Starting a business with your cellphone is hard. Scratch that, starting any kind of business is hard. Using just your phone adds a layer of difficulty. Still, given how powerful the modern smartphone is, you can do lots with one. There are even businesses that you can run with little more than a smartphone and a Gmail address.
This article puts forward five mobile-first business ideas that require nothing more than your phone and a big dose of old-fashioned gumption. These ventures could be part-time, and can definitely all be home-based. The best part is they don’t involve taking surveys or using an app that pays you pennies to take pictures of receipts. We’re also not going to suggest signing up for a ride-sharing app.
These are all businesses with serious income-generating potential. As a result, they all take time and effort. This article focuses on mobile business ideas that are often successful. Put another way–there are no “pie in the sky” ideas here. Just real businesses you can start working on today.
Gartner defines mobile business as “new business models enabled by the extensive deployment of key mobile and wireless technologies and devices, and by the inherent mobility of most people’s work styles and lifestyles.”
While that’s accurate, it’s also a bit of a mouthful. For this article, we define a mobile business as:
“A business that you can run from your cellphone irrespective of location that allows you to earn an income.”
Now, let’s dive into our mobile business ideas.
For most people in marketing and sales, Gary Vaynerchuk is like Marmite. You either love him or not. Regardless of your opinion of him, there’s no denying that he knows a thing about entrepreneurship. In this video, Gary explains how it’s possible to make $1,000 per week Garage Sale flipping. That’s not bad money.
You can start a mobile business buying second-hand items and selling them from your phone. You can scour local garage sales or even look on websites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace for a good deal. Then you can sell these goods on eBay, Etsy, and other online marketplaces at a profit.
Cat Facts began as a Reddit prank, became one of the most popular Reddit posts all time, and is now a mobile business. The Nudge, another SMS subscription service, delivers ideas for stuff to do in your free time. They even bagged $540K in pre-seed funding. The point we’re trying to make is that a text subscription service can be a lucrative business.
There are a ton of SMS-based lifestyle subscription services out there, and you can grab a slice of the pie too. We wrote about how you can quickly start a text subscription service. The key takeaway is that it requires no technical skills. All you need is a $25 SimpleTexting plan and an idea. You can promote your SMS subscription service on the likes of Instagram and Facebook, or even take a leaf out of Cat Facts book and try to go viral on Reddit.
Entrepreneurs have long seen outsourcing as a strategy reserved for big business, but technology has made it a more accessible tool for small businesses. Now a lot of smaller companies see outsourcing as a way to influence their growth, productivity, and bottom lines positively. This is where you come in.
You could start a service that generates leads on behalf of a company. After all, you can send emails, text messages, and make calls all from your phone. You can also include an in-person element, networking at events and conferences. You can see how interest in lead generation has grown over time in this chart from Google Trends:
If you have no interest in sales, you could offer remote personal assistant (PA) services. Lots of professionals need a PA, but not full time. You can help manage schedules, answer phone calls, and respond to emails. Or, if you consider yourself tech-savvy, you could work in tech support for a set fee or hourly rate.
It seems like everyone is making a podcast these days. While that can make it seem like more of a hobby than a business, demand for audio-only content is increasing. Plus, there are many different ways to monetize a podcast, from affiliate marketing to sponsors and advertising. Marketers spent $479 million on podcast ads in 2018, and podcast advertising revenues will surpass $1 billion by 2021. That’s breathtaking growth.
Now that we’ve cleared up the viability of a podcast as a revenue-generating business, you’re probably wondering if you can really do everything just from your phone. Yes, it’s possible to create a podcast only using your cellphone. (Although you’ll want to invest in an external microphone too.) Next, you’ll need to sign up with a podcast hosting service.
Podbean is one such service that comes with a free Podbean app. You can use it to store audio files, record, and edit. The app comes with a ton of great features. For example, there are a few different music tracks you can use as intro or background music.
Of course, to be able to generate revenue from your podcast, you’ll need an audience first. Once again, you can promote on social media and even through word-of-mouth recommendations.
Dust off that algebra textbook. Tutoring students and others online is a business that you can run from your cellphone. For example, Chegg is a simple platform that allows anyone with a 4-year degree to apply to be a tutor. Tutors can work on their schedule and can make up to $20 per hour through the platform.
While this may not sound like a lot, you can build on it over time and even start your own independent tutoring business. This article describes how one tutor with a network of clients and referrals earns between close to $4,000 a month from tutoring.
The above is by no means a complete list of mobile business ideas. But, these are some of the most actionable ideas out there. Plus, there are no high set-up costs––all you need is a willingness to take action and the ability to learn as you go. Oh, and a smartphone!
If you’re planning to start a business from your phone, chances are you’re going to want to text people. Don’t forget to try out SimpleTexting’s text messaging platform. We offer a 14-day free trial where you can send 50 text messages. No credit card details required, so it’s completely commitment-free.