Sure, any business owner could develop a website for free using the increasingly sophisticated templates available today – but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a good business demand for helping people in the process!
Are you the control freak when it comes to travel planning? Do you love planning out an itinerary, scouting the internet for hours for the cheapest and most effective ticket combinations and have the history of a heritage site mugged up? If yes, then you should look into opening up a tour-guide business, where groups of travellers (school-trips, college-trips, tourist-travels) can ask you to not only make all the arrangements for the trip but also guide them through it, as the leader of the pack. Since the entire business can be carried through the internet, there is no other starting cost that you need to worry about, other than perhaps maintaining a travel-guide website for your potential clients.
Instead, at least for now, forget branding and unique selling propositions and all the business-identity stuff. And don’t worry about finding the perfect URL or website design or promotional literature. You’re putting those carts way before your business horse, too.
I believe more parts of our homes will be smart in the coming years. If you’re a corporate electronics or electrical engineer, you may want to try bringing your automation skills in a business. This is actually a good business to start because most of the cost are shouldered by your clients.
Janet Attard is the founder of the award-winning Business Know-How small business web site and information resource. Janet is also the author of The Home Office And Small Business Answer Book and of Business Know-How: An Operational Guide For Home-Based and Micro-Sized Businesses with Limited Budgets. Follow Janet on Twitter and on LinkedIn
I really like the idea of the outdoor deck business. I envision beautiful wood, wonderfully stained and maybe an attractive awning or roof. Outdoor furniture could be beautifully made out of wood too!
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.*
Thankfully there are plenty of companies that deal with all the hassle for you and make it really easy, they are known as freight forwarders and customs brokers. I recommend Flexport. They are funded by Google, have a really good online interface and due to the transparent price comparison service, are cheap.
If you don’t mind parading yourself around in public places as a side business idea, and enjoy a little attention, then working as a human billboard can pay a surprising amount of dividends. Renting out your beard, for example can earn you as much as $5 a day while having a brand logo tattooed on your shaven head for five years could pay as much as $7,000—though this type of earning opportunity is admittedly rare. This business idea is definitely not for the faint of heart, and is a little extreme for me, but nonetheless it’s been done as a side hustle for many people. You can start by holding a placard or wearing a sandwich board. If you think this is a good side business idea, you can go all the way and turn it into a full on small business idea with enough hard work—plus you won’t have to deal with all the issues other more complex businesses have to constantly think about (like reducing churn).
A lot of car repairs don’t require a car lift and you can do them at the customer’s location. Not only does it eliminate the cost of owning a service bay, but it saves your customer the time to drive and wait at a service station.
It should go without saying, but it’s important to pay what you owe — especially when dealing with the IRS. The IRS can impose harsh penalties and even come after a business owner’s personal assets if the owner doesn’t remit payroll taxes on time.
Use crowd-funding. If you still can’t drum up enough funding, use websites to raise the money you need to start. These funding sources have several benefits: you will not have to pay interest on the money you get (since it is money which is used to provide actual product or services) and it will help you not only gauge interest in what you have to offer but also help you build a customer base. You’ll start business with hundreds or thousands of customers already lined up and ready to tell other people about what you have to offer.
If you’re never happier than when you are landscaping your yard, landscape design might be the home-based business for you. This is a relatively new field, so you can get some background knowledge through a degree, although schools that offer these degrees are somewhat rare, or you can intern with another landscape designer.
My wife is quite handy with a sewing machine and often hems and modifies our children’s clothes. She could easily take this a step further and offer her services to others, doing basic garment repair and modification for a small price on lazy evenings.
What is affiliate marketing? You provide links on your website or blog to an affiliate marketing service that sells a third-party product or company that sells their own product. The largest affiliate marketer is Amazon whose commissions are in the 4-4.5% range. Then there are the affiliate marketing services like Click Bank and ShareASale, which offer thousands of products, some of which have commissions as high as 70%. It sounds like an easy way to make money and some people have made a lot of money on it…but many more people have been disappointed by their results. It is very hard to get your website and blog visitors to buy things!
On the other hand, with our Facebook audience, we’ve found videos to be particularly powerful in terms of bringing in new followers and engaging our existing followers. It’s also a great platform for us to promote the latest post on the Foundr blog, and the occasional motivational quote as well.
When I was promoting my job search books I started to put up advertisements on bulletin boards around local colleges. Then, seeing my advertisements people who were running bulletin board services called me, and I hired them to do the work for me instead. You can either offer your services putting up notices for clients on public bulletin boards, or you can get more sophisticated and develop proprietary bulletin boards that you get local businesses or organizations to agree to display for you. For example, you could list tourist attractions and post the bulletin board at local hotels.
I would recommend that you hyper specialize if you are starting an e-commerce business. Why? Because many e-commerce websites have very deep pockets and patient investors and are willing to sell products for razor thin margins (i.e. Amazon) or even at a loss to build market share. That being said if you can show some solid revenue in this business, and especially if you have repeat customers, you will have a business that is worth a lot of money even before it is profitable.
I’m not getting up on that high ladder anymore! That’s why I spend $200 to have a service clean my gutters twice a year. Considering that even one person can clean several houses a day, you can see that it’s very good money potential. Try really hard to geographically concentrate your gutter cleaning each day. This could be a great weekend business.
Teaching piano (or guitar or violin or singing) lessons out of your house is a well-established way for stay-at-home spouses to make a little extra cash. If Lois Griffin can do it, so can any musically minded entrepreneur.
For those who are getting into the world of ecommerce or looking to start their own online businesses, then do be sure to check out our recent in-depth reviews of ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Big Cartel, and Squarespace, which offer free trials.
If you are offering pizza delivery you don’t need a storefront at all. You could just get an inexpensive industrial quality space, as long as it is convenient to your customers. Lure your first customers in with juicy offers. Then try to keep them with great quality. But beware that a lot of pizza delivery sales even to repeat customers involve some kind of discount or special offer.
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.
While the barriers to entry for a retail shop can be very high, one way to keep costs down and limit your time investment while you keep your full-time job, is to set up a weekend popup shop as a side business idea. More of whatever it is you’re selling—donuts, clothing, antique baseball cards, or anything else—will stay in your pockets instead of going to pay for operating expenses such as rent or utilities by choosing to pursue retail as a side business idea with a short-term rental. This guide from Shopify will give you a step-by-step process for getting your popup shop off the ground.
Even in the Internet age, there is something about physically going to a weight loss center that helps bring commitment and seriousness to the weight loss process. The business models vary from a mixture of fees to just making money from selling prepackaged food. You want to make sure your customers not just lose some weight but also feel great about themselves, because then they will also feel great about you and your business, and become raving fans.
Use free resources. Your local library contains numerous useful references regarding incorporation, writing business plans, marketing, as well as information specific to your industry. The Small Business Association, Chambers of Commerce, AMEX Small Business website, associations for your industry, associations by ethnicity…all of these offer training, materials, networking and sometimes financing. Another good option is SCORE, a group of retired executives who provide business start-up advice.
2. Mindset: You MUST have a mindset of ruthless determination. When you do, you’ll not only succeed in business, but you’ll also dramatically improve your life. You’ll face a lot of problems, and you’ll want to give up, but those that succeed… keep going, and going and going.
What a great excuse to travel and get paid for it! Yes, there are some really cool craft items you can find around the world for really low prices. It could take a little bit of patience to get going, and specialization helps. But this is a very doable business. One of my friends built up a successful import/export business while still in college.
Enjoy baking and have a bit of an artistic touch? Learn how to decorate cakes and make them for special events. Sell your creations online via Craigslist or your local neighborhood Facebook page, or at local farmers markets. Many people are willing to pay others to create custom cakes for birthday parties and special events.
Remember my earlier post about breakfast burritos? Making meals in advance is a great way to save money for yourself – but you can often prepare these for others as well and sell them for a markup. Prepare eight casseroles, for example, then sell six of them to cover your costs, and you’ve got two free dinners for your family (and maybe a bit more). You can grow this by taking orders from others and finding out what they like.
You could run this as a seasonal camp during the summer. But I find it’s tougher to make lots of money at seasonal businesses, so instead I would first consider offering a creative arts day camp after school or on weekends. I suggest doing surveys to find out what age groups of kids and what specific art activities have the most appeal.
I was actually shocked when I saw a gig on Fiverr where somebody will do something crazy and video himself and send the video to the customer. What?!?! I never thought doing something crazy can be monetized. Only on fiverr. lol.
This is another highly valued skill in the internet marketing world. That being said, it can be a bit difficult because Google is always changing its algorithms. With it, some of the rules of search change. You always have to be on the leading edge, learning and testing new strategies.
If you are in a climate that consistently gets a lot of snow each year, then this could be a good business. But if the snowfall is inconsistent, you could get stuck with having a nice new snowplow and truck, but no business.
A dropship business means that you are selling physical goods that you have other companies ship out. For example, you may create a website selling desk lamps. You would take the order from the customer on your website and then you would have the order shipped out by the supplier. Drop shopping differs from affiliate marketing in that the customer stays on your website to complete the order. Furthermore, you process the order and then ask the drop shipper to fulfil the order. Affiliate marketing on the other hand, is more of a marketing service–providing traffic to the website of the company that provides the product. Drop shipping may have higher upside but if you are just getting started I would recommend that you keep things simple and start with affiliate marketing.
It’s hard especially for really small companies to hire someone dependable and that they can trust, to do their cleaning at night in the office alone. That’s why if you are willing to work hard and be dependable, you can make good money at this. I met a fellow who earned an excellent living cleaning offices, and he only worked 4-5 hours a night, and had no employees.