Kelly Lester, a stay-at home Mom from California, had an interest in bento - the Japanese art of food packing. She also had an annoying problem every day: how to quickly and efficiently pack healthy lunches for her kids to bring to school. Her goal was to feed her kids without boring them to tears or relying on prepackaged options that were more expensive and not as healthy.
A home business (or "home-based business" or "HBB") is a small business that operates from the business owner's home office. In addition to location, home businesses are usually defined by having a very small number of employees, usually all immediate family of the business owner, in which case it is also a family business. Home businesses generally lack shop frontage, customer parking and street advertising signs. Such businesses are sometimes prohibited by residential zoning regulations.[1]

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A thing that needs to be ironed out for your online business is your billing service. While there are businesses that may bill their clients directly after a contract has been agreed upon and signed and these bills are paid for through checks that are deposited into the service provider's bank account, there are some clients who require a certain online billing system for them to pay for the services they have contracted. You may need to register with a billing system like PayPal for your online business to make billing and payment easier and less of a hassle to you and your clients.
Boats that are hauled out of the water for the winter or even just for mid-season repairs will need the hull cleaned. And depending on the type of boat, it is a good time to give a major cleaning everything else too--the decks, the sleeping quarters, the head, and the holds. Start by approaching homes that have a boat sitting in the yard. Or you could market your services to the marina to contract you to do the boat cleaning it offers to customers.
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.[1]
To be a consultant, you need to have an expertise in something so you can market yourself as an advisor to others looking to work in that area. Perhaps you managed several large warehouses in your career with a drugstore company, you did all the marketing for many years for a large shoe manufacturer or you set up a chain of beauty supply shops or take-out restaurants. You can use this experience to help others do similar things without making the same mistakes that you made along the way.
Starting any kind of business needs knowledge and experience in the related field. If you are new to the fishing business, It might be a good idea to start small and gather experience as you progress. Managing a business requires many of the administrative skills, be it fish farming or any other business. It also means that you will not have a boss to give you directions and you will have to make all your decisions on your own, if you do not have any partners.
If you have the gift of gab, public speaking is a worthwhile side business idea for you to pursue. Many authors, medical practitioners, scientists, artisans, politicians, and other subject matter experts earn extra income by delivering speeches, seminars, and presentations. Professional motivational speakers earn an average annual salary of around $90,000 with just that portion of their income, making this a very realistic side business idea while you continue practicing your craft.
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.
Maintenance work from the comfort of your garage or basement is challenging on two fronts: overall set-up (equipment, ventilation) and finding clients. Take shoe repair. Ben Roush, a cobbler in Omaha, Neb., says that used finishing machines (with the proper buffering and sanding devices) go for $10,000; stitchers, $1200; and hydraulic presses for adding glue, $300. Some repair work requires more electrical power, too: 220 volts versus the typical 110 volt capacity in most houses.
Study the main types of software that system users will want--word processing, photo manipulation software, mail merge, spreadsheet, design and especially security software. Investigate all the components--monitor types in all their varieties; keyboards, from wired to ergonomic to wireless; mouse types; as well as peripheral components like printers and scanners. Become completely familiar with all the ISPs (internet service providers) available in the market area you plan to cover. Establish yourself as the guru who can meet the needs of the personal computer user, the small business or a larger corporation.
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.
If you're a person who loves leaving customer reviews on sites like Amazon, stop doing it for free. Word-of-mouth advertising is still a huge lead generator for many companies, and a lot of businesses are willing to share a portion of their profits with persuasive individuals who will promote their products to the public. If you have a personal website with a large following, this might be easier to accomplish (PR reps are always seeking out brand advocates they can send free samples to). Smart Passive Income breaks down three types of affiliate marketing and explains which one is most profitable.
Naturally, the next one on the list is coaching people how to deliver great speeches. Public speaking is the number one fear on most people’s list – some fear it more than death! This skill can prove to be handy in many areas – from pitching to investors, to delivering key messages at global conferences. If you’re a natural on stage, help entrepreneurs rediscover their in-born ability to communicate by selling effective presentation templates and online coaching classes. 
Are you ready to start your own successful home-based business? Whether you’re doing business at home or away from home, it helps to set up an LLC or other business structure to protect yourself from liabilities and boost your business’s credibility. When you’re ready to form your business entity, Incfile can help you for as low as $49 + state fees.
61. Good communication: Your virtual team needs to stay in good communication. They need to answer their emails, mobile phones, or texts and not ignore the team’s requests. Poor communication suggests they’re not doing their jobs. It also erodes trust that they’re doing what they said they’re doing. [In addition, good communication] enhances your customer service.

Great ideas! I’ve been thinking about starting a home-based business for years but I just never stopped long enough to actually start and I didn’t know what kind of business to pursue. Now I’m ready to get started and you gave me some really good ideas. I really appreciate the links to more information on how to get started in several of these business opportunities. I will definitely look into them.
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.
Ask your accountant and/or local IRS agents about filing tax forms, tax payment schedules, obtaining an EIN number, and allowable deductions. Have your financial advisors setup an organized business record keeping system with software that enables you to monitor your cash flow. Set up a business bank account and a merchant account if you will be accepting credit cards for payments.
To register a domain name, I researched special offers among a list of providers recommended by friends and colleagues from their own experience. I opted for a three-year deal, so if my income was limited or non-existent, potential clients would always be able to contact me through email or my website and not get the dreaded ‘404 page not found’ error when visiting my site or an ‘undeliverable’ email message.
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.

51. Get quoted. “Use services such as Reporter Connection, PitchRate, and ProfNet to connect with reporters and be quoted in traditional media,” recommends Shel Horowitz, a home-based marketing consultant and copywriter who, in one year, was quoted or cited in 131 stories thanks to such services. HARO, Reporter Connection, and PitchRate are free, while ProfNet is a paid service.

3. Create a strong team. “Work with experts on parts of your business where you are not an expert,” says Cathi Brese Doebler, a home-based business owner for 10 years and author of Ditch the Joneses, Discover Your Family. “For example, if you are not good with computer hardware, hire someone to help you set up your computer network. Or, if you are not an expert on taxes, find a good tax advisor. Focus your business on your areas of expertise and strength, and hire experts to help you with your areas of weakness.”


Start with a very good checkout flow / payment gateway right from the start. I’ve spent too much time thinking I could whack some checkout together with PayPal and a (typical Dutch) bank payment system, but ended up with a lot of coding and hacking into WordPress to make it all happen. Actually, the right checkout still hasn’t been implemented #@!^&*^
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.
Naturally, it helps if you already have an online audience you can tap for listening to your regular podcast (like I did), but that hasn't stopped thousands of people from building successful side business ideas into lucrative podcasts—including Alex Blumberg, founder of Gimlet Media who teaches how to use storytelling and launch a podcast. You can also check out this class from podcaster and entrepreneur, Lewis Howes, about how to make money podcasting as a side business idea, which regularly broadcasts for free on CreativeLive.
A cash shortage is a challenge for every business owner. Particularly during the early days of the business, it will be hard to predict where and when the money will come and from where. As you continue to operate, you will become more aware as to the cash flow patterns – what time of the month your bills need to get paid; and what months are your peaks and lows in terms of sales. You must then begin to anticipate the cash requirements.
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 trend of healthy eating is here to say. Yet with so much contradictory advice online about what is good for us and what is not, more and more people turn to professional nutritionists for specialist tips and guidance. You can easily find free online courses to learn the fundamentals of this profession and start offering personalised nutrition plans online.
Excellent information. I will be sharing this article with my list since most of them are beginning online marketers. I really resonated with #1 and #7. I was so hesitant to produce my first product. I think it had to do with not thinking it was anything that people would want to buy. Also, I did a whole lot of thinking and learning before I ever started. I think a lot of people fall into the trap of thinking they need to know everything before they even get started.
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.

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If your mastery of another language is good enough to have the grammar and spelling down, translating is a great side business idea to set up for yourself and can even be done remotely. Flexjobs has literally hundreds of freelance, remote translator jobs available right now and if you're looking to land more remote work on the side of your other pursuits, check out my guide—how to get a remote job (this weekend).

We don’t manufacture as much in America as we used to, but the phrase “American made” still means a lot to some people. Artisanal items are also popular, making now a great time to start a furniture-making business. This might not be the easiest idea to start from scratch, but if you already own the equipment you need, you can start producing pieces to sell at fairs and online on sites such as Etsy.


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.
It’s a great way to achieve freedom in your life. Not only does copywriting allow you to work remotely, but it also allows you to control your schedule. Plus, learning the skill itself will help you in many areas of online business (i.e. building a blog, affiliate marketing, etc. – when you can write in a compelling way, all of these become much easier!)
Skills honed, the entrepreneurial 26-year-old launched her own graphic design shop, Darling Design, out of her apartment last year. She figures that an office lease would have cost an extra $1,000 per month. Sure, the home office can get a bit crowded--Schmechel shares the cramped three-bedroom rental with two roommates--but she's happy she did it. "I couldn't have started the business without doing it in my house," she says.
Any ideas for me? Am disabled physically/mentally …I had a side job stuffing envelopes..My boss was so thrilled with me and my partner he fired a bunch of workers as we could pull off the bulk of his work!…We got paid well when the economy went upside down we noticed our pay decreased but still made enough to pay 3 house bills. Since about 6 months ago my boss I think lost his house …I remeber his last visit he was so stressed saying he almost had 2 foreclose emergencies:(
People are always searching for one-of-a-kind venues for meetings, parties and weddings. Why not earn some extra money off the space you already have by renting it out for events as a side business idea? If you own a unique venue, like a studio, warehouse or boat, UK-based company Tagvenue will connect you with clients looking for somewhere special to host their event. Not a bad low-effort side business idea.
In most states in the U.S., a notary public is a state officer who is authorized to witness and attest to the legalities of certain documents by signature and stamping a seal. Most states require that you pass an exam and a background check. It costs very little to become a notary and your income from notary work is negligible. A justice of the peace typically performs wedding ceremonies. States have varying rules and procedures for becoming a JP and performing services. Becoming a JP and/or notary public does not cost much money. And it is not a big moneymaking venture! Many states set the fees you can charge for JP services. JPs can add additional fees, and often do, including travel and hourly rates for additional meetings such as rehearsals, other prep time and any special requests.
As much as we want it to be, a home business will not run on autopilot. Even though you have successfully started your business, you still have to constantly work hard to make it grow or at least sustain the level that you want it to be. As Strauss writes, ” Successful, long-term, home-based entrepreneurs continue to grow their business even after that business has established itself.”

On the other hand, Burt’s Bees - one of the most recognized brands in natural care products - sold to Clorox for an estimated $925 million in 2007 and has continued to expand its product line and distribution. But it all started with an artist, Burt Shavitz, making candles from a local beekeeper’s extra beeswax and selling $200 worth of products at a local craft fair.
If you’re selling products, either hire a freelancer to do the job right or invest in the equipment that you’ll need to take and edit high-quality photos. If you’re not sure you can afford professional images, check with local colleges to see if there are students looking to learn and build their portfolios that cost less than well-established professionals.
Also, keep in mind that there isn’t really one platform that works for every type of business. Take the time to research the best one for you. If you’re selling art or crafts, look for a platform that is used by other artists. If you’re selling used comic books, look for a platform that attracts lots of shoppers looking to buy used comic books. And read the fine print. Almost every platform has its own list of prohibited items.
Believe it or not, a really easy, frequently undervalued strategy for getting traffic is giving away free content to other websites. Even just two or three well-written articles can generate truckloads of traffic, as long as they don’t contain a sales pitch. You want to include rare, hard-to-get information that’ll lend your articles automatic value–the kind of information that establishes you as an expert in your field.
Web designers are incredibly valuable for technology companies—which is why becoming a freelance web designer is a top side business idea today. Web design is all about mastering the art of creating a beautiful, value-driven experience for the people using a website or app. There are always new websites popping up in need of professional web design, and foundational books like HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites by acclaimed web designer Jon Duckett and Don't Make Me Think by user experience legend Steve Krug will get you started down the right path to quickly determining whether or not becoming a web designer is a viable side business idea for you.

Fiverr is a great place for first-time freelancers who might not have tons of experience and want to build up a portfolio of their work. You'll be able to complete simple tasks ranging from logo design, to creating animations, or even drawing a company logo on your forehead. While this side business idea likely won't be growing into a million dollar startup for you, it can still be a platform for funding your next big business idea. Want to learn more about Fiverr's history and how to get the most out of selling on the platform? Listen to my interview with Fiverr CEO Micha Kaufman.


83. Family time is sacred. For those that have clients in different time zones, clearly define the hours you can be reached by phone. I live on the East Coast and have clients on the West Coast—a three hour difference. They can be getting ready to leave work and want to call, and I could be ready to go to sleep and not at the top of my game. There will be times that you’ll need to burn the midnight oil, but it should be an exception, not a daily occurrence.
If you have carpentry, plumbing, electrical, or other home improvement expertise and the requisite tools and equipment, home renovation can be an ideal business to operate from home. The best home renovation to focus on for the long-term? Bathroom renovations. My recent bathroom renovation included cabinets that were installed by a local contractor who operates his cabinetry business from his home.
Kelly Lester, a stay-at home Mom from California, had an interest in bento - the Japanese art of food packing. She also had an annoying problem every day: how to quickly and efficiently pack healthy lunches for her kids to bring to school. Her goal was to feed her kids without boring them to tears or relying on prepackaged options that were more expensive and not as healthy.
I have researched around the internet for the best proven sequence that will guarantee success when you’re starting a small online business and the following list has resonated with every article I had to read. And to affirm you that it works, the Entrepreneur says thousands of small online businesses have used this sequence to romp up their online revenue.
I would add a triple exclamation point underscore to #s 1 and 4. It took me a year to offer my first ebook via Gumroad, and, honestly, I didn’t do much to launch the product, I just kind of got it out there. Currently, it’s listed at $1+ and makes about $14 / week. But, like you say in this post, that first product is more about getting something out there and learning what works and doesn’t as it is about making mad scrilla. I may not be making mad scrilla, but I am envisioning a more effective and epic launch for the next info product.
If you're ready to be in charge of your own destiny, but don’t have the capital to buy a franchise or open up a storefront, consider starting an online business. When your store is online, you can reach millions of customers instead of whoever happens to wander in - plus, you don't have to pay for retail space. However, like with any business, you'll need an excellent product and a solid marketing plan. See Step 1 to learn what it takes to start your business online.
Let the local public courses know about your coaching business. Cultivate relationships with the staff and encourage them to recommend you as a coach. Another place to look for customers is the corporate world. Golfing is a game that business people use to develop relationships outside the office. You do need to be a better than average golfer to develop a reputation as a golf coach. You also need to be a good teacher, know how to be motivational and be willing to work with many different types of people.
But before you can graduate from side business idea and start earning a full-time living as a graphic designer, you'll need to build your skills—I recommend starting with reading the foundational book Graphic Design School and Steal Like an Artist, the incredible book by Austin Kleon about how to become more creative. To accelerate your education in becoming a graphic designer even quicker, check out the online courses Graphic Design Fundamentals and The Graphic Design Bootcamp. Then once you're an expert at your craft, you can further your education and move up to offering  more hands-on experiences like design sprints for higher-value clients around the world.

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!
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