If you have not been able to find decent work for months or years because of your felony, maybe its time to consider starting your own business?

Many felons have made this leap into becoming their own boss, and are now successfully operating small businesses in a wide range of industries.

Most people think that starting a profitable business is too complicated and not realistic for them. They get hung up on company name and logo, as well as all the other little details, none of which matter all that much. What does matter is coming up with a service or a product that will give other people what they need.

how a felon can start a small business

You Only Need A Few Things To Get Started!

As shocking as it may sound you only need a couple of things to get your business up and running. Here is what they are:
Moreover, it only takes a few hours to get both of them.

1. A good business idea

There are thousands of businesses that get started around US every year. Currently there are close to 30 million small businesses up and running! This means a few things:

1. There is a lot of stiff competition in the world of small businesses and not everyone survives long term.

2. Many people are doing it, so you can too!

One of the biggest keys to success is getting into a field that you ALREADY KNOW and have skills in. For example, if you have done construction before, you can start a house remodeling company. If you don’t have any skills or experience that you think will make a solid ground base for a business, consider working in an industry that you like (even an entry job), with the goal of starting your own company after a few years.

Another big factor that determines success is your LOCATION. You have to be in area where there are a lot of people who could potentially need your product or service. If you want to open a small convenience store, but there are already 3 others or a Walmart near by, and your town is small, most likely you will not be able to make money.

Small Business Ideas

ideas for a small business if you have a felony

Here are businesses that people with felony convictions have started in the past and became successful:

– Roof installation and repair
– Siding installation and repar
– Remodeling
– Handy man services
– House painting (both inside and out)
– Masonry
– Landscaping
– Snow removal
– Auto repair
– Small appliance/electronics repair
– Food truck
– Diner/coffee shop
– Pet grooming
– Hair salon/barber shop
– House cleaning services
– Dry cleaning store


In today’s day and age no business is complete without a website. This is where your customers can get your prices, phone numbers, service areas, and all the other information they need. This will also help customers searching for your services or products to find your company online through search engines, such as google.

The good news is that a website is very easy and affordable to set up. We have found an amazing deal where you can get your website for around $3.95 a month. 

3. Professional Business Cards

how to get business cardsThe second thing you are going to need is some business cards. This is where you can list all your information and then pass it around easily. These cards are also cheap and affordable.

They do not have to be fancy and just having your business name, phone number, email, address, and website will be more than enough.

Vistaprint offers a great deal and has ready made card designs, so you don’t have to break your head figuring this out.

You just enter in your information and they will be at your house in a week.

4. License

When you start a business, it is important to do everything correctly from a legal stand point, especially given your criminal record. This means that you will need to register your business. This is easy to do at a state or county clerk’s office. Most people register an LLC, but there are other options available. This is very important for tax purposes and to have a legit operation that people can trust.

Depending on the nature of your company, you may need to get additional licenses, permits and insurance. If you don’t obtain proper licensing, your business may face serious federal and state penalties and may even be closed down. To find out exactly what you need, its best to speak with a clerk at your Town Hall. He will explain what you need and provide the forms you will need to fill out.

5. Funding

how to get money for a small start up

Of course any type of start up requires some money to get off the ground. However, it doesn’t have to be hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many people get started with a very modest investment of under $1,000. You can save up this money and ask for small loans or gifts from friends and family.

If you are looking for a much larger investment, you will need to work hard to secure funding. This can be in a form of a business loan or grants. However, depending on the nature of your felony, many limitations may apply. If you find out that you cannot get a large sum of money at this time, don’t get discouraged from starting a business. Think of what you can do today with the funds you can get, and set bigger goals for the future.

Additional Resources

The following guides may help you on your road to financial independence:

Types of business a felon can start with little money

Online freelance jobs

Entrepreneurship education and programs for felons