In January of 2014 I tasted entrepreneurial success for the first time. I was 22. Looking back now, my idea was so off the wall, so brazen, that virtually everyone in my social circle dismissed it. Yet, within the first month alone I made over $22,000.
My business idea?
I created an ecommerce store that sold gold grills and other grills for teeth. Several business ideas before that all fell flat, but I didn’t care. All I wanted to do was make a living as an entrepreneur. It didn’t matter how; all I knew is I wanted to be self-employed and not spend my days “working for the man.”
If you feel the same way as I did, you're not alone. CNBC reported that there’s been a 15% increase in entrepreneurship among women, minorities, and us millennials. According to the Kauffman Foundation, we’ve had more exposure to entrepreneurship education than past generations and are by far the most educated generation.
What I’ve found working with my fellow twenty-somethings over the years is that we tend to get stuck in the mud before we even start the car. That is, we get stuck on our ideas. You’ve probably heard the saying before: “It’s not about the idea, it’s about the execution.”
I think it’s about both. A solid idea will save you a lot of costly course correction down the road. You want to make small, incremental changes, not “pivots” – which is just a sugarcoated way of saying you screwed up. You can avoid that by picking a solid niche that you can really embed yourself into. That and basing your business idea around an in-demand product or service.
Much like I did with my gold grills.
Now, in the spirit of idea generation, here are five business ideas handpicked by me for all the undecided, under-30 entrepreneurs out there. In fact, I’ll do you one better and clue you in on the research I did. That way you can test and verify your own ideas, too. Knowledge is power.
1. Wireless security cameras
Security cameras have experienced a steady uptick in search volume over the past five years, based on Google Trends data. They’ve also consistently ranked #1 on Amazon’s “Movers and Shakers” camera category. Plus, it seems like people everywhere have questions about them. Lots of demand and search volume coupled with unanswered questions equals opportunity.
Related: Need a Business Idea? Here are 55
2. Erotic board games.
Erotic and erotica-based books always trend well on Amazon. Plus, if done tastefully (which can vary wildly for something like this) an erotic game has an edge in product promotion. Much like my former gold grills brand, an item like this has built-in “virality.” It’s a novel idea that gets people sharing and commenting.
Hammocks have experienced a surge on eBay, based on data from their “What’s Trending” page. Plus, there’s an active 20,000-strong community of hammock lovers on Reddit. When you find a community with numbers like that, you’re onto something. All you have to do is differentiate yourself from competitors. The options are limitless here. You can offer creative designs, use locally-sourced fabrics or make them entirely by hand in-house and sell them for a premium. Besides, who doesn’t like the idea of relaxing in a hammock? No brainer here.
4. Niche ebooks
Most people are passionate about something. It could be an obscure genre of music, martial arts, cocker spaniels, Star Trek lunch boxes, quantum physics or Middle Eastern food. Monetize that passion by writing a short ebook for people looking to learn more about it and sell it for five bucks.
Don't underestimate the potential. I was recently given a look at a company that grosses $2,700 per month entirely on autopilot. Their product? A catalog of 80 short ebooks on various niche topics sold via Amazon and other mediums.
5. Support services
Help others with tasks they don’t have the time or inclination to learn, or as I prefer to put it, become skilled at the boring stuff. I do this type of work via my NJ public relations agency; as an example, my team handles publicity, marketing and ecommerce management for a Grammy-nominated hit producer you’d know.
There are tons of technical skills you can learn then leverage. Here’s the short version: become skilled at what keeps people up at night or what they don’t have the time to learn and you’ll never have to sell yourself again.
I’ll warn you, though – the idea is just half the battle. After you settle on an idea, you’ll have to create a compelling offer and market that offer to your target market... relentlessly. It takes a lot of hard work, but with the right amount of tenacity and resolve, you can do it.