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.
Keep your clients well informed: When clients spend their money on you, they want to be kept apprised of your progress, not only to stay in touch with the project, but also to keep a watchful eye out for problems before they get out of hand. Do your clients a favor, and keep them informed about your project’s progress. Whether the news is good or bad, your clients and customers will appreciate your forthrightness and candor.
There's nothing more off-putting than a poorly designed website, and often, it kills credibility. If you know HTML and have a good eye for design, you can launch a service to create attractive, easy-to-use websites for small businesses. Put your skills to good use for business owners who want to take their online presence to the next level. Build a comprehensive portfolio, and then create your own website to show it off and attract a steady stream of clients.
Mechanical Turk operates much like TaskRabbit and GigWalk: it’s a corner online where Amazon gathers tasks to be done, people willing to do them, and people willing to pay for them. On Mechanical Turk, you get to do the oddest jobs you can imagine as an online business idea, made possible by a parallel online universe that runs on hits, visits, surveys, reviews, pins, likes, CPCs, reads, and other metrics. But don’t get too ambitious. The small sums being paid out to human Mechanical Turk users rarely add up to anything seriously substantial, even if you invest most of your spare time into it. It's a better opportunity for internationally-based people with internet access and lower costs of living than in the US. Here’s one person’s account of his former life as a Mechanical Turk talking through how he got started with this business idea and what the experience was really like.
Using your skills for profit is a common trend with all of the best side business ideas. If you're an expert at something, there's likely an audience of people online who would be willing to pay to become an expert in your field—just like you. If you want to take your skills and turn them into an online course that teaches others how to get the same results you've achieved in your life, career, or business, start with How to Create an Awesome Online Course on Udemy, where instructor Miguel Hernandez covers how he makes over $90,000/yr teaching online. You'll learn from more than 8 hours of video instruction.
There are loads of job listings for freelancers on major job boards, and you can always advertise your services (and look for work) on craigslist or LinkedIn. Once the jobs start rolling in, don’t be afraid to go to previous clients and ask for more work. Steady work is the best work for freelancers. If all else fails at first, just write. Start a blog. Build clips. Get writing!
22. Isolation can be a negative side effect of working from home, so if you face feelings of isolation, be ready to fight back. “Isolation can lead to poor business decisions and depression, which leads to horrible business decisions,” says Benjamin John Coleman, founder of a Web-based craft business. “Because my business is so small and because I operate out of my home, I tend to become isolated. I have few interactions with other people during my day. To combat this isolation, I’ve joined various community groups. I find that interacting with other people in a volunteer setting helps keep me sane when I’m at home working,” he says. “It also affords me an opportunity to network and gives me a group of people to bounce ideas off [of] before I implement them. I’ve found that these activities enhance my business and increase my quality of life significantly.”
Know someone who rents out property to others? Perhaps they could use a hand managing their property. If so, you can make a decent amount of money on this side business idea with relatively little work on your part (most of the time). It'll take some hustling and the willingness to be flexible with your schedule, as you'll be responsible for collecting rent checks, managing repairs and improvements, and simply being on call for emergencies. But, a property manager is essential for most real estate investors that have a large enough portfolio, so there's definitely merit to this business idea.
Most home businesses start out as a one-person shop, but you don’t have to be a jack-of-all-trades. You can always outsource jobs, Evans says. Sites like oDesk and PeoplePerHour can hook you up with affordable independent contractors. On these sites, you post your project and contractors bid on it. You select the contractor that has the skills you’re looking for and fits within your budget.
Dogs are amazing. But, owners aren’t always at home to take them for a walk. If you’re a canine fan like I hope you are, this great side business idea can net you a regular profit by just taking some adorable pups for a stroll around the park. With pet-crazed, yet busy Americans having more pooches around, dog walking services have become a thriving industry in some U.S. cities. In fact, there’s already an app called Wag that links up dog walkers who want to exercise this business idea with the pet owners who need a helping hand.
One of the most popular ways to start a business is to pursue home based business opportunities, and especially online business opportunities. Whether you’re thinking about forming an LLC so you can work as a work-at-home freelancer, Amazon Seller or another marketplace online retailer, a home-based caterer or other home-based business opportunities, there are many ways to build a successful business out of your own home by selling your own products or your services online. According to survey data, U.S. home-based business opportunities are surprisingly plentiful and prosperous, so now is a great time to take advantage of starting your own business. Many home-based businesses are succeeding at a high level, and online entrepreneurs are changing the way that the business world works.
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.
Your business will experience normal fluctuations in its sales and profits; however there are some signs that should alert you to possible trouble. If sales are down consistently, do a customer service questionnaire or survey; or check if you have lapsed in your marketing efforts. If your cash flow is negative, meet with your accountant to see if you can cut back on expenses and pay down or eliminate any business debt. If you find you have too much business and are not ready to hire help or outsource work, consider adjusting your prices so you can work less and earn the same or more. Consult with your experts whenever a serious problem arises so you can deal with it before it gets worse.
I think the biggest killer of new ventures is good ideas. A good idea sparks the imagination, causes the founder to invest heavily in a dream, and much of that investment goes into building filters to bad news, which ensures you will be way too overconfident and prevents you from transforming a good idea into an idea that works. The end result can get pretty ugly, and usually involves uncontrollable crying. (That’s right. Real men cry.) As an idea man, I have learned the hard way to distrust my ideas. Better to start with some problems worth solving that I am uniquely able to address and build a simple MVP prototype with no expectation that it will work. Then find out what is wrong with it, fix it, repeat.
Do you play a musical instrument well enough to teach it to others? How about taking your skills at producing music or sound design and teaching others as a service-based business idea based on your experience? Private music instructors in all disciplines charge upwards of $20-100/hr (or more depending upon skill and experience), and you don’t necessarily have to do them in person, either. This makes for a great side business idea that can channel your passion for music into profits.
Use inexpensive marketing methods to promote your web site such as submitting articles for online and print publications; publishing an e-zine; participating in online chats; and posting your web site URL on all your marketing materials and correspondence. Visit the SBA’s E-Commerce section: www.sba.gov/training/courses.html; and www.practicalecommerce.com/ for web site and marketing tips.
When Disbrow set up her business, she says jumping through the hoops was pretty easy. Her city required her to register her business and fill out a few pages of paperwork. “They just want to make sure you’re not running a dentist office out of your garage,” she says. “But if I hadn’t known about the requirement for registering, I could have gotten in trouble.”
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!
Consider moving out of your home. For a lot of people, working from home is a launching pad. In the beginning, many business owners work from home in order to keep overhead low. If you have more than one person with different roles working from your home office, you should ideally be working in separate rooms. It can be difficult having two people work side by side, even if those two people are spouses and love each other very much. It's distracting for anyone to have someone three feet away from you talking on the phone. Be prepared for expansion. At the point when your business becomes so successful that you cannot efficiently work close together, start considering moving your office outside the home.
Earning money on GigWalk is similar to working on Task Rabbit—not a bad side business idea if you've got the free time. You get to choose from an amusingly diverse range of jobs from taking snapshots of restaurant menus to counting the items arrayed on supermarket racks. It won’t make you rich though, with payouts tending to congregate in the lower half of their $3-to-$100 range. But, if you're looking for a steady little side business idea, it can't hurt doing a strange but fun errand and getting a tip at the end. When you’re bored or a little short on cash, you can access GigWalk anytime, anywhere via their mobile app. Meanwhile, all the jobs specifically vetted for you will be within reach (ideally, just a brisk walk away).
Taylor works with up-and-coming designers and asks as many as possible to link to her site to help with link building and add her URL to as many posts as possible to help increase SEO visibility. ‘It was also really important for my site to be mobile optimised, so we built the site to appear perfectly on the top 15 mobile operators – I now use analytics to see what the site is being viewed on and optimise accordingly.’
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.
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.*
Driving for one of the two globally expanding app-centric taxi alternative services, Uber or Lyft can still be a fairly lucrative way to earn money as a side business idea on nights and weekends—working only when you want. But before you dive head first into this side business idea, do your homework and calculate the costs of extra gas, mileage, tires, wear & tear and usage on your vehicle—it's not a guaranteed business idea that'll turn a huge profit every weekend.