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Get a post office box for your business. This is especially important if you have business cards or will be regularly corresponding through the mail. The simple fact of the matter is that PO boxes look more professional than using your home address.
Do you have a distinguishing eye? Then use your talent to take photos for others – family photos, kids, pets, weddings, special events, and professional headshots. Need more ideas? Here is a HUGE list of stock photo sites where you can sell your photos for cash.
I’ve rented boats and bicycles and this can be a decent business. For canoes, you don’t need a waterfront location. You can rent canoes from a highly-trafficked location on the side of the road, and then provide roof racks for your customers’ cars.
Everybody’s on social media, which is both a blessing and a curse for the would-be social-media specialist. On one hand, every organization that sells anything needs a presence on social media, so the market for experts is huge. However, there is also no shortage of social-media experts—or people who think they’re experts, anyway.
Are you an expert in your field? Do you enjoy writing? Take your knowledge and put it to paper and sell it on your website, blog, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble. Need help getting started? Suzi shares her exact formula for creating an e-book in one-month!
Mystery Shopping: You will be required to dine or shop at restaurants or retail outlets as an ordinary patron and then give a verbal or written report to owners or managers on customer service and food quality. Other mystery shopping opportunities are reviewing the quality of care at hospitals or reporting on the service from collection agency representatives. In addition, you may be asked to do undercover surveillance of staff (if theft is suspected). Some states view mystery shoppers as private investigators, in which case you will need a license.
This is a good steady service business. To get started you don’t have to handle every single brand or every single repair. You can study manufacturer’s repair guides or watch instructional videos to get going.
Household Organizer: Are you a great organizer with creative ideas and good communication skills? You can either offer a service to organize customers’ houses, rooms or garages or do consulting work. You need to offer a professional service, so set up a portfolio of design ideas and checklists and questionnaires to get an idea of how the family use the space. Once established, you can expand into other related areas.
In my experience, one of the greatest challenges people face is deciding why they are starting a business, what they hope to accomplish and what they really want to do. Starting a business, particularly from home, sounds glamorous and free but, in reality, it can put a strain on home life if not done right. People I talk to often need help decision-making which is an essential quality in running a business.
This is another heavily regulated business and it’s competitive. But companies that need security need it on an on-going basis and typically they need more than one person. That means every assignment you get can be an annuity stream as long as you service the customer well.
Investment: A wedding-planning business can be operated out of your home, so expect low startup costs. You’ll likely need to create a website and spend some money on marketing. Some training may be required if you lack experience.
Building off the previous idea, what if you offered a service where you came to the customer’s house and changed the oil in the street? I would pay to do that – and would be willing to pay more since I didn’t even have to do anything but make a phone call.
Obviously some of these small business ideas have more earning potential than others, but what they all share in common are relatively low barriers to entry and the flexibility to work at them for a limited amount of time per week. I also tried to focus on side business ideas that have some sort of online component to them, since that’s what I love most.
Having a specialized skill set can help, especially in some businesses, but even without many skills it’s worth trying something when the risk is so low. My wife and I knew nothing about putting websites online, but grew our internet publishing business to six figures within a few years, starting with less than $100.
Warehousing and Shipping for E-Commerce: If you have extra space at home such as a basement or garage, you could try this. Find businesses that want to outsource their inventory and shipping. You will then be responsible for keeping inventory and shipping orders as they come in.
Counted amongst the most valuable tech giants, Amazon is also a massive global market where virtually anyone can cash in on the rising tide of eCommerce if you have the right business idea. But, like everything else that involves money, you have to do quite a bit of work to earn it. In this case, you need to do tons of research (looking for generic products such as clocks, key chains and mugs to attach your brand to) as well as developing a sensible inside sales strategy that’ll help you generate profits from your private label side business idea. For an incredible deep dive on how to launch this kind of business idea, check out how digital marketer Neil Patel recently did this as a public experiment right here on his blog.
There are many website owners that simple do not have time for their website anymore and just leave them until the hosting runs out. If these websites have consistent traffic they could be potentially profitable. You could start a business selling websites for website owners and taking a commission for the sales.
With all my experience in book publishing I am not going to tell you that this is an easy business, especially with the domination of players like Amazon. But if you pick a defensible niche, keep your overhead low, you could develop a decent business.
Once you gear up to get your business off the ground, you may also want to consider getting a business credit card. Not only can a business credit card help you manage cash flow as you get started, but the right card can help you earn cash-back you can use to run your business as well. The Ink Plus® Business Credit Card is a smart choice for anyone who wants to earn flexible points on their business spending. At the moment, the signup bonus alone on this card is worth $600 in cash back! Meanwhile, the Ink Cash® Business Credit Card awards you with $200 in cash back after you put $3,000 of your new business expenses on the card within the first 90 days. Plus, this card comes with no annual fee.
Anyone can sell goods on Amazon, provided you have products to sell (or buy low, then resell). If you’re the type to hit all the local garage sales each weekend, there’s all sorts of valuable things that can be resold online as a side business idea. If you want to step your Amazon selling game up, check out this detailed guide to Amazon and eBay retail arbitrage on Entrepreneur featuring an interview with Julie Becker and several drop-shippers who’ve grown this home based business idea from side business idea into a lucrative money-maker.
While selling items doesn’t seem like an actual internet business, some individuals turn it into a business by buying clothing, books, and various items at garage sales and thrift stores — then they turn around and sell it for a higher price on sites like Craigslist, Amazon, VarageSale, eBay, or Etsy.
Green/Eco Consultant: Consumers and regulators are putting pressure on companies to become more eco-friendly. Small business owners cannot afford to employ large consulting firms to do this for them. You could meet with them, review their environmental impact and make recommendations regarding energy use, waste and costs to create a more energy efficient and environmentally friendly operation.
I recently started working in network marketing with a natural hair care line. It has transformed my life, by giving me my confidence back. I was losing my hair and I didn’t know what to do. I’d been to the Dr and told it wasn’t a thyroid issue, but they couldn’t tell me what WAS causing it. My good friend introduced me to these amazing products, that in a matter of months changed my life. My husband is now using the products for his “gaining face” (not receding hairline) issue. Lol.
Do you have a proven track record in a particular field? Can you prove past success or have trained in matters of the mind? Then life coaching or mentorship is another low-cost and profitable business opportunity since you can run the business out of your home.
Potential challenges: You’re responsible for the safety and well-being of people, so getting the proper insurance and setting up the right legal structure is a must. It can be a stressful business to run, with long hours and frequent travel required.
The types of required permits depend upon a number of factors: type of business, business structure, number of employees, and geographic location of the business. The following licenses are not home-business specific—they are just part of the cost of opening any business. (While few businesses will require each of the permits, each business will require some of them.)
Our advice is sticking to something you can really shine on. If you’re ultra muscular, videos of you training and instructing can become very popular, but if you don’t have the body or knowledge to show for it, you might become a laughing stock. If you’re an ultra-gamer considering yourself lucky, as the top grossing Youtuber, PewDiePie, is a gamer making 4 M Dollars (estimated) from his Hobby.