The perk of self-running businesses includes making money even if you take a day off or go on vacation.
Automated businesses make it more possible to live your life and still earn money!
You could be at your kid’s soccer game or enjoying a lazy Sunday brunch, and your business wouldn’t skip a beat.
No more being stuck at a desk or having your phone glued to your hand in case emails come in.
Whether it’s an online shop set up or a cozy little cafe with great team members, the end game is the same: earning money without it eating into your life.
It’s about setting things up right from the start. Sure, it takes a bit of elbow grease to get there, but once you do, you’re golden.
If you’re nodding along, thinking, “That’s exactly what I need,” then you will want to stick around. I’m about to tell you about some businesses that run themselves.
- My Favorite Business Idea – Blogging
- Most Creative Automated Business – Selling Printables
- Quickest Business That Runs Itself – Dropshipping
11 Top Online Businesses That Run Themselves
1. Start A Money-Making Blog
Starting a blog has been one of the most rewarding decisions I’ve ever made. It’s a full-fledged business with a small upfront investment and a large creative outlet.
What I love about blogging is that it resonates with people. Take personal finance- it’s something I’m passionate about and helps others daily.
But then, something amazing happened. Affiliate links start bringing in money, ads begin to turn a profit, and before you know it, companies are paying for a spot on your platform.
Now, I look at my blog and see more than words on a page- I see an income stream coming from helping others, even without me behind the desk all the time.
That’s the beauty of it- it’s working even when I’m not, and that’s a pretty sweet deal.
Start your blog seamlessly by taking the Launch Your Blog Biz course– it’ll show you how to get your site up and running, plus monetize your business to earn thousands!
Are you looking for a low-risk, high-reward venture? Dropshipping might just be your answer.
This business model is a breakthrough for online businesses, especially if you’re wary of upfront costs and inventory management.
With dropshipping, you run your own website and sell products without ever touching a single item or stocking inventory.
How? By teaming up with suppliers who handle all the shipping and fulfillment.
Your role? Create your website, include the product links and pics, market your products for sale, and get customers to buy!
The beauty of a dropshipping business is its scalability. You can start small and grow big without the usual headaches of traditional retail.
If you’re new to this and looking for guidance, Drop Ship Lifestyle is a resource you’ll want to check out.
It offers valuable insights and tips to help you navigate the dropshipping landscape and make the most of this business model.
3. Selling Printables
Have you ever considered how your knack for design and organizing could be more than just a hobby?
Selling printables is a smart move for anyone looking for low-maintenance business ideas. One digital product could make hundreds per month; no work is needed except to make it!
You create your designs – think digital art or nifty planner pages – and set them up in an online store like Etsy to market and sell them.
No dealing with piles of inventory or the hassle of shipping. People can click and download, giving you a growing cash flow without more work hours.
And here’s the best part: as you keep adding to your digital product lineup, your business starts to bloom and gain more traction.
Are you interested in learning more? There’s a free printables workshop by Gold City Ventures that can guide you through the ins and outs of making and selling printables online.
4. Sell Feet Pics
Here’s an online business idea that might raise some eyebrows but is worth your attention- selling feet pics. Believe it or not, this is a legit way to generate income.
It’s one of the low-maintenance businesses that doesn’t require you to be glued to your computer screen all day to generate revenue with digital product sales.
You can take pictures of your feet, chat with customers now and again, market your pics, and make passive income like you would from stock photos.
But feet pics are a lot more profitable than stock photos! One of the big pros of selling feet pics is earning $1000+ per month.
With savvy marketing and a strong online presence, you can turn this into a profitable venture with minimal effort and almost no upfront investment.
You can join Feet Finder for a low fee and get connected with thousands of foot lovers willing to buy your content every week!
5. YouTube Channel
Starting a YouTube channel could be your pathway to generating passive income.
You can create content that interests people and gets them watching, then monetize your channel to bring in money passively.
Once you’ve built a loyal audience, think of ad revenue and sponsorships to bring cash flow, transforming your channel into a profitable online business with minimal daily involvement.
It’s not just about uploading videos and hoping for the best. A YouTube channel demands consistent, high-quality content to reel in viewers and keep them subscribed.
I recommend taking the course Mastering YouTube to show you all the ins and outs of building a profitable business on YouTube. It helped us earn thousands through my channel!
6. Twitch Streaming
Are you a gamer or a creative soul looking for a way to monetize your passion? Twitch streaming could be your golden ticket.
This online platform lets you earn through multiple channels- subscriptions, donations, and ad revenue.
It’s similar to YouTube but is the “live action” side of videos- people can watch you play and do whatever in real time, commenting and interacting with you as you go along.
While Twitch streaming may require more hands-on involvement than other online businesses, the payoff can be huge.
You can earn money from subscribers and viewership, plus get donations from people supporting your work.
You’re not just earning; you’re also building a community around what you love and creating a stream for people to become a part of.
7. Open A Print-On-Demand Business
Opening a print-on-demand business is another one of the best businesses that run themselves and generate passive income.
This is one of those business models that lets you focus on what you’re good at- creating unique designs- while leaving the heavy lifting to others.
It’s similar to dropshipping- no need to worry about inventory or shipping; your print-on-demand company (like Printify) takes care of that so that you can create the designs people order.
It’s low-maintenance in nature. You create the designs, and the sales generated come with minimal daily involvement on your part.
But don’t let the ease fool you; it’s a competitive market. To turn this into a profitable business, you’ll need to offer something that stands out.
8. Online Course Creator
If you’re brimming with know-how that others could benefit from, why not channel that into creating online courses?
Online courses are a solid way to set up passive income streams that could pay off for years to come!
It takes some effort initially to create online courses, like recording videos, worksheets, or scripting examples. You need time to put together your course and spread the word.
But once that’s done, your course can sail smoothly ahead, bringing in a steady flow of income while you focus on other things.
It’s a classic business model for generating money without being hands-on all the time, like an online tutor would be.
And if you’re aiming for the stars with your course, don’t overlook resources like Six Figure Course. It’s a treasure trove of tips for transforming your smarts into a profitable online course.
9. Stock Photo Business
Do you have an eye for photography and a library of stunning images? Why not turn that into a revenue stream?
But it’s not as simple as uploading photos and waiting for the money to roll in. This business demands a quality portfolio and consistent uploads to catch the eye of potential buyers.
The trick to succeeding in this venture is twofold: quality and diversity. Your portfolio should be high-quality and diverse enough to cater to a wide range of needs.
But this business can run itself once your images are uploaded, and people see the quality of what you’re providing.
10. eBook Author
Do you have a story to tell or expertise to share? Writing and self-publishing eBooks could be your way to earn passive income.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme. You’ll need to invest time in writing, editing, and marketing your book.
But once it’s out there, the royalties can keep coming in with minimal effort on your part- just like Stephen King, Agatha Cristie, and so many others.
Quality and promotion are key to making it big as an eBook author. Your writing must be top-notch, and your marketing game must be strong.
Once your book is published and you’ve done the initial legwork of promoting it, it can become a self-sustaining income stream and low-maintenance.
11. App Development
Got a great app idea and wondering how to monetize it? App development could be your ticket to generating passive income.
The revenue streams are diverse, through in-app purchases, subscriptions, or advertising.
The beauty of app development is its scalability. You create the app once, and if it’s good, it can generate income with minimal daily involvement.
But let’s be clear: this business venture requires some technical know-how or the budget to outsource development.
Your app needs to be high-quality, user-friendly, and fulfill a need for users to make a splash in a crowded market.
Physical Businesses That Run Themselves
12. Rental Properties
Investing in a rental property business could be a solid path to generating passive income.
The good news? This is one of those businesses that run themselves once you’ve set things up right.
By choosing your properties wisely, hiring a good property manager, and offering quality housing, you can create a rental property business that takes care of itself.
If you’re intrigued by investing in real estate but are still deciding whether to jump in with both feet, Fundrise offers a compelling alternative.
You can invest in real estate through crowdfunding, pooling your money with other investors to buy into larger properties.
Fundrise handles everything from leases to hiring a property manager, so it’s all hands-off for you- you just wrack in the profits.
13. Rent Out Storage Space
Did you know that owning a self-storage facility is considered a recession-proof business and that owning storage units isn’t the only way to break into the storage industry?
It doesn’t matter if it’s professional-grade self-storage units or just an extra closet in your home; the need for storage is always there, ready for you to capitalize on it.
Whether it’s a part of your garage, an empty room, or just a patch of land, you can rent them out as self-storage facilities.
Neighbor Storage is a place to list your space and set your price, and they take care of the rest, making it a hassle-free way to earn passive income without buying a storage facility.
14. Car Washing Business
A car wash business can be a smart move for steady money with the little daily hassle, especially if you opt for a self-service car wash with automated systems.
This is one of those recession-proof businesses that can keep the cash flowing even in tough economic times.
Plus, it’s a venture that can complement other businesses you might already have. For instance, you could use the location as advertising space for your other ventures.
Once you’re up and running, and if you’ve picked a high-demand location, you could have a business that runs itself.
But let’s not sugarcoat it; you’ll need a hefty upfront investment for equipment, a prime location for your car wash, and marketing to get things off the ground with your car wash business.
If the upfront costs have you hesitating, consider a business loan to help with the initial investment and get ready to earn $40K+ per year.
15. Set Up Vending Machines
A vending machine business might be right up your alley if you want a local business that requires minimal involvement.
The idea is simple: you place vending machines in high-traffic locations, stock them with popular products, and let the vending machines do the selling.
The location of your vending machine route is crucial here. Think of local businesses, convenience stores, or places where people congregate and might need a quick snack or drink.
Once you’ve set up your vending machine route, all you have to do is restock the machines and collect money.
While the vending machine business requires an initial investment for the machines and inventory, the day-to-day operations are minimal if you have the right inventory tracking software.
The ATM business is another option if you’re looking for a similar business model. Like vending machines, ATMs can be placed strategically and require minimal daily management.
16. Open A Laundromat
Opening a laundromat business can be a pretty savvy business move.
It’s one of those ventures that can bring in a reliable income and doesn’t need you to micromanage every detail daily.
You’ll need to invest some cash upfront for the right equipment and a location that is easy for people to get to. But once you’re up and running, the day-to-day is pretty low-key.
But here’s a pro tip: go beyond the machines. Have a dispenser for laundry soap, softener, and more, and consider a vending machine for people to snack while they wait.
That way, you have extras, bringing in more money and giving your customers a better experience while washing their clothes.
17. Sell Goods In A Local Bakery
Turning your baking passion into a profit sounds like a dream, right? Selling your goods in a local bakery could be the way to do it.
The real recipe for success in the bakery world is whipping up something special that folks in your area love. Maybe it’s a loaf of bread with a secret twist or a pastry too good to pass up.
Then you can make it more automated by using machines to do more work or hiring workers to handle the shop so you can do other things.
Now, I won’t pretend it’s all icing and sprinkles; there’s real work involved. Keeping an eye on the quality of your treats and staying sharp with your inventory counts is key.
But you know what? With some smart planning and a knack for organization, you might find the rhythm of bakery life is pretty sweet and not as hectic as you’d think.
18. Open A Coffee Shop
Love the smell of freshly brewed coffee and the idea of being the local go-to spot for caffeine fixes?
Opening a coffee shop could be your calling. It’s a place where profit and passion can blend just as well as your favorite espresso.
But here’s the cool part: you can streamline the day-to-day stuff with the right tech and systems. This frees you up to enjoy the perks of being the boss, like maybe even plotting your next big venture.
Now, it’s not all sipping lattes and chatting with customers; you’ll need a significant initial investment for equipment, a prime location, and marketing to get things rolling.
But the profits can come in and make up for any investments you need to open up shop.
19. Sell Parking Spots
Ever driven around a busy area, frustrated because you can’t find a parking spot? Well, that annoyance could be your business opportunity.
I’m happy to spend a few bucks downtown to keep my car off the street and make parking less stressful.
Selling parking spots in high-demand areas can be a pretty hands-off way to generate passive income.
The catch? You’ll need to invest in land or parking facilities to get started. The key is picking high-traffic locations where people are desperate for parking.
Once you’ve got the space, the rest is relatively straightforward.
Add competitive pricing into the mix, and you have a business that can generate a steady income stream with minimal daily fuss.
Are there profitable low-effort businesses?
Yes, some businesses are both profitable and low effort. Take online courses, for example.
You invest time initially to create a course, and once it’s live, students can sign up and learn at their own pace without much more input.
It’s a create-once, earn-many-times kind of deal.
Then there’s the ebook-selling business. If you know a particular area or have a compelling story, you can write an ebook and sell it online multiple times without effort.
What businesses don’t require me to work every day?
If you’re looking for a hands-off business model, there are several options where your presence isn’t needed daily.
An Amazon FBA business is a prime example of a profitable business.
With Fulfillment by Amazon, you send your products to Amazon’s warehouse, and they handle the storage, shipping, and customer service for you.
Other businesses that generate passive income include automated car washes, coin-operated arcades, or renting out property.
How can I start a business that runs itself?
Starting a self-sustaining business is about choosing a model that can operate on autopilot with the right setup. Here’s a condensed guide:
- Select a Hands-Off Model – Opt for businesses like an Amazon FBA business, where others handle the fulfillment, or digital products that sell without constant oversight.
- Know Your Audience – Understand who your customers are and what they want so you can offer a product or service that sells itself.
- Automate and Delegate – Use technology to automate billing and customer service processes and hire competent people for tasks that require a human touch.
- Set Up Solid Marketing – A good marketing strategy continuously attracts customers without daily effort. SEO and automated social media campaigns can be particularly effective.
- Check-In Periodically – While your business may not need daily attention, regular check-ins are essential to ensure everything runs smoothly and make any necessary adjustments.
What are some automated business ideas?
Some business ideas that lean heavily on automation and require less day-to-day management from the owner include:
Billboard Rental Business -Once you’ve got billboards set up in high-traffic areas, you can rent out the space to advertisers and enjoy a steady income from your billboard business with little maintenance required.
Self-Service Car Wash – After the initial setup, customers do the work themselves, and these businesses often just require routine maintenance.
Print-on-Demand – Similar to dropshipping, you design products like t-shirts or books, and a third party prints and ships them as orders come in, cutting out the need for inventory management.
Are there low-cost businesses I can start?
Launching your own self-running business doesn’t have to drain your wallet. There are many low-cost businesses you can start!
Take blogging — putting your knowledge out there on the web, and most of the “money” spent is your time creating content.
With just a small fee for a domain and hosting, you’re all set to share your voice with the world and generate money.
Then there’s affiliate marketing- you could earn some nice commissions by sharing links on your blog or social media without spending your own money.
Whether getting into rental properties or launching digital product sales, businesses that run themselves can be your stepping stone to financial freedom.
Imagine setting up your own business that successfully ticks along nicely, topping up your income while you’re off doing – well, whatever you want!
You can set up shop, get your products and site up and running, and then make $1000+ per month without working 40 hours a week.
Businesses don’t take off without a little sweat equity and some upfront cash. But once you’ve got the gears moving, you’re all set for that sweet passive income.
It’s all about putting in the work early on. Nail that, and you’re on a smooth path to watching your bank balance grow and hitting those financial dreams.