17 Business Ideas Free for the Taking!

steve chouToday we’re giving away a bunch of business ideas, and to help me do it is Steve Chou.

Steve is a serial entrepreneur who runs:

It’s been 7-8 years since Steve was last on the podcast back on episode 128, so it was long overdue to get him back on!

In this one, we go back and forth brainstorming some ideas that we think should exist in the world.

Here are 17 business ideas we came up with that you’re welcome to take for free and run with!

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1. Coupon Code Site Where the Codes Are Verified and Actually Work

This first idea is based on something I personally find frustrating. When I’m shopping online and I see the “Promo code” box at checkout, I Google “[store name] + coupon code” to look for a discount code.

Invariably the same sites always show up at the top of the results, and none of the codes ever seem to work.

If someone created a site with codes that were verified and actually worked, I think Google would start to reward that site and rank it well.

Steve has seen this problem from the other side. He gets a lot of visitors to his e-commerce sites trying bogus coupons, and actually receives emails from annoyed customers saying they’re not working.

Steve’s solution was to create his own coupon page for his store. It ranks #1 when people search for coupons, and of course, the codes actually work.

There are tools that already exist that can help you find coupon codes, you can try:

2. Plugin Cleanup Tool

Steve explained that when you uninstall a plugin on a CMS like WordPress, some companies intentionally leave some code behind to continue tracking stuff on your site.

They do this primarily to gather data to sell on to other companies or use themselves, and the last thing you want is additional code loading along with your site.

Steve’s business idea is to create some sort of service, tool, or a plugin that checks every bit of code is removed when a plugin is uninstalled.

3. Affiliate Site Offering Cheaper Alternatives

We recently moved and are currently furnishing our new house. My wife is looking at stores like Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, and West Elm – places I would consider higher-end stores.

But we have young kids, so buying expensive stuff just isn’t a good idea right now since it’s just going to get destroyed.

I want to find the Wayfair, Target, or IKEA alternatives to the furniture my wife is browsing in the higher-end stores.

So, my idea is to create an affiliate site that lists the high-end stuff, and also lists something that looks similar and costs a lot less.

I think this would do great in the search results. There are loads of long-tail terms around different products and comparisons, and it’ll be great from a user experience.

4. Self-Service College Consulting

The next idea from Steve is to create a self-serving college consulting business.

Steve explained that there are consultants that will work with your kids from freshman through to their junior year to help them get into their chosen college.

These consultants charge around $12,000/year. So that’s $36,000 for the three years, which isn’t cheap.

Steve said it would be possible to create a database that lists all the classes someone would need to take in order to get into a specific college.

Instead of paying $12,000 a year for that one-to-one tuition, parents could use this service to hand pick the classes their kids need and create their own plan.

Our friend Dr. Ryan Gray created a similar service for pre-med students called Mapp’d.

5. SimilarWeb for Podcasts

If you want to get a good estimate of how much traffic a website gets you can go to SimilarWeb or Ahrefs and get a lot of data on a site.

I’d love to see something similar for podcasts. At the moment, I don’t know of a site or service that provides this kind of granular data on how well a podcast is doing.

I get invited onto a lot of shows, which is great. But I’ve had to implement my own vetting process to get a feel for if the show is going to stick around, how well it’s doing, and so on.

Steve added that this data would also be valuable for sponsors looking for shows on which to advertise.

6. Pep Talk for Kids Service

Steve said something I think will resonate with a lot of parents, “My kids don’t listen to me, if I tell them something it goes in one ear and out of the other,” Steve told me.

A solution and business idea Steve shared to combat this problem is a pep talk service for kids.

Steve said if there was a service that would connect people who are experts or have authority in a specific topic with kids via Zoom for a chat, he’d use it.

It could even be asynchronous like Cameo.

7. Custom-Fitted Hats

Apparently, I have an abnormally small head. So, I have a really hard time finding hats that fit well.

I’m also too old for the fitted New Era hats, and too bald for trucker hats with the mesh in the back.

I came across a company recently offering custom-fitted jeans. They take your measurements and guarantee to
make you the best-fitting jeans.

This made me think, I would totally pay for a service that would make a custom-fitted hat perfectly designed to fit my head.

8. Volleyball Setting Machine

Steve’s daughter is really into volleyball, and he often goes along to her practice sessions and helps out acting as a setter for her.

Most other sports, like baseball and basketball, have a machine that’ll set or serve balls. But as far as Steve knows, there isn’t a volleyball setting machine on the market.

Steve said he’s been looking for one, so he’d be one of the first customers if someone executes on this idea.

9. Personalized, Science-Backed Wellness Service

I’ve been using WellnessFX for the last couple of years. This service analyzes your blood test results and over time will track how changes in diet and lifestyle affect various biomarkers.

You can also book a consultation with one of their licensed health practitioners through the site if you want to take things to the next level.

Where WellnessFX stops short, however, is the ongoing support.

It doesn’t lay out a plan of when to take certain supplements and which lifestyle changes will really help to optimize your health on an ongoing basis.

Steve said this is something he would also pay for as well, but admitted it’s a business that sounds pretty complicated to put together.

10. Neighborhood Recycling Service

In Steve’s household, they get through a lot of sparkling water. Steve does recycle the empty cans, but he doesn’t send them back to get the $0.05 per can as it’s a lot of effort.

Steve’s idea is to set up a neighborhood recycling service, kind of like a profit share on empty can recycling.

You could collect large numbers of cans to make sending them to the recycling center less expensive, then split the profits 50/50 with households that participate.

11. Classpass for Golf

I’ve been playing a little bit more golf in the last 12 months, mainly with my dad as it’s become his retirement hobby.

What I’ve noticed is that you don’t see season passes for golf like you do with skiing or some other hobbies.

That got me to wondering whether or not it would be possible to put together a bundle of participating courses and sell that as a package.

Steve agreed and liked the idea. He compared it to MoviePass and other subscription models that have done well in other niches.

12. Plant Kennel

This idea from Steve is the result of a problem he ran into recently. Steve went on vacation to Florida, and when he returned some of his houseplants had died.

Of course, you can have a friend pop over to your house and water your plants while you’re away. But that’s always a pain, and not possible for some people.

Steve’s idea is to set up a “plant kennel.” Somewhere you can drop off your plants (or they’ll pick them up) so someone else will care for them while you’re away.

13. Home Maintenance Productized Service

With this idea I’m thinking of one-stop shopping for pest control, touch up painting, small projects, gutter clearing, and other various fixer-up projects.

If you already have a handyman business or something in that space, I’m sure you could set up a productized service for homeowners.

You could even play matchmaker and arrange all the various tradesmen to come out under your own branding.

Steve is onboard with this idea. He said it’s something his mom — who lives alone — would benefit from for sure.

14. Equitable Social Sharing

Social signals are important for helping get traction with content online.

It’s common to ask friends to help out by sharing stuff, but it’s hard to keep track of who’s helping out and how much they’re doing.

Steve’s idea is to create some kind of platform or software that keeps track of who is sharing content on social media, and how much they’re giving compared to how much they’re taking.

Essentially it’s an equitable social sharing tool that ensures everyone is playing fair.

15. Reverse Job Board

I picked up this idea from the site Kern.al and it’s for a reverse job board.

How it works is that instead of responding to job postings, candidates post a listing of their ideal job along with their skills and what they can offer a company.

This enables companies to potentially save money on recruitment costs while having a central database to filter and browse candidates based on their skills and wants.

16. Apocalypse Consultant

Steve explained that his wife has been a bit paranoid about bad stuff happening since the pandemic started.

They’ve been buying up emergency food and supplies in case of another pandemic-style event, but find some items difficult to get.

Steve said he’d pay for a prepping or “apocalypse consultant”. Someone to advise him on exactly what supplies he would need to ensure he’s prepared for the scenarios he and his wife worry about.

17. Fractional Ownership of Cash Flowing Businesses

The last business idea is another one from Kern.al and it’s for Fractional Ownership Of Cash Flowing Businesses Without The Work.

This platform is designed to take some of the risk out of buying a business while also making it easier for businesses to raise the funds by selling fractional stakes in a business.

This is a problem that’s been solved with real estate and is of course similar to how the stock market works.

But to my knowledge, it’s not yet been implemented for the purchase of local businesses.

Links and Resources from this Episode

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