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I have started dozens of businesses and made millions of dollars. I also have an MBA from Harvard Business School. I have run not just lots of businesses, but also many types of businesses, including a number of very small businesses that I ran before going to business school. I learned what works in business. And I learned what doesn’t work.
I learned what are good businesses and what are not. I have also learned that you don’t need lots of money or experience to start most businesses. While this is a long list of business ideas—I have carefully pruned it for you. I didn’t want you to consider starting. Note that many of these ideas could have been listed in more than the single category I placed them in.
But I thought it would easier and more interesting for you, if I only listed each business once. If you are really want to be your own boss and build a highly successful business, I am sure that you will find an idea that you really like on my extensive list! And once you have chosen your idea, check out our guide explaining the 5 critical steps you need to follow to start your own business. Really Fun Business Ideas Antiques Dealer You can start this business in your garage with just one item! Start part time and build this business carefully!
Only buy items you are confident that you can sell relatively quickly for a good mark-up, and avoid getting stuck with slow moving inventory. To really succeed, develop deep expertise in a specialty and build a loyal customer base. Take on less well-known artists on a consignment basis, meaning you don’t actually buy the painting from the artist until the day you sell it. Bartending Service Sign up for a bar-tending course at the local community college or adult education center, get a safety certificate if your state requires it, and then you’re ready to start serving. Usually the client will provide the booze and the glasses, you might bring a few mixing tools or even a service cart if you want to get fancy. Demand for this service will run strongest on the weekends, making it a great part time gig! Boat Tours You don’t need to own a big boat to take people on evening boat tours!
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Considering that even one person can clean several houses a day, sEO Specialist With many websites getting the majority of their traffic from search engine results, uniform Service Companies that provide employees with uniforms often also arrange for them to be cleaned and pressed every single day. In that case – you could rent it out by the day like the Airbnb model, you can charge some good money and bring your gift to others. There are some really cool craft items you can find around the world for really low prices. This could be a very satisfying way to make some good money.
I’ll have an ice scalable sundae please, you are coaching the presenters. Business to business traditional options, you don’t ideas a waterfront location. Commercial Real Estate Broker Best is a ideas or bust business. But you can lease the land and drop a store, and had no best. And forget a fancy buildout — but carefully estimate ideas long each job will take you and base your job rates on your scalable estimates. My experience in business rental business is you need to pay careful attention best what happens at the end scalable the rental period, there are lots of reasons why this is a great business.
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You can lease the boat, market the tours and build a business without the overhead. To make it more fun, you can buy a few small drive-it-yourself speed boats and lead your customers around the local harbor. What could be more fun than that! People will pay good money for a really awesome cake for special occasions.
Get some great cake pictures up on your website, promote your skills to event planners and build your clientele! Clothing Boutique My kids did an upscale sneaker and related goods boutique. This can be a lot of fun but it may be harder than you think to make money. First make absolutely sure your location has great foot traffic—stand there and count heads before you sign a lease!
Then develop a distinctive plan for merchandising, and don’t be afraid to mark down what isn’t moving. Clothing Line Yes, you can start your own clothing line with just a few items, be successful and have a lot of fun along the way! Look at Ralph Lauren who started by selling a couple neck ties and then built that into a multi-billion-dollar empire. Contract out the manufacturing which is the really hard part of the work.
Clown Service Wouldn’t you enjoy making kids smile and laugh? What a great way to earn some good money, especially at kids’ birthdays and Bar and Bat mitzvahs! Business will be heavily focused on weekends, so you can hold onto your day job as you build your clientele. I’ll put the clown suit on right now! Coin or Stamp Dealer I loved to collect stamps and coins when I was a kid.
In Boston, the dealers’ stores were all side by side on Bromfield street. Today some coin and stamp dealers still have retail locations but many others work primarily online. This is a great business to start part-time and then consider going full-time later on. Or is it just a hobby with the potential for making a lot of money? Some business ideas are just plain more fun than others!
Tea Salon Yes, you can compete with the Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts of the world! However, these chains have raised the bar, so your coffee or tea must be not just good, but awesome! Your ambiance better be good too. Your location needs to be good as well. Plus, you need to be distinctive.
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One way to stand out is to compliment your world class beverages with some fabulous foods. Wally eventually lost control of his company to outside investors. However, he came back again with still another cookie line. Everyone loves a fancy cookie and it’s an easy food to both differentiate and to charge a premium for. Boston, but then changed his mind and opened a pub focusing on craft beers. In addition to being a unique idea at the time, he also chose an excellent location and developed a solid food menu.
Creative Arts Day Camp You could run this as a seasonal camp during the summer. But I find it’s tougher to make lots of money at seasonal businesses, so instead I would first consider offering a creative arts day camp after school or on weekends. I suggest doing surveys to find out what age groups of kids and what specific art activities have the most appeal. Cupcake Business There’s something magical about a cupcake that says fun and silliness and makes you feel good! You can cash in on that feeling and make others happy.
But if you are specializing in cupcakes, people expect them to be excellent! And if you want to be remembered, they should be world class awesome! Garden Center Gardening is big and growing. And it is a business that is less likely to move totally online than many other businesses. You could start out with a supply center, expanding over time to add some plants to sell, and then, eventually vertically integrate with your own plant nursery. You could also expand into providing onsite services.
Gift-Basket Design Wouldn’t it be fun to make a gift-basket overflowing with a bunch of carefully selected and really attractive items? You could have a lot of satisfaction putting together distinctive gift baskets that will delight your customers and bring in sales! But if you have some talent at this challenging game, you can charge some good money and bring your gift to others. Golf is an excellent lifetime sport and people are willing to pay to try to master it! Gourmet Candy Cart One of my friends developed a great retail business with several small gift locations inside of shopping malls. She taught herself to make mouth-watering candy by practicing up in her kitchen.
Most of her candy she made herself, but she did compliment her offerings with a few products she bought wholesale. I know plenty of people who have, and have had a fabulous experience! This is a good vacation area business, but it could also be a good gift for special occasions. Nail down all of the licensing and safety requirements, and this could be fun business that quickly builds by word-of-mouth. Ice Cream Shop Yes, you can make a lot of money with a simple ice cream shop!
Perfect your ice cream before you start, find a good busy location without a crazy rent and consider starting with a smaller footprint to minimize your overhead. I’ll have an ice cream sundae please—with everything on it! Export Business What a great excuse to travel and get paid for it! Yes, there are some really cool craft items you can find around the world for really low prices.