26 Business Ideas for Creative People

Part of being an entrepreneur is being creative, but some may strive to make creativity their focal point. Are you interested in entering a market space that celebrates design, innovation, and expression? Well look no further than our list of creative business ideas.

Creative Business Ideas:

From performing arts, to writing, to crafting, this is our detailed guide for creative business ideas!

1. Candle Making Business

Candle Making Business Image

Although considered to be commodity items, candles can become their own art form with the right creative touch. Potential entrepreneurs should experiment with scents, colors and molds to create something with a unique appeal and worthy of premium pricing.

Profit margins of 50% or higher are very possible. Cost of materials is not particularly high, but make sure you can fully invest the time required to make your business profitable. Candlemaking is a very general field, so create differentiation through the kinds of candles you sell (pillar, floating, votive, tea, etc.), or through the quality of your offering.

Learn how to start a candle making business.

2. Craft Store

Craft Store Image

Creative entrepreneurs that are interested in supplying for multiple art forms might consider starting their own craft store. Craft stores typically make money by buying craft supplies in bulk at wholesale prices and reselling them at a profit. Another, less common way this type of business makes money is by designing and creating original arts and crafts products. Some stores also offer classes in sewing or quilting.

The profits from craft store businesses vary widely, depending on the cost of materials and pricing. Large chains can make upwards of a billion dollars in profits yearly, and while your store will make significantly less than this, it does indicate that there is a very profitable market for craft supplies.

Learn how to start a craft store.

3. Quilt Business

Quilt Business Image

For individuals who enjoy sewing or seamstress work, have some artistic talent, or have an eye for patterning and organizing ideas into a tangible object, quilting can be the perfect career. Customer special orders and existing quilt repairs will occupy a large amount of the working time and, subsequently, will dominate the revenue stream.

Most quilts sell for a minimum of $350. If you are able to produce two quilts a week, this will generate a revenue of almost $37,000 (ongoing expenses not included). If you are able to produce two quilts at $500 a piece, your revenue jumps to over $50,000. Many long-time quilters report creating up to ten quilts in any given week.

Learn how to start a quilt business.

Ready to form your LLC? Check out the Top LLC Formation Services

And, use our free tools to help start your business:

4. Sewing Business

Sewing Business Image

People who enjoy creating fashion and helping people achieve the confidence that comes with looking their best. Many fashions are not ideal for all body types and sizes, and sewing businesses provide an alternative for people who do not conform to existing rigid size measurements.

A small single-person sewing business can earn an annual income ranging from between $18,000 and $67,000, depending upon experience, location, and the type of equipment the business owns. With one or more employees, a sewing business can earn much more, and some become successful enough to provide enough to provide franchise opportunities.

Learn how to start a sewing business.

5. Etsy Entrepreneur Business

Etsy Entrepreneur Business Image

Anyone who enjoys making handmade goods or finding vintage items might enjoy running an Etsy entrepreneur business. This is a great outlet for artists of all kinds looking to sell their works.

An Etsy entrepreneur business makes money by selling handmade or vintage goods. Most businesses sell only to customers, but Etsy has a platform for launching into wholesale. How much Etsy entrepreneur businesses make varies. Some businesses have only a couple of sales per month or even per year. Others have hundreds of sales each day. The most successful businesses bring in well over six figures a year.

Learn how to start an Etsy entrepreneur business.

6. Children's Book Business

Children's Book Business Image

Entrepreneurs who have written or are planning to write their own children’s book(s) might consider starting their own children's book business. Some business owners first try to publish their stories through traditional publishers, and others go directly into self-publishing. Kids are surprisingly not the target market for children’s books. Instead, it’s parents, schools, and libraries -- as they’re the ones who actually purchase books.

With a successful title, a children's book business can bring in six-figure revenues. While these stories are typically sold as hardcover or paperback books, entrepreneurs might also consider adding ebooks to their repertoire to maximize revenue.

Learn how to start a children's book business.

7. Freelance Writing Business

Freelance Writing Business Image

Individuals with an affinity for the written word, are voracious readers, enjoy expressing themselves, and have a way with words should give consideration to working as a freelance writer. Freelance writers must meet tight deadlines, satisfy clients' nuanced demands, and create captivating content. Expect to research a variety of topics as well as work in different writing tones.

A freelance writer can make upwards of $20,000 or more in their first year. Stick with the business and you can earn $30,000 or more in subsequent years. Continue to add clients and you might reach the $50,000 mark or higher after several years of hard work.

Learn how to start a freelance writing business.

8. Online Magazine

Online Magazine Image

Writers with a knack for creating niche content can find themselves in a good position to start their own online magazine. Successful online magazine publishers have a skill set that includes the talents of a writer, editor, web developer, webmaster, advertising salesperson, and business person.

Most online magazines provide free content. Revenue is generated through advertising. Ad programs like Google AdSense will pay you on a per-click basis for ads that you allow to be hosted on your digital real estate. Therefore, your profit will mainly depend on the amount of ad revenue you receive. As you grow, you might also have to consider hiring designers, editors, and artists.

Learn how to start an online magazine.

9. Screenwriting Business

Screenwriting Business Image

Next on our list of creative business ideas is a screenwriting business. Entrepreneurs with a love for both film and writing might consider delving into screenwriting. This business is excellent for someone who understands how a movie comes together on the big screen. They should love to put their own creative twist on stories, whether they're new and bold or a tale as old as time. Screenwriters need to understand what audiences are looking for, and how to merge their creative vision with public demand.

Most screenwriters start out making little, or by selling their work based on eventual sales. However, top screenplays that attract millions of movie-goers can draw huge numbers. Since upstart costs and ongoing expenses are so small, screenwriters make extreme profits. For the top sellers in Hollywood, they may be able to make up to four million a year or so.

Learn how to start a screenwriting business.

10. Young Adult Book Business

Young Adult Book Business Image

Young adult books are targeted toward adolescents. Creative entrepreneurs who want to get into this booming market should have a love for literature as well as an eye for engaging, teen-appropriate content. They should have active imaginations and appreciate interesting or unusual characters. Even if you're not planning to do the actual writing yourself, you'll need to be able to spot those who can.

Profit margins can vary based on the materials of the book, the advance of the author, and the promotion strategy for the book. The profits can be unlimited for a young adult book business if they score a must-have book like Harry Potter or The Hunger Games. However, most authors and publishers will see more modest returns on each printing.

Learn how to start a young adult book business.

11. 3D Printing Design Business

3D Printing Design Business Image

Artisitic entrepreneurs who have created physical works (such as statues and carvings) before may find success in the world of 3D printing. Arguably, the most important part of this job is being able to take a good idea and use a combination of software and artistic skill to make it into a reality. A 3D printing business makes money by printing and delivering 3D versions of shapes and objects to customers. You may also make money by taking design requests from customers who cannot find the shapes they want printed anywhere else.

The exact amount of profit you can make is difficult to determine. Regardless, your actual profit is like that of any other specialty shop: if you find the right combination of diverse products, niche markets, and relevant advertising, and the sky is the limit on your profit.

Learn how to start a 3D printing business.

12. Clothing Line

Clothing Line Image

Clothing line founders have an artistic vision and see clothing as their medium. They see clothing as a way to allow others to tap into their own expressive selves. For most profitable clothing lines, this means creating thousands of the same shirt, pair of jeans, or socks through a mass manufacturing process. The elite boutiques found in Hollywood or in Paris cater to a very select clientele who eagerly pay a premium for their unique fashions.

Your pair of pants sold to a large national retailer may see a profit of one or two dollars per unit. The tailored suit sold on Fifth Avenue will profit a thousand dollars. You may sell a thousand pairs of the $2 pants, but only twenty of the suit. In both cases, volume will determine your final profit.

Learn how to start a clothing line.

13. Graphic Design Business

Graphic Design Business Image

Entrepreneurs interested in graphic design are typically artistically minded people. They are adept at managing the aesthetics of the way their business and organizational clients address their various markets, communicating creative ideas and executing design decisions independently or through employees or vendors. Graphic design studio owners charge their clients an hourly rate or bill by a flat fee based on their hourly rate. If there are ongoing assignments they might negotiate a monthly retainer.

Experts say that a graphic design studio must make at least a 15% profit margin and that a preferred rate is 50% or higher. That’s based on the rate you’ll charge your clients minus the out-of-pocket costs to get the job done: your employees’ hourly rate or the costs of hiring freelancers to complete the job.

Learn how to start a graphic design business.

14. Shoe Line

Shoe Line Image

An entrepreneur who starts a shoe line will be able to match their ideas to the current public taste. They’ll also have an inherent love of shoes, as well as a sense of how to create footwear to fit a variety of types of feet/body types. Shoe lines have a profit margin on each pair sold. Each designer will set their own profit margin based on the cost of production and the demand of their designs.

The average profits for a shoe line is about 40%, so the profit margins are extremely enticing to newcomers. Should you sell 200 pairs at $400, you would make approximately $40,000 in profit a year.

Learn how to start a shoe line.

15. Sunglasses Line

Sunglasses Line Image

Sunglasses are as much about fashion as they are about protection from UV rays. An ideal owner will create a unique look that still manages to fit the popular trends of the day. They should also have a certain amount of people skills, as they may need to network with manufacturers and distributors.

Sunglasses famously have some of the best profit margins a business owner could hope for. The more popular and rare a particular product is, the higher the profit margin can go. Top sunglasses can be sold for $400,000 or more, though the average line sells for between $100 and $300.

Learn how to start a sunglasses line.

16. Web Design Business

Web Design Business Image

If you’re a technological innovator, who’s ready to begin building towards success, web design is a tremendous industry. As a web design business owner, it’s critical to possess determination, meticulousness, and creativity. Your web design business will generate revenue through each website designed and/or service provided.

Your fees depend upon the specifics of the project and your client’s individual needs. Projects can range anywhere from $3,500 to over $40,000. The average profit of a freelance web designer is almost $75,000 annually. Imagine the possibilities if you had a team of talent and were able to offer a diverse set of services.

Learn how to start a web design business.

17. Interior Design Business

Interior Design Business Image

Intuitive entrepreneurs with an in-depth understanding of color usage, textures, furniture styles, artwork, lighting, fashion trends, eco-materials, and indoor plants may find themselves well-suited to interior design. You must align your own view of what the interior space will be made to look like with the client’s preferences and needs, so that you are both satisfied with the results.

The total profit depends on the number of interior designers working for the firm and that there is enough work to keep them all busy. Top interior designer firms are able to charge clients millions of dollars in fees, while some firms couple with architecture firms to provide additional revenue.

Learn how to start an interior design business.

18. Film Production Company

Film Production Company Business

Film buffs with experience in digital production and storytelling can be well-equipped to start their own film production company. Films make money in different ways, depending on the form of distribution. This can include box office sales, the sale of individual DVDs, sales to streaming services, and even product placements and merchandising of your film.

Profits are highly variable depending on your area of specialty, location, talent, reputation and other factors. To make space for your company in this industry, you will need to start small and find reliable local clients who value the quality of your work. By slowly building up your portfolio and finding your unique niche in the market, your company could reasonably bring in $50,000-$100,000 in annual profits.

Learn how to start a film production company.

19. Acting Classes Business

Acting Classes Business Image

Creative entrepreneurs with ties to the entertainment industry can put their skillset to work running acting classes. Depending on your area of expertise, you can offer classes in film acting, commercial acting, or even both. Your reputation in the acting community and how you promote your credentials will be critical to your success.

The profit you might make is highly variable, depending on your location, industry reputation, and many other factors. It will also depend on the classes and services offered and your ability to sell your services and grow your business.

Learn how to start an acting class business.

20. Ballroom Dance Lessons Business

Ballroom Dance Lessons Business Image

This business is good for entrepreneurs that have experience and knowledge of ballroom dancing, both competitive and social, and have access to a commercial space, preferably with hardwood floors. A person without the necessary experience to teach but who has a strong interest in dance could hire a few well-trained professionals to give the classes.

Due to the popularity of shows like Dancing with the Stars, ballroom dance classes are more popular than ever. For example, let's say you have a total of 200 students paying $150 per month, or $30,000. Deducting regular expenses, it is possible to generate a 10-20% profit.

Learn how to start a ballroom dance lessons business.

21. Dance Studio

Dance Studio Image

Entrepreneurs that want to cater to a larger dance audience and have access to a commercial space might consider opening a dance studio. A passion for and knowledge of dance is helpful, but not necessary because the studio owner doesn’t necessarily have to be the instructor, but can hire or lease space to one or more instructors.

Dance studio’s rates usually vary with when instructors want to use the space. During peak times, rooms may go for $100 an hour or more. On off-peak hours, fees may be closer to $20 to $30 per hour. These expenses are usually charged per-room, so a studio that has several classrooms can multiply its income by the number of rooms available.

Learn how to start a dance studio.

22. Entertainment Business

Entertainment Business Image

People with an affinity for all kinds of live performances should look into entertainment businesses. The entrepreneur who chooses this business must either love to be in the spotlight or have a knack for spotting people with talent. Owners and employees should have an inherent love of entertaining to thrive. If the owner is the performer, they should be willing to work on their craft constantly and change it according to audience expectations as time goes by.

Because ongoing expenses are so little, most of the money made by an entertainment company will be pure profit. A person with a two-hour act making $45 an hour for their services would need to work 20 shows a week to make around $93,000 a year.

Learn how to start an entertainment business.

Learn more about starting a business by visting the U.S. Small Business Administration.

23. Aerial Arts Studio

Aerial Arts Studio Image

An aerial art studio teaches students to do acrobatic movements and dancing in the air. In addition to athletic ability, interested business owners need to understand the basics of running a profitable business. While long hours aren't typical, flexibility in scheduling is. Most students will have to come either before or after work or on the weekends. So, a business owner has to be willing to train students during "off-peak" times of the day.

Profit for a studio depends on your hourly rate or flat fee program and where your studio is. You may achieve a 10% profit margin, but many studios operate on much thinner margins.

Learn how to start an aerial arts studio.

24. Jingle Company

Jingle Company Image

Jingles are catchy, typically commercial songs that help to promote a product. A company focusing on these pieces is ideal for musically creative people who enjoy using their talents to promote business ventures. Depending on the terms of the contract, jingle company owners can make money by earning royalties on original music that is used on television shows or during other theatrical performances.

Musical composers make an average of $44,000 per year, while writers make an average of $60,000. Jingle writers usually combine both talents and work closely with advertising agencies. Digital advertising for smartphones has become a lucrative new market. In 2011, one digital advertising company sold for $62.5 million.

Learn how to start a jingle company.

25. Music Lessons Business

Music Lessons Business Image

Creative entrepreneurs with acute musical talent can find success in providing music lessons to others. Music teachers in schools and band members are especially qualified, as they both have credentials and connections to people who love music. People don’t have to be a music teacher or in a band to start a music lessons business, though.

Even a part-time music lessons business can generate significant revenue. An instructor who offers private lessons for 20 hours a week could earn between $600 and $1200 each week if they charged $30 to $60 per hour. Because the ongoing expenses are low, the vast majority of this is profit.

Learn how to start a music lessons business.

26. Theatre Company

Theatre Company Image

Last but least on our list of creative business ideas is a theatre company. Thespian entrepreneurs with a keen sense of business may be well-suited for running a theatre company. A love for theatre is necessary because starting a theatre company is hard work and frequently doesn’t return a profit for several years. Being well-versed in running a business helps keep a company financially viable.

Revenue for theatre companies tends to come from ticket sales, donations, grants, and merchandise sales. The National Endowment for the Arts found that most theatres brought in between $800,000 and $1 million annually. This revenue included all funding sources.

Learn how to start a theatre company.

Start a Creative Business in Your State

Explore More