Top Profitable Startup Ideas
Your current skill set, adaptability, and drive for success will help you take advantage of the profitable business ideas below. Each startup option comes with its own unique set of pros and cons that you should evaluate before determining which one is right for you. Regardless of what you choose, the information below will help not only give you ideas on what to start with but provide tips on how you can gain an advantage.
1. Online Courses
In the past year alone, with more people at home than ever, online courses have seen a huge increase in enrollment. Better yet, this industry’s growth has no end in sight, with the market value projected to reach $300 billion by 2025. If you have a depth of knowledge in a specific field or an impressive skill set, starting an online course is a great way to put your talents to work. Some popular topics include foreign languages, English, social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) marketing strategies, and more. Make this profitable startup idea your own by developing a unique curriculum with assignments and objectives that will keep your students engaged.
Recommended: Check out our full list of startup ideas for education entrepreneurs.
2. Social Media Consulting
Social media is one of the most powerful tools available to businesses today. With 54% of social browsers using social media to research products, a great social media marketing strategy is essential for businesses of every size. Social media consulting is a fast-growing industry with potential for generating high profit depending on your skill level. Inexperienced social media marketers generally earn between $15 to $50 an hour while marketers with 5 to 10 years of experience boast a pay rate of roughly $120+ per hour which means there is plenty of room for growth in this industry. Harnessing your branding abilities to represent the personality of your brand is essential to a great social media consulting startup.
3. Web Design
A user-friendly, aesthetically pleasing website is essential for businesses, and if you’re a skilled website designer, you could be making between $5,000 to $10,000 per website. With a litany of web design services available, your startup needs to stand out from the competition. The best way to create a unique web design startup is to establish a trademark design style and learn advanced design techniques that will take your finished web designs to the next level.
4. Logo Design
A business’s logo is used in everything from their packaging to their website design; therefore, a well-made logo is essential. Your logo design startup could supply this demand with design experience and marketing skills. Not to mention, if you are a seasoned logo designer, you can expect high profits with little overhead costs. Alternatively, to provide a quick and easy option for businesses, consider developing an online logo design generator.
5. Delivery Service
With more people staying home than ever, the demand for delivery services continues to grow. Whether it’s delivering packages, groceries, or take-out food — the appealing convenience of delivery services has grown this industry exponentially in recent years. To stand out from the competition, consider creating a delivery service startup that gives customers access to a unique type of product or streamlines the business model to give customers a new delivery experience.
6. Cleaning Business
With sanitation and cleanliness at the forefront of everyone's mind during the past year, cleaning businesses are more popular than ever. With a cleaning business startup, you can typically charge between $40-$50 per cleaner, per hour making this a very lucrative business model. Better yet, overhead is extremely low for this business with the ongoing expenses being transportation, labor, and cleaning products.
7. Business Consulting
Business consulting is a startup best suited to those who have knowledge and experience in their field as well as stellar organizational and networking skills. Developing these skills pays off though, as business consultants make an average of $100 an hour for their services. To give your startup a competitive edge, find your niche right away. Defining your specialty will not only make you a better consultant — it will attract a targeted market of customers that trust you have a firm grasp on what it takes to be successful in your industry.
8. Health and Wellness Business
From holistic food consulting to boutique gyms, the health and wellness industry is rapidly growing and offers a huge amount of opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to get in on the action. The first step is to acknowledge your skill set and establish your area of interest in this health and wellness world. Next, look at what is in demand in your area. For example, if your startup idea is a boutique barre studio, try doing a pop-up class first to gauge interest in your community.
See our interview with mental healthcare startup Circles!
9. Tech Support
If you are the person that friends, coworkers, and family call when they are having a technical issue — a tech support startup may be the perfect profitable startup idea for you. The most important step in starting this kind of business is to develop an effective marketing strategy. Tech support is a competitive industry that will require a little extra marketing effort to make your startup stand out. However, the benefit of this startup is that the overhead costs are practically zero which means you stand to make a great deal of profit.
Recommended: Check out our full list of tech startup ideas.
10. Pet Services
Pet parents want the best for their furry companions which makes the odds of a pet services startup being profitable higher than many others. For example, independent pet-sitting business owners report making up to $57,000 a year with little overhead costs. More good news, pet services can be anything from grooming to dog-walking depending on the space you have available and your skillset. The biggest challenge when starting a pet service startup is marketing to build trust with pet owners that will choose you to take care of their furry family members.
Recommended: Check out our full list of startup ideas for animal lovers.
11. Food Truck
With many restaurants only able to provide outside seating or take-out options, a food truck is a much more sustainable option than opening a full service restaurant at this time. Not only do food truck startups save money on the costs of a brick and mortar restaurant, they can easily move to where the customers are instead of working to draw them into a concrete location. According to FoodTruckEmpire, a survey of 223 food truck owners across five states showed that 85% of those surveyed generated more than $100,000 in sales a year.
Recommended: Check out our full list of startup ideas for food lovers.
12. Vacation Rentals
Whether it’s a vacation or a “stay-cation,” rental platforms provide an easy way for customers to find and book places to stay that aren’t just your average hotel. This is an especially profitable startup idea if you live in an area with high tourism or an attraction such as a nearby beach. Start smaller by renting your property(s) on popular sites such as Airbnb or VRBO which can bring in an average of $924 a month depending on location, type of rental, and quality of service.
13. App Development
Everyday, apps are used to make life easier or a little more enjoyable which means potential profit for an app development startup is promising. The best app ideas are born out of the search for a solution to a widespread problem. Discovering the right idea for your app development startup might begin with assessing the everyday problems and tasks that you could make a little easier with an app. Keep in mind, this industry has grown 75% since 2016, so do your research to make sure your idea hasn’t already been developed and that there is a potential market for it before looking for investors.
14. Translation Business
Speaking a foreign language is a skill that can create many opportunities, one of them being the opportunity to start a profitable translation startup that pays an average of $36 per hour in the US. Translators are needed in several circumstances such as facilitating communication between businesses in different countries. However, you don’t need to stop at just working as a translator yourself. Upgrade this profitable startup idea by creating a translator agency and hiring other translators to work on a variety of projects in-person or virtually.
15. Accounting Business
Accounting is a necessary (and often dreaded) part of any business, and this makes the idea of using an accounting business very appealing and a highly profitable business idea. Not to mention, all you need is accounting experience or a strong grasp of QuickBooks to get started with this business that boasts an average salary of $80,958 a year according to ZipRecruiter.
Feeling inspired? Learn how to launch your own company with our guide on how to start a startup.
16. Software Development
With annual revenue of $238 billion per year and an annual growth rate of 3.9%, there is no telling how much growth potential this industry has for a savvy entrepreneur with a distinctive startup idea. Software development entails creating, distributing, and maintaining the programs businesses use everyday. The best place is by identifying a widespread problem you can solve for business owners or an area where software could streamline business operations.
Check out our interview with software startup Mixtroz!
Ecommerce startups are growing in popularity as brick and mortar shops temporarily and permanently close all over the US. The most profitable ecommerce startups target a specific market with visual sales tactics and a well-curated selection of items that appeals to their demographic. Start by identifying a market that isn’t super saturated or a demographic that is being overlooked, preferably one that you are passionate and excited about. Then, get to work creating a visual oasis that will provide customers with a go-to website for their shopping needs.
18. Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is one of the most profitable startup ideas because it is powerful and necessary to businesses of every size. Give prospective clients a reason to choose your startup by fine tuning your networking skills, finding your niche, and doing your research to ensure you are on top of the most effective strategies to help your specific client base. Success in this field is dependent on results clients can see, so be prepared to reassess your strategies to ensure your business can provide substantial growth for its clients.
19. Freelance Writing
From copywriting to technical writing, writing of every kind is in demand, and with one in three Americans having worked as a freelancer in 2018, the candidate pool is enormous. A freelance writing startup can provide clients with the talent they need to accomplish their business goals. Whether you are a writer yourself or plan to develop a freelance writing platform that serves as a hub for writers and clients to connect, this industry offers a variety of opportunities for a startup to be extremely profitable.
20. Virtual Assistant Services
You don’t have to be in an office to help businesses and fellow entrepreneurs get organized. A virtual assistant startup is a potentially profitable startup idea for organized, task-oriented individuals. If this sounds like you, it is easy to get started by utilizing sites that can help you find work you’re interested in. Get a competitive edge by diversifying your skillset to make yourself eligible for a litany of job opportunities.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out our list of the top startups to watch in 2023!
Companies that have mastered efficient systems for logistics have a unique advantage over product-based startups. Instead of developing your own shipping arrangements, you can partner with a storage facility that already has an efficient way of handling and distributing products. The process is known as dropshipping, and it's an easy way to get a business off the ground without having to figure everything out on your own. Have a facility store your products for you so that when a customer buys one, you can easily have it shipped out to them. You'll have to pay a commission for each product, but it's much easier than doing it all yourself.
22. Website Flipping
Where most startups struggle when first going into business is getting enough online traffic to actually sell their products or services. If you have any experience with digital marketing, you can leverage it into a website flipping business where you attract a lot of visitors and then sell the traffic to a company in need. For example, create a local dry cleaning website for a specific city that ranks No. 1 on Google. Then, reach out to local dry cleaners in that city and offer to sell them the website for a one-time fee.
23. Real Estate Tech
The real estate industry has gone through significant changes in the past few years and has needed immediate innovation to keep up with changing trends. If you have a background in coding and development, you can create a number of different applications that streamline processes for buyers, sellers, and agents. These apps can do anything from helping people find their dream home to getting an estimate of what their current home is worth. By getting in on the real estate tech trend early, you can establish yourself as an authority in the space and build a profitable startup brand.
Get inspired with our list of the best real estate startups to follow.
24. Graphic Design
Do you have an eye for what looks good to others? Do you find yourself getting compliments on your social media posts or the design of your website? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then a graphic design startup could be a great fit for you. With platforms like Canva and Adobe Creative Suite, it has never been easier to get started in the world of graphic design. You can create stunning visuals for businesses large and small, all from the comfort of your own home. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the five states with the highest employment for graphic designers show an annual wage between $50,000 and $70,000.
25. Financial Technology (Fintech)
Financial industries have not traditionally seen much innovation, but in recent years, there has been an explosion of new technology that is changing everything. Fintech companies are developing new apps and software to make it easier for people to manage their money, get loans, and make investments. If you have a background in finance or coding, starting a fintech company could be a profitable endeavor. The global fintech market has nearly doubled since 2017.
26. Healthcare Tech
Another industry that is ripe for innovation, healthcare is in need of new technology to help solve a number of different problems. From streamlining insurance claims to developing new ways to track patient data, there are a number of ways you can use your skill set to improve the healthcare industry. And with an aging population and advances in medical science, the healthcare industry is only going to grow in the years to come so starting a health tech company now can see large returns in the future.
27. Educational Technology (Edtech)
The educational system hasn't been able to keep up with the frantic pace of technology over the past few years. As a result, there is a large opportunity in the edtech space to develop new platforms and software that can help students learn better and faster. The pandemic forced new tech to be implemented that would make education more accessible for all students. Usage in K-12 has increased 99% since 2020, making this a prime option for creating a profitable business.
See our list of the top edtech startups transforming the learning experience.
28. Clean Energy
New standards and requirements placed on governments and countries are forcing a change to clean energy. With old energy sources becoming more expensive and damaging to the environment, solar, wind, and water energy are becoming more popular. If you have a background in engineering or construction, starting a company that specializes in clean energy could be very profitable. Solar generation became the fastest-growing electricity source in 2020, and there are no signs of slowing down in the years to come.
29. B2B Software
Businesses are constantly looking for ways to improve their operations and increase efficiency. If you have a background in coding, you can develop software that helps businesses automate tasks, manage customer data, or even just keep track of inventory. You can succeed by sticking with what you know. Use the industry you are most familiar with and determine some of its biggest problems. Develop a software solution that can help and then find the businesses that are most in need of your new solution.
Get inspired by checking out our list of top B2B startups to follow.
30. Subscription Box
What makes a subscription box service so profitable is the recurring revenue that can be relied on every single month. There are all types of subscription box services, from ones that deliver healthy snacks to those that send out monthly boxes of clothes. If you have a knack for curating products or developing relationships with vendors, starting a subscription box service could be a great way to make money. And with the ecommerce industry expected to grow at a compound growth rate of 14.7% from 2020 to 2027, you'll have plenty of opportunities for growth.