With all the craziness happening in New York, there’s no better time to start your own business.

Start-up success rates are on the rise, average funding has increased, and there is huge opportunity for growth with online businesses.

In this post, we identify 88 low-cost business ideas that you can start in New York and provide you with:

  • How founders came up with the idea
  • How much $$ they’re making today
  • Growth tips + strategies for success

Here they are:

1. Luxury weighted blankets ($100K/mo)

Elizabeth Grojean started Baloo Living, a Luxury Weighted Blankets business. They are now doing $100,000/month.

  • Location: New York City
  • Revenue: $100,000/ month
  • Started: about 2 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 2

In 2017 I quit my job in marketing and publishing in New York City and booked a one-way flight to Bali. I was completely burned out and confused about the direction of my life. I’d been working so hard, yet felt unfulfilled. In the process of leaving every familiar security behind, I came to understand that I’d been looking for wholeness through external validation. In the first weeks without a title, company, or convenient identity, I felt completely naked. Over the course of weeks that then became months, I softened my external cover and started to discover what life could be like when there’s nothing to prove, nothing to justify, and no one to impress; the experience of being enough, satisfied and happy, just because, was the greatest and most beautiful discovery!

I came back to New York City feeling so good and got smacked in the face with reverse culture shock. I tried to go back to life as I’d known it, but I had changed so much, I could never go back to working in an office for someone else. I’d spent almost all of my savings and had just a few thousand dollars left, but made the difficult decision to choose the path of uncertainty and risk, and go back to Bali with no income, with the intention of launching a business that I could run remotely and independently. In Bali, I met so many people running businesses while traveling, and I knew the secret to learning was to be surrounded by a community of kind people who could teach me.

Back in Bali, I quickly went through an online course to launch a brand through Amazon FBA. Through product research, I discovered weighted blankets, and less than a week later, booked a flight to visit with suppliers and pick up samples. The moment I tried my sample weighted blanket for the first time, everything changed–I fell in love with the surprising, deeply relaxing sensation that crept in. At that moment, this business went from a project to a passion; the miracle of our bodies to self regulate and heal when given a nurturing environment is amazing to me.

how-i-started-a-100k-month-business-selling-weighted-blankets-from-bali


 

Elizabeth Grojean, on starting Baloo Living ($100,000/month)


full story ➜

2. Clothing alterations. ($1K/mo)

Saara Hafeez started ALTRD, a Clothing alterations. business. They are now doing $1,000/month.

  • Location: New York, NY
  • Revenue: $1,000/ month
  • Started: about 2 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0

We’ve been friends for awhile – we met right out of college in New York and stayed close even though we took fairly different professional paths.

Saara worked in the corporate world for a number of years before moving to Mexico where she launched a jewelry business aimed at rehabilitating sex trafficking survivors. Stephanie was a business consultant before going to law school and becoming a corporate lawyer; along the way, she launched an argan oil company that empowers women in Morocco.

these-two-founders-started-an-on-demand-clothing-alterations-startup

3. Aviation-focused apparel. ($34.5K/mo)

David Lombardo started ATC Memes, a Aviation-focused apparel. business. They are now doing $34,500/month.

  • Location: Long Island, NY
  • Revenue: $34,500/ month
  • Started: over 4 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 2

Ever since I was a kid, I have been interested in aviation. For most of my youth, I was obsessed with video games; specifically simulation games. I was borderline addicted to Microsoft’s Flight Simulator and the online WWII dogfighting game Fighter Ace. It was these two games that really got me into flying. I thought I wanted to be a pilot, and it was all I dreamed about. My parents purchased me a few intro flight lessons at the local flight school, and the first time I was able to actually control an aircraft (with an instructor, of course!) was at 12 years old. I still remember that moment and image very clearly. We were in a shallow bank over Saratoga Lake. “Ok, it’s your airplane!”, the instructor said.

But eventually, somewhere between the 6th and 8th grade, I had discovered the world of music. I would later become addicted to the consumption and creation of music, to the point of it becoming literally everything I did outside of school. I listened to everything I found, and also tried to learn everything I could about the art form. I played guitar and drums, and I was even doing session work for local musicians who had asked me to play on their demos and albums. It was pretty cool for someone of my age. Nonetheless, I still wanted to be involved in the aviation world, but I didn’t want to give up music. Being in a band meant being a pilot would be difficult.

I would say the most important thing is to start small and conquer a small niche before expanding; set realistic goals.

growing-a-niche-meme-business-to-34-500-month


 

David Lombardo, on starting ATC Memes ($34,500/month)


full story ➜

4. Career strategy and confidence ($0/mo)

Rita Kakati-Shah started Uma, a Career Strategy and Confidence business. They are now doing $0/month.

  • Location: New York City
  • Revenue: $0/ month
  • Started: almost 4 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 7

Throughout my career, I have been a dedicated advocate for diversity and equality issues in the workplace. I received the Excellence in Citizenship and Diversity Award for my contributions during my 10-year career at Goldman Sachs in London. After an industry change to pharmaceuticals, I got married and relocated to New York City where I took a career hiatus of almost four years to raise my two children.

Try. We pride ourselves on running a disruptive company, and that means constantly trying new things – not just once or twice, but continually, each and every day.

how-rita-kakati-shah-is-helping-women-get-back-to-work

5. Preppy men’s clothing. ($21K/mo)

Miriam Zelinsky started Lazyjack Press, a Preppy men’s clothing. business. They are now doing $21,000/month.

  • Location: New York, NY
  • Revenue: $21,000/ month
  • Started: about 8 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

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

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

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

starting-a-preppy-clothing-brand-making-21k-mo


 

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


full story ➜

6. Immunity boost shots ($500/mo)

Ryan Pfeiffer started Revive Me, a Immunity Boost Shots business. They are now doing $500/month.

  • Location: BROOKLYN
  • Revenue: $500/ month
  • Started: 5 months ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

Like many young professionals, I couldn’t afford to get sick as an investment banker in New York. We had no “sick days” and instead loaded up on as many vitamins and health drinks we could try to hide our sniffles and returned to our desk. As soon as any semblance of a cold surfaced, I ran to the pharmacy, the health foods store, and a smoothie bar and filled up with vitamins, fruits, and pills. These were never cheap runs.

There had to be a better way to get back on my feet than a pharmacy cocktail of supplements. I started experimenting with ingredients that science has proven hastens recoveries, to create a single shot to fulfill all my vitamin and antioxidant requirements. When I took all these ingredients I either didn’t fully get sick or got back on my feet significantly faster. I went from someone with a rundown immune system to not having a cold in over a year.

I have no background in the food & beverage world. So with the help of a food scientist, I created a unique blend of ingredients that includes vitamin C and zinc, both of which are clinically proven to shorten your cold, plus a medley of other immune boosters and antioxidants.

on-launching-a-immunity-boost-shots-brand-in-the-covid-19-times

7. Hype sneakers and streetwear ($500K/mo)

Andrew and Phillip Pevzner started LacedUp, a Hype Sneakers and Streetwear business. They are now doing $500,000/month.

  • Location: Albany
  • Revenue: $500,000/ month
  • Started: about 4 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 25

I am 23 years old and my brother Phillip is currently 24. Business and entrepreneurship have always been big passions for us. Laced Up was founded about 3.5 years ago, but there were 4 businesses before it, starting with a lawn care venture at age 10, that rolled into one another, leading us to this point. Our parents were immigrants from Belarus, and we grew up poor in New York. They always encouraged an entrepreneurial spirit in us, and as we grew up they started multiple businesses of their own.

Early on, we would hire our friends and anyone that was willing to work. To this day, not a single one of our original staff is still with us. Hiring the wrong people for the job will make your life miserable.

Our first business was a lawn care service we did in elementary school. We would go around and offer to mow neighbors lawns for some money. When middle school came around and Phil was about to get his driver’s license, we started a new venture based on Phil’s love of everything automotive, called Motorhead Parts. We would buy crashed motorcycles, ATVs, and dirt bikes on craigslist and part them out on eBay. This was our first taste of the opportunities of selling online. That business continued through high school, but it was not an easy business to run. Having to take apart and clean greasy mud-covered parts really helped to give some perspective for years to come. We finally ended the business in 2013, but soon after started up a new one in 2014, right after we both graduated from high school.

how-two-brothers-started-a-500k-month-chain-of-high-end-sneakers


 

Andrew and Phillip Pevzner, on starting LacedUp ($500,000/month)


full story ➜

8. Office furniture ($300K/mo)

Greg Hayes started Branch Furniture, a office furniture business. They are now doing $300,000/month.

  • Location: New York City
  • Revenue: $300,000/ month
  • Started: over 1 year ago
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 7

My co-founders and I have no background in office furniture. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise: it’s common that great solutions come from people with no preconceptions about how to solve a problem in the first place. What we do have is plenty of personal experience with the problem itself.

In my case, I spent the first five years of my career in institutional commercial real estate. I loved my job and the team I worked with, and I truly thought I would spend my entire career working for the same fund. But as luck would have it, life came knocking: my girlfriend (now wife) Taylre moved to New York City for work, and it wasn’t long before I followed suit. The change of scenery prompted me to think about a change of career for the first time. It wasn’t long before I was interviewing with startups and companies in the proptech world, eventually landing at a fast-growing company called Breather that built and operated flexible office space for growing companies. It was at Breather that the pains of procuring office furniture presented themselves to me for the first time.

Breather was growing at an incredible pace; they had identified needs in two large markets within the world of commercial real estate (short-term meeting spaces and flexible office spaces), and both investors and customers were throwing money at them, fueling breakneck growth. In the two years, I spent at Breather their portfolio of spaces grew from less than 150 to over 500 units. As you can imagine, that meant Breather was buying a lot of office furniture, and they were being plagued by a problem that had faced enumerable companies before them: they wanted beautiful, high-quality furniture for the spaces, but the cost of buying it was beyond justification.

how-i-started-a-300k-month-premium-office-furniture-business


 

Greg Hayes, on starting Branch Furniture ($300,000/month)


full story ➜

9. Designer smoking accessories ($20K/mo)

Monica Khemsurov started Tetra Shop, a Designer Smoking Accessories business. They are now doing $20,000/month.

  • Location: Brooklyn
  • Revenue: $20,000/ month
  • Started: over 5 years ago
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 1

As I mentioned, I started Tetra with two friends. I was (and still am) a journalist running a design magazine with an online shop attached, and they were both art and fashion writers, one of whom had previously run her own clothing line. The three of us were at the beach one day and my friends were smoking; I asked where they went to buy good-looking pipes and lighters and such. They laughed heartily and said that no such place existed, and it was a matter of seconds before the bells went off in my head.

I knew design and had e-comm experience, they had a passion for smoking. All three of us had a lot of connections and really good taste — it’s how we each made our living. We mapped out a game plan for Tetra that very day, and launched it to the public only about six months later (taking advantage of our professional connections to get a ton of great press).

Did we have a proper business plan? Err, no, not even close. But all of us had been working in trend-focused industries where we were used to trusting our gut instincts, so that’s what we did. We knew we wanted to be first, so we didn’t have time to be slow and methodical and question things. We slammed on the gas and flew out of the gates.

how-i-started-a-20k-month-designer-smoking-accesories-brand


 

Monica Khemsurov, on starting Tetra Shop ($20,000/month)


full story ➜

10. Leather products. ($4K/mo)

Jamie Clawson started Jamie Clawson, a Leather products. business. They are now doing $4,000/month.

  • Location: Brooklyn, New York
  • Revenue: $4,000/ month
  • Started: over 9 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

I studied industrial design (product design) at the University of Cincinnati. It was a 5 year program, the first 2 years the professors told me to drop out because my drawing skills weren’t good enough but they couldn’t fail me because my final products were good. Minus that, college was an amazing learning experience.

I had tons of jobs growing up, 20+, they all drove me nuts

I learned to design toys, furniture, lighting, and t-shirt graphics. I also co-oped for some great companies including Nerf and Aeropostale. I love learning about new things which is why I took a fashion co-op at Aeropostale. Aeropostale is in New York City, as soon as I got here, I knew it was where I wanted to be after college.

being-a-solo-founder-and-manufacturing-your-own-products


 

Jamie Clawson, on starting Jamie Clawson ($4,000/month)


full story ➜

11. Handmade flower & resin jewelry ($4K/mo)

Lindsay Ann Gottschall and Courtney Joy Bleier started Ann + Joy, a Handmade Flower & Resin Jewelry business. They are now doing $4,000/month.

  • Location: Miami, FL
  • Revenue: $4,000/ month
  • Started: ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 2

Courtney Joy always wanted to be a teacher as a little girl. She used to pretend to teach in her childhood home basement on Long Island, New York. Growing up in an artistic family, she became a figurative and landscape artist and eventually attended art school. After college, she decided to merge her two childhood passions together and became an art teacher.

Lindsay Ann expressed herself through art in a different way. She was in the theater and went to school for drama in New York City. While pursuing her dream of acting, she also made beaded jewelry on the side. It quickly became a passion of hers and would help lead her down a new path in life.

Within our first 3 months, we sold over 100 orders, resulting in more than $3,000 in revenue. By the end of our first year, we had sold over 2,300 orders, resulting in more than $65,000.

how-we-started-a-4k-month-handmade-flower-and-resin-jewelry-business


 

Lindsay Ann Gottschall and Courtney Joy Bleier, on starting Ann + Joy ($4,000/month)


full story ➜

12. Bag storage. ($15K/mo)

Cody Candee started Bounce, a Bag storage. business. They are now doing $15,000/month.

  • Location: San Francisco
  • Revenue: $15,000/ month
  • Started: over 2 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 1

I’ve lived in a dozen cities in my life, both in the U.S. and internationally. Everything I own can fit in just three suitcases.

You won’t come up with something groundbreaking simply by mulling over ideas in your head or in an office with a whiteboard. You simply have to go put it in front of real customers.

Wherever work and my travels would take me, I noticed the recurring problem of people letting their “stuff” get in the way of their plans. People often have to schlep their bags with them from one place to the next, take extra time to drop them off at home, or cancel plans completely due to the burden of their things.

how-i-turned-a-landing-page-into-a-luggage-storage-startup

13. Men’s grooming products. ($100K/mo)

Eric Bandholz started Beardbrand, a Men’s grooming products. business. They are now doing $100,000/month.

  • Location: Austin, TX
  • Revenue: $100,000/ month
  • Started: over 8 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 17

Before starting Beardbrand, I was a financial advisor at a big bank. I felt the corporate pressures to look and behave a certain way and it was too much for me. So I left that career, grew out my beard and started a graphic design business.

As I rocked a beard in the business world, I heard a lot of typical bearded stereotypes – Grizzly Adams, ZZ Top, and Duck Dynasty. While those are interesting people, they weren’t lifestyles that I personally identified with.

We launched the Beardbrand e-commerce store a few days before I found out that my wife was pregnant with our first child. That gave me a tight deadline.

starting-a-beard-branded-store-earning-over-100k-mo


 

Eric Bandholz, on starting Beardbrand ($100,000/month)


full story ➜

14. Engagement rings ($385K/mo)

Nikolay Piriankov started Taylor & Hart, a Engagement Rings business. They are now doing $385,000/month.

  • Location: London
  • Revenue: $385,000/ month
  • Started: over 6 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 27

It all started many years ago in South Africa where I grew up, originally born in Bulgaria though. At the age of 17, I got a job as a sales representative in a diamond store tailored for Chinese customers. That was the first time when I developed an interest for diamonds. After finishing high school, I headed to the U.K. to study digital marketing.

During this period, me and my high school friend David Sutton decided to start several websites and e-commerce businesses while studying at the University of Manchester​. Some teenage experiments and years later I reunited with David and we decided to start a real venture this time. That’s how the brand Rare Pink ( the first name of Taylor & Hart) was born in 2013.

Think whether or not you need an investment and when exactly to make an investment round. An investment makes you grow faster and potentially bigger than growing organically, but you need to think about what you are getting into.

starting-and-growing-a-jewelry-business-to-4-6m-year


 

Nikolay Piriankov, on starting Taylor & Hart ($385,000/month)


full story ➜

15. Slack bots ($245/mo)

Daniel Doubrovkine started Vestris LLC, a Slack Bots business. They are now doing $245/month.

  • Location: New York
  • Revenue: $245/ month
  • Started: over 4 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

At Artsy we had a ping-pong table and were using Slack. Someone installed a bot that they found on Github to keep score, which sort of worked, and was great fun. You could challenge people to a game, and the bot asked them to record their own humiliating defeat.

I was “DB” on slack, and was getting too many notifications for everything database-related, so I renamed myself to “dblock”, a nickname I’ve used since 1994 at Vestris. I was getting close to the top of the leaderboard at the time, and that’s where the bot lost my stats – it wasn’t storing users by ID. Instead of just editing the database, I checked out the code and started fixing this horrible design oversight. Since the bot was written by a fairly junior developer during a hackathon, it went smoothly at the beginning with a lot of low hanging fruit. But eventually, I hit some hard limits in the bot’s original architecture, so I decided to rewrite it from scratch over a weekend. I wanted to let others use it, so pong bot became playplay.io.

on-developing-and-marketing-slack-bots-while-working-a-full-time-job


 

Daniel Doubrovkine, on starting Vestris LLC ($245/month)


full story ➜

16. Freelance editorial services ($4.5K/mo)

Kate Angelella started Angelella Editorial, a Freelance Editorial Services business. They are now doing $4,500/month.

  • Location: Baltimore
  • Revenue: $4,500/ month
  • Started: about 6 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

I started out my editorial career working as an assistant editor at Simon & Schuster Children’s Books in New York City. The first book series I edited was Nancy Drew, and later the Hardy Boys series (the new series! Though like many people, I have a fondness for the old hardcover series). I was blessed to have been given an opportunity to skip the entry-level position in my career track, so I was a bit over my head when I began and tried to make up for it by working my butt off–which meant long hours and lots and lots of reading.

A lot of people think editors at publishing houses edit in the office, but the truth is, our days are so filled with meetings and paperwork and email, we do most of our editing in our free time (at night after work and on the weekends). At that time, I was working full time at S&S and also in the midst of pursuing my graduate degree in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts, so it was a very full plate, to say the least. It’s a time I remember as “baptism by fire.” I loved working with authors and other editors and reading middle-grade and YA fiction for a living–it was my dream job! But it was a lot of work, and I began the job during a transitional time in publishing. Which meant a year in a half in, my company had put a freeze on promotions and was no longer compensating for overtime, which was a sizeable portion of my paycheck.

S&S was the best career learning experience of my life. During my time there, I acquired and edited dozens of books by authors I’m extremely humbled to have worked with, such as #1 New York Times bestselling author Nova Ren Suma and NAACP Image Award- and Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe award-winning author Kekla Magoon.

how-i-started-a-4-5k-month-freelance-editorial-business


 

Kate Angelella, on starting Angelella Editorial ($4,500/month)


full story ➜

17. Airbnb concierge ($35K/mo)

Gary Fox started Host Butlers, a Airbnb concierge business. They are now doing $35,000/month.

  • Location: Dublin
  • Revenue: $35,000/ month
  • Started: almost 5 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 4

I’ve been starting businesses since I was 15. During school, I worked part-time in a mobile phone store and learned how to fix phones. During the weekends, I started my own market stall and advertised online to fix phones, replace screens, and started to earn cash that way. During college, I scaled up this business to a physical location at the University I was attending here in Ireland. I approached the college and rented an office space from them and opened my first store!

I was terrified of running out of money and for the first 18 months, I ran the company entirely on my own. I remember one particular day where I met 18 different guests at 18 different locations across the city.

Between classes, I would work in the store and when I was in class, I hired classmates and friends to work for me. Looking back now, it was an incredibly fun time but I wish I hadn’t reinvested so much money in the college bar!

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


 

Gary Fox, on starting Host Butlers ($35,000/month)


full story ➜

18. Executive reputation growth & management ($550K/mo)

Bant Breen started Qnary, a Executive Reputation Growth & Management business. They are now doing $550,000/month.

  • Location: New York City
  • Revenue: $550,000/ month
  • Started: over 8 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 25

I was the CEO of an international paid search and social media agency that was part of a much larger advertising holding company. My agency had Fortune 500 clients and utilized the leading tech tools available in the market to optimize and manage their brands. I saw an opportunity in that pretty much all the tools being offered to optimize online presence was designed for brands. There really wasn’t anything out there to help individuals accomplish the same thing. So, I set out to build a platform focused specifically on assisting individual executives with online search and social media optimization.

I left my agency job and spent several months writing my initial business plan. During the drafting process, I sat with several friends that were experts in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PII (Personally Identifiable Information) to challenge my hypothesis and blueprint. The business plan editing was brutal and I will be forever grateful that my friends did not go easy on me. I came up with the name Qnary based on the bird. I saw the Company as providing a canary in the coal mine-type service where we would identify issues and help executives address them proactively.

how-i-started-a-550k-month-executive-online-reputation-management-solution

19. Button downs. ($5K/mo)

Steve Radke started Short Steve Button Downs, a button downs. business. They are now doing $5,000/month.

  • Location: Brooklyn
  • Revenue: $5,000/ month
  • Started: over 1 year ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

My backstory took a turn when I started this because I was working in commercial real estate and had no experience in the apparel or fashion industries. The abridged version is that I was born and raised in Pittsburgh. I went to college at Villanova University and upon graduation in 2013, I took a job in Baltimore with a commercial real estate investment advisory firm.

I have no background in apparel or fashion, so I did what any millennial with a question does, I Googled it. I typed in ‘How to make a shirt?’

I lived in Baltimore for four and a half years before moving up to New York City in June 2018 to work for a commercial real estate development firm that constructed the building next to Katz’s Deli. In September 2018, while working my full-time role in real estate, I came up with the idea that would become Short Steve Button Downs. From there, I legally formed the company in January 2019 and quit my job in real estate in May 2019 in order to pursue this full-time.

quitting-my-job-to-start-a-short-sleeve-button-down-brand


 

Steve Radke, on starting Short Steve Button Downs ($5,000/month)


full story ➜

20. Framed tweets ($25K/mo)

Zach Katz started Framed Tweets, a Framed Tweets business. They are now doing $25,000/month.

  • Location: NYC
  • Revenue: $25,000/ month
  • Started: about 3 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

I dreamed up the idea for Framed Tweets a year prior to starting it.

It was December 2015, and I was holed up in my room, avoiding the New Year’s party my parents were hosting downstairs. I was scrolling through Twitter, when suddenly, I thought, “what if you could frame a tweet?” (Honestly, that’s how most ideas come about, at least for me. They just randomly happen.)

That night, I tweeted the link to some random people who I found by searching Twitter. The next morning, I woke up to find Framed Tweets featured on Product Hunt, Mashable, Uncrate, and a few other websites.

how-i-stumbled-into-a-300k-business-framing-tweets


 

Zach Katz, on starting Framed Tweets ($25,000/month)


full story ➜

21. Jewelry ($65K/mo)

Chrissie Lam started Love Is Project, a jewelry business. They are now doing $65,000/month.

  • Location: San Francisco
  • Revenue: $65,000/ month
  • Started: over 3 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

I worked in concept design for 12 years before founding Love Is Project, for brands like Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle Outfitters.

Perfection isn’t the goal. Test and execute things, and then adjust.

In 2012, I left corporate fashion with a mission of working with artisans around the world to create products and connect them to brands for market access. I connected artisans and brands in a consulting capacity for a few years before launching Love Is Project as a standalone brand in 2017.

selling-1-2m-love-bracelets-for-a-good-cause


 

Chrissie Lam, on starting Love Is Project ($65,000/month)


full story ➜

22. Personalized poetry at events ($35K/mo)

Daniel Zaltsman and Erick Szentmiklosy started The Haiku Guys & Gals, a Personalized Poetry At Events business. They are now doing $35,000/month.

  • Location: New York, LA, SF, Boston, Washington DC, Austin
  • Revenue: $35,000/ month
  • Started: ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 2

People always ask us if we’re poets or writers. The short answer is yes, but it wasn’t always that way. In our adolescent years, we both wrote poetry here and there but individually decided we were pretty bad at it. Erick even failed poetry class in high school. Erick comes from Hungarian and Colombian parents, grew up skateboarding, listening to rock, and reading Henry Miller in Dover, NJ. Daniel was born in Saint Petersburg, emigrated to the US and grew up in Cliffside Park, NJ performing in Russian plays, ballroom dancing, and playing counter strike.

Both of us grew up in lower-middle-class households and our journeys crossed at freshman orientation of Montclair State University. We spent most of our time studying at the library and going on vision quests. Our studies, like our interests, intersected – Daniel’s Marketing and Sociology and Erick’s Mathematics and Philosophy. Later these would serve as foundations for running our business.

During senior year, we wanted to start a business but had no idea what business to start or how to go about it. Inspired by a late-night dazed encounter with a stop sign, we developed a logo that replaced STOP with START. Shortly thereafter, our friend Zach came back from a keynote by Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS Shoes, and was reeling about how inspired he was by the story. A lightbulb went off: we should interview entrepreneurs and share their stories on the internet as inspiration for other people to START going after their dreams. But how would we find these entrepreneurs?

how-we-started-a-35k-month-business-writing-personalized-poetry-at-events


 

Daniel Zaltsman and Erick Szentmiklosy, on starting The Haiku Guys & Gals ($35,000/month)


full story ➜

23. Seafood delivery ($300K/mo)

Cameron Manesh started Cameron’s Seafood, a Seafood delivery business. They are now doing $300,000/month.

  • Location: Rockville, Maryland
  • Revenue: $300,000/ month
  • Started: almost 3 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 10

My father invested in the first retail seafood location in 1985 and my uncle ran it. My father and I built our Apartment Brokerage while my uncle and his son built what is now the largest retail Maryland crab company in the world.

My cousin, Pey, and I are second generation and we wanted to ship Maryland Crabs from the Chesapeake Bay to people who can’t get them real thing, nationwide.

One morning, a crab-lover from West Virginia rolled up to one of our family-owned food trucks in Hagerstown, MD, to buy a bushel of Maryland blue crabs. He told my cousin Pey, who was working on the food truck that day, that he was so sick of paying exorbitant prices for dodgy crabs in WV, and to him it was worth driving 6 hours, round trip, to come get the real Maryland crabs from us.

cameron-s-seafood-175k-per-month-selling-maryland-crabs


 

Cameron Manesh, on starting Cameron’s Seafood ($300,000/month)


full story ➜

24. Stationery and gifts ($15K/mo)

Markus Hartel started Raghaus, a Stationery And Gifts business. They are now doing $15,000/month.

  • Location: Newburgh, NY
  • Revenue: $15,000/ month
  • Started: over 5 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

The printing and creative industry have been my home for my entire professional life, for 32 years by now. I apprenticed to become a typesetter in 1987 and I owned a commercial printing business in the mid-90ies in Germany, where I was born and spent the first 30 years of my life. The operation went bust in 2001 for various reasons and I set sail for New York City, where I made a living in the creative/digital realm and where I also made myself a name as a street photographer.

After a decade or so, I grew tired of the hostile environment and I wanted to move to a small town and do something with printing again. But, I wanted to go back full circle and work with my hands and letterpress printing naturally sprung to mind. I bought a hand-cranked 1905 proof press at a studio in Brooklyn and moved to the City of Newburgh in the Hudson Valley, an hour north of New York City.

Miraculously, I found a pair of mid-century German Heidelberg letterpress machines for sale by their original owner in Newburgh, and I knew I had struck pure gold. I built my studio around these machines in an old warehouse and by now the place is pretty much a summation of my entire creative life.

how-i-started-a-15k-month-business-making-bold-stationery


 

Markus Hartel, on starting Raghaus ($15,000/month)


full story ➜

25. Book writing, publishing & marketing ($1.3M/mo)

Tucker Max started Scribe Media, a Book Writing, Publishing & Marketing business. They are now doing $1,300,000/month.

  • Location: Austin
  • Revenue: $1,300,000/ month
  • Started: almost 6 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 51

It all began with a simple question from a frustrated entrepreneur:

“I want a book, but I don’t have the time to write it, and the normal publishing process is too frustrating. Is there another way?”

I’m a writer (I’ve written four New York Times Bestsellers), and thus I used to hear some variation of this question on a nearly daily basis.

how-we-started-a-1-3m-month-book-writing-publishing-and-marketing-service


 

Tucker Max, on starting Scribe Media ($1,300,000/month)


full story ➜

26. Protein snacks ($300K/mo)

Krikor Angacian started Protes Protein Snacks, a protein snacks business. They are now doing $300,000/month.

  • Location: Brooklyn
  • Revenue: $300,000/ month
  • Started: about 7 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 6

I had the idea back in college when I came back from a training session at the gym I sat on my couch and ate a very unsatisfying protein bar. I thought to myself right then, “why don’t protein chips exist?”.

At the end of the day making decisions should be taken after collecting a wide group of consultation and advice and making your own decisions.

The idea went away and I graduated from college, moved to New York City to become an investment banker. After over two years of grinding away as a banker, I realized I absolutely hated finance.

how-i-started-a-protein-snacks-company


 

Krikor Angacian, on starting Protes Protein Snacks ($300,000/month)


full story ➜

27. Privacy-focused email ($500K/mo)

Bron Gondwana started Fastmail, a Privacy-Focused Email business. They are now doing $500,000/month.

  • Location: Melbourne
  • Revenue: $500,000/ month
  • Started: almost 21 years ago
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 40

Fastmail was founded in 1999, and at that time, email was provided by either your internet service provider or webmail sites. Most of these options were slow and cluttered with ads. Fastmail founders felt there should be better experiences for people using email.

We made an email product centered on meeting the needs of people. We focused on respecting people’s privacy and offering a premium service. You always get helpful assistance if needed.

I became involved in 2004 as a developer and sysadmin at Fastmail, headquartered in Melbourne, Australia. In 2010, Fastmail was acquired by Opera Software from Oslo, Norway, which is primarily known for its web browser. I relocated to Oslo for two years to work at the Opera head office.

how-our-focus-on-quality-helped-us-reach-500k-month-with-an-email-service-in-a-space-full-of-free-alternatives


 

Bron Gondwana, on starting Fastmail ($500,000/month)


full story ➜

28. Beard care products. ($3.5K/mo)

Ray Moyers started HUSKYBEARD, a Beard care products. business. They are now doing $3,500/month.

  • Location: Queen Creek, AZ
  • Revenue: $3,500/ month
  • Started: over 3 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

I am a serial entrepreneur. I’ve owned many companies. I’ve also had a myriad of full-time jobs with entrepreneurship as my side hustle. I’ve been looking for quite a while for an ecommerce business that I could purchase and grow to provide passive income for my family.

At the time, I was working full time as the VP of Marketing for a shade sail company. I have 15 years of experience in web design, SEO, SEM, and online marketing.

My top tip for anyone looking to purchase a business is to make sure you do your due diligence and hyper-analyze everything before making a decision.

the-tough-lessons-i-learned-after-buying-an-ecommerce-business

29. Curated games ($3K/mo)

Dominic Morris started HoopMaps, a curated games business. They are now doing $3,000/month.

  • Location: Sacramento
  • Revenue: $3,000/ month
  • Started: about 4 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 4

I grew up in Oakland California where all my life I dreamt of playing professional baseball, I played other pickup sports with my friends but baseball was definitely the sport that I gravitated to. Every summer I played on a baseball team and my number one goal in high school was to play college baseball.

I thought to myself… there must be a better solution than driving around town hoping to get lucky and find a pickup basketball game.

I gained a partial scholarship to Texas Southern in Houston and before heading out for my first semester Hurricane Katrina hit the southern gulf and Texas Southern took in many college students from the New Orleans colleges to continue their education. Resulting in taking away my scholarship.

how-we-started-hoopmaps-went-viral-and-got-on-shark-tank


 

Dominic Morris, on starting HoopMaps ($3,000/month)


full story ➜

30. Custom jewelry. ($500K/mo)

Julien Plouffe started Moonglow Jewelry, a Custom jewelry. business. They are now doing $500,000/month.

  • Location: Miami, FL
  • Revenue: $500,000/ month
  • Started: about 8 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 11

Unfortunately, I was always messing around in school, I loved socializing and was friends with everyone, I was pretty bad at everything except theater and sports. Bad in a classroom setting, but I flourished out in a crowd selling.

When I turned 16, the principal told my father I should quit school and work for him. I did. My father had a pitch business selling infomercial-type products in fairs across the United States, but most products I sold were either passing trends or did not hold my interest, at least not until Moonglow.

In 2011 at a fair in Springfield, MA called The Big E is where my life changed direction a bit. I was 23. I was selling Moonglow for the first time and the sales were great. People loved the idea, the concept, and I knew this was the product I wanted to focus on and could really build a brand.

growing-an-online-jewelry-store-to-6m-year


 

Julien Plouffe, on starting Moonglow Jewelry ($500,000/month)


full story ➜

31. Eco-friendly goods. ($5K/mo)

Tippy Tippens started Our Goods Matter, a Eco-friendly goods. business. They are now doing $5,000/month.

  • Location: New Orleans
  • Revenue: $5,000/ month
  • Started: over 9 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

When the BP Oil Spill happened in the Spring of 2010, I was living in NYC at the time and felt really helpless watching the spill unfold from afar without any end in site.

I became determined to find a way to help. My background is in product and furniture design, eventually I came to the idea that I could create a soap that raises funds for cleanup.

It’s my opinion, you can never really be fully ready or prepared – the important thing is to begin and start filling in the gaps as you go along.

how-i-started-a-benefit-corporation-earning-5k-month


 

Tippy Tippens, on starting Our Goods Matter ($5,000/month)


full story ➜

32. Zero-proof balsamic beverage. ($4.5K/mo)

Aaron Weast started Drink Shrub, a Zero-proof balsamic beverage. business. They are now doing $4,500/month.

  • Location: Portland, OR
  • Revenue: $4,500/ month
  • Started: over 3 years ago
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 1

In February of 2015 I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life. That was to enter a treatment program for alcohol addiction. I’d been struggling to contain and control my habit for a while, and everything I’d tried had failed. With an incredible amount of support from my family, I entered a treatment facility where I could focus on solving the problem once and for all.

When one’s focus is on a substance and how to get the next drink you put all of your life dreams on hold. Now that I had clarity of mind and energy to put toward living out my dreams it was time to get started. The first of my life dreams to tackle: entrepreneurship.

It is common for folks to have cathartic moments while going through such a significant life change. In my case, two things became acutely clear. First, I wanted to be a better person. In the recent past I’d been selfish and hurt a lot of people. I wanted not only to right the wrongs as much as possible but also pay forward what my support network had given me. So whatever I did, a portion of the proceeds would go toward an organization that helps folks in need – particularly those that don’t have the robust support network I do. I’m proud to say that since day one, Drink Shrub has donated a percentage of revenue to LifeWorksNW.

how-i-conquered-my-alcoholism-and-built-a-non-alcoholic-beverage-brand


 

Aaron Weast, on starting Drink Shrub ($4,500/month)


full story ➜

33. Yogi children’s clothing ($500/mo)

Jennifer Coulombe started Sat Nam babe, a Yogi children’s clothing business. They are now doing $500/month.

  • Location: New York
  • Revenue: $500/ month
  • Started: over 4 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

Sat Nam babe was born from a mix of learning about the injustices in the fashion industry during a class in business school and also completing my Kundalini yoga teaching training certification in 2015.

After researching the children’s wear industry and yoga industry in my graduate school library industry databases, both industries showed upward growth trajectories.

I felt confident that a socially conscious yoga-inspired clothing company for kids under six and babies could actually be a business.

how-i-started-a-business-selling-yoga-clothing-for-kids


 

Jennifer Coulombe , on starting Sat Nam babe ($500/month)


full story ➜

34. Startup resources. ($10K/mo)

Thomas Oppong started Content Intelligence Media, a Startup resources. business. They are now doing $10,000/month.

  • Location: Kent
  • Revenue: $10,000/ month
  • Started: about 2 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 2

I love exploring new ideas, innovations, and technologies that are changing how we live and work. I started AllTopStartups in 2009 whilst studying software entrepreneurship at Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST-Ghana).

AllTopStartups used to be a personal platform where I aggregated some of the best and top technology ideas at the time. To stay informed, I subscribed to TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb now ReadWrite, OnStartups, AngelList, Venture Hacks, and Mixergy. Back then, my focus was on sharing startups I thought were promising. Most of the sites I used to visit were focusing on too many topics. I wanted to write about only the top startups that were growing rapidly, attracting funding, or changing how we live or work on a large scale.

A few years after publishing hundreds of innovative startups, many people were interested in the ideas I wrote about and the startups behind them. My personal quest to find the best technology ideas turned into a startup blog. Today, I work with hundreds of content marketing agencies.

how-i-started-a-10k-month-website-with-resources-for-entrepreneurs-and-startups


 

Thomas Oppong, on starting Content Intelligence Media ($10,000/month)


full story ➜

35. Healthy meals delivered. ($180K/mo)

Mary Drennen started Nourish Foods Co., a Healthy meals delivered. business. They are now doing $180,000/month.

  • Location: Birmingham, AL
  • Revenue: $180,000/ month
  • Started: over 5 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 20

I was born and raised in Birmingham, AL. My interest in cooking began at an early age in my family’s kitchen, helping my mother (an avid home cook and proponent of family time) whip up simple, yet delicious Southern-focused fare. These early interactions and memories fostered my passion for the culinary arts.

In 2004, after culinary school in NYC, I moved back to Birmingham to work for Cooking Light (a Time Inc. publication) in their test kitchen. Tiffany (my co-founder) and I were both tasked with creating healthy recipes for home cooks, that were not only balanced nutritionally but beautiful and creative as well. Although food delivery, as an industry, wasn’t even born, we were planting the seeds for what would launch as Nourish 10 years later.

One of my mentors told me early on, “If you can run and grow this business without taking on investors and giving up the equity, do it.” And I took that to heart.

how-two-friends-bootstrapped-a-meal-delivery-startup-to-2m-year


 

Mary Drennen, on starting Nourish Foods Co. ($180,000/month)


full story ➜

36. Art. ($150K/mo)

Adam Vieira started Station 16, a Art. business. They are now doing $150,000/month.

  • Location: Montreal, Canada
  • Revenue: $150,000/ month
  • Started: about 7 years ago
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 6

I met Carlo De Luca (my partner and current president of Station 16) in 2010. I was very active in the Montreal street art scene and had many artist connections because of it. Coincidentally, he was also looking to diversify his textile silkscreen shop into paper printing, which I had been doing a lot of.

In 2011, we started working with local Montreal artists to create quality silkscreen prints – a type of printing made famous with Andy Warhol’s work. We began showcasing these prints online and in art fairs. That’s when Emily Robertson (3rd founder, and Art Historian) came on board. She had taken an interest in our project and suggested we open an art gallery showcasing the prints and street art talent we were really interested in.

Shortly after that, a few other friends that we were in contact with were building on the idea of a Mural festival for Montreal. They asked if we would be interested in supporting it. So in June of 2013, we debuted at both the Gallery and the Montreal MURAL festival on St. Laurent. It initially opened as a pop-up, and we haven’t closed our doors since.

growing-an-art-gallery-to-150-000-month


 

Adam Vieira, on starting Station 16 ($150,000/month)


full story ➜

37. Adventure blog ($4K/mo)

Jessica Serna started My Curly Adventures, a adventure blog business. They are now doing $4,000/month.

  • Location: Texas
  • Revenue: $4,000/ month
  • Started: over 3 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

Two years ago I was working a 9-5 and while I loved it, with limited PTO I couldn’t jetset around the world.

In order to cure my wanderlust I would look for places close to home that I could visit. I would go sand surfing at Monahans, go on a safari in Glen Rose, try cuisines from around the world in Houston, and visit the wine country in Fredericksburg. I would post pictures on my social media for fun. I had also worked as a semi-professional photographer so I did have photography experience.

how-i-started-a-niche-blog-and-quit-my-9-to-5-job


 

Jessica Serna, on starting My Curly Adventures ($4,000/month)


full story ➜

38. Mobile app development ($30K/mo)

Phil Scarfi started Pioneer Mobile Applications, a Mobile App Development business. They are now doing $30,000/month.

  • Location: Long Island
  • Revenue: $30,000/ month
  • Started: almost 4 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 3

While I was in high school, I started getting interested in software and coding. I took a few fundamental coding classes and fell in love with it. Come my senior year, I decided to follow this interest and study Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst). This is where all the magic began to happen.

For those of you that don’t know, UMass Amherst has the top dining in the nation. Because of this, myself and other students would spend hours on end per day in the dining commons.

You might be asking, Why on earth am I talking about food right now right?

how-i-started-a-successful-mobile-app-development-agency


 

Phil Scarfi, on starting Pioneer Mobile Applications ($30,000/month)


full story ➜

39. Professional makeup courses ($200K/mo)

Anastasia Andreani started Vizio Makeup Academy, a Professional Makeup Courses business. They are now doing $200,000/month.

  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Revenue: $200,000/ month
  • Started: over 9 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 10

Let’s start from the beginning…

A career in beauty education was not what I grew up thinking I would do. I was born in a small town in the Midwest. Life wasn’t always a bed of roses for me. The circumstances of my upbringing and the fear and uncertainty I experienced at a very young age when my parents got divorced contributed to an early sense of needing to fend for myself. Having very little money, I worked many jobs to try to make ends meet. I struggled between working and going to school. While I thought my parents’ divorce had been a curse for most of my childhood and into my teen years, I later realized it hadn’t been a curse at all; it had actually turned into a really valuable gift for me. It has given me a spirit of both independence and experimentation, which I truly believe has led me to where I am today.

I first studied business administration and finance in college and earned my business degree. I spent many years working a 9-5 office job, but it wasn’t long before I knew I wanted more—something was missing. For my entire life, I have had a love for beauty. I’m a creative person by nature, and art has forever inspired and moved me. I also have a true love for being able to help others grow, to feel beautiful and to be more confident about themselves. This passion drives me and gives me the energy to help others see their true beauty and potential. I knew I wanted to do something in life that caused people to smile on the outside as well as on the inside and that used my creative talents in a more meaningful way. These longings led me down an entirely new path in life.

how-i-started-a-200k-month-online-makeup-academy


 

Anastasia Andreani, on starting Vizio Makeup Academy ($200,000/month)


full story ➜

40. Turmeric latte mix. ($4K/mo)

Andrea Slinde started Golden Root, a Turmeric latte mix. business. They are now doing $4,000/month.

  • Location: Denever
  • Revenue: $4,000/ month
  • Started: over 3 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

I became increasingly passionate about food and nutrition after spending 3ish years working in traditional healthcare both during and after college.

The process of launching the business was a lot like putting together a puzzle with a couple pieces always missing. It may feel like you need more of the details ironed out before you can start, but I assure you that starting is the most crucial step in learning more concrete details about your concept.

I took a major left turn in life when I quit my job as a Phlebotomist at a Veterans Affairs Hospital in order to work on a small organic CSA farm in Madison, WI. After spending a season getting more intimately involved with my food and gaining a better understanding of my local food supply chain, I moved to Denver, CO where I founded or worked for a number of natural food startups. My experience on the farm lit a fire in my belly and inspired me to create and provide more healthful and healing foods to people.

how-andrea-slinde-launched-her-own-organic-food-startup


 

Andrea Slinde, on starting Golden Root ($4,000/month)


full story ➜

41. Human effectiveness training services. ($12.5K/mo)

Andrew Tarvin started Humor That Works, a Human effectiveness training services. business. They are now doing $12,500/month.

  • Location: New York
  • Revenue: $12,500/ month
  • Started: over 11 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

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

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

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

how-being-the-funny-guy-at-work-turned-into-a-full-time-career


 

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


full story ➜

42. Travel experiences ($2.8K/mo)

Andrew Norton started SkyAlliance, a Travel Experiences business. They are now doing $2,800/month.

  • Location: Hertfordshire
  • Revenue: $2,800/ month
  • Started: over 1 year ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

It all started at Heathrow Airport. I was and currently still work at the airport as a security officer in Terminal 5.

When I first started the role I had learned how to develop software, code and also web design. However, I didn’t know what direction of business to pursue with these skills. In the role of a security officer, you interact with the masses of passengers passing through every working day.

It all started at Heathrow Airport. I was and currently still work at the airport as a security officer in Terminal 5.

how-this-airport-security-officer-is-building-a-profitable-travel-search-engine


 

Andrew Norton, on starting SkyAlliance ($2,800/month)


full story ➜

43. More than just botox ($700K/mo)

Scott R. Melamed started ProMD Health, a More Than Just Botox business. They are now doing $700,000/month.

  • Location: Mid-Atlantic
  • Revenue: $700,000/ month
  • Started: over 1 year ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 24

The concept for ProMD Health was initially created by my partner Dr. George Gavrila. Believe it or not, he began by treating toenail fungus using a single laser in a 1 room medical office. He was our first receptionist, medical assistant, and physician. He saved every penny he could from that to get trained in Botox and thus ProMD Health was born. We are now one of if not the largest purchasers of Botox and Dermal fillers in the Mid-Atlantic and one of the top practice groups in the country.

From day one he had the dream of building a company that brought the flourishing industry of Aesthetic Dermatology to more than just the elite while also finding a way to bring the power back to the physician so that they could own their own practice and share in his dream in light of heavy pressure to join ever growing HMOs or multi-physician owned large practice groups.

But he couldn’t do it alone, he recognized the need for a partner.

how-we-started-a-700k-month-aesthetic-dermatology-business


 

Scott R. Melamed, on starting ProMD Health ($700,000/month)


full story ➜

44. Team collaboration apps. ($730K/mo)

Michael Hollauf started Meister, a team collaboration apps. business. They are now doing $730,000/month.

  • Location: Vienna
  • Revenue: $730,000/ month
  • Started: over 13 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 55

It all started about 15 years ago when I worked together with my co-founder Till at another tech company. I was based in London at the time, Till was in New York and later Munich. We both loved IT but had grown a bit bored with our jobs, so we decided to start our own business. The first business was an outsourcing company, where we did web projects for other companies with a Romanian development team. This was good fun but hard work and tough to grow.

At that time the news was that Google had just acquired a company called Writely and turned their product into what is now Google Docs, which we started using almost immediately to collaborate on projects at work. We were also using MindManager, at the time the only serious mind mapping software, to brainstorm product ideas and also to conduct and organize customer meetings. MindManager was a standard OS-dependent program that had to be installed locally and licensed for about $300, which made it very hard to share our mind maps with anybody else, as they would have had to buy the software as well. Also, you couldn’t collaborate at all, which is something quite important for a brainstorming tool.

If your product isn’t sticky, no amount of content marketing will offset your user churn.

how-our-team-collaboration-apps-generate-600k-month


 

Michael Hollauf, on starting Meister ($730,000/month)


full story ➜

45. Bridal accessories rental ($5K/mo)

Brittany Finkle started Happily Ever Borrowed, a Bridal Accessories Rental business. They are now doing $5,000/month.

  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Revenue: $5,000/ month
  • Started: about 9 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

As far as my professional background, I went to Cornell University and studied Fiber Science Apparel Design – a degree based mostly in actual fashion design and construction.

I have three older sisters, and from the age of 12, I always helped plan their weddings. My one sister became engaged while I was at university and asked me to make her wedding dress. That was far too much pressure for me, but I offered to help shop with her.

When I saw the poor quality and construction of the gowns, I was horrified. All women deserve to wear quality products on their wedding day. Charging thousands of dollars for such poor construction was terrible!

starting-a-wedding-accessories-rental-business-and-growing-to-5-000-month


 

Brittany Finkle, on starting Happily Ever Borrowed ($5,000/month)


full story ➜

46. Minimalist travel backpacks ($15K/mo)

Kelly Belknap started Adventurist Backpack Co., a Minimalist Travel Backpacks business. They are now doing $15,000/month.

  • Location: Denver
  • Revenue: $15,000/ month
  • Started: almost 3 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0

We came up with the idea for Adventurist about 3 years ago when Matilda and I were 21 and 24 years old, respectively. Since Matilda is from Sweden, and I’m from the U.S., we spend a lot of time traveling back and forth from North America to Europe (not to mention that we love to travel anywhere whenever we get a chance.) This means that a good backpack for us is an essential.

We had no idea what we were doing and how we were going to get the word out about our new company. But we decided to move forward with the idea and start an Instagram account, the only free way we could think of advertising our new brand.

We are both fans of Scandinavian minimalist design, and I loved the style of all of the backpacks we saw people wearing in Sweden, as well as Denmark, Finland, and Norway. They weren’t just a tool to carry your stuff around in, but also a fashion accessory in which you could accentuate your personal style – and most importantly make your outfit look even better by wearing a backpack, not worse.

how-this-husband-wife-duo-started-a-backpack-brand-that-gives-back


 

Kelly Belknap, on starting Adventurist Backpack Co. ($15,000/month)


full story ➜

47. Leather lingerie. ($1.9K/mo)

Jessica Ding started LoveLornLingerie, a Leather lingerie. business. They are now doing $1,900/month.

  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Revenue: $1,900/ month
  • Started: over 6 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

I graduated from Pratt Institute in 2012 with a degree in fashion design, focusing on costume design.

At the time, I just wanted a job that could support my life in New York City – stability, a salary, healthcare, that whole thing. While I’d have loved to get a job in costume design, that’s tougher to get into without connections.

Being able to change is, in and of itself, a trust in your innate abilities to grow in ANY field, rather than shackling yourself to one particular look.

how-i-started-my-own-lingerie-business-side-hustle


 

Jessica Ding, on starting LoveLornLingerie ($1,900/month)


full story ➜

48. Map posters you design ($3.5K/mo)

Love Regefalk started Mapsery, a Map Posters You Design business. They are now doing $3,500/month.

  • Location: Stockholm
  • Revenue: $3,500/ month
  • Started: over 2 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0

My backstory is that I, during my 2nd year at university, got particularly bored during an exam period and toyed with the idea of starting my own business. In short, I wanted to put the theory from university into practice. Said and done, one month later I had put together a website where I planned to sell beer pong related products that I would import from China. The setup, however, was far from ideal. I kept the stock in my dorm room and I would personally run home from school in the middle of a lecture to hand the orders to the DHL guy every day.

Eventually, I got enough orders to make the move to outsource the logistics to a third-party logistics (3PL) partner. Finally, I didn’t have to handle the orders manually.

Great success!

how-two-brothers-started-a-3-5k-month-side-hustle-sells-custom-maps

49. 3d printers for toys ($200K/mo)

Ben Baltes started Toybox, a 3d printers for toys business. They are now doing $200,000/month.

  • Location: Oakland
  • Revenue: $200,000/ month
  • Started: almost 3 years ago
  • Founders: 4
  • Employees: 3

The process of building the product was brutal and we learned a lot of hard lessons along the way.

There were two major components to this product. First, was the hardware system that powered the product, and second was the software system that enabled kids to print thousands of toys and design their own – both were pretty massive feats of engineering and design.

Given that we were well versed in software and experience design, building the software system was relatively easy compared to the black box that hardware was. Don’t get me wrong, building the entire cloud operating system and bringing in thousands of toys and testing them was very very time consuming but the hardware design, was a whole different animal that we didn’t have the expertise for. We considered designing and building our own in-house because Zach (our CTO) and I had some experience prototyping some, but we quickly found out that product design, manufacturing, and supply chain setup would quickly cost half a million to a million dollars.

on-creating-a-3d-printer-and-creativity-platform-for-kids

50. E-commerce marketing ($12K/mo)

Zac Cherin started Sidekick, a e-commerce marketing business. They are now doing $12,000/month.

  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Revenue: $12,000/ month
  • Started: about 1 year ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 2

During my last year of college at UC Santa Barbara, I started interning at a local startup called Graphiq. As chance would have it, my very first manager was Brendan: the co-founder of Sidekick!

A blossoming friendship and partnership

Brendan and I spent about two years working together at Graphiq (first in Santa Barbara and then in New York) building data visualization products for clients like the Associated Press, Reuters, NBC, and Fox. In the Summer of 2017, Graphiq was acquired by Amazon. Brendan and I spent a year working at Amazon and then in June 2018, we left to start our own company…

how-we-started-a-12k-month-marketing-agency-for-ecommerce

51. Bodysurfing handboards and accessories ($80K/mo)

Angela Watts started Slyde Handboards, a bodysurfing handboards and accessories business. They are now doing $80,000/month.

  • Location: San Clemente, CA
  • Revenue: $80,000/ month
  • Started: over 9 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 3

The Idea of Slyde Handboards started back on the beaches of Cape Town South Africa where I grew up. My Mother would take me and my brother down to the beach a lot to get us out the house. We spent most of the time bodyboarding or bodysurfing. We used to find all sorts of objects that we would use as a planning device to get us a little more speed and lift on the wave from frisbees to flip flops, some worked well others not so much. It wasn’t until my teens that I decided to break open an old surfboard and re-use the foam to shape into a mini handheld board that would later become the very first prototypes for Slyde.

I figured we were the only ones doing this, but It wasn’t until I went travel surfing around the world and met other surfers and water men and women and heard their stories of growing up using all sorts of found objects like lunch trays or even making boards themselves. It was then I realized there was a possible opportunity to create a brand around this awesome growing watersport movement, as no other company was doing this.

There is definitely a defined problem that we solve, in that a handboard is easy to learn, hassle free and fun to take to the beach. The idea was really born from simple enjoyment that I was having using one. It felt almost selfish to not share it with the world. It turns out I wasn’t wrong, because almost immediately we started to form a community and movement as more and more people started to find out about us either online or through friends.

landing-a-200k-shark-tank-investment-and-growing-to-80k-mo


 

Angela Watts, on starting Slyde Handboards ($80,000/month)


full story ➜

52. Junk removal services ($4K/mo)

Matthew Jones started MJ Home and Truck Services, a junk removal services business. They are now doing $4,000/month.

  • Location: Atlanta
  • Revenue: $4,000/ month
  • Started: over 3 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 4

I started in high school at the age of 16 with a dream to make my community a much cleaner place. It branched into business on my 18th birthday, I started to clear trash and junk from in and around people’s homes and/or businesses. I have always had a knack for cleaning and picking up litter off the streets.

I decided to help those who had much bigger items that could not go into a regular trash pickup and haul it away. This helps them get rid of clutter and junk they no longer need. I started to receive payment from picking up junk and trash from my mom and her colleagues first. They are in the construction industry and I would remove construction debris from their job sites in my pickup truck. I would pile as much as I could and what some people would normally only be able to get one load off, I learned how to stack and secure my loads so well that I was getting 2-3 loads at a time increasing my profit.

I purchased a bigger truck for cargo that did better at securing my loads and was closed in a truck which allowed me to be able to work in any weather condition. My main priorities when doing the jobs are to stay in shape, work well with the customers, and provide exemplary service each time. I work fast and we have become very efficient at what we do. We are safe to have in and around your home and people love the experience of working with me and my crew each time.

how-i-started-a-4k-month-junk-removal-service


 

Matthew Jones, on starting MJ Home and Truck Services ($4,000/month)


full story ➜

53. Stuffed animals ($7.5K/mo)

Justin Baum started ZZZ Bears, a Stuffed Animals business. They are now doing $7,500/month.

  • Location: Winston Salem
  • Revenue: $7,500/ month
  • Started: about 5 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

I had no idea how to get a teddy bear made. So I did what anyone in my position would do. I Googled it.

That led me into the abyss, AKA Alibaba. I quickly found a manufacturer in China who was willing to make a small quantity for a reasonable price. We traded emails, thoughts and sketches for a design and finally landed on something I was happy with.

I wired him the money not knowing if I’d actually ever see a bear. After all, I had no idea who this guy was. For all I knew, he was emailing me from his new yacht in Bali, paid in part by me!

how-i-built-a-teddy-bear-business-helping-military-kids-sleep-at-night

54. Custom necklaces ($5K/mo)

Aziza Browne started Aziza Jewelry, a Custom Necklaces business. They are now doing $5,000/month.

  • Location: Asheville, NC
  • Revenue: $5,000/ month
  • Started: ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

I first started making jewelry as a hobby when I was a little girl. My very rudimentary jewelry somehow became popular with family and older friends of the family and they actually bought some of my early jewelry pieces believe it or not! From childhood, I was always very encouraged to continue with my art.

I attended art schools for most of my life and I intended to study jewelry design in college, however, once I started taking jewelry design classes, the program didn’t appeal to me, so I chose to study ceramics instead. After college, though, I resumed my love of jewelry design by taking several types of different classes at various art studios in NYC. I studied all types of jewelry making techniques from glass bead-making to metalsmithing to working with PMC (precious metal clay). After graduating from college, I took about 10 different types of jewelry making classes over the years.

After making connections at a glass bead making studio, called Urban Glass, I gained enough confidence in my designs that I was able to start selling some of my early glass bead jewelry at the Shop at Urban Glass.

how-i-started-a-5k-month-side-hustle-selling-custom-word-necklaces


 

Aziza Browne, on starting Aziza Jewelry ($5,000/month)


full story ➜

55. Adhesive for toy bricks. ($15K/mo)

Tripp Phillips started LeGlue LLC, a Adhesive for toy bricks. business. They are now doing $14,998/month.

  • Location: Dalton Georgia
  • Revenue: $14,998/ month
  • Started: about 5 years ago
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 4

Here is exactly how it started…

My 3rd-grade teacher, Mrs. Martha Thomason, challenged me to write a paper or come up with an invention, so I got motivated to show some creativity. As I told the Sharks, “I did what any logical 9-year-old boy would do, I chose to avoid the writing”.

I came home and said Dad, “I need to make an invention. How in the world do I make one”? Dad told me what now has become our core belief: “ Tripp, you have to Identify a problem and then come up with a solution to fix it.

how-this-13-year-old-made-it-on-shark-tank-and-did-500k-in-sales


 

Tripp Phillips, on starting LeGlue LLC ($14,998/month)


full story ➜

56. Four-way volleyball nets ($190K/mo)

Chris Meade started CROSSNET, a Four-Way Volleyball Nets business. They are now doing $190,000/month.

  • Location: Miami
  • Revenue: $190,000/ month
  • Started: about 3 years ago
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 1

I graduated from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut with a film degree in 2014. Growing up in a small farm town in Woodstock, CT, my dream was always to make it big and become a famous horror movie director. I had such a strong passion for directing and cinematography, but after one cold morning in Chinatown at 4 am on the set of the HBO show GIRLS, I knew that I wasn’t cracked up for that life.

I then took my first sales job in 2015 at a software company in New York City called Contently to pay off my student loans. It ended up being one of the most important things I ever did as I learned invaluable sales and outreach skills that would help me later land deals for CROSSNET with retailers such as DICK’S, Target, Academy, Walmart, and Scheels.

After a lovely layoff in the spring of 2017, I got offered a gig as Uber’s first-ever external Account Executive in their NY HQ helping launching UberEats in Boston and Providence. Through Uber’s relaxed start-up culture and demanding sales quotas, I learned the value of providing autonomy and trust to my future employees and freelancers. Who cares if you take a 20-minute coffee break and take an extra day off if you are hitting 150% of your quota. I have that same mentality for all of my employees, as long as we are hitting our deadlines, putting out high-quality work, there’s no need to add extra stress in anybody’s life.

how-we-invented-a-2-5m-year-four-way-volleyball-net


 

Chris Meade, on starting CROSSNET ($190,000/month)


full story ➜

57. Finance career advice ($140K/mo)

Patrick Curtis started Wall Street Oasis, a Finance Career Advice business. They are now doing $140,000/month.

  • Location: Bay Area CA
  • Revenue: $140,000/ month
  • Started: about 14 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 10

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

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

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

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


 

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


full story ➜

58. Branding design for small businesses ($20K/mo)

Kaila Piepkow started Dox Design, a Branding design for small businesses business. They are now doing $20,000/month.

  • Location: Grand Rapids
  • Revenue: $20,000/ month
  • Started: over 2 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

Dox Design was kind of a happy accident. I had the fortunate experience of working in the agency world after I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree in graphic design, getting into one of the top design agencies in the Midwest and working with some pretty cool national brands.

I was on the fast track to working in a big city like New York which I thought was always my dream… but I quickly realized that working environment wasn’t for me. I hated leaving my dogs every day and working a lot of long nights to meet deadlines for projects that didn’t totally inspire me. So here I was, still a fresh post-grad and thinking my career path isn’t what I thought it was going to be.

Identify where your sales are coming from and put your focus there. In today’s world, it’s really easy to fall into the comparison game and feel like everyone else has it figured out—when in reality, that is far from the truth. Stick to what works for you and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing!

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


 

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


full story ➜

59. Luxury shoes ($80K/mo)

Kartik Gurmule started KASA, a luxury shoes business. They are now doing $80,000/month.

  • Location: Nagpur
  • Revenue: $80,000/ month
  • Started: over 1 year ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

I started KASA as my first company as a 16 years teenager in the summer before high school, although it was not my first business. Since I was 12 years old, I traded social media accounts (Instagrams/Youtube) and gaming accounts, where I grew accounts with my friend and sold them to clients. We were making over $10,000 per month profit at that age.

When secondary school ended, I came to know about FlightClub, StockX, and Sneakerdon and got introduced to the sneaker culture around the world. With my connections made in the previous venture, I was able to get inside contacts in big sneaker brands who could supply me with the shoes skipping the waiting line.

But, due to strict Indian customs and taxations, this business failed in the first month itself. I was able to import the shoes at my home but was unable to sell for a good profit because it charged high custom fees and high international courier charges as potential customers were in the USA.

how-i-started-a-80k-month-luxury-shoes-and-accessories-brand

60. Dress shirts ($5K/mo)

Tanya Zhang started Nimble Made, a Dress Shirts business. They are now doing $5,000/month.

  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Revenue: $5,000/ month
  • Started: over 1 year ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0

Born and raised in LA, I have STEM education in Interdisciplinary Computing & the Arts from UC San Diego and Minor in Writing. I started my career as an art director working on integrated creative ad campaigns at TBWACHIATDAY NY. I moved on to be the first brand hire at fintech start-up Better.com. Most recently, I was a Senior UX/UI (user-centric interaction design and user experience) consultant advising for financial services clients at Ernst & Young LLP.

There are so many obstacles to overcome and take on on a daily basis and having the perseverance to get through them is, honestly, most of the battle.

My co-founder Wesley Kang is a slimmer Taiwanese-American who was at the time working in finance and had to wear a dress shirt every day to work. He often had a hard time finding a well-fitting dress shirt off-the-rack that fit his build at 5’5” in height and 140 lbs in weight. I saw the same issue with my father who immigrated to the states from China and always stated that “American dress shirts didn’t fit [him]” because they were either too baggy, long in length, or had excess fabric when tucked at the waist. Traditional dress shirt retailers size through a function of neck size and sleeve length e.g. 14.5” neck / 32 sleeve length (usually the smallest size offered… which was still too large for Wesley) and we knew we could create something better for slimmer guys who’ve felt averaged out by the dress shirt industry.

how-we-started-a-5k-month-actually-slim-dress-shirts-brand


 

Tanya Zhang, on starting Nimble Made ($5,000/month)


full story ➜

61. Entrepreneur podcast. ($170K/mo)

John Lee Dumas started Entrepreneurs on Fire, a Entrepreneur podcast. business. They are now doing $170,000/month.

  • Location: Puerto Rico
  • Revenue: $170,000/ month
  • Started: almost 8 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 4

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

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

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

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


 

John Lee Dumas, on starting Entrepreneurs on Fire ($170,000/month)


full story ➜

62. Ice cream ($16K/mo)

Stephen Layton started The Good Scoop, a ice cream business. They are now doing $16,000/month.

  • Location: Sacramento
  • Revenue: $16,000/ month
  • Started: over 4 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 1

The backstory for The Good Scoop is that one of my good buddies from school and I were kicking around the idea of starting a business together, we went through a lot of different concepts and ideas along the way. After some time, we came upon ice cream. The conversation actually started with the idea of us buying out an existing ice cream shop in the Sacramento area but quickly evolved into making our own. We started making ice cream on the weekends and having a lot of fun while doing. Then came the realization that this might be a great business that could help put smiles on people’s faces.

I had been working in the consulting industry for a number of years and I knew I wanted to do something different with my life when I went to Portland Oregon to visit some friends in February. They took us down to Salt & Straw ice cream and the line was out the door even though it was a rainy Portland winter’s evening. That really got me thinking, if an ice cream shop could be that busy in the winter in Portland, how about the summer in the Central Valley of California?

When I returned back to Sacramento, I really dove into the local market looking at who was there making ice cream and although there were a lot of really great ice cream shops in the region, I felt like there was some room for some innovation along the lines of what some scoop shops in New York City, Los Angeles, and Portland were making. It was from these ideas, and playing around with the concept that I decided to help bring artisan ice cream to the Sacramento region. There are a number of other individuals in this area working in the same market, which I personally think is great. I think the more Artisan ice cream makers we have the better off we all are.

on-starting-a-16k-month-handmade-natural-ice-cream-business


 

Stephen Layton, on starting The Good Scoop ($16,000/month)


full story ➜

63. Digital financial products and courses ($20K/mo)

Kelan Kline started The Savvy Couple, a Digital Financial Products and Courses business. They are now doing $20,000/month.

  • Location: Rochester New York
  • Revenue: $20,000/ month
  • Started: almost 4 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 2

I was your average kid growing up wanting to be a police officer and changing the world one bad guy at a time. Brittany also knew what she wanted to be when she grew up, a teacher.

After meeting each other in 9th grade American Sign Language class the rest is history. We started dating at age fourteen and have never looked back. Best friends would be an understatement.

how-this-28-year-old-couple-quit-their-jobs-and-make-20k-month-running-a-blog


 

Kelan Kline, on starting The Savvy Couple ($20,000/month)


full story ➜

64. Invest in pop culture collectibles ($7.5K/mo)

Joe Mahavuthivanij started Mythic Markets, a Invest In Pop Culture Collectibles business. They are now doing $7,500/month.

  • Location: San Francisco
  • Revenue: $7,500/ month
  • Started: over 2 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 3

I was born and raised in the Bay Area (California), and studied Psychology at UCSD. Professionally, my background is in product management and business development at startups of all stages. I also worked in venture capital for a few years prior to starting Mythic Markets, which was a rare opportunity to work with amazing partners and experience life on the other side of the table.

If you’ve kept up with the growth of Comic-Con, Marvel, esports, and nostalgic games like Pokemon, you know that pop culture fandom is stronger than ever. As a result, some of those comic books and trading cards you loved as a kid has become pretty valuable.

Don’t become an entrepreneur because you want to make a lot of money. It’s hyper risky and the vast majority of businesses fail. Do it because you’re obsessed with solving a deep problem that you’re extremely passionate about.

how-we-raised-2-25m-to-build-an-investment-platform-for-pop-culture-collectibles


 

Joe Mahavuthivanij, on starting Mythic Markets ($7,500/month)


full story ➜

65. Scheduling for maid services ($67K/mo)

Amar Ghose started ZenMaid, a Scheduling for Maid Services business. They are now doing $67,000/month.

  • Location: Palo Alto
  • Revenue: $67,000/ month
  • Started: about 7 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 6

I’ve always been quite entrepreneurial. I started as a kid selling candy to my middle school friends actually. Despite that I hadn’t been able to create a real business that really stuck until ZenMaid.

In 2012 I came across a post on Reddit. A guy was starting his own maid service and documenting the entire thing. By chance a friend of mine saw the same post and started working on the technical side of the business (building a website and etc). My friend quickly realized that he didn’t want to deal with the people side of the business however. He tagged me in to help with operations and sales/marketing. From there I was quite quickly made an equal partner as he had yet to launch.

Don’t fall into the classic trap of spending months building or working on something, only to find out when you launch that no one is interested.

At the time I was doing sales for a tech startup so closing business by phone was my jam. From there I quickly learned basic man management skills to work with our cleaners.

Fast forward 1 year and I was no longer living locally. I’d moved closer to home (the SF Bay Area) for a much better day job. I was 400 miles away from our maid service and that caused tension with my partner. Ultimately I gave up my portion of the maid service (which shut down shortly thereafter).

It was at this point that another friend approached me about what became ZenMaid. He felt he could build a better management platform than the one he’d seen me using. And he was confident that I could sell and market the software given my skill set and industry knowledge.

Hence ZenMaid was born (initially named MaidDesk though I doubt that’s ever been mentioned anywhere publicly before now 🙂 )

how-we-validated-and-grew-a-saas-for-maid-services-to-500k-year

66. Premium menswear ($300K/mo)

Valentin Ozich started I Love Ugly, a Premium menswear business. They are now doing $300,000/month.

  • Location: Auckland City
  • Revenue: $300,000/ month
  • Started: over 11 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 20

I began I Love Ugly as a clothing brand in 2008. Prior to that, it was a magazine interviewing artists that I found on MySpace.

I knew nothing about clothing, but I could see what the silhouettes and designs looked like in my head.

I quickly found out there was little money to be made in magazines and for some reason felt clothing would be an interesting space to play in, and I Love Ugly would be a very intriguing name for a fashion brand. Although I studied Graphic Design, I knew nothing about clothing, but I could see what the silhouettes and design looked like in my head, plus I was a pretty good illustrator and had graphics ready to be printed on T-Shirts. I had no interest to learn how to sew, as I knew it would slow me down while I was growing the business. Instead, I went out and looked for someone that could, and discovered the art of delegating. Most people think that when you start out you need to know how to make the product, but it’s not necessarily true. I believe it’s more important to have a vision of what you want and learn how to get other people to make it.

how-i-started-3-6m-new-zealand-fashion-brand-i-love-ugly


 

Valentin Ozich, on starting I Love Ugly ($300,000/month)


full story ➜

67. Field sales route planner software. ($270K/mo)

Steve Benson started Badger Maps, a Field sales route planner software. business. They are now doing $270,000/month.

  • Location: San Francisco, California
  • Revenue: $270,000/ month
  • Started: over 8 years ago
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 42

I started the company in 2012 because I saw a problem that I thought could be solved with software.

My background was in field sales, so I understood the problem than this end user had. I started this company to solve the problem I had faced as a rep.

You should work for large companies for only a very short amount of time. You tend to learn all you are going to learn in large organizations very quickly, then once you can do the task that you are going to do, it becomes ‘rinse, wash, repeat’.

badger-maps-building-a-sales-route-planning-app-to-3-3m-arr


 

Steve Benson, on starting Badger Maps ($270,000/month)


full story ➜

68. Smart camera ($1M/mo)

Yun Zhang started Wyze Cam, a Smart camera business. They are now doing $1,000,000/month.

  • Location: Kirkland, WA
  • Revenue: $1,000,000/ month
  • Started: about 3 years ago
  • Founders: 4
  • Employees: 30

Wyze has four co-founders and we all met while working at Amazon. As a team, we have a very deep understanding of retail operations, including both e-commerce and big box chains. Team members have worked at Microsoft, Best Buy, REI, Groupon, etc. At each of these companies, as well as Amazon, roles varied between team members. Some of our team members have expertise in operations, some in marketing, some in sales, and so on. We complement each other very well when we bring it all together. This is absolutely at the core of our success since we are able to see problems from many angles and perspectives.

We discovered that in the smart home market, customers only have two options:

  1. Expensive premium brands
  2. Cheap, low quality me-too brands with little-to-no customer service.

going-viral-and-selling-300-000-cameras-in-6-months


 

Yun Zhang, on starting Wyze Cam ($1,000,000/month)


full story ➜

69. Natural prepared meals ($300K/mo)

Michael Martinez started Eat Clean LLC, a Natural Prepared Meals business. They are now doing $300,000/month.

  • Location: Fort Lauderdale
  • Revenue: $300,000/ month
  • Started: over 5 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 68

The idea came from my desire to enjoy healthy foods as well as to help others live a healthy lifestyle. I did not have a background in preparing food although my roommate at the time was a chef and helped start the business and prepare our original menus.

Do whatever is necessary to be able to grow your business and usually, it takes a lot of sacrifices that are not fun at the time but when you look back on it your proud that you actually did go the extra mile.

At the time the business was started I was fresh out of college renting an apartment. I actually had to downsize and move into a mobile home due to the massive cost of starting a food business.

on-moving-to-a-mobile-home-to-save-and-start-a-300k-month-healthy-meals-delivery-service


 

Michael Martinez, on starting Eat Clean LLC ($300,000/month)


full story ➜

70. Dog-themed chocolate. ($12K/mo)

Sarah Gross Feoli started Rescue Chocolate, a Dog-themed chocolate. business. They are now doing $12,000/month.

  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Revenue: $12,000/ month
  • Started: over 10 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

I’ve always been interested in animal welfare, and grew up with at least one or two dogs in the house at all times. During middle school and high school, I volunteered at my local animal shelter in Shreveport, Louisiana. I also became a vegetarian and then a vegan during those years. (I chose the vegan lifestyle primarily out of compassion for animals. Later I learned that it is also beneficial to the environment and one’s health as well.)

My love for chocolate didn’t happen until my mid 20s, after I had moved to New York. I enjoyed visiting the artisan chocolatiers in the city and sampling exotic varieties. For a short time, I worked at a raw vegan chocolate factory in Queens where I developed a best-selling flavor.

Then I adopted a homeless pit bull.

selling-dog-themed-chocolate-and-donating-all-profits-to-animal-rescue


 

Sarah Gross Feoli, on starting Rescue Chocolate ($12,000/month)


full story ➜

71. Mexican hammocks ($240/mo)

Ben Hancock started Maca, a Mexican Hammocks business. They are now doing $240/month.

  • Location:
  • Revenue: $240/ month
  • Started: about 3 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

Growing up in the wave of awesome companies like Airbnb, Instagram, Doordash, Facebook, Uber, etc. (too many to name), it was hard for me not to pay attention. I loved watching and reading about how big ideas turned into big companies and how these companies impact society and change the way we live and behave.

Being a solo founder is hard enough as it is, surround yourself with supportive, honest and like-minded people. It takes extreme discipline to keep up with a side project when you’re the only one held accountable.

Maybe it was just watching “The Social Network” one to many times, but building something from scratch and paving my own way has always been an attractive pursuit to me. I might just be another person on the “entrepreneurship” bandwagon but it doesn’t take away the fact that I’m extremely passionate and pour my heart into Maca.

on-starting-a-handmade-mexican-travel-hammocks-business

72. Front of house logistics. ($40K/mo)

Celeste Durve started VIPER by KCH, a Front of house logistics. business. They are now doing $40,000/month.

  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Revenue: $40,000/ month
  • Started: over 3 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0

Both of us were interns and freelance production assistants when we developed the idea for VIPER. We met while interning for Bolthouse Productions in 2014, a popular nightlife company.

We were working as production assistants on the side and were overworked and underpaid but we both had a ton of drive and ambition. One night towards the end of 2015, we bumped into each other while working the same event and were surprised to see the other person working.

In order to get this off the ground, we kept side jobs and pushed all the money back into the company and paying our staff.

this-all-female-entrepreneur-team-is-redefining-los-angeles-nightlife


 

Celeste Durve, on starting VIPER by KCH ($40,000/month)


full story ➜

73. Special event design and production ($333K/mo)

Natasha Miller started Entire Productions, a Special Event Design and Production business. They are now doing $333,300/month.

  • Location: San Francisco
  • Revenue: $333,300/ month
  • Started: over 19 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 12

I thought that I’d be a performing artist touring the world and although I did leave a mark with my performances at esteemed concert venues and recorded 7 CD’s that I produced under my boutique label Poignant Records, I found myself being double and triple booked for private parties (this is how many musicians add to their income when not touring, recording or teaching).

I didn’t take a salary for years which in hindsight was a mistake. Even a modest, regular salary is something I’d suggest for anyone starting their business.

Instead of turning down the business I’d explain to my clients that I was already booked but I could bring to their event a group that was as good as mine if not better and manage the whole process. What I didn’t know at the time was that I was creating a mini empire and becoming a budding entrepreneur.

how-natasha-miller-started-a-4m-event-management-company


 

Natasha Miller, on starting Entire Productions ($333,300/month)


full story ➜

74. Weighted blanket ($250K/mo)

Robin started Luna Wellness, a Weighted Blanket business. They are now doing $250,000/month.

  • Location: New York
  • Revenue: $250,000/ month
  • Started: over 2 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 2

I’m a Dallas native and came up to the east coast to attend college at Cornell. I got my start in real estate/finance straight out of college, and am currently at a hedge fund in New York City (expected to quit this month).

Being in this environment and industry resulted in anxiety in my daily life and began to affect my sleep quality to the point where I would wake up several times a night. I tried meditation, white noise machines, melatonin supplements, you name it.

When I got back from the China trip, we immediately put in a small order of about 500 blankets. We decided that we would start Luna exclusively on Amazon as that seemed to be the fastest way to enter the market.

how-we-grew-our-weighted-blanket-product-to-250k-month

75. Curated itineraries ($5K/mo)

Chris waters started Constructed Adventures, a Curated Itineraries business. They are now doing $5,000/month.

  • Location: International
  • Revenue: $5,000/ month
  • Started: over 4 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 1

I was always that guy trying to create a fun experience for people. I hated the idea of waking up and knowing EXACTLY how the day is going to pan out (drive to work, meeting, lunch, get yelled at by clients, drive home, watch tv, go to bed. Rinse and repeat every day for the rest of your life) So I would be the one kidnapping people on their birthdays, putting googly eyes on every picture in the office, etc.

“I hated the idea of waking up and knowing EXACTLY how the day is going to pan out (drive to work, meeting, lunch, get yelled at by clients, drive home, watch tv, go to bed. Rinse and repeat every day for the rest of your life)”

The business kind of happened by accident. It all started with the Reddit Secret santa gift exchange. (here’s the wikipedia) In short, 100k people sign up, get matched with someone, and send them a gift for the holidays! I’d been participating for years. I’d sent and received some really incredible gifts.

how-i-make-a-living-constructing-the-perfect-day-for-random-strangers


 

Chris waters, on starting Constructed Adventures ($5,000/month)


full story ➜

76. European tech coverage ($1K/mo)

Gonzalo started Seedtable, a European Tech Coverage business. They are now doing $1,000/month.

  • Location: Europe
  • Revenue: $1,000/ month
  • Started: over 1 year ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

I was born and raised in Argentina, but I was lucky enough to live in Cincinnati, Milano, Barcelona, and Paris.

I started building and selling websites in high-school but stopped when I went to college. I studied architecture and economics but dropped out midway when my first startup (DTC eCommerce before DTC was cool) got funded.

After a couple of unsuccessful attempts at a million-dollar exit, I started doing growth and content for various startups. In 2018, right as I started thinking about European tech, I was living in Paris and working remotely for an Estonian company.

how-i-launched-a-1k-month-newsletter-covering-european-tech

77. Patches ($6.5K/mo)

Cailey Golden started The Patchsmith, a patches business. They are now doing $6,500/month.

  • Location: New York City
  • Revenue: $6,500/ month
  • Started: almost 3 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

I’ve been in the customization industry for over 10 years. I started with screen printing first. Eventually I was hired to work for the Yankees and was taught how to embroider caps. A company reached out to me for a production embroidery job and I accepted. I was taught how to run production but was left alone a lot. I ended up teaching myself a lot of different embroidery methods, it was also the place I made my first patch. I ended up creating patches for my supporters club of the local MLS team, NYCFC, and sold them for $7 each. I stopped after a few months and didn’t think about patches for awhile.

In 2017 I was going through a huge change in my life, a previous employer in the City attempted to permanently remove me from the industry, very unsuccessfully. I’d say it’s part of the reason why I’ve been able to be as successful as I have been so far. I spent months grasping at straws to come up with a business idea that I knew could do while keeping my mind busy while I was on a rollercoaster of repercussions from that employer.

I was in the bank one day after work and was sitting down with a representative, I did that a few months prior with the same guy and we spoke a bit about my career. This time he asked me if I was able to embroider patches for his fantasy football league called “Fight Club”. It was the first time anyone had ever asked for patches, I had no idea what to charge him but I knew I could definitely do it. I said yes and charged him $6 per patch for 25 of them. He was all too excited and agreed. I had no idea if I undercharged, overcharged or was right on the money but it was too easy. I was completely hooked.

how-i-m-turning-my-patch-embroidery-side-project-into-a-full-time-business


 

Cailey Golden, on starting The Patchsmith ($6,500/month)


full story ➜

78. Prank greeting cards ($50K/mo)

Travis Peterson started Joker Greeting, a Prank greeting cards business. They are now doing $50,000/month.

  • Location: Irvine, California
  • Revenue: $50,000/ month
  • Started: about 5 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0

My background is in finance. I worked in investment banking for six years in New York. I loved the job, the people, and the hours. But as a service job I wanted to be making things not just helping others make things. This desire has led me to where I am today.

My brother and I have always loved to make fun of everything. Around 2014, we visited my mom’s house and she had this musical greeting card. We thought it was annoying. We asked each other, “Who wants to listen to this!?” Then Nick asked, “What if it didn’t stop?”

That was it. Nothing more. No market research.

launching-a-prank-card-and-growing-to-30k-mo


 

Travis Peterson, on starting Joker Greeting ($50,000/month)


full story ➜

79. Remote recruitment services. ($290K/mo)

Sharon Koifman started Distant Job, a remote recruitment services. business. They are now doing $290,000/month.

  • Location: Montreal
  • Revenue: $290,000/ month
  • Started: about 12 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 22

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


 

Sharon Koifman, on starting Distant Job ($290,000/month)


full story ➜

80. Women’s shoes. ($75K/mo)

Tanya Heath started Tanya Heath, a Women’s shoes. business. They are now doing $75,000/month.

  • Location: Paris, France
  • Revenue: $75,000/ month
  • Started: over 10 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 6

I started my professional life as a anglophone working in Paris France. The first day that I came to work I changed from ballerinas to high heels at my desk. My French colleagues found this ridiculous and they called me “the New Yorker” (Paris is the only city in the world where this is an insult).

Product development took a long time. I had to hold 4 entire years without a single sale and no venture capital so I was paying for everything myself.

Because I knew my life would be here (my husband is French) and I was trying to integrate into my new surroundings, I stopped wearing flats while walking, and spent the next 10 years including work, travel, babies and everything else that life throws at you, wearing high heels.

how-tanya-heath-invented-stilettos-with-removable-heels


 

Tanya Heath, on starting Tanya Heath ($75,000/month)


full story ➜

81. Online magazine. ($1.5K/mo)

Drew Williams started SWAGGER Magazine, a Online magazine. business. They are now doing $1,500/month.

  • Location: Toronto
  • Revenue: $1,500/ month
  • Started: over 13 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 10

Honestly, the idea started as a hobby.

When I started the blog in 2007, it was meant to be an alternative to the major men’s magazines on shelves because the magazine industry still hadn’t fully accepted the fact that everything was going digital and that print would be dying a slow and painful death. I wanted men to have access to cool guy things online, as well as dating advice, with a focus on realistic male acquisitions instead of focusing on things your average guy could not afford. Promoting the “fake it till you make it mentality”.

I had worked for a magazine called Performance Auto and Sound Magazine pasmag.com, so I had in-depth knowledge about the business from a print perspective.

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


 

Drew Williams, on starting SWAGGER Magazine ($1,500/month)


full story ➜

82. Video production content strategy ($166K/mo)

Henry Finn started Luminous, a video production content strategy business. They are now doing $166,000/month.

  • Location: San Francisco
  • Revenue: $166,000/ month
  • Started: over 6 years ago
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 4

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

83. Online fitness coaching. ($2K/mo)

Oliver Anwar started Ro Anwar Fitness, a Online fitness coaching. business. They are now doing $2,000/month.

  • Location: London
  • Revenue: $2,000/ month
  • Started: over 2 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1

Growing up as a kid I was always active and fit and had a huge passion for football (soccer). I played a high level of football for most of my child/teen years – playing for both Bristol City Academy and Bristol Rovers Centre of Excellence growing up (this is the highest level of youth football in the UK). When I got to 16/17, I, unfortunately, didn’t make it as a professional footballer so began starting to train in the gym and I realized early on this was something I was going to invest my life into.

I was sat on a friend’s sofa one summer and he was looking on his laptop at domains. He told me that the website www.roanwarfitness.com was available for £0.01. Having experience training myself and friends and family I saw an opportunity to begin a blog to share my fitness story. Over summer as I built this website purely by myself, I realized I could create a business from selling online training and nutrition plans and therefore coaching people online.

The early stages of my website

how-i-channeled-my-passion-for-fitness-into-a-successful-online-business


 

Oliver Anwar, on starting Ro Anwar Fitness ($2,000/month)


full story ➜

84. Fulfilling life design services. ($10K/mo)

Zack Arnold started Optimize Yourself, a Fulfilling life design services. business. They are now doing $10,000/month.

  • Location: Woodland Hills
  • Revenue: $10,000/ month
  • Started: about 6 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0

My journey began just short of 15 years ago sitting in a dark room after midnight with my head in my hands thinking about whether or not I’d rather be alive or dead. I was thinking to myself “I can’t live like this anymore” after having spent the last several months working 7 days per week (with no days off at all) and 16+ hours a day editing an independent feature film. I was severely depressed, anxious, I couldn’t sleep, and I didn’t understand how at just 25 years old I could feel like I was 100.

After finishing that project I decided that no career goal is worth it if I ended up wanting to be dead, so I began my journey down the rabbit hole of better health. My theory was that I could blend my knowledge of high-performance athletics (I was formerly very active in martial arts and yoga) with intense, stressful creative work and make what was at the time a very sedentary lifestyle into something much more active.

In short, I was tired of treating myself like a Ford Pinto. So I decided to treat myself like a Ferrari.

how-i-generated-150k-with-an-online-coaching-side-project


 

Zack Arnold, on starting Optimize Yourself ($10,000/month)


full story ➜

85. Luxury italian leather bags. ($300K/mo)

William Forshaw started Maxwell Scott Bags Ltd, a Luxury Italian leather bags. business. They are now doing $300,000/month.

  • Location: York
  • Revenue: $300,000/ month
  • Started: over 18 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 14

After university, I attempted different jobs but nothing seemed to suit me and I saw no career potential. After I had been made redundant from the advertising industry after only 12 months, I knew that I needed to refocus and find a path that I felt truly passionate about.

It was on a holiday to Italy that I realized that those plastic carrier bags and poor-quality briefcases, that I had seen my corporate colleagues carrying, were an opportunity to offer a better option.

The hardest part of designing any product is working out exactly what the customer wants and needs. You can design a product which you think is amazing and yet, your audience is not as receptive as you thought.

3-6m-per-year-selling-luxury-italian-leather-bags


 

William Forshaw, on starting Maxwell Scott Bags Ltd ($300,000/month)


full story ➜

86. Wireframing software ($550K/mo)

Natalie Gould started Balsamiq, a Wireframing Software business. They are now doing $550,000/month.

  • Location: Bologna
  • Revenue: $550,000/ month
  • Started: about 12 years ago
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 33

That company value starts out:

“Our team is filled with talented, skilled, and knowledgeable people, but we are also humble enough to know that there is always something more to learn – something that can be improved.”

Learning and constant improvement are important to us, but also in telling our story. There is a tendency to look at startup success as coming from a single moment’s inspired idea and perhaps from one individual genius founder. When Peldi launched Balsamiq Mockups in 2008, it may have appeared from the outside as an overnight success.

how-we-started-a-550k-month-wireframing-software-company


 

Natalie Gould, on starting Balsamiq ($550,000/month)


full story ➜



Source link