Lessons & Coaching Businesses
These business owners use their knowledge and experience to teach new skills to others. If you have a specialized skill that can help people improve themselves or advance their careers, these ideas will help you turn your abilities into a thriving business.
Acting Classes Business
Acting is one of the oldest forms of entertainment. Throughout the centuries, acting instructors have used their knowledge and experience in the performing arts to shape new generations of actors and actresses. An acting class business is relatively easy to start, though it requires an instructor with enough experience in theater, film, and/or television to be an authority in the dramatic arts. Natural talent, communication skills, and impressive acting credentials bring higher rates and a larger pool of interested students.
Classes can be conducted at home, in a small studio, or even in a large theater space, so startup costs can vary. Additional costs include props, wardrobe, lighting, and recording equipment. However, teaching acting classes can be done on a very small budget, with most of your costs dedicated to marketing. Though earning potential is relatively low, you can make a healthy living by retaining students for the long-term and finding venues to recruit new students.
Public Speaking Instruction Business
Public speaking instruction classes help develop speaking skills and confidence for speeches, presentations, meetings, or any situation that requires verbal communication. These can be one-on-one classes or larger group sessions. Needless to say, a public speaking instructor should be an excellent communicator and have experience speaking in front of groups of people.
The startup costs are low and almost entirely dedicated to venues and marketing. Many public speaking instructors work from home or conduct classes at client workplaces or public venues (like libraries). Though profits will vary, the earning potential is relatively low until you build a name for yourself.
Life Coaching Business
A life coach motivates and guides people to improve various aspects of their lives, from personal relationships to career advancement. Life coaching is essentially a way to impart one’s knowledge to others using your own successes and interpersonal skills. In order to run a life coaching business, you should have already achieved some success in at least one area of your life. You may have lost a lot of weight by dedicating yourself to an exercise regimen or published books in your area of expertise. Though certification as a life coach is not legally required in most places, it is a great way to learn valuable skills and give your business a greater sense of legitimacy.
One of the best aspects of a life coaching business is the low startup costs. You just need transportation, a phone, a computer, and Internet to get started. There is also a very high ceiling for earning potential. Some life coaches can bring in thousands for a single session, but the majority charge between $75 and $200 per hour. Though your earning potential will depend on your rates and client retention, many life coaches bring in a sizeable income with just a handful of clients.
Jazzercise is a franchised workout regimen that combines aerobics with dance. While Jazzercise has seen varied levels of popularity since its invention in the late 1960s, it continues to be a reliable and fun form of exercise for many people. A jazzercise instructor should have a passion for exercise and will need to know how to market a small business.
In order to fully own a Jazzercise studio, you must pay a sizeable fee to become a franchise owner. Additionally, you will need to give 20% of your gross revenue to maintain your franchise status. The amount you pay varies based on the amenities that you want the franchise to provide, from music equipment to a commercial space to operate. As a franchise, you can set your own rates and marketing strategy, but at the end of the day, your earning potential will be dependent on your ability to acquire and keep new clients.
Zumba is a trademarked dance fitness program that takes elements from a variety of different dance styles. These classes can be conducted from an existing gym or a standalone studio. Due to the recent uptick in popularity, Zumba studios have sprung up in cities and even small towns across the United States. Running a studio requires enthusiasm, an outgoing personality, a working knowledge of health and fitness, and business prowess.
Though startup costs can be relatively low if you teach your classes out of an existing gym, this will also limit your earning potential. Investing in a studio space can help grow your business, but this will greatly increase your startup costs and ongoing expenses. Your earning potential will be directly linked to your size of your initial investment and your ability to retain students.
These businesses are best for extroverts seeking a creative outlet or those who love to be surrounded by talented people. For many entrepreneurs, these ideas offer a way to start a business from an existing hobby or fun extracurricular activity.
A clown business provides costumed entertainment for parties and events. This kind of entertainment is common for children’s birthday parties, though clowns can also be hired to host casual business events or social gatherings. In order to be a professional clown, you should enjoy performing, have a good sense of humor, and a knack for arts and crafts. Many clowns have trained in a clown performing school, and while this can help you perfect your craft, it is not a requirement for starting a clown business.
Startup costs for a clown business are low. Your initial investment will primarily go towards transportation, insurance, and costuming. For individual performers, an hourly rate is most common, generally ranging anywhere between $15 and $100 per hour. For a company that employs multiple performers and can provide a diverse set of entertainment services, the rates and earning potential are much higher.
A comedy club is a venue dedicated to live performances. These usually consist of stand-up comedy routines or similar acts from individual contributors. Most comedy clubs provide food and alcohol to their patrons, and some clubs have a two drink minimum to boost earnings. A comedy club owner should have an understanding of the comedy club scene, an eye for talent, and knowledge of business fundamentals.
Most comedy clubs are restaurants, bars, and performance venues all rolled into one, so the startup costs are fairly steep. You’ll need enough space to house large crowds, as well as a kitchen, staff, and licensing to serve alcohol. The rate you charge per customer will vary based on the popularity of your performers, with unknown comedians commanding much lower rates. However, with a steady stream of talented performers, you can easily bring in $12,000 (or more) per month after expenses.
Mobile DJ Business
A mobile DJ business provides musical entertainment for weddings, parties, and other events. DJs primarily play or remix music from other artists, though they can also produce their own material. A successful DJ should be outgoing and really know how to work a crowd. Some musical ability and good rhythm are also a plus.
A DJ business owner does not have to make a large investment upfront. You will need a computer, music, transportation, and some sound and lighting equipment. Sound mixing software is also helpful, but not a necessity. If you own a mobile DJ business that employs several DJs who perform multiple times per week, your earning potential will be much higher.
Nightclubs serve as a venue for dancing, live entertainment, and even private parties. Many nightclubs have a niche that they cater to, with some of the most profitable clubs aiming at a 20-something audience. Ideally, you should enjoy throwing parties and experiencing the nightlife of your city. Needless to say, having prior work experience at a nightclub is a huge asset as well.
It can be expensive to start and operate a nightclub. To minimize starting costs, you can begin as a “promoter” that manages one or two nights per month at an existing nightclub. Once you have enough experience and starting capital, you can buyout a popular club or start your own in a new location. You will also need to pay for equipment, entertainers, and bar staff. Thankfully, most nightclubs make a healthy profit from a combination of alcohol sales and entry fees.
A podcasting business provides subscription-based audio files for listeners via the Internet. People can plug in and listen to music, stories, interviews, or casual discussions on a variety of subjects, from politics to fashion. There is a niche for everyone, so choosing the right one for your podcasting business is vital. You don’t need any special skills to run a successful podcast, but it is necessary to choose a subject that you are passionate about and can produce consistent entertaining content.
The startup costs for a podcasting business are very low. You will only need a computer, recording equipment, and sound editing software. Podcasts make their profits from advertisements and subscription fees, so drawing in large audiences is a must to maximize your earning potential. Some podcasters report earning as much as $50,000 per episode.
Tour companies offer guided tours through cities with plenty of historical significance, interesting architecture, unique charm, or exciting nightlife. These tours can be conducted on foot, by bicycle, or by vehicle. Ideally, a tour guide or tour company owner will have extensive knowledge of their city and understand how to keep an audience entertained. Above all else, you will need to be a people person.
The startup costs for a tour company are generally quite low, especially if you are willing to start out working from home. However, costs will rise if you wish to open a location in the city or purchase and maintain transportation for your tours. Growing too quickly can actually hurt your business in the long-run, as unbooked tours will eat into your profits. Nonetheless, with low overhead, a sound marketing strategy, and a competitive pricing model, your earning potential can be quite high.
A summer camp offers both recreational and education activities that typically takes place in the great outdoors. These activities can range from canoeing to computer science classes. These businesses generally fall into two categories that differ in the services and amenities they offer: sleep-away camps and day camps. In either case, a summer camp counselor/owner needs to be highly motivated, enjoy teaching, be comfortable outdoors, know how to keep a schedule, and have a working knowledge of business management and marketing.
If you just plan on renting campgrounds for day camps, then your startup costs will be reasonable. However, you will still need to account for equipment, staff, and proper licensing in accordance with local and federal regulations. If you want to purchase or rent property for a sleep-away camp, your costs will be considerably higher. Though sleep-away camps tend to bring in greater profits than day camps, both yield high earning potential, especially if your camp builds a good reputation over time.
These businesses are perfect for those who love to be around people and provide good customer service. Your outgoing personality and communication skills will be put to good use with any one of these business ideas.
Bars primarily sell alcoholic beverages, but many also offer food, merchandise, and fun activities like karaoke. Some bars also attract more customers by having a theme or unique atmosphere. Having worked as a bartender or bar manager in the past can help bar owners with day-to-day operations, and experience in customer service is also a huge plus. Otherwise, there are no specialized skills or degrees needed to be a bar owner.
Even if you plan to run a small, hole-in-the-wall establishment, your startup costs will still be considerably higher than many other businesses. However, you can cut these costs in half by purchasing an existing bar. In addition to the cost of the property, permits and licensing, alcohol, food, and utilities, you will also need to hire and maintain a small staff. However, bars can charge anywhere from 200%-1200% of the initial cost per drink. With that in mind, it is easy to see that a bar can have very high earning potential with a steady stream of paying customers.
Beauty salons provide products and services related to skincare, hair and nail styling, and other beauty treatments. More often than not, a beauty salon focuses on one service, while also offering ancillary services on the side. There are no set requirements to be a beauty salon owner, but training in cosmetology can help you provide high-quality treatments for your customers.
Whether you decide to rent or purchase a salon, your startup costs will be relatively high. Licensing, equipment, advertising, and staff (if needed), will also take a large chunk out of your profits. Despite these costs, most beauty salons report profits of about 15% of gross revenue. With the right marketing strategy and enough repeat customers, you can maximize your profits.
Bed & Breakfast
A bed & breakfast is a lodging establishment that offers guests a more personal atmosphere than a hotel, with amenities like a homemade breakfast each day. This kind of business is becoming increasingly popular, as 84% of travelers say that a free breakfast is the most important amenity to consider when searching for a place to stay. A B&B owner does not need to have experience working at a hotel or similar lodging establishment, though it would certainly prepare them for the job. A flexible schedule and the ability to be a friendly and accommodating host are the primary skills you will need.
The startup costs are high to run a bed & breakfast, with the main expense being the property itself. Purchasing and/or renovating a house that can accommodate multiple guests is both expensive and time-consuming. However, most B&Bs stay open year-round (or nearly year-round). So, with a high occupancy rate, you can more than make up for the initial investment.
Changing family dynamics and the evolution of modern economies have led to more working parents with less free time. As a result, the need for daycare services has risen dramatically. It is also a business that can develop a large client-base in almost any community. However, running a daycare business is not for everyone. You should enjoy playing with children, be an effective communicator, be a responsible caretaker, and have a lot of patience.
The cheapest and easiest way to start a daycare business is to work out of your home. While this will limit the number of children you can reasonably care for, it will also cut down on the cost of renting or purchasing a daycare center facility. Most daycares charge a monthly rate that can vary based on location, but generally falls somewhere between $350 and $1000 per child, per month. Needless to say, if you have the space and staff to accommodate a larger number of children (without sacrificing the quality of your care), you can greatly increase your earning potential.
Event Planning Business
Event planners help people organize and host special occasions like weddings, parties, anniversaries, or professional soirees. An event planning business coordinates with clients to make sure the location, food, music, decorations, ceremony, and general atmosphere match or even exceed their expectations. You don’t need a degree to be a successful event planner, but you will need to have excellent communication and organizational skills. Experience in customer service or the hospitality industry is also beneficial.
Many event planners work from home, with the bulk of their overhead tied up in their website, marketing, and licensing. Though some event planners provide their own equipment and materials, many coordinate a budget with their clients to rent or purchase the necessary items for each event. With low startup costs and expenses, it is pretty easy to turn a healthy profit, though your earning potential will depend on the scope and budget of your clients’ events.
A food truck prepares and sells meals from a vehicle equipped with a small kitchen and food storage containers. In many cities, food trucks are an extremely popular way to grab a fast, cheap meal on the go. They are also ideal for business owners, because they offer profits that are on par with a small restaurant or cafe, without the extra overhead of owning or renting a building. A food truck owner must have some culinary knowledge, and should also have a passion for providing quality customer service. Though prior experience in the food service industry is not a necessity, it is a great way to jumpstart a successful food truck business.
While they are not as expensive to own as traditional restaurants, food trucks do require a substantial investment to get up and running. You will need to pay for a vehicle that has space for a small kitchen, equipment for cooking and safely storing food, advertising, staff, insurance, permits, and ingredients. Though these costs will certainly diminish some of your earning potential, you can maximize your profits by finding one or more locations with consistent of foot traffic.
Mobile Bartending Service
A mobile bartending service provides both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for special events and parties. As a mobile bartender, you will coordinate with different clients to determine the right attire, types of drinks, and expected headcount for each event. Ideally, you will have experience working at a bar or serving drinks at a restaurant, though you do not need to be an expert mixologist to own your own mobile bartending business.
You will need to invest in a mobile gazebo and supplies for mixing and serving drinks (glassware, strainers, etc.), but most of these are relatively inexpensive. Your rates will vary depending on the size of the party and the number of bartenders needed, though for a small get together (50 people or less), the starting rate is generally $250 in addition to the cost of alcohol. With the right marketing, you can line up a few large events per week and turn a healthy profit.
A flea market is a large space that is divided up and rented to vendors, who then sell their products to customers. You can find just about anything at a flea market, from custom-made clothing to antique silverware. Having experience as a vendor and excellent marketing skills are both invaluable when running a flea market.
Flea markets can operate just about anywhere, as long as you can acquire the proper permits. Successful flea markets generally profit from both their vendors and the buyers. Most charge vendors a certain daily rate (usually between $3 and $10) per square foot. Additionally, you can charge shoppers a small entrance and/or parking fee. While earning potential is pretty variable, it is easy for most flea market owners to find a more profitable venue if their current location does not meet their needs.
Agencies are ideal for extroverts who are more business-minded. If you like to manage a team, develop marketing plans, or negotiate contracts with clients, then these business ideas are perfect for you.
Though travel agencies are not as popular as they once were, they still offer a valuable service to those who love to travel, but hate planning trips. A travel agency researches locales, accomodations, and flight packages. They can also offer special discount rates for frequent travellers. A passion for travel and excellent organizational skills are a must for travel agency owners. You do not need to be certified to be a travel agent, but there are several certification programs that can give you the knowledge to provide your customers with high-quality service.
Costs are generally low, and there are various host agencies that can take care of the regulatory aspects for you, in exchange for a share of the commissions. Additionally, many travel agencies operate online, cutting out the need to rent a workspace. Agencies generally charge set rates for research (per hour) and varied rates for tasks like booking a flight or hotel. However, much of an agencies’ earnings are made with commissions from affiliated airlines or hotel chains. While initial profits are generally low, many agencies are able to expand and maximize their earning potential.
Advertising agencies assist businesses in marketing their products and services to consumers. The advertising industry is continually growing and evolving, with annual revenue of over $44 billion in the United States alone. With such high revenue, it is easy to see why so many entrepreneurs are looking to get in on the action. However, it does take some specialized knowledge to excel in the advertising industry. While you don’t need a four-year degree in marketing, it certainly helps. At the very least, you will need to have a working knowledge of advertising strategies.
Since a physical office is not a necessity, it is possible to start an advertising agency with just a computer, a printer, and a website. Startup costs are minimal, though you will still need to find ways to meet clients in person if you choose not to rent an office space. As you gain a portfolio and name recognition, it is possible to attract bigger clients with much larger budgets, thereby increasing your earning potential.
Content Marketing Agency
A content marketing agency specializes in producing unique, original content that can help strengthen a client’s website, branding, and marketing strategy. The needs of individual clients will vary, so content marketing agencies must be flexible and adept at creating content with different mediums and for different audiences. In order to start a content marketing agency, you will need to have an understanding of online marketing strategies (like SEO and Google Analytics), as well as experience creating and/or managing content.
If you are willing to work from home and fill several different roles, your startup costs will be very low. However, if you require office space and staff to handle different forms of content creation, your costs will be much higher. You will need to set rates for each type of service, but many content marketing agencies negotiate a set retainer per month that covers a predetermined number of projects. With enough clients and (if necessary) staff to handle the workload, there is virtually no limit to your earning potential.
Real Estate Brokerage
A real estate brokerage facilitates the buying and selling of real property. Since there will always be a market for property sales, this is one of the more reliable businesses that you can start, provided that you have the right knowledge and experience. You (or someone who works for you) will need to be licensed as a real estate broker, which requires prior experience as a licensed real estate agent.
The startup costs and ongoing expenses are pretty steep, especially if you have a large number of real estate agents in your employ. Your earnings are based on the value of the property you sell, with commissions ranging anywhere from 1%-6%. It is not unusual for successful brokers to make an annual salary of $100,000 after accounting for their expenses, but the earning potential can go much higher.