21 Best Cash Flow Business Ideas
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Are you looking for a business that’s convenient, profitable, and compatible with your lifestyle? Starting a business can be an intimidating process, but there are plenty of options out there that offer great potential for cash flow.
By the end of this article, you should have a better understanding of which type of business might be best suited to your needs.
What Makes a Business Good for Cash Flow?
While there are many great business ideas, unless you have unlimited resources, you’ll need a business that’s good for cash flow. You’ll have an enterprise with low overhead and high profit margins. Ideally, there will also be low inventory costs, so you won’t need to have lots of money tied up in stock.
Another important factor that makes a business good for cash flow is if the tasks involved in operating the business are straightforward. If they are, you won’t need to cover the cost of expensive, highly skilled workers. This type of operation is also easier to scale since you can easily and quickly hire and train employees, contractors, or freelancers.
High Cash Flow Business Ideas
1. SaaS (Software as a Service)
Saas, or software as a service, is a software delivery model that allows customers access to applications without needing to install programs on their devices. Essentially, they’re “renting” the software they need to run aspects of their business or enjoy hobbies and interests. Providing they have an internet connection, customers can access software on almost any device without needing to install an app or program.
If you’re code-savvy, you can provide various software products or services to create a recurring, stable monthly income. You can build your own subscription service or create a one-off sales licensing business model.
You can also make money via freemium plans, paid trials, or entry-level subscriptions. Alternatively, you could create a usage-based pricing model, which allows customers to pay varying costs depending on the amount of software they actually use.
And if you’re not a programmer or developer, you can hire one to bring your idea to life. Or you can partner with a developer.
SaaS businesses are ideal because of predictable recurring income and no expenses for inventory.
2. Membership Websites
Even if you’re not a web developer, you can benefit from the subscription business model with a membership website. There are many possibilities for this to generate monthly or yearly recurring payments. Essentially, you’re creating an exclusive site such as a forum, job board, or paid content site that your customers will pay to access.
For example, if you’re a keen fitness enthusiast, you could have a membership site providing workout plans, fitness challenges, and fitness advice, with a forum where users can discuss fitness topics and enjoy one-on-one interaction.
This means that you can leverage your interests, skills, and expertise into a community where people pay to have access.
Many platforms make it easy to build a membership website, including Squarespace.
3. Retainer-Based Businesses
Any business where clients pay a recurring retainer fee for a service offers the potential for excellent cash flow.
Essentially, your clients pay a recurring retainer fee (usually monthly) for your services. You can apply this model to various industries like legal, accounting, PR, marketing, advertising, and more. Your clients will have access to your services as needed, but you’ll enjoy regular and predictable income.
4. Rental Business
Many people shy away from the idea of a rental business, as traditional rental businesses require a lot of capital. For example, you may need to purchase an apartment or office and then rent it out for income.
However, these days, other rental businesses allow you to leverage your current property and existing assets.
If you have space in your home or garage that could be used for storage, you can use this to create an income stream. Many people are looking for short-term or long-term storage in their local area.
Neighbor makes it easier to rent out space to store boxes, vehicles, or other items. It’s possible to make a decent additional income by renting out your basement, attic, shed, driveway or garage, but you can even rent out a spare room or a closet.
You can list your available space on Neighbor for free. The platform will connect you with potential renters and handle all of the payments for you. All you need to do is ensure the renter can access the space.
Neighbor makes it easy to earn extra cash by renting out storage space in your basement, attic, garage, or even a shed. Make extra money each month without needing to spend time on a side hustle.
- Earn thousands of dollars per year
- Very little time or effort required
- Neighbor markets your space to people in your local area
- Set your own rates
- Neighbor handles all the payments for you
Truck or Van
If you have a truck or van you don’t use regularly, you can rent it to local people on specific days or over the weekend.
The best platform for this rental service is Fetch. You can rent your vehicle by the day or even for hourly periods. Depending on the insurance package you opt for, you can earn 65% to 80% of the vehicle rental.
The rental prices are determined with dynamic pricing, high mileage packages, and discounts for long-term rentals. This means that you can maximize your earnings with good timing. You can also boost your earnings by offering moving supplies and other ancillaries for your rental clients.
This is an easy way to turn your truck into an income-generating asset.
Rent out your truck and make money passively with Fetch. Fetch's platform automates most of the process for you. They'll promote your rental to people in your local area, handle all customer inquiries, renter verification, and payment. The Fetch smart device even allows renters to unlock your truck with their phone so you don't have to meet them in person.
- Great side hustle for busy people
- Turn your truck into an income-generating asset
- Excellent income potential
- Rent out a single truck or build your own fleet
- Fetch guarantees that you'll make at least $1,500 in the first 90 days
RV or Camper
If you have an RV or camper, you could use RVShare to generate passive income. This platform is similar to Fetch, specializing in RV rentals, but it’s peer-to-peer based. This means that you can connect with potential renters interested in taking an RV break, but the purchase price of an RV is out of their reach.
It’s possible to make a decent income renting out your RV when you don’t have plans to use it. You can rent out your RV for a few months each year and make thousands of dollars.
The earning potential will be determined by the type of RV or camper you have. So, if you have an excellent model, you can make a lot of money.
Do you own an RV? If so, you can make a great passive income by renting it out when you're not using it. RVshare is a platform that connects RV owners with renters.
- Use the RV when you want, rent it out when you don't need it
- Turn your RV into an income-generating asset
- Passive income opportunity
- You control all the details like pricing
- Largest RV marketplace
5. Online Courses
If you have solid knowledge in a niche and are keen to share it with others, you could start a business creating online courses. There’s no requirement for formal qualifications, and you may be able to work on something you truly enjoy.
You could offer your course on a platform like Skillshare, or create your own site and sell it on your own. Teachable makes it easy to create a professional website and online course business.
“How to” courses tend to be the most popular, but you can adapt practically any knowledge or skill into an online course. If you team up with affiliate partners who will promote your courses, you can create a business that provides residual income.
Just bear in mind that it does take time to create courses and promote them, so you’ll not see immediate cash. However, this is an excellent online business model if you have a long-term focus.
Another way to turn your interests into a business is via blogging. You’ll need to be confident in your writing skills and be prepared to commit considerable effort to the venture, but it’s a flexible gig.
You’ll need to provide good content and consistently publish with an approachable, natural writing style. Just bear in mind that you need to pick a topic of interest to you, as many new bloggers quickly run out of inspiration after just a few months.
It’s possible to run a blog around other businesses or commitments, but you’ll need to research how you want to monetize your blog. Blogs can make money in many ways, including advertising, affiliate programs, publishing sponsored content, selling your own products, and offering a service.
The earning potential of blogging can vary greatly. The income potential is truly unlimited, but many bloggers don’t stick with it long enough to experience success. Your blogging income will be influenced by your work ethic and the popularity of your blog.
If interested in this opportunity, read our step-by-step guide on how to start a blog.
7. YouTube Channel
If you like the idea of being on camera or have great animation skills, you could consider setting up a YouTube channel. Like blogging, this is not a guaranteed income overnight. You’ll need to work to build your audience, which can take significant time.
Producing video content regularly can be a challenge, but you have the potential to make money from ad revenue, affiliate programs, and sponsorships. Popular creators continue to make thousands of dollars each month, but you’ll need to establish your voice and brand.
Bear in mind that you’ll be working on a platform that you don’t actually own, as opposed to blogging on your own site. This means that you need to be careful to work around the YouTube rules to ensure you remain compliant.
Podcasting is along the same vein as blogging and YouTube, but it’s the audio variation (although many podcasts now offer video as well). However, podcasts have become increasingly popular, as many people like to listen when driving, exercising, or doing household chores.
You can start a podcast on almost any topic, but you’ll need to choose a topic that will attract listeners to be profitable.
You can combine your podcast with blogging or a YouTube channel to provide content in multiple formats. It’s a natural fit for affiliate marketing, and you can interview guests who want to promote their own products and services for cross promotion.
Freelancing is a catch-all term for a variety of careers and business opportunities. You can leverage your existing skill set or develop a new knowledge base. For example, if you have good writing and language skills, you could be a freelance writer or proofreader. If you’re good at coding, you could freelance as a web developer or web designer.
It’s possible to start freelancing on sites like Upwork and then expand to your own website, depending on your business goals.
In either case, you’ll need to be good at self-promotion, as you’ll need to stand apart from your competitors. However, once you establish your reputation, you can set your own rates and create your own schedule.
10. Social Media Marketing
This is similar to having a client on retainer, as customers can pay you a monthly fee for your services. Social media has become a vital part of modern business advertising strategies.
As a social media specialist, you can help companies raise their profile via Facebook ads, social media content, and employing other social media strategies.
If you’re already enjoying a large engagement on your social media platforms, this could be a great hobby to transition into a profitable business.
11. Virtual Assistant
If you’re an organized person who can manage various admin tasks, you could create a business offering virtual assistant services.
As a virtual assistant, you’ll work for clients remotely on various tasks such as editing, invoicing, scheduling, and data entry to allow business owners to concentrate on their core responsibilities.
You may be paid a set fee for a specific number of hours per month, or you can work hourly. You can work from home and enjoy varied tasks. If you’re well organized, you can work with several clients at once, which means that you can maximize your earnings over the same number of working hours.
You can find virtual assistant clients on freelancing platforms, but you can also connect with potential clients on forums and job sites.
The term “consultant” can often seem vague, but this can be a great business opportunity to use your existing skills. Consultants provide valuable insight and services in almost any industry. If you have the appropriate experience and skill set, this is an excellent opportunity.
Some examples of consulting roles include fitness consultants, IT consultants, financial consultants, and PR consultants. Of course, there are many other possibilities. You may have developed skills in your current job or previous roles that could be put to good use.
Depending on the industry, niche, and location, you can earn $100 or more per hour for providing your advice.
If you like the idea of having an online store but don’t have the space to stash physical products or lack the processing power to ensure your items are shipped on time, you may want to consider dropshipping.
Dropshipping allows you to sell online and allow someone else to handle the logistics. Your supplier will handle the order fulfillment and arrange deliveries, creating an inexpensive, solid business idea. Most likely, your customers won’t even realize they’re purchasing from a drop shipper.
Dropshipping minimizes hassle, and you can avoid spending money on storage or shipping. However, you’ll still need to deal with refunds and returns. However, it’s possible to quickly turn dropshipping into a large and lucrative enterprise.
14. Selling Digital Products
Selling digital products has never been easier, and it can inspire a superb business idea. Whether you want to create books, audiobooks, or printables such as planners, checklists, and organizers, the only limitation to selling digital products is your imagination.
You can find a niche in a lucrative field, and you’ll need to create products that stand apart from your competition. You can even create a catalog of related items such as signs, banners, and stickers.
One of the best opportunities right now is to create and sell printables. Printables are popular in many different niches, so you can probably build a business around your own hobbies and interests.
If you’d like to make money with digital products, we highly recommend the E-Printables course from Gold City Ventures.
Are you curious about selling printables on Etsy but don’t know where to start? This free ebook shows how to take advantage of seasonal trends to make sales. Plus, it gives you a secret list of the best-selling products by month, so you always know what to create.
Selling printables on Etsy is the perfect side hustle if you:
- Want to work from home
- Don't have much time
- Like the idea of selling on Etsy
- Don't have prior experience
15. Dividend Investing
More and more people are considering investment platforms as a side hustle. You can use dividend investing and other investment opportunities to build a business. Investing platforms like Public, Webull, and Moomoo offer commission-free trades of stocks and ETFs.
Public.com offers fractional shares so anyone can start investing. You'll love the social aspect that makes it possible to connect with other investors. Get a free stock slice worth up to $300 when you open an account through our link.
- Commission-free trades of stocks and ETFs
- Buy and sell 27 different cryptocurrencies
- Fractional shares
- Easy to use and beginner-friendly
- Connect with a supportive community of investors
- "Themes" help you to find investments that interest you
These apps also provide educational resources to help you to learn the basics and develop your investing skillset. Webull also offers paper trading, which allows you to practice different investing strategies without risking your own money.
If you want to create a regular income, you can look for investments that pay dividends, building up your portfolio over time until it is a profitable enterprise.
Aside from the stock market, you could also invest in real estate. Fundrise is an incredibly popular platform that makes it simple to get started in real estate with as little as $10.
16. Car Wash
Most drivers enjoy having a clean car but lack the time or inclination to wash and detail their vehicle. While in the past, a car wash was a significant investment, these days, car owners tend to prefer handwashing techniques, so you don’t need to purchase or lease car washing machinery.
In fact, you can get started washing and detailing cars as a mobile business. You’ll simply need access to a vehicle and car cleaning supplies, as you can detail cars while the people are at home or work.
You’ll be able to set your own hours, but there will be times of the year when demand is higher. You can also set your own rates, but you’ll need to consider the cost of your cleaning supplies in your prices to ensure a healthy profit margin.
This is another business idea that may seem out of your financial reach initially, but it could be very profitable. You don’t necessarily need to purchase premises with a lot of machines.
Although you need to invest money upfront for equipment, a laundromat can be a very low-overhead business. Many coin-operated laundromats operate with no employees on site. In fact, it’s one of the best low-maintenance businesses available.
This business is also scalable. If you succeed with one location, you can add other locations and follow the same business model.
18. Food Truck
Street food continues to be a rapidly growing sector. Many people not only like to pop out of work for a tasty lunch but enjoy a variety of cuisines at festivals, street markets, and fairs. You’ll need to be interested in cooking great food and be prepared for some long shifts.
Your initial investment will include a van or trailer, kitchen equipment, and food preparation gear. You’ll also need to investigate what permits and certifications are needed in your local area.
If you’ve always dreamed of owning your own restaurant or cafe but don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars for start-up capital, a food truck could be a great option.
19. Pet Sitting and Dog Walking
If you’re good with animals, particularly dogs, you could establish a pet sitting and dog walking business.
You can start working with a platform like Rover, which can help you to find your feet. You can simply set up your profile and search for jobs in your local area, connecting with potential clients via the third-party platform.
You can tailor your services to your preferences, from walking dogs to staying with pets during the day or overnight if their owners are away. You’ll need to love animals, and you may need to pass a basic background check and opt for an insurance package.
However, once you have established a reputation, you can branch out on your own with social media advertising and some flyers in your local area.
20. Lawn Care
If you enjoy outdoor work, you can create a business offering lawn care services. You don’t need lots of equipment initially, and you can set your own rates with flexible hours. As your business grows, you can invest in equipment that allows you to take bigger and more profitable jobs.
The key to a successful lawn care business is to provide solid service with good reliability. You can get started canvassing your neighborhood with leaflets to find your first clients. You can also have social media accounts to promote your services locally.
You can also expand your services, offering seasonal-based landscaping services according to your client’s requirements.
21. Trash Cleanup
Trash cleanup may not be the most glamorous of businesses, but it can be very lucrative. Picking up trash around strip malls, retail stores, apartment complexes, and office buildings can not only keep your local area looking nice, but you can also turn a nice profit.
Brian Winch created Cleanlots, a manual that teaches you how to build your own trash cleanup business. Brian has been earning six figures with his own business for more than 40 years, and he refers to it as “America’s simplest business.”
You need very little equipment and no particular skills or experience to do the work. You’ll get to work outdoors, and there isn’t much competition in the industry.
In Cleanlots, Brian Winch teaches the simple business plan he's used to earn six figures with a trash cleanup business that anyone can start. It's perfect as a side hustle or for scaling up to a full-time business. With extremely low startup costs and excellent income potential, you'll love this opportunity.
FAQ About the Best Cash Flow Businesses
The best cash flow business to start will depend on your interests and skill set. You’ll need to dedicate significant time and effort to start your business, so it should be something you feel passionate about. If you’re unsure where to start, consider freelancing, blogging, or starting a YouTube channel.
Consulting or freelancing has the potential to make lots of money quickly. It will depend on your skills, experience, and expertise, but it is possible to earn up to $100 per hour or more. And your business will be profitable as soon as you land your first client.
While profit is crucial for a business, cash flow is equally important. After all, there’s no point in turning a profit of thousands of dollars if your funds are tied up in inventory, or if it isn’t conducive to your lifestyle. You need a balance of profitability and cash flow to ensure that your business has the space to grow, while offering you a good income.
Final Thoughts on Cash Flow Businesses
If you’re looking to work for yourself, you don’t need to find massive amounts of money to establish your own business. As we’ve demonstrated, there are many options with low start-up costs, the potential to scale, and decent returns.
We’ve presented the best cash flow businesses here. You simply need to think about what you’re interested in and where your existing experience and skills can be put to good use. You can then potentially grow this idea into a profitable and successful business.
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