Forty years ago, Apple was founded by 20-something young guys– some say, in a garage (Steve Wozniack disagrees with that depiction 🙂 ). Despite a number of ups and downs over the years, we know that Apple has emerged as the most valuable company in the world. Here is a video on the history of Apple.


In today’s post, we want to show that other small startups have also been very successful and remain so today. So, the answer to this question — Can you start a business in your garage? — is a resounding yes. And this remains true today.

As Matthew Anderson recently observed for

“For many people, the idea of just starting their own business lies somewhere in the realm of fantasy. It’s something for someone else to do, something that requires investors and business know-how, or something an average person could never think of doing. The truth, however, is that starting your own business requires only one thing – determination. Well, if history is any indicator, a garage might help as well.”

  • Amazon — “At one time, Amazon was simply an online bookstore; and founder Jeff Bezos ran the company out of his garage in Bellevue, Washington. Needless to say, the Amazon of today is just a bit bigger – the world’s largest online retailer. In keeping with its bookstore beginnings, the Amazon Kindle is widely regarded as the best E-reader on the market.”
  • Disney — “Walt Disney and his brother Roy moved to California and set up the first Disney studio in a one- car garage behind their uncle Robert’s house in Los Angeles in 1923 to film and sell his Alice Comedies, which combined a live-action actress with an animated cat. Nearly a century later, Disney is one of the largest media corporations in the world.”
  • Harley Davidson — “William Harley and his friend Arthur Davidson worked in a shed to make the motorized bicycle a reality. In 1903, Harley-Davidson was founded. Today, it is one of the most well-known motorcycle brands in the world; and you can buy  anything from aprons to clocks and outdoor oil-can-shaped lights with the Harley-Davidson logo.”
  • Maglite — “In 1955, Tony Maglica  bought a lathe and set up a tool shop in his garage. After operating his business for 25 years, the innovative Mag-Lite was released in 1979. It is now the standard-issue flashlight for U.S. police officers and was referred to by the Wall Street Journal as the ‘Cadillac of flashlights.’”
  • Yankee Candle Co. — “Sixteen-year-old Michael Kittredge created his first scented candles out of melted crayons for his mother in the family’s garage in 1969. When neighbors showed interest, he began producing the candles in larger quantities. With help from two high school friends, Yankee Candle Company was founded. Fast forward to 1998, Kittredge sells the firm that began with a gift for his mom to a private equity company for $500 million dollars.”


Click the image to read more from Anderson.


8 Replies to “Can You Start a Business in Your Garage?”

  1. As many companies that have made it big so many other businesses havent made it past the garage stage because of other large businesses stealing the ideas or buying them out.

  2. This post caught my eye because I actually happened to come across this post in my news feed on Facebook (Social Media!). This actually goes to show that hard work does pay off. When I first read this article, I actually thought to myself that this is how many companies start off. No one was born with money, but with good investments coupled with good intentions and smarts, people can make it anywhere they want. All it takes is endurance and belief. It makes me more motivated to shoot for my dreams as well.

  3. Every big company starts with small business. In the beginning, many founders have no money to renting the office, so they choose to start at garage. Actually, i think everyone could start the business, do not have to waiting for enough money to start, just do it. Do really hard to learn the marketing and sell good products, it could make difference.

  4. From my perspective, the time when people can start their business from a garage and make it huge has passed, like, forever. I think the most possible reason is that the environment, including economy is different from then. However, I am not saying that you cannot start a small business and grow it, it is still realistic, but the place could be changed. This a big data time now, most of the business can be done online. You can definitely start an online business just in your own house.

  5. Over the last few decades, the idea of the “American Dream” has been butchered constantly, greatly harming the notion that it is possible to be a self-made man and that it is possible to create a company in a garage. When people think of company names such as Apple, Amazon, Wal-Mart, etc. they think of gigantic companies and think to themselves, “How could I possibly create a business like theirs?” However, people typically forget that each of these companies had humble beginnings – they did not form out of thin air. Each one began with a simple idea, and so I agree with the concept that garage-companies still exist, and there is potential in every idea for a company if executed properly.

  6. This post is so encouraging! A lot of people think that if you want to start a business you should have this, this, and this. But actually, what we need is the idea and how to apply it. Be patient and never give up.

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