45 Business Ideas For High School Dropouts You Can Start Today [2021]

45 Business Ideas For High School Dropouts You Can Start Today [2021]

Interested in starting a high school dropouts business in 2021?

We put together 45 of the best high school dropouts businesses you can start in today.

For each business idea, we’ll show you real-world examples of other high school dropouts businesses to help you see what it really takes.

Here's the full list:

1. Start a gift baskets business ($24K/year)

Valentina from Brantford, ON, Canada started Really Luxe about 1 year ago, a gift baskets business.

  • Revenue: $2,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Brantford, ON, Canada

I worked as a Sales Associate for a well-known gift shop. I loved working for the company and was very passionate and believed in the company's culture and image.

The best part of the job was helping customers choose the perfect gift, suggest engraving messages and design ideas, and organizing inventory. I worked alongside awesome and amazing people! This was the first time I actually found a job that I truly was passionate about.

After the company closed down, I was very broken-hearted. This was the time when I also realized that I loved working with people, gift wrapping, and being able to use my creative talents and skills. Since I got laid off, due to company closure, this was the perfect time on reflecting where I would like to be professionally in my life.

on-starting-a-gift-baskets-online-shop

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Valentina, on starting Really Luxe ($2,000/month) full story ➜

2. Start a greeting cards business ($0/year)

Travis Peterson from Irvine, California, USA started Joker Greeting over 6 years ago, a greeting cards business.

  • Revenue: $/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Irvine, California, USA

My background is in finance. I worked in investment banking for six years in New York. I loved the job, the people, and the hours. But as a service job I wanted to be making things not just helping others make things. This desire has led me to where I am today.

My brother and I have always loved to make fun of everything. Around 2014, we visited my mom’s house and she had this musical greeting card. We thought it was annoying. We asked each other, "Who wants to listen to this!?" Then Nick asked, “What if it didn’t stop?”

That was it. Nothing more. No market research.

launching-a-prank-card-and-growing-to-30k-mo

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Travis Peterson, on starting Joker Greeting (/month) full story ➜

3. Start a photography business ($1.32M/year)

Kyle Nelson from Chico, California, USA started Results Imagery over 4 years ago, a photography business.

  • Revenue: $110,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 8
  • Location: Chico, California, USA

We both had previous experience in another start-up called Soul id which was a social media platform for action sports. We ran the marketing and media at that company which was a blast. After we left that company, we split directions. Eli got involved in the eCommerce industry by starting a brand called Winterial which he grew to hundreds of SKUs. Kyle headed in the media direction and started a commercial photography company where he worked with Fortune 500 companies and small businesses.

At this time Kyle wanted to be able to get back in the start-up world, grow a large brand and a team of like-minded creatives and innovators. So like any entrepreneur, he jumped on Google and started to search for media companies that were also technology-based companies as well. That is where the inspiration of starting a digital agency that solely focused on the media portion for brands and product companies came to life.

Culture is the centerpiece of a successful company. Creating a place for employees to come to work and enjoy what they do, the environment and who they work with will pay long term dividends.

how-we-started-a-45k-month-product-photography-and-video-company

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Kyle Nelson, on starting Results Imagery ($110,000/month) full story ➜

4. Become a musician ($36K/year)

Miguel de Maria from Tempe, Arizona, USA started Miguel de Maria, Elegant Spanish Guitar over 17 years ago, a musician.

  • Revenue: $3,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Tempe, Arizona, USA

I worked a desk job out of college and hated it, so I began tending bar nights. As chance would have it, one of the places I worked had live entertainment--a Spanish guitar duo. I loved the atmosphere they created, and, being a guitarist myself, would sometimes sit in when things were slow behind the bar. One month, the normal musicians went on vacation to Spain, and the backup band had some problems. I went up on stage and helped them out, and just kept playing!

Whenever I play a gig, I view it as an opportunity to get more gigs.

Me becoming a musician was fairly random. I had been playing since I was young, but it never had occurred to me to do it as a living. But I enjoyed it, and people wanted to hire me. After a time, it made sense to pursue this path.

leaving-a-boring-desk-job-to-make-a-living-playing-spanish-guitar-at-events

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Miguel de Maria, on starting Miguel de Maria, Elegant Spanish Guitar ($3,000/month) full story ➜

5. Start a dog walking business ($648K/year)

Melodi Landi from Remote started Furry Fellas Pet Service LLC over 15 years ago, a dog walking business.

  • Revenue: $54,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 19
  • Location: Remote

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

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

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

how-i-started-a-54k-month-pet-sitting-and-dog-walking-business

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Melodi Landi, on starting Furry Fellas Pet Service LLC ($54,000/month) full story ➜

6. Start a cleaning business ($1.2M/year)

Neel Parekh from Los Angeles, CA, USA started MaidThis Franchise over 8 years ago, a cleaning business.

  • Revenue: $100,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 9
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA

I originally started MaidThis as a side hustle while I was working at a private equity investment firm. Like many people working the corporate grind, I was fascinated by becoming my own boss.

With any first product or service launch, you’re almost guaranteed to get some aspect of it wrong. You might be priced too low, not be addressing the right target market, or have the package all wrong.

I finally stumbled upon The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris, which turns out is basically the Bible for the digital nomad community, and decided I wanted to experience “location freedom”.

how-i-started-a-100k-month-home-cleaning-service-for-busy-individuals-and-airbnb-hosts

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Neel Parekh, on starting MaidThis Franchise ($100,000/month) full story ➜

7. Start a diy business ($1.62M/year)

Mark Tyrol from Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA started Battic Door over 8 years ago, a DIY business.

  • Revenue: $135,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 2
  • Location: Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA

When I purchased my first house in 2000, I had a pull-down ladder in one of the bedrooms.

When attic stairs are installed, a large hole (approximately 10 square feet) is created in your ceiling. The ceiling and insulation that were there have to be removed, leaving only a thin, unsealed, sheet of plywood.

I have a colleague who told me “Businesses do not fail, people quit.” I decided to not quit.

how-i-turned-a-diy-project-into-a-million-dollar-business

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Mark Tyrol, on starting Battic Door ($135,000/month) full story ➜

8. Start a food startup ($144K/year)

Enric Miquel Pico from Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain started KÜiK Meal over 3 years ago, a food startup.

  • Revenue: $12,000/ month
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 6
  • Location: Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

The journey that drove us through entrepreneurship was natural, because in a way all of the founding members were currently working in a startup environment.

All the founding members were currently working in a fast paced environment at Laboratoires Grand Fontaine, so it seemed like an evidence to them to launch the KÜik Meal project as a startup.

As I used to say in my daily work : “Don’t expect the right answers from your mind, but rather from the market. Listen to it, pay close attention to all the details that your consumers or potential customers reveal in every interaction.”

how-we-crowdfunded-and-validated-our-meal-replacement-product

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Enric Miquel Pico, on starting KÜiK Meal ($12,000/month) full story ➜

9. Start a social media marketing business ($120K/year)

Mahsun Avci from Taastrup started Avci ApS almost 2 years ago, a social media marketing business.

  • Revenue: $10,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Taastrup

Growing up, I went to private school and was very blessed that my parents cared about my education. Somewhere around 9th grade, my perspective on the education system changed. I realized through books and YouTube videos that the life trajectory of a lot of the people I looked up to, was not aligned with what I wanted in life.

I was never a fan of what was taught in schools. Instead of religiously following what was being taught in high school, I self-educated in business, personal development, and leadership. When I was fifteen, I tried out various online businesses. I failed miserably at first. At this time I was very much into Fitness and I tried to sell training and diet plans. I managed to sell a few plans to my classmates for like $50, but it never really amounted to anything and most importantly it wasn't scalable.

After that, I tried stock trading and the likes. That too didn’t really work for me. One day I stumbled across SMMA. I was so intrigued by the concept, so I went ALL IN. I didn’t care what people thought. I was going to make it big here. I needed some proof of concept, so I convinced my dad to make me run his restaurant's Facebook Ads. I watched 100’s of videos and read tons of blogs, to know how to run successful ads and we were both pretty stoked about the results.

I knew it was the right business for me, but it was not all gold and green forests. In fact, at the start of my “agency journey,” it was so hard getting my feet on the ground and getting my first few clients after my dad.

how-i-built-a-10k-month-online-marketing-agency

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Mahsun Avci, on starting Avci ApS ($10,000/month) full story ➜

10. Start an uber driver business

Examples of a successful uber driver business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a uber driver business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an uber driver business ➜

11. Start a coding business

Examples of a successful coding business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a coding business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a coding business ➜

article

12. Start an electrician business

Examples of a successful electrician business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a electrician business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an electrician business ➜

article

13. Start a babysitting business

Examples of a successful babysitting business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a babysitting business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a babysitting business ➜

article

14. Start a direct sales representative business

Examples of a successful direct sales representative business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a direct sales representative business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a direct sales representative business ➜

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15. Start an acting lessons business

Examples of a successful acting lessons business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a acting lessons business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an acting lessons business ➜

article

16. Start a comedian business

Examples of a successful comedian business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a comedian business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a comedian business ➜

article

17. Start a mobile mechanic service

Examples of a successful mobile mechanic service:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a mobile mechanic service:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a mobile mechanic service ➜

article

18. Start a construction consulting business

Examples of a successful construction consulting business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a construction consulting business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a construction consulting business ➜

article

19. Start a bakery

Examples of a successful bakery:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a bakery:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a bakery ➜

article

20. Start a cosmetologist business

Examples of a successful cosmetologist business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a cosmetologist business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a cosmetologist business ➜

article

21. Become a carpenter

Examples of a successful carpenter:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a carpenter:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a carpenter ➜

article

22. Start a delivery business

Examples of a successful delivery business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a delivery business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a delivery business ➜

article

23. Start a welding business

Examples of a successful welding business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a welding business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a welding business ➜

24. Start a chauffeur business

Examples of a successful chauffeur business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a chauffeur business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a chauffeur business ➜

article

25. Start a handyman service business

Examples of a successful handyman service business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a handyman service business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a handyman service business ➜

article

26. Become a youtube personality

Examples of a successful youtube personality:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a youtube personality:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a youtube personality ➜

article

27. Start a lawn care service

Examples of a successful lawn care service:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a lawn care service:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a lawn care service ➜

article

28. Start an invention business

Examples of a successful invention business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a invention business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an invention business ➜

article

29. Become a cake decorator ($480K/year)

Examples of a successful cake decorator:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a cake decorator:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a cake decorator ➜

article

30. Start a house sitting business

Examples of a successful house sitting business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a house sitting business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a house sitting business ➜

article

31. Start a laundry business

Examples of a successful laundry business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a laundry business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a laundry business ➜

article

32. Start a gift wrapping service

Examples of a successful gift wrapping service:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a gift wrapping service:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a gift wrapping service ➜

article

33. Start a farmers market

Examples of a successful farmers market:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a farmers market:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a farmers market ➜

34. Start a packing business

Examples of a successful packing business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a packing business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a packing business ➜

article

35. Start a snow removal service

Examples of a successful snow removal service:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a snow removal service:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a snow removal service ➜

article

36. Start a leaf removal business

Examples of a successful leaf removal business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a leaf removal business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a leaf removal business ➜

article

37. Start a tourist bodyguard business

Examples of a successful tourist bodyguard business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a tourist bodyguard business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a tourist bodyguard business ➜

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38. Start a holiday decoration business

Examples of a successful holiday decoration business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a holiday decoration business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a holiday decoration business ➜

article

39. Start a painting business

Examples of a successful painting business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a painting business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a painting business ➜

article

40. Start a flower shop business ($1.44M/year)

Examples of a successful flower shop business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a flower shop business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a flower shop business ➜

And for some real world inspiration, give Carlos Franco's story on creating Green Fresh Florals + Plants a read:

My name is Carlos Franco, and I am the owner and creative director at Green Fresh Florals + Plants, San Diego's premier modern flower and plant shop located in Hillcrest.

I’ve been connected to Mother Earth my entire life and became a professional florist in my early 20’s. I opened Green in its current location in July 2009. Before that, I had a shop located in the East Village neighborhood in downtown San Diego.

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Carlos Franco, on starting Green Fresh Florals + Plants ($120,000/month) full story ➜

41. Start an ac repair business

Examples of a successful ac repair business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a ac repair business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an ac repair business ➜

article

42. Start a fruit and vegetable cart business

Examples of a successful fruit and vegetable cart business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a fruit and vegetable cart business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a fruit and vegetable cart business ➜

article

43. Start a clothing retail kiosk business

Examples of a successful clothing retail kiosk business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a clothing retail kiosk business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a clothing retail kiosk business ➜

article

44. Start a car washing and detailing business

Examples of a successful car washing and detailing business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a car washing and detailing business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a car washing and detailing business ➜

article

45. Start a smoothie business

Examples of a successful smoothie business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a smoothie business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a smoothie business ➜

Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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