Be a Jack-of-all-trades. There are a lot of roles you play as a homebased business owner: You're the CEO, president, secretary, office manager and tech support. Learn the basic skills of running an office, including how to troubleshoot some rudimentary technical problems. You don't need to become an expert, but make sure you have a basic understanding of tech support issues, bookkeeping, etc. Otherwise it will become too expensive to have to pay someone to do everything for you.
My biggest mistake has been in thinking that I cannot start building an email list because I am broke. The old adage, “it takes money to make money” can make you stop thinking creatively. Even without money to join programs, there are many webinars and podcasts where info is given away. You have to open your mind and admit you cannot do it alone, # 8, and apply “where there’s a will-there’s a way.” I am still struggling but I believe I will be like #Chris Hufnagel below sooner than later.
It’s not the sort of side business idea that’s covered in glory, but someone needs to make sure all the numbers add up at the end of the year. Every business and most individuals need someone with the domain expertise to help prepare tax returns, especially time or resource-strapped small business owners. Majo Jacinto in his Udemy course provides an in-depth foundational understanding of how to prepare tax returns (and stay current with ever-changing laws) that'll certify you with tax prep skills in as little as a few hours of training and practice. Then once tax season rolls around you'll be able to charge an average of $229 per return as a freelance tax preparer with this side business idea, according to CNBC.
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If you have a fondness for taking pictures of smiling families or laughing children blowing bubbles, consider becoming a stock photographer and selling your images to a stock photo company like Unsplash, ShutterStock and iStockPhoto as a side business idea. You’ll get royalties every time someone licenses an image you’ve submitted. To really be successful, build your own photography website to be able to showcase your portfolio and start getting higher-paid private corporate work.
But if you do go the fashion route, be prepared to do quite a bit of networking before you get your business off the ground. Don’t be afraid to do free consultations for contests and giveaways. The more word gets around about your fabulous fashion sense, the larger a clientele you’ll build. If you’re really good, you can start this business with little to no training.
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.
Focus on user experience. Your biggest considerations with an ecommerce site will be setting up your website to offer the best user experience. Choosing the right web design is crucial, as is making sure that your shopping cart software is well-suited for your business. Be sure to check out the various shopping cart options available—from Shopify to X-Cart and many more.
And a last tip — Most of the home-based business opportunities in this article call for specialized training or skills. If you don't have the specialized training or skills needed to start a business you want to start, you can still "be a part of it". Find a person with the appropriate training or skills and invest in his or her business. Being an angel investor can be rewarding in so many ways.
All great ideas! Not sure if you left multi-level marketing off on purpose, but I’ve recently started taking a nutritional supplement called Thrive, and due to the amazing results (tons of energy, great sleep, calming of aches and pains, etc.) I’ve started working as a promoter. There is absolutely no requirement to pay anything to sign up, you don’t even have to stock the product, it is a cloud-based business where the customers order online and receive the product directly from the company. If you get two people to sign up with autoship, you get your product free. Even if you pay for the product it is only about $5 a day, less than a cup of coffee in the U.S. So far I’ve been really impressed.
I have a friend that is the city manager of a town of about 25,000 where his main task is processing requests for building permits. Actually a volunteer-type job, no salary. But he makes a bunch of contacts every day, and his address book is huge. So he is busy all year except the Holidays. To fill in this time he started a Christmas tree lighting service (houses, lawn ornaments, etc.). In this 3-month period he makes enough to keep him going the rest of the year.
Just revisited this post after it was mentioned on the Fizzle show. And man, I’ve found that #6 is SOOO true. There are still plenty of “gurus” who say, “Even just dedicating 15 minutes per day to your new business will get you going.” While I suppose that’s literally true, fact is, I’ve found that while I’m working my full-time gig I still need to spend no less than 2 hours per day (and preferably 4+ hours per day), 7 days per week to get a useful amount of work done. Launching a business while holding down a full-time job can certainly be done (and I’m doing it), but I think too many of the IM advice-givers sugarcoat the amount of time that actually needs to be invested. Perhaps that’s why so many people “fizzle” after a few months. They start something, then realize “Oh no…this is actually real work that takes real time!”
If editing and advising college students on how to write compelling 500 word essays on topics such as "You were just invited to speak at the White House. Write your speech," seems like a compelling business idea to allocate your free time towards, trust me—tons of parents will pay you to edit admissions essays and offer constructive feedback for their children. Be careful not to blur the ethical line of actually writing their essays, but serving as an editor to help them convey their message can become a great side business idea that has the potential to spread by word-of-mouth referral in your community.
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.
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.
Then you can move into more actionable online courses like Modern Web Design on CreativeLive and Learn Web Design and Profitable Freelancing on Udemy will teach you everything from foundational web design knowledge to earning your first freelance income as a web designer. On top of that, you can take even more immersive courses and learning experiences with access to direct instructor feedback and personal mentorship with platforms like Treehouse, LinkedIn Learning and General Assembly to get up-to-speed even quicker with this career path and listen to my podcast interview with Ian Paget about how to become a freelance designer as a side business idea.
Non-profits, universities, hospitals and other community organizations all have a great need for grant money to supplement their budgets, but grants are notoriously tricky to write for the first time. If you have experience writing grants or are willing to learn how to do it by practicing your skills without pay for a few non-profits, you can start a lucrative freelance grant writing business. According to eHow, grant writers can make anywhere from $40, 300 to $67,000.
No matter which way you do it, it’s passive income—money you earn while you sleep because you put these products up for sale on your website and a customer can buy and download them any time of day or night, automatically. All you have to do is check the sales periodically to see what topics or types of products are selling best so that you can make more of those.
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76. Create a sustainable routine that signals the beginning and the end of the work day. “One of my earliest clients was a software coder, and he would go to the local diner early in the morning to look at the paper, eat breakfast, and [hang out] with locals. Then he would code for seven hours, and when his wife came home from her job they would take a walk, and that was the end of the workday—no more coding until the next morning,” says McGraw.
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.”
Other steps in the process of forming a home-based business include selecting a legal structure, filing a fictitious name or "doing business as" statement, and obtaining any needed permits or licenses. The entrepreneur should also evaluate the risks associated with the business venture and make any necessary arrangements for health, life, liability, property, or business interruption insurance. Since it is sometimes difficult for a home-based business to be taken seriously by customers or creditors, it may be helpful to communicate a professional image through stationery and business cards, a separate phone line answered with a formal greeting, and distinct working hours.
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.
Not everything is just a Google search away. Media organizations hire fact checkers to make sure that items in stories are accurate and that sources quoted really exist. Other organizations need people to find statistics and other data for presentations and reports. There are plenty of opportunities online to get started researching at home. Just be prepared to get into some really esoteric topics that will take you way beyond Wikipedia.
It’s possible to set up a website yourself, but unless you’re a designer or Web developer, you can expect a pretty steep learning curve. If you have the budget, consider hiring a professional to help you with some or all of the following: configuring the site to look the way you want and include the features you need; creating and inserting a logo; optimizing the site for search engines; and creating text and images.
#8 support: I have a business partner, but I also have a mastermind partner (since 2011) and that has been so helpful. I get to brainstorm ideas, be held accountable and have insight from someone who is not inside my business everyday. I also now lead a mastermind group for moms, and I love spreading this powerful tool to others to find their own accountability partners in life and business.