The 91 Best Business Ideas To Start In South Africa [2021]

The 91 Best Business Ideas To Start In South Africa [2021]

Interested in starting a business in South Africa in 2021?

We put together 91 of the best businesses you can start in South Africa today.

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

Here's the full list:

1. Start a recruiting agency ($3.48M/year)

Sharon Koifman from Montreal, Quebec, Canada started DistantJob about 13 years ago, a recruiting agency.

  • Revenue: $290,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 26
  • Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

I started off by running and owning a hosting company called Empire Host. We had about 3K clients at the time support was run from two offices in India with nearly 30 employees.

We were also providing an outsourcing package. Our business solutions were really cheap and to be frank, our results were mediocre at best. Although the service was fine for any mom and pop shop or even an “any results will do” kind of company, we noticed that too often, people who run tech companies actually outsourced to companies such as ourselves even work that went into their core offering - because it was cheap.

At the time, what outsourcing really was, was an arbitrage business. But the concept that people would outsource big chunks of their business to a company that does not provide the same level of communication, process, quality control, and culture just because they’ll save a lot of money, that idea really stuck with me.

how-i-started-a-3m-year-remote-worker-recruitment-agency

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Sharon Koifman, on starting DistantJob ($290,000/month) full story ➜

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

Ben Elizer from Nashville, TN, USA started Velocity International Group over 5 years ago, a logistics business.

  • Revenue: $100,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 16
  • Location: Nashville, TN, USA

Velocity was born back in 2015 after months and months of research. I have a degree in logistics from the University of Tennessee - Knoxville, and a Masters’s degree in Business Management from Tennessee Tech University. I worked at a logistics company as a Manager in Training in Nashville, directly after college. After almost 5 years at the business and earning my MBA while working, I wanted more responsibility, but they didn’t want to expand the business or take on those new jobs to help me grow as an individual personally or professionally.

If you want to attract customers, show them how you can save them money, save them time, reduce a level of stress, and overall make their lives easier.

After interviewing for a few jobs, and applying for many more without much success, I decided to take the knowledge I had acquired over the past 4 to 5 years and put it to work. I left my previous employer, with a colleague, and started Velocity International Group. Validation of the company came from my previous experience in business and building trust in our customers by going above and beyond with great service.

how-i-started-a-100k-month-logistics-and-delivery-service-company

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Ben Elizer, on starting Velocity International Group ($100,000/month) full story ➜

3. Start a dropshipping business ($144K/year)

Amanda Austin from Erie, Pennsylvania, USA started Little Shop of Miniatures about 4 years ago, a dropshipping business.

  • Revenue: $12,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Erie, Pennsylvania, USA

I was unhappily working in marketing for a Fortune 500 insurance company when I started looking at ways to create a new income stream. I became interested in ecommerce and invested in a course to learn more. I compiled a list of keywords for products that had decent search volume and not terribly competitive to rank for in organic search. I used Long Tail Pro to get ideas--I had so many when I first started!

My business is a small, mostly passive income stream and I’m okay with that. There is so much more I could be doing with my store, but right now I am loving the extra income stream that allows me to work part-time at my day job and spend more time with my infant daughter.

A bunch of keywords in the dollhouse miniatures space fit the bill. I used Long Tail Pro and looked for keywords that were competitive--which on there is a score in the twenties or low thirties. I also wanted them to have at least 2,000 searches per month. This is not a ton, but five keywords with that search volume that are not that competitive can lead to a decent number of organic traffic if you build your site the right way. My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to find a niche with a nice handful of keywords you can rank for with quality content and a nice backlinking strategy. Don’t try to be number one for some saturated keyword that has a million searches a month. Go for keywords where you stand a chance of ranking--this is usually so-called long tail keywords that are really phrases--for example, “wooden dollhouse furniture” instead of just “dollhouse.”

how-i-started-a-part-time-dropship-business-on-shopify

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Amanda Austin, on starting Little Shop of Miniatures ($12,000/month) full story ➜

4. Start a content writing company ($840K/year)

Julia McCoy from Georgetown, TX, USA started Express Writers about 9 years ago, a content writing company.

  • Revenue: $70,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 2
  • Location: Georgetown, TX, USA

I found the freelance writing market in 2011 after signing up to sites that offered writing work. It was a fairly new and burgeoning market at the time, even if the rates offered on the platforms I started on were abysmal. Taking a ton of low-paying gigs was how I molded my first online writing skills. As I accumulated work, continually hit my deadlines, and exceeded expectations, the work brought referral work. Within three months of starting my entire freelance writing pursuit, I had more work than I could handle. So, I started a business, created it on the spot, and named it Express Writers.

We got clients on day one and continued to get them because I went and got them. I would get up at 4 a.m. and send out 100 emails a day to new leads.

We’ve never had funding. We’ve never sought it. Everything was a day-by-day, gut-instinct, move-fast process, and we have always had to pivot and learn how to reshape and reapproach when failures happened. I went with it and found joy because I was walking in my passion (writing). What I’ve learned is that this move-fast process is behind some of the most successful businesses in the world. Success loves speed. Failure attaches to slowness. Our quick responses and agile adaptations, or the “hard-knocks life” if you want to describe it more accurately, helped us maintain and grow our place in the market.

growing-a-writing-business-with-an-ecommerce-shop-to-70k-mrr-at-27-years-old

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Julia McCoy, on starting Express Writers ($70,000/month) full story ➜

5. Start a personal training business ($720K/year)

Chris Anderson from Overland Park, Kansas, USA started Live Fit over 10 years ago, a personal training business.

  • Revenue: $60,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Overland Park, Kansas, USA

I started Live Fit because I felt I was running out of options in the industry I loved so much. Personally, I felt the misses in the personal training industry and wanted to change that. Personal Training, as well as all types of fitness, can be very intimidating to most people. And honestly, the people that are most intimidated by fitness are often the people that need it the most. I set out to create a company that provided the same types of exercises, programming, and results as generally all fitness companies, but I wanted to make it a comfortable experience from the moment a potential client stepped through our doors.

All our processes, our studio layout, our team of trainers we have hired, and our entire mission are based on making clients feel comfortable, appreciated, and valued. We do things differently and over the past 10 years, I have seen other companies in our area follow our lead. Long gone are the days of slamming weights, extremely loud music, and uncomfortable gym environments. People want to go where they feel comfortable and respected.

I have always loved sports and started at a young age, with my dad as my coach. I continued athletics through high school and went on to run college track where I based my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees entirely on building my career in the fitness industry. The last thing I was willing to do was to throw it all away based on a lack of opportunity, so I created my own with Live Fit. I believe in spirituality and the law of attraction and base my life on those principles. So in early 2011 when I couldn’t focus on my spiritual study and spiritual growth because my mind was consumed with running numbers about opening my own company, I knew that was a sign from God it was time to create something great.

how-i-started-a-60k-month-personal-training-company

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Chris Anderson, on starting Live Fit ($60,000/month) full story ➜

6. Start an invention and patent service ($720K/year)

Becca Davison from Houston, TX, USA started UnbuckleMe almost 5 years ago, a invention and patent service.

  • Revenue: $60,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 2
  • Location: Houston, TX, USA

When my first daughter was born in 2015, my mom offered to help me with childcare when I went back to work. As my daughter grew, my mom wanted to take her granddaughter out of the house during the day, to parks and the zoo. But she quickly realized that because of some arthritis in her thumb, she lacked the strength to push the red button on my daughter’s car seat. This meant that she couldn’t safely take her out in the car. We shopped for alternative car seats but soon learned that car seat buckles are federally regulated to require 9 lbs. of pressure to release. Great for safety, limiting for grandparents.

Identify your target audience as early as possible and put yourself in their shoes to figure out how to reach them. What are they doing/reading/watching where you can get your product or service in front of them?

My mom is an Occupational Therapist who spent her career adapting equipment for patients with disabilities. She decided to create a tool to solve her own problem, and UnbuckleMe was born. When I saw my mom’s invention, I knew it could help others, and she couldn’t be the only grandparent with arthritis who cared for a child. Turns out, 1/3 of women over 50 yrs. suffer from thumb arthritis! (the CMC joint is one of the most over-used in the body, and years of repetitive stress makes arthritis and joint pain very common). We researched the market and decided to bring our invention to life!

how-we-created-a-60k-month-innovative-car-seat-buckle-release-tool-and-got-featured-on-shark-tank

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Becca Davison, on starting UnbuckleMe ($60,000/month) full story ➜

7. Become an online dating consultant ($62.4K/year)

Shane White from Austin, Texas, USA started The Match Artist over 3 years ago, a online dating consultant.

  • Revenue: $5,200/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Austin, Texas, USA

I have always been an entrepreneur. When I was in high school, I wanted to start my own business, so I took to one thing that I knew how to do- mow lawns.

Afterward, while I was in college, I started a mobile DJ business, which was a great way to earn some extra cash in college. After graduating from NDSU with a degree in Computer Science, I took a full-time job working as a software developer. While working as a developer, I really wanted to start a SaaS Company, which translates to “Software as a Service”, so I did just that. I created Midwest Streams - Simple Funeral Webcasting, which helps funeral directors webcast their funerals.

I ended up spending too many hours working on Midwest Streams while I was at my software developer job, so my employer fired me. (If you are reading this, I really am sorry!) This happened in February of 2014, and Midwest Streams was only making $400 a month. I decided not to go back to work and try my hardest to grow my company. I had some savings, but burnt through it pretty quick, as it’s really hard to survive with only $400 a month.

how-i-built-my-own-business-improving-online-dating-profiles

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Shane White, on starting The Match Artist ($5,200/month) full story ➜

8. Start a wordpress template business ($106K/year)

Sam from South Carolina, USA started Effortless Web Kits over 3 years ago, a wordpress template business.

  • Revenue: $8,800/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: South Carolina, USA

It was 7:00 pm, about 8 days before Christmas in 2017 when my boss sent me a text message “Can I call?”.

I’d been in the tech industry as a software developer for a while now, so a late-night chat wasn’t necessarily out of the ordinary - especially if one of our clients had an unexpected, catastrophic error that couldn’t wait until the morning.

“Of course!” I said.

how-i-started-a-9k-month-wordpress-templates-business

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Sam, on starting Effortless Web Kits ($8,800/month) full story ➜

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

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

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

Growing up, I’ve always been into technology. I built my first website when I was in first grade, I built my first graphing calculator app when I was in sixth grade, and I used to run the internet’s largest website dedicated to Ralph Wiggum from The Simpsons.

I waited in line for the iPhone the day it launched in 2007, and I was instantly hooked. I knew I had to learn how to build software for this device. Eventually, I learned how to jailbreak my device which allowed me to run custom apps on it (this being before the launch of the App Store).

Even though I had a passion for technology, I never really wanted a career in it. My dream job was to work as a technical director for live television broadcasts, and the only class that was close to that at my school was the capstone course for the Professional Journalism program. I ended up switching my major from Computer Engineering to that and abandoned any dreams of professionally writing software.

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

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

10. Start a video production company ($1.99M/year)

Henry Finn from San Francisco, California, USA started Luminous over 7 years ago, a video production company.

  • Revenue: $166,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 4
  • Location: San Francisco, California, USA

I’m a filmmaker and that’s where my passion is. I’m an artist from my balls to my heart and I only became a producer and use my head because I also hate working 9-5s and I wasn’t interested in moving to LA. So I realized pretty quickly if I wanted to be free doing something I loved I would have to learn the business side.. which was really hard for me in the beginning.

I made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot of hard lessons because as an artist you don’t care about a lot of things that corporations care about (namely learning to look at a project as a product for capitalistic needs over self-expression) and also have to add a lot of components to your knowledge like branding, marketing, etc.

Luckily the fear of letting the corporate machine suck my soul out forever (I used to be in banking) outweighed my cynicism, so I sucked it up and made a business for myself.

But actually, the moment that really changed my perception of reality was when I accidentally started one of the world’s top modern art sites (at the time) with a group of friends way back in 2005 or so.

We were originally going to make a collaborative portfolio site to try and get clients for our businesses (filmmakers, photographers, graphic designers, etc.) and I was trying to solve the problem of how to get someone to come back to our website once they’ve visited it once.

So I had this hypothesis that if instead of making a simple portfolio site, if we actually made a blog and just shared dope art we love with the world, it might give people a reason to come back.

how-henry-finn-built-2m-year-video-production-company-working-with-the-biggest-brands-in-the-world

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Henry Finn, on starting Luminous ($166,000/month) full story ➜

11. Start an ecommerce platform ($1.2M/year)

Nick and Angelica from Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA started Romans Tide about 6 years ago, a ecommerce platform.

  • Revenue: $100,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 5
  • Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA

Outsource everything. The classic entrepreneur’s mistake is to try and do everything yourself. When I look back on it I definitely had the funds to outsource more and bootstrap less.

If it wasn't for that struggle I would have never made it to where I am today. I was forced into entrepreneurship because I was not someone people could hire. I always got along with people at interviews and people liked me but I was not hireable due to the mistakes I made in the past surrounding my issues with drugs and alcohol as a teenager.

Embrace the struggle. Good times can make you soft. I appreciate my life now and keep an attitude of gratitude but I never forget where I came from. I never forget not knowing where my next meal would come from or not knowing where I was going to sleep at night. Believe it or not, I have had worse times and been worse places than being homeless but I won't go there here

I got my GED at 16 so I didn’t even finish high school, before starting my business I did take some college classes at a local community college. I wanted to become a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine and attend Bastyr University.

I loved learning things but always struggled with the long road of school which held no guarantee of success, just a guarantee of debt.

My journey into entrepreneurship started as an early teenager hustling here and there just to put food in my mouth and fuel in the gas tank. My first real business was a landscaping business I started with a friend that didn't work out. We thought it would be a good idea because he had the work and I had the business mindset of growing and scaling. The opportunity was there but we did not collaborate well. Even with my guidance he did not want to change his habits. This led to us butting heads, ending our business, tainting our friendship, and me $20,000 in debt. After that had failed me I came across a program that taught people how to dropship on eBay for $20 a month. I really liked the idea of this as it gave me the opportunity to work from anywhere and be my own boss which are two things I really wanted. After a few months of hard work, things went well and I paid $500 for the selling on Amazon training. I literally had no idea what I was doing when my Amazon business took off. In a sense, Amazon was my crash course in business. It taught me how to hire and manage employees, how to set up payroll, how to outsource, how to do accounting, how to leverage credit and financing, how to market, how to do advertising. It taught me everything I know about business in the harshest way possible lol

how-i-started-a-private-label-small-business-generating-six-figures-a-month

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Nick and Angelica, on starting Romans Tide ($100,000/month) full story ➜

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

Melodi Landi from Remote started Furry Fellas Pet Service LLC about 15 years ago, a dog walking business.

  • Revenue: $54,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 19
  • Location: Remote

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

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Melodi Landi, on starting Furry Fellas Pet Service LLC ($54,000/month) full story ➜

13. Start a resume writing business ($30K/year)

Mike McRitchie from El Dorado, California, USA started Critical Path Action about 6 years ago, a resume writing business.

  • Revenue: $2,500/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: El Dorado, California, USA

Over the years I’ve built quite a bit of business knowledge (was a Director of Operations and helped build a company from 5 employees to 100 and $2.5 million to $16 million in revenue; also was a five-year member of Vistage, a business mastermind group) and wanted to leverage that.

Get started with something inexpensive that interests you. Then keep going as you try things and learn.

I started a website through an online marketing/website building course and began blogging on business and career topics. But I found monetizing that to be difficult. I wanted to do business strategy consulting and paid $1,000 for a three-month insert in a coupon mailing that did nothing and found trying to get that type of consulting off the ground part time around my day job wasn’t working.

how-i-make-30k-year-on-the-side-writing-resumes

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Mike McRitchie, on starting Critical Path Action ($2,500/month) full story ➜

14. Start a financial advisor business ($240K/year)

Denzel Rodriguez from Pompano Beach, Florida, USA started Builder To Contributor LLC over 2 years ago, a financial advisor business.

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

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

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Denzel Rodriguez, on starting Builder To Contributor LLC ($20,000/month) full story ➜

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

Kyle Nelson from Chico, California, USA started Results Imagery about 4 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.

how-we-started-a-45k-month-product-photography-and-video-company

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

16. Start a dog training business ($60K/year)

Donald Hutcherson from Manhattan Community Board 1, New York, USA started Fraternity K9 almost 2 years ago, a dog training business.

  • Revenue: $5,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Manhattan Community Board 1, New York, USA

I started as a young kid who always loved dogs but never knew how to take care of them. I had several dogs in my life. A Lab/terrier mix, a pit bull, and several other mix breeds. I would always watch Cesar Milan and think “I could do that”. It wasn’t until I had a dog that would bite your hand when you took its food bowl that I realized it was a lot harder than I thought. I decided I was going to learn this dog training.

Everybody always says do what you love, but what if that thing you love makes no money?

I spent hours studying and then I got wrapped up in it. I would learn something new and become obsessed with dog training even more. I ended up learning from different teachers and knew I wanted to be the best.

how-i-started-a-5k-month-dog-training-business

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Donald Hutcherson, on starting Fraternity K9 ($5,000/month) full story ➜

17. Start an event planning business ($420K/year)

Akshay Patel from Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA started Simply Decor and Events ago, a event planning business.

  • Revenue: $35,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 2
  • Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

I always had an eye for decor whether it was with my room, home, or anything. I was born and raised in Albuquerque, NM, and went to college at the University of New Mexico where I got my bachelor’s in Biology and a minor in Psychology. All along with my schooling, I was following the path to becoming a dentist which I thought was my passion and what I enjoyed. When I graduated high school I wanted to throw myself a big party. So my dad gave me a budget of $3,000 which had to include the venue, DJ, catering, bar, and decor.

I learned that when advertising you have to try different and unique ideas. From this you will learn what will work for your specific clientele, this process is a trial and error.

Of course, you know when you want a real fancy party the venue usually takes most of the budget, as it did. I was left with $200 for decor. I then began talking to decor companies and found that everything I wanted was not going to be possible with that amount. I thought out of the box and began making all my own decor.

how-i-started-a-35k-month-event-decor-business

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Akshay Patel, on starting Simply Decor and Events ($35,000/month) full story ➜

18. Start a blogging business ($60K/year)

Chhavi Agarwal from New Delhi, Delhi, India started Mrs Daaku Studio almost 3 years ago, a blogging business.

  • Revenue: $5,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 3
  • Location: New Delhi, Delhi, India

I am a licensed attorney in India and right after my master’s in law, I started working with a leading company as a lawyer. I worked there for about two years before I quit my job to become more location independent.

Choose a niche in whatever you start. It is critical for streamlining your efforts and make money.

My job paid me well but I worked 12 hours a day, I was exhausted by the end of each day, spent my weekends sleeping and I almost quit the things I liked to do - for example, sketching, yoga, traveling, etc.

how-this-couple-makes-5k-month-generating-content-about-ways-to-make-money-online

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Chhavi Agarwal, on starting Mrs Daaku Studio ($5,000/month) full story ➜

19. Start a life coaching business ($120K/year)

Sinem Günel from Vienna, Austria started Personal Growth Base over 1 year ago, a life coaching business.

  • Revenue: $10,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Vienna, Austria

One and a half years after starting my studies in business administration I came into touch with entrepreneurship and I immediately knew that I wanted to dig deeper into how to build your own business and be your own boss.

So I started reading books, especially biographies, of successful entrepreneurs.

Pretty soon I found out there’s one major component all of them have in common: They all talk about their personal growth and how they had to improve themselves so that their businesses could grow.

This immediately triggered me and I started digging deeper into the topic of personal growth.

how-i-started-a-10k-month-personal-growth-advice-business

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Sinem Günel, on starting Personal Growth Base ($10,000/month) full story ➜

20. Start a language learning app ($224K/year)

Alex Chernikov from Berlin, Germany started Gikken ago, a language learning app.

  • Revenue: $18,635/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Berlin, Germany

Gikken’s foundation was laid in 2011 or so. I don’t remember the exact year but I was in high school. I was amidst my most active English learning years. I was trying to read as many articles, blogs, essays, etc in English as possible. At some point, an idea that it’d be great to double click on words to get them translated right there struck me. It was the early days of Google Chrome that wasn’t the most popular browser yet. And, I think it already could translate pages entirely, but it was totally useless for me because when I can understand 80% of the text, why would I translate it entirely? It’s also terrible for mastering a language. Guessing the meanings of words from the context works better for memorizing new vocabulary. The more effort your brain takes, the stronger neural connections are.

So, physiology aside, I wanted a fast way to translate single words I didn’t understand or double-check sentences. The previous flow involved copying it, switching to a new tab with Google Translate opened there, translating it, and then switching back. Terribly inefficient and annoying when you have to do it 10 times per article, 100 times per day.

By the time I was obsessed with this idea, I could already easily implement anything I wanted on the web. I started coding at 13, so I had already at least 2 or so years of experience with copycatting news portals, trying to build my social network (who didn’t!), and reinventing a few popular JavaScript libraries. It was the early days of not only Google Chrome but also Chrome Web Store—the extension store. I made an extension that I needed for my own needs, called Instant Translate, and uploaded it to the Chrome Web Store. Uncunningly, the timing was perfect for organic growth through the store as Instant Translate happened to be one of the first extensions there. The 15-year-old me knew something only about building apps but absolutely nothing about turning them into a business. Thus, I relied on "organic growth". In other words, routinely checking analytics and praying that it grew. I did nothing more than that for the first few years.

how-we-started-a-18k-month-app-and-browser-extensions-development-business

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Alex Chernikov, on starting Gikken ($18,635/month) full story ➜

21. Start a meal planner app ($0/year)

Dianne L Chen from Irvine, California, USA started Arise Performance Labs, Inc over 2 years ago, a meal planner app.

  • Revenue: $0/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Irvine, California, USA

At 24, I climbed up flight stairs - and was suddenly out of breath. I realized I was at my heaviest weight, sitting most of the time, and eating out every other day. Determined to change, I jumped right into keto and cardio classes. Spoiler alert - it didn’t work. Next, I exercised like crazy while under-eating at the ill advice of my trainer. Burnt out, I decided to track calories & macros. For 18 months, I spent hours calculating and logging my food. Although I had lost 30 lbs, I could NOT keep up the lifestyle anymore.

I wanted a way to eat healthily and get results without the daily food obsession, logging, and time spent calculating recipes to fit the numbers.

That’s when I thought - what if there was an app that answered “what, when, and how much to eat”? Especially for workout days. One that took care of macro-planning, carb-cycling, and nutrient-timing for my body type & goal. An app that helped me practice mindful eating.

on-launching-a-meal-planner-app-and-pivoting-from-b2b-to-b2c

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Dianne L Chen, on starting Arise Performance Labs, Inc ($0/month) full story ➜

22. Start a hair salon ($3.6M/year)

Chelle Neff from Austin, Texas, USA started Urban Betty over 16 years ago, a hair salon.

  • Revenue: $300,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 58
  • Location: Austin, Texas, USA

I was led to this career path as a business owner from my sheer motivation to do better in my life than what I had grown up with. My parents had me when they were teenagers and we lived meagerly while I was young.

I knew that if I wanted to go to college, I would need to find a way to pay for it myself along with my cost of living. I naturally had a knack for doing hair and art, so when I was 16, I had the chance to enroll in cosmetology school while in high school, and by 18, I was fully licensed. This was much more affordable for me than the traditional college route, so that’s what led me to pursue it.

When I received my license in 1995, I started working behind the chair at Supercuts. I slowly worked my way up the ladder to high-end salons. Five years later, I got a small suite at the Gallery of Salons and was an independent contractor. That was my initial stepping stone to running my own business.

how-i-went-from-hairstylist-to-running-my-own-3-3m-salon-business

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Chelle Neff, on starting Urban Betty ($300,000/month) full story ➜

23. Start an affiliate marketing business ($6M/year)

Jan Kovac from Bratislava started Casino Guru about 6 years ago, a affiliate marketing business.

  • Revenue: $500,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 54
  • Location: Bratislava

Our product is a website. The process of designing and developing it was very similar to designing and developing any website or an information system. As both I and the other main founder were software developers, this part was pretty straightforward for us. However, we still did some things pretty right and some things pretty wrong.

The funny part about any SEO-based business is that you can’t really make decent planning. Do you plan to improve some parts of your website and grow? Well, good luck with that, almighty G can have completely different plans for you.

What we made right was a decision to create a system that models all the relations and information about online casinos as structured data. As an example: almost every online casino has a list of countries from which it doesn’t allow residents to play. To capture this information we have created a database table casino_restricted_country and fill it with 1 record for every casino and every country that is on its restricted list.

how-i-started-a-500k-month-website-about-online-casinos

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Jan Kovac, on starting Casino Guru ($500,000/month) full story ➜

24. Start a tutoring business ($1.2M/year)

Adam Shlomi from Miami, FL, USA started SoFlo SAT Tutoring over 2 years ago, a tutoring business.

  • Revenue: $100,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 2
  • Location: Miami, FL, USA

I come from an entrepreneurial family. My father works for himself and my maternal grandfather started a clothing factory. Working for myself has always been encouraged by my family, but before I could get started, I needed to learn a skill. At Georgetown, I study international politics and business. Most students with these backgrounds go on to work at prestigious firms like J.P. Morgan. I really didn’t know what kind of business I could start, and frankly, planned to work as a (boring) data analyst after graduation.

If you have an idea but don’t have the knowledge to execute, use that idea as motivation and go learn how to turn your vision into reality.

Tutoring first came to mind because I had spent significant time working for other tutoring companies and cutting my teeth/learning how the industry works during my teen years. I first started tutoring when I was 15. I was hired by College Experts, a local test prep center in Davie, Florida. My first student was three years older than me, and I spent our first session teaching him how to use his calculator rather than trying to explain any complicated formulas. Being a student myself, I was able to bring a student’s perspective to tutoring. I worked for College Experts until my senior year of high school when I began tutoring on my own and finding clients on Craigslist.

how-i-started-a-15k-month-sat-tutoring-business-while-in-college

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Adam Shlomi, on starting SoFlo SAT Tutoring ($100,000/month) full story ➜

25. Start a virtual assistant business ($12K/year)

Julmar Grace Locsin from Davao City, Davao del Sur, Philippines started FVA Business Consultancy ago, a virtual assistant business.

  • Revenue: $1,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 14
  • Location: Davao City, Davao del Sur, Philippines

Ten years ago, my husband and I were working in an office set-up. Due to a mix of struggles experienced, my husband and I decided to quit our job and transition into freelancing. The transition phase was difficult since we didn't have the facilities needed like a computer and internet connection. We worked in an internet cafe for the first month of our freelancing career until we bought our personal computer and had our internet connection.

We had experience downtime in our new career at first, but we grow and learn from our mistakes as we go along. Freelancing changed the quality of our lives, our family, and so with our marriage. We embrace these benefits to realize that if mothers can work at home, they can earn while taking care of their family.

Another thing is the overseas workers. They have been working far from their family to make a living. Those who are exhausted and feel unproductive because of many circumstances like long hours of commute eat a lot of their time, endangering their work-life balance. These are a few of our realizations why we come up with putting Filipino Virtual Assistance. Because we know how difficult it is to work far from our family, we want to empower Filipino families, one freelancer at a time. We want to provide our graduates an avenue to earn dollars at their homes' comfort, without the hassle of traffic, toxicity of the environment, and an excellent opportunity for those who never got the chance to go to College.

on-starting-a-business-training-virtual-assistants

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Julmar Grace Locsin, on starting FVA Business Consultancy ($1,000/month) full story ➜

26. Start an electronics repair business ($0/year)

Allen Chiang from Connecticut, USA started Retro Radio Farm over 7 years ago, a electronics repair business.

  • Revenue: $0/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 2
  • Location: Connecticut, USA

One day back in 2012, I happened to go to a local flea market. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, and I'm not a flea market or garage sale regular.

I noticed these two old radios for $15 each. I had not been interested in old radios before, and I was not a collector or a retro guy. These particular radios were from 1950s, bright and colorful, oozing with retro pride, but in sad, neglected shape.

As far as my professional background, I have an electrical engineering degree but never worked on radios. My understanding of these things was only basic at best. I knew analog audio sounded better than digital from my guitar days.

finding-and-repairing-retro-radios-turned-into-a-successful-side-hustle

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Allen Chiang, on starting Retro Radio Farm ($0/month) full story ➜

27. Become a social media consultant ($90K/year)

Amanda Shepherd from Reno, NV, USA started Social Media Manager Society 10 months ago, a social media consultant.

  • Revenue: $7,500/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Reno, NV, USA

I spent the last decade of my career as a social media manager, in the agency, in-house, and freelance settings. I really created a name for myself in my niche and people were always coming to me for social media advice. I absolutely LOVED teaching people and for a long time, wondering how I could combine my passions for teaching and social media into one career.

Fast forward to fall 2019 - I was at a crossroads. The agency I was working for was moving in a different direction and I was literally moving back home. I had a decision to make - stay at the agency under different circumstances, find a new job in my new home, or finally take the plunge and start my own business.

I chose the latter and it was the best decision I ever made! I was immediately able to gain clients using internal systems I created and literally built my own business from the ground up. In one year, I made almost $100,000 and put all my systems inside the Social Media Manager Society, so other aspiring social media managers could take everything I learned and implement it themselves!

how-i-started-a-7-5k-month-social-media-consulting-and-training-business

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Amanda Shepherd, on starting Social Media Manager Society ($7,500/month) full story ➜

28. Start a grocery delivery service

Examples of a successful grocery delivery service:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a grocery delivery service:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a grocery delivery service ➜

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29. Start a chatbot development business

Examples of a successful chatbot development business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a chatbot development business ➜

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30. Start an interior designing business ($1.32M/year)

Examples of a successful interior designing business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an interior designing business ➜

And for some real world inspiration, give Annemarie diSalvo's story on creating diSalvo Interiors a read:

Well, to make a long story short, my mother and I started this company together in 1996. I was working as a staff interior designer at a private firm in NYC, and my mother, Rosemarie was the manager of the Estate and Trust department at a large Law Firm. We both HATED our jobs and dreamed of doing our 'own thing'. We had no idea what that looked like, and so we turned to our passion..antiques and design.

That passion has morphed into a boutique design firm that boasts over 1M in annual revenue and has completed hundreds of trophy projects.

how-we-mother-and-daughter-started-a-1m-year-boutique-design-firm

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Annemarie diSalvo, on starting diSalvo Interiors ($110,000/month) full story ➜

31. Start a lawn care service

Examples of a successful lawn care service:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a lawn care service:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a lawn care service ➜

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32. Start an ebay reseller business

Examples of a successful ebay reseller business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an ebay reseller business ➜

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33. Start a tax consulting business

Examples of a successful tax consulting business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a tax consulting business ➜

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34. Become a freelance editor

Examples of a successful freelance editor:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a freelance editor ➜

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35. Start a marketing and sales business

Examples of a successful marketing and sales business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a marketing and sales business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a marketing and sales business ➜

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36. Start a vlog

Examples of a successful vlog:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a vlog ➜

article

37. Start a graphic designing business

Examples of a successful graphic designing business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a graphic designing business ➜

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38. Start a photo editing business

Examples of a successful photo editing business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a photo editing business ➜

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39. Start a currency trading business

Examples of a successful currency trading business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a currency trading business ➜

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40. Start a paid online surveys business

Examples of a successful paid online surveys business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a paid online surveys business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a paid online surveys business ➜

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41. Start a direct sales representative business

Examples of a successful direct sales representative business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a direct sales representative business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a direct sales representative business ➜

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42. Become a computer training provider

Examples of a successful computer training provider:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a computer training provider:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a computer training provider ➜

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43. Become a social media customer support representative

Examples of a successful social media customer support representative:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a social media customer support representative:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a social media customer support representative ➜

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44. Start a laundry business

Examples of a successful laundry business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a laundry business ➜

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45. Become a property manager

Examples of a successful property manager:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a property manager ➜

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46. Start a bicycle repair service business

Examples of a successful bicycle repair service business:

Learn more about starting a bicycle repair service business ➜

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47. Start a childproof services business

Examples of a successful childproof services business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a childproof services business ➜

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48. Start a daycare

Examples of a successful daycare:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a daycare ➜

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49. Start a babysitting business

Examples of a successful babysitting business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a babysitting business ➜

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50. Start a personal concierge business

Examples of a successful personal concierge business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a personal concierge business ➜

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51. Start an uber driver business

Examples of a successful uber driver business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an uber driver business ➜

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52. Start a tour guide business

Examples of a successful tour guide business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a tour guide business ➜

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53. Start a caregiving business

Examples of a successful caregiving business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a caregiving business ➜

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54. Start a courier service business

Examples of a successful courier service business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a courier service business ➜

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55. Start a packing business

Examples of a successful packing business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a packing business ➜

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56. Start a makeup artist business

Examples of a successful makeup artist business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a makeup artist business ➜

article

57. Become a massage therapist

Examples of a successful massage therapist:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a massage therapist ➜

article

58. Start a digital media conversion business

Examples of a successful digital media conversion business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a digital media conversion business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a digital media conversion business ➜

article

59. Start a telecommunications business

Examples of a successful telecommunications business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a telecommunications business ➜

article

60. Start a home inspections business

Examples of a successful home inspections business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a home inspections business ➜

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61. Start a travel planning business

Examples of a successful travel planning business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a travel planning business ➜

article

62. Become a personal chef

Examples of a successful personal chef:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a personal chef ➜

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63. Start an online custom tailoring business

Examples of a successful online custom tailoring business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a online custom tailoring business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an online custom tailoring business ➜

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64. Start a referral service business

Examples of a successful referral service business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a referral service business ➜

article

65. Start a dog grooming business

Examples of a successful dog grooming business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a dog grooming business ➜

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66. Start a sustainability consulting business

Examples of a successful sustainability consulting business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a sustainability consulting business ➜

article

67. Start a business plan writing business

Examples of a successful business plan writing business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a business plan writing business ➜

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68. Start an online secretarial service business

Examples of a successful online secretarial service business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a online secretarial service business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an online secretarial service business ➜

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69. Start an informational products production business

Examples of a successful informational products production business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a informational products production business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an informational products production business ➜

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70. Start an internet service provider business

Examples of a successful internet service provider business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a internet service provider business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an internet service provider business ➜

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71. Start a web flipping business

Examples of a successful web flipping business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a web flipping business ➜

article

72. Become a product tester

Examples of a successful product tester:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a product tester ➜

article

73. Start a gadget accessory store business

Examples of a successful gadget accessory store business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a gadget accessory store business ➜

article

74. Start a google display ads consulting business

Examples of a successful google display ads consulting business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a google display ads consulting business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a google display ads consulting business ➜

article

75. Start an art collectible business

Examples of a successful art collectible business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an art collectible business ➜

article

76. Start a bookkeeping business

Examples of a successful bookkeeping business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a bookkeeping business ➜

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77. Start a street food vendor business

Examples of a successful street food vendor business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a street food vendor business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a street food vendor business ➜

article

78. Become a mobile DJ

Examples of a successful mobile DJ:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a mobile DJ ➜

article

79. Start a music classes business

Examples of a successful music classes business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a music classes business ➜

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80. Start an online news correspondent business

Examples of a successful online news correspondent business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a online news correspondent business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an online news correspondent business ➜

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81. Start a food processing business

Examples of a successful food processing business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a food processing business ➜

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82. Start a bakery

Examples of a successful bakery:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a bakery ➜

article

83. Start an agriculture farming business

Examples of a successful agriculture farming business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an agriculture farming business ➜

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84. Start an intellectual property service business

Examples of a successful intellectual property service business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a intellectual property service business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an intellectual property service business ➜

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85. Start an ICT consulting business

Examples of a successful ICT consulting business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an ICT consulting business ➜

article

86. Start a fruit juice parlour business

Examples of a successful fruit juice parlour business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a fruit juice parlour business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a fruit juice parlour business ➜

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87. Start a shoe making business

Examples of a successful shoe making business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a shoe making business ➜

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88. Start a restaurant

Examples of a successful restaurant:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a restaurant ➜

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89. Start a consignment clothing store business

Examples of a successful consignment clothing store business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a consignment clothing store business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a consignment clothing store business ➜

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90. Start a business support services

Examples of a successful business support services:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a business support services ➜

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91. Start a bed and breakfast business

Examples of a successful bed and breakfast business:

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

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a bed and breakfast business ➜

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Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

Want to start your own business?

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