inmate entrepreneur

Inmate Entrepreneur: Start a Business from Inside Jail

Can an inmate entrepreneur start a business from inside jail? Yes and no. It depends on several circumstances. However, the following three are the first considerations for any endeavor.

  • Type of prison: Depending on the level of security there may be less or more access to the Internet or other library resources like email.
  • Inmate Offense: Business and white-collar crimes result in frozen assets. This prevents an inmate from beginning any venture from inside prison walls.
  • Inmate Abilities: Business opportunities are limited. The best viable option is an online business.


Most advisors suggest that the business be started from outside the prison. An inmate entrepreneur’s time should focus on learning requisite skills and developing and refining a business model.

However, library time is often limited. Also, inmates do not always have access to a computer or outside communication. Therefore, it is much more practical for the inmate to start the business upon exiting the jail. At that time, inmates have much more significant freedom to operate the needed functions of the business.


Why Try to Start a Business from Inside Jail?

No one can truly imagine how difficult prison is unless they have been there and experienced the time behind bars. Inmates are denied freedoms and the ability to make life choices. However, this is also a time when true and significant self-development can happen.

This time as an inmate is significant for the development of life skills through educational classes. Many prisons offer GED programs, coding language boot camps, and legal courses. Therefore, if you are in prison or going to prison think about how you are going to use this time.

Develop the skills that you want to use on the outside to grow your business. Take the coding class, an engineering course, or a writing course. Anything that could help you is important to your future.

Once you have an idea about what your business will be you can start drafting a business plan. This will slowly develop over time into a solid investment strategy that others can see and use as a basis for investment in the business and person.

Steps to Start a Business While Incarcerated

The first step is to learn the boundaries of the prison. What can you do and not do? Do you have access to a computer? What websites can you visit? Is it unlimited? What about email? Can you communicate with potential clients and manage your finances?

An inmate entrepreneur needs to know all of these to determine if it is even possible to start a business at your facility. If so, excellent! The inmate is perfectly set up to start any number of digitally-based businesses.

inmate entrepreneur

Here is a brief list of all of the businesses you could start with only limited access to a computer and email in a prison library:

  • Amazon affiliate marketing blog
  • Reselling any type of digital goods
  • Dropshipping items from AliExpress or something similar
  • Promoting affiliatelLinks
  • Selling digital services such as web development, SEO, or content creation

Help Needed from Communities

Most of the time, inmate communication is limited. This means that inmates find that talking with clients and managing funds is extremely difficult.

However, if you go to to find your friend or relative you can learn how to contact them. Once you’ve discussed your willingness to help, here are a few steps you can take on behalf of the inmate.

  • File paperwork with your secretary of state to start the official business
  • Open any necessary bank accounts or cards
  • Establish an email account
  • Communicate with clients if the inmate is unable to
  • Pay vendors or receive pay if the inmate is unable to from prison

Each business will have different requirements when it comes to the balance of responsibilities from the inmate to the outside help. Moreover, the use of the prison library is absolutely key to the successful operation of a business. Not only will it give you access to the Internet where you can build your business, but it also will give you access to troves of information on all the topics you need to learn and grow.

Preparing for Life As an Inmate Entrepreneur

The most important part of preparation is to understand that you can never be over-prepared for anything in your life. For instance, utilize an inmate search like Pennsylvania inmate search and reach out to someone already incarcerated at your institution. Learn what life is like. You can also read articles on the same page about what you need to know. Once you get to prison, devote your life to something to keep your mind active.