Find An Idea

50 real businesses to help jumpstart your idea-finding process

We know the struggle. Finding an idea — the idea — it’s hard. We’re not going to pretend that it’s not.

So that’s the bad news. But there’s good news, too. Business ideas come in all shapes and sizes, and from unexpected places. Sometimes they’re out in the world, waiting for you to find them. Sometimes they’re right under your nose.

Almost 100% of the time, businesses are born out of something authentic and inherent about who you already are. Something you love. Something you’re great at — or had to get great at. Something so ingrained in your everyday, you don’t even realize that it could be a business. Until you do.

To show you what we mean, we put together this list of real, live businesses built by kickass entrepreneurs who took something that they love, and turned it into a business.

Not all that long ago, many of these entrepreneurs were exactly where you are now: at the start of the journey, wondering, “But how do I find an idea?”

As you go through the list, you’ll probably find yourself saying, “Wait – that’s a business?”

You better believe it. What will yours be?

Hardcore Music Studio

Screen Shot 2018 07 20 at 5.42.03 PM

Name: Hardcore Music Studio
Quick description: “Learn how to record, edit & mix heavy music.”
Target audience: Hardcore music producers
Founder: Jordan Valeriote
Website: hardcoremusicstudio.com
Products: Online courses

Workweek Lunch

Screen Shot 2018 07 20 at 5.39.11 PM

Name: Workweek Lunch
Quick description: “Prep meals for lunch you’re actually excited to eat.”
Target audience: Busy working professionals
Founder: Talia Koren
Website: workweeklunch.com
Products: Membership plans

DesignAcademy.io

Screen Shot 2018 07 20 at 5.34.49 PM

Name: DesignAcademy.io
Quick description: “Design principles for developers taught in a non-pretentious, non-bullshitty way.”
Target audience: Developers
Founder: Laura Elizabeth
Website: designacademy.io
Products: Online course

Nicole Jardim

Screen Shot 2018 07 20 at 5.31.14 PM

Name: Nicole Jardim / The Period GIrl
Quick description: “My mission is to help women in their 20s & 30s reclaim their hormonal health and feminine vitality naturally.”
Target audience: Women in their 20s and 30s
Founder: Nicole Jardim
Website: nicolejardim.com
Products: Online courses

SketchUp for Interior Designers

Screen Shot 2018 07 20 at 5.28.44 PM

Name: SketchUp for Interior Designers
Quick description: “SketchUp courses made just for interior designers.”
Target audience: Interior designers
Founder: Tammy Cody
Website: sketchupforinteriordesigners.com
Products: Online courses, training

WP Assurance

Screen Shot 2018 07 20 at 5.25.55 PM

Name: WP Assurance
Quick description: “Launch a beautiful, professional WordPress site in 30 days.”
Target audience: Business owners & entrepreneurs
Founder: Rob Howard
Website: wpassurance.com
Products: Online course, community

Shemmassian Academic Consulting

Screen Shot 2018 07 20 at 5.23.37 PM

Name: Shemmassian Academic Consulting
Quick description: “Your trusted advisors for admissions success.”
Target audience: Students wanting to get into elite colleges, medical schools, and other graduate schools
Founder: Shirag Shemmassian
Website: shemmassianconsulting.com
Products: Coaching

Learn UI Design

Screen Shot 2018 07 20 at 5.18.30 PM

Name: Learn UI Design
Quick description: “Confidently design beautiful user interfaces for any app or site.”
Target audience: Aspiring UI (user interface) designers
Founder: Erik Kennedy
Website: learnui.design
Products: Online course

The Virtual Savvy

Screen Shot 2018 07 20 at 5.15.10 PM

Name: The Virtual Savvy
Quick description: “I help savvy starters launch and grow their VA biz to 5k months and beyond.”
Target audience: Beginner virtual assistants (VAs)
Founder: Abbey Ashley
Website: thevirtualsavvy.com
Products: Online courses, coaching

Go Diaper Free

Screen Shot 2018 07 20 at 5.13.17 PM

Name: Go Diaper Free
Quick description: “Learn how to help your baby use the potty with Elimination Communication.”
Target audience: Parents of potty training–aged children
Founder: Andrea Olson
Website: godiaperfree.com
Products: Books, mini-course, coach training program 

DIY Video Guy

DIY Video Guy

Name: DIY Video Guy
Quick description: “Learn how to shoot better videos by yourself.”
Target audience: Aspiring video creators
Founder: Caleb Wojcik
Website: diyvideoschool.com
Products: Online courses

Start a Mom Blog

Start a Mom Blog

Name: Start a Mom Blog
Quick description: “I want to show you how to start a mom blog while raising a family. My time saving and productivity tips will make your life easier and help you run a successful blog!”
Target audience: Aspiring mom bloggers
Founder: Suzi Whitford
Website: startamomblog.com
Products: Online courses, e-books

The Rideshare Guy

The Rideshare Guy

Name: The Rideshare Guy
Quick description: How to increase your earnings and maximize profits as a ridesharing driver
Target audience: People who drive for Uber and Lyft
Founder: Harry Campbell
Website: therideshareguy.com
Products: Book, online course

The Fuck It Diet

The Fuck It Diet

Name: The Fuck It Diet
Quick description: “I help people heal their relationship with food & weight.”
Target audience: Chronic dieters (people who want to improve their relationship with food)
Founder: Caroline Dooner
Website: thefuckitdiet.com
Products: Book, online course

Ten Ton

Ten Ton

Name: Ten Ton
Quick description: “Learn how to build a website just once, and you can run as many online businesses as you want!”
Target audience: Business owners, creators, and self-marketers
Founder: Geoff Blake
Website: tentononline.com
Products: Online courses

Country Guitar Online

Country Guitar Online

Name: Country Guitar Online
Quick description: “High quality country and bluegrass guitar lesson videos that you can stream on any device.”
Target audience: People who want to improve their guitar skills
Founder: Devin Shawn
Website: countryguitaronline.com
Products: Online courses, memberships

Tree & Stick Girl

Tree & Stick Girl

Name: Tree & Stick Girl
Quick description: “Discover what your emotions really mean, why you feel so deeply, and how to take back control of yourself and your life.”
Target audience: Sensitive souls
Founder: Tree Franklyn
Website: findyourinnerhappy.com
Products: Online courses

Jessica Sprague

Jessica Sprague

Name: Jessica Sprague
Quick description: “Grow your skills, build your brand. Join Photoshop Friday Forever for small techniques + big rewards. Or join Brand of You to do business beautifully.”
Target audience: Entrepreneurs and creatives
Founder: Jessica Sprague
Website: jessicasprague.com
Products: Online courses

Female Musician Academy

Female Musician Academy

Name: Female Musician Academy
Quick description: “Make great music, connect with your audience, and grow your business.”
Target audience: Female musicians
Founder: Bree Noble
Website: femalemusicianacademy.com
Products: Online courses

Mom’s Fitness Boutique

Mom’s Fitness Boutique

Name: Mom’s Fitness Boutique
Quick description: “Core/pelvic floor retraining, full body conditioning and most importantly… emotional support during the most vulnerable time in your life.”
Target audience: New moms
Founder: Terrell Baldock
Website: momsfitnessboutique.com
Products: Online courses, coaching

Media Maven

Media Maven

Name: Media Maven
Quick description: “Connect instantly with thousands of ideal clients in minutes… instead of months!”
Target audience: Small business owners
Founder: Christina Nicholson
Website: mediamavenandmore.com
Products: Online courses

Z Design

Z Design

Name: Z Design
Quick description: “I take the crap out of scrapbooking.”
Target audience: Scrapbookers
Founder: Cathy Zielske
Website: cathyzielske.com
Products: Online courses, templates, and tools

Violeta’s

Violeta Nedkova

Name: Violeta Nedkova
Quick description: “I can help you do what you love and do it in your own way.”
Target audience: “Creative rebels who are tired of conforming to everyone else’s rules and ready to kickass in your own way”
Founder: Violeta Nedkova
Website: violetanedkova.com
Products: Online courses, e-books, coaching

NovelBits

Screen Shot 2018 05 16 at 10.04.32 AM

Name: NovelBits
Quick description: “The #1 Top Resource For Learning Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)”
Target audience: Developers wanting to master BLE and Bluetooth 5
Founder: Mohammad Afaneh
Website: novelbits.io
Products: E-books, online courses, coaching

Strengthlete

Screen Shot 2018 05 16 at 9.54.03 AM

Name: Strengthlete
Quick description: “I will show you how to rewire your brain, process your stress without using food, and build a healthy relationship with food — so you can be a boss in the office and beast in the gym.”
Target audience: People looking to “find the balance between being in shape and your career”
Founder: Joe Nissim
Website: strengthlete.com
Products: Coaching

CRK Training

Screen Shot 2018 05 16 at 9.55.34 AM

Name: CRK Training
Quick description: “I help people … become more balanced and confident riders.”
Target audience: Equestrians looking to improve their riding skills
Founder: Callie King
Website: crktrainingvideos.com
Products: Online courses

EDM Tips

Screen Shot 2018 05 16 at 9.58.33 AM

Name: EDM Tips
Quick description: “Improve your EDM production skills.”
Target audience: Electronic dance music producers
Founder: Will Darling
Website: edmtips.com
Products: E-books, online courses

The Contract Shop

Screen Shot 2018 05 16 at 10.05.34 AM

Name: The Contract Shop
Quick description: “Legal templates and courses for creative entrepreneurs, online course creators, consultants, coaches and more.”
Target audience: Creative entrepreneurs
Founder: Christine Scalera
Website: thecontractshop.com
Products: Courses, templates

Human Vortex Training

Screen Shot 2018 05 16 at 10.11.18 AM

Name: Human Vortex Training
Quick description: “Get stronger on & off the bike, return from injury, and make the most of [your] time to ride & train.”
Target audience: “Riders who are done dabbling, and ready for results”
Founder: Menachem Brodie
Website: humanvortextraining.com
Products: Coaching

Go Rattle the Stars

Screen Shot 2018 05 16 at 10.07.16 AM

Name: Go Rattle the Stars
Quick description: “I help creative business owners create a solid social media strategy so they can reach their target audience — and get real results!”
Target audience: Creative business owners
Founder: Brie Kirbyson
Website: gorattlethestars.com
Products: Online courses

Meal Mentor

Screen Shot 2018 05 16 at 10.13.12 AM

Name: Meal Mentor
Quick description: “Don’t lose hours planning meals yourself, let Meal Mentor plan your week.”
Target audience: Parents juggling work, family, and the ever-growing to-do list
Founder: Lindsay S. Nixon
Website: getmealplans.com
Products: Coaching, courses, e-books, memberships

Arianna Taboada

Screen Shot 2018 05 16 at 10.16.09 AM

Name: Arianna Taboada
Quick description: “I help women entrepreneurs, founders, and freelancers design a maternity leave plan that meets their business model and personal needs.”
Target audience: Self-employed women preparing for maternity leave
Founder: Arianna Taboada
Website: ariannataboada.com
Products: Coaching

Isiah McKimmie

Screen Shot 2018 05 16 at 10.18.53 AM

Name: Isiah McKimmie
Quick description: “Creating loving relationships, deep intimacy, and whole-hearted sex … through practical tools, science-based advice, and a rock-steady belief that you are not broken.”
Target audience: Couples and individuals wanting to deepen their intimate relationships
Founder: Isiah McKimmie
Website: isiah-mckimmie.com
Products: Coaching, courses, e-books

Greater Than Rubies

Screen Shot 2018 03 27 at 11.41.54 AM

Name: Greater Than Rubies
Quick description: “I help women all over the world feel more polished and confident through daily outfit tips, individual coaching, and events.”
Target audience: Women of all ages
Founder: Caitlin Skidmore
Website: greaterthanrubies.net
Products: Guides, events, coaching

Phyzzle

Screen Shot 2018 03 29 at 10.42.25 AM

Name: Phyzzle
Quick description: “Learn how top math, science, and engineering students ace their exams and crush their courses, without the stress, frustration, and long hours we’re all accustomed to.”
Target audience: College students
Founder: Tom Miller
Website: phyzzle.com
Products: Courses, guides

Freelance to Win

Screen Shot 2018 03 27 at 11.40.23 AM

Name: Freelance To Win
Quick description: “Learn what it really takes to be a successful freelancer.”
Target audience: Aspiring freelancers
Founder: Danny Margulies
Website: freelancetowin.com
Products: Courses

The Inertia Project

Screen Shot 2018 03 26 at 4.18.36 PM

Name: The Inertia Project
Quick description: “We help ambitious women conquer fitness anxiety and create lasting changes.”
Target audience: Women looking to enhance their fitness
Founder: Genevieve Malone
Website: theinertiaproject.org
Products: Courses, coaching

Recording Revolution

Recording Revolution   Learn How to Record and Mix Your Songs

Name: Recording Revolution
Quick description: “Create radio-worthy songs from your bedroom or home studio.”
Target audience: Home musicians
Founder: Graham Cochrane
Product page: recordingrevolution.com
Products: E-books, courses

Introverted Alpha

Screen Shot 2018 03 26 at 4.13.05 PM

Name: Introverted Alpha
Quick description: “We help thoughtful men attract women naturally without being someone they’re not.”
Target audience: Single men
Founder: Sarah Jones
Website: introvertedalpha.com
Products: E-book, courses, coaching

Comme une Francaise

Screen Shot 2018 03 26 at 4.24.01 PM

Name: Comme un Francaise
Quick description: “The only place to learn to both speak real French, not textbook French, and understand French culture so you can cultivate your inner Gaulois(e).”
Target audience: Francophiles
Founder: Geraldine Lepere
Website: commeunefrancaise.com
Products: Courses, subscriptions

Viral Message Lab

Screen Shot 2018 03 29 at 10.33.22 AM

Name: Viral Message Lab
Quick description: “When you’re about to dedicate months or even years writing a book or sharing a talk, wouldn’t it be nice to be certain that you’re about to embark on something people LOVE?”
Target audience: Ambitious professionals, business owners, entrepreneurs, and “people trying to change the world”
Founder: Ryan Hildebrandt
Website: viralmessagelab.com
Products: Courses, coaching

Rice Lean

Screen Shot 2018 03 27 at 11.02.25 AM

Name: Rice Lean
Quick description: “The ultra-simple, millennia old, and crushingly powerful Asian secrets — that help you lose half a pound a day naturally!”
Target audience: Weight loss seekers
Founder: Leslie Chen
Website: ricelean.com
Products: Coaching

10X Travel

Screen Shot 2018 03 27 at 11.51.57 AM

Name: 10X Travel
Quick description: “Leverage the power of points and miles to make their travel dreams a reality.”
Target audience: Travel junkies
Founder: Bryce Conway
Website: 10xtravel.com
Products: E-book, affiliate partnerships

Successful Fashion Designer

Screen Shot 2018 03 29 at 10.46.12 AM

Name: Successful Fashion Designer
Quick description: “Further your fashion design career by gaining confidence in Illustrator.”
Target audience: Fashion designers
Founder: Heidi Marie
Website: successfulfashiondesigner.com
Products: Courses

A Mother Far From Home

Screen Shot 2018 03 28 at 9.53.50 AM

Name: A Mother Far From Home
Quick description: “Join tens of thousands of mothers to get tips, resources, and encouragement that’ll take the chaos out of life with your kids.”
Target audience: Moms
Founder: Rachel Norman
Website: amotherfarfromhome.com
Products: Guides, e-books

Byte by Byte

Screen Shot 2018 03 29 at 11.11.23 AM

Name: Byte by Byte
Quick description: “Your one-stop shop for acing your coding interview.”
Target audience: Job-hunting coders
Founder: Sam Gavis-Hughson
Website: byte-by-byte.com
Products: Coaching, e-book

Optimize Yourself

Screen Shot 2018 03 28 at 9.16.45 AM

Name: Optimize Yourself
Quick description: “Learn how to master your time, energy, and attention … [and] start treating yourself better than your technology.”
Target audience: Creative professionals
Founder: Zack Arnold
Website: optimizeyourself.me
Products: Courses

Personality.Media

Screen Shot 2018 03 28 at 9.38.01 AM

Name: Personality.Media
Quick description: “Video coaching agency which helps online entrepreneurs craft engaging videos.”
Target audience: Busy entrepreneurs
Founder: Jessica Eturralde
Website: personality.media
Products: Coaching, services

Get Style Confidence

Screen Shot 2018 03 28 at 9.20.54 AM

Name: Get Style Confidence
Quick description: “I save the day by digging into who YOU truly are to create a gorgeous style on the outside that perfectly expresses who you are on the inside.”
Target audience: Professional women
Founder: Hilde Fossen
Website: getstyleconfidence.com
Products: Courses, coaching

Speak English with Christina

Screen Shot 2018 03 30 at 8.27.04 AM

Name: Speak English with Christina
Quick description: “Get the reflexes to finally feel fluent speaking English.”
Target audience: Non-native English speakers
Founder: Christina Rebuffet
Website: christinarebuffet.com
Products: Book, courses, coaching

_

Got a business you think belongs on this list? If your business:

  1. …has information products (think courses, coaching, e-books, seminars)
  2. …is generating revenue

We want to hear from you! Fill out this survey to be considered.

We’ll update this post occasionally to showcase even more amazing businesses from members of the GrowthLab community who are kicking butt and using entrepreneurship to live the life they love.

You Might Also Like

Find An Idea

Product validation: 2 don’t-miss stages to make sure your customers will pay

If you’ve ever thought, “What if no one buys my product?” then you NEED to do some proper product validation, like ask...

Find An Idea

How to use a workshop to validate your business idea

How I used an in-person workshop to get a ton of course ideas, research willingness to pay, and kick-start my email list.

Find An Idea

I thought I had a business. Then I changed my mind.

When you realize you’ve been working on the wrong business, remember: it’s not failure, it’s practice.

There Are 17 Comments

Join The Conversation

Your “golden idea” comes from your expertise and perfect niche, which can take some to experiment with. The only way to know if something works or not is to just try it! Don’t let a saturated market get you down. There’s room for everyone.

Great post Katie! This is 100% true:

> Something so ingrained in your everyday, you don’t even realize that it could be a business. Until you do.

The only reason I ever thought it would be a possibility to start an online business was seeing examples like the ones you’ve featured here.

Thanks!

What a privilege to be featured here – thank you!

I just want to say for those reading and struggling with their idea – or contemplating a pivot: I pivoted 4 times and I know MANY successful entrepreneurs (including others included in this article) who tried a few ideas before finding the right fit.

Finding your idea IS an adventure if we approach it like we do other tests – not a daunting task.

So keep at it till it works! 🙂

I’d love to hear how folks pivoted and eventually found a successul idea. How did you ultimately know to let an idea go? What did you do differently that formed the golden idea?

Emily,

In my own experience, and I can’t speak to anyone else’s, but it was literally just turning the thing I LOVED doing- what I spent my weekends doing, my spare time learning about, and just enjoying the journey.

But I didn’t see it right away. It actually took the owner of the bike shop I bought my road bike from to ask my WHY I WASN’T coaching, and his subsequent support that I finally took the leap.

And even then it took me a few months to let the idea sit in my subconscious until one day, in the middle of a hard effort on the bike, having helped another rider leave me in his dust, I said “Let’s do it”.

Hope this helps!

It’s an honor to be included on this list. Thank you!

In regards to finding your idea, as the article states, yes it is born out of something authentic and inherent about who you are already or what it is that you’d like to change in the world.

But I’d love to add to this. Let’s take this idea (above) and then intersect it with what the market needs. That’s when things really start happening.

This could be expressed as…

1) You (your personality, your preferences, your unique perspective), plus…

2) Your set of skills (skills you already have, skills you need to develop), plus…

3) Unfilled needs / problems / gaps in the market.

If you can get these three stars to align, you’ll be on to something.

Don’t stop. Don’t put it off. Whatever it takes, get these three things lining up.

Learn about yourself and reflect — what kind of business do you want to run? What kind of customers do you want to work with? Assess your skills. What have you got? What’s missing? If you discover an unserved gap in a market that you want to serve, but lack certain skills, do whatever it takes to learn those skills. And so on, and so on…

Do whatever you have to do to push and heave and drag these three stars until they’re all lined up.

Use your smarts and your instincts to put this puzzle together.

It ain’t easy. But holy geeze is it ever worthwhile! For you, for your customer…for the world.

So get to work. Show us whatcha got!

I charge my students $597.00/month for Spanish coaching, a service that I outsource to my virtual coaches in South America. That’s very far removed from the “how to earn more money” space! The majority of my students are men or women who married into a Spanish-speaking family and want to talk with their in-laws, so it’s very worth it to them.

^ …in response to people who think they can only make money online by teaching other people how to make money online. Great post. It’s encouraging to see the extreme variety in successful online businesses!

Another hum-dinger from Katie! This was such a fun read! So much here it took me half a day to get through it all. Thank you for being you!

I’ve been playing around with a few ideas for some time, but I keep coming back to this one particle idea all the time (i.e. business coaching).

Thanks for the great article and inspiration, Katie!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *