8 Profitable Business Ideas (real examples + how to start)

Want to start your own business but aren’t sure how to get started? Entrepreneurship is an incredible way to build wealth and contribute to the marketplace. A good business venture opens the doors for:

  • An unlimited earning potential
  • Opportunities to share your passion with the world
  • Flexibility in when and even where you work

The best part: You can get started on the side while working a regular 9-to-5 job. When you do that, you can scale your business and earn enough to leave your job completely.

That’s why I want to show you exactly how you can start a business venture today — as well as give you some ideas for great business ideas to help you get started.

But first, let’s take a look at what exactly a business venture is.

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New to IWT?
  • Watch Ramit Sethi host Netflix’s “How to Get Rich” 
  • Get the NYT-Bestselling book (over 1 million sold) 
  • Check out the podcast (200K plays per episode)

And join over 800,000 readers getting our Insiders newsletter, where we share exclusive content that's not on the blog:

Table of Contents

What exactly is a business venture, really?

A business venture is any entrepreneurial enterprise that’s created to make money.

Yes, that encompasses a LOT of different things. Anything from restaurants to multimillion-dollar Silicon Valley tech startups to even the lemonade stand run by your neighbor’s kid can be considered a business venture.

Creating a successful business venture isn’t about luck, securing funding from angel investors, or finding the right motivational quote to post on your Instagram. It actually has to do with math.

Let’s take a look at an example:

Imagine you have a business. Your business releases a product that costs just $50. If you sold just one product a month, you’d have $600 at the end of the year. Not too shabby — but what if you scaled it a bit more?

pasted image 0

That is the power of having a business venture. You can scale it to be as profitable as you want it to be. This opens the doors to flexibility, freedom, and living your Rich Life.

If you want to start a successful and profitable business venture, all you need is the right idea — which brings us to profitability.

How to find a profitable business venture

A good business starts with a good idea. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of noise out there about what a good business idea looks like.

Is it developing a new dating app that everyone will buy and download?

Is it a drop shipping business you run from your laptop in Chiang Mai?

Is it doing something with cryptocurrencies? What the hell is a blockchain anyway?

Here’s my advice to you: Ignore the noise — and focus on yourself. Don’t worry about what other people are doing and whatever the latest get-rich-quick scheme is. Instead, focus on finding the sweet spot between:

  • How you can help people (i.e., things they’ll gladly pay for)
  • Your passions

To help you do that, I want to show you a system we teach to our students at GrowthLab that allows them to find perfect business ideas for them.

Ask yourself 3 questions

Here are three questions to help you identify things that you’re potentially passionate about:

  • “What skills do I have?”
  • “What do I do on Saturday mornings?”
  • “What challenges have I overcome?”

This is crucial psychologically. If you’re passionate about your business venture, this means you’re going to be able to leverage your knowledge and expertise to make money. That makes it all that easier to stick with it — and make a good amount of profit as well.

Let’s take a look at each question now and dive deep into how to get the best answers from them. For each question, I want you to come up with 5 – 10 answers. Yes, that sounds a little difficult — but once you get going, you’re going to find that it’s very easy.

Question #1: “What skills do I have?”

These are skills that you’ve been taught and acquired over the years such as:

  • College degrees
  • Languages (e.g., Spanish, French, American Sign Language)
  • Fitness (e.g., yoga, weightlifting, CrossFit)
  • Instruments (e.g., guitar, piano, singing)
  • Skills classes (e.g., improv, writing, dance)
  • Mechanical / trade skills (e.g. plumbing, woodwork, car repair)

If you’ve learned about it in school, an online course, or a class at your local community center, chances are there a ton of people out there who are willing to pay you to teach it to them too.

It’s a common misconception that you have to be the best at a skill in order to teach it — but that’s simply not the case. In fact, some of the greatest teachers in the world weren’t necessarily the best at their craft.

Julia Child wasn’t the best chef — but her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking became an international best-seller and led to her syndicated television show The French Chef.

Freddie Roach isn’t the best boxer — but fighting champions like Manny Pacquiao and Mike Tyson have paid him millions for the opportunity to train with him.

Many people have turned their passions into a thriving business venture and they’re not necessarily the best. That means you can too.

Question #2: “What do I do on Saturday mornings?”

At first this can seem like a weird question.

“I don’t know; sleep in? Have a cup of coffee?”

But if you dig a little deeper, you can find that it actually reveals what you’re passionate about. That’s because Saturday mornings are typically reserved for “me time.”

Maybe you’re:

  • Researching your genealogy and ancestry while building out a family tree. This is something plenty of people struggle with and would pay you good money for.
  • Weightlifting for both strength and size. This is the ultimate fitness goal for millions of guys out there — guys who would pay you to teach them how.
  • Painting or working on an art project. This is an impressive skill many unartistic and burgeoning Rembrandts would pay you handsomely for.

When the rest of the world is still asleep and you have the whole day ahead of you, you’re probably going to work on something you’re excited about. So think: What do you like to do in this free time?

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Question #3: “What challenges have I overcome?”

Sometimes we can find opportunities in even life’s toughest moments. These are struggles and issues that we go through and can help other people through as well.

You can help those people — and they’ll even pay you money for it.

Two great examples:

  • CrohnsColitisLifestyle.com. Dave Johnson uses his knowledge and experience from having Crohn’s disease to help others with it reach their fullest potential in the realm of fitness.
  • VirtualAssistantInternship.com. Esther Inman helps other military wives earn money while their spouses are overseas by becoming virtual assistants. Check out more of her story in the quick video below!

These are great examples of people who have faced struggles and are now leveraging it to earn money in a business venture. That’s combining something they have expert, first-hand knowledge in, making money, and helping others, aka the perfect business venture.

Use the Demand Matrix to make smarter decisions

Once you have your answers, it’s time to apply them to the Demand Matrix.

Here’s what it looks like:pasted image 0 1

The Demand Matrix is a proven system to help you find something that’s profitable and that you love. And it’s simple, your business ideas are just split into four areas:

  1. High end. These are ideas that have a high rate of profitability — but probably won’t give you a lot of customers. Any luxury brand you can think of falls into this category (e.g., Rolls-Royce, Gucci, Prada). Since you’ll likely have less competition, you’ll be able to charge a high price. However, you’re going to struggle finding your customers.
  2. Mass market. These are areas where you’ll be able to find a TON of customers since your business appeals to a lot of people. However, you won’t be able to charge premium prices for your offerings. Think of gigs like driving for Uber or books like The 4-Hour Workweek. Plenty of people want those things — but you’re not going to charge a lot for them.
  3. Labor of love. Business ventures that have very little customers, and generate very low profits. These are essentially the worst business ideas ever — however, you might be very excited about them. That’s why they’re labors of love.
  4. Golden Goose. This is the sweet spot. These ideas here will command a premium price with no shortage of people willing to pay for them. Think things like Apple’s iPhone or P90X.

“Alright, this is cool … but where does my idea go?”

To determine where exactly your business idea should go, you simply have to ask yourself two questions:

  • “Do a lot of people care about this?” If yes, you have something with a lot of customers!
  • “Are people willing to pay a premium price to solve this problem?” If yes, then you can charge a high price for it!

Here’s what your Demand Matrix might end up looking like:pasted image 0 2

Don’t overthink this. The Demand Matrix isn’t an exact science and is more of a back-of-the-napkin way to find a business venture idea.

8 profitable business ventures

To help you even more, I want to show you 8 proven business ventures. These are entrepreneurs who have turned their skills and challenges into profitable ideas. You should visit each, note everything you can about the business, website and social media following, as it all comes into play when it’s time to position your business in the marketplace. 

Check out the list below:

  1. Management Consulted. A fantastic resource for management consultants and people looking for management consultants. Profit via e-books, courses, and coaching.
  2. Life After College. Actionable advice for those weird years after college when you enter the “real world.” Profit via books and courses.
  3. Study Hacks. Cal Newport helps college students learn the best study strategies and hacks. Profit via e-books and courses.
  4. How to Program with Java. Learn how to … well, program with Java. Profit via e-books and courses.
  5. Goins, Writer. Jeff Goins shows you how you can make a living as a creative writer. Profit via e-books, workshops, and courses.
  6. Dog Agility. Bring out the Flash in Fido by training your dog for agility. Profit via workshops, coaching, and courses.
  7. Learning Herbs. Great advice and tips on creating herbal medicine. Profit via herbal kits and e-books.
  8. Toilet Trained Cat. Teach your feline how to go to the bathroom like a self-respecting human being. Profit via books and courses.

For even more business ideas, check out our post on real business ideas to get your creative juices flowing on your business idea.

FAQs

What is a business venture?

A business venture is when you identify an opportunity and take action to turn it into a profitable enterprise. It involves venture capital firms investing in startups and early-stage companies with significant growth potential, aiming to capitalize on their future success.

What are some examples of successful business ventures?

Consider the tech enthusiast who launches a hit app development firm, the visionary introducing organic snacks to meet rising health food demands, or the college buddies whose garage project evolves into a worldwide social media platform. These examples epitomize business ventures, where passion and market insight drive the creation of solutions that address specific needs, leading to significant success.

How much do venture capitalists make?

Venture capitalists’ earnings vary widely, mainly through management fees (about 2% of assets under management) and carried interest (20% of profits, after surpassing a return threshold). Salaries range from $150,000 for a Senior Associate to over $2,000,000 for a Managing Director, excluding profits from carried interest.

What is venture vs startup?

A ‘venture’ is any business project aiming for growth, from tech to restaurants. A ‘startup’ is a venture on steroids—tech-focused, built to scale fast, and disrupt. All startups are ventures, but not every venture is a startup. Startups chase big growth, eyeing global impact with their innovative ideas.

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Written by

Host of Netflix's "How to Get Rich", NYT Bestselling Author & host of the hit I Will Teach You To Be Rich Podcast. For over 20 years, Ramit has been sharing proven strategies to help people like you take control of their money and live a Rich Life.