20 Profitable Business Ideas For Retirees

20 Profitable Business Ideas For Retirees

Retired and looking to start a business idea or side hustle?

If you're looking to start your own business, there are several low-capital options you can choose from.

We put a list together below of the most profitable business ideas you can start today!

Here they are:

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

How Much Can You Make?
$8,000 — $54,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$2,125
Time Commitment Per Week
Min. 2 hours/week
Skills

Melodi Landi from Bristol, TN, USA started Furry Fellas Pet Service LLC over 16 years ago, a dog walking business.

  • Revenue: $54,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 19
  • Location: Bristol, TN, USA

Case Study

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

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

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

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

2. Start a consulting business ($300K/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$100 — $2,500,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$5,353
Skills

Akhil Suresh Nair from Boston, MA, USA started Xena Intelligence about 2 years ago, a consulting business.

  • Revenue: $25,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 3
  • Location: Boston, MA, USA

Case Study

I had a couple of years of experience working for a large corporation back in India. I genuinely felt that I was just a cog in the wheel and that whatever I did had little to no impact in the real world.

We were at a crossroads at that time – filled with constant self-doubt about the career path we wanted to take. We could have easily applied for corporate jobs in the US or in India, but we chose to follow our hearts by continuing to work in our consulting business.

I reached out to a few small businesses I had developed good relationships during my corporate career and started helping them out on developing marketing strategy to scale their businesses and also to instill robust operational efficiencies in their business processes. I realized that I was able to add considerable value to their businesses and that I felt a sense of satisfaction in being able to make their lives better. I soon started consulting for over 20 small businesses in India.

how-two-friends-from-india-bootstrapped-a-management-consulting-business

3. Start a catering business ($240K/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$3,750 — $20,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$356
Time To Revenue
180 days
Skills
Business model

Nestor Nidome from Crestmore, California, USA started Elegante Catering ago, a catering business.

  • Revenue: $20,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 10
  • Location: Crestmore, California, USA

Case Study

For as long as I can remember I have always been attracted to the idea of being a business owner. I’ve tried many businesses starting with my own DJ company. I got some business cards, printed them at Staples, passed them out, and waited for the calls.

It took a bit of time, but eventually, the calls started to come in and bookings started to happen. I did that for a couple of years until one of the DJ gigs some gangsters got into it and I was almost in the middle of a gang fight. Thank GOD things calmed down, but after that, I started looking for another business!

During this same time, the whole tech bubble was growing and I wanted a part of it. I took some coding classes in college and started using HTML to code my website from scratch. I kind of borrowed a lot of ideas from Yahoo but it was going to be mainly focused on my local city. I visited some businesses and got some of them to advertise. Things seemed to be going well when the bubble burst and I was once more left to venture out and look for something else.

how-i-found-success-with-a-20k-month-catering-company-after-starting-many-businesses

4. Become a financial advisor ($240K/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$2,500 — $2,000,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$256,500
Time To Revenue
360 days
Skills
Business model

Denzel Rodriguez from Pompano Beach, Florida, USA started Builder To Contributor LLC over 3 years ago, a financial advisor.

  • Revenue: $20,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Pompano Beach, Florida, USA

Case Study

My journey started after high school, in 2014 started in sales. Selling anything I could get my hands on for profit. I learned how to communicate, provide value to the marketplace, and achieve small wins. I had my ups and downs throughout the process which was tough and time-consuming. I then discovered the Kingdom and all it had to provide for me and those who believe and take action.

I began to study and slowly was changing my philosophy about life and meaning. I then go to know Jesus Christ and built a relationship in a short period of time and I was all uphill from there for me. I give all my credit to God because he gave me the idea to start documenting my experiences and applying these financial concepts to improve my financial situation and others. I had no background or expertise or any experience for that matter.

I have learned that starting a business in the 21st century the fastest way to gain authority over a specific topic or skill is to simply document your experience through video.

how-i-started-a-20k-month-business-offering-financial-consulting-services

5. Start a podcast ($2.04M/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$419 — $1,020,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$4,868
Time To Revenue
90 days
Time Commitment Per Week
Min. 2 hours/week
Skills
Interests
Business model

John Lee Dumas from Puerto Rico, USA started Entrepreneurs on Fire about 10 years ago, a podcast.

  • Revenue: $170,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 4
  • Location: Puerto Rico, USA

Case Study

Before I launched Entrepreneurs On Fire I was working in Commercial Real Estate, which meant I was spending a lot of time in the car driving to show properties and meet with clients.

That’s when I had my own ah-ha moment: why isn’t someone creating a daily podcast for people like me, who have to drive to and from work every day and want to consume inspiring content? … Be the change.

Because I was not a huge fan of the radio, I started listening to podcasts. They were like a breath of fresh air: on-demand, valuable content that gave me advice, tips and tactics about any topic I was interested in for free.

how-john-lee-dumas-grew-a-podcast-into-2m-year-business

6. Start a tax service business ($0/year)

Yvette Sadovoy from New York, New York, USA started Savvy and Suite Ltd over 4 years ago, a tax service business.

  • Revenue: $/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 4
  • Location: New York, New York, USA

Case Study

Unknowingly, Savvy and Suite has been brewing for the last 15 years. I began working in my father’s accounting firm when I was 12 doing basic data entry of the tax forms. Every year I learned more and more until 18 when I was able to complete a full tax return on my own. Since then I have dedicated myself to developing my skills and really crafted my own approach to tax preparation.

Stay true to yourself and committed even during the low times, your success will come.

Over the years I have worked with companies from so many different industries and I learned that every company, even in the same industry, operates differently. Every entrepreneur has their own method of growing their business and respectively, spend their money that way. By getting to know each and every one of my clients to the smallest detail of their habits, I am able to create a tax return that reflects their true expenses. In this way, I am ensuring that no deduction is overlooked and the tax savings are optimized. The cookie-cutter approach just doesn’t cut it for anyone. No pun intended!

how-i-started-a-7-5k-month-tailored-tax-services-business

7. Start a book club ($156K/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$4,000 — $13,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$75
Time Commitment Per Week
Min. 5 hours/week
Skills
Interests

Ben Keene from London, England, United Kingdom started Rebel Book Club over 7 years ago, a book club.

  • Revenue: $13,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: London, England, United Kingdom

Case Study

It was a bad habit. Buying books and not finishing them...

One tap on Amazon, and bang, there it was on my kindle or my doormat the next day. I’d fleetingly read a review or even just a crunching blurb and my key words, curiosities or aspirations had slapped me round the face and before I’d considered a sensible swipe-by it was too late.

I’d become a heavy user. Buying non-fiction books at quite a click. But the problem was not so much the cost — at the most I was spending £20 a month — which I saw as a solid investment in potentially 2–3 life-changing reads. The problem was I couldn’t get past page 100 (or 25%) of almost all of the books I’d bought.

how-two-friends-started-a-13k-month-online-book-club-from-bali

8. Start a campervan conversion business ($96K/year)

How Much Can You Make?
Skills

Bryan and Jen Danger from Portland, Oregon, USA started ZENVANZ over 3 years ago, a campervan conversion business.

  • Revenue: $8,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 3
  • Location: Portland, Oregon, USA

Case Study

As a part of our nomadic lifestyle, we built out a campervan simply to facilitate our own travels, whether it be a summer spent on the coast of Baja or chasing snow from mountain to mountain in the Canadian Rockies.

We really never had the intention of starting a business… In fact, we said no for a couple of years to those asking us to either buy our campervan or for us to build one for them. We loved the process and loved the idea of helping others to get out and enjoy more nature/adventure the way we had, but the idea of giving up some of our own freedom to go back to working in the shop simply wasn’t attractive.

Eventually, friends came to us and convinced us to start the business. To simply show them how to do what we had learned and for us to simply continue “marketing” the business as we already had been (by camping and attending events and simply talking to others who saw the van when we opened the doors). Those friends were also looking to make a transition in life as they wanted out of their 9-5s, and we saw it as an opportunity we couldn’t refuse- both to help them and to help others we had talked to about van builds over the years.

how-we-started-a-8k-month-business-transforming-campervans-while-traveling

9. Start a home repair business

Examples of a successful home repair business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a home repair business ➜

article

10. Start a freelance writing business ($1.5M/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$700 — $150,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$489
Time To Revenue
90 days
Skills
Business model

David Tile from Toronto, Ontario, Canada started Article-Writing Co over 11 years ago, a freelance writing business.

  • Revenue: $125,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 25
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Case Study

In 2011, coming out of college, I miserably tried to start a penny auction website. I studied Political Science at University, which had absolutely no bearing on this idea. I knew I wanted to do something entrepreneurial and was consumed by this auction model. I had my own specific mechanics that I thought would make the game a lot more fair for the average consumer. But alas, 6-8 months later, after burning through thousands of dollars trying to get the technology right, I was absolutely nowhere.

I was resigned to not give up, but the mechanics of the auction are critical to the smooth operation of the website and if you can’t get it right you don’t have a business. So I decided to start taking on some freelance writing work, just to get some cash in.

One thing led to another and I started getting some bigger clients with bigger asks. Eventually, I snowballed hiring some writers and copy editors. Turning this thing into a full-time business operation.

how-i-started-a-80k-month-content-writing-business

11. Start a soap business ($4.56M/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$1,000 — $600,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$3,900
Skills

Danielle Vincent from Sparks, NV, USA started Outlaw over 9 years ago, a soap business.

  • Revenue: $380,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 13
  • Location: Sparks, NV, USA

Case Study

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

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

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

12. Start a niche blog ($0/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$200 — $100,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$3,224
Time To Revenue
120 days

Patrick Hess from New York, New York, USA started AFH Media LLC over 7 years ago, a niche blog.

  • Revenue: $/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: New York, New York, USA

Case Study

Back in 2016, I was researching some ideas for a new online side project with low start-up costs. The goal was actually pretty simple: to develop a website about a fun topic that could, eventually, earn some passive income and help pay the bills.

I’ve built several websites over the years and use content marketing and SEO to boost sales and generate leads in my day job. So, I wanted to apply this same skill-set to a completely different field.

I have a legal background and currently, work as a business development executive within the industrial sector. Needless to say, I was looking for something on the lighter side.

how-i-built-a-3-5k-month-authority-site-with-a-full-time-job

13. Start a candle business ($1.68M/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$500 — $1,000,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$2,425
Time To Revenue
60 days
Time Commitment Per Week
Min. 5 hours/week
Skills
Interests

DShawn Russell from Raeford, North Carolina, USA started Southern Elegance Candle Company over 6 years ago, a candle business.

  • Revenue: $140,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 20
  • Location: Raeford, North Carolina, USA

Case Study

I started Southern Elegance right after my son was born as a hobby. Initially, I made a bunch of random bath and body products in addition to the candles. When I decided to get serious, I looked at everything and decided to just focus on one product and chose candles because they had the potential to be the most profitable. I chose a niche that I could speak authentically about. My ideal customer was easy to identify because it was basically me. (But, don't use that a marketing strategy. It just happened to work in this case) I was born and raised in the South. I LOVE living here and couldn't imagine living anywhere else. I created a company around all the things that I love to do.

Choose your partners carefully and trust your gut. I made very bad decisions by going against what I thought I should do and listening to “experts” and lost a ton of money.

I was working in education at the time and I absolutely hated it. One day walked into work and quit my job to make candle making a full-time career. I had absolutely no background in sales, manufacturing, marketing or anything business-related. I basically had no clue as to how it was going to work or if this was even a viable plan. Everything was a learning curve, and I spent hours learning a new skill then implementing it.

With very limited resources, (basically no money) I went to the school of Google and Youtube. I took some online classes on Branding and Wholesaling. I hired a business coach and I literally hit the streets selling. For the first year, I would sell my candles at any Church function, fair, festival, school bazaar… I did not care. I sold candles outside in the middle of the summer and the dead of winter. I also sold on any and every online platform that would accept me. Etsy, Amazon, Faire, Modalyst, Houzz, etc. All the money I made went back into building the brand, I was lucky to have a husband to pay the bills but it was tight financially. When I finally felt comfortable I approached stores to carry my products. And we slowly built a base of stores to sustain the company.

how-i-started-a-20k-month-southern-inspired-candle-business

14. Start a career coaching business ($2.4M/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$1,000 — $500,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$2,685
Time To Revenue
210 days
Skills

Patrick Curtis from Saratoga, California, USA started Wall Street Oasis over 16 years ago, a career coaching business.

  • Revenue: $200,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 10
  • Location: Saratoga, California, USA

Case Study

After working 90+ hour weeks in investment banking at Rothschild for a few years out of college and then transitioning to private equity two years after that, I thought I had it made. I landed my dream job in private equity in my dream city (Boston) and had a much more healthy work/life balance.

The dream, however, quickly turned into a nightmare. In my first review less than 4 months on the job I was fired on the spot and asked to sign a waiver and take $10,000 to go away. I was confused and my confidence was shattered.

Even worse, I was blackballed from private equity in Boston. Every time I had an offer in hand it would get rescinded because the employer that fired me would only say that I worked there and wouldn’t give me a reference -- probably out of fear because I wouldn’t take the $10,000 or sign the waiver.

from-getting-fired-at-24-to-growing-a-140k-month-online-community

15. Start an etsy business

How Much Can You Make?
$100 — $110,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$5,533
Time To Revenue
180 days
Time Commitment Per Week
Min. 3 hours/week
Skills
Interests
Business model

Examples of a successful etsy business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an etsy business ➜

Case Study

My name is Sasha Weekes and I’m the 25 years old owner of Timber Grove Studios. Our home-based woodshop is nestled in the hills of PEI’s countryside, and we specialize in decorative shelving and home decor with a focus on minimalist design and simplicity. Each piece is made to order with 20+ color options, meaning it will be the perfect fit for each customer's space. We ship Canada and U.S. wide.

Moving twice in two years has definitely caused organizational, financial and opportunity hiccups, but the business has grown steadily regardless so we’re very excited about where 2020 will take us. We’ve learned what to focus on during which months, as revenue can range anywhere from $2000 during slow months to $10,000 during high months. Net profit has run anywhere between 20-50% throughout the life of the business and varies month to month. It’s closer to 20% right now as we’ve been spending all we can on new tools and materials for our new larger products and our Christmas stock.

how-i-took-my-woodworking-hobby-full-time-to-build-a-successful-brand

16. Become a landlord

Examples of a successful landlord:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a landlord ➜

article

17. Become a bookkeeper

Examples of a successful bookkeeper:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a bookkeeper ➜

article

18. Become a bed and breakfast owner

Examples of a successful bed and breakfast owner:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a bed and breakfast owner:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a bed and breakfast owner ➜

article

19. Start a gardening business

How Much Can You Make?
$27,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$46,000
Time To Revenue
360 days
Skills
Business model

Examples of a successful gardening business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a gardening business ➜

Case Study

Hi! I’m Udit from Mumbai. I’m 30 years old and started Root Bridges 5 years back. Root Bridges is an online plants store that delivers plants direct to plant lovers across India. We’re focused on indoor plants and exotic species that are hard to find, easy to grow, and don’t need too much sunlight.

Our customers are first-time buyers, seasoned plant parents, and anyone who wants to get something beautiful for their home from across India. We currently clock sales of USD 350,000 per year, with our website doing particularly well in the pandemic (grown 200% YoY).

from-investment-banker-to-starting-a-350k-year-plants-store

20. Become an airbnb host

How Much Can You Make?
$1,333 — $270,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$2,000
Skills

Examples of a successful airbnb host:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an airbnb host ➜

Case Study

My name is Gary Fox, and I run HostButlers, an Airbnb concierge service in Dublin, Ireland.

Since we started nearly four years ago, we have hosted over 200,000 people and have been profitable from month 5.

how-i-bootstrapped-an-airbnb-management-service-to-35k-month

Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
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meet the author
Pat Walls

I'm Pat Walls and I created Starter Story - a website dedicated to helping people start businesses. We interview entrepreneurs from around the world about how they started and grew their businesses.