15 Businesses That Run Themselves You Should Invest In

AtlanticRide Team

This Article was Reviewed by The Chief Editor, Godfrey

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The best businesses that run themselves and you can invest in are YouTube channels, Stock Photography, Affiliate Marketing, Amazon KDP and Dropshipping.

Imagine waking up every morning to the sweet sound of your phone notifications telling you that you’ve made money while dreaming. 

Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it’s not just a pipe dream. Welcome to the world of “Businesses That Run Themselves” – a realm where your investment works for you, not the other way around. 

We’re talking about ventures where, after the initial setup, your involvement can be as minimal as you want. And no, you don’t need to be a millionaire or a business guru to get your slice of the pie.

But what makes these businesses unique, and why should you consider diving into this pool? For starters, they offer the golden ticket to achieving that elusive work-life balance we all crave. 

Imagine having more time for your hobbies and family and maybe even picking up that hobby you’ve always told yourself you’d start “someday.”

This post is your gateway to discovering 15 of these magical business models that promise to boost your income and give you back your time – the most precious commodity of all. 

From digital domains to the charm of traditional brick-and-mortar setups, we’ve scoured the landscape to bring you options that resonate with investors from all walks of life. So, keep reading if you’re itching to learn how to earn without being chained to a desk. Your journey towards financial freedom, peppered with a dose of autonomy, starts here.

READ ALSO: Businesses You Can Start With One Million Naira In 2024

The 15 Best Businesses That Run Themselves

Here is a list of the 15 best businesses that run themselves, their descriptions, and the information you need to understand their working principles and make an informed choice.

1. YouTube Channels

15 Businesses That Run Themselves You Should Invest In

Imagine turning your passion into a lucrative YouTube channel, whether it’s cooking traditional Nigerian dishes, teaching tech skills, or sharing lifestyle tips. 

The beauty of YouTube lies in its global reach and the ability to monetise your content in various ways, from ad revenue and sponsorships to merchandise and memberships.

Starting a channel requires some upfront effort—creating engaging content, optimising for SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and growing your subscriber base. 

However, once you’ve established a solid foundation, your channel can generate income with minimal ongoing effort. Engage with your audience, keep an eye on trends, and periodically update your content to keep it fresh.

Success on YouTube isn’t overnight, but with consistency and creativity, your channel can become a significant source of passive income while sharing what you love with the world. Personally, I love this, and I rank it highest on the list of the best Businesses That Run Themselves.

Some popular Youtubers who have been making their dollars passively include Mark Angel Comedy, Mr Beast and Kagan.

2. Affiliate Marketing

15 Businesses That Run Themselves You Should Invest In

Affiliate marketing is like being a bridge between products and consumers, except this bridge collects tolls like a Nigerian girlfriend. By promoting products or services through your blog, social media, or website, you can earn commissions on sales made through your referral links.

The key is to choose products that align with your audience’s interests and needs. For Nigerians, consider focusing on products in high demand locally or offer solutions to common problems, such as tech gadgets, educational resources (like selling courses in coding), or fashion.

Building trust with your audience is crucial, so recommend products you genuinely believe in. Over time, as your online presence grows, so does your potential to earn. 

It’s a game of patience and authenticity, but get it right, and you could see a steady flow of income from simply sharing your favorite finds. Affiliate marketing to me is definitely one of the best businesses that run themselves.

3. Stock Photography

15 Businesses That Run Themselves You Should Invest In

If you’ve got a knack for capturing stunning images, whether Nigeria’s breathtaking landscapes, vibrant street life, or authentic everyday moments, stock photography can be your ticket to passive income.

Websites like Shutterstock and Getty Images allow photographers to upload photos and earn money each time someone purchases them. The beauty of stock photography is that a single image can be sold multiple times, turning your one-time effort into a continuous income stream.

Start by researching the types of photos in high demand, understanding licensing, and consistently uploading high-quality images. 

While it may take time to build a sizable portfolio, the cumulative effect of your efforts can result in a substantial and steady income over time.

This is definitely one of the best businesses that run themselves that you should invest in today, especially if you have a knack for taking pictures and learning how to take them.

4. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

15 Businesses That Run Themselves You Should Invest In

Amazon KDP another business idea in the list of businesses that run themselves which offers a fantastic avenue for Nigerian authors to publish their works to a global audience without the hurdles of traditional publishing. 

In 2022, Nigerians went agog on this platform; the sheer amount of publishers that joined this platform in that year was massive, all thanks to sugar-coated KDP “gurus.”

Whether fiction, non-fiction, or educational material, KDP allows you to turn your written word into an eBook or paperback quickly. 

The platform handles printing, shipping, and customer service, leaving you to focus on marketing your book. 

Utilize social media, author platforms, and local communities to promote your work. The initial stages require dedication to writing and setting up your book, but once it’s published, it can generate sales around the clock. 

Also, keep an eye on trends, and consider writing series or books on topics with enduring appeal to maximize your earnings.

If you want to do this, please do your research properly; you can’t become a bestselling author by copying the works of others and posting them as they tell you in those WhatsApp groups, and you will just land in jail.

5. Online Courses On Udemy    

15 Businesses That Run Themselves You Should Invest In

Sharing your expertise through online courses on platforms like Udemy can establish you as an authority in your field and provide a significant passive income stream. I do this, and I can tell you for free it’s one of the best businesses that run themselves that you should invest in.

Knowledge is needed across various subjects, from programming and web design to personal development and beyond. 

The key is to create comprehensive, high-quality courses that deliver real value to your students. This involves planning your curriculum, producing engaging content, and effectively marketing your course.

While creating a course requires a considerable upfront investment of time and effort, once it’s live on the platform, it can continue to attract students and generate sales with minimal additional effort. 

Regularly updating your course and engaging with your students can further enhance its longevity and profitability.

6. Dropshipping

15 Businesses That Run Themselves You Should Invest In

Dropshipping is the ultimate middleman business model without the hassle of stocking products or managing a warehouse. 

Imagine you set up an online store that sells fashion accessories. Instead of buying those accessories in bulk and keeping them in your garage, you partner with suppliers who hold the inventory for you. When a customer places an order on your site, the order is sent directly to your supplier, who then ships the product to the customer under your brand.

Your focus? Marketing your store and providing great customer service. The Nigerian market is ripe for dropshipping businesses, especially with the growing online shopping trend. From beauty products to tech gadgets, you can find a niche that’s in demand. 

The key to success in dropshipping is finding reliable suppliers and deeply understanding your target market. While it requires some upfront work to set up and a continuous effort in marketing, the operational aspects are primarily taken care of by your suppliers.

7. Automated Car Washes 

15 Businesses That Run Themselves You Should Invest In

This is definitely one of the best businesses that run themselves that you should invest in, especially in busy cities.

In bustling Nigerian cities, car owners value convenience and efficiency, making automated car washes a lucrative business idea. Setting up an automated car wash requires significant initial investment in equipment and location.

However, once operational, it requires minimal staffing and maintenance. Customers enjoy the convenience of a quick, thorough clean without the wait, making it a popular choice. 

To maximize profitability, consider offering various packages and add-on services like waxing or interior detailing. Marketing strategies could include loyalty programs, discounts for repeat customers, and strategic partnerships with nearby businesses.

With the right location, such as near shopping centres or busy intersections, an automated car wash can become a self-sustaining source of income.

8 Rental Properties  

15 Businesses That Run Themselves You Should Invest In

For Rent Real Estate Sign In Front of a Row of Apartment Condominiums Balconies and Garage Doors.

Real estate in Nigeria offers numerous opportunities for generating passive income, particularly in urban areas and cities like Lagos, where demand for housing is high.

Investing in rental properties can provide a steady income stream with the right approach. This business requires an upfront investment in purchasing or constructing properties, but you can ensure a consistent return with strategic choices, such as locations with high demand for rentals.

Hiring a property management company can minimize the day-to-day involvement in managing the property, making it a more passive investment. 

Additionally, considering short-term rental options through platforms like Airbnb can increase profitability, especially in tourist-friendly areas or cities with frequent business travelers. 

If you start the business in a place like Lagos, where a poultry house type of room could go for as high as 800k a year, you would make massive returns since most people in that city are rich kids.

9. Subscription Boxes

15 Businesses That Run Themselves You Should Invest In

Subscription boxes being in the list of the businesses that run themselves have taken the world by storm, and Nigeria is no exception. This business model involves curating and delivering a box of products to subscribers regularly, typically monthly. 

The boxes can be themed around anything from local gourmet foods and snacks to beauty products, books, or cultural items. The appeal lies in the surprise and discovery each box brings.

Setting up a subscription box service requires researching your target market’s interests and sourcing products that offer value and excitement. 

The logistics of packaging and shipping need to be streamlined for efficiency. With a focus on customer experience and quality curation, subscription boxes can build a loyal subscriber base, ensuring a steady flow of income.

10. Peer-to-Peer Lending Platforms

15 Businesses That Run Themselves You Should Invest In

Peer-to-peer lending platforms, such as FarmCrowdy, which connects investors with farmers, represent a unique opportunity to earn passive income while supporting small businesses or agricultural projects in Nigeria. 

Investors lend money to vetted borrowers, who use it to grow their businesses and repay the loan with interest. This model allows you to diversify your investment across multiple projects, spreading risk and potentially increasing returns.

While it requires due diligence to assess the risks and returns of lending opportunities, the platform manages the transactions and repayment processes, making it a relatively hands-off investment. This approach generates income for the investor and contributes to economic growth by supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses.

11. Franchise

15 Businesses That Run Themselves You Should Invest In

Grabbing a franchise in a well-known brand might just be your golden ticket to business success with a blueprint already in place. 

Imagine owning a fast-food franchise in a bustling part of Lagos or a fitness franchise in Abuja. The beauty of franchises is that they come with a tried-and-tested business model, brand recognition, and ongoing support from the franchisor.

Yes, there’s a significant upfront investment and franchise fees, but you’re buying into a business that’s already figured out the kinks.

Your job? Manage the operations smoothly and ensure the brand’s standards are upheld. Franchises in sectors like food, health, and education are particularly appealing in Nigeria. 

The key to success here is choosing a franchise that matches your interests and the local market demand, ensuring your investment grows with a steady customer base. 

To me, it’s one of the best businesses that run themselves, and you should hop on it today.

12. Blogging with SEO and Content Marketing

15 Businesses That Run Themselves You Should Invest In

Picture this: sharing your insights, stories, or reviews on a sleek, engaging blog that draws readers across Nigeria and beyond. 

Blogging has evolved from a hobby to a serious business platform. When paired with solid SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and content marketing strategies, it can attract a substantial audience. 

Monetise your blog through ads, sponsored content, affiliate marketing, or selling your own products or services.

The initial phase involves creating a blog, identifying your niche (fashion, technology, food, or anything that tickles your fancy), and creating valuable content. As your blog grows in popularity, it can become a self-sustaining source of income, with the added perk of working from anywhere at any time. 

Engaging with your audience and keeping the content fresh and relevant is key to maintaining and growing your blog’s income.

13. Online Tutoring and Virtual Workshops

15 Businesses That Run Themselves You Should Invest In

The demand for online learning has skyrocketed, and it’s not just academic subjects that people want to learn. 

From cooking local Nigerian dishes to digital marketing skills, online tutoring and virtual workshops can cater to various interests and needs. 

Setting up as an online tutor or workshop host requires expertise in your chosen subject, a stable internet connection, and a platform to host your sessions, such as Zoom or Teachable.

Market your services through social media, content marketing, and online education forums. The beauty of this model is its scalability; you can reach students from anywhere, making it a lucrative option. 

Also, recording your sessions means you can sell them as packaged courses later, turning your live teaching efforts into a passive income stream.

14. E-commerce Specializing in Local Products

15 Businesses That Run Themselves You Should Invest In

E-commerce is about more than just selling anything to anyone. There’s a growing trend towards niche stores that specializes in local products. 

Think of an online store that sells handmade Nigerian crafts, locally sourced beauty products, or traditional Nigerian attire to both a local and international audience. 

This model taps into the global interest in unique, authentic products while supporting local artisans and producers. Setting up requires identifying your niche, sourcing products, and creating an online store on platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce.

The challenge lies in logistics and ensuring product quality. However, with effective marketing and a focus on customer service, such a store can become a self-sustaining source of income that celebrates and exports Nigerian culture.

15. Mobile Apps for Local Services

15 Businesses That Run Themselves You Should Invest In

With the proliferation of smartphones, mobile apps have become a vital part of our daily routines. Developing a mobile app that addresses specific Nigerian needs or interests, such as a local food delivery service, a ride-sharing app tailored to Nigerian cities, or an app that connects local handymen with customers, can fill market gaps. 

The initial stages involve identifying a need, developing the app, and ensuring a smooth user experience.

Once launched, your app can generate income through ads, subscription models, or transaction fees. 

While app development requires some technical know-how (or hiring someone with it), the potential for a well-designed app to become a go-to solution for everyday problems makes it a worthwhile investment. 

This is definitely one of the best businesses that run themselves and one you should hop on today.


So, there you have it—15 businesses that have the potential to run themselves while putting money in your pocket. Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting out, from vending machines to mobile apps, there’s something for everyone.

But before you dive in headfirst, remember this: success doesn’t happen overnight. Building a self-sustaining business takes time, effort, and much hustle. So, keep going if things don’t take off immediately. Keep learning, adapting, and pushing forward.

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About the Chief Editor

Godfrey Ogbo, the Chief Editor and CEO of AtlanticRide, merges his environmental management expertise with extensive business experience, including in real estate. With a master's degree and a knack for engaging writing, he adeptly covers complex growth and business topics. His analytical approach and business insights enrich the blog, making it a go-to source for readers seeking thoughtful and informed content.

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