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Small businesses, which are defined as organizations with fewer than 500 employees, account for 99.7% of all companies in the United States.

If you’re thinking about opening some kind of small business yourself, instead of renting out or buying an expensive office building, you might want to consider a shipping container. Since you’ll likely only need an employee or two while you’re first starting out, a container is a great area for dozens of business ventures.

There are roughly 17 million shipping containers across the globe, but only 6 million of them are currently in use. That means approximately 11 million shipping containers are just sitting there, unused, and could be utilized for all kinds of purposes — including opening brand new small businesses.

You’re still going to have to work hard, however, but it can be done. According to a U.S. Bank study, 82% of businesses that fail do so because of cash flow problems. As long as you’re working hard and doing what you enjoy or passionate about, you should be in for a very rewarding and lucrative new adventure! Whether you’re just trying to get some freelance writing done or want to open a pop-up shop, there are plenty of ways to get creative with shipping containers and actually earn some serious revenue.

Here are some creative ideas for turning a storage container into a brand new small business:

  • Gift shop — No matter what item you are thinking about selling, opening up a small retail business is a great way to earn some extra cash if you know what you’re doing. Consider setting up your continuer shop in high-traffic areas like tourist attractions and community events. Then, keep your container stocked with quality items and start mingling!

  • Mobile bar — You’ll need to acquire all the necessary permits and licensing, of course, but setting up a mobile bar or tap house can be a cool and fun way to earn more during the weekends. These are great for concerts, festivals, carnivals, parades, and so much more. Shipping containers offer quick and easy for patrons to come up and enjoy a fine beverage.

  • Portable classroom — Whether you’re starting a tutoring business or just teaching a few workshops a few times a month, containers make for great learning environments. The overwhelming reason to utilize portable classrooms is the speed of delivery (35%), following by shifting enrollments (26%), and the relatively inexpensive nature of the classrooms (25%).

  • Bookstore — Do you have a large collection of books that are just sitting in your basement? Instead of keeping them and letting dust pile up, consider setting up a book shop out of your new container. It might be tough to convince passersby to purchase new books, but if you advertise your books on social media, the bookworms will surely make their way to you.

  • Clothing retailer — Containers have plenty of space to open up a nice clothing boutique. Whether you’re selling old clothes or are designing and making your own, people love buying new clothing items for affordable prices.

  • Art gallery — You can buy, sell, trade, or even make all kinds of art pieces from the comfort of a quality shipping container. You probably shouldn’t start with pieces in the tens of thousands, but selling a few nice paintings or trading a few cool drawings is a great way to spend your time.

These are only a few ideas for container businesses, but you can get as creative as you want. Don’t be one of the 80% of people who don’t keep their resolutions! Stop wasting your free time in front of the TV — it’s time to get out there and follow your dreams.

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