Last Updated on 14 April 2020 by Gertrude
When you begin scouring Reddit, there are some pages which can make you so angry but then there are the entrepreneur pages that I adore like this one a lot.
While on Reddit at the beginning of the year, I discovered some new/emerging businesses according to Redditors and thought it wise to share with you.
There are so many online business start-ups but most of the businesses are in over-saturated niches like clothes.
So you need to niche out/down further to stand out. These businesses mentioned on Reddit aren’t many in Kenya that means a gap.
For example, while other parts of the world have developed Fintech as a way of providing both finance and technology as solutions for getting loans to pay student loans, in Kenya, the industry is growing.
In fact, Kenya is a developing nation making it the best platform for any online start-up/emerging business.
Highly Profitable Start-ups According to Redditors for Kenyans
The following are trending online start-ups according to Redditors for Kenyans and they include the following:
- Cookie delivery company
Who doesn’t love to indulge in a snack in the middle of the night? I know I don’t but that doesn’t mean others don’t. I read about a NewYork startup that delivers cookies in the wee hours of the morning to help cut cravings. Well, the delivery business in Kenya isn’t quite there, so you don’t have to rely on cookies but parcels, farm-fresh produce, groceries or anything you hear people complain about on social media. This is how I get ideas for businesses. I ask myself what are Kenyans lacking then before jumping in I join a Kenyan social media page on Facebook to hear about the rants. Or just check selling groups on Facebook to find out what sells more. Make your delivery company 24/7 because the need for delivery services that reach the depths of Kenya keeps getting higher, see Glovo?
Teaching financial literacy/entrepreneurship
Oh my God, how many of us in Kenya can say that business classes helped them to manage their personal and business finances?. There’s a need for financial literacy classes. See how bonkers we go Christmas shopping then begin calling January NjaaJanuary. That shows how inept we are in our finances. Or take the example of me, I am well-able financially but get myself into debt, now I have to figure out how to get out!. Our banking system doesn’t teach us how not to be greedy. See, how many Kenyans go into debt buying cars which they cannot afford just to keep up/maintain a status quo?
Start a podcast
We want to consume media while working out or when carrying our babies and we want the media to be uplifting. That’s where a podcast comes in. Jump into podcasting by buying a microphone and headset then talk away at something you love. Starting a podcast is like a YouTube channel, you must start from love/hobby. Because you keep getting creative and innovative. Monetise your podcasts by selling products and services. For example, you know how to create a podcast, help others monetise their podcasts by creating online courses or sell products using affiliate marketing.
Sell your art
The business of selling personalised/customised products is on the rise. With the rise of people appreciating art from unique and emerging artists and because we can afford the art. Capitalise on the rise of millionaires in Kenya who want unique pieces to adorn their walls as wall art. Wall art is a huge business worldwide. You can sell fine art, pottery products, drawings and paintings.
Dump truck hauling business
Dump trucks are not the rosy businesses you imagine. Instead of starting a dump truck collection business, buy a fleet of them then hire them to garbage collection companies. You can increase your profits by using your trucks to collect recycled products from dumpsites. This one creates employment for street families, only make sure you pay them well so they get out from the streets. They say the most valuable reusable products are aluminium and copper. So focus on collecting aluminium cans and old electronics from homes. You can introduce garbage disposal vending machines in high-end estates as a pilot project for those ones hoarding old electronics. Then let them collect some money to encourage your customers to provide more electronics.
Supplements subscription business
With the increase in popularity for gyms, the supplements business becomes even more popular. People want to stay fit and healthy without the need for visiting the gym often. Some want to bulk up on muscles from their homes so they compete in fitness competitions. The only thing here, introduce a twist, have supplements as a subscription. Subscription boxes gained notoriety with the Dollar Shave Club, follow the business model but with a twist. When you introduce a twist to an existing popular business, you become a guru. For example, give access to paid apps. You know a lot of fitness apps are paid for. Or introduce T-shirt selling or any merch selling business to increase your income and fortune.
E.g all-natural, paraben-free grooming products for men (beard, hair, skin)
I would love for the day when natural products, without chemicals made their way into the Kenyan market. I mean, get into manufacturing products which are organic, produced without adding chemicals and preservatives. I suffer from extremely dry skin and a change in a skin routine makes me have a breakout. I stuck on applying coconut oil and shea butter and even interchanging them became disastrous. Imagine, if you catered for a market of people with extreme skin, hair and beard problems. Products without chemicals but certified for human consumption. We want nice skin, hair and beards and are ready to spend as much money on quality products. Think cleansers, beard shampoos, toners, roll-ons/deodorants.
Hemp oils like essential oils are making a market increase. If you know how to produce these oils which range from cannabis oils, know you’re saving the lives of the diabetic. Others say they help deal with some genetic disorders when you apply or massage them on the skin. You have to pass the legal tests with this one before dipping yourself into hemp oil production. But the process is tedious and expensive machinery is required, the end result though is rewarding.
Sell organic oils
I relish the smell of cold-pressed coconut oil on my skin, but I cannot use it alone lest I risk drying out and have scales. My skin changes like the weather condition. We already have so many natural resources in Kenya like avocado, coconut, mango, does mango produce oil? But we leave the production of such oils to overseas producers. See, organic oils help heal nappy rash for some babies and it’s free from chemicals therefore healthy for eating raw for fitness fanatics. And the machinery isn’t pricey for beginners, start small as you grow your organic oil production business. The other secret, get quality products from farmers directly.
Sell electric scooters and bikes
They said in 2019 that electric scooters and bikes will do a great increase in the Kenyan market. We’re in 2020 and waiting. It always takes longer for products to enter the Kenyan market space. This is a transportation solution already used in Europe. As we run for hire purchase cars, Europeans have electronic means of transportation. Someone asked me how viable this business is especially in Nairobi. It’s not but e-bikes are. The only risk, motorbikes and matatus are the biggest enemy. The best bet, begin selling in areas not overcrowded, in the estates where gadgets are introduced in the evenings.
Multi-tool belt buckle
This multi-tool belt buckle is a handy belt for handymen like plumbers and electricians. It helps you hold your work tools in one pocket without worrying they will drop or you will forget. Plus, some belts are created to fit in your backpack and are lightweight. So, are you in the trades business?
E.g tools, machinery (farm, DIY, agricultural)
Renting farming equipment can be risky and rewarding. When setting up a rental business, keep in mind the damage caused and the cost of repair. The bigger the machine, the pricier the rental price. But don’t set rental prices too high that your customers want to purchase their own. You can charge hourly rates or daily rates. Also, keep in mind that renters are thieves. Renting is like the gig-sharing economy we’re in right now of Airbnb, think along those lines. Have a website to track all your products and add tracking devices on them. Introduce penalties to those who ruin your equipment. Many people want to do short DIY repairs in their houses, farms but don’t want to buy expensive machines, that’s the market you target.
Start a community subscription/membership site for individuals abandoning social media /breaking away from Facebook
Oh, I must admit it’s quite a relief to quit Facebook for some time. I felt overwhelmed looking at all the messages I got from ‘friends’. It no longer felt like a space I wanted to be. Now, create a community for abandoners of social media. Remember some are doing it for the sake of creating reaction videos on YouTube, some are doing it, in my case, because they’re fed up. The membership site can involve books to read, videos and podcasts to watch that help kick the mind in another level. Or a space to share new ideas that are interactive and world-changing. A subscription website means you must charge for your exceptional service, it can be a dollar or 20 dollars, the choice is yours.
Start a niche YouTube channel on software development
Software development is a field that keeps getting hotter and hotter because the need for software that improves lives is on the rise. Starting a YouTube channel helping teach others how to create software for the businesses e.g mobile apps to help stay interactive with their customers at all times, is one of the best decisions for companies right now. The app can be as simple or as complicated. Make the app free to access then ask for payment when customers need to access other premium services/features. You monetise a YouTube channel by Google Ads, Affiliate marketing, selling your products and services. Example, you are a video creator, helping businesses create videos to help market their products.
Start a corporate consulting firm
Imagine consulting about finances for the banks or the education sector. Or consulting about a product for Safaricom! How much are you going to charge these companies? Now, even better, imagine consulting for the government on how to create more jobs with online work. How much are you going to charge and why? A consultant is an expert in their niche. It’s when you do something with so much focus you become the only go-to person or so recognised. That’s the aim with my blog, to get so much notoriety about online work, that it becomes a resource for Kenyans aiming for work online. You must have experience or years of doing the same work over and over. You can publish books, videos, podcasts to help increase your fees. Consultants are needed in all fields but the best industries for consulting work includes healthcare, education, finance, technology.
Custom kitchen cabinet knobs
The kitchen, they say, is the place families spend a lot of their time apart from the toilet, of course. Creating custom kitchen products, not just knobs is on the increase these days. See, have you seen the modern houses with fitted hobs, washing machines and refrigerators? That’s what we’re talking about.
Because of the increase of businesses that realise the online way is the easiest to begin a business and by far the cheapest so is the increase of web designers. In most of my YouTube videos and blog posts, I talk a lot about web design business. You must know web design software like Divi or Elementor to get started. Build a portfolio. Don’t forget though, start from a niche, if you love travelling, build travel websites. This way you establish yourself as a travel website builder, you will work with tour and travel firms so you will know what makes for great tours and travel website.
Digital marketing company/agency
Digital marketing is the parent of email, SEO, content marketing and strategy. When you create a digital marketing agency, you must know how these areas or sectors are similar plus also distinguish yourself. A digital marketing agency specialising in SEO marketing becomes as specific as it gets. Don’t be too general because you cannot offer all unless you establish a team who does all the above. You must love social media and blogs to start a digital firm/agency. Get your feet wet into what makes a great social media campaign, for example. Study what businesses in Kenya struggle with then offer that service before expanding further.
Launch a tech start-up
We don’t have many tech start-ups in Kenya. In fact, I know of only Mpesa as the most successful launch ever in Kenya. It was met with a lot of scepticism but revolutionized the way business got done in the country. What tech idea are you sitting on? Launching a tech startup requires a lot of funding, testing, marketing and education to the mass.
Launch an urban farm specialising in micro-greens
Urban farming these days is the buzz even on YouTube and social media. We’re realising the number of chemicals we eat in a day and want to know how to grow our own vegetables in the balconies of our apartments. We’re also utilising our apartments as gardens. We see on YouTube how Brazil apartment dwellers utilize their spaces by growing vertical gardens. To create a business from this, start from your apartment balcony then progress to creating for others or helping others establish their gardens. You can do this with a YouTube channel or by creating courses and writing books ranging from living in apartments, buying apartments among other topics. Grow crops which take shorter periods of time to mature like parsley, mushrooms, though not a microgreen but a very needed meat supplement in the nation. Choose one microgreen and learn the hell about it. You can sell soil and compost (manufactured) as an affiliate to keep increasing your profits.
When I plunged myself into blogging I never saw the earning potential. In fact, the aim was to add a donate Paypal button and ask for your support. I added and deleted it. I turned on ads then turned them off. After all, I wasn’t consistent, I told myself. But this blog grew over the years on its own. I decided to take the initiative to grow it further in 2020 because, in every blog I read, I am an avid blog reader, I see bloggers making 4 and 5 figure incomes. I ask myself, how and why am I not using my time to create value here?. It’s so hard to balance but I am getting there. If you are out there reading this and wondering how blogs make money, they make through Google ads, which are the ads you see when clicking on the posts here. And then there are affiliate marketing, selling courses and ebooks, selling products and services among the few ways to monetise. Like a YouTube channel, you have to grow an avid reader or watcher audience. Blogging is a great source of passive income and may take a while to see revenue, 3 or 6 months of consistent effort. I get asked these days, how many posts to write per day, I say as many quality posts as you can produce. This ensures your website stays relevant with content making it easier to rank on Google. Fresh, meaty, quality content. Plus, choose a profitable blogging niche
Editing film or video
Videos and films increase on the day with billions of videos to watch on YouTube or Instagram. It’s time for you to help these businesses either use video to market their products or use animation to enhance their products. Videos and film aren’t going anywhere in fact, they are getting started. If you know how to cut, trim, add or introduce engaging effects, you are in busy.
Dive into cannabis products
E.g manufacturing for example manufacture extracts/edibles.
The tiny house movements changed the way Australians live their lives, then the movement got momentum in America and other nations. That’s not to say that tiny house started in the Australis but in the US in the 70s. I may be getting my facts mixed up, you can always correct down below. Now, tiny house made the fabrication of metal sheets, those used by trailers and trucks turned into homes. Have you seen tiny houses built from fabricated sheets? This trend isn’t eluding Kenya where there are fabricated shops. You can add the fabricated house wheels to make it mobile in case of floods or unfair council treatments or demolitions.
Like fabricated houses above, storage facilities are on the rise because we want to store our items in one place and collect it when we have settled or found a buyer. It’s the same dilemma I faced when I wanted to sell some things, I move a lot. In fact, change brings me a new set of ideas. Change made me focus on this blog, I felt there was nothing else left to lose than create a movement with my writing. Use the fabricated metal sheets to build rental storage facilities for companies, individuals. You make money by renting per month. Have you seen the reality show, Storage Wars on Netflix? It will open your eyes on the mouthwatering items people store. And if they stop paying for a long time, you can auction to help recover your money and settle the owner if you find extreme valuables. Target those nomads like me and also those looking for extra space not provided in apartments or places of dwelling.
Financial technologies companies are on the rise in Kenya. Though not quite there, you can invest in one that offers loans like Branch or for crowdfunding like M-changa. Financial tech companies aren’t well received in Kenya unless you are offering solutions for loans. Have you seen how on Google play you get bombarded with such apps? Think what’s missing then introduce it into the market.
Drones are a great distraction for enthusiasts. There are drones for beginners and advanced. You can help real estate companies and movie companies shoot panoramic views of their houses or movie scenes when you know how to work a drone.
Candy machine business
There are no candy stores in Kenya. If you have seen one, comment below. I mean, an exclusive store selling candy-like I saw in a store in Sweden! Imagine having a candy making machine and how much you will make. You may think the candy industry is over-saturated but it’s not. It’s a comfort ‘food’ and each year people look for varying tastes. You can try fruit candies so that the health watchers don’t feel as guilty of buying your products.
Arbitrage trading is more popular than ever because of Amazon, through their service called Fulfilled by Amazon. Which simply means, searching for hot selling products, which you must research well, then buying the product from a wholesaler then send it to Amazon. Amazon stores these products in their stores when a customer orders, Amazon sends the product directly to the buyer like it’s from you. To become successful, make sure you have labels, that means product brands which you can ship to the Amazon stores. This method slightly differs from dropshipping because with dropshipping you don’t carry inventory. It’s more profitable when you find a hot-selling item. And each category on Amazon has hot-selling items, for example, the kitchen section has the portable blender as one of the best selling items. Source your products from Chinese manufacturers on Alibaba or Aliexpress. The Amazon Selling Machine and Jessica, from the Selling Family, have courses on how this works.
General dropshipping store
A dropshipping business or store is when you do business without inventory. Like or almost like FBA business, you search for hot selling products then using the Oberlo/Shopify app, send products to your Shopify app. When customers order the product, the supplier gets the notification then they ship the product to your customer directly. It’s how Amazon got started and how Jumia started, though I have trust issues with Jumia. I’d rather buy from Amazon/Alibaba or in the store. It costs $30 dollars to begin an e-commerce store. Don’t forget to start from a niche.
Great Tips For Excelling in an Online Start-Up in Kenya
To begin these trending 2020 online start-ups according to Redditors as a Kenyan, remember to niche out. No matter how promising the market is, gurus become born when they are specific on their goals.
Make sure as much as you can to aim for specificity, don’t be too specific that you don’t have a market.
You want a market big enough that you make profits and not so big that you get swallowed in the sea of noise.
As an online start-up, remember to keep changing according to your customers’ needs. The aim of starting an emerging market/business is to stand out. You may find yourself spending a lot of time in education and marketing.
Don’t give up after 1 year, it may be an emerging market but customers need to get found by marketing and consistently doing so. No giving up, persistence and discipline are key. It only gets easier.
Remember it has never been easier to start an online business as a Kenyan, it’s cheaper, it’s easier and there are a lot of materials online (blogs, videos, courses) to help you succeed.
Know when to expand and why. If, for example, you started by selling a particular hot kitchen product then by mid-June no one wants to buy it, it’s time to expand to the big niche of kitchen products.
You can start from the portable blender then list all relevant blenders and slowly introduce other kitchen gadgets.
Do a give-away to your loyal customers for them to test.
Use email marketing to stay in touch with your loyal customers.
Also know, when you begin from a niche, it gets even better and easier because you know your marketing message.
One dilemma facing a lot of start-ups online, knowing how to effectively market their products. You don’t have to restrict yourself to FB/Insta ads only there are other ways of marketing businesses online.
Which of these 30 trending 2020 online start-ups according to Redditors for Kenyans will you start and why?