold wooden furniture online.

The idea for Vagabond Heart came to me three years ago when I was on a winter-long vacation in a small town in Mexico, which I loved, except for the fact that I didn’t really have anything to do with my time. I thought to myself, “If i’m going to come down here every winter, I need a project to keep me busy.”

The idea was a combination of my interest in vintage clothing, style, and old movies, with my love of menswear and fashion, and of course, travel. What I wanted was a way to make my normal looking duffel bag look like an updated version of the luggage you’d see on a trans-Atlantic crossing in the 1920’s, or on the runway in Casablanca.


27. Tour company

Claire Robinson started StructurInfo (ZigZag Road Trips) over 7 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $9,000/month.

  • Product: Road Trip Travel Guides
  • Location: Le Havre, Normandy, France
  • Revenue: $9,000/ month

Case Study

Well, this started as a hobby. I never would have thought it would become what it is today. I am blown away.

My original career was completely different. I have a Master’s in Engineering, and I had an international career in Quality Management for medical devices. I’ve lived in France, Germany, and Australia and traveled all over the world for work. This is the reason why I caught the travel bug.

I did not scatter and try doing all the social media platforms. I made choices. This is really important. You can’t do everything well. And depending on your strategy, not all the options are pertinent.


28. Analytics tool

Hugo Valente started Statful over 7 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $8,500/month.

  • Product: Data Aggregation And Visualisation
  • Location: Porto, North, Portugal
  • Revenue: $8,500/ month

Case Study

In all I do, my goal is to raise brand awareness and connect those who don’t monitor metrics to our unique tool.

My professional background isn’t directly connected to the startup ecosystem. Before joining Statful, I worked at two companies that implement Oracle enterprise-level solutions for retailers. On this path, I started as a Junior Developer/Analyst and through the course of 10+ years I ended with the role of Solutions Architecture/Project Management on large scale projects. These experiences allowed me to acquire a mix of technical and soft skills that are key to my actual challenge.

I wasn’t around when the idea to build Statful came up, or even when it was Beta released back in August of 2016. Statful is a product born in Mindera’s ecosystem (a tech services company based in Porto, Portugal), who had both the objective of adventuring into the creation of their products and the need for a monitoring tool that would provide visibility to development teams. Essentially, something that could communicate to both developers and the businesses what was happening under-the-hood of the applications or components they were developing.


29. White label fitness apparel business

Elgin E. Mones, Esq. started Infinite Elgintensity Gym Apparel almost 9 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $8,378/month.

  • Product: Gym Apparel
  • Location: Silver Spring, Maryland, USA
  • Revenue: $8,378/ month

Case Study

I decided to capitalize on my newfound YouTube popularity by selling workout clothes to my fanbase of lifters and other fitness enthusiasts. I was working full-time as an attorney, so I needed someone to print apparel and fulfill the orders for me. Law school barely prepares lawyers for law practice, let alone the clothing business, so I asked a fellow Youtuber how he got started. He got me in touch with the owner of an established fitness apparel brand for production and fulfillment, and they both taught me how to run the business, from setting up my Shopify store to streamlining order fulfillment.

If your competitors beat you to an idea, think of a complementary one that won’t get you into legal trouble.

Most of my apparel designs complement my YouTube content. For example, my “ZERO” design is based on a 2012 video in which I chanted “ZERO" to mock a crossfitter for cheating his reps during a pull-up record attempt. I’m a well-known opponent of the fat acceptance movement, so I made the “Plus-Size Model” to suggest that chubby dogs like pugs are the only ones deserving of that title. By basing shirt logos on my own content, I make money on that content twice: first from ad revenue, and again from apparel sales.


30. Niche blog

Jodi Carlson started Leader Connecting Leaders about 8 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $6,000/month.

  • Product: Kids Activities Printable Booklets
  • Location: Ohio City, OH, USA
  • Revenue: $6,000/ month

Case Study

When I graduated high school I didn’t stop with the hobby instead I then joined back in as an adult volunteer and became a Girl Scout leader for the same troop my mom started for me when I was 6 years old. So with over 25 years of Girl Scouting experience, I really thought I would be a leader forever.

Blogging is work, don’t start blogging and expect to quit your day job overnight. Any blogger who claims you can make 100k in 6 months either was super lucky or lying.

Then in 2015, I was blessed with a Son and quickly found out the time it took to run a troop and raise a child was not there so I stepped down as a Girl Scout Leader, but quickly missed the planning part of being a leader, so I decided to take my 25 years of experience and my 10+ years of web design and build a blog sharing all my knowledge to help other leaders plan and run their troop meetings easier. I started creating activity booklets to help earn the badges with everything you need to earn badge.


31. Sneaker reseller business

Chris Casseday started 513 Kicks almost 6 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $5,000/month.

  • Product: sneakers reseller
  • Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
  • Revenue: $5,000/ month

Case Study

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.


32. It company

Maanda Mulaudzi started Common Sense Holdings almost 4 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $10,000/month.

  • Product: IT & Mobile Solutions
  • Location:
  • Revenue: $10,000/ month

Case Study

I would have to say I have always wanted to start my own business even from high school. I started a business with a high school friend and we would sell custom basketball shoes. Then my second business was making school sports gear throughout the university. During this period from high school until now, I have been a professional skateboarder, which has helped me travel all over the world. This was also a way I made money through hosting and organizing events.

When you think you have all the answers that will lead you to make more mistakes if you don't know something just ask someone who has that knowledge. This will help you reduce mistakes, swallow your pride, this is business.

I graduated from university as an industrial engineer and also have a diploma in financial management and have worked in various industries such as automotive, media and broadcasting, education, and manufacturing. After five years in the corporate world, I decided to travel and explore more of the world.


33. Sports coaching business

Sarah Wolfer started Girl Boss Sports over 4 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $4,759/month.

  • Product: Sports Coaching
  • Location: Mariánské Lázně, Northwest, Czech Republic
  • Revenue: $4,759/ month

Case Study

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.


34. Junk removal business

Matthew Jones started MJ Home and Truck Services over 6 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $4,000/month.

  • Product: junk removal services
  • Location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  • Revenue: $4,000/ month

Case Study

I started in high school at the age of 16 with a dream to make my community a much cleaner place. It branched into business on my 18th birthday, I started to clear trash and junk from in and around people's homes and/or businesses. I have always had a knack for cleaning and picking up litter off the streets.

I decided to help those who had much bigger items that could not go into a regular trash pickup and haul it away. This helps them get rid of clutter and junk they no longer need. I started to receive payment from picking up junk and trash from my mom and her colleagues first. They are in the construction industry and I would remove construction debris from their job sites in my pickup truck. I would pile as much as I could and what some people would normally only be able to get one load off, I learned how to stack and secure my loads so well that I was getting 2-3 loads at a time increasing my profit.

I purchased a bigger truck for cargo that did better at securing my loads and was closed in a truck which allowed me to be able to work in any weather condition. My main priorities when doing the jobs are to stay in shape, work well with the customers, and provide exemplary service each time. I work fast and we have become very efficient at what we do. We are safe to have in and around your home and people love the experience of working with me and my crew each time.


35. Jewelry making business

Alex Moore started Gold Pan Pete Design over 10 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $2,500/month.

  • Product: Handcrafted jewelry.
  • Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
  • Revenue: $2,500/ month

Case Study

After graduating from Saint Louis University and teaching for two years in the St. Louis area, I decided to pursue my rugby career in London, England. While in England, I met my now wife, Paula, who is from New Zealand.

After we got engaged, we took a trip to New Zealand. The area where she is from was a huge gold mining area back in the 1800s. I found the history of the area very interesting and found out that there is still a lot of gold around...if you could find it! I made it my goal of the trip to find enough gold to make my wedding ring.

My best piece of advice for anyone who is interested in starting their own business and has a good idea would be to just go for it. Take things in baby steps and gradually get bigger and bigger.


36. Supplements company

Paul Sciortino started Ayo Supplements over 3 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $5,000/month.

  • Product: Premium Matcha Supplements
  • Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • Revenue: $5,000/ month

Case Study

Halfway through my college football career, I sustained a concussion that, at the time, appeared to be the end of football for me. I am not one to sit around for long, so instead of hanging out on the sidelines, I decided to revive my baseball career and walked on the baseball team as a junior. One problem, I was 275 lbs. I played offensive line on the football team and had packed on quite a bit of size to break the starting lineup.

After receiving clearance from the doctors to return to physical activity, I went from 275 lbs in June to 225 lbs in August. Now, 50 lbs lighter I was ready to take on D1 baseball. I made the fall roster but was eventually cut from the team. I then rejoined the football team as a senior playing tight-end at my new weight. As luck would have it, I missed the entire season after breaking my leg in practice three days before our first game. Gotta love sports...

Disappointments aside, one thing I succeeded in doing was losing about 50 lbs in eight weeks. It was a lot of weight to lose in a short period of time, but it was made easier through the discipline of the sport. However, what if you don’t have a college sport keeping you in line, forcing you to exercise for hours each day? What happens if you sit at a desk all day? And you have a deadline to meet and a weekend packed with friends and family and only 30 minutes to work out each day? What happens when we can’t be healthy because life won’t let us?


37. Travel agency

Marissa Daniels started Spread Your Wings Travel about 4 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $2,000/month.

  • Product: Luxury Vacations
  • Location: Charleston, SC, USA
  • Revenue: $2,000/ month

Case Study

I was blessed to grow up in a two-parent household with a loving and caring set of parents. My father was in the military and because of that, I was born in California in ‘94. I’m a Georgia Peach all the way, but I was born in California. Unfortunately, in September of 2018, my life shifted when my father passed from cancer. It was pretty quick. In July, he was diagnosed and in September, he took his last breath. I was a Daddy’s girl to the FULLEST, so you can imagine the pain I went through - and still going through.

Do research before starting. If you want to start a business - research before you pay anything.

Fortunately, he was there to see me graduate from Valdosta State University in 2016. I majored in Mass Media with a Speech Communication Minor. Growing up, I loved to be in front of the camera (my father was a photographer) and I would record the video announcements at my church, as young as 11 years old. I also recorded the announcements in elementary school. I just knew Broadcast Journalism was something I was interested in.


38. Woodworking business

Steve Smith started 2Puggles over 8 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $2,500/month.

  • Product: Functional wooden art.
  • Location: Greensboro, North Carolina, USA
  • Revenue: $2,500/ month

Case Study

2Puggles is the result of my experience owning and operating two manufacturing businesses, losing everything after September 11, 2001 and then changing careers to become a teacher. In 2005, I switched to a career teaching marketing in high school. Although I loved teaching I had in the back of my mind that I would like to run a small business.

The best advice I can give to a brand new entrepreneur is to give yourself time to learn. But learn by running the business. Don’t be afraid to start. Don’t be afraid to suck. Do it to the best of your abilities…your best will be better every day if you let it!

My wife and I bought a home that was going to require quite a bit of remodeling with the intention that I would do most of the work myself. As a result of that I bought a table saw and while researching table saw techniques on YouTube I came across a video on how to make a snowflake ornament using a table saw.


39. Business

Warnisha Foster started Kiss My Crown Essentials about 3 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $1,200/month.

  • Product: Homemade Organic Soaps
  • Location: Ocala, Florida, USA
  • Revenue: $1,200/ month

Case Study

I was a troubled youth. I grew up in a single-parent home. My mother went to prison when I was just nine years old. She was a victim of domestic violence. I remember just thinking to myself that I was ready to change my life. I wanted better for myself. I was tired of struggling. My grandmother is my hero she inspired me not just to exist but to live. At my lowest moment, I decided that it would be great.

After, I had my first child at 20 years old. She changed my life the moment I looked in her eyes. I knew I had to come up with a plan to provide and protect her. I tried several different businesses at first. I had an eyelash business first but I did not love it as much.

I came up with the idea to start to Kiss My Crown Essentials because I was tired of buying products that were advertised as being the best but left my skin feeling dry. What set my plan in motion was when my kids would have eczema flare-ups from using regular soap. That was it. I wanted better for them so I decided to make a product that was safer, full of nutrients, and body oil. I created a soap called Catch’em With Honey.


40. Business

Gonzalo started Seedtable over 4 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $5,000/month.

  • Product: European Tech Coverage
  • Location: Paris, France
  • Revenue: $5,000/ month

Case Study

I was born and raised in Argentina, but I was lucky enough to live in Cincinnati, Milano, Barcelona, and Paris.

I started building and selling websites in high-school but stopped when I went to college. I studied architecture and economics but dropped out midway when my first startup (DTC eCommerce before DTC was cool) got funded.

After a couple of unsuccessful attempts at a million-dollar exit, I started doing growth and content for various startups. In 2018, right as I started thinking about European tech, I was living in Paris and working remotely for an Estonian company.


41. Men's underwear brand

Zaid Shahatit started Nooks about 3 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $800/month.

  • Product: Men's Underwear
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Revenue: $800/ month

Case Study

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.


42. Candle business

Lauren Costanza started Bluminary over 3 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $500/month.

  • Product: Candles
  • Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
  • Revenue: $500/ month

Case Study

I was inspired to create Bluminary after dinner with friends. I was surrounded by entrepreneurs, and we were talking about how we wish we knew someone who created candles (all of us were continually burning candles in our home). That’s when I realized that the person could and should be me! It also helped I recently found myself between jobs and was looking for a new hobby to take up some time.

I instantly knew I wanted to create a product connected with my travels and portrayed my sense of adventure. The easier (nothing is easy when starting a company) part was knowing I’d use my photography for the labels and stick with more natural scents.

I spent an entire month joining Facebook groups, watching Youtube videos, and taking notes. I have a 5 page Google Document with everything I learned while gathering data. There was a month of testing wax types, wick sizes, selecting my containers, and fragrance oils to ensure they would align with my brand and attract customers. I created a handful of spreadsheets with columns and rows of numbers to craft a budget and gain an understanding of how much would need to be invested at each stage of the process - from gathering supplies to building a website, and shipping materials.


43. Hammock brand

Ben Hancock started Maca almost 6 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $240/month.

  • Product: Mexican Hammocks
  • Location: Remote
  • Revenue: $240/ month

Case Study

Growing up in the wave of awesome companies like Airbnb, Instagram, Doordash, Facebook, Uber, etc. (too many to name), it was hard for me not to pay attention. I loved watching and reading about how big ideas turned into big companies and how these companies impact society and change the way we live and behave.

Being a solo founder is hard enough as it is, surround yourself with supportive, honest and like-minded people. It takes extreme discipline to keep up with a side project when you're the only one held accountable.

Maybe it was just watching “The Social Network” one to many times, but building something from scratch and paving my own way has always been an attractive pursuit to me. I might just be another person on the “entrepreneurship” bandwagon but it doesn’t take away the fact that I’m extremely passionate and pour my heart into Maca.


44. Business

Quin Amorim started Q&A Selling Online Podcast over 5 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $0/month.

  • Product: Ecommerce Podcast
  • Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Revenue: $0/ month

Case Study

I started selling online in 1997, way before it was cool to sell online.

Not because I wanted to start an online business, but out of necessity, in order to have money to party with my friends.


45. Mobile personal trainer

Jose Alvarez started Virtual Personal Trainer about 9 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $0/month.

  • Product: Weight Loss & Personal Training
  • Location:
  • Revenue: $0/ month

Case Study

Because of my career, I put sports or workouts a bit apart for a few years. I am much of a world travel person. Perhaps because of my traveling experiences and relationship with different cultures, one day I realized I was getting very fat and consciously unhealthy.

I will encourage people to find partners, as jumping a new idea or business without much help or resources it's quite a very long-term challenge, which makes it easier to quit if things do not go the way you expected.


46. Bridal accessories store

Melanie Newman started WanttheoryBridal about 3 years ago while they worked their day job.

They've been able to grow the business to $0/month.

  • Product: Bridal, Special Occasion Wear
  • Location: Leeds, England, United Kingdom
  • Revenue: $0/ month

Case Study

I am currently in full-time work. I’d been feeling deflated. I needed something that felt like it was mine. Something that feels like it is giving me purpose. Something that will put a smile on people’s faces. I looked at mobility aids and wellbeing products. Before coming to the conclusion that wedding dresses and evening wear would be on my website.

Go for a product/s you believe in. If you aren’t inspired or feel positive about the products you are selling. You will find it so boring having to find the products and put them on your website.


Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
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Pat Walls

I'm Pat Walls and I created Starter Story - a website dedicated to helping people start businesses. We interview entrepreneurs from around the world about how they started and grew their businesses.

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