Did you know that three of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world identify as introverts?
It's true - Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg all share that unique characteristic in common.
Contrary to what some may think, introverted people, make for remarkable business leaders and entrepreneurs.
If you're an introvert, you may really enjoy the journey of starting your own business.
Think about it...
You'll have the ability to create your own work environment, connect with others on your own terms, and delegate tasks to team members that can fulfill certain aspects of the business that you may not prefer.
Here are 20 business ideas suited for introverted entrepreneurs:
Start a residential cleaning services business
Ron Holt started Two Maids & A Mop, which started as a side hustle and sells residential cleaning services. They are now making $600,000 revenue/mo.
My $150K plan was supposed to be a straightforward plan to just save money but it also created several positive, albeit unintended consequences..
I saved money by eating the same foods every day, yep...every single day. My odd nutritional plan allowed me to calculate the exact cost of living every week, which worked for me since my diet wasn’t necessarily adventurous anyways (yet another reason to love Warren Buffett). Remember, I was a young kid at the time and weekends were supposed to be fun.
But instead, I chose to stay home on a Saturday night rather than party with my fellow 20-something friends. I also worked my way up the corporate ladder by learning how to communicate with customers, vendors and co-workers. And I built side-businesses that forced me to learn how to sell a product or service. I may have never attended a single day of business school, but my life was the on-the-job version of business school.
Start a social media automation business
Laura Roeder started MeetEdgar, which started as a side hustle and sells social media automation. They are now making $200,000 revenue/mo.
Our product is software, we build it with code. I am not a developer so my husband, Chris has always been my partner at MeetEdgar and he’s the one who built the initial version of the software. This is my first software business, I had never done it before. Chris and I really worked closely together, with me really understanding the customer needs and how to make things easy for customers and outcomes for them in the world of social media. This is the world that I had been entrenched in for the past five years, working with entrepreneurs in the realm of social media. I knew that side really well, and Chris’s expertise was software, and helping decide which features we needed, and what we didn’t need.
He knew a lot about simplification and making sure we weren’t giving our customers too many complicated options so it took about six months of him working full time to build that initial version of Edgar that we launched with. He was a freelancer at the time, and we were in a good position for him to be able to devote the next six months to Edgar and it ended up paying off really well.
Start a household moving business
Max Maher started Skinny Wimp Moving, which started as a side hustle and sells household moving. They are now making $115,000 revenue/mo.
Initially I used every dollar of my savings from my previous small businesses (around $18,000) to purchase insurance policies, equipment, and the down payments on the trucks.
My first clients were landed though storage facility referrals. I would go into these facilities and pitch how I would love to help anyone moving in or out and will basically do anything to get the job. I think they could tell I actually cared about how it would go and luckily a few gave me a shot. I still do this form of marketing to this day.
Just go. That perfect time you’ve been waiting for to start isn’t going to come. Your product/service will never be perfect before launch. You probably ever have the ideal amount of time, energy, or money it takes to launch perfectly.
Start a web design & marketing courses business
Shannon Mattern started Shannon Mattern, which started as a side hustle and sells web design & marketing courses. They are now making $10,000 revenue/mo.
When I made the decision to teach people how to DIY, my first step was to research all the affiliate opportunities available.
I was totally new to affiliate marketing, and I was shocked at how many of the products and services I was already buying and using to build websites for my clients had affiliate programs. I signed up for all of them.
My next step was to figure out what kind of website I’d teach people to build. And I decided to teach them how to build the same kind of website I’d personally need to grow my own business online - a website that positioned me as an expert and built my email list.
Start a playing cards business
Will Roya started PlayingCardDecks.com, which started as a side hustle and sells playing cards . They are now making $100,000 revenue/mo.
When I first started the business I was only buying the products wholesale from various suppliers. My goal was to have as many different decks that I could.
In order to increase brand awareness, I started to produce my own decks and fund them via Kickstarter.
I was not too picky about the themes and collaborations on my first decks because I just needed to get started. There is a bit of a learning curve and even after backing a bunch of projects, it took me several of my own projects to get the hang of it in terms of rewards, promo, etc.
Start a construction online training business
Gabriel Kramer started SI Certs, which started as a side hustle and sells construction online training. They are now making $85,000 revenue/mo.
Today we have 11 courses but when we were just starting out, I focused on creating the first course. I targeted the most popular Special Inspector certification exam, Reinforced Concrete. It took me around nine months to create the course.
The course was 11 modules, or lessons, long. After each module, I created quiz questions to help people evaluate how well they understood the material. Also, I included a practice test at the end of the course.
I spent around 10 hours each week working on the course. Most of that time was during the weekend since I kept my full-time job. I was responsible for course creation but from the start, SI Certs has always been a team effort.
Start an audio to video business
Baird Hall started Wavve, which started as a side hustle and sells audio to video. They are now making $75,000 revenue/mo.
LOL. That’s funny.
There wasn’t any design or prototyping. I guess there had to be a little manufacturing.
We were just building a tool for ourselves to use as fast as possible. Once we realized that people would pay for it, we were trying to figure out how to hack our way to paying customers.
Start a handcrafted jewelry business
Pragya Batra started Quirksmith, which started as a side hustle and sells handcrafted jewelry. They are now making $39,956 revenue/mo.
The first step to creating a piece of jewelry is sketching the idea on a piece of paper. As someone working on the business side, I provide inputs on price points, categories, past designs that do well for us, etc. Based on these, we agree on the boundaries of the collection (What category to focus on - like earrings, rings, etc., what should be the price points - say between INR 1000-2000. The price points give Divya an idea about the size she needs to focus on).
Based on these broad outlines, Divya sketches a few rough ideas over the next few days. Once a collection of 10-15 rough ideas is ready, we go through them together, discussing every idea in a little bit more detail (on wearability, production constraints, uniqueness, etc.). During this process, we select the ones that move to production.
At the production stage, every design sketch is converted into the first sample by a master craftsman. Divya engages in every stage of this sample creation process to ensure the first sample is good to go.
Start a board games business
Travis Hancock started Facade Games, which started as a side hustle and sells board games. They are now making $30,000 revenue/mo.
Games take a lot of testing to get the rules and flow and theme of the game just right. We typically test out literally 100+ versions of each game before it’s ready.
This involves lots of game nights where we invite people over and then listen to every bit of feedback they provide. You have to have thick skin so that you can admit when you’ve had a bad idea about a game idea or core mechanic.
Start a digital marketing services business
Teodora Nikolovska started Vrootok, which started as a side hustle and sells digital marketing services. They are now making $0 revenue/mo.
Our model at the beginning was very different from what it is today. We started as an outsource and we worked with only one client, as he had enough projects for us which at the time were a total of 15 people. After working for 6 months with this client, one day he sent me an email that he is stopping everything and that in one month from now everybody should be out. It sounds unfortunate, but when I think of it now, it’s what took us where we are today.
I spent all of my savings to pay salaries to the team members that I had to let go and I decided to take a radical step. I found a freelance job and decided to move out of my parent's house, with no savings, and no specific plan. What I knew though, was that I will start from scratch and that I would build the company again, this time with a different model that will bring value to our clients and bring us success.
After 3 months of freelancing, I took 3 interns to help me, 2 of which I employed. It may sound cliche, but we did work together in my apartment. After another 3 months, I decided to get an office, a very tiny one, with just enough space for 3 desks. As time went by and we got new clients that were happy with our services, we grew and developed into the company we are today.
Start a stationary and product design business
Ruth Daro started Seniman Calligraphy, which started as a side hustle and sells stationary and product design. They are now making $13,000 revenue/mo.
The first product I made was my foil pressed wedding vow books. I did a photo shoot where the photographer requested a pair of vow books which I made from white faux-leather moleskine. Using the professional photographs, I created an Etsy listing which ended up being my first bestseller. Although I was very excited to finally have a popular listing, each order had to be handmade. That means time-consuming and prone to mistakes. A few months in, I decided to invest in a pre-printed version. For the first year or so, my foil press vow books were made out of moleskine pocket notebooks. This allowed me to order in small batches of 100-200 pairs at a time.
Although the pricing works okay for retail, I wasn’t making a good enough margin for wholesaling. I finally took the leap to custom make them from scratch in late 2018. Considering the minimum order is 500 books per design, this was a significant financial investment for me. But with that, I created my most popular products with the highest margin. That being said, creating my own notebook from scratch had their own set of problems. Lead time is much longer than small batches, storage space can be very tricky, and there are more opportunities for mistakes to happen. For example, half of the notebooks from my first manufactured batch had to be redone because the rounded corners did not meet my standards.
Start a cloud management software business
Alin Dobra started Bunnyshell, which started as a side hustle and sells cloud management software. They are now making $12,000 revenue/mo.
Now that I knew what the problem was, I could get started on the solution. This is where the fun part starts.
I made my exit from the previous startup and got together with Roxana, my DevOps at the time. Together, we started building the DevOps platform of our dreams.
We were working hard at building the MVP but realized we still had to validate the idea, make sure we were creating something people actually wanted and needed. So we started trying to sell the product.
Start a junk removal business
Sal Polit-Moran started A+ Enterprises Junk Removal & Demolition, which started as a side hustle and sells junk removal. They are now making $41,000 revenue/mo.
When I first started this business, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. The only advertising we did at first was spamming Craigslist with ads. Originally, I was not concerned with branding, company image, or legitimacy. We were a cheap company servicing cheap people, and it started to work.
Due to being extremely cheap, we did not do anything legitimately. We had no insurance, no licensing, no LLC, etc. Just about the only legitimate thing we did was properly dispose of all junk we removed at landfills!
Part of my reasoning for running the business such as this was it was strictly a side-hustle at this time. Only after being in business for almost 8 months did I finally get the proper insurance & licensing. Looking back, this was an extremely risky decision on my part for many reasons.
Start a gorgeous planners and refills business
Jess Yasuda started Chasing Planner Peace, which started as a side hustle and sells gorgeous planners and refills. They are now making $11,613 revenue/mo.
My first planner inserts were actually terrible compared to what we produce now. I had no idea what I was doing and hadn’t considered packaging, postage or branding at all. I whipped up a logo in MS Paint of all things.
My first inserts were designed using Microsoft Publisher (don’t worry, I now use professional software) and took me many, many nights after my children had gone to bed. I knew from my own experience planning what would be popular and what was lacking in the market. As an avid planner user myself I knew exactly what I wanted, and so that’s what I made.
We invested very little financially into the business, to begin with. I went off to Officeworks with my husband and spent $200 on an inkjet printer and some paper. I worked on my living room floor and then on a tiny desk in the kitchen. Since then, we’ve slowly upgraded and researched to find the best paper on the market, and we now run two commercial printers in a dedicated office in our house. I’m very lucky that we print everything in-house to order, so we can test new products and if they aren’t popular, we just remove them from the website.
Start a wooden decorations business
Sasha Weekes started Timber Grove Studios, which started as a side hustle and sells wooden decorations. They are now making $6,000 revenue/mo.
My answer to this question is probably different than most on Starter Story because I’m a smaller scale maker and almost everything is still done internally, which I still take pride in.
The original mountain design did change when I first began making them at home - I wanted something more aesthetically pleasing than the mountain designs going around on Pinterest and Etsy at the time. I had also originally used spruce strapping and it was quite rough, so I sourced clear pine which I still use to this day from the local Timber Mart.
I honestly had a really tough time with shipping. I had no clue what I was doing with packaging and many of my first international shipments arrived broken. I went above and beyond with customer service during these first few orders and refunded everything, apologized profusely, and somehow came out with no bad reviews.
Start a pet portraits business
Sarah Miller started sarahpaintspets, which started as a side hustle and sells pet portraits. They are now making $4,500 revenue/mo.
It’s about as simple as it gets! I didn’t have to spend much on supplies to get started. Paint colors, brushes, paper, and packaging supplies are all it takes to bring a pet portrait from start to finish.
In order to make a larger profit and charge more for my portraits, I had to improve my painting skills. Painting 6 days a week for a year is what took me from novice to professional. It was not an overnight success by any means. Every 3-4 months I could increase my prices from $10 to $25 to $50 to $130 to $155. I now have a streamlined process down that takes every portrait from email to sketch to painting at the value I know I am worth.
My packaging gets the job done for now, but I want to turn it into a selling point. I cut out stiff pieces of cardboard myself to tie the painting to so that it doesn’t bend in the mail. If we’re being totally honest, I ask my dad to cut the cardboard in batches whenever I am home. I think adding cohesive colors and an unexpected gift in the final package will be a helpful final touchpoint to encourage returning customers.
Start a pet sitting & dog walking business
Melodi Landi started Furry Fellas Pet Service LLC, which sells pet sitting & dog walking and is making $54,000 revenue/mo.
They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 19 employees.
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.
Start a resume, linkedin, & website writing business
Mike McRitchie started Critical Path Action, which started as a side hustle and sells resume, linkedin, & website writing. They are now making $2,500 revenue/mo.
As this was a side hustle and I had the course that included a business model, it just required implementation. This could be run as a sole proprietorship but I already had an LLC in place for other consulting work and just ran the business through that.
I started with lower pricing as I learned and then added additional services and increased my pricing until I saw the market not support the higher price for the services offered.
Creating the website was the biggest challenge and why I took a course to help me do that.
Start a landing pages business
Alexander Isora started Unicorn Platform, which started as a side hustle and sells landing pages. They are now making $2,250 revenue/mo.
I was lucky enough to skip the customer development part. By building the Unicorn Platform, I was solving my own pain as an ex startup owner.
I also had a decent relevant experience building landing pages for startups. Thus, I already knew what to build and how to sell.
But there also was “how to build” part. And that was actually a problem. 😅
Start an editing and proofreading service business
Lenny Bron started The Blog Proofreader, which started as a side hustle and sells editing and proofreading service. They are now making $2,000 revenue/mo.
The main thing I kept reading about starting a business was simple: just start! The details can get figured out later.
This was especially true for my endeavour, I started by doing the simplest thing possible. I sent an email.
I was reading a post from one of my favorite personal finance bloggers and noticed several grammar issues. This would be my first go of it. In the email, I started with who I was, why I liked her content, and then copied in the parts that needed editing followed by my corrections.
Start an online courses business
Keyul started Coursesity, which started as a side hustle and sells online courses. They are now making $1,000 revenue/mo.
After I validate the potential of the idea, I started brainstorming the features that need to be on the first MVP. First, I created a signup page with a simple template and messenger chatbot. And posted on different social media sites.
The aim of the site was to keep it simple and easy for users to find programming courses. By keeping this in mind, I narrowed down the features that needed for first MVP launch. I designed a few mockups on pages to get more ideas before starting development. It took six weeks to build the first working version of the site.
As a maker, you always want to ship the product with all the features and it can take so much time to build everything and you never know how many of these features customers will use.
As an introvert, you have special powers that no extrovert has. You have the ability to think and problem solve in your own unique way.
Given the right environment, introverts can be incredible business leaders and entrepreneurs!
Thanks for reading! Enjoy more startup stories on our explore page at Starter Story