The drawback of freelancing is that you’re trading your time for money, so you have to raise your prices or work more hours to earn more.

Freelancing is a great way to start generating income, but you’ll never be able to generate income passively, and many freelancers quickly burn themselves out by working too many hours.

On the other hand, a solopreneur business can grow independently of the number of hours you work, allowing you to generate passive income. As a result, solopreneurship gives you a more flexible lifestyle and higher earning potential than freelancing.

Some solopreneur businesses are certainly more passive and profitable than others, so here are the ten best solopreneur business ideas that offer a lifestyle of freedom and high earning potential.

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1. Content Creator 

Content creators have multiple options to generate income, from passive affiliate and sponsorship revenue to building to investing in full-scale businesses.

Additionally, many social media platforms, like YouTube, offer generous creator payouts based on the number of viewers they attract.

Creating content does require active work, and you probably won’t see a return on your investment for the first several months (or even years). Yet once you’ve built an audience, you can earn significant returns for the same amount of work. Even if you take a few weeks or months off, your videos will allow you to generate revenue passively. 

Additionally, while most content creators are video creators, you can make money as a content creator through writing. For example, you’ll see in the examples below that Nick Huber has built most of his following primarily through written posts on Twitter.

Business Examples

Affiliate partnerships and sponsorships are easy monetization options for content creators. 

For example, Justin Brown revealed that his channel, Primal Video, made over $20,000 from affiliate income in a single month.

As you establish your brand, you can also scale it into a business with W2 employees. For example, Mrbeast revealed on the Iced Coffee Hour that both Feastables and Beast Burger are multi-million dollar brands that he has built from his YouTube audience.

Alternatively, you can earn equity in some of your favorite businesses and leave the operational legwork to the existing business. 

For example, Ryan Trahan recently partnered with candy company, Joyride, and when they relaunched the product under Trahan’s brand, it sold out in less than a few weeks. Similarly, Nick Huber is a great example of a Twitter creator who now owns equity in various businesses. 

Here’s a full breakdown of his portfolio:

2. Software Product/Plugins

If you’re a software engineer, consider creating your own product or plugin. While many people think of tech startups when they think of software businesses, you don’t have to scale it beyond a lifestyle business. 

Even if you don’t have any technical expertise, you can still hire a software development company to create a product for you. The downside to this strategy is that not all software development companies are of equal quality. 

Therefore, another option is to look at a site like Acquire.com to find software businesses for sale. Unfortunately, this does require some upfront investment, so another option might be to create a brand as a content creator and then partner with a software engineer to create a product for you.

Business Examples

Syed Balkhi owns an empire of WordPress plugins. While he has scaled these businesses into full software companies with W2 employees, each could easily be a solopreneur business. 

Interestingly, Syed began as a blogger, writing about WordPress on WPBeginner.com. Today, he uses the blog to promote each of his WordPress plugins, giving them a unique advantage in the WordPress marketplace. So even if you plan to build a software company, becoming a proficient blog writer is still a great idea!

A few of the companies within his portfolio include:

There are also plenty of plugins for ChatGPT and other AI-based tools that you can easily run as a solopreneur or scale into a more substantial business.

3. Data Businesses

Data is essential for businesses to learn more about their market and customers, yet it’s often cumbersome and time-consuming to collect and clean data. Therefore, most businesses prefer to pay for data from a third-party provider, making it a perfect solopreneur business idea.

The amount of money you can make from a data business depends on:

  1. Who you’re selling to: Selling to a Fortune 500 company will likely allow you to charge a higher price point than a product for a small business. 
  2. The value of the data to your customer: A product that would save or make a company thousands of dollars will allow you to charge more than a product that might save a few minutes each month.
  3. The size of the customer base: It’s obviously ideal to have more customers, though keep in mind that many large companies are built from a small base of customers who pay a lot of money.

Some data is also much more difficult to collect than other data, though a few methods anyone can use to collect data include:

  • Surveying people
  • Calling individual companies for information (like pricing)
  • Calling individual customers for information (like reviewers on G2)

The tricky part is identifying what kind of data the target audience needs. Similar to many startups that struggle to find product market fit, you’ll struggle to sell a data product that the audience doesn’t need.

Business Examples

Anand Sanwal is the founder of CBInsights, a multi-million dollar business that charges about $25,000 for access to funding data on (primarily) tech startups. 

While CBInsights isn’t a solopreneur business, he has plenty of other ideas that anyone could start as a solopreneur:

You can see a full list of all his business ideas on Twitter.

Another great example of a data business is AirDNA. They offer market data from Airbnb based on occupancy/booking rates, pricing data, and more. While they likely have algorithms that scrape this data, you could also manually scrape a lot of this data and sell it in a monthly newsletter.

4. Ecommerce

Many entrepreneurs begin their careers as dropshippers, and it’s a great way to learn about ecommerce and business in general. As a drop shipper, you market and sell products from various suppliers. 

As you don’t have to create, buy, or store any of these products yourself, it’s a very low-risk business that you can choose to scale or enjoy as a passive lifestyle business.

If you already have some marketing and SEO knowledge, ecommerce is a great option, as all you’re really doing is marketing existing products.

Business Examples

Moiz Ali began Native Deodorant as a simple ecommerce store with a single product created by an individual woman he found through Etsy. 

A few years later, he sold it for over $100 million dollars, proving that ecommerce is a great lifestyle business that can also scale into something bigger.

If you’re interested in starting an ecommerce store, here’s the full story of how he began Native Deodorant, and you can use the same strategy to achieve similar success:

5. Lead Generation

If businesses are struggling to generate customers, many will simply purchase leads.

If you’re a great marketer and want a more profitable (and less stressful) method to earn revenue than selling marketing services to businesses, create your own marketing campaigns and then sell the resulting leads to businesses. 

The downside of lead generation is that it requires upfront investment, and you only earn money if you generate leads. However, the benefit is that you don’t have to manage the fulfillment side of the business or worry about client management.

Business Examples

A great example of a lead generation business that sold for upper eight figures is Pocket Your Dollars. Anthony Sarandrea grew this lead generation business to over $500,000 per month in less than a year through simple Facebook ads.   

6. Job Board

Hiring is one of the most important investments a business makes (unless it’s a solopreneur business), so most businesses are willing to invest a significant amount of money in the hiring process.

Therefore, creating a job board where companies pay you money to post an ad is a great solopreneur business idea.

The success of the job board (how much companies are willing to pay and how many companies will submit an ad) depends largely on the size and quality of your audience, so it’s another great business idea for marketers who know how to build an audience.

Business Examples

Pieter Levels runs the tech nomad job board, Nomad List

As of 2022, the company was generating nearly $1 million in annual recurring revenue, and he only works a few hours daily. 

Some other examples of job boards include Marketing Hire, a job board for marketers, and YTJobs, a place to hire YouTube talent.

YTJobs charges $245 for a two month job post, and it currently has hundreds of job posts.

7. Advertising Websites

An advertising website is similar to a job board, only this type of website can sell anything from real estate to businesses.

Managing these websites is often similar to managing an ecommerce website, so this is a great business for anyone who is SEO savvy and excellent at building an audience. 

If you already have some experience in a particular industry, look at the products people within that industry buy and sell, and then create a website that offers advertising for those products. If you already have experience in the industry, you’re more likely to succeed as you can get your first few customers through referrals and promote it at local events you already attend. 

Business Examples

BizBuySell is a great example of a business that makes money by selling ads of businesses for sale. 

They charge $65.95 per month for a basic listing, $89.95 per month for a Showcase listing, and $199.95 per month for a Diamond listing. Each listing is valid for six months.

Another excellent example of a very niche advertising website business is Mini Horse Sales. It’s a website that exclusively advertises miniature horses for sale, and you can see that anyone could easily start a business like this:

The listing fee is $50 per horse, and there are hundreds of advertisements. Therefore, think about your passions and hobbies, as there’s probably a great solopreneur business within them.  

8. Newsletters

Most newsletters are free as people are accustomed to accessing information for free, though plenty of people will pay for access to premium or exclusive content. 

For example, if you offer exclusive data or proprietary information, people who need that data will likely pay to subscribe to your newsletter. 

Many people also pay for premium content from their favorite creators and thought leaders, so if you’ve already built a strong personal brand, a paid newsletter might be a great monetization strategy.

Another method to monetize your newsletter is through sponsorships. Many brands will pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for newsletter ad placement.

Business Examples

Scott’s Cheap Flights is a great example of a newsletter that began as a simple solopreneur business. The founder, Scott, sent regular emails with the cheapest flights to friends, and he eventually scaled it into a multi-million dollar business.

While you could spend hours finding the cheapest flights, paying a small subscription fee to receive the best flight deals delivered to your inbox probably makes more sense. 

Today, they’ve rebranded as Going and it’s a multi-million dollar company, though it began as a simple solopreneur business that anyone could start. 

Another great example of a paid newsletter is Daily Coding Platform. This sends one coding problem each day and then sends the answer in the email the next day. It’s $9 per month or $90 per year. 

Alternatively, Morning Brew and The Hustle are eight and nine figure newsletter brands whose primary revenue source is sponsorships. 

Here’s an example of one of Morning Brew’s sponsorships:

Even here at Copyblogger, we monetize the newsletter through sponsorships.

9. Courses

Courses are excellent solopreneur businesses as you can create a course once at virtually no cost and sell it repeatedly for thousands of dollars. 

While some solopreneurs sell courses for just a few hundred dollars, others sell courses for over $5,000.

There are a few factors that determine the profitability of your course.

First, if you already have an audience, you’ll have a significant advantage as you won’t have to do much marketing to earn sales. 

The other factors that impact profitability include market size (how many people are involved in that niche and have the pain point your course solves), competition (the price point of other similar products), and the value students will receive from the course. 

Note that the value students receive from the course isn’t just monetary (i.e., taking the course would allow them to earn more money). For example, a knitting course might not seem very valuable to the average person, but a knitting enthusiast might justify paying thousands of dollars to improve their skills due to the emotional value they receive.

You can also increase your course’s pricing depending on the level of support students receive. 

For example, you could offer monthly coaching calls for higher-tiered pricing packages.  

If you plan to launch a course, build an audience first so that you not only have demand on launch day, but also so that you can create the product with your audience to ensure it solves their problems. You can also source beta testers from your audience to learn more about what they want in a course and ask them for reviews to use during the launch.

Business Examples

Ali Abdaal is one of the best examples of a solopreneur turned entrepreneur who has created a multi-million dollar YouTube growth course. 

He offers two main pricing tiers for his course, the Part-Time YouTuber Academy, which is $995, and the Part-Time YouTuber Accelerator, which is $4995 and offers more customized support. In the accelerator, students can ask his team any questions regarding their YouTube strategy.

As of 2023, the Academy was generating over $5 million in revenue. He currently has a team managing most of the course, though he scaled the business to millions with just a few freelancers before building out a team, and you can do the exact same thing.

Another great example of a highly successful course business is the Pilot Institute. The course is designed to help drone pilots earn their certification with the FAA and there are only a handful of competitors and it’s a relatively large market. 

The instructor revealed that over 20,000 students have taken the drone course alone in the past several years. At a price point of $159, revenue from that single course is over $3 million – and that’s only one of his courses.

10. Paid Community

Paid communities are becoming increasingly popular because they offer members a unique opportunity to receive feedback and build genuine connections with peers. Paid communities are excellent upsells for brands and can also exist as standalone businesses.

To increase the value of your paid community, you can offer office hours, direct feedback on member’s work, and more.

However, paid communities are a more difficult solopreneur business idea as you will have more management tasks when more members join the community. Additionally, keeping the community active is essential, as other members are a key factor that influences the value of the community itself.

Business Examples

Ramit Sethi has multiple courses and also offers a paid community called Money Coaching. There’s a course included, though the main value is the community itself, where Ramit personally posts about his own financial journey and members can ask one another for advice and support on different money challenges.

However, Ramit has other employees who actively monitor the community and provide feedback. So as you scale, you don’t have to personally manage the community yourself.

The community is $69 per month or $699 per year, so it’s a great way to earn recurring monthly revenue. He can also then upsell members to other products related to generating wealth, such as his side hustle course, Earnable.

Even if you don’t have a course, you can still create a paid community if you have a following on social media. For example, Andrew Wilkinson has a paid subscription community on Twitter and makes about $150,000 annually from it.

How To Transform Your Business Idea Into Revenue

It’s easy to come up with a business idea, though it’s much more challenging to execute it and build a profitable business.

That’s why we created the Copyblogger Academy. As a member, you’ll have access to eight marketing courses that you’ll need to get your business idea off the ground. However, we also realize that you’ll probably have questions along the way, so you’ll also have the opportunity to ask questions in the community and receive direct feedback from seven figure entrepreneurs, Tim Stoddart and Charles Miller. 
You can try it out risk-free today, and if you aren’t completely satisfied in the first 30 days, we’ll give you a full refund.