If you have employees who work remotely, know that your official company address matters for tax purposes. For example, small business expert Gene Marks has a home-based business with 10 employees who all work remotely. He uses a post office box as the official address of the business, so employees get reimbursed for the miles they drive beyond the official address to get to a meeting.
Suppose that you, being a creative person, are able to make beautiful quilts. However, because of the time involved, you're only able to make two quilts per month. You discover that people are willing to pay $200 for each quilt you produce. The math says that you would have, therefore, an income of $400 per month. (Actually less, as there will be expenses related to quilt production, such as cloth and thread, to deduct from this amount.)
Yes, spending time on YouTube can be a legitimate business idea if you take it seriously. If you can create value-driven, entertaining video content and grow your subscriber base to a few thousand subscribers, your videos can start generating pretty substantial income from all the ads being displayed on your videos. Many YouTube users make well into the millions each year, so there's clear potential to take this from side business idea to eventual millionaire with the right combination of content, audience, skills, relationships and timing. If you’re considering starting a YouTube channel it’s important use best practices when making videos. Read the YouTube playbook for tips which will result in faster growth of your channel. Additionally think about investing in a quality camera and microphone since the production quality of videos can often affect your viewership.
Yet another common problem encountered by home-based business people is frequent distractions that reduce productivity. In fact, distractions are everywhere for people who work from home. When faced with a difficult work task, it sometimes seems far preferable to run the vacuum, clean out a closet, walk the dog, have a snack, take a nap, raid the refrigerator, pull some weeds in the garden, or do any of the myriad other things that need doing around a normal household. In addition, people who work from home lack the motivation that peer pressure can provide in a regular office. They also face spouses and children who demand time and attention, as well as friends and neighbors who call to chat or stop by to ask favors.
Enjoy plenty of flexibility. One big pro of running a home-based business is that your home office is just a few steps away. So if you’re a night owl whose prime work hours are from 10 to midnight, you can take advantage of that without having to drive to a commercial office and let yourself in after everyone else is gone for the day. Working from home, without set office space size and costs, also gives you the flexibility to scale up or down as needed. For example, if you grow quickly and need to contract or hire more help, you don’t have to worry about whether more workers will fit in the office space you lease. On the other hand, if business slows and you need to streamline temporarily, you’re not stuck with more space than you need.
I’ve found that fear often stops aspiring consultants from starting a consulting business–or any business–and on my blog, I talk about how to overcome those fears. I also talk about practical, concrete things you can do to start and run a successful consulting business, along with tools, tips, tricks, and techniques for automating your business and keeping costs to a minimum. The info I give is applicable to most other types of businesses as well.
Continually monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of your advertising and publicity campaigns and eliminate those that did not work. Do not become too complacent or satisfied with even your best strategies. Always look for new ways to market the benefits your customers will derive from using your products or services. Marketing communicates what your business is and why people should buy from you and not your competitors. Your business cannot survive without it.
The process of gathering information and writing a business plan helps the entrepreneur take an objective, critical look at the business idea and its chances for success. A home-based business may be related to an individual's previous occupation, but may also be based upon a hobby or the discovery of a unique business opportunity. In any case, the idea should be evaluated with an eye toward market potential and competition. Once the business is up and running, the business plan sets forth goals and standards for management and serves as an operational tool to measure progress. Although there are many ways to start a home-based business—including "moonlighting" while employed full-time, working part-time for an employer and part-time at home, and just taking the plunge—planning is important to all of them.
If you’ve mostly been buying print ads, consider web-based ads. If you have tried Google Adwords, you might want to try to advertise on Bing or Facebook. Try sending out a newsletter by email, and don’t forget about social media. If you have a B2B target market, you could start your own business networking group. The key is to always try at least one new marketing technique. If it works, great, keep doing it. If it doesn’t work, try something else. Entrepreneurship is about experimenting with new ideas.
If you've got the attitude (and look), there should be a product or service out there on the hunt for the right model to promote their brand as a side business idea. You can sign up with a large agency, find a freelance agent, or look for your own modeling gigs as an independent talent. Since modeling is a complex field, get all the advice you need before jumping right in and find a mentor who can guide you through some of the early challenges it'll take to establish your brand. Depending on your preference, you can specialize in a single media format such as video or still images, to build a compelling portfolio and grow this into a business idea that has the potential to scale.
Alex Ikonn and his wife Mimi launched Luxyhair.com after they realized how hard it was to find great hair extensions in the marketplace. This hair extensions ecommerce retailer has built their business on the fan audience they’ve attracted through YouTube tutorial videos. They have a serious following, which is exactly what has enabled them to grow their business to seven figures since 2010!
Do you know the ins and outs of search engines and have skills in platforms like Google Analytics? The owners of a lot of smaller companies don't realize how much of an impact search engine optimization (SEO) can have on their business. Educate those business owners on the power of SEO to help transform their websites into a more SEO-friendly property. Use your skills to show business owners how to read and use their analytics data the right way, and how to properly use keywords and structure content to get more traffic.
Are you good with animals? Spread the word to friends and neighbors that you're available to watch their pets while the owners go on a vacation or weekend trip. Pet owners often feel more comfortable leaving their furry friends in the care of an individual rather than placing pets in a boarding facility, so getting referrals shouldn't be too difficult. If you can't commit to lodging animals in your home, consider starting a dog walking or waste cleanup business.
The home office deduction may become even easier to use in the near future. Colleen DeBaise wrote, in an early 2006 article entitled "Locking In The Home-Office Deduction," about efforts being made to simplify this tax deduction. She wrote, "The National Association for the Self-Employed, a small-business group in Washington, D.C., supports a simplified, standard deduction to ease the burden on home-based businesses. And perhaps someday, sweet relief will be granted: Two bills introduced in 2005 contain language for a standard home-office deduction, although neither has passed. One of the bills, the Small Employer Tax Relief Act of 2005, specifically calls for a standard home-office deduction of $2,500'¦. In the meantime, small-business owners have little choice other than to muddle through the form—or hire a tax adviser for help."
When I used to work at CreativeLive, I regularly paid $250-$500 (or even much more depending upon audience size) per episode for 90 seconds worth of advertisements on relevant podcasts like The Tim Ferriss Show, the #1 business podcast right now from the 4-Hour Workweek author, Tim Ferriss. The podcast has even helped Tim launch his latest New York Times bestseller, Tools of Titans to a wider readership.
Similar to selling on Amazon, eBay is a place to make money selling just about anything you can think of as a side business idea, with the added excitement of using the auction selling model to sometimes get way more than you expected for that antique baseball card you picked up at a local street fair. To turn your eBay selling into a legitimate business idea, look for opportunities where you can buy in-demand products at a discount—and later sell them for a profit. Eventually, you can even take the lessons learned from your eBay store and build a full on blog or eCommerce business like what the team over at Gear Hungry has done.
Define your product or service. Starting an online business gives you the benefit of having access to millions of customers, but you also have a lot more competition. No matter what you're trying to sell, you can bet that hundreds more online retailers have a similar idea. What differentiates your product from other similar products? To help your product stand apart from the rest, you'll need to find a niche.
Without realizing it, I skipped over doing the good work of pinpointing my target market and ideal clients, defining my brand and my offer, figuring out my Why, etc. I studied audience-building and content marketing tactics and put a lot of work into growing a community from the start, but because I wasn’t clear myself on the purpose of my brand, I didn’t have a consistent message to share with that community to build trust and gain their interest in any kind of offers.