5 Off-the-Wall Business Ideas That Are Surprisingly Lucrative

4 min read • Mar 17, 2021 • Derek Miller

Is it time for a career change? Do you have a unique skill set in a niche field but want to expand your knowledge into something new? 

Many entrepreneurs started out in their fields and saw opportunities outside of the norm. They made dramatic changes in their career plans and took risks to enter new and lucrative markets. This could be you. 

Below are a few unique business ideas that rise to customer demand. Get inspired by the entrepreneurs who turned their off-the-wall ideas into big business, and see if any of these concepts would work for you.

1. Dog Event Planning

Is your dog the apple of your eye? Do you want to help others celebrate their pooches and spoil them in the most creative ways possible? Consider getting into canine event planning. 

A few years ago, event planner Niki Sohrabkani took on a client who asked her to throw a party for 20 dogs and their pet parents. Sohrabkani had such a good time that she developed her own business to throw parties for pets. Today, the party planner hosts more than 30 events a year, from “pooch pool pawties” to “Howl-o-ween bashes.” 

Sohrabkani really leans into the puppy theme, catering for humans as well as the furry attendees. She always brings some “pawsecco” and leads games like “musical paws.” 

The parties are popular with high-end clientele who want to spoil their pets. Sohrabkani’s attention to detail means her events get featured across Instagram, attracting additional clients and helping her grow her unique event-planning business.

2. Online Dating Consulting 

When the COVID-19 pandemic closed bars and ended social gatherings, countless people worldwide downloaded apps like Tinder, Coffee Meets Bagel, and eHarmony. However, the world of online dating can be just as fraught as traditional meet-ups, which is why some romance experts have turned their passions for helping friends get hitched into lucrative businesses. 

Sameera Sullivan is a New York City matchmaker and runs a service called Lasting Connections. Sullivan offers online dating consultants and assistance to help people meet potential significant others. Lasting Connections is on the high end of the online dating consultancy spectrum, charging $45,000 for a year of in-depth coaching or $6,500 for 3 months of a virtual coaching program. Some coaches offer by-hours services at $99 each. 

An online dating coach will help you create a profile—and some will choose photos and write your bio for you. Some services will filter matches for you (so you don’t have to see any rude or gross messages) and help you dress for upcoming dates

If you have a matchmaking knack, consider taking your business digital by getting into consulting. 

3. Edible Insect Production

Are you looking for a low-calorie source of protein that doesn’t harm the environment? Consider cricket protein, which uses food-grade insects to provide post-workout snacks for gym-goers across the world. 

Insects are considered an environmentally-friendly food source because they require less space and resources to grow. Compared to how much land and water products like wheat and beef take up, insects require much less and produce a yield much faster.  

As more people realize the health benefits of eating insects, entomophagy startups are flourishing. Companies grow and sell everything from trail mix and protein bars to restaurant-grade scorpions and ants for Michelin-starred restaurants.

Get to know more about these “entopreneurs” and the niche they fill.    

4. Modern Day Funeral Planning

The funeral as we know it is changing. People no longer want their loved ones crying over their bodies in a church or stodgy funeral home. More people are requesting celebrations of life and unique burials that provide memorable send-offs for families. 

Alison Bossert, a celebration-of-life planner in Los Angeles, shared how she threw a “Memorialpalooza” for a client in 2019. The client, Jerry Seinfeld’s personal manager, was celebrated with 300 guests at the Sony Pictures Studios—there was catering, gift bags, a line-up of speakers, and even Seinfeld himself as the closer. This event was meant to be more of a party to honor the dead rather than a somber affair. 

Consider stepping into the world of modern-day funeral planning as more people request unique burials, parties, holograms, and other special ways to celebrate life.      

5. Snow Shipping

Do you live in a place with too much snow and want to get rid of it? You’re not alone. The company Ship Snow Yo will send 20 lbs or 50 lbs of real snow across the country to give you a winter wonderland wherever you are. Send snow to your relatives in Florida who are bragging about the mild winters, or order a snowman kit for yourself. 

This company highlights how you can take a seemingly undesirable resource and turn it into a valuable product. 

Every Successful Business Starts With an Idea

These business owners prove that it doesn’t matter what your business idea is. If you have a strategic business plan and know-how within your industry, your concept can thrive. Take the first steps today to turn your off-the-wall idea into a success. Check out our funding opportunities to get your small business off the ground. 

Derek Miller

Derek Miller is the CMO of Smack Apparel, the content guru at Great.com, and a marketing consultant for small businesses. He specializes in entrepreneurship, small business, and digital marketing, and his work has been featured in sites like Entrepreneur, GoDaddy, Score.org, and StartupCamp.