How To Start Your Own Business As A Felon (2024)

A lot of felons are having trouble finding employment, and many take a huge leap of faith by starting their own business. While this seams like a far fetched dream, America is a country of self-made men and women, and many ex cons have found success working for themselves.

If you really enjoy something, have a particular skill, or know someone who can teach you something useful then try to use these things to start making money. That’s what we ( are doing right now as you read this. We are the best at helping felons get a leg up when no one else will. It would be a shame for this gift to go to waste.

So now we made a website where you can learn what you can do to make good money on your own, and stop being afraid of loosing a minimum wage job.

open your own business as an ex con

What’s Your skill?

What are you are good at? Are you able to use this for money? Are you good at welding, gardening, repairing things, math, talking to people? If you start to think about what you CAN do instead of what you can’t do, ideas will start coming to you out of no where. You have to think outside the box. If you have cut hair in prison you may be able to do that one as well. Just keep thinking and something will come to you.

Self Employment Options To Consider

Here are some great small business ideas that have worked for felons in the past. Keep in mind, this is just a very short list, and there are many more options out there in the world.

1. Deliveries / Driver

If you live in a large city and have a car or bike then this idea may work for you. People are busy and do not want to deal with traffic. Try to see if you can help them out by posting an add online or on Craigslist saying you can run deliveries for them, picking up laundry, groceries, dry cleaning, packages, etc.

2. Ebay Sales or Etsy Sales

You would never know it, but there are so many felons making money off eBay and Etsy. They buy things from thrift stores, then turn around and sell them to people over the internet. If you get good enough at this you may be able to make a decent chunk of change. Many experiences sellers make $1,000 a week!

3. Commercial/Residential Cleaning Services

You may be able to start a business where you go out and clean offices, stores, or people’s houses/apartments. Make a few flyers and post a few adds in newspapers to get started. This is one of the cheapest businesses to start, because cleaning supplies are not expensive. If you are hard working, detail-oriented and enjoy making everything look nice and neat, this may be an ideal option. Small cleaning business can make $500-2,000 a week, depending on how many clients you can service, and how much you charge.

4. Graffiti Removal

In some areas there is a lot of graffiti. Store owners are usually more then excited to give you money to clean up the mess. After all it will make their store look better.

5. Window washing, pool cleaning, snow removal, lawn care etc

pool cleaning and services business

These are the basic jobs that many felons already do. There is no reason that you could not start one of these companies by yourself, if you have the basic equipment needed. The cost of equipment may be expensive, around $1,000 but your potential income will also be rather high. You can make at least $600-900 a week.

6. Pet-sitting & Dog Walking

There are many people who do not have the time or energy to walk a dog. If you find these people offer them a small fee of around $20 to take their dog for an hour walk, play with the dog, etc. There are also people who are willing to pay for you to watch their pet while they are out of town.

7. Hauling

If you have a truck then you may be in luck. People always need someone to haul items for them. You could be the guy. Just get the word out there.

8. Web design, Graphic Design, Internet Marketing

These types of jobs usually do not run background checks. They are also pretty forgiving of your past if you are able to demonstrate a skill that is valued. The pay is excellent, starting at about $25 per hour and can be as high as $50-60 per hour.

9. Marijuana Farmer (where its legal)

Gardening can be fun. Why not make some money off it if the state you live in will let you. Some states that let people use marijuana, restrict certain felons from being able to grow marijuana, others do not. Check your local laws for more information.

10. Construction

Do you know how to build things? Well then why not start a construction business. People are willing to pay good money for decks, sidewalks, new drywall, and many other things related to construction. Just make sure you do a good job and you will have referrals for new work left and right. Construction work can pay very well, you can make $1,500-2,500 a week.

11. Farming or Breeding Animals

Raising animals can be profitable if you know what you are doing. Things that require a small cost to feed are best. Chickens are a good way to start. People love fresh eggs and you can sell them at a local farmers market. If you can raise healthy animals to sell for pets then go for it. You will hear people left and right talking about how breeding animals the right way cost more money then what its worth. This mostly comes from people who are extremely sensitive in regards to this subject, or from breeders who want to secure their portion of the market. We would not have pet stores if there was no profit to be made.

12. Barber

Some felons have taken it upon themselves to become great barbers in prison. If this is you, then you could start up your own barber shop. One African American man who has been convicted of some serious crimes now makes a full time living working in a barber shop. He does great designs for his clients hair. Some of these hair cuts cost an upwards of $100. Therefore, if you have a skill, then there is money to be made.

How Much Does It Cost To Start A Small Business?

cost to start your own small business

Contrary to popular belief, it does not have to cost thousands of dollars to start a small business. Depending on the equipment you may need you can get started for as little as $100-500. If you are starting an online business, all you need is a computer and internet access.

Keep in mind, that when it comes to building your own business, getting started and surviving the first year is often the hardest part. After that, when you have experience and referrals, things start rolling and become easier.

Failing at your first venture is also a possibility, but it should not scare you! Many people who start their own business don’t get it right the first time around, because there many pitfalls that come up, that you may not have thought of ahead of time. However, this failure can become the first step to your future success, because you learn many very valuable lessons, and will avoid making these mistakes in the future.


If you think that being a felon will hold you back in life, then it will. However, if you know that you can rise above this self defeating thinking pattern then you can truly become successful.

If this article has helped you out in anyway please share this on your social media accounts or email it to other felons that you may know. Together we can help get entrepreneurship ideas to felons.

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