8 Side Businesses You Can Start at unBound

By Alex Johnatakis
Meridian Library District Business Liaison Librarian 

One of the best parts of working with the small business community is seeing amazing ideas come to life. I love showing someone the unBound Create Corner, watching the wheels turn in their head as they dream up possibilities, and then seeing them come back and turn those ideas into realities. 

Our unBound business and tech library is designed to help anyone start a business or prototype an idea. If you’ve considered starting a business before, but aren’t sure which direction you want to go, here are some ideas: 

1. Start a Podcast

Artists and storytellers deserve all the credit for keeping us entertained during the pandemic. Throw your hat in the ring and book time in our Record Studio to start your own podcast. In case you were wondering, the most popular type of podcast is people discussing their favorite topic – so yes, the world is ready for your podcast on influential vegetables. Check out a book on podcasting while you’re in to learn how to turn a profit. 

2. Produce Rare Spare Parts 

Lots of spare parts are no longer in production and can be really difficult to find. With some basic 3D design skills, you can specialize in recreating rare parts, from TV remote backs to car pieces. Our 3D printers offer a variety of materials, such as nylon or flexible filament to help you create parts with different properties, but there are also ways to do lost wax casting with 3D printed objects. You’ll want to check patents and trademarks on individual pieces.

3. Convert Home Videos

Our digitization station has VHS to DVD, film readers, and even a floppy disk reader. People may have cleaned out attics, garages, and storage units in the past year and rediscovered old family films. Video conversion takes time, and many people would be willing to pay for someone else to do the work, especially if you offer some minor video editing along with it. We have Adobe Premiere on our Design Lab computers and can help you learn the skills you need to give yourself lightning powers.

4. Create Custom Wedding Decorations

In my experience, weddings have shifted in the past few years. Instead of adhering to traditional aesthetics, couples are finding new ways to put their own personal spin on things. In my time at unBound, I’ve 3D printed Star Wars-themed cake toppers, helped make lithophane light strings with childhood photos of the happy couple, and more. With our new laser engraver and FormBox, there are even more possibilities for custom wedding decor. Create some samples, take some photos, and start your business selling custom wedding decorations. (Want to learn more about selling handmade goods online? Attend our virtual Hobby to Hustle class this Thursday, May 27!)

5. Make Jewelry 

Resin printing allows high levels of detail and precision. Jewelers utilize the machine to both prototype and create jewelry. FormLabs has a detailed Learning Pathway on designing and 3D printing jewelry. 

6. Repair 3D Printers

3D printers have gone from emerging technology to household appliances in the past few years, and nearly every school has them. They also remind me of sewing machines – when they work they work, but if the tension is wrong or one piece is broken, it's just a nightmare. Sewing machine repair shops are everywhere, but I’ve yet to see a local 3D printer repair shop. There’s a lot of potential for a small shop that offers regular maintenance and repair of 3D printers. 

7. Narrate Audio Books

It might take a bit longer for this business to see profits, but putting in some time now could lead to serious royalties later. There are a few different platforms to help you find books looking for narrators, and one thing they have in common: They require a place to record clear, crisp audio. 

8. Design Tabletop Gaming Accessories

Tabletop gaming and RPGs have seen a bit of a renaissance in the past few years. 3D printing is a great way to make custom accessories. And with the use of Photoshop and our large format printer, you can create stunning campaign maps.

If any of these ideas struck your fancy, or sparked another one, book an appointment with one of us today to start making a plan to launch your business!