The 40 Best Home-Based Businesses To Start In Wisconsin [2021]

The 40 Best Home-Based Businesses To Start In Wisconsin [2021]

Interested in starting a business in Wisconsin in 2021?

We put together 40 of the best businesses you can start in Wisconsin today.

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

Here's the full list:

1. Start a removable wallpaper and prints

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Start an ecommerce retailing business

Dr. Ronak Mehta from Madison, WI, USA started Nerdbugs over 2013 years ago, an ecommerce retailing business.

  • Location: Madison, WI, USA
  • Starting Costs: $5,000
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

I think during my time in medical school I had an itch to tap more into my creative side. I think it was an outlet that helped me to cope with the stressors in life at the time. During my medical school/residency training, life sometimes felt that work was all-encompassing and although it was incredibly rewarding, it was also challenging to maintain some sort of normalcy outside of studying and the long work hours at the hospital and clinic. Throughout my training when I would come home, I would often try to find different creative outlets to explore. It was at this time, I had decided to write a Dr. Seuss type children's book about the human body. I thought it would be a neat way to teach kids (and adults) about the human body. It was my ultimate hope that I would be able to take the organ characters from the book and turn them into adorable organ plushies that could help promote health education surrounding disease and illness as well as prevention. I had also thought it would be a fun and quirky get well gift for a loved one or a medical professional.

Get clear and have a vision. You don't need to figure out how you're going to do it, but knowing what you want to do and trusting that the "how" will figure itself out once you start to take one step at a time.

I was super excited and jazzed about this idea, however, medical school and residency consumed much of my time so the idea was shelved for a while. In reality, I think outside of my lack of time, I often thought, “well this is a great idea, but I have no idea how I would start this, or how I could even get this launched.” I felt that even though it sounded like a great idea, in theory, I didn’t know the first thing about starting or running my own business. It all felt quite overwhelming and thus, the idea stayed with me for almost another 10 years before I decided to give it a shot.

on-creating-a-plush-toy-brand-from-10k-in-savings

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Dr. Ronak Mehta, on starting Nerdbugs (/month) full story ➜

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Start a niche investment platform ($4.2M/year)

Justin Cooke from North York, Ontario, Canada started Empire Flippers almost 9 years ago, a niche investment platform.

  • Location: North York, Ontario, Canada
  • Revenue: $349,983/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 53

My name is Gregory Elfrink and I’m the director of marketing with Empire Flippers. We’re a three-time winner of the INC 5,000 award for being one of the fastest growing companies in America and we help people buy and sell online businesses.

In the last few years, we have become the thought leader and one of the largest M&A advisory businesses for digital assets in the sub $10 million range. Though, I am pretty certain we will soon be selling businesses above that $10 million mark as well.

We have brokered over $50 million worth of deals, and since we’re a big believer in transparency we also created a scoreboard that details most of our stats - from the hundreds of thousands of website visitors we get to our pool of potential buyers that grow by the hundreds every month.

empire-flippers-20m-year-helping-people-buy-and-sell-websites

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Justin Cooke, on starting Empire Flippers ($349,983/month) full story ➜

7. Start a luggage storage business ($780K/year)

Eugene Veeden from Toronto, Ontario, Canada started BagsAway Luggage Storage over 3 years ago, a luggage storage business.

  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Revenue: $65,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 2

BagsAway Luggage Storage is a marketplace that connects travelers and city locals with convenient, secure, on-demand bag storage locations across key cities. Utilizing the principles of the sharing economy we partner with local shops and businesses that monetize existing free-space by offering hourly/daily storage on location. We keep about 60% of all revenues while the storage partners keep the rest. With BagsAway locations in place, travelers and locals can now win precious hours back by conveniently dropping their bags at a location of their choice around the city, freeing their hands and their time to explore, experience, and sightsee without their bags in the way. Our overarching vision is to change people's relationship with things that weigh them down during travel and on the go.

We have stored over 150,000 bags for travelers thus far and have expanded to over 50+ cities and going strong! Our plan this year is to expand worldwide, with new funding and new members joining our company.

how-we-started-a-65k-month-world-wide-luggage-storage-service

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Eugene Veeden, on starting BagsAway Luggage Storage ($65,000/month) full story ➜

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. Start an online food business ($120K/year)

Ethan Holmes from Cleveland, Ohio, USA started Holmes Mouthwatering Applesauce over 6 years ago, an online food business.

  • Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
  • Revenue: $10,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 3

My name is Ethan Holmes. I’m from Shaker Heights, Ohio and I am the 25-year-old founder and CEO of Holmes Mouthwatering Applesauce.

Holmes is an all natural applesauce product I created at the age of 15 and have since grown to hundreds of grocery stores throughout the Midwest.

how-an-entrepreneur-from-ohio-launched-his-own-applesauce-company

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Ethan Holmes, on starting Holmes Mouthwatering Applesauce ($10,000/month) full story ➜

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12. Start a men's grooming company ($1.2M/year)

Doug Geiger from Mount Clemens, Michigan, USA started CanYouHandlebar over 8 years ago, a men's grooming company.

  • Location: Mount Clemens, Michigan, USA
  • Revenue: $100,000/ month
  • Starting Costs: $400
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 10

I’m Doug Geiger, founder of Can You Handlebar, a men’s grooming product company. We’re one of those low-key-high-quality brands.

We are best known for beard oils and balms, moustache wax and inventing the first application brush for beard products, the Can You Handlebar Beard Oil Brush®. We are carefully and consistently extending our product line and distribution.

In our first three years our production grew from a kitchen countertop with a crockpot I stole from my wife to “making a million bucks” and a 10,000 square foot building with a whole fleet of crockpots. Meanwhile, our retail presence -- which began on the counter of a gracious proprietor of the corner gas station -- has grown to our own network of barbers and salons across the US, international distribution and most visibly, the shelves of every Art of Shaving.

how-i-turned-a-moustache-wax-recipe-into-a-million-dollar-business

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Doug Geiger, on starting CanYouHandlebar ($100,000/month) full story ➜

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

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

  • Location: Elora, Ontario, Canada
  • Revenue: $53,000/ month
  • Starting Costs: $100,000
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 0

My name is Jesse Hambly, I’m 1 of 3 brothers working at Pressa Inc. Luke and Mason are full-time founders as well. We have a diverse background, Luke manages engineering and manufacturing duties. Mason is in charge of media, content creation and strategy, and I (Jesse) oversee marketing, operations, and customer relations. We’ve been in business since 2015 where we’ve been selling our flagship product, Pressa Bottle. Pressa Bottle is a unique water bottle that allows the user to juice and press real fruit into any beverage.

Our company operates at just over $50k per month and we do this primarily through our .com and Amazon. We do sell in a few retailers which are Saks Fifth Avenue, Dillards and Uncommon Goods. The product lends itself well to the healthy/active crowd but we also sell a lot of units for flavored cocktails.

how-we-created-a-53k-month-innovative-water-bottle

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

14. Start a franchise development business ($120K/year)

Andrew Hoffman from Brampton, Ontario, Canada started My Franchise Partners over 6 years ago, a franchise development business.

  • Location: Brampton, Ontario, Canada
  • Revenue: $10,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 2

Hello, my name is Andrew Hoffman. I am the founder of My Franchise Partners.

My Franchise Partners is a $15-20K/month consulting agency focused on helping people understand the franchise industry before they take the plunge and invest in a franchise.

I help people find the best franchise for them through in-depth research, analysis, and due diligence. The best choice is always an informed choice.

how-i-started-a-10k-month-franchise-development-business

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Andrew Hoffman, on starting My Franchise Partners ($10,000/month) full story ➜

15. Start a meal prep delivery business ($1.56M/year)

Andrei Calinescu from Toronto, Ontario, Canada started One Life Meals over 8 years ago, a meal prep delivery business.

  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Revenue: $130,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 29

Hi, I’m Andrei Calinescu and I am the Founder and CEO of One Life Meals.

One Life Meals is a healthy meal delivery service located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. We handle the complete process from ingredient sourcing, cooking and delivery. We also work with our clients on a one-on-one basis to understand their requirements and help them select the right plan.

We cook and deliver twice per week to keep the meals fresh. The plan is for 6 days per week, with Sunday as a day off or a “cheat day”.

starting-a-1-5m-healthy-meals-delivery-business

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Andrei Calinescu, on starting One Life Meals ($130,000/month) full story ➜

16. Start a cocktail ingredient business ($540K/year)

Christopher Thomas from Nashville, Tennessee, USA started Eli Mason over 6 years ago, a cocktail ingredient business.

  • Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA
  • Revenue: $45,000/ month
  • Starting Costs: $10,000
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

My name is Christopher Thomas. I am the managing partner and co-owner of a cocktail mixer brand called Eli Mason. We make premium cocktail mixers and syrups using real ingredients like cane sugar and premium bitters in Nashville, Tennessee.

Our flagship product is The Old Fashioned Cocktail Mixer. Just mix it with your favorite whiskey and you have a delicious Old Fashioned in less than 30 seconds. We have two main customers. Our first customer is someone who enjoys a delicious cocktail, but they don’t want the hassle of figuring out the right ratios of sugar to bitters, should they muddle fruit or not, we make it super easy for them to make a consistent and delicious Old Fashioned in less than 30 seconds. Our second customer is the cocktail enthusiast who loves making cocktails from scratch in their home, but sometimes they just want EASY. We give them that EASY option for a solid drink made with real ingredients.

how-we-grew-revenue-to-600k-and-launched-a-new-product-this-year

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Christopher Thomas, on starting Eli Mason ($45,000/month) full story ➜

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20. Start a seo agency ($336K/year)

Russell Michelson from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA started Paper Box SEO over 4 years ago, a SEO agency.

  • Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Revenue: $28,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 2

My name is Russell Michelson and I’m the founder of Paper Box SEO. We’re a boutique SEO agency based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Unlike most SEO agencies, we focus 100% of our efforts on SEO and don’t work in other types of online marketing like PPC or social media.

Most of our clients are small to medium-sized businesses who want to grow their organic traffic and get more customers. We almost exclusively work long term contracts for a fixed monthly fee. Our packages are all-inclusive, meaning they include on-page optimization, content creation, link building, and monthly reporting. At the moment, we’re doing $20k/month in revenue and our team consists of me, a full-time employee, and a part-time contractor who is our dedicated writer. We also have an accountant and web developer who we use on an as-needed basis.

how-i-started-a-28k-month-boutique-seo-company

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Russell Michelson, on starting Paper Box SEO ($28,000/month) full story ➜

21. Start a hvac equipment shop ($4.5M/year)

Mike Luongo from Ohio, USA started Total Home Supply over 11 years ago, a HVAC equipment shop.

  • Location: Ohio, USA
  • Revenue: $375,000/ month
  • Founders: 5
  • Employees: 5

My name is Mike Luongo and I am the Managing Member of Total Home Supply in Fairfield, NJ. Total Home Supply was founded in 2010 by a group of disgruntled people working for other Internet companies. We were not happy with the direction of these companies so we got together under a common concept of creating a company that would treat our customers the way we would like to be treated.

Since we sell heating and cooling products that can be purchased elsewhere, we knew we needed to find a compelling reason for customers to choose us. We also knew that just selling cheap was not the answer so we became the leader in customer service, both before and after the sale.

The above is why we have double-digit growth while our competitors struggle to maintain the volume from previous years.

how-5-founders-left-their-jobs-to-start-a-4-5m-heating-cooling-business

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Mike Luongo, on starting Total Home Supply ($375,000/month) full story ➜

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

25. Start a digital magazine ($600K/year)

Drew Williams from Toronto, Ontario, Canada started SWAGGER Magazine about 14 years ago, a digital magazine.

  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Revenue: $50,000/ month
  • Starting Costs: $500
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 25

My name is Drew Williams and I run and operate a digital lifestyle magazine for men called SWAGGER Magazine. SWAGGER Magazine is one of the first products created under our parent company, Swagger Publications Inc.

Our product is simple. It is targeted to the affluent males that aspire to have great things in life, and are on the path to building themselves to be powerful and successful people in all aspects of life - no matter what their interests are. We focus on Lifestyle, Fashion, Gear, Food, Dating, and Business and Careers.

The mission statement for Swagger is to take the average man from nothing to something, by featuring successful individuals in every domain and outlining what steps they took to get there and how anyone else can follow in their footsteps.

swagger-starting-a-digital-men-s-magazine

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Drew Williams, on starting SWAGGER Magazine ($50,000/month) full story ➜

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

27. Start a baby photography business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

28. Start a financial advisor business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alanna Banks from Toronto, Ontario, Canada started Fridays Off Fabric Shop about 8 years ago, an online fabric store.

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

Hi - my name is Alanna Banks and I’m the owner of Fridays Off Fabric Shop. Fridays Off is an online fabric store based in Toronto, Canada that supplies fabric enthusiasts, quilters and makers with beautifully curated modern fabrics.

In addition to that, we operate a monthly fabric subscription club where subscribers receive one-of-a-kind bundles of fabric every month.

bootstrapping-an-online-fabric-shop-and-growing-to-20k-mo

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

34. Start a healthy snack food business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

36. Start a stuffed animals business ($6M/year)

Tyler Macke from Jackson, MO, USA started SendAFriend almost 3 years ago, a stuffed animals business.

  • Location: Jackson, MO, USA
  • Revenue: $500,000/ month
  • Starting Costs: $1,000
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 20

Hello, everyone! My name is Tyler Macke and I’m the 21-year-old founder of SendAFriend, an e-commerce brand that sells stuffed animal care packages.

Our core product is the stuffed animals themselves, which we offer alongside a customizable greeting card and a few small accessory add-ons. The fluffy friend gets swaddled up in blue tissue paper and packaged in our bright blue shipping box with the ‘Someone Loves You’ motif before being sent out the door.

how-i-started-a-500k-month-stuffed-animal-care-packages-ecommerce-brand

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Tyler Macke, on starting SendAFriend ($500,000/month) full story ➜

37. Start a board game ($360K/year)

Travis Hancock from Columbus, Ohio, USA started Facade Games about 6 years ago, a board game.

  • Location: Columbus, Ohio, USA
  • Revenue: $30,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 2

My name is Travis Hancock and I’m the founder of Facade Games. We have published 3 board games, each disguised in book boxes.

Each of the games focuses on a city and year from history, and has some kind of lying/backstabbing involved in the gameplay. We’re currently working on game number 4 for our current series of games, as well as a new party game line.

Our games have raised over $1 million on Kickstarter, and we’ve sold about 80,000 copies of our games around the world. I work full time from home with my wife Holly. We love inventing and publishing games!

how-i-built-a-successful-business-out-of-my-passion-for-board-games

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Travis Hancock, on starting Facade Games ($30,000/month) full story ➜

38. Start a dog treat business ($180K/year)

Lucas Walker from Toronto, Ontario, Canada started Treats Happen about 6 years ago, a dog treat business.

  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Revenue: $15,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0

We’re Lucas Walker and Riley Wallbank, and we are from Toronto. We make all natural dog treats with our company Treats Happen.

Our flagship product is our beef lung dog treats. Dogs go crazy for it and their parents love that it’s healthy and made without fillers or additives. We’re making about $15K per month right now but expect that to consistently double by the end of the year as we launch our new branding and increase distribution.

One of our biggest learnings is that we aren’t just an e-commerce company, we’re a brand. Many people who want to start a business look to be direct to consumer through their own website. We look to be available on as many profitable channels as possible.

how-this-couple-started-a-healthy-dog-treat-business

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Lucas Walker, on starting Treats Happen ($15,000/month) full story ➜

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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