1. Tiny house to rent out. Having a property to rent out for short periods to non-residents (tourists, business travelers…) is great to produce passive income. Today there are many online platforms specialized on short term rentals, like the famous Airbnb. However real estate is expensive. Owning a traditional property to rent, in an area that has enough demand from travelers, usually requires a big upfront investment.
Tiny houses can be a brilliant solution. They’re very small houses that respond to a minimalist philosophy, very attractive for people with a “green” mindset and into alternative lifestyles. You can buy a tiny house, they’re way cheaper than traditional houses, or even build one yourself and create a unique architectural jewel, and with a very small budget have an active listing on Airbnb already.
This is a great idea, the main challenge is where to place your tiny house: usually you can’t place it right in the center of a city, or you would violate local regulations, but at the same time you don’t want to place it too far from the center, in the countryside, or probably there won’t be enough demand from travelers. If you can buy (or rent) a piece of land just in the proximity of a city, finding that sweet spot which is not too near and not too far, that’s perfect!
2. Petting zoo. In case you haven’t noticed, entertainment for kids is a hot niche. Parents are constantly searching for activities for their kids that are entertertaining, safe, and possibly educational. But while today there is a huge offer of virtual entertainment (videogames, tv…), many parents struggle to find exciting activities for their kids in real life, especially those who live in cities. A cool idea is to create a petting zoo for these families.
A petting zoo doesn’t need to have exotic or expensive animals: most kids who live in cities never see or touch any real animal at all, so they’ll be super happy to just pet common animals like chickens, rabbits, goats, turtles. It’s a real happiness-producing business: few things can be as therapeutic -also for grown ups- as connecting with a pet! I admit that I am very partial in saying that this is a cool idea: I love nature and I’d love to create a business like this in the future (I may end up doing it).
A smart move is to introduce in your petting zoo also simple learning activities, for example showing sprouted seeds, teaching how chickens make egss, giving some basic nutrition education, etc… This “educational factor” will probably please also the parents, and will make your zoo even more attractive. Note that the main challenge with this idea is again location: you have to find some land at the periphery of a city to build your petting zoo, easy for the families to reach with a short trip.
3. Mini vending machines. At the moment I write this, basically all the vending machines that are sold on the market are big, cumbersome, as they are tailored for bars/restaurants and public buildings. The very few existing ones that are small enough to be placed on a countertop are ridiculously overpriced, and they only sell a very limited range of products, like coffee and sodas, or are just slightly more than toys that sell candies.
But as more and more people rent their homes on platforms like Airbnb, more and more people will be interested in installing mini vending machines to propose to their guests a range of products like touristic souvenirs, books, snacks. They don’t have enough room for a giant machine 4 or 5 feet tall, but if they can find a small one for their kitchen they’ll be very interested to buy it.
The great and obvious benefit of vending machines is that they generate passive income. Of course: a mini vending machine in a small space like a private home will only generate a mini passive income, maybe like 10-20 dollars a month, but since the income is so much passive, many people will still be interested to have it. Would you have fun producing mini vending machines? Really consider the idea, I feel that they would sell very well.
4. Escape room. Another idea for a business that can be a lot of fun and requires just a small investment: it’s again real life entertainment, but this time for grown ups. Who doesn’t like to play the detective and solve misteries? Escape rooms are rooms where the participants are “trapped”, as the doors are locked or maybe don’t exist at all apparently, and they have to find an escape within a certain amount of time, like 1 hour.
The room can have a countless number of styles: from a normal house room, to an office, to a castle, to a jungle, to a futuristic scenario. It will challenge its prisoners with a series of riddles, and only by solving these riddles the prisoners will find the key to escape in time and reach “safety”.
There is huge room for your creativity here: the riddles may involve cooperation among the participants but also competition, one of the participants could even be your accomplice and mess out with the group, the key could be a physical key, hidden somewhere, or a secret word to be pronounced, the way out could be a regular door, a hole hidden under a sofa, or you could make the walls of the room fall down as a grand finale when the prisoners solve the last puzzle.
Fantasy is the most important ingredient for success here. You can totally start small and create an escape room on a minimal budget, as long its riddles will be fun and intriguing for the participants, then later you can buy more expensive decoration and special effects, and of course replicate the process and build a second… third… fourth… escape room with different themes.
5. Unusual furniture. Producing and/or selling furniture is a smart business idea for several reasons, a notable one is that furniture doesn’t expire. It’ something that once you have produced it, it requires basically zero maintenance, it can sit in a shop forever until it’s sold. Consider how little work it requires, for example, compared to a grocery store that constantly needs to replace perished foods.
If you step into the furniture market you’ll face competition from giants like IKEA, but no need to get scared: they only produce “standard” and rather boring furniture in large amounts, while you can create weird and imaginative pieces, targeting the luxury niche. There are always rich people hunting for something different and special.
If you like manual work you may actually enjoy creating the furniture yourself, maybe you can start by making small sized forniture in a workshop, and then gradually move to more ambitious and large furniture (to sell at higher prices). In any case consider that also just selling furniture in a shop, made by someone else, is a good move: the furniture sits there and takes care of itself, you will occasionally deal with customers when they come in, for the rest you can just work on something else on a computer at the back of the shop.
Notes: I often have more business ideas than I can realize myself. I decided to share these good ones that I had in the last period, since I know that many friends and acquantainces would like to quit their jobs as employees and start their own business.
Related: How to earn money without working