Published: 10/20/2023

I’m a man of many, many, many ideas. I have a long list and a variety of interests. I’ve always wanted to start and more importantly run a successful small business. To build a product, get it to market and run with it. I’ve been apart of a few consultancy companies and a few unsuccessful start ups.

I thought it would be helpful to list out all the possible business models and some possible businesses within each category. Here’s the list:

Software as a service

The dream of many engineers. To build a web application and sell it, from Slack, to New Relic, to Salesforce. Billions are made here. Competition is fierce. There are even micro SAAS applications, like ReciPal for nutrition labels.

Market Place Plugins

Services like Shopify allow you to build applications that run on their platform that end users can install.

Platform as a service

Platforms like Heroku and AWS offer cloud-based environments for developers to build, deploy, and scale applications. You could create a specialized platform catering to a specific industry, like a healthcare data management platform.

Software for a license fee

Building something like graphic design software like Adobe Illustrator or 1Password, licensing it for a one-time fee. Users would pay upfront for the software and have access to it indefinitely.

Free software, paid support

Develop an open-source project, like a content management system, and offer premium support plans. Users can access the basic version for free, but can opt for paid support for more advanced features and assistance.

Courses and training

Create an online learning platform focused on a niche skill, such as a platform for learning data science or a specialized language learning app like Duolingo.

Affiliate Programs

Start a blog or website focused on a specific niche (e.g., outdoor gear), and earn commissions by promoting products from affiliate partners. For instance, reviewing and promoting hiking equipment with links to purchase on Amazon.

Custom web design and development

Offer bespoke web development services, catering to specific industries or functionalities. For example, specializing in e-commerce platforms with custom integrations.

Hourly contracting

Provide specialized services on an hourly basis, such as legal consulting or graphic design work for marketing agencies.

Full time jobs

Consider creating a recruitment platform focused on a specific industry, connecting skilled professionals with job opportunities. Or just obtaining a full time job, or two, or three (some developers do that, shhh!).

YouTube channels and other video channels

Start a YouTube channel dedicated to a particular genre, like AI Prompt Engineering, and generate income through ad revenue and sponsorships.


Create a podcast series about personal finance for engineerings, and monetize it through sponsorships, premium content, or merchandise sales.


Offer expert advice in a specific field, like web performance consulting for e-commerce businesses.

Lead generation landing pages

Design and sell high-converting landing pages tailored for specific industries, such as real estate lead generation pages.

Web asset development: libraries like AG Grid, Web Templates, etc.

Develop and sell premium web development libraries, like a high-performance grid system (similar to AG Grid) or customizable web templates for specific content management systems.

As you can see, there is literally money raining. What option to pick? What thing to commit to? How do you decide?