50 Small Businesses To Start In Lexington, KY

Itching to start a business or work for yourself?

Lexington, KY is already great place to start a business, but you might be wondering what you can start today.

Here are the best business ideas to start in Lexington, KY.

1. Become a vehicle exporter ($27.6M/year)

Nathan Huskins from Illinois, USA started Marshal Group LLC almost 13 years ago, a vehicle exporter.

  • Revenue: $2,300,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 5
  • Location: Illinois, USA

Vehicle exporting is a fitting career choice for me because I have been enthusiastic about cars nearly my entire life. In fact, auto fervor runs in my family: my father was in the car business for 23 years. That close exposure to car sales, combined with the fact that my father owned a race car, fueled my passion for automobiles.

I began selling cars when I was 19 years old and specialized in sales at new car dealerships for six years. During that time, I learned the basics about exporting vehicles—which served as a solid foundation for launching my own exporting company.


Nathan Huskins, on starting Marshal Group LLC ($2,300,000/month) full story ➜

2. Start a mystery game ($24M/year)

Ryan Hogan from Baltimore, Maryland, USA started Hunt A Killer over 4 years ago, a mystery game.

  • Revenue: $2,000,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 55
  • Location: Baltimore, Maryland, USA

I’ve spent the last 17 years serving in the United States Navy – separating from active service in 2017 to pursue entrepreneurship full-time while entering the Navy Reserves. A big part of separating from active service five years before retirement was my life-long passion for entrepreneurship. In 3rd grade it was hawking creepy crawlers for $0.25, at 12 years old it was snow removal and lawn mowing, then it was going to auctions and reselling on eBay… there was always something.

In 2009, my wife, Cherice, and I launched the activewear apparel company for service members, Warwear. This was my first dose of: “if you build it, they [don’t necessarily] come.” After acquiring more inventory than I’m comfortable sharing, we had a major problem: it wasn’t moving off the shelves. In 2010, I approached my good friend Derrick Smith with an idea: let’s create an adventure race so we could move Warwear apparel via ‘free’ participant shirts. After opening up a Men’s Health magazine and seeing a Warrior Dash ad (and knowing full-pagers were north of $150,000), I knew there had to be an opportunity in the space; and the new obstacle race company could reimburse for the apparel in exchange for seed capital.

Go with data, not your gut. The amount of time invested in data collection and analysis should be commensurate with the impact of the decision across the organization.


Ryan Hogan, on starting Hunt A Killer ($2,000,000/month) full story ➜

3. Start a supplements company ($24M/year)

Nick Bare from Austin, Texas, USA started Bare Performance Nutrition almost 9 years ago, a supplements company.

  • Revenue: $2,000,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 16
  • Location: Austin, Texas, USA

In 2012 I was a junior in college studying Nutrition at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. I was also in the ROTC program there so I knew that upon graduating college I would be commissioning into the US Army as an officer.

My friends and I were your typical broke college students and we loved weight training. Because we couldn’t continue to buy our own pre-workout supplements due to personal funds, or lack thereof, we decided to all go in together and purchase bulk ingredients to make our own pre-workout supplements.

Many of these college students, and friends of mine, took out this $25K loan to buy new cars, take vacations, get engaged and married, but I decided that this would be my funding to launch my company.


Nick Bare, on starting Bare Performance Nutrition ($2,000,000/month) full story ➜

4. Start an idea management software ($9M/year)

Rob Hoehn from San Francisco, California, USA started IdeaScale over 11 years ago, a idea management software.

  • Revenue: $750,000/ month
  • Founders: 4
  • Employees: 53
  • Location: San Francisco, California, USA

I started the company ten years ago with my friends Vivek Bhaskaran, Jessica Day, and Josh Folk, because we kept hearing this question from our business contacts: “how are we supposed to get answers to the questions that we don’t know to ask?”

I was working at a bank as a programmer and moonlighting on some start-up projects with Vivek. Josh was a White House intern who had started his own sports and technology company and Jessica was a freelance marketer. So we really were just piecing IdeaScale together in the time that we had between our other projects.

This question of shining a light on our blind spots has always fascinated me. It’s something that we stumble on as individuals constantly, so of course it’s something we stumble on as a business or government agency. What we realized is that if we could help organizations gather ideas… they would start finding answers not just to the questions that they knew to ask - but to questions they’d never even thought of before. But it couldn’t just be a suggestion box - it needed features that would allow anyone to help select the best idea, improve it, and move it forward.


Rob Hoehn, on starting IdeaScale ($750,000/month) full story ➜

5. Start a liquor company ($6M/year)

Justin Fenchel from Austin, Texas, USA started BeatBox Beverages almost 3 years ago, a liquor company.

  • Revenue: $500,000/ month
  • Founders: 5
  • Employees: 18
  • Location: Austin, Texas, USA

I had the idea with a lifelong friend of mine (co-founder Brad Schultz) to make a party version of boxed wine.

We saw how popular boxed wine, typically Franzia was in college, at tailgates, kickball games, beach trips, etc. But no one was buying it because they loved the taste of the wine. They loved the affordability, convenience and taking the bag out of the box to slap the bag! We also saw the explosion of flavored malt beverages like Four Loko, Lime-a-Rita and Mike’s Hard Lemonade. So we asked ourselves why had no one made a fun flavored version of boxed wine for the millennial consumer?

Don’t just assume your idea is great. Even if your family and friends say so. Get a prototype out into the market. Get people outside of your network to tell you it’s a good idea.


Justin Fenchel, on starting BeatBox Beverages ($500,000/month) full story ➜

6. Start a women's clothing line ($6M/year)

Brigitte Shamy from Highland started SexyModest.com almost 12 years ago, a women's clothing line.

  • Revenue: $500,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 15
  • Location: Highland

Brig went to school for fashion design and had no previous experience in sewing or ecom. She did work in retail for a few years as a teenager which taught her the importance of 5-star customer service.

We know there are a million clothing options for women out there, but we are sure none of them will love you as we will. We want you to be stunning, be modest, be comfy, be YOU!

My wife has always been very stylish. She LOVES fashion. In 2003 she moved to Utah and joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints she found herself facing a standard of modesty she hadn’t known previously… as she went shopping she could find clothing that modest, but not cute or cute but certainly not modest. Frustrated, she went to work designing clothing she thought would be both modest and cute and maybe most importantly comfortable. (She is a self-proclaimed fabric snob)


Brigitte Shamy, on starting SexyModest.com ($500,000/month) full story ➜

7. Start a gardening tools company ($4.8M/year)

Parker Garlitz from Salt Lake City, Utah, USA started True Leaf Market over 46 years ago, a gardening tools company.

  • Revenue: $400,000/ month
  • Founders: 4
  • Employees: 55
  • Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Our history is a little complicated because True Leaf Market as a business is the culmination of several businesses that all came together. There are various threads that weave together. I’ll start with my thread first.

In 2000, my sister Kaitlin had graduated from High School and was preparing for college. At the time I ran a small business repairing laser printers and selling printer supplies. I had started that business in 1990 serving my local area but soon discovered the Internet as a way to reach a wider market. I listed a refurbished NeXT Laser Printer on the UseNet in 1995 and ended up selling it to someone in Portugal. In 1995, that was just completely crazy to me. I was hooked and got obsessed with marketing online and by 2000 was doing much more revenue online than I was doing with the original local business. Bottom line is, I spent years in front of a computer learning how to market online by simple trial and error.

Kaitlin approached me about helping her start an online business in order to pay her way through college. We brainstormed and decided to focus on something she was passionate about. Kaitlin is a vegan and was getting into growing and juicing wheatgrass. We decided to partner up and sell wheatgrass growing kits and juicers online. We started in my garage. She would run the business day-to-day, and I would handle the online presence and marketing. We founded Living Whole Foods, Inc., and launched our first website.


Parker Garlitz, on starting True Leaf Market ($400,000/month) full story ➜

8. Become a business law consultant ($4.5M/year)

Anthony Rose from London, England, United Kingdom started SeedLegals about 4 years ago, a business law consultant.

  • Revenue: $375,000/ month
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 40
  • Location: London, England, United Kingdom

I used to head up BBC iPlayer. After leaving the BBC, I built a startup -sold it- built another startup -sold it. I then invested in a few startups and got tired of paying lawyers. In a stroke of luck, I met my business partner Laurent Laffy, serial angel investor, and ex-VC.

We got together and decided it was time to transform the way we do funding rounds.


Anthony Rose, on starting SeedLegals ($375,000/month) full story ➜

9. Start a 3d printing business ($3.96M/year)

Roy Kirchner from Odesa, Odesa Oblast, Ukraine started Ultimate 3D Printing Store over 5 years ago, a 3d printing business.

  • Revenue: $330,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 4
  • Location: Odesa, Odesa Oblast, Ukraine

In 2014, I was one-half of a partnership working primarily in advertising and marketing. At that time, my partner and I were successful and wanted to explore other verticals. We began working with a client who had a product that we believed was singular and unique throughout the world, and we put forward a significant amount of capital out of our own pockets to try and develop that product, only to reach a point where the deal went south and litigation ensued.

Make plans to do things as a family, and do your best not to let work interfere with those moments, but know that there are going to be times when you will have to sacrifice an outing, a dinner date, a holiday weekend.

In trying to think outside the box and figure out a way to create a similar product, I found myself for the first time in an innovation lab in Tampa, Florida, where I saw a 3D printer in operation for the first time. I couldn’t look away. I realized immediately that 3D printing had the potential to change the world as it became more integrated into daily business activities such as manufacturing. That’s when I decided to leap of faith.


Roy Kirchner, on starting Ultimate 3D Printing Store ($330,000/month) full story ➜

10. Start a staffing agency ($3.84M/year)

Sandra Lewis from New York, New York, USA started Boldly over 8 years ago, a staffing agency.

  • Revenue: $320,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 120
  • Location: New York, New York, USA

Back in 2009, my husband and I moved our family from the US to the UK. After working a very intense and consuming job for 22+ years in NYC, I wanted to find a way to continue to have a rewarding career without the stress of a commute, office politics and an all-around exhausting experience! At the time, freelancing was on the rise so I decided to give it a try.

I started helping entrepreneurs on a virtual basis with HR consultancy and project management and soon my clients started referring their friends for my services. At the same time, I noticed how hard it seemed to be for successful business owners and entrepreneurs to find and train skilled and reliable talent who would work on a flexible basis and without breaking the bank. I also noticed that there seemed to be quite a lot of people like me - experienced professionals that had stepped back from a high powered job for whatever reason - motherhood, as military spouses etc and were looking to redefine their career on their own terms.

When it reached the point where I could no longer support demand on my own I started assembling a team of like minded professionals, a 100% remote company, with our team able to work flexibly but still apply their 10-15 years of corporate experience in a challenging role supporting businesses they were inspired to work with. Almost immediately the business took off with a life of its own.


Sandra Lewis, on starting Boldly ($320,000/month) full story ➜

11. Start a party supply store ($3.6M/year)

Dean Salakas from Sydney, Australia started The Party People almost 21 years ago, a party supply store.

  • Revenue: $300,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 40
  • Location: Sydney, Australia

30 years ago, my mum was “Patches The Clown” catering for kids parties. Her passion for parties led her to open a small party store with my grandfather. From the age of 4, I was put to work filling small bags with sand for 5 cents each which would be used to weigh down helium balloons on tables.

We love change. Every time something changes, there is an opportunity for us to be early and capitalize while everyone else drags their feet.


Dean Salakas, on starting The Party People ($300,000/month) full story ➜

12. Start a money lending company ($3.6M/year)

Michael Mikhail from Tinton Falls, New Jersey, USA started Stratton Equities almost 3 years ago, a money lending company.

  • Revenue: $300,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 14
  • Location: Tinton Falls, New Jersey, USA

I've been a fluctuating entrepreneur my whole life, but I’ve always come back to the mortgage industry, purchasing my first investment property at 19 utilizing a hard money loan program.

You're only as strong as your team and as an entrepreneur you need to understand the pain points in every area - and understand how to alleviate them.

Even before I started Stratton Equities, I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur and had previously worked in the mortgage industry as well as developed several small businesses throughout my career. Prior to launching my mortgage business; I had been a successful personal trainer while living in Dubai, I had created a hand car wash and detail shop while living in Florida, and even designed a high-end vitamin supplement company in New Jersey while launching Stratton Equities.


Michael Mikhail, on starting Stratton Equities ($300,000/month) full story ➜

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

Xavier Claveria Masip from Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain started Santafixie almost 11 years ago, a bicycle company.

  • Revenue: $250,000/ month
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 15
  • 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.


Xavier Claveria Masip, on starting Santafixie ($250,000/month) full story ➜

14. Start a career coaching business ($1.68M/year)

Patrick Curtis from San Francisco, California, USA started Wall Street Oasis over 14 years ago, a career coaching business.

  • Revenue: $140,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 10
  • Location: San Francisco, California, USA

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.


Patrick Curtis, on starting Wall Street Oasis ($140,000/month) full story ➜

15. Start a brewery ($1.44M/year)

Diego Benitez from Los Angeles, California, USA started Progress Brewing about 7 years ago, a brewery.

  • Revenue: $120,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 5
  • Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

I graduated with a PhD in chemistry in 2005 and after working in academia for a few years as a nanotechnology researcher, I joined a small angel venture investment firm as a technology analyst.

One option was to get a regular job, or… we could start a brewery.

I participated in the founding of a few angel-backed companies and as the venture fund dried up, I joined one of the portfolio companies as Chief Technology Officer. The company, Amicrobe, Inc. is focused on developing biomaterials to address antibiotic resistance.


Diego Benitez, on starting Progress Brewing ($120,000/month) full story ➜

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

Kyle Nelson from Chico, California, USA started Results Imagery over 3 years ago, a photography business.

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

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

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

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


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

17. Start a niche accesssories brand ($1.2M/year)

Braxton Manley from Austin, Texas, USA started Braxley Bands over 3 years ago, a niche accesssories brand.

  • Revenue: $100,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Austin, Texas, USA

I have always had a fascination with art and style. I've also always loved creating things in many different formats. The idea for Braxley Bands started because of a personal desire for a more comfortable Watch band option and the need to come up with a project idea for my marketing class. My band at the time was the original band Apple included which is made from cheap-feeling plastic. Furthermore, the only options out there at the time were very plain solid colored designs. I wanted to jazz it up.

I had absolutely no background in anything related to business when I got started aside from me being a Junior marketing major. While I did learn some foundational stuff in business school, most everything eCommerce related was learned either from podcasts, books, people on social media, or mentors.

We didn’t have a big budget at all when we were getting started because we didn’t want to take an investor. That way we could play by our own rules. Also, who would ever give us money? So we had to learn everything ourselves. Everything from accounting to photoshop to supply chain management.


Braxton Manley, on starting Braxley Bands ($100,000/month) full story ➜

18. Start an auction platform ($1.2M/year)

Aaron Varsha from Los Angeles, California, USA started Auction King over 5 years ago, a auction platform.

  • Revenue: $100,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 6
  • Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

My family has been in the auction business for four generations, so I was naturally exposed.

But the story here starts about 7 years ago when my dad asked me if I could help him run his auction on LiveAuctioneers.com – a new, exciting website that was changing the auction industry. I was in college at the time, but I happily helped out.

Running the auctions was fun, and I was making some good money on the side. Before I knew it I was doing an auction every weekend. I graduated college a year later and decided to go full time.


Aaron Varsha, on starting Auction King ($100,000/month) full story ➜

19. Start a natural health product business ($900K/year)

Kel STUART from Remote started Sanuku APM over 3 years ago, a natural health product business.

  • Revenue: $75,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 2
  • Location: Remote

I worked a few different jobs after high school before deciding to tackle University in my early 20s. When I was one subject off finishing a Bachelor of Commerce degree (with a major in Accounting) I decided to venture to Japan – my neighbor and I planned for a 4-week summer vacation and both of us ended up staying almost 12 months. The working holiday visa program between Australia and Japan offers a fantastic opportunity for such experiences. There was something about the Japanese culture and structured manner of the society that really pulled my strings.

Be flexible and be open to the possibility (and real likelihood) you cannot get everything right all the time. Accept mistakes and move on.

I returned to Australia, completed my degree, and headed back to Japan the following year for a 6-year stay. During that time, I worked in a management position that I was fortunate enough to wrangle. That was an amazing period. I worked hard and taught myself Japanese to a reasonably proficient level. Most weekends during the winter season I went snowboarding, and every other weekend throughout the year, when there were waves, I went surfing.


Kel STUART, on starting Sanuku APM ($75,000/month) full story ➜

20. Start a network marketing software ($780K/year)

Abdul Majeed from Kozhikode, Kerala, India started Infinite MLM Software almost 12 years ago, a network marketing software.

  • Revenue: $65,000/ month
  • Founders: 5
  • Employees: 100
  • Location: Kozhikode, Kerala, India

Yes! It was the struggling period for us to cross all the hurdles to success. There is a saying that success will not come to you, instead, you need to keep on trying to get success in all the aspects of your life.

We, five members, we're working in an IT company and our ideas were merged to form a unity in establishing IOSS. Our idea to start up with product marketing came up with our plan about dreaming and enduring the future. We submitted our idea to TBI Manager (Technical Business Incubation) and they approved it and we received some funds from the investors to start our first business venture, the development of school tracking software and it was a great success but we could not support a similar type of product marketing.

So we started with an affiliate marketing tool, where we researched more into the MLM field and its business operations. We found many people into multi-level marketing and earning as a part-time or full-time business and that manual work could be done through the software to make their business tracking in an easy way. This gave us an opportunity to support an MLM business owner and we got our first client from Bangladesh to build MLM software for his MLM business. This paved the way for our flagship product.


Abdul Majeed, on starting Infinite MLM Software ($65,000/month) full story ➜

21. Start a waterbottle business ($636K/year)

Jesse Hambly from Elora, Ontario, Canada started Pressa Inc. over 5 years ago, a waterbottle business.

  • Revenue: $53,000/ month
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Elora, Ontario, Canada

We started the project in college when we noticed class-mates flavoring their water naturally with lemons and limes. One of our roommates complained that she wasn’t getting much flavor and often disposed of the fruit at the end of the day. So we went to work creating concepts for how we thought the product would function and look.

We had absolutely no background in plastics and for this reason. Jesse’s background was marketing, Lukes was manufacturing and Mason graduated from Toronto Film academy. Our product is quite complex and was difficult but once we got it dialed in we’ve been able to repeat the manufacturing process perfectly. After our first concept, we validated the product by running a successful Kickstarter campaign. Our campaign wasn’t pretty but it did the trick and we reached our goal of 35k.

In our Kickstarter campaign, we underpriced the product. People on Kickstarter expect to pay slightly more to be the first to own a product, if we were to have done this again I’d price the product higher.


Jesse Hambly, on starting Pressa Inc. ($53,000/month) full story ➜

22. Become a college counselor ($600K/year)

Pradeep Gaddam from San Jose, California, USA started ConnecPath about 3 years ago, a college counselor.

  • Revenue: $50,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: San Jose, California, USA

I started my career as a researcher at NASA where I helped scientists visualize data. It did not take long before I realized that research is not a place for me. I thought to join a big company would make it exciting for me, I then joined Intel Corporation only to realize that's not a place for me. It took me 10 years to realize that being an entrepreneur is where I felt more fit and excited. I always knew, If I had the right mentor I would not have wasted 10 precious years.

All this made sense to me, when I met my co-founder over a beer, he mentioned an interesting data point to me. The ratio between a high school counselor and students is 1:500, which means the amount of time, a student gets over their entire high school is 38 minutes. That clearly is a huge problem and interestingly of all the high school students that get into colleges, 40% of them either end up changing majors, colleges, not graduating on time or not graduating at all.

I think that's a very serious problem. I instantly connected with that problem and we decided that we will certainly fix it. That’s how we started on this journey.


Pradeep Gaddam, on starting ConnecPath ($50,000/month) full story ➜

23. Start a food tour company ($420K/year)

Jessica Baumgart from Denver, Colorado, USA started Delicious Denver Food Tours almost 3 years ago, a food tour company.

  • Revenue: $35,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Denver, Colorado, USA

My background is in marketing and communications, which has helped me immensely as I grow my business. I was working a standard 9-5 job and feeling pretty unsatisfied when my then boyfriend (now husband) and I got the idea to quit and travel for a year.

On that trip around the world, I started to question why I was working in a career that was making me unhappy and resolved to start really listening to what my passions were.

We planned and saved over the course of two years (and got married in the meantime). Right after the wedding, we sold everything we owned, quit our jobs and went backpacking through 25 countries on a year-long trip around the world.


Jessica Baumgart, on starting Delicious Denver Food Tours ($35,000/month) full story ➜

24. Start a christian faith-based products business ($360K/year)

Tom & Karen Berry from Tampa, Florida, USA started PrayerBowls over 6 years ago, a Christian faith-based products business.

  • Revenue: $30,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Tampa, Florida, USA

My wife Karen became extremely ill in April of 2007 after we had our son Billy. Her illness lasted a year and a half.

At a Christmas party in 2009, a woman named Angie, who Karen had never met told Karen that she had been praying for her daily for over a year. Karen was overcome with emotion learning that a stranger had prayed for her daily. Angie went on to tell Karen that she kept a prayer bowl at her desk and each day she prayed for the people in the bowl.

Karen liked the idea so much she began creating her own distinct bowls and began gifting them to friends and family. The first PrayerBowls she painted scripture and crosses on white inexpensive ceramic bowls. Her friends convinced her to sell them at a home party. She did and sold out. Referrals were coming fast, so she hired a high school artist to help her paint the bowls and fire them in our oven at home. I came home one day after work to a dozen gift bags on the front porch. I immediately went to the computer to purchase the URL and created an LLC.


Tom & Karen Berry, on starting PrayerBowls ($30,000/month) full story ➜

25. Start a standing desk company ($360K/year)

Ashley ‘JP’ Lockwood from London, England, United Kingdom started Deskmate almost 4 years ago, a standing desk company.

  • Revenue: $30,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 2
  • Location: London, England, United Kingdom

We were working from a coworking space and wanted standing desks. We asked the community managers if they’d considered them. Answers ranged from, ‘too expensive’, ‘space doesn’t allow them’, ‘why do you need one?’, I guess that was the lightbulb moment.

I’d recommend anyone launching a business in an area they don’t understand to research but not to overthink it. Learn on the job.

The idea behind Deskmate was quite simple really, there was no affordable standing solution in the UK. We did the typical google search, amazon check and there was nothing there. We saw the gap and went for it.


Ashley ‘JP’ Lockwood, on starting Deskmate ($30,000/month) full story ➜

26. Start a video game modding business ($324K/year)

Kyle from Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania, USA started Hand Held Legend almost 7 years ago, a video game modding business.

  • Revenue: $27,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania, USA

Hand Held Legend was born while I was in graduate school for a degree in the medical profession. In order to effectively study, one needs an escape for the mind; I found my escape restoring old, broken and dilapidated Game Boys for about 3 years. Not only did I have fun repairing, but I also found that I could make a buck or two modifying and upgrading old consoles as not everyone can complete technical mods.

I started off Hand Held Legend in my graduate school apartment with an old kitchen table and a soldering iron. Initially, I was selling 1-2 modified consoles per week as I completed and listed them on eBay. Soon enough this became time intensive and I searched for a way to bring in revenue while still maintaining time to study. Surrounding student loan debt is a great motivator!

To that extent, I began to create our first product, an LED backlight for the original Game Boy. This was something I had seen done before and it was not a novel or propriety idea although I thought I could make one better and keep a portion of my cost of goods sold. Sales started slowly as we had zero brand awareness. I had to engage with the local online internet community of gaming obsessed nerds like me. Soon enough the word got out but we have gone on to sell over 25,000 backlight panels for the original game boy console alone.


Kyle , on starting Hand Held Legend ($27,000/month) full story ➜

27. Start an online baby boutique ($312K/year)

Emma Lovell from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia started Fly Babee over 5 years ago, a online baby boutique.

  • Revenue: $26,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 2
  • Location: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Five years ago, my mum was diagnosed with cancer and given just nine months to live. My baby girl was just five months old at the time, and I made the difficult decision to relocate to the UK to help care for my mum during her final year.

I left my husband behind, so during that time, we flew back and forth from Sydney to London four times in 9 months. Flying with a baby is difficult and I was no exception. The airline bassinets are in the main thoroughfare of the plane and there’s so much going on. This over-stimulates your baby and makes it near to impossible to get them to sleep when they need to – which in turn it leads to overtiredness and this is the worst problem to fix.

Lesson learned – even if you’re using an agent and they say they’ll carry out Quality Control….external, independent Quality Control is an absolute must.


Emma Lovell, on starting Fly Babee ($26,000/month) full story ➜

28. Start a preppy clothing business ($252K/year)

Miriam Zelinsky from New York, New York, USA started Lazyjack Press over 8 years ago, a preppy clothing business.

  • Revenue: $21,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: New York, New York, USA

I started Lazyjack Press when I had just graduated from law school. During law school, I went back to my alma mater, Dickinson College, for my five-year reunion. While there, I reminisced with my sorority sisters and pretended I was back in college for the weekend. That’s where most of the ideas of my first designs came from like: Beer Goggles, Sweet Shades Bro, and Irish Carbomb (Boilermakers).

During that weekend, my college roommate and I decided to go to the nicer hotel about an hour away for brunch. I saw, quite possibly, the tackiest, most plastic-looking tie I had ever seen and pointed it out to my friend and laughed. When I turned the tie over and saw who designed it, I was shocked. It was a very well-known (and popular, might I add) prep brand.

I went to the mill and had a little trouble (to say the least) because of their religious beliefs - they did not think a woman should be in this business.


Miriam Zelinsky, on starting Lazyjack Press ($21,000/month) full story ➜

29. Start a lead generation business ($216K/year)

James Harper from Denver, Colorado, USA started GoEdison almost 5 years ago, a lead generation business.

  • Revenue: $18,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Denver, Colorado, USA

GoEdison was founded because my partner and I saw a major need in the small business realm for better marketing. This was at the time when marketing agencies were popping up everywhere and charging smaller businesses large retainers with getting them very little return.

Too often we want to get a little too creative with our new services. Do what works and do what’s simple when you first start out.

Three years prior I had launched two other smaller agencies get off the ground and make a ton of money. The problem was, I wasn’t truly invested in those companies. I was as a key employee, but nothing more than that. So instead of helping others get rich quickly, we knew we could provide a better service and overall client experience and make it our own thing versus working for someone else.


James Harper , on starting GoEdison ($18,000/month) full story ➜

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

Pepe Martín García from Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain started Minimalism Brand about 3 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 ;)


Pepe Martín García, on starting Minimalism Brand ($18,000/month) full story ➜

31. Start a protein bar company ($180K/year)

Raivis from Vidzeme, Latvia started Coffee Pixels almost 11 years ago, a protein bar company.

  • Revenue: $15,000/ month
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 5
  • Location: Vidzeme, Latvia

My journey up to this point has been going through fields of hospitality, IT, corporate sales and back to hospitality, this time running a coffee shop - the place I really fell in love with coffee.

Make sure that someone isn't already solving the problem that you're about to tackle, or, more importantly, if there even is a problem at all.

Back in 2010, with the same team, we started coffee pixels, we launched a healthy lifestyle coffee shop in Riga, Latvia. We served vegetarian snacks, food & hi-quality coffee, known as specialty or 3rd wave coffee. There I found about the true story of coffee & how it can taste if done properly.


Raivis, on starting Coffee Pixels ($15,000/month) full story ➜

32. Become a corporate trainer ($150K/year)

Andrew Tarvin from New York, New York, USA started Humor That Works almost 12 years ago, a corporate trainer.

  • Revenue: $12,500/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: New York, New York, USA

I am an engineer and have always been obsessed with efficiency (I think the word efficient should be one syllable).

I went to The Ohio State University, got a degree in Computer Science & Engineering, and started working at Procter & Gamble after I graduated. At P&G, I realized that you can’t be efficient with humans--they have “emotions” and “feelings”--but rather you had to be effective.

Photo Caption: College Graduation. Proof I was (and still am) a nerd.


Andrew Tarvin, on starting Humor That Works ($12,500/month) full story ➜

33. Start a software integration plugin ($144K/year)

Jae Jun from Seattle, Washington, USA started GORILLA ROI over 2 years ago, a software integration plugin.

  • Revenue: $12,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 2
  • Location: Seattle, Washington, USA

I’m sure you know that one person in the office who is a spreadsheet geek, right?

That person who can whip out some crazy complex spreadsheet without batting an eye and seems to enjoy playing around with thousands of little boxes on the screen.

That’s me.


Jae Jun, on starting GORILLA ROI ($12,000/month) full story ➜

34. Become a digital product designer ($126K/year)

Abb-d Choudhury from Brighton, England, United Kingdom started Curate Labs over 4 years ago, a digital product designer.

  • Revenue: $10,500/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 2
  • Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

Curate Labs stemmed from an initial publication we created called Curate Magazine. The concept behind CM was, ‘one theme, many interpretations – Challenging perspectives through conversation, expression, and curiosity’. Traditionally, I and Sara had worked in large agencies working with big international brands.

Through our roles, we hit a saturation point and fell out of love with the work. From here we decided to set up our own practice, launching from the popularity of Curate Magazine, and creating Curate Labs as a creative, experimental design practice focused on ethics and design for good.

Links to previous issues of Curate Magazine…Issue 4, Issue 5, Issue 6.


Abb-d Choudhury, on starting Curate Labs ($10,500/month) full story ➜

35. Start an online fabric store ($120K/year)

Alanna Banks from Toronto, Ontario, Canada started Fridays Off Fabric Shop over 7 years ago, a online fabric store.

  • Revenue: $10,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Before starting Fridays Off I was an Account Director at a public relations agency where I ran PR campaigns for consumer product brands.

After returning from a year long maternity leave I found it difficult to juggle my new life as a mom working in the confines of a 9-5, I also came to the realization that the corporate life just wasn’t for me and became very unhappy. I was tired of faking it and really just wanted to follow my forever dream of doing my own thing and being my own boss. So, I did what anyone would do in that situation and got pregnant again ;)

I bootstrapped the whole operation, using whatever I had in my bank account to buy my starting inventory of about 20 bolts of fabric.


Alanna Banks, on starting Fridays Off Fabric Shop ($10,000/month) full story ➜

36. Start an onboarding tools business ($113K/year)

Osman Koc from Istanbul, Turkey started Userguiding almost 4 years ago, a onboarding tools business.

  • Revenue: $9,400/ month
  • Founders: 5
  • Employees: 3
  • Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Muhammet and I are close friends who studied in the same class at both high school and university. UserGuiding is the second company we founded together. We had a startup studio named "YNOT Partners" derived from "Why Not?". We helped entrepreneurs to build their business from ideation to investment. We made a good amount of money by working hard and smart for a year. And then we went to San Francisco with our savings to build our product without any idea!

Why do you work on your own when you get the solution right away?

In the early weeks of San Francisco, we were stressed out. We were staying at a friend’s house, Deniz, founder of Voscreen. We were in Silicon Valley, we had everything such as time, money and skill set, except an idea to start a one-billion-dollar company :) And, we’re sure we would find a great idea soon; because ideas are free, the significant part of doing business is execution. We’ve heard that a thousand times at least.


Osman Koc, on starting Userguiding ($9,400/month) full story ➜

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

Dan Stewart from Unorganized Thunder Bay District, Ontario, Canada started Dundas Valley Pools over 4 years ago, a pool installation service.

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

Even in high school I was very interested in the idea of starting my own business and someday being my own boss. My dad was the Vice President and co-owner of a construction company while I was growing up and so having a role model like him most certainly contributed to my desire to follow in his footsteps (albeit in a different industry). My grandfather originally started a construction business back in the 1970s which is how my dad was introduced to the industry. I am the third generation of business owners in my family.

I never thought I would be working in the pool industry. In 2016, I graduated at the University of Waterloo with an Honors B.A in Recreation and Sport Business. I have always enjoyed sports, recreation, and the outdoors. My thought coming out of high school was to start an outdoor recreation/adventure sports magazine. Although that hasn’t happened, it’s interesting to think about how I am still working in Recreation and Sport. I guess you could say I’m the “behind the scenes” guy-- at Dundas Valley Pools, we make sure homeowners pools are up to speed and that families can enjoy as much leisure time in their backyard as possible with little to no hassles.

While I was in university, my desire to start my own business continued to grow. One thing I have realized now is that I was more romanticized by the idea of starting a business than I was interested in the actual act of doing so. I think this is an important point to make because it is so easy to get obsessed with an idea or aspiration more than the actual act or result. In my opinion, it is one of the worst mistakes a person can make prior to taking action. Perhaps I can speak more towards this point later on in the interview.


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

38. Start a campervan transformation service ($96K/year)

Bryan and Jen Danger from Portland, Oregon, USA started ZENVANZ over 1 year ago, a campervan transformation service.

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

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.


Bryan and Jen Danger, on starting ZENVANZ ($8,000/month) full story ➜

39. Start a sports coaching business ($57.1K/year)

Sarah Wolfer from Mariánské Lázně, Northwest, Czech Republic started Girl Boss Sports almost 2 years ago, a sports coaching business.

  • Revenue: $4,759/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Mariánské Lázně, Northwest, Czech Republic

As an athlete and coach myself, I have experienced many situations that left me feeling dismayed at the state of affairs for women and girls involved in sports. I recall one such instance where I was playing at a very competitive level and the head coach screamed at me from 2 inches away with every expletive he could think of in front of our entire team because I asked him a question about the drill that was being done. I still vividly remember the spittle flying out of his mouth and hitting me in the face and not knowing what to do. The powerlessness I felt at that moment, coupled with the lack of appropriate response by the system when I reported him left me feeling hopeless for my future in sports. I ended up quitting soccer and refused to touch a ball for an entire year.

On the coaching side - as someone with 16 years of experience now, there are still instances in which I am treated differently than my male counterparts. One such example was when I was on the sideline waiting for the referee to come over and check my team prior to the start of the game. I was dressed in my coaching attire, had the whistle around my neck, the clipboard in my hand, and the player cards ready to be presented when the referee walked over to our sideline. He made eye contact with me and then proceeded to walk over the dad who happened to be on our side tying his daughter’s shoe and assumed that he was the coach.

Take time for yourself! Being an entrepreneur is hard work and you can’t do it to the best of your ability if you haven’t taken time for yourself to rest and rejuvenate. Self-care is integral to success.


Sarah Wolfer, on starting Girl Boss Sports ($4,759/month) full story ➜

40. Start a wireframing software business ($54K/year)

Brian Nyagol from Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya started Brainverse Technologies Ltd about 7 years ago, a wireframing software business.

  • Revenue: $4,500/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 7
  • Location: Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya

I started Brainverse when in my second year in college, driven by the necessity to finance myself at school. Like every other startup, I started solo. My first gigs were about designing blogs and simple websites for my friends and some businesses. I must admit that the starting point was lousy, fuzzy, and uncalculated. I had no clear vision of what I wanted the company to be, beyond adding more money in my pocket. I could afford to be off duty when I wanted, and hey, I was a student, living in his own terms.

Beginning of finding a purpose - Brainverse Recess

In early 2014, I started on a project that sprouted from my urge to develop a product for young people, especially those on campus. With 2 other friends, we started a social networking site - VibeCampo, our own version of Facebook that would address the needs of young people and help them nurture their talents. We delved into the depths of learning everything we needed to make this a success. I truly admit that running such a venture was not easy, without a constant stream of funding, since we had no idea how to implement a proper revenue model.


Brian Nyagol, on starting Brainverse Technologies Ltd ($4,500/month) full story ➜

41. Start a sex toys business ($28.8K/year)

Liam Valentine from Mariánské Lázně, Northwest, Czech Republic started Sex Toys For Men Co. over 4 years ago, a sex toys business.

  • Revenue: $2,400/ month
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Mariánské Lázně, Northwest, Czech Republic

So now you’re probably wondering… why in the world are we in this business? And how did we get started?

Well, we’re glad you asked.

We’d already been involved in the internet marketing world for several years and we were interested in trying out a different niche.


Liam Valentine, on starting Sex Toys For Men Co. ($2,400/month) full story ➜

42. Start a denim brand ($24K/year)

Susie Shaughnessy from Manhattan Beach, California, USA started Crawford Denim and Vintage Co. almost 7 years ago, a denim brand.

  • Revenue: $2,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Manhattan Beach, California, USA

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area as the middle child in a large family. Our Dad was a long time high school football coach and our Mom managed the teams while raising the family.

Every student was welcome in our home, making our house a constant hub of activity, sports and art. We learned early in life how rewarding working in service to others is and how to work well as a team. One person’s success is a reflection of the team’s hard work.

Having an alternate source of income will help minimize any lows in sales. It’s the insurance of making rent that allows you to focus on the brand or business that you are trying to grow.


Susie Shaughnessy, on starting Crawford Denim and Vintage Co. ($2,000/month) full story ➜

43. Start a selfcare subscription box ($12K/year)

Meredith Vaish from San Carlos, California, USA started Pause Box LLC over 1 year ago, a selfcare subscription box.

  • Revenue: $1,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: San Carlos, California, USA

In June 2018, I left my corporate gig after 16 years. I had a severe repetitive stress injury in my neck and shoulder that just wasn’t improving. I figured there was no way cubicle culture was going to allow me to get better. I told colleagues I was leaving to pursue “creative projects.”

Don’t wait until you know what you’re doing. Just start. Say yes more than you say no.

Those projects turned out to include naps, walks with my dog, cooking healthy meals, journaling, yoga, meditation and a series of personal growth courses.


Meredith Vaish, on starting Pause Box LLC ($1,000/month) full story ➜

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

Melanie Goel from Munich, Bavaria, Germany started alpengraphics - the zero-plastic outdoor company over 1 year 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.


Melanie Goel, on starting alpengraphics - the zero-plastic outdoor company ($650/month) full story ➜

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

Mike Slaats from Eindhoven, North Brabant, The Netherlands started Upvoty over 1 year 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.


Mike Slaats, on starting Upvoty ($500/month) full story ➜

46. Start an online retail business ($6K/year)

Corey Rust from Troutdale, Oregon, USA started 37413 Gear 8 months ago, a online retail business.

  • Revenue: $500/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Troutdale, Oregon, USA

In 2017, I started to become friends with a guy whose name sounds like a 1970’s TV show police detective or an Indiana Jones-esque character. His name is Jack Blazer, and Jack is one of those kinds of people that can be very intimidating but has a heart made of gold. Ask anyone that really knows him, and I think they’d agree with that.

You worked hard. You sacrificed. And you made it happen. No one can take that away from you, nor should you let anyone take that away from you.

In early summer 2018, Jack was diagnosed with a form of cancer that was not only rare but ridiculous; as is all cancer. Jack was a Portland Police Officer, and I viewed Jack as the epitome of what a fighter is and should be and someone who rarely let anything defeat him. So, at the time and for a long time after, I optimistically looked at this as just another battle he had to fight and that he would win. I suppose many shares that view, when someone that is close and we care about, is diagnosed with something so terrifying. I wasn’t any different.


Corey Rust, on starting 37413 Gear ($500/month) full story ➜

47. Start a straw company ($0/year)

Emma Rose Cohen from Santa Fe, Argentina started Final Co. over 2 years ago, a straw company.

  • Revenue: $0/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 4
  • Location: Santa Fe, Argentina

As a child, I’d roam the neighborhood where I grew up, collecting fruit from neighbors’ trees. When I was seven years old, I set up shop at a local farmers market to sell the fruit that otherwise would have been doomed to a perilous, rotting existence.

FinalStraw was born after a voracious Amazon search for a reusable, travel-friendly straw. There was nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. We saw the huge gap in the market for fun, innovative items that replace single-use plastic straws. So, we decided to go for it.

Two decades and several business ventures later, I found my passion in sustainability. In October of 2017, the stars aligned and I was introduced to my former co-founder. A mutual friend told him to give me a call because he had a concept for a portable, reusable straw, and thought I might be able to help. After all, my friends do refer to me as the “straw lady.”


Emma Rose Cohen, on starting Final Co. ($0/month) full story ➜

48. Start a home repair services business

Here are some examples of a successful home repair services business in Lexington, KY:

Want to get started? Here are a few great resources:


49. Start a cannabis restaurant

Here are some examples of a successful cannabis restaurant in Lexington, KY:

Want to get started? Here are a few great resources:


50. Start a makeup brand

Here are some examples of a successful makeup brand in Lexington, KY:

Want to get started? Here are a few great resources:


Starter Story,   Founder of Starter Story

Share the story of Starter Story!

Leave a comment
Your email address will not be published.

More posts like this: