I have always loved a bargain and enjoy shopping around for the best deals before committing to a purchase. Over the years, I have negotiated with suppliers for the best prices and services for my clients. Now, I had to do it for my own business. As a small start-up, funds were initially low – and at times non-existent – so committing to long-term contracts was not always practical.
College counsellors come in all shapes and sizes. Their primary duty is to help guide students through an important period in their lives. Some counselors focus on admissions, career advice, financial aid, athletics, extracurricular activities, and other concerns. There are institutions looking out for part-time college counselors, making this a fantastic side business idea, or you can even start your own practice and charge anywhere from $25-$100+ per hour for your consultative services if you're well-versed on the subject.

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).


I see it time and time again: The number-one challenge faced by brand-new small online business owners is a lack of traffic. Obviously, if your website isn’t getting any traffic, you’re not generating any sales. And what’s worse is that without traffic, you can’t test the key components of your sales process. And if you roll out a large traffic campaign before you’ve tested your site to make sure it converts maximum visitors into buyers, you risk losing sales and looking unprofessional to potential business partners and affiliates.

The key to avoiding any cash problems is to have cash in the bank reserved for the proverbial rainy days. To solve this problem, Strauss advises for businesses to “Plan appropriately, budget accordingly, pay your creditors and suppliers on time, build a good business credit rating, and you will avoid the cash crunch dilemma and build a solid home-based business.”
The only thing better than the smell of grandma’s chocolate-chip cookie recipe baking in the oven is watching cash roll in as customers order those delectable treats. Home baking is an approachable business idea in that it involves doing what you’re probably doing a lot of, anyway, if you love to bake. You probably have all the equipment and expertise you need to get started.
Robert Nava is the owner of National Parks Depot and an ex-con who never thought he’d end up a highly successful ecommerce storeowner. Today, National Parks Depot pulls in $80,000 a month selling all kinds of outdoor gear and wear for camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, cycling, rafting and scuba activities. Robert says building his ecommerce store through Shopify was one of the easiest things he’s ever done.

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.
A little budget can go a long way when it comes to advertising online, if you’re smart about it. From targeting customers on Facebook to showing banner adverts on popular websites, there are plenty of great opportunities you can investigate for your business. You don’t need a big budget but you do need to be very clear about what you want to achieve. That’s a key point to take away throughout this guide: have a plan with clear goals and minimise the risk of wasting money.
Affiliate marketing. You know this one already. You include links to products you are promoting as an affiliate, and every time somebody buys the product, you get a commission. With a blog you can integrate advertising with content to make it even more likely you’ll get the sale. For example, you could do a product review — which is useful content — and then include a link to buy the product under an affiliate link.

Facebook continues to expand and grow. Therefore businesses are spending more on Facebook ads. But here’s the problem: a lot of old school businesses don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to Facebook ads. Even newer companies don’t have the time it takes to learn the ins and outs so that they get the most return on their Facebook ads investment.


Online and mobile dating are booming. Thousands of people around the world are looking for love online and, unfortunately, many are unsuccessful in their quest. As a dating coach you’d be responsible for helping your clients to organise and prepare for a perfect date, to refine their flirting skills and to advise on the do’s and don’ts of a dating life.
Do you need to build from scratch? Also keep in mind that depending on your particular business, it may or may not be necessary to build (or pay someone to build) a site from scratch. Especially when you’re in the early stages, options like Squarespace and Shopify simplify the process of setting up an ecommerce site by providing templates that don’t require much if any knowledge of HTML or coding.
Every household has a number of appliances, large and small. You can work on your own or on contract with appliance stores to cover their warranty service calls--or, best of all, you can do some of each. Plan to start slow and build your customer base on recommendations and referrals based on work well done. Consider developing relationships with contractors to be the go-to person to install appliances in newly constructed houses.
Yes, even the PowerPoint presentation requires outside consulting every now and then—especially if it's not your forte. I know I would happily outsource the visual layout of my presentation decks for work meetings, investor pitches and lectures. Tobias Schelle of 24Slides is living proof that you can turn your skills at slideshow presentation design into a legit side business idea—and potentially earn up to $20 a slide for your time and talents.
Your skills are the things that you can do. The difference between talents and skills is that talents are passive and skills are active. Or, to put it another way, you're born with talents but you develop skills over time as you learn. For instance, a creative person may have excellent skills for drawing or writing or design. A person who has a talent for attending to detail may have strong accounting or organizational skills.
EatWith is a great way to test the waters as a chef for your side business idea, and if you have enough rave reviews you might be able to turn your knife skills into a full-time endeavor where you're leveraging your network to book catering events. This side business idea is built heavily upon getting happy referrals, so be sure to over-deliver for your first customers, and ask if they know anyone else who could be in need of your catering services.
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.
Everyone knows that the quickest way to learn a new language is to mingle with native speakers. If you were lucky enough to be born in an English, French, Spanish (insert any of the world’s main languages) speaking country, then missing out on the opportunity to cash in on the skills you take for granted is exactly that – missing out! Use online communication tools, such as Skype or Google Hangouts, to connect with learners and leverage your privileges. Time is money, so package your hours into teaching sessions and you’re good to go. 
Take time out for good behavior. It's not uncommon to find yourself working 60- to 70-hour weeks. But the good thing is, if you want to sneak out and see a movie at two in the afternoon, nobody's going to tell you not to do it. You have that freedom and flexibility as a home business owner. It can be tempting to work all the time when you start seeing how successful your business has become, but know when to relax. You've already established a smooth-running business. Take a break every now and then so you don't get burned out.
Many people start home-based businesses in the hopes of setting their own work schedules and increasing their free time, but few people realize the careful planning that is required to achieve these goals. In fact, time management is one of the more important challenges a home-based business owner may face. Experts recommend that home-based business owners set up a workable schedule immediately upon starting their ventures in order to establish good habits. In many cases, the limited amount of work available in the early stages of a home-based business's existence may cause the entrepreneur to establish a pattern of running personal errands or watching television during work time. In this way, lethargy and unproductive use of time become ingrained and perpetuate themselves. Instead, downtime that has been reserved for working should be used to market and promote the business.

Larger companies can hire an agency or full-time staff member to run their Facebook and Twitter accounts, but small businesses often have to handle their own social media marketing. With so many responsibilities, business owners are often too busy, overwhelmed or undereducated about the importance of social media to spend time developing and implementing a great social media strategy. As a consultant, you can help them determine the best tactics, posting schedules and content for their target audience. As their follower count grows, so will your business.
38. Credit cards: Personal credit cards are still the No. 1 way that people fund a business. The rates are not terribly attractive, but using credit cards does not require any collateral other than your credit score, and credit is available instantly upon approval. Even more attractive than personal credit cards are business credit cards. You can call your current credit card companies and tell them you are starting a business and need business credit cards. While they will still require you to pledge your credit score as collateral for the loan, it will not appear on your credit profile and thus could make it easier to secure future funding if needed.

Many small companies and startups now outsource jobs that aren’t part of their core business (such as HR, admin, and accounting), which makes this skill set a great opportunity for starting a side business idea that engages your number prowess. Because companies always need to track their cash flow, freelance accountants and bookkeepers can really benefit from the increasing demand for part-time help.
Yoga is getting ever more popular, which means yoga instructors are more in demand than ever—making this another physically rewarding side business idea. Link up with a local yoga studio to teach nightly classes or offer personalized yoga in-home at a higher rate to pursue this kind of emotional and physical balance with others, during your free time while helping your bank balance, too.
Thanks for posting this. I really needed to hear (what my husband has been saying for a while) that just because I have a blog, doesn’t translate into a real business. And here all along I think I have been doing something great and fabulous. That smack in the face was sooooo necessary. I need to really focus on where is the revenue going to come from. My approach to this is like a serious business but my actions say cool hobby.
Of course, photography can take many forms, from photojournalism to portrait photography to general-interest stock photography. You’ll most likely go for either setting up a studio in your home or taking pictures for use as stock photos, as true photojournalism requires years of experience and almost never involves actually working from home. Keep in mind that stock-photo sites work on a revenue-sharing model, so simply selling pictures to one is unusual.

If you want to speed up the process of launching your blog, I recommend setting up quick, affordable and easy website hosting with a company like Bluehost, choosing a simple WordPress theme and working on your first post, in order to set the precedent of prioritizing your time on creating content, connecting with (and building) your audience. Then once you've been able to build a community around your blog, you'll want to invest in really understanding your readers—so that you can give them more of what they want.
If spending hours pinning images of gorgeous table arrangements and bouquet ideas on Pinterest is your definition of a perfect job, then you will make an exceptional wedding planner. Sharp project management skills and an eye for detail are pretty much the most important requirements for this job – no fancy diplomas to stop you from breaking into this industry! You can sell your consulting services, wedding decorations, game packages, personalised gifts – the list of possibilities is endless (well, almost). 

On top of just the skill and experience components to being a successful online coach, this side business idea is all about building a community around the help you're offering and fostering trust with members. Plus, your community members will learn from each other along the way. Creating the space for that community can be as simple as setting up a private Facebook group or choosing a community-building platform like Ning.com that has even more capabilities like using your own custom URL, having internal forums, customized designs, and more.
If you speak like James Earl Jones or Scarlett Johansson, quite a number of digital publishers (including game developers, animated film-makers, and training video producers) pay good money for voice talent and the time investment isn't too intensive—making this a great side business idea. You can find these publishers looking for voice-over artists on sites like PeoplePerHour, Freelancer and Upwork, as well as their calls for talent directly on their websites or through voiceover agents. If you do pursue this as a side business idea, be prepared to invest for the long-haul as it can be a very competitive industry.
The internet is the great equalizer. In business specifically, it has leveled the playing field. Anyone can start a money-making online business—anyone with a computer, that is. But here’s the thing: no technical experience is needed. You don’t have to know how to build websites—no programming knowledge is required at all. You can also live anywhere you want, set your own schedule, and work as little or as much as you want, depending on how fast or big you want your business to grow. No business or marketing experience is needed either.

Advertise your services in places where everyone goes, like restaurants and grocery stores. Having a website is a good idea--people want some privacy in their decision-making when it comes to getting fit. They can go to your website and determine if your approach to personal training is an approach that would work for them. It is important to emphasize the safety aspect of using a personal trainer. You can help clients get fit and avoid injury.


Grabbing the attention of curious browsers on the most popular crowdsourcing platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo is a tough job. If you’re inventive and know how to tap into human emotion, then this is a niche worth exploring. Many aspiring entrepreneurs look for personalised advice to carry their campaigns to the finish line, so try offering action-oriented eBooks or online courses targeted at this particular audience.
If you have decided to operate from home, you could designate a place in your back yard for a pond. You could easily dig a pond, and put fish in it. You may have to process your water to make it suitable for young fish. You can buy small bags of fish from a hatchery near you. Make them you feed your fish with appropriate proper diet and take care of your pond or fish tank. Harvest your fish and enjoy.
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!
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.
Offer a soup-to-nuts business plan, including market research, the business plan narrative and the financial statements. Plan your fee around the main one that the client will want and offer the others as add-on services. You can give clients an electronic file and allow them to take it from there, or you can keep the business plan on file and offer the service of tweaking it whenever necessary. Have business plan samples to show clients--and make sure to include your own!
Software drives businesses today. This is a fact not lost on individuals and companies attempting to earn a profit, make a name for themselves, or simply get things done. As a result, the job outlook for software developers will be much sunnier than prospects for many other occupations—creating massive opportunities for this business idea well into  the future. In fact, it won’t take you long to find a good-paying software development project as a side business idea on sites like Upwork, Guru.com, and Freelancer. LinkedIn also recently launched their brand new freelancing platform, ProFinder which has a dedicated section just for hiring talented software developers.
As a result of these and other factors, an estimated 40 million Americans now work from their homes. This number includes employees working from home for a larger employer as well as self-employed. Not surprisingly, two-thirds of home-based business owners are women, who choose this option either because of childcare concerns or because of a perceived glass ceiling limiting their earnings potential in the corporate world. Running a business out of the home offers a number of advantages, including time savings, control over working hours and conditions, independence, and flexibility. Starting a home-based business is also considerably cheaper than starting a business in rented facilities. In addition to saving money on overhead expenses, commuting costs, and wardrobe expenditures, many home-based business owners can deduct a portion of their rent or mortgage interest from their personal income taxes.
Point number 1 is extremely true. You can convince yourself there will always be a better time to launch. The one caveat I would add to part 1 is that you spend at least a little time making sure there is an audience before you spend lots of time building something. You need honest real opinions from people as to whether they would pay for your product or service if it existed. Ideally you are getting paying customers before you have even launched to validate your offering or service. Wasted time can eat you alive. Once you have validation though, Corbett is right. Just launch there is no better time than now. You can fix all the problems later.
Larger companies can hire an agency or full-time staff member to run their Facebook and Twitter accounts, but small businesses often have to handle their own social media marketing. With so many responsibilities, business owners are often too busy, overwhelmed or undereducated about the importance of social media to spend time developing and implementing a great social media strategy. As a consultant, you can help them determine the best tactics, posting schedules and content for their target audience. As their follower count grows, so will your business.
If that isn’t enough, you can expand your services to include pet grooming as an extra side business idea. To do that, you'll need to have relevant training, an operating license depending on your location, and pet grooming equipment. According to PayScale, pet groomers have an average salary range of $17,600 to $48,500. Not bad as a side business  idea if you can find a way to get in most of your clients on the weekends.
Another starting point is to have an idea that very few people other than the founders can actually build. These technical feats provide a natural defense against competition. Remember, every hard problem you solve drops a massive obstacle in front of anyone who’d want to replicate you. Certain problems haven’t been solved because none of the few people smart enough to do so have made it happen. Look at something like Google, which co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were technically capable of building at a time when not many people were. Back then, there were very few people smart enough to build their own search engine let alone imbue it with software that could crawl and rank the entire World Wide Web.
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