There are plenty of reasons to start your own business, and plenty of reasons why so many portable businesses seem to involve coaching. But here’s some news: these two terms, “coaching” and “portable business”, are not one in the same, and there many, many successful business models that fall outside this area. If being a coach or consultant just doesn’t interest you, don’t give up! Instead, let’s talk about your other options.
Here are 15 business ideas that are not coaching. These business ideas are divided in 4 categories:
- Portable business ideas derived from coaching or consulting
- Portable business ideas with startups using technology
- Portable business ideas with a physical component
- Portable business ideas with innovative and creative business models
Portable business ideas derived from coaching or consulting
Before we explore other ideas than coaching, here are some successful business founders who built their offerings around related or ancillary services derived from coaching, without being coaches.
#1 Alix Carnot – Business developer
After eight relocations, Alix Carnot experienced the major challenges “trailing spouses” face as they work to continue their careers and build their own source of fulfillment and sustainable revenue. A book was born out of this adventure: “Cheri(e) on S’expatrie” (Eyrolles 2016), which means in French “Honey, let’s go abroad”. Today, Alix is joint-partner of Expat Communication and passionately leads the Expat Intelligence and International Careers departments of the company.
#2 Dr Sonja Jaeger – Psychologist
Dr Sonia Jaeger is a German-French psychologist, psychotherapist and PhD, she has been living a location independent life as a digital nomad for the past four years while working as an online therapist, providing online counselling to expats and other globally mobile clients in German, French and English.
Sonja is the living proof that it is possible to be a psychologist and have a portable business!
#3 Michael Ginsberg – Engineer
Michael Ginsberg is an engineer in renewable energy and an expert in sustainability green buildings, solar PV, energy policy, and government relations. Through his consulting firm, Mastering Green, he has advised the New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and Long Term Planning and the UN Development Program on climate change adaptation measures in NYC and West Africa.
Portable business ideas with startups using technology
Technology-based businesses center around algorithms and apps that can help clients get what they need. Do you have an idea for a digital tool that can make life easier for your customers?
#4 Andrea Martins – Serial entrepreneur
While relocating with her husband, Andrea Martins started her fascinating serial entrepreneurial journey. Andrea is the co-founder of the famous online platform called expatwomen.com (click to check this interesting article!). Her website had such a great success that she managed to sell it with a 6-figure deal.
Andrea became through the years what she calls a StartUp addict and co-founded a third company called Green Socks, which is like an Uber service for lawn mowing.
#5 Erica McMannes – Startup founder
Her entrepreneurial spirit started when she joined a veteran-owned start-up as a consultant and managed to find the flexibility she was looking for. The sparked her interest in entrepreneurism and in 2016, Erica co-founded her own startup Instant Team (formally Mad Skills), a company that sources virtual work opportunities for military spouses to clients ready to outsource.
#6 Nicole Blyth – Startup founder
Nicole Blyth is the founder of RelocateGuru a social network to share local tips and connect with your community before you arrive. After moving 16 times in her life she found it even more difficult when moving with a toddler for her husband’s job and wondered why it takes so long to organize a move and feel at home with all the technology we have available. So she dropped her career as a massage therapist, went back to university and got a Masters in International Marketing Management, and after winning several competitions and grants, then getting onto accelerator programs, she started creating the Relocate Guru app which is now live on the Apple store and google play.
Portable business ideas with a physical component
Some highly successful portable business ideas involve a physical element, which can include making and shipping a product, creating physical art or journalism, or any of the ideas shared below.
#7 Eberre Akadiri – Serial entrepreneur
Ebere Akadiri comes from Nigeria where she founded two businesses, a retail clothing shop and two restaurants with large catering operations employing over 56 employees. When she had to move to the Netherlands with her family, she decided to continue her entrepreneurial journey.She founded Ataro Global Food Services BV, a food packaging and consulting company where she packages her signature spice blends. Passionate about entrepreneurship, she also mentors other entrepreneurs to help them achieve business growth.
#8 Melissa Mathews – PR expert
After a career in journalism and working for the NASA as a spokesperson, Melissa Mathews became a mom, gave up her career and hopped on her nomadic journey with her husband. They lived in Guatemala, Washington and twice in Saudi Arabia. While living in Guatemala, Mellissa started freelancing before launching her full-scale portable business. Melissa is the founder of The Mathews Group, a strategic communications and public relations agency that helps business-minded engineers, technologists and scientists tell their stories to audiences that matter.
#9 Fabio Palvelli – Influencer
Fabio Palvelli is an entrepreneur, architecture designer and a Youtube star in his field. He is founder of the D2 Conference, one of the biggest gatherings of 3D designers and artists in the world.
#10 Mariam Ottimofiore – Blogger and writer
Mariam Ottimofiore is an economist, writer, researcher, author and blogger at ‘And Then We Moved To’ in which she explores expat life, raising multicultural and multilingual children, and world travel. Her newly published book ‘This Messy Mobile Life; How a MOLA can help globally mobile families create a life by design’ (Summertime Publishing 2019) is the first book in the expat genre that ties in multiculturalism, multilingualism and mobility to equip international families to navigate the complex challenges they face as a modern family. Find her contacts below!
#11 Jo Parfitt – Publisher
Jo Parfitt is a journalist, editor, writer, speaker and teacher who has launched multiple business ventures that include the publishing company called Summertime Publishing, she also founded the Expat book shop, an online bookstore for expats. Jo has written over 30 books herself, and one her master peace is all about portable careers, the book is called “A career in your suitcase”.
#12 Rosiane Hungbo-Monteverde – Lawyer
Rosiane Houngbo-Monteverde is a French corporate Lawyer who built her career working for major companies before leaving France to join her husband in Bahrain. There she managed to work for another major regional company. However, at the same time, she started realizing a real need for legal support for expats who build businesses away from their home base. This is what led her to launch her own company, named Legal Nomads, a law firm for French expats abroad and foreign expats living in France.
Portable business ideas with innovative and creative business models
Some especially creative and brilliant ideas seem almost impossible at first. But despite what you may imagine, it’s possible to meet complex client needs (even the need for healthcare services) using portable tools and resources. Learn more from the examples below.
#13 Karen Wilmot – Virtual midwife
Karen Wilmot is a midwife and the founder Virtual Midwife an interactive online platform providing personalized care, information and support for women who have limited or no access to quality prenatal advice and care. She offers both online support and a VIP fly in/fly out service.
#14 Erin Long – Speech pathologist
While moving from one country to another she had the brilliant idea to start online speech therapy services, World Wide Speech, to help the English native speaking community around the world; particularly expat children. She created her company Worldwide Speech and became a certified practitioner by the American Telemedicine Association in telepractice. For the last five years, she has become a leader in teletherapy within the speech-pathology community influencing teletherapy policy and training programs.
#15 Renata Carvalho – Interior designer
After 25 years of a global career working in marketing and advertising, Renata decided it was time to transform her lifelong hobby of interior designing into her new profession. Since then, she earned her interior design degree in New York, where she is currently based, and has opened her interior design studio, RGC Projects, specialized in residential design services for the expat community. She also provides virtual services to help expats turn their temporary place into a home. Her passion is to help “nomad people like her” settle into their places, solving space challenges or simply helping them to make their houses or apartments feel more homey.
If you make smart use of technology and apply your sense of creativity and innovation, there is so much you can do to find and turn a business idea into a scalable, portable business model. If you don’t want to be a coach, that’s okay!
You have countless other options, and it’s time to start thinking outside of the box. Search for the tools and technology that can help you and stay connected to people and resources that provide you with inspiration. If you have suggestions for other entrepreneurs, leave your thoughts in the comments!