Coming up with brilliant startup ideas may feel tricky to aspiring entrepreneurs, especially when it may seem that everyone’s already swooped up every good idea for a business. Still, it’s entirely possible to become successful by improving on existing products or putting a unique spin on an old idea. The benefits of self-employment can make the effort of launching a startup worth it. In addition to the freedom that comes from being your own boss, starting a business brings more independence, greater job satisfaction, and potentially uncapped earning potential.
Even startup ideas that seemingly come out of left field can yield incredible success. Read through this list of startup ideas for instant inspiration or jump to our infographic for applicable business lessons from some of the most unconventional (yet successful) startup ideas.
Travel Startup Ideas
- Organize Specialty Travel Tours
Make a specialized travel tour company to cater to individual lifestyle preferences. A tour startup made for solo travelers, a food-based tour geared towards certain diet preferences, or even an age-based tour company could gain traction across various demographics.
- Create an Airport-Centric App
Creating an all-in-one app that allows travelers to navigate unfamiliar airports with real-time information is a relatively untapped startup idea. Though various travel applications exist, an app that shows amenities, TSA line wait times, ground transportation options, and airport maps could be useful to passengers.
- Become a Destination Wedding Planner
Take the stress out of wedding planning for couples and travel to exciting places around the globe. If you love exploring, are great under pressure, and don’t mind working long hours, this could be the startup idea for you.
Location-Specific Startup Ideas
- Make Local Guides
Whether or not you consider yourself a local expert, creating local guides can get you familiar with your surroundings and help tourists enjoy off-the-beaten path experiences in your area. Make themed guides, highlight attractions, and partner with local businesses for advertising opportunities.
- Create a Local Grocery Delivery Service
A grocery delivery startup can come with minimal setup costs, as all you need is a vehicle and a cell phone to really get started. Help senior citizens or people that are too busy to shop by offering this community-friendly service.
- Start an Event Planning Company
Get in touch with your local community by creating an event planning service in your area. Careful research and networking will be key to success, but you can also start an event planning business remotely for ultimate flexibility.
- Open a Coworking Space
Capitalize on the rising popularity of remote work by creating a modern coworking space that addresses pain points of entrepreneurs. Pick a convenient location, build it out with highly sought after amenities, and consider local impact.
Food-Based Startup Ideas
- Start a Meal Prep Business
As proof that we’re busier now than ever before, a whopping 1.9 billion Americans order restaurant takeout for meals. Create a meal prep service to make people’s lives easier and cater to specialized diets (keto, vegan, whole30) to appease distinct lifestyles.
- Create a Food Waste Solution
Creating a startup focused on reducing food waste could not only earn you some serious funding, but also positively change the food system and help save grocery stores and restaurants money.
- Get Into Plant-Based Foods
The plant-based market is exploding, with the sale of plant-based foods growing to over $3.7 billion in 2018. Creating a vegan supermarket or making meat-free versions of traditional foods could be the ticket to success for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Product-Based Startup Ideas
- Start Dropshipping
Dropshipping, which is an ecommerce business model, doesn’t require you to purchase inventory upfront. Selling higher-end products with low shipping costs could become profitable quickly if you do thorough competition research.
- Curate Subscription Boxes
Subscription boxes became a $10 billion business in 2018 and the industry is still set to grow. Pick a niche, and then curate a collection of specialized goods to deliver unique experiences to the modern consumer.
- Sell Zero-Waste Products
Starting a zero-waste company is more than just a trendy thing to do; it can be an ethical, environmentally conscious decision. Selling sustainable products like reusable bags, bamboo toothbrushes, or products with zero-waste packaging could appeal to a growing number of sustainability-focused consumers.
- Make Products for Pets
Create innovative pet products to take advantage of the fact that nearly 85 million US households have at least one animal companion. Look into developing toys, accessories, or even clothing for furry friends.
- Sell Phone Accessories
The mobile phone accessories market is on a path to grow to $107.3 billion by 2022. Although it’s a fairly saturated market, there’s still opportunity for a creative mind to make one-of-a-kind smartphone add-ons.
- Create Custom Clothing
If you have an eye for fashion, selling custom clothing or offering a tailoring service could be your winning startup idea. The custom clothing industry is gaining popularity and offers room for long-term growth.
- Sell Vintage Goods Online
With a $17 billion annual revenue, the used-merchandise industry is profitable and is only set to grow as consumers become disinterested in fast fashion. Consider selling thrifted, vintage, or upcycled items on an e-commerce platform.
Writing Startup Ideas
- Begin Niche Blogging
Find a niche (think eSports or urban farming) and create engaging content around it. You can earn money through advertising, affiliate links, and even product sales once you build an audience.
- Become an Ebook Writer
If you’ve got a way with words, consider becoming a self-published author and selling ebooks on virtual platforms. With the eBook market currently valued at over $15 billion, writing and selling ebooks can be an easy way to become an internet entrepreneur.
- Start Ghostwriting
Create content for busy professionals that don’t have the time or the skill to write themselves. If you don’t mind not attaching your name to your writing, ghostwriting is a great way to earn money with little to no startup costs attached.
- Become a Resume Writer
Everyone needs one, but few people are skilled at or enjoy writing their own resumes. If you’ve got writing experience and are looking to launch a startup with no setup costs, creating a resume-writing service could be the path for you.
Online and Tech Startup Ideas
- Become an Online Coach
If you enjoy helping others achieve their goals and are a people person, this startup idea could be fulfilling for yourself and for your clientele. Start by creating your own YouTube channel and consider breaking into wellness, business, or life coaching.
- Start Flipping Websites
Buy an existing website, make improvements on it, and sell it for a profit. You’ll need to understand the market well and have some web development skills, but this can easily be a profitable pursuit.
- Become a Web Developer
The need for custom websites isn’t ever going away, and if you know your way around WordPress or know a programming language or two, you can start a profitable website development startup.
- Start a Podcast
If you’re deeply knowledgeable or passionate about a subject matter, consider getting into podcast production or hosting. The number of people that listen to podcasts has increased by 20 million in 2019, and it’s an easy way to connect to an audience.
- Be a Social Media Influencer
Influencer marketing is projected to be a $10 billion industry by 2020. Once you find a niche and build a personal brand, amassing a large following on Instagram or YouTube can lead to a solid source of income.
- Create Online Courses
Obscure hobbies can lead to lucrative business ideas if you make them easy for others to learn. If you’d like to teach others but aren’t interested in the coaching route, creating an online course could lead to reliable passive income.
- Become a Marketing Consultant
If you’ve got digital marketing chops, help small businesses reach their target audiences by providing SEO, social media, or copywriting services. If you don’t have marketing experience, taking an online course could help get your foot in the door.
- Develop an App
If you’ve got a unique idea and the necessary technical skills, creating an app could be your goldmine. It’s also possible to build an app without extensive coding skills, and once it launches, it can bring in passive earnings.
- Make a Smart Appliance
Smart accessories and home appliances are all the rage and becoming an important part of daily life for the average consumer. For inspiration, take note of daily tasks at home or at work that would be easier with a smart appliance.
- Tap Into Virtual Reality Experiences
VR is the future, and the future is now. Create virtual reality experiences or accessories to tap into an industry that’s projected to grow to a $44.7 billion market by 2024.
- Make a Niche Dating Site
The stigma around online dating has decreased over the last decade, so take the opportunity to help others find love. With various dating sites targeted to everyone from sea captains to farmers, there exists market demand for specialty dating options.
- Develop a Chatbot
Create a chatbot—which uses artificial intelligence to communicate with people—to help businesses improve their communication. Chatbots have become more popular in recent years, and you can create one without knowing how to code.
Whether or not you choose from one of these startup business ideas, opportunities abound for motivated entrepreneurs to make money from any number of business ventures. Check out the infographic below for key takeaways from fearless founders who made it big with unconventional ideas.