The 37 Best Home-Based Businesses To Start In Minnesota [2021]

The 37 Best Home-Based Businesses To Start In Minnesota [2021]

Interested in starting a business in Minnesota in 2021?

We put together 37 of the best businesses you can start in Minnesota today.

For each business idea, we’ll show you real-world examples of how you can start your profitable, home-based small business in Minnesota.

Here's the full list:

1. Start a music licensing business ($2.52M/year)

Aaron Green from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA started Easy Song Licensing almost 16 years ago, a music licensing business.

  • Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
  • Revenue: $210,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 6

Hello! This is Aaron Green, Vice President and co-founder of EasySongLicensing.com. We are a 3rd party music licensing agent, specializing in music clearance for any type of permission, for any type of use; kind of like your one-stop music nerd Swiss Army Knife!

Our work involves helping indie artists, record labels, online aggregators (such as CD Baby), filmmakers, studios, video production companies, entertainment lawyers and corporate clients with all their music licensing needs by brokering music clearance deals with music publishers and record labels. These types of permissions include:

  • Mechanical song licensing (re-recorded cover versions of copyrighted material for audio-only releases)
  • Video synchronization (commercial/advertisements/branding/TV/film/DVD/Video-On-Demand/internet streaming/public display, etc.; any video or visual use of copyrighted material)
  • Master rights (use of an original master sound recording)
  • Theatrical rights (live stage/musicals/dramas)
  • and Print licensing (digital and physical print publications, sheet music arrangements)

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

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

2. Start a social media marketing service ($600K/year)

David Schlais from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA started Vital Traffic Labs over 4 years ago, a social media marketing service.

  • Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
  • Revenue: $50,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0

Hey Starter Story! Thanks for having me back! I am the founder of Vital Traffic Labs, an agency that uses social media to help clients grow their businesses! I am also passionate about helping other aspiring entrepreneurs leave their 9-5 jobs and start businesses that they can run from anywhere in the world.

We have helped hundreds of entrepreneurs achieve this through our program, TheSMMABlueprint.com! We have been able to scale our business to over USD 50,000 per month and have helped countless others achieve a 6-figure, location independent/laptop lifestyle.

how-we-grew-our-partnership-network-and-scaled-the-business-to-50k-month

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David Schlais, on starting Vital Traffic Labs ($50,000/month) full story ➜

3. Start a payment app ($720K/year)

Ryan Scherf from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA started Payment for Stripe over 6 years ago, a payment app.

  • Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
  • Revenue: $60,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

I’m Ryan Scherf, the founder of payment.co (@payment), an app built on top of the Stripe payment gateway for creating card-present charges. Payment is available on iOS and Android, and allows customers who have created online stores to easily collect payments in person, in the same account, with no barriers or card readers required.

The app launched in January 2015, and since has grown to process over $70M in volume annually. The app collects a 1% service fee on every single charge.

how-i-created-a-60k-month-app-that-collects-in-person-payments-through-stripe

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Ryan Scherf, on starting Payment for Stripe ($60,000/month) full story ➜

4. Develop a mac app ($2.4M/year)

Matt Ronge from Minneapolis, MN, USA started Astropad over 7 years ago, a mac app.

  • Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA
  • Revenue: $200,000/ month
  • Starting Costs: $10,000
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 16

My name is Matt Ronge and I’m Cofounder and CEO at Astropad. At Astropad, we make software and hardware tools for creative people. Our two main products are Astropad Studio and Luna Display.

Astropad Studio is an app that mirrors your Mac on to your iPad, turning it into a high-end drawing tablet. We’re incredibly proud that Astropad Studio is used by tens of thousands of creative professionals and companies like Pixar, DC Comics, Disney, Nintendo, Twitter, and even Star Wars!

Our second product, Luna Display is a small hardware dongle that turns the iPad or another Mac into a wireless second display. You plug the Luna device into your Mac and then install the app on the device you’d like to use as your 2nd monitor, and you’re all set!

how-we-created-our-200k-month-ipad-and-mac-apps-and-tools-for-creatives

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Matt Ronge, on starting Astropad ($200,000/month) full story ➜

5. Start an influencer reporting tool business ($156K/year)

Bruno Bornsztein from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA started InfluenceKit over 3 years ago, an influencer reporting tool business.

  • Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
  • Revenue: $13,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0

My name is Bruno Bornsztein - I’m a web developer and entrepreneur. I started InfluenceKit to help content creators prove their value and make more money. The tool makes it easy to generate accurate, always-updated reports so influencers can show brands the real value of the sponsored content they’re creating.

Our customers are bloggers, Instagrammers, YouTubers and podcasters who want to increase their sponsored content revenue and better understand how their content performs on every digital channel. We currently have about 180 paying customers, including some of the top creators in the food and lifestyle content niches.

My co-founder, Chris Tuttle, showing some new users how InfluenceKit works

how-we-developed-a-8-5k-month-reporting-tool-for-influencers

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Bruno Bornsztein, on starting InfluenceKit ($13,000/month) full story ➜

6. Start a mobile app development business ($984K/year)

Tim Bornholdt from Minneapolis, MN, USA started The Jed Mahonis Group about 9 years ago, a mobile app development business.

  • Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA
  • Revenue: $82,000/ month
  • Starting Costs: $500
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 6

Hi! 👋 My name is Tim Bornholdt, and I’m a co-founder of The Jed Mahonis Group. We are a custom iOS and Android app development consultancy, and we specialize in building native mobile app solutions for businesses of all sizes.

We’ve grown at a steady pace over the past eight years. We currently work with several large and small organizations including Great Clips, Profile by Sanford Health, Green Mill, and the USA CUP. My business partner and I started the company right out of college by investing $250 each and have since turned it into a nearly seven-figure a year agency.

how-we-started-a-82k-month-custom-ios-and-android-apps-development-agency

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Tim Bornholdt, on starting The Jed Mahonis Group ($82,000/month) full story ➜

7. Start a branding agency ($480K/year)

Beau Nordby from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA started OrangeBall Creative about 9 years ago, a branding agency.

  • Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
  • Revenue: $40,000/ month
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 3

Hello! My name is Beau Nordby, and I am one of three partners who launched OrangeBall Creative in 2012. I want to thank you for taking the time to read our story. I’m confident you’ll find something of value that will help you.

For entrepreneurs, explaining who they are, what they do, and why their audience should care can be daunting. Putting their business into words and perfecting their elevator pitch is something many business owners struggle to do. And then, using those words to drive sales and convert customers on their website, social media, print, and in-person can be even more challenging. We get it because we see it every day in the work we do with our agency clients.

In 2017, we created Brand Bounce Bootcamp, a set of exercises designed to help owners and entrepreneurs simplify their marketing messages and tell their stories. Using our step-by-step process, Brand Bounce Bootcamp guides businesses in finding the words they’re looking for to connect with prospects, align their teams, and sell their products and services. Through our agency work of designing websites and other print/digital marketing, we know that the right brand message is the foundation of marketing that actually works.

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 ➜

8. Start a marketing agency ($96K/year)

Karl Hughes from Chicago, IL, USA started Draft.dev 11 months ago, a marketing agency.

  • Location: Chicago, IL, USA
  • Revenue: $8,000/ month
  • Starting Costs: $600
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

My name is Karl, and I’m the founder of Draft. After almost a decade leading engineering teams at venture-funded startups, I decided it was time to leap into entrepreneurship. Draft is a productized service that provides technical content to software engineering blogs on a subscription basis.

August is my third month running the business and first month full-time, and I’m on track to bring in $10,000 in (mostly) recurring revenue this month. The business isn’t going to replace my salary as a CTO right away, but the freedom of running my own business has given me a lot of freedom to stretch my creative muscles and spend time with my family.

My son Joe and dog Chili. We get to hang out together every day now!

how-i-started-an-8k-month-technical-content-marketing-agency

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Karl Hughes, on starting Draft.dev ($8,000/month) full story ➜

9. Start a supplements company ($1.2M/year)

Nick Bey from Chicago, IL, USA started Bey Moss over 1 year ago, a supplements company.

  • Location: Chicago, IL, USA
  • Revenue: $100,000/ month
  • Starting Costs: $500
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 10

I’m Nick Bey and I run Bey Moss, an e-commerce platform that sells products infused with Chondrus Crispus or, better known as, sea moss. Our flagship product started with sea moss gel, which was used as a food additive. Our customers are men and women concerned about their health and using beauty products that are safe for your skin.

Bey Moss started on January 1, 2020, and has made over $800,000 to-date with less than $10,000 overall in ads. Our customers realize that they are investing in their health when they consume our products.

how-this-couple-started-a-100k-month-sea-moss-infused-health-supplements-brand

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Nick Bey, on starting Bey Moss ($100,000/month) full story ➜

10. Start a stationery business ($36K/year)

Jordyn from Michigan, USA started Jordyn Alison Designs about 3 years ago, a stationery business.

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

Hey, I’m Jordyn and I’m the owner of Jordyn Alison Designs. My intentions with my products are to bring joy to your daily life as well as help connect you with others.

For a couple of years, the only thing I sold in my shop was greeting cards. But in March of 2018, I started selling vinyl stickers, which proved to be successful. I now have greeting cards, stickers, notepads, apparel and more in my shop.

Part of what I think makes my business unique is that I have a pretty strong digital side to my business as well. For that side, I work on making SVG cut files and hand-lettered fonts. As someone who can’t sit still and do the same thing every day, it’s really nice to have two distinct sides to my business that I can switch back and forth from.

how-i-started-a-3k-month-hand-lettered-stationery-products-ecommerce

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Jordyn, on starting Jordyn Alison Designs ($3,000/month) full story ➜

11. Start a supplements company ($24K/year)

Paul Sciortino from Chicago, Illinois, USA started Ayo Supplements over 1 year ago, a supplements company.

  • Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • Revenue: $2,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

My name is Paul Sciortino, I am the founder of Ayo Supplements and we sell Matcha Boost, the best matcha tea supplement you will find on the market. It’s a simple

product; organic, ceremonial grade Japanese matcha powder combined with vitamin B-12 to support natural energy.

Matcha’s renowned health benefits are widely recognized and it is one of the healthiest substances in the world. It’s an acquired taste, however, and prep time can make it difficult to fit into a daily routine. I thought that if I created a quality product in a convenient “take with you anywhere” capsule, people couldn’t afford not to take it.

on-starting-a-2k-month-premium-matcha-supplements-brand

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Paul Sciortino, on starting Ayo Supplements ($2,000/month) full story ➜

12. Start a motorcycle parts business ($7.2M/year)

Justin Pflanz from Lincoln, Nebraska, USA started TAB Performance over 17 years ago, a motorcycle parts business.

  • Location: Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
  • Revenue: $600,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 9

Our names are Justin and Casey and we are two brothers who have spent the last 10 years building and growing an aftermarket motorcycle exhaust and accessory business. Our main product is exhaust, but have been able to expand our business by adding several complimentary branded products as well as kitting package deals that might include non competing complementary products made by other companies. If someone needs another product to enhance or use the product you make, you might as well offer it to your customer to create a more complete and pleasant shopping experience for your customer base.

We have grown a little over double every year for the past 4 years and are using that income to reinvest into new products and new capabilities for our company. Just this year we were able to purchase new equipment to allow us the ability to manufacture many complex parts ourselves which cuts down on cost and enhances our ability to be agile and adapt to new products quickly.

how-we-added-200k-worth-of-manufacturing-equipment-and-added-new-employees

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Justin Pflanz, on starting TAB Performance ($600,000/month) full story ➜

13. Start a pool installation service ($96K/year)

Dan Stewart from Unorganized Thunder Bay District, Ontario, Canada started Dundas Valley Pools almost 5 years ago, a pool installation service.

  • Location: Unorganized Thunder Bay District, Ontario, Canada
  • Revenue: $8,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

I’m Dan Stewart and I’m the founder of Dundas Valley Pools. We help homeowners with swimming pools in Southern Ontario, Canada maximize the summers in their backyard. We do this by providing personalized, on-site services such as pool openings/ closings, pool maintenance, equipment installations, pool renovations, and new pool installations. Since our humble beginnings in May of 2016 we have serviced 350+ pools, opened and closed 200+ pools, and have installed tons of high-quality pool equipment, pool liners, and winter safety covers for happy customers throughout Southern Ontario.

Although Dundas Valley Pools began as a company focusing solely on pool openings and closings, we have confidently moved into more and more technical services such as leak detection and repair, liner repair and installation, winter safety cover installations, and pool/backyard renovations. We plan to begin our first in-ground pool installs this year in 2020. We are also in the process of discussing a partnership opportunity with another local pool business which is pretty darn exciting.

Dundas Valley Pools has grown from a company producing very little revenue in 2016 to a company that is earning an average of $8000/ month net revenue during the on-season. This year we hope to actually double that number. This is due to our expansion into more technical services as well as taking on larger jobs-- namely, new pool installations.

how-i-started-a-8k-month-pool-service-and-installation-business

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Dan Stewart, on starting Dundas Valley Pools ($8,000/month) full story ➜

14. Start a subscription box business ($120K/year)

David Dewane from Chicago, Illinois, USA started Mouse Book Club almost 4 years ago, a subscription box business.

  • Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • Revenue: $10,000/ month
  • Founders: 4
  • Employees: 0

My name is David Dewane and I’m the co-founder and president of the Mouse Book Club. We make phone-sized physical books you carry around with you so that you have a decent alternative to reading your phone.

I’m an architect, professor, journalist, hustler, and the lowest form of tech junkie. I’m the kind of creep you’d see checking their phone at the dinner table when the baby is crying. That’s one of the reasons I started Mouse and am aligning our company with the movement towards digital minimalism, that is, a more limited and thoughtful integration of technology into our lives.

So far, we have mailed over 40,000 books to 60+ countries and all 50 states. We’ve done about $170,000 in sales in the first two years.

how-we-launched-a-book-subscription-service-and-sold-40k-books

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David Dewane, on starting Mouse Book Club ($10,000/month) full story ➜

15. Start an ice cream scooper business ($216K/year)

Michael Chou from South Lyon, Michigan, USA started Midnight Scoop over 6 years ago, an ice cream scooper business.

  • Location: South Lyon, Michigan, USA
  • Revenue: $18,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 4

My name is Michael Chou, and I am an aerospace engineer by trade.

It’s always bothered me how difficult it was to scoop hard ice cream. I hated trying to melt the ice cream using heated spoons, or the microwave. I just knew there was a better way. It took me years to develop the most perfect ice cream scoop.

There is definitely blood sweat and tears in the product. Heck, we call it the Midnight Scoop because I spent so many nights obsessing about it and losing so much sleep.

how-an-aerospace-engineer-decided-to-reengineer-the-ice-cream-scooper

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Michael Chou, on starting Midnight Scoop ($18,000/month) full story ➜

16. Start a cork maps business ($48K/year)

Nick Fortosis from Zeeland, Michigan, USA started GEO 101 Design over 3 years ago, a cork maps business.

  • Location: Zeeland, Michigan, USA
  • Revenue: $4,000/ month
  • Starting Costs: $200
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

My name is Nick Fortosis and I am the founder of GEO 101 Design, a company that specializes in creating one of a kind cork maps with modern minimalist aesthetics. Our goal is to turn your love of travel into your own personalized home décor.

Founded in late 2017, I run the business by myself and manufacture everything in my garage workshop in West Michigan. We have been steadily growing and are currently doing roughly $2000 a month in sales through our website and our Etsy shop.

how-i-started-a-side-project-out-of-my-garage-selling-cork-maps

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Nick Fortosis, on starting GEO 101 Design ($4,000/month) full story ➜

17. Start a tv show ranking business ($15.6K/year)

Steve Sanders from Lisle, IL, USA started Episode Ninja over 4 years ago, a tv show ranking business.

  • Location: Lisle, IL, USA
  • Revenue: $1,300/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

Hello, my name is Steve Sanders and I’m the creator of a website called Episode Ninja. The primary goal of the site is to rank the “best” episodes of a given TV show.

In my day job, I work as a web and app developer at a company in the smart home space. Episode Ninja is still firmly a side project for me, currently making around $1000 a month in revenue. It is monetized through display advertising and TV streaming affiliate programs.

Traffic to the website has been steadily growing since launch and is currently at more than 200,000 unique visitors per month.

how-i-built-and-monetized-a-website-side-project-ranking-tv-shows

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Steve Sanders, on starting Episode Ninja ($1,300/month) full story ➜

18. Start a 3d printing business ($3.6M/year)

Jeremy Simon from Algonquin started 3D Universe, LLC over 7 years ago, a 3d printing business.

  • Location: Algonquin
  • Revenue: $300,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 3

Hi, I’m Jeremy Simon, founder of 3D Universe, LLC. We are an e-commerce value-added reseller, providing digital fabrication solutions, such as 3D printers, laser cutters, and vacuum forming machines, as well as related supplies and accessories. We represent several different brands, but the Ultimaker line of 3D printers is our strongest product line.

Our customers include educational organizations, government entities, commercial organizations across a wide variety of vertical markets, and individual consumers.

We have developed a business model that leverages online technologies to minimize operational overhead, allowing us to conduct a profitable business with significant revenues using a very small team of employees.

how-we-increased-our-sales-and-added-new-opportunities-during-the-pandemic

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Jeremy Simon, on starting 3D Universe, LLC ($300,000/month) full story ➜

19. Start a soap business ($33.6K/year)

Sandy Engels from Ethel, Missouri, USA started The Purple Sage ago, a soap business.

  • Location: Ethel, Missouri, USA
  • Revenue: $2,800/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

Hey, y’all, I am Sandy Engels and I am the owner and artisan of The Purple Sage, a company created to encourage modern midlife women to live and love boldly.

When my youngest child started kindergarten, I started my first business doing medical billing from home. Which I sold a few years later...and went back to being a stay at home Mom.

I’ve been making soap and bath products since 2002. I got serious about business in 2011. In addition to selling online, I do festivals and events in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Georgia. My average revenue is $2800 a month.

how-i-started-my-2-8k-month-soap-lotion-and-bubble-bath-brand

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Sandy Engels, on starting The Purple Sage ($2,800/month) full story ➜

20. Start a baby photography business

Jessica Mitchell from Howell, Michigan, USA started Jessica Mehu Photography LLC about 10 years ago, a baby photography business.

  • Location: Howell, Michigan, USA
  • Starting Costs: $1,500
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 2

I was raised in a religion that discouraged education. I was poorly homeschooled and didn’t continue my education past high school. I was married and a mother at the young age of 18. I was a stay at home mother and my husband was the primary breadwinner of the household, but worked small part-time jobs here and there to help financially as he didn’t earn much and we lived paycheck to paycheck. During my second pregnancy in 2005, I learned about doulas and knew my passion lies in pregnancy and infants so I became a certified birth doula in 2006.

When you build a business, it’s coming from YOU and the energy you attract will either lead to success or failure of your business.

During my time assisting women in childbirth, they would hand me their cameras and ask me to snap some pictures to capture the moment. When I held the camera in my hands my heart raced and I found myself getting creative and I taking those photos and eventually even editing them afterward. This led me to apply for job postings for photography companies that offered training. I worked for several companies including being the newborn photographer in the hospital that went from room to room the day after a baby was born. Even in the studio setting, when a baby came in, everyone pointed to me to take them because it was clear that was my passion and talent.

on-turning-a-photography-hobby-into-a-wildly-successful-venture

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Jessica Mitchell, on starting Jessica Mehu Photography LLC (/month) full story ➜

21. Start a financial advisor business

AJ Stockwell from Omaha, Nebraska, USA started Climb CFO over 2 years ago, a financial advisor business.

  • Location: Omaha, Nebraska, USA
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

I started college as an engineering major at Arizona State University. I always had an entrepreneurial spirit and quickly realized engineering (especially biomedical engineering) isn’t a quick path to starting a company. Switching to the business school, I wanted to choose a major that was more technical and academic compared to the topics I believed made more sense to learn in “real life,” such as marketing or management. So I chose accounting – “the language of business,” as Warren Buffett calls it.

Researching keyword traffic for interest in your product would be a completely free way to start validating your idea before putting too much time or money into it.

Just a year after switching my major, I saw an opportunity to learn QuickBooks and see if any small businesses around Tempe needed help with their bookkeeping. I spoke with one business owner I knew and looked up to, and he agreed to let me handle a small aspect of his bookkeeping. I was off to the races. I started cold-calling local businesses and responding to Craigslist ads, and that’s how I got my first few clients.

on-building-a-6-figure-outsourced-cfo-firm

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AJ Stockwell, on starting Climb CFO (/month) full story ➜

22. Start a portable phone chargers business ($24K/year)

Chris Reimer from Saint Louis, Missouri, USA started Boosa Tech over 3 years ago, a portable phone chargers business.

  • Location: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
  • Revenue: $2,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

My name is Chris Reimer, and I’m Founder and Chief Power Officer of Boosa Tech.

We sell power banks - portable phone chargers designed to keep your smartphone up and running no matter how long you’re away from a wall outlet. On a plane flying across the world? Trying to hail an Uber? At the never-ending 3-hour soccer practice playing mindless games on your phone? On the couch and your slovenly body just won’t move? Boosa's designed to eliminate the Low Battery Anxiety that just about everyone feels when their phone dips below 30%, 20%, 5% … as little as $25-35 will take this stress out of your life.

Boosa is currently a one-person operation - me! I run the website, social media, PR, inventory procurement from China (both negotiations and logistics), pick/pack/and ship orders, customer service, marketing … I do it all and love every minute of it. And all of this is happening while I continue to work my full-time job as a Director of Creative Services at a local university. Boosa’s website went live in late June 2018, and we’re averaging about $2,000/month in sales.

how-i-m-building-a-side-hustle-with-an-unorthodox-business-mindset

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Chris Reimer , on starting Boosa Tech ($2,000/month) full story ➜

23. Start a digital agency ($240K/year)

Kaila Piepkow from Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA started Dox Design over 3 years ago, a digital agency.

  • Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
  • Revenue: $20,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

Hey, Fur Friends! My name is Kaila Piepkow and I am Owner and Principal Designer at Dox Design, and dog-mom to three spoiled dachshunds. I’ve been a (mildly) crazy dog lady my whole life, so naturally, when I started my own design agency I decided to niche down and focuses on pet businesses and animal lovers.

At Dox Design we put the spotlight on exceptional pet businesses and products with drool-worthy branding, website and packaging design. Our bread and butter is branding and graphic design. We do everything from logos, to postcards, to tradeshows, and more. Dox Design aims to ensure your aesthetic is in-line with the message you want to portray to your audience. By taking the time to build a relationship with our clients, we make the most strategic decisions to develop top-notch brands.

We strive to make great design accessible to everyone—even brands starting out with a low budget. That’s why we’re very excited for the upcoming release of our online store. This is where brands will be able to go to purchase templated designs, ranging from business cards to stock photos, to upgrade their branding. Be on the lookout late summer for the launch here.

how-i-turned-my-passion-for-puppers-into-a-thriving-design-agency

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Kaila Piepkow, on starting Dox Design ($20,000/month) full story ➜

24. Start a podcast ($108K/year)

Kurt Elster from Skokie, Illinois, USA started The Unofficial Shopify Podcast over 6 years ago, a podcast.

  • Location: Skokie, Illinois, USA
  • Revenue: $9,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0

I'm Kurt Elster, and I host The Unofficial Shopify Podcast. With 750,000 downloads, 200 episodes, and four sponsors, it’s become quite the media machine for us.

how-kurt-elster-monetized-and-grew-a-podcast-to-750k-downloads

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Kurt Elster, on starting The Unofficial Shopify Podcast ($9,000/month) full story ➜

25. Start a fitness facility ($240K/year)

Paul Dickey and Alec Abend from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada started Hexbox Fitness almost 2 years ago, a fitness facility.

  • Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  • Revenue: $20,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 7

Hello! Our names are Alec Abend and Paul Dickey, Co-Founders of Hexbox Fitness. We are a state of the art, upscale Fitness Facility. The combination of our own branded class and 24 hour Member access has created our own unique model carving out our own lane within the ever growing Fitness Industry.

Our HXBX® Class combines HR Technology, community, and a strength and conditioning based program; in a game structured format to give our Members the best and most fun workouts they’ve experienced. With an emphasis on building lean muscle, all while improving cardiovascular endurance.

On top of being a community driven facility, our members get the convenience of 24 hour access to come in and use the equipment any time, any day. We currently have 1 location in the Monterey, CA area, and are working on locking in a few franchise and licensing deals to expand.

how-we-started-a-20k-month-fitness-facility

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Paul Dickey and Alec Abend, on starting Hexbox Fitness ($20,000/month) full story ➜

26. Start a healthy snack food business

Joe Oblas from Plano, Texas started Stryve almost 4 years ago, a healthy snack food business.

  • Location: Plano, Texas
  • Starting Costs: $8,000,000
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 107

I am Joe Oblas, the Co-CEO of Stryve Beef Biltong. Stryve Beef Biltong is an all-natural, good-for-you snack made from 100% American beef that’s high in protein and zero sugar. At Stryve, we’re on a mission to help America snack better. In case you haven’t heard of biltong before, it’s made with a process for preserving meat that originated centuries ago in South Africa using just meat, vinegar, and spices.

Biltong boasts 50% more protein in every bite than traditional jerky but has zero sugar. We offer delicious, flavorful biltong in slices, sticks, and slabs made with simple ingredients and nothing artificial. Stryve is free of MSG, nitrates, preservatives, sugar, and gluten.

on-creating-a-high-protein-zero-sugar-biltong-snack-and-growing-the-company-to-100-employees

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Joe Oblas, on starting Stryve (/month) full story ➜

27. Become a real estate agent ($4.2M/year)

Grigory Pekarsky from Chicago, Illinois, USA started Vesta Preferred Realty over 11 years ago, a real estate agent.

  • Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • Revenue: $350,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 2

My name is Grigory Pekarsky and I own a residential real estate company called Vesta Preferred.

We operate in the Chicagoland area and this year, 2019, we are celebrating 10 years or operation. We focus on relationship building rather than strictly selling real estate. Our operations are unique as many relationships in our company begin by helping our clients find their first home as a rental property in the city. We then stay in touch and maintain our relationships in hopes of becoming everyone’s broker for life. My personal business is now over 80% referral based and repeat clients due to these principles. This year we are #3 in the city for sales as compared to the 14,000+ individual entities that sell in Chicago.

We consistently grow at a 20% pace and this year we are on pace to write 1000 new leases and sell over $120m in real estate.

how-i-became-a-real-estate-agent-and-started-my-own-firm

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Grigory Pekarsky, on starting Vesta Preferred Realty ($350,000/month) full story ➜

28. Start a fashion accessories brand ($18K/year)

SiDi from Chicago, Illinois, USA started ZipSeam almost 7 years ago, a fashion accessories brand.

  • Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • Revenue: $1,500/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

Hello! My name is SiDi and I’m the inventor of the ZipSeam, a product that lets you tailor your baggy shirts in minutes. I launched the product 5 years ago to help young professionals dress better without breaking the wallet.

how-i-created-a-diy-shirt-tailor-and-raised-60k-on-kickstarter

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SiDi, on starting ZipSeam ($1,500/month) full story ➜

29. Start a fashion business ($43.2K/year)

Garret "Buddy" Lamp from Holstein, Iowa, USA started Knee Deep Limited LLC ago, a fashion business.

  • Location: Holstein, Iowa, USA
  • Revenue: $3,600/ month
  • Starting Costs: $80,000
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0

What’s going on! I am Garret “Buddy” Lamp, and I am a co-founder with Taylor “Earl” Nees of our start-up, Muff Waders. Muff Waders is an epic product that Earl came up with about 3 years ago, and we just began selling in September 2019.

Muff Waders are the first-ever bibs for work AND play. The bibs have many different features that allow you to keep your drinks close while working outdoors or being the life of the party. Made with strong and tough material, these bibs are built to withstand the rugged elements of mother nature.

The main feature is the insulated six-pack cooler located on the chest that holds 12 oz. cans and bottles. Along with that, there are two pockets located on the side of the leg that can hold 1/5 of liquor, a bottle of wine, etc. nice and snug. A Muff Mug (magnetic coozie) located at the top of the Muff Waders that attaches to the metal bottle opener. People love using this feature so they can go hands-free. On the inside of the bibs, you'll find a hidden/concealed pocket to keep your valuable possessions close and safe.

how-we-designed-and-launched-the-first-ever-bibs-for-work-and-play

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Garret "Buddy" Lamp, on starting Knee Deep Limited LLC ($3,600/month) full story ➜

30. Start a fashion accessories brand ($24K/year)

Jay Fuller from Chicago, Illinois, USA started FLXCUF almost 4 years ago, a fashion accessories brand.

  • Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • Revenue: $2,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

My name is Jay Fuller and my product FLXCUF. It's a solution designed to hold up dress shirt sleeves in one fold. I have just one product design (in two versions), coming in a variety of colors -- black (Bonds), white (Carraways), royal blue (Shmedium Blues), and light blue (Portages). Rather than just call my product the FLXCUF band, I thought it’d be more fun to give each color it’s own name.

Recently, since its launch 3 years ago, FLXCUF is in the green. Sales also continue to improve and I’ve finally gotten over the hump of getting into two boutique retailers this year.

how-i-launched-a-2k-month-solution-that-holds-shirt-sleeves

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Jay Fuller, on starting FLXCUF ($2,000/month) full story ➜

31. Start a bedding company ($120K/year)

Nan, Wendy and Jessica from Chicago, Illinois, USA started Ocochi over 1 year ago, a bedding company.

  • Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • Revenue: $10,000/ month
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 3

Hi there! We are Nanny Peggy, Wendy, and Jess, the founders of Ocochi. Three generations of women from the same family. After a lot of fun and hard work, we have Ocochi – our beloved family-run bedding company. We sell boutique bamboo bed linen and luxurious mulberry silk duvets that are sustainable and chemical-free.

Too hot, too cold and total restlessness. We’ve been there and known what a nightmare it can be and how seriously a poor night’s sleep can affect the next day. But once we had done our research into mulberry silk duvets and bamboo bed linen, we knew we had found something really special.

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 ➜

32. Start an athletic clothing line ($180K/year)

Paul Dickey from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada started Spuds almost 4 years ago, an athletic clothing line.

  • Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  • Revenue: $15,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

Hi, my name is Paul Dickey, I'm 23 years old, and I am the founder of Spuds, a men’s performance apparel company currently based out of the Monterey, California area.

We started our life out by first being funded through our Kickstarter campaign this past Summer 2017. Our vision as a company is to create performance apparel built for everywhere, not just at the gym or for running.

Whether you are going out to dinner, a family gathering, for a hike, a run, or even to the gym, our pieces of clothing combine performance fabrics, intelligent details, modern technologies, and a classic design. Men don’t really have the “yoga leggings for women”, a single article of clothing that can look good and perform well depending on how you dress them. We are aiming to change that.

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

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

33. Start a seo agency ($3.3M/year)

Chris Dreyer from Caseyville, Illinois, USA started Rankings.io about 8 years ago, a SEO agency.

  • Location: Caseyville, Illinois, USA
  • Revenue: $275,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 15

My name is Chris Dreyer and I’m the CEO/Founder of Rankings.io, LLC. My company is a hyper-focused SEO (search engine optimization) agency; we help elite personal injury law firms dominate first page rankings.

In 2018, we were #858 in the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing companies in America. Our revenue is just under $300,000 per month and we’re on pace for another record-breaking year.

how-i-started-an-seo-agency-for-lawyers-generating-3-6m-year

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Chris Dreyer, on starting Rankings.io ($275,000/month) full story ➜

34. Start a clothing boutique ($1.8M/year)

Sasithon Bella from Michigan, USA started The Kewl Shop almost 9 years ago, a clothing boutique.

  • Location: Michigan, USA
  • Revenue: $150,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 6

Hi there, my names Sasithon, or Sasi for short and I run The Kewl Shop together with my husband, Charles. I’m Thai and spent my formative years in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. Charles is British.

Our flagship products are designer bandage and bodycon dresses, a style of dress made famous by a host of celebrities including the ubiquitous Kim Kardashian. Bandage dresses are form-fitting dresses that slim your shape and show off your curves. They work a lot like shapewear, and you honestly do feel like a million bucks wearing one.

We sell these stunning dresses worldwide although 90% of our orders are in the USA. Our customers range from 16 to 18-year-old girls wanting to look vibrant and turn heads to women in their 60’s and beyond with a zest for life.

leveraging-seo-to-grow-an-online-store-to-1-8m-per-year

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Sasithon Bella, on starting The Kewl Shop ($150,000/month) full story ➜

35. Start a newsletter publishing business ($7.98M/year)

Matthew Paulson from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA started MarketBeat over 10 years ago, a newsletter publishing business.

  • Location: Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA
  • Revenue: $665,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 6

I am an entrepreneur, a private equity investor, and an author based out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. My business, MarketBeat, is a financial media and marketing business that publishes stock market news, data, and research tools for individual stock investors. Our company publishes a free daily stock newsletter, which just surpassed 2 million active subscribers. We also ended 2020 at $14.3 million in total revenue, which was up 85% compared to 2019.

MarketBeat’s growth story and my story have been documented in my book, The Ten Year Turnaround. In the book, I talk about how I grew MarketBeat from nothing and how that has informed me as an investor, a business owner, and as a leader. I also periodically write about the business lessons I’ve picked up on over the years on my personal blog.

Here’s a photo of me at our new office:

marketbeat-update-how-we-increased-revenue-from-8m-to-14m-year

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Matthew Paulson, on starting MarketBeat ($665,000/month) full story ➜

36. Start a wallet brand ($720K/year)

Phil Kalas from Chicago, Illinois, USA started Ashland Leather almost 10 years ago, a wallet brand.

  • Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • Revenue: $60,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 8

Thank you so much for the opportunity to share Ashland Leather with Starter Story. As an entrepreneur, I am personally a big fan of reading everyone’s journey! My name is Phil Kalas and I am the co-owner of Ashland Leather Company.

At Ashland, we handcraft and sell premium men’s leather wallets that are guaranteed for a lifetime. All of the wallets and leathers are made using old-world techniques and are designed to improve with age. Leather is a passion for us. We love the sensory characteristics of leather. The look, feel, texture, luster, and even smell of leather is why we developed a wallet to carry with us all day and every day.

During the day, we make leather for the famous Horween Leather tannery in Chicago. On nights and weekends, we take the best leather in the world and make them into fine leather goods. We emphasize our favorite leathers like Genuine Horween Shell Cordovan™ and Chromexcel™ leathers.

growing-a-handcrafted-leather-goods-business-to-600k-year

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Phil Kalas, on starting Ashland Leather ($60,000/month) full story ➜

37. Start a removable wallpaper and prints

Elizabeth Rees from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA started Chasing Paper about 8 years ago, a removable wallpaper and prints.

  • Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
  • Starting Costs: $5,000
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 6

I am the third generation in my family’s printing business so it was a very organic path that led me to Chasing Paper and really came out of necessity and wants to feel personally connected to the work I was doing daily. I wanted to create a business and product that could be seamlessly manufactured through our family business so that I could be connected to the generations that came before me and also have something to pass down. I wanted the brand to be something that spoke to me as a consumer and allowed me to connect with women like me in different phases of their lives.

You have to continue to get in front of people organically and thoughtfully, and that is an incredible amount of work.

In the early days, it was a sheer hustle. I hand wrote letters to hundreds of editors with a framed wallpaper sample, talked with everyone I could about what I was doing. I even carried wallpaper around with me in NYC so that I could show people when they asked questions. Mostly, I said yes to everything. Each opportunity was a chance to succeed or fail – which were both driving me further into understanding my business and customer.

on-creating-a-removable-wallpaper-business-and-growing-75-yoy

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Elizabeth Rees, on starting Chasing Paper (/month) full story ➜

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