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Good ideas, I like numbers 2, 3, and 6 personally. I think in addition to persistence and determination, creating a successful home-based business also takes courage. It can be a scary proposition to quit your day job to go it alone. I always admire people who make this move, and I think that in general they are all the more happy for it. There is not doubt, though, that you have to go for it 100% in order to make it happen!
Selling educational materials is a big business today. Pencils, Exercise books, recommended textbooks, graphical tables, and drawing equipment are some of the materials students cannot do without on a daily basis. People who locate their shops near these schools are bound to make a lot of money. If you can get your shop near any of these schools, you are bound to make a lot of money.
Sales tax registration. If you sell tangible goods—even online—you may need to collect sales tax from your customers. Plus, many states tax a wider variety of services than they have in the past, so you may need to collect sales tax if your business is a service business. If you are required to collect sales tax, you will need to apply for a tax permit. (In most states, you must have registered before your first sale is made.) You can obtain more information from your state’s department of revenue website.
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Then you have the issue of theft. The summer I ran Bob’s Rent-A-Bike, I had seven bicycles stolen. One day, one of my rental agents (the owner of a small motel), called to say that although no bicycles were stolen that day, someone had walked off with the unlocked 20-foot-long, 30-pound chain that I gave him to lock up the bicycles at night!
This is a great time for a concierge business or errand business startup. In many areas where there is significant development in the luxury market (residential and commercial), you will find increasing opportunity for concierge service providers. I remember my first job as a residential concierge, which helped me start a concierge business from home. The knowledge I acquired while employed by an established concierge business set the groundwork for my long-term career as a concierge business entrepreneur and author.
Although product businesses can lead to super riches, the risk and failure rate is very high. You will almost always be competing against larger national or international firms. If you become successful, other firms will try to duplicate your success. Even if you have a great product, just getting into the distribution channel can be very difficult. Then, if you are successful and are booking lots of profits, you still may be running negative cash flows as you finance growing inventories and receivables.
Fiverr is a great place for first-time freelancers who might not have tons of experience and want to build up a portfolio of their work. You’ll be able to complete simple tasks ranging from logo design, to creating animations, or even drawing a company logo on your forehead. While this side business idea likely won’t be growing into a million dollar startup for you, it can still be a platform for funding your next big business idea. Want to learn more about Fiverr’s history and how to get the most out of selling on the platform? Listen to my interview with Fiverr CEO Micha Kaufman.
Businesses always need graphic designers to help them convey information visually, through logos, advertisements, posters, websites, and the like. While it is possible to be an entirely self-taught graphic designer, most have either a certification or a degree. Other than the cost of design software, this business has very little overhead and can be done anywhere with a dedicated computer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, graphic designers have a median salary of $45,000.*
While there are all kinds of training that corporations will pay for, I am focusing on sales training because the demand is so widespread. It is an absolutely critical function, even for small businesses. If you don’t have great contacts at larger companies I would suggest you target smaller firms, such as those with sales forces of 6 to 20 people. Small enough so that everyone isn’t trying to sell them training, but large enough that they are likely to be willing to pay for it.
Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Yuletide, Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year, 4th of July, Mother’s Day. There are a ton of traditional holidays that count as solid reasons to explore the side business idea of crafting and selling seasonal decorations. After all, people and businesses pay good money for them. In fact, total sales of Christmas trees in the U.S. alone amounted to a whopping $1.04 billion in 2014. And you still have holiday lights, nativity scenes, crafted hangings, baskets, wreaths, and other decorations to cover, making this a potentially year-round seasonal side business idea.
With only $1,000 in my pocket, I couldn’t carry significant inventory. So I was forced to sell a product before I had a product to sell. I cobbled together a website that was part template, part Photoshop, and part poorly written HTML. It wasn’t pretty, but it would work well enough to allow me to present the core selling proposition to potential customers–awesome gifts for men, packed into wooden crates, shipped with a crowbar.
Keep in mind, I’m only talking about setting yourself up to do business: I’m not talking about writing a business plan (although if that’s what you want to do, here’s a comprehensive guide to writing a business plan), sourcing financing, developing a marketing plan, etc.
Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Service: First research what equipment you will require and the cost. Then research what training, certification, licensing and insurance you will need and assess your competition.
Is your passion, fashion? Then use your knowledge to help other women discover their own sense of style. Personal Stylists, sometimes called Image Consultants, assist clients with new wardrobe shopping, accessorizing, makeup, hair, and generally revamping their appearance for an overall new and fresh image.
A neat bonus of attending a craft class is that not only do you learn how to do something new, but also that you get to go home with something tangible—your finished craft project! People are often willing to take a craft class if you can market it in an appealing way. And focusing on what the finished project will look like is one way to get people excited about signing up!
Even in the Internet age a lot of people enjoy going to flea markets. To succeed in this business, you first need to be able to sell space to vendors. Then right from the first event you need to bring in enough visitors, so that your vendors are happy, and will come back again and again.
Your county or city will require a business license. The form takes minutes to fill out. Use your EIN instead of your Social Security number to identify your business (for privacy reasons if nothing else).
If you’ve already created a successful business then you can pass that knowledge along to someone else for a fee – such as market research, business plan narrative, and financial statements. New business owners are more than willing to pay a someone who has successfully started a business to help guide them in developing their own successful business plan.
Yes, graphic design is hyper competitive. But everyone wants a little different style. So, if you get a highly appealing design in front of your prospective audience you can be successful. For this business, I would go crazy having a fabulous looking website with a totally “kickass” front page! Then I would use SEO techniques, social media, and every other marketing tool I could think of to drive traffic to it.
Purchasing and installing a stair lift is a major decision for a mobility impaired customer. Offering excellent service including carefully presenting the best alternatives and being quickly available for follow-up service can help make your stair lift business stand out from the competition and build positive word of mouth.
A money broker is basically someone who arranges short-term loans to people. A common variant on this is “pay-day lending” where businesses lend money to people who are typically looking for funds to hold them over to the next paycheck. These are usually storefront locations, closely regulated and not allowed in all states. This can be a solid business, but the regulatory climate is shifting against these businesses, so evaluate the risk of future regulatory changes, before hanging out your shingle.
One of the challenges of running a home bakery will be finding customers. That basically means going out and selling your products to stores, restaurants, cafeterias, caterers or anyone else. You want to find customers that you can service on an on-going basis and that you won’t have to travel too far to reach. You may want to canvas potential resellers even before you decide what products you plan to be baking.
By August 2011, my first company had gone down in flames. We had a great team, raised over a million dollars, and built some incredible technology. There was only one little problem. We started talking with customers after we’d built the product. Cue atomic fireball video. Oops.