For me, owning a business was a life-changer. It gave me freedom, it gave me time, and also, it gave me the resources to do a lot of things I never thought I would be able to do.
I want you to have those same opportunities. So I’m going to share seven profitable business ideas with you.
Read on to find my tips and decide which ideas might suit your gifts and talents and help you achieve your financial and other goals.
Table of Contents
Legit Business Ideas
I’ve tried almost all of these business ideas, and each of them brought me some level of success. Have you ever thought about trying one of these business ideas?
The first profitable business idea I have to suggest for 2020 is blogging. The reason why I say that is because I’m a blogger. I started this blog, and I’ve been running it for about ten years now.
I hadn’t thought much about blogging until my wife and I achieved a major accomplishment. We had gotten married and found that, between the two of us, we were sitting with quite a bit of consumer debt.
We worked hard and paid all $52,000 of debt in 18 months. I was really excited about it, and I was like, “Hey, how do I help other people do the same thing?” Then I discovered blogging, and I realized that I could create a website, and I could put content on it.
I could talk about how we spent less to save money. And how I made money by delivering pizzas at night. I could talk about how we used the debt snowball to pay our debt off fast.
So, I created a website (you can start a blog in ten minutes), put content onto the site, and then started getting traffic to it. I posted links to articles on Facebook. That helped drive traffic from Google.
The blog began to grow, and I started to realize, “Hey, I’m actually impacting people with the knowledge that I have, and helping them.”
Eventually, I worked on monetizing the blog. I monetize it through affiliate ads and an ad network, primarily. Here’s how affiliates work when you own a blog.
Let’s say that you have an article on how to make money driving your car. In the article, you talk about Uber and Lyft and Instacart and all those types of things. In our case, we have developed business relationships with those companies.
If people sign up to be drivers, we get paid a bit of cash on each signup. So, it’s a win-win-win business model, right? Uber gets drivers, I get paid, and the person that’s reading the content has a way to help pay off their debt or to get themselves in a better financial position.
So that’s why I love blogging as a way to make money and to start a profitable business. The cool thing about blogging, too, is that it’s very low-cost.
You can start blogging for free on WordPress. Then when you want to have it hosted and stuff like that, you can pay as low as $3 a month to have a website hosted.
So it’s super accessible for anybody to do. If you think you might want to start blogging, start thinking about the knowledge you have.
What are some ideas that you have? Are you good when it comes to cooking? Maybe you could start a recipe blog.
Are you good at parenting? Have you learned a lot about how to parent your children well? Why not start a blog sharing your parenting tips with others?
Whatever your gifts are and in whatever area you have the knowledge, you could create a blog around that and monetize it.
The second business idea I have is to start creating YouTube videos. You know, I was kind of skeptical about YouTube at the beginning.
I saw a lot of get-rich-quick people, and others that have Lamborghinis in the background and a big mansion and stuff like that. That’s just not me, so I thought, “I don’t really think that I want to do that.”
But then I watched a popular YouTuber, and I got to know him a little bit. His name’s Nate O’Brien, and he has over 400,000 subscribers on YouTube. He’s 21 years old, and in 2019, he made over $200,000 on YouTube.
It blew my mind because I was like, “Hey, this guy is just normal.” He’s simply talking, giving value and helping people, and he’s doing it in an approachable way. It’s not flashy; it’s just a very typical conversation.
I thought about how I love videos myself. And about how I’ll sit home and watch videos at night on YouTube on my TV. I figured that if I could create great videos that could help others, I could tap into some of the success that Nate is having.
Surprisingly, there are lots of people that I know that are actually making a full-time living on YouTube. You make money on YouTube when your videos run ads. So, the more people that watch your videos, the more money you make.
You’ll Need to Grow Your Audience
Note that it takes a lot of views to start making serious money on YouTube. But if you have knowledge about something people need help learning, and you’re good at talking to people in a relatable way, you could find success here.
For instance, let’s say that you’re a DIY-type person, and you like to build things. YouTube could be a great way to teach others to do it.
Let’s say you enjoy painting. You could teach people to paint. If you play guitar, you could teach people how to play guitar. There are so many things with YouTube that you could do.
And you don’t need flashy video equipment to start. If you have a camera (if you have a cell phone, you have a camera), you can pretty much start doing YouTube videos.
The third great business idea for 2020 is creating an e-commerce business. This idea is a little bit more intensive and involves more work.
I started doing something like this back in 2008 or 2009. It’s also commonly called retail arbitrage. I started by buying in person and selling stuff on eBay.
The year I did it, I sold around 40,000 worth of product that year. Here’s what sucked about it: I worked really hard, and I made $0, and so it really kind of burned me. It was like, okay, I put in all this work, I drove to the post office so many times, and I made no money, right?
And that’s what they say with businesses is that it takes time to be successful. It took time for me to start making money with my blog, and it took time to make money in the other businesses. It doesn’t happen overnight.
But I do have friends that make money with the e-commerce business. And by watching them, in hindsight, I’ve learned that I could’ve done things a lot differently.
For instance, my buddy Steve Chou has a website called My Wife Quit Her Job. Steve does over a million dollars a year in sales selling handkerchiefs. So that just blew my mind. I’m like, “How do you sell that many handkerchiefs?”
But when you think about it: if they’re ten bucks apiece and you sell a hundred thousand, you’ve sold a million dollars worth of handkerchiefs. If you go to Steve’s website, he’ll show you how he found success this way.
Plus, he has a great online course called Create a Profitable Online Store you can take, too.
So it’s just a matter of having an idea of something that you could sell online through an e-commerce platform. A lot of people use Fulfilled by Amazon, where you buy a bunch of stuff, you ship it to Amazon, and they fulfill the orders.
There are many ways that you could do e-commerce and make a living with it. You could buy new at wholesale prices and sell online, buy used items you find good deals on, and resell on eBay. The possibilities are endless.
4. Build Websites
The fourth business idea I have is to build websites. Let’s say you’ve got time on the nights and weekends to be able to put some of your talents and skills to work.
In my case, I watched YouTube videos on how to install a certain WordPress theme. I learned how to build websites, how to do basic coding tasks, and so forth. I am by no means a technical person. You could ask my tech guy; I usually lean on him.
But the reality is, I’m perfectly capable of learning, and I think most people are capable of learning how to build a website.
You have to understand: there are so many business owners that have no clue how to design a website. They need one up and running, and they’ve got $1,000, $2,000 or $10,000 that they could easily pay to say, “Hey, I need a website. Can you do that for me?”
And with YouTube and other online tutorials, you can teach yourself how to build websites. Then you can advertise your services and, for instance, make an extra grand a month, just by doing one website a month on the side. That’s a profitable business idea that I’ve personally done, and you could benefit from it as well.
5. Sell Custom Products on Etsy
Another idea–one that I haven’t done but I’ve seen people do–is to sell on Etsy. You start by creating things that are unique enough and that people would want to pay you for.
For instance, I have this little Raspberry Pi, which is a computer, and it’s super tiny. And I went on to Etsy, and I searched “Raspberry Pi case,” and I was just blown away with how many custom cases there are for this tiny little computer.
I have another buddy that designs debt thermometers. It’s just like a picture of a debt thermometer to kind of track your debt, and he sells those online. So there are all sorts of things that you could make and sell on Etsy.
Whether you like to make baskets, you want to create certain types of towels, whatever it is, you could do it on Etsy. Just take your talents and abilities and develop products to sell on that platform.
6. Graphic Design
The sixth idea, which is very similar to building websites but a little bit unique, is graphic design. I’m not graphically inclined, but I know people who are. They have an eye for what looks good and can design a good logo, a good color scheme for a website, artwork for a book or whatever it might be.
And there are lots of ways that you can take that graphic design skill and start making money from it right away.
The first platform for making money with your graphic design skills is called Upwork. I’ve hired several people from Upwork that are freelancers and subcontractors from all over the world. I just hired a guy in Argentina to do some weird thing with Google Data Studio.
Graphic Design Tasks are Endless
Not to get sidetracked, but the reality is, you can hire somebody for anything. For instance, I was thinking about writing a children’s book, and I went on Upwork, and I searched “children’s book illustrator.”
I found lots of people who will do artwork for children’s books. So if you’re good at graphic design, you can just create a profile on Upwork, and you say, “Hey, here’s what I’ve done,” you put samples of your work, and then people can hire you and give you a shot.
Another one, which is kind of a lower-hanging fruit option if you’re just getting started, is called Fiverr. Let’s say someone needs a podcast logo design, or someone needs a picture for an article that they’re writing.
They’ll pay you five bucks for specific tasks. You could create a profile on Fiverr and say that you’ll create an icon for $5. If someone buys three icons, they pay you $15 total.
This option could be a way to get into the graphic design game, get yourself out there, and help create a portfolio. So if you are graphically inclined, I definitely recommend that you check that out.
7. Selling Courses
Last but not least is to make money by selling courses. And this is something I’ve tried myself. Now, when you think about online courses, you might think of scammy, salesy courses.
That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about courses that really add value. Personally, I’ve created two courses. One was called Save $250 a Month, and then the other one was called Debt Free in 18 Months.
And so, the idea of these courses for me was, “How can I put my knowledge into a video format and package it in a way that people would buy it?” And people have bought it, and it’s been a great experience.
But when I look at some of the courses that I’ve paid for myself, the highest I’ve ever spent, I think, is $3,000 for a course. You’re probably thinking that’s ridiculous.
And I thought so too, but I split it with a couple of people to make it affordable. So my cost was actually a thousand.
Cost vs. Value
But the reason I paid for the course was that I thought that if I paid for that course, it would propel me that much further than if I didn’t take the course. So, let’s say I spent a thousand dollars on this course, but from the knowledge I learned, I made an extra $10,000.
Then I’m 9,000 bucks in the positive. That’s a great deal! So, when it comes to buying online courses, you’ve just got to weigh them out in terms of the value they’ll bring you. You decide, “Is the value of this course going to be good enough to pay for itself and then some?”
One that I’ve taken recently was an SEO course. It taught me how I could learn more about this thing for my blog, which is called SEO, or search engine optimization. People are Googling things every day, right?
Maybe you Google searched something to get to this article, like “best profitable business ideas.” The course I took showed me how I could get better at ranking articles in Google searches so I can reach more people.
And if I do that, I’m going to help more people and make more money in the process. So it was worth it to me to pay the money for that course.
So maybe you have some skills that you’ve learned. We talked about some of them. It could be that you’re handy, and you can build stuff.
Or it could be that you are good at graphic design, that you’re good at building websites or whatever. You could create a course on how to create websites for entrepreneurs, or you could teach a course on how to create a profitable Etsy business.
You can almost have a course on any of the ideas that we’ve discussed. For instance, you could have a course on how to make money on YouTube, right? And that’s the beauty of it.
Share Your Knowlege
You’ve got all of this knowledge, and there are other people out there who could benefit from your expertise. And how cool would that be that you could create a course that would help them get to where they want to be in life?
Course creation is something that I’m looking to do more of in the future. Also, another great thing about course creation is that it’s truly passive income.
You create your course, advertise it, people buy and download it, and you’re done. You can use a service such as Teachable to make course creation easy, too.
Owning a business can be a life-changer, giving you freedom, time, and resources to do many things.
If you tried one of these business ideas, please let me know in the comments below. And if you have another business idea that you are running with and it’s profitable, I want to hear about that as well.