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The Best Entertainment Business Ideas for 2021

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If you love the fun and the excitement of the entertainment industry, then you might be considering starting a business in this sector. But in such an expansive industry, you may be wondering what type of entertainment business idea is best for you.

Keep in mind that the term “entertainment business” covers a large range of ideas from those supporting the entertainment industry, like publicists or photographers, to others that pertain to the entertainment itself, like party planning or a karaoke bar or concert venue. We cover an array of entertainment business ideas in this guide.

What is an entertainment business? 

Many businesses could be considered entertainment businesses since so many things fall under the “entertainment” category. There isn’t one thing that defines an entertainment business because it can really be anything that touches the entertainment industry or provides entertainment of some kind.

So much goes into the entertainment industry, from offering personal assistant services to catering and publicity. There are also entertainment business ideas that have to do with offering actual entertainment to customers like a movie theater or karaoke bar.

The broadness of this category means there is no shortage of entertainment business ideas and plenty of openings in the market to carve out a space for your new business.

How to choose an entertainment business idea for 2021

After reading this list of entertainment business ideas, you might be wondering how to choose the right one for you. Here are some questions you should ask yourself when debating what kind of business to start:

  • What do you have previous experience in?

  • Does your location permit the business type you’re considering?

  • What materials or space will you need for the business?

  • Are you willing to travel?

  • Do you want to work alone or have employees?

  • Will you need an entertainment business loan to get the business running?

14 entertainment business ideas 

With this information in mind, let’s get into some popular entertainment business ideas to see which spark your creativity the most.

1. Publicist

One of the most direct ways you can support the entertainment industry is by being a publicist for artists in the industry. If you’re highly organized and have a way with people, this could be the perfect entertainment business idea for you.

A publicist has many responsibilities, from getting your clients media coverage—including TV interviews and online features—to helping protect their reputation—or doing damage control if they find themselves in hot water. If you have previous publicity experience and a network of contacts, this could be a natural way to break into the entertainment industry.

2. Photographer

People in the entertainment industry are constantly in need of professional photos—whether for portfolios, photoshoots, to capture events or awards shows, and more. By starting a photography business, you can capitalize on this high demand.

If you already have experience as a photographer, you’re already well-positioned for this job, but if you’re just starting out, you may want to offer your services at a discount while you build up your portfolio. With all the starving artists out there looking to land their first big job, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding clients.

3. Makeup artist

Celebrities and other public figures constantly have to look their best. This means that makeup artists are in high demand in the entertainment industry. They’re needed on set and prior to events or photoshoots for those in the entertainment business. And as you can gather from any celebrity’s Instagram account, good makeup artists are crucial to the getting-ready process.

To become a makeup artist you will likely need to go to cosmetology. Once you have the credentials, you’ll want to start building your portfolio. And remember, discretion is also key.

4. Hair stylist

While hair stylists and makeup artists go hand in hand, they are two separate—and equally important—jobs. If you’ve ever seen a celebrity getting ready for an event or photoshoot, you know that it sometimes takes an entire squad to make them look glamorous and camera-ready.

Again, you’ll need credentials for this one, but if you love creating the perfect blowout or updo, this could be the right fit.

5. Craft services provider

Another necessity for photo and film shoots is frequently food services and catering for the talent and crew. Opening a business providing the food for craft services is another entertainment business idea. If you have a gift for cooking large quantities of food, are consistent and punctual, your services could be in demand. Just make sure, as with any food services business, you’ll want to make sure you have the proper licenses and permits to handle and serve food.

6. Costume designer

One of the most creative outlets in the entertainment industry is a costume design business. Every television show, movie, or play requires a wardrobe, and if you have a passion for fashion it might be the perfect entertainment business for you to start. With the continued rise of historical dramas, there’s an ever-growing demand for costume designers who can create period-specific clothing. However, even shows that take place in the present-day need someone to curate the wardrobe of each character.

7. Manager

This business is similar to being a publicist but instead of being (solely) concerned with a client’s image, they help manage the career path of their client instead. This entertainment business idea has to do with helping your clients make solid decisions that will help them further their careers, as well as helping them decide where their career will go.

This is a very personal job, which is why many public figures appoint a family member to this role; however, if you have a proven track record of working with clients and shaping their career development, as well as a loyal and altruistic character, you could excel in this field.

8. Stylist

If you’re the one your friends always consult before buying a new outfit and you have a passion for the latest trends, then starting a stylist business for those in the entertainment industry could be the perfect fit.

To be clear, a stylist is different from a hair stylist or makeup artist but works together with these roles to create a unified style for their clients. You’ll be the point person to contact designers for potential awards show outfits, as well as doing everyday shopping to curate their day-to-day attire (paparazzi are everywhere, after all).

9. Event planner

From primetime awards shows to smaller affairs, there’s no shortage of events in the entertainment industry. That means the need for good event planners is high. You’ll need exceptional organizational skills, a host of caterer and venue contacts, and the ability to handle demanding personalities, but if you check these boxes and love planning a good party, this could be the perfect business for you.

10. Karaoke bar

If you’re more interested in offering people the atmosphere or the activities to be entertained, then these entertainment business ideas might be better business options for you. Opening a karaoke bar where people can come and sing along to their favorite hits could be a roaring entertainment business idea.

11. Bowling alley

A bowling alley is yet another activity that you can capitalize on when starting an entertainment business. Bowling is a fun activity for all kinds of groups—from families to employees to competitive bowlers. While bowling alleys can feel outdated, newer venues are opting to overhaul that connotation by including fun decor and restaurant-quality drinks and bites.

12. Batting cages

Similar to bowling alleys, batting cages are a form of entertainment that offers the added perk of some exercise as well. If you’re positioned near a school, you’ll likely have some surefire business from their softball and baseball teams. They don’t require too much equipment either, so the startup costs of this entertainment business idea are low. However, keep in mind the increased risk of accidents and make sure you have the right business insurance.

13. Escape room

One of the most popular entertainment business ideas in recent years are escape rooms. This new trend that involves players working through a real-life board game to solve a puzzle and beat the clock is a fun and definitely entertaining business. Escape rooms can have all different kinds of themes, so you can really use your imagination on this one.

14. VR experience

Virtual reality experiences are getting more popular and as the new technology becomes more accessible, more people want to try it out. Entertainment businesses can take advantage of the new equipment and offer a new experience for customers. Unlike with escape rooms, you won’t have to spend big money on the physical location of your business, but you will need to create or invest in the technology to take your customers to all kinds of far-flung places—in their minds.

The bottom line

Coming up with the right business idea can be one of the most difficult parts of starting a business. Luckily, there is no shortage of entertainment business ideas. We encourage you to start with the ones above but know there are countless other options you can explore as well. Whether you’re a fan of fashion, planning, or bowling, there is an entertainment business idea that fits your interests and skills.

This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

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How to Start a Niche Foam Party Business: Kid’s Party

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Foam parties have become popular and are great fun. If you didn’t know what a foam party is, it is a party or event where participants have fun dancing amidst foam created by a machine. The machine creates bubbles of foams that envelop the place, creating a fun environment at the party. If you are a business person, then a foam party business is a great idea.

You can get a foam machine and use it to throw foam parties and make money from it – relatively affordably.

photo credit: Roaring Foam

Can you make money through foam parties?

Yes, you can make money if you have a foam machine. Parties are common, and party-goers get bored with the usual stuff. A foam party is an innovative way of partying. It allows participants to let go, dancing in joy amidst the foam. This kind of party would be popular, and you can make money by offering a different experience to participants.

Creating a niche market

When you want to make money from a business, you will find that there are many others with the same idea. You need to do something different so you can succeed. This is where finding a niche market helps. A niche market is a specific category to which you can cater. Kids Foam Party is such a niche market. While there are many businesses catering to foam parties in general, foam parties for kids is a niche idea. This is a business idea that can help you succeed and make money.

Planning your business

Now that you have found your niche, it is important to plan your business before you get started. The first thing is to be clear with what you are offering. You are offering a foam party, which is an event where there is a dance floor filled with suds. When this party is offered for kids, they will enjoy it the most. They would not only dance but play in the foam and have a great time in general.

Taking proper safety precautions like setting the depth of the foam and insisting on face coverings ensure there are no problems.

What do you need?

It is obvious that you need a foam machine if you plan to run foam parties. A foam machine is not too expensive. However, you need not buy one immediately. Since you are starting off with a new business, you can get a foam machine for rent. This is a cheaper option allowing you to rent a machine and use it whenever you need it. This will allow you to do a pilot run of your party business.

If the response is good and you start getting many events, then you can consider buying your own foam machine. This would work out better for you.

Kid having fun in foam
photo credit: Roaring Foam

Planning and executing foam parties for kids

With these basic concepts in mind, it is time you start planning your parties. Since you have chosen the niche of foam parties for kids, you need to explore different options. You can have foam parties to celebrate birthdays. There can even be parties for no reason but just to allow kids to have fun. Explore different themes for foam parties and plan the events.

Here are a few considerations to keep in mind while planning and executing foam parties for kids:

  • You need to find a venue to host the foam party. The ideal location is outdoors, so the foam does not create a mess inside. When the weather does not permit, you need to find indoor venues with a fairly big hall to organize the event.
  • Apart from the machine, you need the foam solution to create foam. You need to have sufficient foam machine solution to last the entire party.
  • Safety is a very important issue in foam parties. This is all the more important when you are dealing with kids. You need to have a clear plan for ensuring safety in your foam party. Communicate the plan with your clients so they are assured of the safety arrangements.
  • If you are doing the party indoors, you need a tarp to cover the floor and walls. It is important to cover up all the electric and other outlets to avoid them being damaged.
  • Placing plastic furniture is better since it won’t get damaged due to bubbles.
  • Safety arrangements for the kids are very important. Wearing shoes is a must. You can insist on goggles or face coverings to prevent allergies from the suds. You need to take adequate precautions to prevent kids from skidding and falling during the party. There is always a risk of accidents at a foam party, and you need to do everything to prevent it.
  • Preferably, get a waiver from guests to protect against liabilities.

With all this planning, you are now ready to execute foam parties and make neat profits from them.

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What open source-based startups can learn from Confluent’s success story

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It’s common these days to launch an enterprise startup based on an open source project, often where one the founders was deeply involved in creating it. The beauty of this approach is that if the project begins to gain traction, you have the top of the sales funnel ready and waiting with potential customers when you move to commercialize your business.

In the past, this often meant providing help desk-style services for companies who appreciated what the open source software could do but wanted to have the so-called “throat to choke” if something went wrong. Another way that these companies have made money has been creating an on-prem version with certain enterprise features, particularly around scale or security, the kind of thing that large operations need as table stakes before using a particular product. Today, customers typically can install on-prem or in their cloud of choice.

“A key aspect of these kinds of technology-developer data products is they have to have a combination of bottom-up adoption and top-down SaaS, and you actually have to get both of those things working well to succeed.” Jay Kreps

In recent years, the model has shifted to building a SaaS product, where the startup builds a solution that handles all the back-end management and creates something that most companies can adopt without all of the fuss associated with installing yourself or trying to figure out how to use the raw open source.

One company that has flirted with these monetization approaches is Confluent, the streaming data company built on top of the open source Apache Kafka project. The founding team had helped build Kafka inside LinkedIn to move massive amounts of user data in real time. They open sourced the tool in 2011, and CEO and co-founder Jay Kreps helped launch the company in 2014.

It’s worth noting that Confluent raised $450 million as a private company with a final private valuation in April of $4.5 billion before going public in June. Today, it has a market cap of over $22 billion, not bad for less than six months as a public company.

Last month at TC Sessions: SaaS, I spoke to Kreps about how he built his open source business and the steps he took along the way to monetize his ideas. There’s certainly a lot of takeaways for open source-based startups launching today.

Going upmarket

Kreps said that when they launched the company in 2014, there were a bunch of enterprise-size companies already using the open source product, and they needed to figure out how to take the interest they had been seeing in Kafka and convert that into something that the fledgling startup could begin to make money on.

“There have been different paths for different companies in this space, and I think it’s actually very dependent on the type of product [as to] what makes sense. For us, one of the things we understood early on was that we would have to be wherever our customers had data,” Kreps said.

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5 Hobbies That Make Money and How To Get Started

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Money-making hobbies range from walking dogs to blogging to creating and selling homemade goods.

Read about these profitable hobbies, as well as what you can expect to make.

1. Driving

Enjoy cruising around town? Give others a ride and make money by becoming an Uber or Lyft driver. Uber drivers make an estimated $5 to $20 an hour, and Lyft drivers earn about $5 to $25 an hour, according to SideHusl.com, a review site for money-making platforms. Note that earnings depend in part on when, where and how often you drive.

To become an Uber or Lyft driver, you must be the minimum age to drive in your area. You must also meet specific requirements related to your driver’s license, insurance and vehicle. Learn about these exact requirements in our guide to becoming an Uber or Lyft driver.

If you enjoy driving but don’t want people in your car, look into becoming a full-service Instacart shopper, which involves shopping for and delivering groceries. Uber Eats and Amazon Flex also offer opportunities to deliver food and other products to homes. Each of these gigs has its own set of requirements, though, so do your research before signing up.

2. Caring for dogs

If your favorite hobbies involve belly rubs, smooches and long walks in the neighborhood, try Wag or Rover. These apps enable you to walk, dog-sit or board pups overnight for money.

Rover and Wag work in similar ways. They both require you to be at least 18 years old, pass a background check and meet other requirements. For both, you create a profile, set your own rates, and use the app to choose which gigs to take. (See our Rover vs. Wag comparison for more specific sign-up and payment information, as well as how the apps vary in the services they allow.)

On both apps, the amount you earn depends on what you charge, how much you receive in tips, and which types of services you provide. As you would guess, boarding typically pays more than walking a dog, for example. But both companies take a bite from your earnings. Rover charges a 20% service fee per booking, and Wag takes 40%.

3. Blogging

If you have a blog that gets decent traffic, try making money from it. Blogging for money can take a few forms. One way is to host ads on your blog through a service like Google AdSense, which is free. Here’s the gist, according to Google: If your website is approved, then you choose where on it you would like ads to appear. Then advertisers bid to place ads where you designated, with the winner’s ads appearing in that spot. (People make money on YouTube through the same service.)

You earn some money when a reader clicks on one of these ads — but determining exactly how much you’ll make is tricky. Explore our guide to Google AdSense to learn more about it.

You could also try writing sponsored content, meaning companies pay you to write about their products. Or, become an affiliate through the Amazon Associates program. That involves linking to an Amazon product from your content and earning a commission when one of your readers clicks through and buys that item. Learn more about how to make money on Amazon through your blog.

4. Posting to social media

Love posting to social media and building a following? On Instagram and TikTok, many users earn money through sponsored photos and videos. Say you regularly post about your at-home exercise regimen. You may agree to post about a retailer’s resistance bands or sweatpants in exchange for cash or free products. (Sponsorships and affiliate marketing are also ways to make money from podcasts, in case that’s one of your hobbies.)

Sponsors may reach out to you to set up this kind of arrangement; you could contact them; or, in some cases, you may consider working through a third-party agency.

The type of content you post, as well as your number of followers and their engagement, will likely impact sponsorship opportunities. Learn more about how to make money on Instagram or on TikTok.

5. Selling your wares

There’s a marketplace for just about everything. So if you’re skilled in a hobby, consider trying to profit from it. For example, if you create jewelry or have an eye for thrifting quality clothes, try selling those items at a local flea market or yard sale, or on a neighborhood website such as Nextdoor or Facebook Marketplace.

Or look into an online market that could attract a wider range of buyers. Consider Etsy for crafts or Poshmark if you want to sell clothes online.

These websites charge fees that will cut into your profits. This guide to selling stuff online will help you think through the math and determine if your hobby can become a viable business.

What to consider before making money from your hobbies

Before taking any of the routes listed above, keep in mind that this work will likely affect your taxes. See our guide to self-employment taxes, which includes expenses you can deduct, and how to avoid penalties.

And as you aim to profit from your hobbies, consider whether you will continue to enjoy them through this new business lens. Let’s say knitting helps you relax. Will it continue to do so if you’re pricing, promoting and shipping your homemade wares through an online marketplace? And that blogging hobby: Will writing still be fun or cathartic if you’re occasionally throwing in a sponsored post?

It may be hard to answer these questions until you give the money-making approach a shot. But it’s worth reflecting on the potential trade-offs as you think about turning your hobby into a job.

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