If you've developed valuable skill sets or certifications within your industry over the years, consider putting your skills to use in your free time by offering your consulting services to local business owners as a potentially lucrative side business idea. Whether you're an expert marketer, business strategist, or manufacturing aficionado, there's likely a local business owner who's willing to pay you to help them solve an issue with their company—if you can craft an effective cold email that convinces them to hire you. Start with this 18-step checklist to becoming a local business consultant as a side business idea, from Karyn Greenstreet. When you're ready to get serious about becoming a consultant, check out all of my picks for the best online business courses to keep building your skills and learning how to land your first consulting clients. Personally, I think this is one of the best business ideas you can get started with today.
But it’s also easier for consumers to compare similar products, which makes your ability to differentiate yourself more important. For instance, if you decide to use Etsy to sell handcrafted cutting boards, when a potential customer searches for cutting boards on the site, they’ll wade through potentially hundreds or thousands of relatively similar listings.
Techies can hedge their bets by doing some trouble-shooting work, too. On the service side, "the margins can be high because you're not competing with global operators," says Avron Barr, principal at Aldo Ventures, a software technology consulting firm in Aptos, Calif. Taken together, the "software publishing" bucket--which the IRS takes to mean both coders and help-desk types--boasts an average 14% pretax margin.
Be prepared to face a catch-22 when it comes to funding. “More often than not, a home-based business is going to require less capital, but often, because most of the funding is for intangible assets, it’s harder to get more traditional sources of funding,” says David Nilssen, CEO and cofounder of Guidant Financial Group, a firm specializing in self-directed IRAs and small business financing. If you’re having trouble getting a traditional bank loan, Nilssen recommends these options for obtaining outside funding.
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.
If you have a talent for helping people look their best, and know how to mesmerize with eyeliners and turn heads with lipsticks, consider using your beauty skills to pursue this easily profitable side business idea. For under $2000, you can start your own make-up artist business which can make for the foundation of a potentially lucrative side business idea that turns a profit largely by referrals and word-of-mouth from your happy customers.
I spent the next week writing content and adding the products on my site, nicontrols.com, following a crib sheet I downloaded from the Google webmaster tools forum. It took hours as writing has never been my strong point, but at the end of the week, we had a very basic online store. Being a complete novice, I hadn't realised that I had been changing a live website until I tried launching the site the following bank holiday weekend. Returning to work on Tuesday, I found an email from a company in Australia who had found my website and were interested in purchasing two of the circuit boards. The following week we received two inquires and then eight the week after that. The inquiries have grown exponentially from there.
Do you have impeccable organizational skills? What about cleaning skills? Can you quickly and efficiently carry out these tasks? Maybe it's time to put those skills to good use by becoming an online personal assistant or task manager. Companies like TaskRabbit or Zirtual allow you to sign up for tasks you want to complete — including data research, virtual assistant or running errands — and begin building clientele.
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.
#4 is killer important. So, so very. In fact, until I got into Fizzle at the beginning of this year, I hadn’t done the hard work of figuring out the “different” and the “better” as it applied to my business, even though I knew I really, really needed to, and even though I fully knew it was hurting my business not to get this sh*t figured out — in the form of price-shoppers and less than ideal projects and so on.

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.
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.)

Who needs a nasty commute when you can make a decent buck but a few feet from your kitchen? Over half of all U.S. businesses are now based out of an owner's home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. With the economy shedding jobs, the ranks of the self-employed may well keep swelling. Plenty more entrepreneurs may look to eliminate rent and fuel costs to pinch pennies.
Nothing beats playing your favorite game. But getting paid for coaching a sports team and staying close to the action is the next best thing. Not only will you learn new skills, you’ll earn money getting your team into shape with this side business idea. The median pay for sports coaches clocks in at $30,400 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Expect to have only a slice of that if you’re signing up for part-time coaching as a side business idea only.
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.
To locate sites that might be interested in your content, e-mail other website owners in your industry–be sure to choose sites that receive attention and visits from your target market–and invite them to use your article on their site or in their newsletter at absolutely no cost. Many site owners need fresh content, so they’ll be more than happy to post your articles–and it won’t be long before those articles start driving traffic back to your site.
For the musically gifted, offering lessons to others who want to learn an instrument can be a great source of extra income. Unless you're teaching piano, students can bring their own instruments to your home for hour-long lessons. Stock up on sheet music or songbooks in varying genres and aimed at various skill levels so you can offer a wide selection for your potential clients. Voice lessons can also bring in a lot of money if you market yourself to local high school and community theater groups.
Some firms outsource their customer service operations and many of these companies accept home-based contractors. You can start by signing up on freelancing sites such as Upwork to test the waters with this business idea first. If you’re already a CSR specialist with management skills, then you can form and lead a virtual team online and engage clients as a bona fide customer service company or, provide customer service training to such teams as well as individuals.
Gone are the days when you needed a storefront to sell products. A website lets you sell to anyone, anywhere. Websites these days are cheap to maintain, on the order of $30-$50 per month. They’re easy, too: the internet is full of do-it-yourself websites that don’t require programming knowledge to build. If you want a website that is really special, you might want to consider hiring a professional web designer.
Taxes become significantly more complicated with a home-based business. Self-employed persons are allowed to deduct business-related expenses—such as wages paid to others, the cost of professional services, shipping and postage charges, advertising costs, the cost of office supplies and equipment, professional dues and publications, insurance premiums, automobile expenses, and some entertainment and travel costs—from their income taxes, but are also required to pay self-employment taxes. People who work from their homes may be eligible for another tax deduction known as a home office deduction. The home office deduction allows individuals who meet certain criteria to deduct a portion of mortgage interest or rent, depreciation of the space used as an office, utility bills, home insurance costs, and cleaning, repairs, and security costs from their federal income taxes. Although the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has set strict regulations about who qualifies for the deduction, about 1.6 million people claim the deduction each year. According to Gloria Gibbs Marullo in an article for Nation's Business, the savings can be considerable: a sole proprietor living in a $150,000 home stands to save about $2,500 in actual taxes annually.
There are many directions you can take this business. If you want to work during hours when no one else does, you can focus on office clients. You can focus on retail businesses and keep your customers clumped into one or two blocks. Restaurants are in great need of daily thorough cleaning and can be a great source of steady clients. Perhaps you would be more interested in house cleaning. Many times with cleaning services you don't have to spend lots of money on advertising or marketing because your customers will come by word of mouth.
This is a great time for a concierge business or errand business startup. In many areas where there is significant development in the luxury market (residential and commercial), you will find increasing opportunity for concierge service providers. I remember my first job as a residential concierge, which helped me start a concierge business from home. The knowledge I acquired while employed by an established concierge business set the groundwork for my long-term career as a concierge business entrepreneur and author.
Thanks for sharing these top 10 mistakes. Sometimes I think these “top failures/mistakes” posts are even more helpful than the usual “top 10 best advices” type of posts, since they give people concrete ideas about what they should avoid. For me, the biggest setback was and still is number 7, wasting too much time thinking and not enough doing. One of my favorite quotes regarding this is by Napoleon: “Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action comes, stop thinking and go in.” 
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