If you are new to entrepreneurship, you can enroll in business start-up classes offered at area schools, colleges, or government SBDCs, Women’s Business Centers, and local SCORE offices. Consult with a professional organizer, a time management specialist, and/or a computer consultant to set up an efficient workspace, schedule, and an operational system with the best technology and communications for your type of business.
Nothing beats teaching more novice learners about your passion, hobby, or craft as a business idea (that's a common theme here). Explore dozens of DIY portals (such as DIY.org, DIY Network, Instructables and Mahalo) to get business ideas on how to earn a healthy side income just by showing others how to do the things you love. You can also sift through the countless ad-supported YouTube channels that teach just about anything from guitar strumming to 3D printing.
If a customer complains, it may be hard not to take it personally, because it is your business. Establish set policies or procedures to handle any complaints, whether it is a refund or a revision of your products or services. Consult with your lawyer for the proper wording and posting. Survey customers often for feedback, so you can head-off complaints.
Building a solid customer base is much easier said than done. At the heart of the process is creating an organization that values its current customers and goes out of its way to ensure their satisfaction and happiness. Customers are smart — they can tell whether they are high or low on a company’s list of priorities. If they sense that you don’t care much about whether they do business with you, they’ll likely jump ship as soon as another company that really does care about them comes along.
52. Start networking. “Hibernating is fine for bears, but not for people,” says Edwards. “Identify and join social networks and local trade and business associations thatwill advance your business.” Russak of First Time Online recommends creating a Facebook page, Twitter account, and LinkedIn profile as alternatives to your website so you can “be in five places at once from the comfort of your living room.”
Set up a merchant account. Service businesses in the past had to generally rely on cash or check—setting up an entire credit card processing system was a thankless, expensive task at best. Using a service such as PayPal makes it possible to accept virtually any form of credit or debit card for your services, and includes dispute resolution should the need arise (and it will arise).
Towards the end of 2007, one of our best customers decided to shift production to India. Since most of the machines were no longer required, the production manager asked us if we would like to purchase the spare parts from the machines for £600. We purchased the boards thinking they would be useful for parts for our repairs. Sadly, I didn't consider where we would store all these parts and soon my office was full of circuit boards. I spent the next three months climbing over parts to get to my desk. Something had to change.
While the spiders do index sites and pages that haven’t been submitted, you certainly don’t want to leave this to chance. A spider might find your website and index it next week–or it might be two years before that finally happens. So take the time to submit your site to be sure you’re included. Once your site’s been submitted, expect it to take two to six weeks for your listing to appear.
Best of all, unlike a brick-and-mortar business, you don’t need a lot of startup capital. In fact, you can get many internet businesses up and running with no money at all because so many free services facilitate the possibility. For example, you can set up a website or blog for free using WordPress. Or you can leverage a third-party site like Amazon or eBay to sell goods. You use their selling platform in exchange for giving them a cut of your sales.
Not only is Airbnb a great way to make money by renting out your spare bedroom or living room couch as a legitimate home-based business idea, but you also have the benefit of meeting new people and making new friends if that's your kind of thing. You can even rent out an entirely new apartment just to manage as an Airbnb side business idea, but don't make the mistake of thinking this will be a passive source of income—you're on call whenever you have a guest and you'll always need to keep the place clean for incoming visitors. On top of just renting on Airbnb, you can take this business idea to the next level by offering your guests add-on and personalized experiences for an extra charge. Take Lauren Gheysens' Airbnb-based side business idea, Royal Day Out in London, England for example—where she gives visiting tourists a local's only tour of the city, complete with bespoke 18th century costumes.
It’s one of the first ideas people have when they think of starting a business: making and selling crafts. That means there’s lots of competition. The good news, though, is that people just love crafts. But be careful. Don’t just sell anything and everything. Define a product line and choose a distribution channel (online, craft fairs, etc.), and stick with your plan. And, of course, be creative.
I realised I wasn’t going to have time to approach every online directory to get my company listed, so now I also use Yell’s Connect product, which is separate from the advert that I’ve put up and costs £25 a month. They create directory listings for your company in all of the directories they have access to, and every day their computer system checks it to make sure that nothing’s changed; Google favours companies who have no discrepancy between their listings online. Now I’m listed at number two for the Yell search ‘Vets in Finchley’.
For example, if you are an affiliate marketer for Musician's Friend, an online musical instrument retailer, you can advertise their products on your site. If a person visits your site, and clicks on the link that takes them to the Musician's Friend website, and they purchase an instrument within a certain amount of time (24 hours or more, typically), you get a commission on the sale.
There’s more to being a coach or personal trainer than just being fit and loving to exercise. Finding a specialization is important, and licenses might be required for certain types of coaching roles. For instance, a friend in Boston obtained US and European soccer-coaching licenses before opening a successful one-on-one soccer-instruction business.
Darlene – How did you grow your mastermind group? I totally see the value in this but haven’t had much luck trying to get something going myself. I’m currently working on forming a local tribe (geographically speaking) with the idea that meeting in person might be really beneficial to us all although we’re all in different blog categories. How did you form your group? Who gets invited? What are the perks to membership? I would love to know!