68 Best Small Business Ideas To Start In California

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Let's face it - it's been quite the year.

But... oftentimes, with change, comes a whole new realm of creativity, perspective, and ideas.

Now more than ever, new entrepreneurs are emerging and unique business ideas are coming to life in California. We curated a list of 68 unique and profitable business ideas to start in California.

Here's the list:

1. Ice cream ($16K/mo)

Stephen Layton started The Good Scoop, a ice cream business. They are now doing $16,000/month.

  • Location: Sacramento
  • Revenue: $16,000/ month
  • Started: over 4 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 1

The backstory for The Good Scoop is that one of my good buddies from school and I were kicking around the idea of starting a business together, we went through a lot of different concepts and ideas along the way. After some time, we came upon ice cream. The conversation actually started with the idea of us buying out an existing ice cream shop in the Sacramento area but quickly evolved into making our own. We started making ice cream on the weekends and having a lot of fun while doing. Then came the realization that this might be a great business that could help put smiles on people's faces.

I had been working in the consulting industry for a number of years and I knew I wanted to do something different with my life when I went to Portland Oregon to visit some friends in February. They took us down to Salt & Straw ice cream and the line was out the door even though it was a rainy Portland winter's evening. That really got me thinking, if an ice cream shop could be that busy in the winter in Portland, how about the summer in the Central Valley of California?

When I returned back to Sacramento, I really dove into the local market looking at who was there making ice cream and although there were a lot of really great ice cream shops in the region, I felt like there was some room for some innovation along the lines of what some scoop shops in New York City, Los Angeles, and Portland were making. It was from these ideas, and playing around with the concept that I decided to help bring artisan ice cream to the Sacramento region. There are a number of other individuals in this area working in the same market, which I personally think is great. I think the more Artisan ice cream makers we have the better off we all are.

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Stephen Layton, on starting The Good Scoop ($16,000/month) full story ➜

2. Hot sauce ($6.5K/mo)

Theo Lee started KPOP Foods, a hot sauce business. They are now doing $6,500/month.

  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Revenue: $6,500/ month
  • Started: over 3 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 5

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

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

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

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

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Theo Lee, on starting KPOP Foods ($6,500/month) full story ➜

3. Mobile food service solutions. ($1.5M/mo)

Jeffrey Mora started Food Fleet, a Mobile food service solutions. business. They are now doing $1,500,000/month.

  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Revenue: $1,500,000/ month
  • Started: over 8 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 6

We started the food truck business in 2012.

We kept finding it very difficult to find locations to operate. We had a booker that we used to find our locations but fell short and we let her go. I took over our booking and found that most people did not want to book just one truck, not only that they were upset that most of the time the trucks didn’t show up or were late.

We learned the real need was not only helping the trucks but providing a turnkey service for the corporations. This was a game-changer for us, we were really struggling financially.

how-i-took-food-trucks-corporate-and-built-a-18m-business

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Jeffrey Mora, on starting Food Fleet ($1,500,000/month) full story ➜

4. Custom balloon installations ($7.5K/mo)

Rilee Acrey started Balloon Works, a Custom Balloon Installations business. They are now doing $7,500/month.

  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Revenue: $7,500/ month
  • Started: over 1 year ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

BalloonWorks was born out of a desire for something more. I was done settling. Seven months ago, I took a leap of faith and put all of my trust in God’s plan for my life. I quit my crazy corporate job where I traveled a ton and had a secure income to build a company that is now known as BalloonWorks.

After leaving my job, I had a lot of faith but little clarity when it came to what my next step would be. That weekend, I was asked to use balloons to add a little pop to a friend’s gender reveal party. Two weeks later, I found myself at Paris Hilton’s birthday bash installing a 30-foot balloon arch up a spiraling staircase in the foyer of her home. Oh… and Kim Kardashian posted my work.

It was the boost of confidence I needed and the vision for what I was capable of. I immediately saw a need for newfound creativity in the world of balloons and knew I could put a twist on the standard, helium-filled balloon arches that have monopolized the industry for years. It was also the outlet I needed to put the corporate world behind me and walk into an opportunity that allowed me to be both expressive and creative while working with people to bring their vision to life.

how-i-started-a-7-5k-month-business-selling-custom-balloon-installations-to-celebrities-and-corporates

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Rilee Acrey, on starting Balloon Works ($7,500/month) full story ➜

5. Denim clothing. ($2K/mo)

Susie Shaughnessy started Crawford Denim and Vintage Co., a Denim clothing. business. They are now doing $2,000/month.

  • Location: Manhattan Beach, CA
  • Revenue: $2,000/ month
  • Started: over 6 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area as the middle child in a large family. Our Dad was a long time high school football coach and our Mom managed the teams while raising the family.

Every student was welcome in our home, making our house a constant hub of activity, sports and art. We learned early in life how rewarding working in service to others is and how to work well as a team. One person’s success is a reflection of the team’s hard work.

Having an alternate source of income will help minimize any lows in sales. It’s the insurance of making rent that allows you to focus on the brand or business that you are trying to grow.

being-a-maker-and-launching-a-premium-denim-brand

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Susie Shaughnessy, on starting Crawford Denim and Vintage Co. ($2,000/month) full story ➜

6. Professional makeup courses ($200K/mo)

Anastasia Andreani started Vizio Makeup Academy, a Professional Makeup Courses business. They are now doing $200,000/month.

  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Revenue: $200,000/ month
  • Started: over 9 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 10

Let’s start from the beginning…

A career in beauty education was not what I grew up thinking I would do. I was born in a small town in the Midwest. Life wasn’t always a bed of roses for me. The circumstances of my upbringing and the fear and uncertainty I experienced at a very young age when my parents got divorced contributed to an early sense of needing to fend for myself. Having very little money, I worked many jobs to try to make ends meet. I struggled between working and going to school. While I thought my parents’ divorce had been a curse for most of my childhood and into my teen years, I later realized it hadn’t been a curse at all; it had actually turned into a really valuable gift for me. It has given me a spirit of both independence and experimentation, which I truly believe has led me to where I am today.

I first studied business administration and finance in college and earned my business degree. I spent many years working a 9-5 office job, but it wasn’t long before I knew I wanted more—something was missing. For my entire life, I have had a love for beauty. I’m a creative person by nature, and art has forever inspired and moved me. I also have a true love for being able to help others grow, to feel beautiful and to be more confident about themselves. This passion drives me and gives me the energy to help others see their true beauty and potential. I knew I wanted to do something in life that caused people to smile on the outside as well as on the inside and that used my creative talents in a more meaningful way. These longings led me down an entirely new path in life.

how-i-started-a-200k-month-online-makeup-academy

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Anastasia Andreani, on starting Vizio Makeup Academy ($200,000/month) full story ➜

7. Fun socks. ($100K/mo)

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

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Revenue: $100,000/ month
  • Started: almost 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 ➜

8. Marketing and business consulting ($98K/mo)

Kathryn & Michael Redman started Half a Bubble Out, a Marketing And Business Consulting business. They are now doing $98,000/month.

  • Location: Chico
  • Revenue: $98,000/ month
  • Started: about 18 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 8

We’ve actually known each other since elementary school and grew up together. Not only that, but we also grew up hating one another! We were constantly getting into arguments all the way up through college. Everything changed at a wedding we didn’t know the other was attending. We hadn’t seen each other for ten months, and when we locked eyes for the first time that day—and this is not an exaggeration—it was love at first sight. Well, love at first sight after knowing each other for over a decade!

When you understand who you are as a company, you start to realize that not every customer is the right fit for your company. We had to learn to not say “yes” to every customer or take every deal that came our way, which was tough.

Eighteen months later we were married. We actually believed that ministry was our calling up until our late-twenties/early-thirties when our lives took a sharp left turn. We realized we both had a heart for communities and leadership development, and felt called to start a marketing company. Michael had marketing and sales experience, and we’d both worked for various small business owners during our careers, soaking up lessons from each of them as we went. Still, starting a business seemed crazy.

how-we-started-a-98k-month-marketing-and-business-consultancy

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Kathryn & Michael Redman, on starting Half a Bubble Out ($98,000/month) full story ➜

9. Curated games ($3K/mo)

Dominic Morris started HoopMaps, a curated games business. They are now doing $3,000/month.

  • Location: Sacramento
  • Revenue: $3,000/ month
  • Started: about 4 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 4

I grew up in Oakland California where all my life I dreamt of playing professional baseball, I played other pickup sports with my friends but baseball was definitely the sport that I gravitated to. Every summer I played on a baseball team and my number one goal in high school was to play college baseball.

I thought to myself... there must be a better solution than driving around town hoping to get lucky and find a pickup basketball game.

I gained a partial scholarship to Texas Southern in Houston and before heading out for my first semester Hurricane Katrina hit the southern gulf and Texas Southern took in many college students from the New Orleans colleges to continue their education. Resulting in taking away my scholarship.

how-we-started-hoopmaps-went-viral-and-got-on-shark-tank

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Dominic Morris, on starting HoopMaps ($3,000/month) full story ➜

10. Wine ($400K/mo)

Agent Red started The Wine Spies, a Wine business. They are now doing $400,000/month.

  • Location: Santa Rosa
  • Revenue: $400,000/ month
  • Started: over 13 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 6

I had spent most of my professional career in high-tech and with the advent of the Internet, I dove headlong into eCommerce. I had worked on successful projects with the likes of Philips, Sony, KMPG, Urban Decay, and others, helping them early on to define and launch their Internet presence and eCommerce strategy.

On one thrilling project for the San Francisco Newspaper Agency, the company that I was running hired a skilled developer. At the conclusion of that project, I became friends with their lead on the project. We stayed friends and had many discussions about one day starting a business together. I made a life change and moved up to Sonoma County where I started a joint venture company with a Swiss toy manufacturer. They had a great guy named Alex join our California team, helping to liaise between California and Switzerland. Alex loved wine and he felt like a kid in a candy store in Sonoma Wine Country. He would take us along on outings to wineries and I work up to just how big the industry was - and how badly it needed a trusted online source for fine wines. We wrapped up our joint venture a year later, and I set about to figure out what my next startup would be.

I literally went door to door, visiting with hundreds of wineries and trying to describe to them this new-fangled ‘flash sale’ business model.

how-i-started-a-400k-month-selling-wine-online

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Agent Red, on starting The Wine Spies ($400,000/month) full story ➜

11. Bodysurfing handboards and accessories ($80K/mo)

Angela Watts started Slyde Handboards, a bodysurfing handboards and accessories business. They are now doing $80,000/month.

  • Location: San Clemente, CA
  • Revenue: $80,000/ month
  • Started: almost 10 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 3

The Idea of Slyde Handboards started back on the beaches of Cape Town South Africa where I grew up. My Mother would take me and my brother down to the beach a lot to get us out the house. We spent most of the time bodyboarding or bodysurfing. We used to find all sorts of objects that we would use as a planning device to get us a little more speed and lift on the wave from frisbees to flip flops, some worked well others not so much. It wasn't until my teens that I decided to break open an old surfboard and re-use the foam to shape into a mini handheld board that would later become the very first prototypes for Slyde.

I figured we were the only ones doing this, but It wasn't until I went travel surfing around the world and met other surfers and water men and women and heard their stories of growing up using all sorts of found objects like lunch trays or even making boards themselves. It was then I realized there was a possible opportunity to create a brand around this awesome growing watersport movement, as no other company was doing this.

There is definitely a defined problem that we solve, in that a handboard is easy to learn, hassle free and fun to take to the beach. The idea was really born from simple enjoyment that I was having using one. It felt almost selfish to not share it with the world. It turns out I wasn't wrong, because almost immediately we started to form a community and movement as more and more people started to find out about us either online or through friends.

landing-a-200k-shark-tank-investment-and-growing-to-80k-mo

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Angela Watts, on starting Slyde Handboards ($80,000/month) full story ➜

12. Photo booths ($300K/mo)

Brandon Wong started Photobooth Supply Co., a Photo Booths business. They are now doing $300,000/month.

  • Location: Orange County, California
  • Revenue: $300,000/ month
  • Started: over 7 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 10

My wife and I were wedding photographers. If you’ve been to a wedding lately, you’ve probably seen a photobooth.

The same was true 8 years ago. We saw booths everywhere, and started thinking… why not add one of those? We purchased the “old” style photobooth, the enclosed box. It became clear very quickly that at least two things could be done better. It wasn’t really portable and it didn’t take the prettiest pictures.

I contacted a few metal suppliers down here in Orange County and asked if they could put something together for me. I wanted something sleek and portable, but it also had to be able to take gorgeous pictures.

embracing-the-experience-economy-with-a-300k-mo-photo-booth-startup

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Brandon Wong, on starting Photobooth Supply Co. ($300,000/month) full story ➜

13. Candles ($500/mo)

Lauren Costanza started Bluminary, a Candles business. They are now doing $500/month.

  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Revenue: $500/ month
  • Started: 11 months ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

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.

how-i-started-a-500-month-nature-inspired-candles-side-hustle

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Lauren Costanza, on starting Bluminary ($500/month) full story ➜

14. Prank gifts ($25K/mo)

Adam Elliot started D*** At Your Door, a Prank gifts business. They are now doing $25,000/month.

  • Location: California
  • Revenue: $25,000/ month
  • Started: over 5 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 3

I grew up on a farm in Southwest Iowa. Being from a small town, there aren’t many things to keep you busy, so you had to be creative. This always led to drinking cheap beer you stole from someone’s parents, ramping old cars on the dirt road bridges, and sometimes... prank wars. I guess that’s where I started thinking gag gifts were funny.

After art school, I moved out to California to be a photographer full time. I failed. Failed miserably. After one year on the west coast, I hated photography, I was broke, and had taken a job as a telemarketer. It was the worst.

What started as a joke quickly became a viable business with real opportunity.

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Adam Elliot, on starting D*** At Your Door ($25,000/month) full story ➜

15. Low cost solar energy ($600K/mo)

David Gomez started Clean Energy Solutions, a Low Cost Solar Energy business. They are now doing $600,000/month.

  • Location: California
  • Revenue: $600,000/ month
  • Started: over 6 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 20

As far back as I can remember I’ve always wanted to have my own business. I didn’t go to college (besides a few junior college classes). Instead, I started working in sales, first selling car insurance for a few years, and then making the jump into mortgage loans. After a few years of gaining experience, I opened up my own mortgage company and rode the wave of the mid-2000’s real estate boom. It was an incredibly lucrative time and it seemed like it would go on forever. However, by the end of the decade, the good times were over and the recession hit. Although I hung in there and we did extremely well for several years in a down economy, I still ended up having to shut down my company. During this time I experienced some of the most challenging times of my life and career.

After rolling with the punches, I started looking for the next business opportunity to get involved with. A friend of mine had been telling me for several years about solar power and how renewable energy was the future. After doing some research, I realized what a great opportunity it was.

  • There’s an unlimited amount of solar energy.
  • Solar is clean energy compared to fossil fuels that damage the environment.
  • Solar energy is a cheaper source of energy than fossil fuels, in the majority of markets.
  • Power purchase agreement (PPA) allows a homeowner to get a solar system without having to actually purchase the system. There is not a purchase loan or lien required on a client’s home.

how-i-started-a-600k-month-company-selling-low-cost-solar-energy

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David Gomez, on starting Clean Energy Solutions ($600,000/month) full story ➜

16. E-commerce fulfillment services. ($4.5M/mo)

Jan Bednar started ShipMonk, a E-commerce fulfillment services. business. They are now doing $4,500,000/month.

  • Location: Deerfield Beach
  • Revenue: $4,500,000/ month
  • Started: about 6 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 350

From a young age, I knew I wanted to do big things. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, which led to my first gig as a DJ when I was thirteen years old. It was a great way to meet new people and make a little money. But, most importantly, it allowed me to familiarize myself with the world of business.

Think of a problem you care about and find a solution that works.

When I was sixteen, I left the Czech Republic and immigrated alone to the United States to pursue a college education. I was accepted to Florida Atlantic University, a public college in Boca Raton, Florida and studied Management of Information Systems.

how-this-immigrant-entrepreneur-built-a-60m-year-fulfillment-business

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Jan Bednar, on starting ShipMonk ($4,500,000/month) full story ➜

17. Luxury vacations ($2K/mo)

Marissa Daniels started Spread Your Wings Travel, a Luxury Vacations business. They are now doing $2,000/month.

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

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.

how-i-started-a-2k-month-side-hustle-selling-vacations

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Marissa Daniels, on starting Spread Your Wings Travel ($2,000/month) full story ➜

18. Website design solutions. ($5K/mo)

Senthil Kumar started Siva Solutions Inc., a Website design solutions. business. They are now doing $5,000/month.

  • Location: Cathedral City
  • Revenue: $5,000/ month
  • Started: about 16 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 20

My better-half was my biggest inspiration in accomplishing this mission. Keerthi Senthil, my lovely wife, co-founder and CEO of American Dental Software who is always by my side, provided the necessary input and impetus in driving forth this business. I recall the day when it all started. It’s ever so fresh in my mind. After returning from one of her lectures, she informed me about how insanely expensive website designs were. She added that website developers were charging unreasonably high even for the minutest of changes. This was my eureka moment and I jumped in to offer products and services at much affordable prices.

Being a software developer myself, creating a website was just a piece of cake. But I knew it needed something more. And hence, I sought expert advice from my wife. She is an oral surgeon at Implants Guru, a dental office in Rancho Mirage, CA. She has a Masters in the field of Oral Implantology from Loma Linda University. She is board certified and is one of the 445 dentists who have been credentialed with Diplomate status in the field of Oral Implantology. Her insights helped me bridge the gap in running the dental business efficiently. So let me enumerate some of the things incorporated to make managing the dental business a breeze: there are online forms for easy filling, storing and management of patient data. Then came the creation of marketing videos, targeted at the audience who were seated patiently in the lobby (Reception Area Marketing). Soon, I progressed into the area of 3D dental animation videos to keep the patients enlightened. It’s always better to make informed decisions when it comes to treatments.

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Senthil Kumar, on starting Siva Solutions Inc. ($5,000/month) full story ➜

19. Hard money loans ($100M/mo)

Steve Pollack started Anchor Loans, a Hard Money Loans business. They are now doing $100,000,000/month.

  • Location: Calabasas CA
  • Revenue: $100,000,000/ month
  • Started: about 22 years ago
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 155

In college, I studied psychobiology and optometry—and I had no idea I would eventually find my calling in the real estate or finance industries. After completing my doctorate degree in optometry at UC Berkeley I ran a successful optometry practice for ten years, but I found that I was not as passionate about the career path I had chosen as I was expecting. I sold my practice and while investing in rental properties, I started buying and fixing properties for sale. Shortly thereafter, I became a professional poker player, which I did for the next seven years. During my time in poker, I met Anchor Loans co-founder Jeff Lipton and he later introduced me to his friend Dan Harrington who had recently won the 1995 World Series of Poker. Dan would also become a co-founder and Anchor’s first CEO.

Along with our success playing professional poker, Jeff, Dan and I had all discovered a passion for real estate investing. Although you might not think cards and real estate are related in any way, we found that poker was an excellent training ground for real estate investing because consistently winning at either of them requires a strict reliance on numbers (never luck), a keen ability to analyze all of the available data and a firm understanding of game theory. In poker, the data are subtle cues from your opponents, their playing styles, and body language, which you must accurately read before making an educated decision. In real estate, it’s housing costs, rehab expenses, and borrower demographics. To be successful at either endeavor, whether cards or properties, you must know when to bet or fold, and you can never rely on chance. The better you are at data analysis, the better the decisions and outcomes.

Many entrepreneurs don’t take advantage of is learning from people who have done it successfully. Even if they are not in your specific business niche, successful entrepreneurs can offer a wealth of experience and insight.

how-3-professional-poker-players-started-a-100m-month-hard-money-loans-company

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Steve Pollack, on starting Anchor Loans ($100,000,000/month) full story ➜

20. Ballroom dancing practice guide. ($1K/mo)

Katie Flashner started The Girl with the Tree Tattoo, a Ballroom dancing practice guide. business. They are now doing $1,000/month.

  • Location: Orange County, CA
  • Revenue: $1,000/ month
  • Started: over 5 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

When I was 6 and 7 years old, I took jazz, tap and ballet classes and even performed on stage. My roles included a sailor on the good ship Lollipop, a California Raisin, and Flounder in the Little Mermaid. I was extremely shy, but I loved dancing with all my being. Then when I was 8, my family moved across the country. When asked, I told my mother I didn’t want to keep dancing. The truth was I was too scared to start at a new studio. The next dance studio I would walk into would be a ballroom studio, two decades later.

Your mindset is going to play such a huge role in growing your business, so much more than your systems or aesthetics. Your brain wants to keep you safe, so it will try to trick you into not taking action because entrepreneurship is a risky thing!

It didn’t take long for me to get hooked on ballroom dancing. A former colleague introduced me to the ballroom studio I still train at today. I started by going to their monthly practice parties and attending group classes, while I devised a plan to fit the pricey private lessons into my paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle.

how-writing-about-my-passion-turned-into-a-successful-business

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Katie Flashner, on starting The Girl with the Tree Tattoo ($1,000/month) full story ➜

21. Video production content strategy ($166K/mo)

Henry Finn started Luminous, a video production content strategy business. They are now doing $166,000/month.

  • Location: San Francisco
  • Revenue: $166,000/ month
  • Started: almost 7 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 4

I’m a filmmaker and that’s where my passion is. I’m an artist from my balls to my heart and I only became a producer and use my head because I also hate working 9-5s and I wasn’t interested in moving to LA. So I realized pretty quickly if I wanted to be free doing something I loved I would have to learn the business side.. which was really hard for me in the beginning.

I made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot of hard lessons because as an artist you don’t care about a lot of things that corporations care about (namely learning to look at a project as a product for capitalistic needs over self-expression) and also have to add a lot of components to your knowledge like branding, marketing, etc.

Luckily the fear of letting the corporate machine suck my soul out forever (I used to be in banking) outweighed my cynicism, so I sucked it up and made a business for myself.

But actually, the moment that really changed my perception of reality was when I accidentally started one of the world’s top modern art sites (at the time) with a group of friends way back in 2005 or so.

We were originally going to make a collaborative portfolio site to try and get clients for our businesses (filmmakers, photographers, graphic designers, etc.) and I was trying to solve the problem of how to get someone to come back to our website once they’ve visited it once.

So I had this hypothesis that if instead of making a simple portfolio site, if we actually made a blog and just shared dope art we love with the world, it might give people a reason to come back.

how-henry-finn-built-2m-year-video-production-company-working-with-the-biggest-brands-in-the-world

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Henry Finn, on starting Luminous ($166,000/month) full story ➜

22. Topical pain relief. ($10K/mo)

Dylan Jawahir started Battle Balm, a Topical pain relief. business. They are now doing $10,000/month.

  • Location: San Diego, CA
  • Revenue: $10,000/ month
  • Started: over 7 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 5

I’ve been interested in performance, health, and healing for quite some time.

In my teens, I was always pushing myself to improve in sports, but I was regularly succumbing to some sort of minor injury. The time off from ankle sprains, muscle strains, etc., left me to figure out how to get back to my martial arts, soccer, and basketball, quickly and safely.

That was when I began studying a bit of medicine, both Eastern & Western, at the local library. I also tested some of the textbook techniques on myself whenever possible. That was back when there was no internet at my fingertips, so access to information was limited. I was just dabbling in the healing arts then, and I continued to do so well into higher education.

creating-a-topical-pain-relief-product-and-doubling-business-every-year

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Dylan Jawahir, on starting Battle Balm ($10,000/month) full story ➜

23. Skincare products. ($150K/mo)

Andy Hnilo started Alitura Naturals, a Skincare products. business. They are now doing $150,000/month.

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Revenue: $150,000/ month
  • Started: about 6 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 6

Prior to my accident I had made a living based upon my appearance (modeling & acting) and the execution of demanding physical tasks as a Division 1 athlete (baseball). Essentially, I was 30 years old, broke, pursuing a career in the entertainment industry that flat out was unfulfilling to me and working night time jobs to help pay the bills. But I had this feeling that there was something more for me out there.

Everything changed when life rocked me right into my purpose in March of 2011: I was attempting to cross a busy street in Los Angeles, California, when I was blindsided by a westbound headed Land Rover that hit me into the eastbound lane where I consequently was run over another time by a Toyota Tundra. Unconscious, I lay in the middle of the street where first responders began cutting off all of my clothes in an effort to get me on the stretcher and to the emergency room at Cedars Sinai Hospital as soon as they could. Dazed on morphine, I woke up in an ICU bed completely unaware of what had happened. I had two friends of mine in the room with me that quickly explained the severity of the situation and words cannot describe that feeling. I had 7 broken ribs, a collapsed lung, chest tube inserted to drain fluid and one of the worst compound fractures that the resident maxillofacial surgeon at Cedars Sinai had ever seen.

BUT… I was alive. Driven and determined to get back on my feet quickly and in better shape than I was before the accident, I cannot describe the daily motivation that was ignited to accomplish just that. That accident rocked me right into my purpose. Period. Unimpressed with the products that my Doctor’s recommended me to use to heal my abrasions and scars, I began researching organic ingredients from nature to accelerate my scar healing. I truly believed my body was going to respond best to an all natural, holistic ‘meal’ of nutrient dense, mineral rich ingredients from the earth.

near-fatal-car-crash-to-150k-month-selling-skincare-products

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Andy Hnilo, on starting Alitura Naturals ($150,000/month) full story ➜

24. Leather goods. ($1K/mo)

Jacques Flynn started JAQET, a Leather goods. business. They are now doing $1,000/month.

  • Location: Long Beach, CA
  • Revenue: $1,000/ month
  • Started: over 8 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 2

I am a car designer by day (I still work full time as a car designer). I am always looking beyond the automotive design world to satisfy my creative needs.

Designing cars is a dream come true, but we are a large team and it is very much a team effort. I wanted to create something that I had 100% control over, and see where that might lead me.

I think it’s very important to first establish a very clear vision… What is it you want to accomplish? After that, it is very important that all efforts go to supporting that one vision.

starting-a-leather-goods-brand-and-manufacturing-your-own-products

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Jacques Flynn, on starting JAQET ($1,000/month) full story ➜

25. Volunteer and giving solutions ($45K/mo)

Ben Sampson started WeHero, a Volunteer And Giving Solutions business. They are now doing $45,000/month.

  • Location: San Francisco
  • Revenue: $45,000/ month
  • Started: over 1 year ago
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 2

I grew up in Mt. Shasta California raising cattle. Often, I like to say I grew up with 4,000 hippies in the woods to keep it simple. My parents owned a veterinary hospital. They worked hard and took immense pride in their hard work. Reflecting back to when I was a kid, I noticed that my parents were working for themselves. They woke up every day chasing their dream, working for themselves and not working to sustain someone else's lifestyle. I watched the struggles, the risks, and the wins as we grew up. That stuck with me along with the work ethic that was embedded into me and my two siblings.

At 18, I started my first small company selling organic athletic apparel such as bamboo shirts. I fell in love with the business and it felt good to have a social enterprise that made a difference.

In college, I then moved on to starting my second venture called Soul id which was a social network dedicated to action and adventure sports. It was investor-backed with a 15+ person team. This was my real immersion into the startup world. Post Soul id, I went on to run a product at market research and consulting company for four years. It was during this time that the idea for WeHero surfaced.

how-we-started-a-45k-month-company-designing-volunteer-and-giving-solutions

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Ben Sampson, on starting WeHero ($45,000/month) full story ➜

26. Cbd cigarette ($275K/mo)

Evan Marshall started Plain Jane, a CBD Cigarette business. They are now doing $275,000/month.

  • Location: Berkeley, CA
  • Revenue: $275,000/ month
  • Started: about 2 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 16

At MIT, Duane and I grew weed in our dorm room and were really interested in learning more about the plant. After college, I went to work for a tech startup in San Francisco as a software engineer.

Duane created Miramix, a supplements manufacturing and branding company. Over the few years we were out of college, we saw the tides turning for cannabis legalization and knew we wanted to be involved.

When 2018 rolled around, I quit my job and Duane flew out to California.

how-two-college-roommates-started-an-online-cbd-business

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Evan Marshall, on starting Plain Jane ($275,000/month) full story ➜

27. Fun soaps and lotions ($74K/mo)

Danielle Vincent started Outlaw Soaps, a Fun Soaps And Lotions business. They are now doing $74,000/month.

  • Location: Grass Valley, California
  • Revenue: $74,000/ month
  • Started: over 7 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 7

In retrospect, I’m pretty sure no one else has the foolishness we had in the start of our business. But, you know, it worked out ok…

So, first, let me say that we had never made soap before we decided to start a soap company. Yeah, seriously.

leaving-the-cubicle-to-start-a-23k-month-soap-company

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Danielle Vincent, on starting Outlaw Soaps ($74,000/month) full story ➜

28. Dress shirts ($5K/mo)

Tanya Zhang started Nimble Made, a Dress Shirts business. They are now doing $5,000/month.

  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Revenue: $5,000/ month
  • Started: over 1 year ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0

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

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

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

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

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Tanya Zhang, on starting Nimble Made ($5,000/month) full story ➜

29. Craft beer ($120K/mo)

Diego Benitez started Progress Brewing, a Craft beer business. They are now doing $120,000/month.

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Revenue: $120,000/ month
  • Started: almost 7 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 5

I graduated with a PhD in chemistry in 2005 and after working in academia for a few years as a nanotechnology researcher, I joined a small angel venture investment firm as a technology analyst.

One option was to get a regular job, or… we could start a brewery.

I participated in the founding of a few angel-backed companies and as the venture fund dried up, I joined one of the portfolio companies as Chief Technology Officer. The company, Amicrobe, Inc. is focused on developing biomaterials to address antibiotic resistance.

how-this-entrepreneur-started-a-2m-craft-brewery

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Diego Benitez, on starting Progress Brewing ($120,000/month) full story ➜

30. Innovative wiper blades ($178K/mo)

Billy westbrook started Scrubblade Inc., a Innovative wiper blades business. They are now doing $178,000/month.

  • Location: Temecula
  • Revenue: $178,000/ month
  • Started: over 13 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 6

I thought of the Scrubblade idea when I was driving home late one night. A large bug hit my windshield and being the clean freak I am, I tried wiping it off with the wiper blades and washer fluid but all that happened was a massive smear directly in my line of sight.

I thought, ‘why can’t wiper blades remove more than just water from the windshield?.’ That’s when the idea of Scrubblade was born. In the morning I sketched out the first design.

Oncoming lights at night would enhance the smear causing bad vision. I thought, “why can’t wiper blades remove more than just water from the windshield?.” That’s when the idea of Scrubblade was born. In the morning I sketched out the first design that still hangs in our offices today.

how-i-invented-a-better-windshield-wiper-and-a-2m-year-business

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Billy westbrook, on starting Scrubblade Inc. ($178,000/month) full story ➜

31. Renewable diy power solutions ($3.27M/mo)

Yi Li started Renogy, a Renewable DIY Power Solutions business. They are now doing $3,265,000/month.

  • Location: Ontario, California
  • Revenue: $3,265,000/ month
  • Started: about 10 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 45

I first came to the U.S. after my acceptance into Louisiana State University’s Ph.D. program for Physics.

While I was excited at the prospect of my new life here, it was also a very overwhelming experience. I had little command of the English language, and I was alone in a foreign country. No family, no friends, no support system, and no money—I still remember thinking that a five-dollar burger was too expensive.

I didn't have much with me. There were, however, two things I had in abundance that helped me persevere: my love of science, and my ambition to make a positive impact on society.

how-i-started-a-60m-year-renewable-energy-company-specialized-in-diy-solar-solutions

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Yi Li, on starting Renogy ($3,265,000/month) full story ➜

32. Premium children's clothing ($39K/mo)

Ahyoung Kim Stobar started Joah Love, a Premium children's clothing business. They are now doing $39,000/month.

  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Revenue: $39,000/ month
  • Started: about 12 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 7

After graduating with a degree in Fashion Design at FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising), working at fashion brands and designing costumes for TV and film, I began developing product for the Wayans Bros., where we created intellectual properties for kids and teens.

I started JOAH LOVE with my friend Joy, who was a photographer. Joy was a mom of three and felt that there were no cute clothes for kids - so we saw a unique opportunity in the market.

The name “JOAH” was born out of the first two letters of our own names, which was especially fitting; in Korean, it also means to like something, a perfect way to start our brand.

how-i-built-a-children-s-lifestyle-clothing-brand

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Ahyoung Kim Stobar, on starting Joah Love ($39,000/month) full story ➜

33. Jewelry auctions. ($100K/mo)

Aaron Varsha started Auction King, a Jewelry auctions. business. They are now doing $100,000/month.

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Revenue: $100,000/ month
  • Started: about 5 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 6

My family has been in the auction business for four generations, so I was naturally exposed.

But the story here starts about 7 years ago when my dad asked me if I could help him run his auction on LiveAuctioneers.com – a new, exciting website that was changing the auction industry. I was in college at the time, but I happily helped out.

Running the auctions was fun, and I was making some good money on the side. Before I knew it I was doing an auction every weekend. I graduated college a year later and decided to go full time.

launching-and-growing-a-digital-live-auction-house

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Aaron Varsha, on starting Auction King ($100,000/month) full story ➜

34. Cross functional shorts. ($15K/mo)

Paul Dickey started Spuds, a Cross functional shorts. business. They are now doing $15,000/month.

  • Location: Monterey, CA
  • Revenue: $15,000/ month
  • Started: about 3 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

I feel like I have always had an entrepreneur sense to things. During my junior year of high school, I started a business to help provide protection and accessory products for sports facilities. We sold products such as those large tarps that are laid out over baseball fields when it rains, and even did padding and other products for football fields and running tracks. My family has always been in the field of the construction of these facilities and an opportunity came along to push me to start my own little business in this niche.

Throughout the end of high school and into college, I continued working on this company as a way to make money while focusing on my studies. I never really felt like it was something that I wanted to do forever, so I used it as a way to learn about the business world and to manage my own hours.

I have always had an interest in design and the psychological way people interact with brands. After college, I had initially planned to go into Product Design or Industrial Design because of my interests in how things are built (was always into Legos at an early age). This never panned out, though, as I could never get my artistic portfolio up to a standard that was acceptable in the industry. I loved the concept of design, but I couldn’t get myself to be passionate about the artistic side of it.

raising-15-000-for-a-cross-functional-pair-of-shorts

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Paul Dickey, on starting Spuds ($15,000/month) full story ➜

35. Invest in pop culture collectibles ($7.5K/mo)

Joe Mahavuthivanij started Mythic Markets, a Invest In Pop Culture Collectibles business. They are now doing $7,500/month.

  • Location: San Francisco
  • Revenue: $7,500/ month
  • Started: over 2 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 3

I was born and raised in the Bay Area (California), and studied Psychology at UCSD. Professionally, my background is in product management and business development at startups of all stages. I also worked in venture capital for a few years prior to starting Mythic Markets, which was a rare opportunity to work with amazing partners and experience life on the other side of the table.

If you’ve kept up with the growth of Comic-Con, Marvel, esports, and nostalgic games like Pokemon, you know that pop culture fandom is stronger than ever. As a result, some of those comic books and trading cards you loved as a kid has become pretty valuable.

Don’t become an entrepreneur because you want to make a lot of money. It’s hyper risky and the vast majority of businesses fail. Do it because you’re obsessed with solving a deep problem that you’re extremely passionate about.

how-we-raised-2-25m-to-build-an-investment-platform-for-pop-culture-collectibles

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Joe Mahavuthivanij, on starting Mythic Markets ($7,500/month) full story ➜

36. Women's apparel ($7K/mo)

Susie Q Aranda started Garage Gym Barbell Apparel, a Women's Apparel business. They are now doing $7,000/month.

  • Location: Tehachapi, CA
  • Revenue: $7,000/ month
  • Started: over 2 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0

Garage Gym Barbell Apparel has been a journey starting with me personally. Some of us have that “one day” where we wake up and decide we are ready to make a life change and never look back. My “one day” came 8 years ago. Very unhealthy, overweight and desperately needed to get myself healthy; I set a goal that I would lose weight and be healthy and never looked back. From that moment I have stayed the course and made that goal something that my business was built around.

Some of the things I accomplished in my personal journey; yoga instructor, Zumba instructor, Crossfit level 1 & 2 certificates, NASM personal training certificate. My biggest accomplishment was getting California State records in the United States Powerlifting Association for a 341lb squat and a 419lbs deadlift at age 44 years.

how-i-started-a-7k-month-women-s-gym-apparel-business-from-my-garage

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Susie Q Aranda, on starting Garage Gym Barbell Apparel ($7,000/month) full story ➜

37. Pillow cases. ($35K/mo)

Danielle Oakey started Danielle Oakey Shop, a Pillow cases. business. They are now doing $35,000/month.

  • Location: Madison, WI
  • Revenue: $35,000/ month
  • Started: over 4 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 2

After 8 years of interior design blogging and running my e-design business, I needed a change.

Building a business has taught me more than I could ever have imagined. I have learned a lot in regards to working with people and setting proper expectations from the beginning. Whether it was an with an employee or a fabric company, I learned that being upfront with expectations is very important.

I knew I wanted to stay in the design world and had always dreamed of opening a little store. Since textiles have been a big passion of mine, a pillow shop seemed like a natural fit.

danielle-oakey-created-a-business-selling-pillow-cases-on-instagram

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Danielle Oakey, on starting Danielle Oakey Shop ($35,000/month) full story ➜

38. Knife sharpening ($200K/mo)

Mikael Soderlindh started Knife Aid, a knife sharpening business. They are now doing $200,000/month.

  • Location: Malibu California
  • Revenue: $200,000/ month
  • Started: 11 months ago
  • Founders: 5
  • Employees: 20

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

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

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

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Mikael Soderlindh, on starting Knife Aid ($200,000/month) full story ➜

39. Liquid activated products ($104K/mo)

Hagan Walker started Glo®, a liquid activated products business. They are now doing $104,166/month.

  • Location: Starkville, Mississippi
  • Revenue: $104,166/ month
  • Started: over 5 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 5

The story of Glo starts in 2015 - my senior year of college. I wasn’t the best student or the brightest, but I found my niche and studied electrical engineering. I thought I had it all figured out - I had some great internships lined up and were the first student from the state of Mississippi to intern at Tesla in Palo Alto, California. My passion was automotive engineering and we had a great program here at Mississippi State University, called EcoCAR, that gave me some excellent hands-on engineering experience. The goal was to make it to Tesla, get offered a job, and take off to California.

That didn’t happen.

I was offered a position at Tesla as a body controls engineer, working on the falcon wing doors for Model X, but fate had different plans. I turned that position down to return to Mississippi and take a chance with something a bit different - making light-up drink cubes. You see, right before I left for my summer internship at Tesla, a friend of mine asked for my help with a classroom project. Kaylie Mitchell was studying graphic design and her professor tasked her with coming up with a conceptual company and product that naturally drew one’s eye to the product. Kaylie thought, if a drink lit up, people would inherently look at it. She wanted to go above and beyond on this assignment and reached out to me to create a prototype for her class assignment.

how-we-built-a-1-2mm-year-business-selling-light-up-ice-cubes

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Hagan Walker, on starting Glo® ($104,166/month) full story ➜

40. .22lr ar-15 bolt catches ($600/mo)

Alex started AR Catch22, a .22lr AR-15 Bolt Catches business. They are now doing $600/month.

  • Location: Colorado Springs
  • Revenue: $600/ month
  • Started: about 11 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

I have always been a tinkerer, inventor, and aspiring entrepreneur. I still remember coming home crying in third grade because I had an idea to make shoes that fit on LEGO characters (I was convinced that “LEGO Loafers” would be the next big thing), but I couldn’t figure out how I would end up making them clip to the LEGO man’s feet. Since then I have always enjoyed finding creative solutions to problems by inventing new products.

As a child, I grew up shooting but shooting became a more serious hobby when I was in college. It was during this time that I bought my first .22lr AR-15 and started taking it to the range. After a few trips to the range, it gradually became more annoying to show that the rifle was clear during a cease-fire since I couldn’t lock the bolt in the open position. I ended up putting my keys in the way of the bolt, but it was a hack solution to the problem. It was then that I decided to try to make a new bolt catch that would restore the bolt hold-open functionality back to that of a standard (.223) AR-15.

There has never been a better and easier time than today to create something out of an idea, regardless of your background or skills.

how-i-designed-an-accessory-to-use-multiple-types-of-rounds-in-a-rifle

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Alex, on starting AR Catch22 ($600/month) full story ➜

41. Sports nutrition supplements ($500K/mo)

Nick Bare started Bare Performance Nutrition, a sports nutrition supplements business. They are now doing $500,000/month.

  • Location: Austin, TX
  • Revenue: $500,000/ month
  • Started: over 8 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 5

In 2012 I was a junior in college studying Nutrition at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. I was also in the ROTC program there so I knew that upon graduating college I would be commissioning into the US Army as an officer.

My friends and I were your typical broke college students and we loved weight training. Because we couldn’t continue to buy our own pre-workout supplements due to personal funds, or lack thereof, we decided to all go in together and purchase bulk ingredients to make our own pre-workout supplements.

Many of these college students, and friends of mine, took out this $25K loan to buy new cars, take vacations, get engaged and married, but I decided that this would be my funding to launch my company.

how-an-active-duty-soldier-built-6m-year-bare-performance-nutrition

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Nick Bare, on starting Bare Performance Nutrition ($500,000/month) full story ➜

42. Bounce to brands. ($40K/mo)

Beau Nordby started OrangeBall Creative, a Bounce to Brands. business. They are now doing $40,000/month.

  • Location: Minneapolis
  • Revenue: $40,000/ month
  • Started: over 8 years ago
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 3

Initially, OrangeBall was an agency that offered print and digital creative. Clients came to us looking for a new logo or website, in need of print materials, or help with their digital advertising. We brought all the experience and expertise we had gained in the video game industry to a whole new set of clients – accounting firms, manufacturers, executive coaches, and a range of other service providers.

Stand up to your inner critic, take the megaphone away from it, and start talking to yourself about all the reasons you can and should go for it!

Over time, we realized that as much as our clients needed designs for websites, logos, and print, they needed one thing even more. At a base level, they were struggling to find the right words to describe their businesses and differentiate themselves from their competitors. They needed help finding the words and creating the messages they needed to drive sales, rally their teams, and grow their businesses.

how-we-started-and-grew-a-branding-agency-to-40k-month

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Beau Nordby, on starting OrangeBall Creative ($40,000/month) full story ➜

43. Home goods ($10K/mo)

Nan, Wendy and Jessica started Ocochi, a home goods business. They are now doing $10,000/month.

  • Location: Chicago
  • Revenue: $10,000/ month
  • Started: 11 months ago
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 3

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

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

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

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

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

44. Craft granola ($8.3K/mo)

Ashley Chase started Birdseed Food Co., a Craft Granola business. They are now doing $8,300/month.

  • Location: Bend
  • Revenue: $8,300/ month
  • Started: over 3 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

Fall 2016 I moved to Bend, Oregon as a way to clear my mind and figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I had done some college, worked in management and also in a hospital but still wasn’t clear on what my “passion” was.

During this time I was reading books such as The 4-Hour Work Week and realized the power in selling a product online; I knew I wanted to sell something online and build a brand but didn’t know what yet.

I took a job as the manager at a coffee shop and would bring my own granola to work in the morning and one of the employees saw it in a mason jar and was like “Why do we have birdseed?” I replied, “That’s my granola!”. He even made a funny Snapchat video saying, “Ashley, you’re eating birdseed!! What are you doing??”

how-i-started-a-8-3k-month-business-selling-craft-granola

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Ashley Chase, on starting Birdseed Food Co. ($8,300/month) full story ➜

45. Healthy breakfast foods ($25K/mo)

Ashley Drummonds started ABS Protein Pancakes, a Healthy Breakfast Foods business. They are now doing $25,000/month.

  • Location: Tampa, FL
  • Revenue: $25,000/ month
  • Started: about 6 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

Before starting ABS, I was a personal trainer for seven years with a passion for helping people feel better and hit their fitness/weight loss goals. I always had a desire to do something bigger that allowed me to have more free time while still helping people. I am a foodie at heart and have a passion for breakfast food - specifically pancakes. Years ago, I came up with this protein pancake recipe that I used to make every day for myself as part of my breakfast routine.

At the start of 2014, I was going through a bit of a rough patch and needed to do some soul searching to figure out where I was headed with my life. I was still so passionate about the fitness/nutrition industry, but I knew that I couldn’t be a personal trainer forever and expect to make the money I wanted to make. I spent about two weeks meditating, journaling, and setting out clear goals of what I wanted my future to look like. I came out of that realizing “the answer” or “the how” would happen naturally through life, the universe, and God.

See your entrepreneurial journey as a marathon and not a sprint. It’s the daily things you do that keep you moving forward.

launching-a-healthy-protein-pancake-business

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Ashley Drummonds, on starting ABS Protein Pancakes ($25,000/month) full story ➜

46. Independent premium spirits ($100K/mo)

Umberto Luchini started Wolf Spirit Distillery, a independent premium spirits business. They are now doing $100,000/month.

  • Location: Eugene, OR
  • Revenue: $100,000/ month
  • Started: over 3 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 5

I was born in Italy, schooled in the UK, started my career in France, then entered the spirits industry in Monaco. When I was given the chance to take a lateral transfer to the US in 2003, I jumped at it and moved to San Francisco. By 2007 I knew America was my home and became an American citizen. By the time I started my own company I had worked in marketing for about 25 years, 15 of those with Campari USA, the U.S. arm of multinational Campari spirits.

For the first 24 years of my career, I had marketed products produced by others. Then, in the 25th year, I was tasked with creating and launching a brand for the company, and Espolòn Tequila came to be. I am proud to say that it is often called “the Tito’s of Tequila” for its rapid growth, and this success gave me the itch to create my own products, rather than market others’. I tried to do this within Campari, presenting many models to show how this could work, but we could not come to an agreement.

So, in my mid-40s I walked away to launch Wolf Spirit Distillery, with the mission to live courageously with great purpose; to be honest; and, frankly, hell-bent on upending the system. Every day, I aim to inspire richer life experiences and to satisfy a literal and figurative thirst for what’s real.

how-i-started-a-vodka-brand-doing-100k-month

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Umberto Luchini, on starting Wolf Spirit Distillery ($100,000/month) full story ➜

47. Romance concierge services ($2.4K/mo)

Ta'Veca Collins started Romance On The Go, Concierge Services, a Romance Concierge Services business. They are now doing $2,400/month.

  • Location: South Florida
  • Revenue: $2,400/ month
  • Started: over 8 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

Before I officially started ROTGO, I was planning and designing romantic rendezvous for my husband, family, and friends, for FREE!

I would get calls asking if I could set-up a room for this birthday, that anniversary, or help me get out the dog house!

I would get calls asking if I could set-up a room for this birthday, that anniversary, or help me get out the dog house! The defining moment that allowed for Romance On The Go to be born was in October 2010, when my bridesmaids and close friends surprised me on my wedding night. My bridesmaids and close friends very strategically sneaked off and decorated our Honeymoon Suite with candles and rose petals throughout the suite. Hear me when I say “strategically”, I mean I never noticed that they were missing from the reception.

how-i-started-a-business-where-i-plan-romantic-date-nights-for-couples

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Ta'Veca Collins, on starting Romance On The Go, Concierge Services ($2,400/month) full story ➜

48. Roof access device ($65K/mo)

Zachary Brown started Moki Doorstep, a Roof Access Device business. They are now doing $65,000/month.

  • Location: Newington
  • Revenue: $65,000/ month
  • Started: almost 3 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

My wife and I have always been travelers and the adventurous type. One thing always held my wife up from getting after the powder on a bluebird day on her own. Because of her height, she struggles to use car top racks. Come to find out, she wasn't alone.

Knowing when to launch and other key factors will help you not only reach your goal faster, you'll end up on the front pages of Kickstarter as well as crowdfunding tracker sites.

Depending on the vehicle and type of rack, I often struggle as well. Using my background as a firefighter I knew the anatomy of vehicles. This helped me formulate the design and placement of the Moki Doorstep.

how-this-65k-month-step-to-improve-car-roof-access-was-one-of-the-largest-shark-tank-on-air-deals

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Zachary Brown, on starting Moki Doorstep ($65,000/month) full story ➜

49. Growing equipment for plants. ($3.1M/mo)

Nate Lipton started Growers House, a growing equipment for plants. business. They are now doing $3,100,000/month.

  • Location: Tucson, AZ
  • Revenue: $3,100,000/ month
  • Started: over 8 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 50

I wanted to get into the cannabis industry following graduation from the University of Oregon in 2010. The industry was starting to take off. I had recently finished an internship at Morgan Stanley, which put the final nail in the coffin determining that I would not be joining the financial sector--I’m just slightly too alternative to join the mercedes driving, country club crowd.

The month following graduation I moved into my brother's apartment in San Francisco and parked on his couch, applying to probably 30-50 cannabis-related companies a week. After about three weeks of my brother and his girlfriend probably thinking “how long will this kid crash here?” I got a couple of calls back, and I ended up landing a position as a mid-level manager at a dispensary. I worked at the dispensary for about six months before taking a job at another company that focused on selling cultivation equipment online.

My goal in working for diverse cannabis-related companies was to understand the industry holistically and figure out my best long-term place within. In the beginning, I first thought I would open a dispensary. Around 2011, opening a dispensary was for cowboys i.e., people with a high appetite for risk, willing to take on the possibility of law enforcement raiding your establishment--depending on the current local political climate. I decided this was too risky for me.

how-we-built-35m-plant-growing-empire-growershouse

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Nate Lipton, on starting Growers House ($3,100,000/month) full story ➜

50. Meditation and sound therapy ($13K/mo)

Athena Stratakis and Maria Stratakis started Kala Mobile Meditation Studio, a Meditation And Sound Therapy business. They are now doing $13,000/month.

  • Location: Baltimore, MD
  • Revenue: $13,000/ month
  • Started: 11 months ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0

Athena (Tina) Stratakis, a massage therapist and life coach, in collaboration with her daughter, Maria Stratakis, mental health, and school counselor, created Kala. The inspiration for Kala grew from a desire to support the health and wellness of Baltimore by sharing the long-lasting benefits of mindfulness and meditation with the community.

We always knew we wanted to bring mindfulness to individuals who normally would not seek it out, whether it was because of time constraints or because of not having been exposed to it.

With Athena's background in massage therapy and life coaching, she gained insight into her client's everyday struggles, especially job-related stress. Between work and family, it was often difficult for clients to find time for regular self-care. She learned from her time spent at Tai Sophia Institute studying energy therapy, how the body positively responds to sound, and how it helps still the mind. With that insight, she felt confident that sound therapy and meditation brought to the workplace would provide a convenient and effective way to manage stress.

how-we-started-a-mobile-meditation-studio

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Athena Stratakis and Maria Stratakis , on starting Kala Mobile Meditation Studio ($13,000/month) full story ➜

51. Protein water ($0/mo)

Sean Penrith started Mindful Proteins, a Protein Water business. They are now doing $0/month.

  • Location: Portland
  • Revenue: $0/ month
  • Started: about 2 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0

It sounds a little dramatic, but yoga saved my life. It set in motion a series of life-altering shifts that had me brutally examine what I ate, what I thought, and how I moved. Considering my demeanor 10 years ago, it is a miracle my wife remained married to me.

Soon after I sold my business, moved to Portland and met my wife, I tore both meniscuses in my knees, preventing me from walking up stairs without searing pain. Before my mother passed, she convinced me to avoid any medical procedures and instead try yoga. Without much conviction, I followed her advice, purchasing a beginners’ disc by Rodney Yee. Within three months of daily practice, I could run for the train!

We have been bootstrapping the business since filing the company papers in June of 2018. I run a climate finance consulting company and we divert as much revenue as we can towards investing in this business.

how-i-m-launching-a-food-startup-selling-protein-water-in-a-can

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Sean Penrith, on starting Mindful Proteins ($0/month) full story ➜

52. Smoothie resource ($30K/mo)

Jen Hansard started Simple Green Smoothies, a Smoothie resource business. They are now doing $30,000/month.

  • Location: Brooksville
  • Revenue: $30,000/ month
  • Started: over 7 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0

In 2011, we moved here from California to Florida so my husband, Ryan, could help start a church with a friend. He was a brand new pastor and the job didn’t come with a salary. I was a stay-at-home mom doing any random design job I could to scrape together money to help pay for rent and groceries.

Being an entrepreneur was never my dream. I wanted to get married, raise a family, decorate a cute house, travel a lot as a family. I started my own business out of necessity— it was my way to help feed our family and pay our rent when things got real tough.

One day, I got the mail and opened a letter that said, “You no longer have health insurance.” We knew this was coming. But we couldn't avoid it and sorta lived in denial that it would happen to us. Well, it did and I felt like a safety net had been pulled out from under us. What if one of the kids gets sick? Or one of us gets sick? Our small savings would be wiped out and we'd go under.

how-one-woman-went-from-wic-to-ceo-of-her-own-smoothie-empire

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Jen Hansard, on starting Simple Green Smoothies ($30,000/month) full story ➜

53. Local plant nursery ($5K/mo)

Debbie Odom started CamelliaShop, a Local Plant Nursery business. They are now doing $5,000/month.

  • Location: Georgia
  • Revenue: $5,000/ month
  • Started: about 13 years ago
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 0

In 1991, I had the life-changing opportunity to become a part of Gene’s Nursery, one of the oldest nurseries in Savannah Georgia.

When I had the opportunity to leave my office job and get my hands into soil, I was happy and I was hooked.

Gene’s Nursery has its roots firmly planted in our quaint historic coastal city and it’s passion was the Camellia. Camellias are ornamental shrubs that produce brilliant blossoms during the fall and winter. They are the most unique flowering shrub species found today and are considered the Queen of Ornamental shrubs.

how-we-expanded-our-local-plant-nursery-to-an-online-business

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Debbie Odom, on starting CamelliaShop ($5,000/month) full story ➜

54. Hair gel ($2.5K/mo)

Nathan Failla started PocketGel, a hair gel business. They are now doing $2,500/month.

  • Location: Pittsburgh
  • Revenue: $2,500/ month
  • Started: almost 4 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

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

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

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

how-i-launched-a-product-and-landed-a-deal-with-walmart

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Nathan Failla, on starting PocketGel ($2,500/month) full story ➜

55. Jewelry ($287K/mo)

Tara Mikolay started Desires by Mikolay, a Jewelry business. They are now doing $287,000/month.

  • Location: Chappaqua, NY
  • Revenue: $287,000/ month
  • Started: about 16 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 7

Scott of course had such incredible experience and was a Master Jeweler at a very young age. But his ambition would not let him stop there...it was a natural progression when his father wanted to retire to consider growth.

Scott & I have always been such a great team in every sense of the word. We truly balance each others skillset. We sat down one night in our home, opened a bottle of red wine and discussed what the options where. While the thought of opening a store was intimidating, we felt we could do it better and with more HEART than other jewelers in the area.

What I have learned from this is to slow down, take the time to review information properly and make educated decisions.

starting-and-growing-a-jewelry-store-as-a-married-couple

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Tara Mikolay, on starting Desires by Mikolay ($287,000/month) full story ➜

56. Reinvention of the wheel. ($350K/mo)

Zack Fleishman started Shark Wheel, a Reinvention of the wheel. business. They are now doing $350,000/month.

  • Location: Lake Forest
  • Revenue: $350,000/ month
  • Started: over 7 years ago
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 4

David Patrick is Shark Wheel’s inventor and CTO. His scientific discovery will turn the world upside-down when it launches.

David’s father was the lead engineer on the International Space Station and the Patriot missile. David comes from a scholarly family, although he never graduated college. He prefers to build all day and create innovative products in the warehouse, seldom coming into the main offices to discuss detailed business objectives.

Form a team. No matter how hard you work or how talented you are, you will need a talented team to help you.

how-we-literally-reinvented-the-wheel-and-built-a-1m-company

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Zack Fleishman, on starting Shark Wheel ($350,000/month) full story ➜

57. Remote recruitment services. ($290K/mo)

Sharon Koifman started Distant Job, a remote recruitment services. business. They are now doing $290,000/month.

  • Location: Montreal
  • Revenue: $290,000/ month
  • Started: over 12 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 22

I started off by running and owning a hosting company called Empire Host. We had about 3K clients at the time support was run from two offices in India with nearly 30 employees.

We were also providing an outsourcing package. Our business solutions were really cheap and to be frank, our results were mediocre at best. Although the service was fine for any mom and pop shop or even an “any results will do” kind of company, we noticed that too often, people who run tech companies actually outsourced to companies such as ourselves even work that went into their core offering - because it was cheap.

At the time, what outsourcing really was, was an arbitrage business. But the concept that people would outsource big chunks of their business to a company that does not provide the same level of communication, process, quality control, and culture just because they’ll save a lot of money, that idea really stuck with me.

how-i-started-a-3m-year-remote-worker-recruitment-agency

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Sharon Koifman, on starting Distant Job ($290,000/month) full story ➜

58. Seafood delivery ($300K/mo)

Cameron Manesh started Cameron's Seafood, a Seafood delivery business. They are now doing $300,000/month.

  • Location: Rockville, Maryland
  • Revenue: $300,000/ month
  • Started: almost 3 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 10

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

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

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

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

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

59. Outsourced marketing services ($700K/mo)

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

  • Location: Boston
  • Revenue: $700,000/ month
  • Started: over 10 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.

how-i-started-a-700k-month-marketing-agency

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

60. Wireframing software ($550K/mo)

Natalie Gould started Balsamiq, a Wireframing Software business. They are now doing $550,000/month.

  • Location: Bologna
  • Revenue: $550,000/ month
  • Started: about 12 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 33

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.

how-we-started-a-550k-month-wireframing-software-company

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Natalie Gould, on starting Balsamiq ($550,000/month) full story ➜

61. Photo booths ($350K/mo)

Scott McInnes started TapSnap, a Photo booths business. They are now doing $350,000/month.

  • Location: North Vancouver
  • Revenue: $350,000/ month
  • Started: about 8 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 18

My first business was a disaster!

It was a small restaurant that I opened in 1995 at 25 years old that shut down 2 years later. I was broke, jobless and in debt. I didn’t have a specific idea of what I wanted to do, but knew that I still wanted to be an entrepreneur. I spent a couple of years working, reading business books and magazines, and looking for another opportunity.

I didn’t have much money so I could really only consider opportunities that I could start for a small amount of money and build on. And, it was also important to me that I found something that I could do as a side business. Now I guess that would be called a side hustle.

my-journey-to-starting-a-4-2m-year-photobooth-company

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Scott McInnes, on starting TapSnap ($350,000/month) full story ➜

62. Adventure blog ($4K/mo)

Jessica Serna started My Curly Adventures, a adventure blog business. They are now doing $4,000/month.

  • Location: Texas
  • Revenue: $4,000/ month
  • Started: over 3 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

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

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

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

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

63. Health food ($60K/mo)

Julien DUTHEIL CORBIOLI started Natura Wellness , a health food business. They are now doing $60,000/month.

  • Location: Paris
  • Revenue: $60,000/ month
  • Started: over 2 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

I’ve started some research about the food industry when I did some abroad years and became a student at the University Of California, Santa Barbara. I was playing for the soccer team of the university (Big up to the Gauchos) and I had to control my weight almost everyday.

Learn from what you’ve done wrong and always try to improve yourself.

I learned the ingredients of almost every product on the market and I became obsessed to know exactly what I was giving to my body.

how-i-started-a-1200-growth-business-selling-natural-healthy-superdrinks

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Julien DUTHEIL CORBIOLI, on starting Natura Wellness ($60,000/month) full story ➜

64. Bicycle chain lubricant ($25K/mo)

Ruan Deyzel started Spoke Works cc, a Bicycle Chain Lubricant business. They are now doing $25,000/month.

  • Location: Pretoria
  • Revenue: $25,000/ month
  • Started: over 12 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 5

At the age of 11, my friend’s dad bought him a Diamondback Topanga Mountainbike this was about 1989 - I still vividly remember how amazing it was and how badly I wanted something like that.

At the time, South Africa was still very much in the grip of the apartheid regime and due to the sanctions imposed by the rest of the world, most consumer goods were locally made.

I just wasn't earning enough money to support my wife and child, just having a basic lifestyle was making us get further into debt with every month that went by.

how-i-started-a-300k-year-bike-lube-business-from-south-africa

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Ruan Deyzel, on starting Spoke Works cc ($25,000/month) full story ➜

65. Strategy card game ($2K/mo)

Casey Hill started Hill Gaming Company, a Strategy card game business. They are now doing $2,000/month.

  • Location: CAMARILLO
  • Revenue: $2,000/ month
  • Started: over 4 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0

Since I was young I had tinkered with different projects and ideas and never really been able to get a product off the ground. I was a storyteller and a writer, and hadn’t found something that really struck my passion.

Spend time building genuine relationships in your niche and across social channels in your industry.

Then in college, I started to get a little bit of traction with buying and selling Magic the Gathering trading cards. I made a few thousand bucks and decided to write a eGuide on how to sell magic the gathering and set up relationships with retailers. The guide took off on eBay of all places, and I eventually sold almost $10,000 of guides with a 100% positive feedback score. This lit the spark in me that entrepreneurship was possible, I just needed to find the right area.

how-we-designed-and-created-a-strategy-card-game

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Casey Hill, on starting Hill Gaming Company ($2,000/month) full story ➜

66. Eco-friendly goods. ($5K/mo)

Tippy Tippens started Our Goods Matter, a Eco-friendly goods. business. They are now doing $5,000/month.

  • Location: New Orleans
  • Revenue: $5,000/ month
  • Started: over 9 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

When the BP Oil Spill happened in the Spring of 2010, I was living in NYC at the time and felt really helpless watching the spill unfold from afar without any end in site.

I became determined to find a way to help. My background is in product and furniture design, eventually I came to the idea that I could create a soap that raises funds for cleanup.

It’s my opinion, you can never really be fully ready or prepared - the important thing is to begin and start filling in the gaps as you go along.

how-i-started-a-benefit-corporation-earning-5k-month

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Tippy Tippens, on starting Our Goods Matter ($5,000/month) full story ➜

67. Origami folding kayaks ($400K/mo)

Anton Willis started Oru Kayak, a Origami Folding Kayaks business. They are now doing $400,000/month.

  • Location: Emeryville, CA
  • Revenue: $400,000/ month
  • Started: over 7 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 10

I grew up in the rural backwoods of Northern California. As a kid, I had two overwhelming passions: being outside, and making stuff. In college, I gravitated towards design and developed an obsession with boats- to me they really express the essence of design as a marriage between function and beauty.

It’s a lot easier to find a unique marketing or branding angle on something that’s already basically worked out, and that has factories ready to hit “go”.

Eventually, I went to graduate school for architecture and fixed up an old fiberglass kayak which I used to explore the San Francisco Bay on weekends. After graduating, I moved into a small apartment and had to put my kayak in storage. At the same time, I read a magazine article about origami and had the crazy idea to make a kayak that could fold up like a piece of paper.

how-we-started-a-400k-month-origami-folding-kayaks-business

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Anton Willis, on starting Oru Kayak ($400,000/month) full story ➜

68. Reusable collapsible straws. ($200K/mo)

Emma Rose Cohen started Final Co., a Reusable collapsible straws. business. They are now doing $200,000/month.

  • Location: Santa Fe
  • Revenue: $200,000/ month
  • Started: about 2 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 2

As a child, I’d roam the neighborhood where I grew up, collecting fruit from neighbors’ trees. When I was seven years old, I set up shop at a local farmers market to sell the fruit that otherwise would have been doomed to a perilous, rotting existence.

FinalStraw was born after a voracious Amazon search for a reusable, travel-friendly straw. There was nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. We saw the huge gap in the market for fun, innovative items that replace single-use plastic straws. So, we decided to go for it.

Two decades and several business ventures later, I found my passion in sustainability. In October of 2017, the stars aligned and I was introduced to my former co-founder. A mutual friend told him to give me a call because he had a concept for a portable, reusable straw, and thought I might be able to help. After all, my friends do refer to me as the “straw lady.”

how-i-created-a-collapsible-metal-straw-and-raised-1-89m-on-kickstarter

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Emma Rose Cohen, on starting Final Co. ($200,000/month) full story ➜

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Starter Story,   Founder of Starter Story