40 Profitable Side Hustle Ideas To Start In Europe

40 Profitable Side Hustle Ideas To Start In Europe

Looking to start a business or side hustle in Europe?

Even if you are determined to go off on your own, oftentimes, it can be challenging to come up with the right idea for your business.

We've interviewed 40 European entrepreneurs that came up with a business idea, took their idea to the launch phase, and continue to grow today.

Some ideas are more traditional than others, and some are the first innovation of their kind.

Our goal is that these side hustle success stories get you thinking about what you're most interested in, and hopefully, an idea of what you may want to build in the future.

1. Start a meal prep business ($7.2M/year)

Joey van Koningsbruggen from Amsterdam, North Holland, The Netherlands started Jimmy Joy over 7 years ago, a meal prep business.

  • Revenue: $600,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 30
  • Location: Amsterdam, North Holland, The Netherlands

I got annoyed with having to choose between healthy or fast food. So I set out to create healthy fast food. Which then became a mission to create the healthiest meal scientifically possible. Starting with interns from the University of Wageningen and by partnering with a large manufacturer of baby food, the first recipe was created to be as close to health recommendations from the World Health Organisation.

When the company grew I hired a food technologist, a research analyst and worked with certified dietitians to do in house research to improve further health. Food is more than just the nutritional makeup however and recent updates focussed on flavor and sustainability too. Real fruit was added to improve flavoring and the highest quality ingredients were sourced to create not only the best in nutrition but also in texture, creating a smooth milkshake-like experience.

When I started there was nothing like it in Europe, I made it because I really wanted the product to existing here like it did in the US. The US company was focussed on making meals as close in the experience of drinking water. I immediately felt the need to work on taste. Even though the focus of our meals is nutrition, the taste is still very important, which is why I started with different flavours and options, flavoring with real fruit, vanilla sticks, and cacao.


2. Start a personalized gift business ($1.2M/year)

Dmitriy Peregudov from Arlington, Massachusetts, USA started GiftBasketsOverseas.com over 14 years ago, a personalized gift business.

  • Revenue: $100,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 60
  • Location: Arlington, Massachusetts, USA

Half of my life ago (23 years ago) I immigrated from Moscow, Russia to the United States with an MS in Engineering and was trying to figure out the best way to leverage the degree for my career in the US. I’ve worked in several tech jobs, mostly focusing on Software development and picked up web programming on the way.

While I enjoyed my tech jobs I felt there are more interesting ways to apply my skills. At the same time I’ve seen my father being miserable after he was laid off from his highly paid Hi-tech job, I simply felt there got to be a better way to make a living.

So a friend of mine from University and I launched our first website, initially a hobby business we named flowers2moscow.com - servicing just our home city of Moscow. The idea came from my own negative experience trying to send flowers back home to my girlfriend and to my parents. Product and service experience were far from perfect, so our first website was born.


3. Start a bicycle company ($3.6M/year)

Xavier Claveria Masip from Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain started Santafixie almost 12 years ago, a bicycle company.

  • Revenue: $300,000/ month
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 20
  • Location: Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Born in 1982 in Barcelona, I studied in a liberal and secular school where art and music were an important role in education.

My personal goals were focused on my music band, I love playing the guitar, but although it may sound weird, I ended up studying for a degree in Economics. But as you can imagine, I was not the typical economics student, it took awhile for me to finish my degree. I liked it, but it was just too soon for me to sit and decide what I would be.

A few years later, in 2010, I was working as a financial controller. Everything seemed to be fine, good salary, good position, and a whole career ahead to professionally grow. But I felt empty. I quit my music band and my job and I moved to London, where it all started.


4. Start an ebikes business ($1.32M/year)

Borja Eraso from Pamplona, Navarre, Spain started tutiendaenergetica.es about 12 years ago, a eBikes business.

  • Revenue: $110,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 11
  • Location: Pamplona, Navarre, Spain

As with many things in life, the start of tutiendaenergetica.es was a consequence of a number of circumstances. Back in 2010, I was living in the UK working as a Revenue Manager for a local hotel chain - I studied International Hospitality Management in university, by the way. I had a good progression in the hotel business since leaving college, working my way up in the London hotel scene. I worked for world-renowned companies such as Jumeirah and InterContinental (IHG group) and by the age of 27 I was making $43,000 + incentives per year (which was an acceptable wage for someone my age within the hotel business at the time), taking care of the Revenue Management strategy of 2 hotels totaling +700 rooms.

However, in my last position, I was very miserable and soon grew quite apathetic about the job itself. In the beginning, I blamed the working environment, which I disliked, but with time I realized that I had pursued a professional path that I wasn’t cut out for in the long-term. That was a tough moment of clarity for me. I was well aware that any career move to different disciplines would mean a sudden drop in income and a few years of waiting to regain a certain seniority level at the new job.

Back home in Spain, my dad had resigned from his job in banking around 2006 and had founded a company (fotona) specializes in designing and installing Solar PV projects. Given my background, I knew nothing about solar at the time (neither did he!), but I did accompany him to his first business trips to trade fairs in China or Germany as an interpreter during my holidays, and helped him exchanging emails with suppliers and investors on his behalf at nights.


5. Start a ticketing platform business ($1.2M/year)

Juan Jose Delgado from Spain started Palco4 over 6 years ago, a ticketing platform business.

  • Revenue: $100,000/ month
  • Founders: 4
  • Employees: 12
  • Location: Spain

In 2014 my friend, partner in other initiatives and one of the most brilliant tech managers I know, Vicente Vara, finished his job as CTO of one of the main ticketing companies in Spain convinced that there was an opportunity in the market and we started to shape it.

Vicente called two people from this industry: Carlos Lara, a UX Manager obsessed with perfection and Alfonso Uribarri, a tireless Project Manager. All three had the mission of developing a revolutionary ticketing software and meanwhile I was transforming our dream into an enterprise.

It's easy to go with the flow and pursue quick success, big numbers, immediate visibility - but the important thing is just to do your best every day, have a solid structure and the other things will come sooner or later.


6. Start a healthy snack food business ($1.8M/year)

Julien DUTHEIL CORBIOLI from Paris, Ile-de-France, France started Natura Wellness over 3 years ago, a healthy snack food business.

  • Revenue: $150,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 8
  • Location: Paris, Ile-de-France, France

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.


7. Start an airbnb management company ($420K/year)

Gary Fox from Dublin, Ireland started Host Butlers over 6 years ago, a airbnb management company.

  • Revenue: $35,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 4
  • Location: Dublin, Ireland

I’ve been starting businesses since I was 15. During school, I worked part-time in a mobile phone store and learned how to fix phones. During the weekends, I started my own market stall and advertised online to fix phones, replace screens, and started to earn cash that way. During college, I scaled up this business to a physical location at the University I was attending here in Ireland. I approached the college and rented an office space from them and opened my first store!

I was terrified of running out of money and for the first 18 months, I ran the company entirely on my own. I remember one particular day where I met 18 different guests at 18 different locations across the city.

Between classes, I would work in the store and when I was in class, I hired classmates and friends to work for me. Looking back now, it was an incredibly fun time but I wish I hadn’t reinvested so much money in the college bar!


8. Start a wireframing software business ($6.6M/year)

Natalie Gould from Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy started Balsamiq over 13 years ago, a wireframing software business.

  • Revenue: $550,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 33
  • Location: Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

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.


9. Start an user feedback app ($600K/year)

JUAN from Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain started Customeer almost 5 years ago, a user feedback app.

  • Revenue: $50,000/ month
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 10
  • Location: Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

I have always considered myself an entrepreneur. Back in 2000, in the midst of the Internet euforia, I quit my well paid corporate job to start my first company. We began with all the traction imaginable and then…, the Internet bubble popped. Financial markets dried and we had to bootstrap for several years. We decided to persevere and to finance ourselves in a very unusual way those days, right?… by generating revenues. What a discovery!

One can surely laugh at that statement, but raising funds had become a sort of badge of honor, the ultimate outcome back in the day. And I would claim, that is still the case today. We did struggle for sure, but we became profitable, to then end up being acquired. And frankly, that was part of our success.

Had we raised funds from external investors at that time, we would have invested in a market that was still not ready for our solution, and once we had burned through our last dollar, we’d be out of business. Luckily though, we bootstrapped, remained confident, persevered, and adjusted our product until we found market fit.


10. ($2.88M/year)

Isabel Aagaard from Copenhagen, Capital Region of Denmark, Denmark started LastObject over 2 years ago, a business.

  • Revenue: $240,096/ month
  • Founders: 9
  • Employees: 6
  • Location: Copenhagen, Capital Region of Denmark, Denmark

We are three independent designers that together wanted to create designs that help our planet. I am more specifically a co-designer and have always been very interested in waste reduction and sustainable design solutions. Everything that I have done throughout the years has in some way tapped into these interests.

The idea for LastSwab came to us when we were researching which single-use items were the most harmful for our planet and the cotton swab was surprisingly quite high on this list. We found that one of the biggest issues was that people didn’t discard them properly, mainly because they are so small. If flushed down the toilet they often don’t get caught by filtration systems and are dumped directly into the ocean, and later end up in the stomachs of sea creatures. We felt that by solving this problem, we would create an impact on marine life as well as single-use pollution.

We find it valuable to validate our ideas through crowdfunding platforms. We work with the community to change and improve our ideas and outreach.


11. Start an email automation platform ($3M/year)

Guillaume Moubeche from Paris, Ile-de-France, France started lemlist almost 4 years ago, a email automation platform.

  • Revenue: $250,000/ month
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 19
  • Location: Paris, Ile-de-France, France

Before working on lemlist, I had a B2B lead generation agency for scale-ups and SMBs.

I was essentially doing a lot of cold emailing for my clients in order to book qualified meetings. Because we were testing tons of different approaches, we started seeing an increase in the number of meetings booked when adding ultra personalization on images or videos.

The more time you spend understanding who your customers are and what their main pain is, business will come automatically!


12. Start a stationery business ($480K/year)

Gonzalo Mestre from Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain started Sheedo Paper about 4 years ago, a stationery business.

  • Revenue: $40,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 5
  • Location: Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

I met Gala at the university, we both studied a brand new degree called LEINN. LEINN is about innovation tools, team management and project entrepreneurship, so we had the chance during our academic life to startup some projects.

We tried many different small projects, all of them short term, but then, we came up with an idea: To startup our own espadrilles brand. As a first step, we made a market research, and having a look at one of our future competitors we realized that they were using “plantable tags” for the espadrilles.

You have to launch your product even if it's not perfect.


13. Start an online advertising agency ($1.38M/year)

Valerio Celletti from Milan, Lombardy, Italy started Loop about 4 years ago, a online advertising agency.

  • Revenue: $115,000/ month
  • Founders: 4
  • Employees: 2
  • Location: Milan, Lombardy, Italy

Our story is quite simple but rather atypical.

We both worked as freelancers (Francesco on Facebook since 2014, while Valerio on Google Ads since 2016), so in 2017 we decided to join forces and found our own agency.

We both came from a stereotypical freelancer background where we found our clients through online marketplaces.


14. Start a subscription box business ($420K/year)

Nelli Jeloudar from Amsterdam, North Holland, The Netherlands started Bundleboon almost 4 years ago, a subscription box business.

  • Revenue: $35,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 5
  • Location: Amsterdam, North Holland, The Netherlands

Bundleboon is my first business, in fact, I never wanted to become an entrepreneur.

When I graduated from college in Copenhagen, I started working for Pandora Jewelry where I quickly found a passion for customer experience and the importance of it.

Don’t quit your day job before you have validated your concept. Run it as a side hustle, until you have enough knowledge, customers and resources to go all-in. You don’t have to have a lot of money in the bank when starting off.


15. Start a mattress brand ($42M/year)

Julien Sylvain from Paris, Ile-de-France, France started Tediber almost 7 years ago, a mattress brand.

  • Revenue: $3,500,000/ month
  • Founders: 4
  • Employees: 40
  • Location: Paris, Ile-de-France, France

Juan Pablo and Jean-Christophe (2 of my now 3 co-founders) started our first company right after graduation.

They were industrial designers and I was a business student - we met during entrepreneurship class and we started to work on a cardboard furniture project as a school project. Quickly, the projected moved to a passionate humanitarian project: cardboard furniture for natural disasters relief that are manufactured locally, close to the need and thus delivered very quickly.

I learned that selling a cheap product or an expensive product requires almost the same efforts!


16. Start a ppc agency ($480K/year)

Gabriele Contilli from Emilia-Romagna, Italy started Rocket PPC almost 4 years ago, a PPC agency.

  • Revenue: $40,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 6
  • Location: Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Pasquale and I work in the digital marketing field since… ever! We started when Facebook was not yet existing - so you can imagine how many things have changed in all those years. We first met in a large web marketing agency in Italy and we worked together for a couple of years, side by side for large clients.

It is not easy to leave your casual work and start your own thing, but if you keep listening to that voice inside you every single day telling you “quit your job and start your own business” well.. you know you’ll get there, sooner or later.

After that, we both followed our growing path working on the client side or in other agencies, trying to get the best from all our jobs. It took something around 4-5 years to finally start talking seriously about our “dream job”.


17. Start a content writing company ($444K/year)

Dani Mancini from Copenhagen, Capital Region of Denmark, Denmark started Scribly.io over 3 years ago, a content writing company.

  • Revenue: $37,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 3
  • Location: Copenhagen, Capital Region of Denmark, Denmark

Ok, this has the potential to be a long one, so maybe grab a cuppa or a coffee ☕.

I'm a first-time entrepreneur with a fairly eclectic background.

I studied French and Russian at uni (Oui, Я немного говорю по русски!) and began my career in policy design for the UK government. After 2 years of trying to fit in and failing terribly, I decided to jump ship and retrain as a UX designer.

I was terrified, but also fired up. I had zero experience of anything to do with being self-employed, I had literally never sent a manual invoice the day that I quit my job. I don't even think I had a business bank account by that point.


18. Start an iot startup ($27.6M/year)

Scribit from Turin, Piemont, Italy started Scribit over 3 years ago, a IoT startup.

  • Revenue: $2,300,000/ month
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 14
  • Location: Turin, Piemont, Italy

Scribit comes with some pretty impressive credentials. It was originally designed as a concept by the influential Carlo Ratti, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Senseable City Laboratory and founder of the Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA) innovation and design studio. He showcased the idea back in 2015 for an installation he designed in Milan.

However, the dream of a vertical plotter that anyone could install in their home or office had appeal that extended way beyond a single art exhibition. That’s what was proven when Scribit landed on Kickstarter in June 2018, and racked up USD 1.6 million in pledges against a stated goal of just USD 50,000.

All things considered, the best way to validate your idea is to discuss it with everyone you can engage in a meaningful and constructive dialogue. People who tend to keep their ideas to themselves are normally not bound to success.


19. Start a financial advisor business ($360K/year)

David Civit Ferraro from Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain started Agesem about 31 years ago, a financial advisor business.

  • Revenue: $30,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 6
  • Location: Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

That’s a good question. It all really started at the university. One friend and I saw one announcement from a consolatory that was looking for some young employees. They hired us at the age of 21, and we worked there for four years. Here was when I realized that the most important thing in a tax and legal consolatory is personal attention and to empathize with the client. With the years, we gained a lot of experience and know-how and decided we wanted to have our own client’s portfolio and our own enterprise.

The future is the collaboration with autonomous entities that collaborate in the common good.

Frankly, when you are 25 years old, your idea is more like a dream. We were two young boys with just plenty of energy and enthusiasm by our side and few savings. They took with them some of their previous clients and some new ones from the word of mouth. It was all about the contacts that we had made in the university, previous job, and our family.


20. Start a seo agency ($300K/year)

Leslie Gilmour from Dublin, Ireland started Cube Digital over 6 years ago, a SEO agency.

  • Revenue: $25,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 3
  • Location: Dublin, Ireland

The Accidental SEO Business

One evening in February 2006 my frustration overcame my writing ability and I tore up my latest attempt to write a novel and dumped it in the bin.

The next morning I woke thinking I should know how to build a website. I started that day learning HTML and CSS. I had studied some outdated programming languages in the 1990s so I found it fairly easy.


21. Start an online rug store ($384K/year)

Manuel Mas from Crevillent, Valencian Community, Spain started Mundoalfombra.com almost 21 years ago, a online rug store.

  • Revenue: $32,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 5
  • Location: Crevillent, Valencian Community, Spain

My father has a big background in manufacturing rugs because he worked from 12 years old till now on this industry in Crevillent, so he knows the product, the processes, the suppliers and the people who run this business in our town of 27,000 inhabitants.

I studied computer engineering in the early 2000s and loved the online world. I knew then that the near-future of commerce will be the World Wide Web and eCommerce will be exploding in the next few years. I remember my first orders on Amazon.com from Spain or eBay in the first years… books and other products traveling about several weeks till arriving home…

So the fusion of the Internet and the rug world was clear, then Mundoalfombra.com was created. The experts in rugs and carpets arrived in the online world. Products manufactured in the same town with direct serving, great quality, short delivery times in Spain and Portugal, good prices, exceptional customer support and good relationship with suppliers. The experience in the offline world was shipped to online with a new company. From the old grand-grandfather ́s company experience, born in 1890, to a new opening, and from natural fiber rugs to hundreds of different models and fibers.


22. Start a healthy snack food business ($240K/year)

Louisa Mesquita Bakker from Amsterdam, North Holland, The Netherlands started Funky Fat Foods almost 4 years ago, a healthy snack food business.

  • Revenue: $20,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Amsterdam, North Holland, The Netherlands

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been passionate about health, sports, and nutrition. Growing up, my parents owned a health store and were the distributors of mineral water brands from around the world. In our family, talking about health and nutrition is something we do all the time (which can be a little annoying for friends and boyfriends). After I graduated from a Business study program in 2017, I went traveling in South America. One of the many things I did was visit different cacao farms because I just found it so fascinating and wanted to learn more about it.

I was so intrigued by the beauty of cacao and its health benefits. I love dark chocolate but never knew about the tremendous cacao varieties. During this trip, I spent a lot of time reading articles from different doctors in the US who specialize in natural treatments, health, and longevity.


23. Start a sustainable clothing line ($216K/year)

Pepe Martín García from Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain started Minimalism Brand about 4 years ago, a sustainable clothing line.

  • Revenue: $18,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 3
  • Location: Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

I´ve been developing brands for years. I guess Minimalism is the third one. I studied economy and business, I worked for big companies also and I´m the owner of a small agency in which we develop eCommerce, brands, and webs. It's call Growth Sherpas.

Minimalism came as an idea. Sell only products that we use every day, that are made in a sustainable way, that last in time and got a good design. Also, we got much experience with our clients because of our agency, so we know what to do to develop a brand, create our web and to start playing around with our eCommerce. So we try.

In the beginning, it was a game, but now we make 200K per year and got some employes. People like our product and our clothes are selling well without any logo on them. We really love what we are doing. We think we are changing the way people buy and also the way they think about design and, maybe, about life ;)


24. Start a freelancer platform ($198K/year)

Manuel Meurer from Berlin, Germany started Uplink over 5 years ago, a freelancer platform.

  • Revenue: $16,500/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 2
  • Location: Berlin, Germany

I’ve studied IT until 2006 and afterward worked as a developer, first for a few years in Stockholm and then since 2008 in Berlin. I was always a regular employee, but when I came to Berlin, I started working for a small startup, and all other developers there were freelancers, so I decided to become a freelancer as well.

It wasn’t so much a thought-out decision but just seemed like the right thing to do at the time, since I didn’t know how long I was going to work for the startup (or how long it would exist).

After that, I worked as a freelancer for the next 8 years for different startups, agencies and media companies here in Berlin. During that time, freelancing became more and more common for developers, and many companies who couldn’t find permanent employees chose to work with freelancers instead.


25. Start a tech support business ($120K/year)

Daniele Besana from Amsterdam, North Holland, The Netherlands started WP OK over 6 years ago, a tech support business.

  • Revenue: $10,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 5
  • Location: Amsterdam, North Holland, The Netherlands

I've always worked in IT, solving technical problems for small and big companies.

During my 15 years career in network security, I was lucky to help a lot of different types of customers: from small family-owned businesses to multinationals corporations.

It’s all about people. Don't focus on the number of subscribers, followers, opt-in, conversions… when you start is all about building relationships with people.


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

Nicholas Figoli from Vernazza, Liguria, Italy started EatTiamo almost 6 years ago, a subscription box business.

  • Revenue: $10,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 5
  • Location: Vernazza, Liguria, Italy

Both me and my co-founder are originally from Cinque Terre, in the Italian Riviera, a stunning beautiful region in the North of Italy. I studied in Parma and after my graduation I started working in the Marketing field in the multinational company L’Oréal.

Never underestimate the importance of making surveys before starting the business. I see many entrepreneurs that decide to skip this important step thinking that by doing this they will save time and invest it in more “fruitful” operations.


27. Start an online courses business ($72K/year)

Bram Kanstein from Amsterdam, North Holland, The Netherlands started No-Code MVP almost 2 years ago, a online courses business.

  • Revenue: $6,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Amsterdam, North Holland, The Netherlands

Ever since I was younger, like 15 or 16, I’ve been using the internet to find new products and services to try out. I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of time: “why are people spending time on this idea or product?”. Time is our most scarce asset, even if I see an idea that seems invaluable to me, there are still people spending time on it. So there must something there that they believe in, right? As a side-business, I was selling self burned CDs with music I got from Napster, and from the proceeds, we threw parties for our friends.

It seems that when I was 18 and had to choose a study to follow, I totally didn’t realize that I could actually pursue a path of digital and online entrepreneurship. So after starting and quitting the study of political science after four months, followed by two years of med school, I decided to drop out again. I went backpacking in Australia and realized I forgot what I liked as a kid. I came back to Amsterdam and finished a study called “Communication and Multimedia Design” where I learned how to look at markets, spot trends, come up with ideas, create prototypes (basic coding), create videos, write marketing and business plans, etc. Basically everything you need to know to go from idea to business (in theory of course ;)).

I wrote my final paper on the Lean Startup Methodology while working on a product idea at The Next Web, then worked at a small investor for 2.5 years, launched Startup Stash (1.000.000+ users), worked at Product Hunt, freelanced for startups, launched a growth marketing agency, got burned out, became a Lean Innovation coach at one of The Netherland’s biggest banks, Sold Startup Stash, Sold another side-project, then became a father and took time off as you have read above! This is the short summary, I threw away around 20 ideas I had in the meantime.


28. Start an air freshener business ($48K/year)

Henrik Toft Simonsen from Hørsholm, Capital Region of Denmark, Denmark started Mosspiration Biotech almost 6 years ago, a air freshener business.

  • Revenue: $4,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 3
  • Location: Hørsholm, Capital Region of Denmark, Denmark

We are two founders of the company, Henrik Toft Simonsen and Hansol Bae.

Henrik, 45, CEO and Associate Prof., a passionate plant biochemist, had a desire to discover new chemistries in the small green moss plants. Henrik has many years of research experience from different universities with a main focus on his favourite plants, the mosses. His passion lead towards using these little plants to production of chemical, which started out with the fragrance Patchouli.

My best advice is… don’t listen to advice - because someone else’s advice is not designed for your situation.


29. Start a pdf conversion business ($60K/year)

Cyril Nicodeme from Belfort, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France started PDFShift over 3 years ago, a pdf conversion business.

  • Revenue: $5,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Belfort, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

I remember waking up in the middle of the night when I was younger and had school the next day, just because I had this project idea that was running through my mind and keeping me awake. I would spend one to two hours on the computer starting to write the idea, validating it online, seeing what was possible… and spend the following days implementing it with a passion and motivation that gives this incredible feeling.

I’ve played with many programming languages, started with PHP then moved to Java, Python. Nowadays, I’m very efficient with Python and can set up an API in a few hours with the main elements already present. For those wondering, I use a modified version of Flask that is available publicly at Github.

For PDFShift, I wanted to start a simple service that was right in my area of expertise. I have a simplicity to work with APIs and I always love to play with Stripe’s API, Mailgun’s API and all the other. I’ve implemented personal wrappers around the main mail sending service available (Postmark, Sparkpost, Mailgun, Sendgrid, …). The one tricky point for me was the communication with Chrome and how to provide the service with great performance results.


30. Start a freelance writing business ($42K/year)

Daniel Waldman from Nantes, Pays de la Loire, France started Daniel Waldman Writing over 5 years ago, a freelance writing business.

  • Revenue: $3,500/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Nantes, Pays de la Loire, France

I started my career wanting to be a magazine editor. After I finished college, I got my first job as an editor at a vanity press, where people essentially pay to have their work published. It was possibly one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had. Editing really poorly written poetry made me want to poke my eyes out, and the pay was almost nothing.

Too often, I see entrepreneurs who are more interested in being an entrepreneur than building a business. They spend a lot of time and energy talking about their business, but not actually doing things that will contribute to the bottom line.

At the time, it was the first dot com boom, and I became really interested in how people were using this new communication channel and how ideas spread online. I decided to go back to school to get my Masters in Communications. While I was there, I attended an event at my school’s career center where an SVP of Ketchum was talking about a career in PR. Everything she said sounded exactly what I wanted to do professionally, and so I dove into


31. Make a handcrafted drums business ($24K/year)

Oran from Dublin, Ireland started Goya over 3 years ago, a handcrafted drums business.

  • Revenue: $2,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Dublin, Ireland

I had traveled to the Amazon rainforest in Peru a while ago to partake in some tribal ceremonies and stayed in there for a week.

On one of the days I took place in a sound bath where Tibetan bowls and other instruments were played to help induce a relaxing, meditative experience. I was expecting nothing more than some enjoyable tones and melodies, but a few minutes after relaxing and closing my eyes, I became immersed in a sea of bliss. After the sound bath ended I felt refreshed, positive, and energised! A new connection to sound and music was made and a new passion grew inside me.

Upon returning home I found out about handpans, big metal percussion instruments that emitted beautiful tones for meditative music. The only downside was the price tag of 2000 euros.


32. Start a board game business ($19.2K/year)

Dennis Michels from Brielle, South Holland, The Netherlands started Good Look Gamer almost 4 years ago, a board game business.

  • Revenue: $1,600/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Brielle, South Holland, The Netherlands

The start of this adventure was during a bad time in my life. I had gotten ill and was housebound for months, with no hope of returning to my regular job as an audio/video technician. I was really afraid I would never get better and would lose my job and my income. During this period I was also getting back into my old hobbies of reading comic books and enjoying board/card games to keep me occupied and take my mind off things.

Me and my wife had fantasized and discussed starting our own business a few times in the past. And since I was sitting at home, not feeling very productive, I figured; hey, let’s just do this. And so I started prototyping a website, brainstorming a name and sketching logos.

My wife and I came up with Good Look Gamer, with the idea of selling board/card games and geeky fashion so you can Look Good while Gaming :) Well, the clothing part never really took off, so we stuck with just selling games. And to be honest, someone playing games automatically always looks good.


33. Start a men's clothing line ($14.8K/year)

Julian Samarjiev from Amsterdam, North Holland, The Netherlands started DULO about 4 years ago, a men's clothing line.

  • Revenue: $1,233/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Amsterdam, North Holland, The Netherlands

We were aware of some companies in the US that have started to create formal wear from performance fabrics and were super interested in the product, but shipping costs and import duties stopped us from purchasing.

Both for me and Marin that idea somehow stayed in our minds as a product that we want to have and use, being fans of dress shirts, but not big fans of the hassle involved in caring for one.

There is no replacement for doing. I've been in Tim Ferriss binge listen mode, but at some point, the rubber needs to hit the road and you need to get your hands dirty. Otherwise, it's just productive procrastination.


34. Start a laptop accessories brand ($12K/year)

Aidan Breen from Galway City, Ireland started Posture almost 4 years ago, a laptop accessories brand.

  • Revenue: $1,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Galway City, Ireland

When I finished in university in the west of Ireland, I moved with my partner to Dublin to try and grow my business. It was a massive change for us, coming from small towns to the big city, and living in really cramped shared accommodation.

I spent most of my time going to startup and business networking events, which was exhausting as an introvert who had just spent 4 years working alone on a PhD. When I had time (and energy…) I took on short-term freelance projects. I worked at hot-desks, open workspaces and snuck into university libraries - anything to get out of the house and get my name out there.

It was a pretty tough time. My future was far from certain. My business wasn’t making very much money so I depended on my partner’s salary as a part-time teacher. On top of that, my first client refused to pay me for three months of work! I was so eager to get a client at the time, I didn’t bother with a deposit.


35. Start an ecommerce platform ($216K/year)

Jean-Loup Karst from Paris, Ile-de-France, France started Secret over 2 years ago, a ecommerce platform.

  • Revenue: $18,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Paris, Ile-de-France, France

Back in April 2014, I launched my first startup breaz.io with 3 co-founders. We basically built a copycat of Hired. Our product was a curated hiring marketplace for tech profiles (soft eng, data science, design, etc.). Companies were applying to candidates looking for jobs. Every hire made through the platform was generating around $6-8k in revenue. It took us 18 months to grow to $500K in revenue. We never raised funds. However, at the time we started, all of the cofounders added $1,200 each in capital. That was very little given our needs in terms of design, front-end development, etc. I remember my cofounder Edouard saying if only we could get special deals for software to save money! We did not want to be accelerated/incubated to avoid giving away equity, hence we did not have access to their perks programs.

Define what you want to achieve and make sure all co-founders goals are aligned

Still, breaz.io got acquired by Hired in early 2016. 2 years later in 2018, we decided it was time to move on and go back to entrepreneurship. As we were looking for problems to solve, we remembered that pain we had in our first business and decided to tackle it and build a platform that would help startups and SMBs save money on the best software. Accelerators and incubators have perks programs. Why should it be limited to them? Why can’t all entrepreneurs benefit from those perks when launching a business in their bedroom, living room, kitchen? The idea of Secret was born.


36. Start a sustainable mug brand ($7.8K/year)

Melanie Goel from Munich, Bavaria, Germany started alpengraphics - the zero-plastic outdoor company over 2 years ago, a sustainable mug brand.

  • Revenue: $650/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Munich, Bavaria, Germany

I grew up and live close to the German Alps (south of Munich). I used to be a professional cross country skier, so nature and its beauty are deeply entrenched in my value system. Recently, the outdoor trend on Instagram has changed our mountaineering culture a lot. This increasingly worried me during the various hikes I did every week. But somehow I didn’t really know what to do about it.

That changed when I joined Tesla as the marketing manager for energy products in the DACH region. After a career in marketing in a few other sectors, this was the first time I was confronted with so-called “Green Marketing” and was immediately hooked on its potential. Not because things sell better when they’re labeled green, but because it opened the door to promote more sustainable materialism.

If I can make people buy a truly sustainable product, which was produced eco-friendly and is made of materials that last a lifetime, instead of disposable or plastic goods, I could feel much more peaceful about my profession.


37. Start an user feedback app ($6K/year)

Mike Slaats from Eindhoven, North Brabant, The Netherlands started Upvoty almost 3 years ago, a user feedback app.

  • Revenue: $500/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Eindhoven, North Brabant, The Netherlands

I dropped out of college when I was 18 years old and was highly interested in “the internet”.

So I started my first online business: an online print webshop where you could order nice looking t-shirts with mostly self-designed animations.

Soon I was able to sell throughout the whole Netherlands and people started to ask me if I could help them with their online marketing too. This was very interesting to me because this way I could help out others and make more money.


38. Start a seo agency ($60K/year)

Rick van Haasteren from Katwijk, South Holland, The Netherlands started SiteGuru almost 4 years ago, a SEO agency.

  • Revenue: $5,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Katwijk, South Holland, The Netherlands

I’ve been working on side projects for as long as I can remember. I’ve built an online HTML course, a travel blog, and many other things - some successes, mostly failures. Although I think failure isn’t the right word. I wasn’t always able to capture a big audience or make it profitable, but I always had fun and learned tons of new things.

One of the things I built is a wine webshop that specializes in South-African wines. I run it together with my wife. I can tell you, starting a business together is a great way to test your relationship. The webshop is doing great, and an extra benefit is that we always have plenty of good wines if we feel like opening a bottle.

During my day job as a project manager at an internet agency, we would launch new websites every few weeks. I noticed that with every launch, there would be a couple of small issues that affected the website’s performance in search engines. A missing meta description, a few big images making the site really slow, or a no-index tag that was missed. Ough!


39. Start an online courses business ($4.2K/year)

Lucas Chevillard from Berlin, Germany started Growth Ecole over 5 years ago, a online courses business.

  • Revenue: $350/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Berlin, Germany

A founder wanted me to join his company to become the email marketing lead. This was not something I could satisfy but I still wanted to help this startup as I was interested in the product. I then decided to spend some time on the side to help them craft their engagement strategy.

From there, I started to do it with more companies. It was a succession of consulting missions next to my full-time job. This helped me understand other industries and especially see the recurring problems a company would face when launching its email marketing strategy.

That's when the first idea of the email marketing course came to life. I wanted to bundle my knowledge into an actionable course for companies that wanted to kickstart their email program.


40. Start a time tracking app ($4.2K/year)

Stas Moor from Dresden, Saxony, Germany started Klokki almost 4 years ago, a time tracking app.

  • Revenue: $350/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Dresden, Saxony, Germany

My background is fully design-based but to explain to you how it came to that, I have to throw you back to the year 2005. 15 years ago I was a teenager who had no clue what to do with his life, except for playing video games. I didn’t have the best grades in school and was basically just flowing along the stream of life. And I am pretty sure that the path I was on would have led me to a very sad outcome, if not for one thing that changed it all for me. I was introduced to Photoshop and the world of graphic design. After that, I started looking for different tutorials and learn as much as I could. I was hooked and from that point on I knew that the only thing I wanted to do in life is to design.

Fast forward to one other special event in my life — the release of the App Store in 2008. I was already fascinated by the iPhone and Apple in general, but the possibility to create an app and then easily release it to the public — game-changing. From that moment on I set the goal to create my own apps. Many years, apps, learnings, and failures have followed to finally gather some experience that would open up the possibility to take on a project like Klokki.

Now, here comes the twist… Klokki was initially released in 2018 under the name Timepal and was created by me and, at the time, a dear friend with whom we founded a company called Niftypals. Each of us brought his own expertise to the table, me — design and he — development, but most importantly the desire to finally fix the hassle with time-tracking, which both of us faced each day when doing freelance work. We bootstrapped the project for a year and lived the nomad lifestyle. :)



That's all folks! 40 innovative ideas that hopefully got the wheels turning in your mind.

And if anything, maybe you decided what you're not interested in or passionate about. Which is certainly a start.

To learn more about how to start a business, visit our explore page at Starter Story, you can filter, sort and search based on your preferences.

Thanks for reading!

Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

Want to start your own business?

Hey! 👋I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.

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