16 Business Ideas That Should Exist: Yours Free For the Taking!

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joel hansen

Struggling to come up with a side hustle or business idea?

To help get the creative idea juices flowing, I’ve invited Joel Hansen, a member of the founding team of Kern.al on the show.

Kern.al is kind of like Reddit or Product Hunt, but for business ideas that don’t exist yet.

Just a few minutes on the site definitely sparked some creativity for me so I encourage you to check it out.

In this episode, Joel and I bounce some different business ideas back and forth that are free for you to run with and should be enough to get the cogs turning on your own ideas.

Tune in to this episode of The Side Hustle Show to hear 16 business ideas that are free for the taking, including:

  • why I’d be interested in an “erase me” button for personal data online
  • ideas that have been posted on Kern.al for shadowing CEOs and elevating “Open” signs in shop windows
  • a cool idea Joel has for autotext reminders
  • and more

1. Anonymize My Life

This was an idea that was presented on Kern.al by Sam Parr, the founder of The Hustle and Trends. He wants a way to remain anonymous on the Internet and thinks that privacy is going to be more important to people in the future.

My spin on this would be having an “erase me” button. If there was an easy way to hide my family’s names and addresses from public directories online, I think that would be a service worth paying for.

Note: After the episode I discovered a service called Removaly that promises to do just that.

Joel added that he knows a lot of entrepreneurs that like or need to be very visual on social media, but they don’t want their kids to be out there.

He thinks it would be good if there was a button that would erase the data for kids under 18. They’ll then be able to make the decision to “turn the lever back on, or keep it off” when they hit 18.

2. Startup SAAS Bundle

Elaine Zelby, a partner at Signal Fire writes a weekly newsletter and comes up with three start-up ideas a week that she shares with her audience.

Elaine has posted an idea on Kern.al that has a bunch of votes. It’s a startup pack or bundle for creators or founders that are new to entrepreneurship.

Similar to how you have a bundle of apps already installed when you pick up a new phone. Elaine’s idea is to put together a bundle of discounted services and apps that are important and useful to entrepreneurs.

The challenge would be figuring out which apps are important to different types of businesses. Joel suggested putting together different bundles for different industries and business types.

If anyone is interested in looking into this idea, Joel recommended checking out JoinSecret. This is a site that offers discounts and pre-packaged SAAS bundles.

3. Online Business Dashboarding Tool

I’m still trying to build a custom dashboard myself. Something that will show me at a glance what my business earned yesterday, how many email subscribers I got, and other key metrics.

It would be difficult to build a tool that does this better than what’s already available from Google and other companies. But if you’re an API master, this is something you could offer as a service.

Joel said Nathan Barry comes to mind. Nathan is the founder of ConvertKit, an all-in-one email service provider.

You could take the same idea and create a software that pulls together all of your internet tools that pulls your data and presents it via a custom dashboard.

4. Reducing Meetings Within Companies

The next idea comes from Andrew Gazdecki, the founder of MicroAcquire, an online marketplace where people can buy and sell startup companies.

His idea is an app designed to reduce the number of meetings within companies. This app looks at how productive or costly a meeting is, and provides an incentive program to reduce meetings.

It could look at things like the cost of the attendees’ time while they’re in a meeting, and tell you if that time could be better spent elsewhere.

It could also create a leaderboard for how many meetings have been canceled, and how much time and money has been saved.

5. Report Spam or Easy Unsubscribe for Physical Mail

It boggles my mind how many rules and regulations we have for email spam, yet physical mail — which comes from trees — seems to run rampant.

We get messages for all sorts of local businesses, and it’s not as easy as clicking “unsubscribe” to put a stop to it as it is with email.

If there was a way to hide our address from spam mail, that’s something I bet a lot of people would be interested in.

Related: PaperKarma

6. Virtual Shadow a CEO

Trevor McKendrick is the former chief of staff for Lambda School, a website that helps students find jobs and enables them to pay off their degrees based on the salary they connect students with.

Trevor’s idea is called “Shadow a CEO”. Joel explained that there isn’t a Masterclass or YouTube channel for private, high-performance CEOs and founders.

Something like seeing how CEOs and leaders respond to email, the apps they use, and how they run their businesses would be beneficial to people trying to emulate their success.

Trevor’s idea is to provide a masterclass for founders and CEOs people want to learn from for maybe a day or a week.

He’s suggesting pre-recorded lessons that could easily be shared and used as onboarding or training materials.

7. Auto Rebooking on Southwest for Fare Decreases – Think Performance-based models

We used to fly with Southwest a lot and they have an amazing rebooking policy; if the price goes down, you can just rebook your flight to the lower-priced one and get the difference back as credit.

The tricky part is that you have to be constantly checking their prices so you can identify where the price drops.

If you could figure out a way to do this on a performance-based model, where you just charge a percentage of the savings, I think it would be pretty compelling.

8. Recruiting for Jobs App on Twitter

LinkedIn is the go-to platform for recruitment. However, Joel said Tiffany Zhong — a trusted voice on Twitter — has voiced that she wanted to fill multiple roles through her Twitter following and needed help.

Joel’s idea off the back of this is to create some sort of Tweet framework that would enable someone to recruit for roles via sending out a Tweet.

9. Used Car Concierge / Buyer’s Agent for Cars

The last car we shopped for was a tedious process. It involved looking at a lot of websites for the make and model we were looking for, filtering on the date and mileage range, and so on.

If there was a concierge service that would do all of the legwork and charge a performance-based fee, I think there would be demand for that. A buyer’s agent for cars.

Joel explained this idea falls within what he calls “low-hanging fruits” for startup ideas — which is taking what the 1% have in terms of options, and applying it to the 99%.

Another example he shared was taking an exotic vacation home available to the top 1%, and turning it into an Airbnb property, and making it available to everyone.

10. Make My Stuff Disappear

We just went through a move from California to Washington State and I spent a lot of time on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist trying to get rid of stuff.

The Make My Stuff Disappear service is already out there and available on platforms like eBay, and it’s a consignment business on the Facebook Marketplace.

They take the pictures, do the measurements, deal with customer communications, etc., and take a fee from the final sale price.

I don’t know if this service exists locally. It would be a great way to source inventory for a flipping business if it did.

Joel’s advice to anyone who wants to try this is to pick a high-traffic area like an apartment building. Then see if you could connect people looking to sell stuff with others looking to buy things to be as efficient as possible.

11. Book Summaries – Audioclips for Everything – Twitter Threads / Blog posts

Joel has a lot of articles and books recommended to him by friends. He wants to read them eventually but is far too busy with his business and other projects.

A tool he would make good use of would be an app that when you enter a link or a picture of a book, it will turn that book into 20-minute bite-sized audio clips.

Essentially, a way to summarize books into a much quicker and easier-to-digest format so he can start working through the long list of books he has.

There are some tools and services on the market that do similar things already. Blinkist is a great resource, this site summarizes books and podcasts down to 15-minute audio files.

Joel wants this to span much further than books. He would like to turn Twitter threads, emails, and any other communications into audio files at the click of a button.

12. YouTube Recap Newsletter

There are loads of talented YouTube creators, but it’s hard to sift through all the noise without sitting down and watching a load of videos.

A good idea would be a YouTube Recap Newsletter that summarizes all the best videos for a given niche, or something personalized to the user.

Joel added that a tool or recommendation engine that would recommend videos from friends and coworkers could also work well.

13. Autotext for Important Reminders

With most of us living busy lives, it’s easy to forget important key dates like a relative’s birthday or an appointment.

Joel had the idea for a tool that scrapes information from the internet or some other source. Then sends autotext reminders a week, day, or whatever notice you want to your phone to remind you.

This could also be used to send you bits of information before you enter a meeting. A way to help you prepare to meet someone, have some key numbers to hand, and so on.

14. Buy the Dip – Automated Investing Service for Microdips in Asset Prices

This idea is an automated investing service for what I call “microdips” in asset prices.

I believe in long-term investing and dollar-cost averaging, but all else being equal, I’d like to get in at even a 1% discount if available.

There is currently no way to automate sprinkling out investments across the month taking advantage of these microdips.

I’d like a service or tool where I can set an investing budget, and every time the market dips, an extra amount would be invested.

Related: 79 Alternative Investment Platforms

15. Tiered Referral Incentive Program for Podcasts

We see tiered referral programs in the email space a lot. Services like Sparkloop award people with stickers, products, and other incentives for referring email subscribers.

I would like to see something similar for podcasters. There is one service I can see doing something similar at the moment, that’s a service called Refer-O-Matic.fm.

The price is right with Refer-O-Matic, but it isn’t super user-friendly and is lacking some of the customizations I want to see.

I think there is a great service here for someone who can solve the tracking and attribution model and provide a tiered referral incentive program for podcasters.

16. Elevate the Open Sign Experience

Lyndon Cormack, one of the founders of Herschel Supply Co, had an idea to elevate the open sign experience for stores.

Most businesses have a static neon “Open” sign in their business. Lyndon’s idea is to create a digital open sign that syncs with the business’s time zone, fits well with the location, is branded to the business, and does even more.

It’s not an idea Lyndon is going to solve, he’s thrown it out for anyone to run with. If someone does come up with a good solution, Joel said Lyndon might be open to using it in some of the Herschel Supply Co stores.

What’s Next?

Kern.al has been Joel’s focus for a while and was still in private beta at the time of the call. Joel is also teaching a LinkedIn Masterclass on Maven and writes a weekly newsletter on how founders can tell better stories.

Joel’s #1 Tip for Side Hustle Nation

“Take walking breaks during the day.”

Links and Resources from this Episode


  • DNAcademy – Get $100 off your DNAcademy membership and learn domain investing from the best in the business.


  • Helium 10 – Start and grow your Amazon business with a powerful suite of tools and training resources.

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Nick Loper

About the Author

Nick Loper is a side hustle expert who loves helping people earn more money and start businesses they care about. He hosts the award-winning Side Hustle Show, where he's interviewed over 500 successful entrepreneurs, and is the bestselling author of Buy Buttons, The Side Hustle, and $1,000 100 Ways.

His work has been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Forbes, TIME, Newsweek, Business Insider, MSN, Yahoo Finance, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Financial Times, Bankrate, Hubspot, Ahrefs, Shopify, Investopedia, VICE, Vox, Mashable, ChooseFI, Bigger Pockets, The Penny Hoarder, GoBankingRates, and more.

6 thoughts on “16 Business Ideas That Should Exist: Yours Free For the Taking!”

  1. This AM I drove by a empty store with the “Open” sign on. I had a idea of how to solve it. How do I get in touch with Lyndon Cormack?

    • Please make this happen. Even if I’m not going to the store I think poorly of the business when their open sign lies to me.

    • Richard, I’d suggest going on Kern.al and posting your suggested solution. I’m not sure if you can tag certain members in a post, but you can select whether it’s a solution you’d like to work on or if you’re sharing it for others to pick up. That might be the simplest way to get Lyndon to find out about it.

  2. Given that you, Nick, are friends with Dane Maxwell, your desire for a dashboard specific to your business reminded me of one of Dane’s case studies in his Start From Zero book – Carl Mattiola (page 254) who founded Clinic Metrics https://www.clinicmetrics.com/ (dashboards for Physical Therapy businesses).

    But more exciting for me is that you and Joel appear to have validated an idea I’ve been only thinking about (not yet taking any action). A YouTube curation service! A) Kevin Kelly suggested in his book, The Inevitable, that people would soon be paid for curating content (since there is too much to filter). B) Brian Clark, formerly of Copyblogger, is selling training to help people build curation businesses. C) I already keep spreadsheets of YT videos by subject matter I’m interested in.

    If you have a subject you would like me to research for you, I’d be happy to do it for you for only $20 to get your feedback on the final “product” and to validate the service.


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