Building a solid customer base is much easier said than done. At the heart of the process is creating an organization that values its current customers and goes out of its way to ensure their satisfaction and happiness. Customers are smart — they can tell whether they are high or low on a company’s list of priorities. If they sense that you don’t care much about whether they do business with you, they’ll likely jump ship as soon as another company that really does care about them comes along.

If you've got business expertise already, you can help other entrepreneurs launch and maintain their own businesses by offering your services as a business plan consultant and writer. Help your clients figure out their ideas, goals and finances for their businesses and put them all in one organized business roadmap. You can also help conduct market research for your clients, so they can determine how successful their businesses can really be, or if they need to make changes or go in another direction before wrapping up their business plans.


In deciding on a business, assess your skills, education, and background to see if your qualifications are adequate for a prospective venture or if you will need further training or know-how. Your chances of success are enhanced if your business idea is something with which you have already had some experience as in a former job, hobby, or volunteer activity. Also be realistic as to the amount of time you can reasonably devote to a business venture, considering your present commitments.

Hi, I really enjoyed this article. I think everyone has a skill they can market like being a VA, writing, web design etc for some extra cash. I think the main thing to consider when starting a business is if you can run the business with your day job. It’s great if you can build a service based business to work from home but it takes time to build these business to replace a wage – it took me three years. Great post!
To help you stay on track, we've contacted homebased business expert Rosalind Resnick, CEO of Axxess Business Centers Inc. , a New York small-business consulting firm. Resnick is a former business journalist who has regularly contributed her expertise to Entrepreneur.com. She's put together eight helpful tips for keeping your homebased business running smoothly.
Once you’ve mastered step 1 and gotten a foothold in the market, you’re ready to expand your offerings. Your customers will appreciate having related products to choose from. What’s really important about branching out into new areas is to continue to provide a high-quality service across the board. Branching out could hurt your reputation if you drop the ball in other areas.

With the byzantine complexity of modern medical billing practices, there is a definite need for patient advocates. These individuals take the time to track down hospital billing paperwork and potentially argue with insurance companies. Considering the fact that many of those who need to hire advocates are either ailing or grieving, this is a very necessary service.


The solution is simple: Buy traffic through PPC search engines. Pay-per-click advertising is the easiest way to get traffic to a brand-new site. It has two advantages over waiting for the traffic to come to you organically. First, PPC ads show up on the search pages immediately, and second, PPC ads allow you to test different keywords, as well as headlines, prices and selling approaches. Not only do you get immediate traffic, but you can also use PPC ads to discover your best, highest-converting keywords. Then you can distribute the keywords throughout your site in your copy and code, which will help your rankings in the organic search results.
It’s one of the first ideas people have when they think of starting a business: making and selling crafts. That means there’s lots of competition. The good news, though, is that people just love crafts. But be careful. Don’t just sell anything and everything. Define a product line and choose a distribution channel (online, craft fairs, etc.), and stick with your plan. And, of course, be creative.
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.
67. Virtual tech equipment: Make sure you have equipped your team with the right tools to stay in communication [and] send large files, or provide [them] access to systems. You want to ensure you remove barriers to performance by providing the right tools for virtual business. (Note: Tools such as instant messaging, wikis or message boards, and conference meeting software will help improve communication.)
75. Invest in a time management class. “This is what I tell people to do before they do anything else,” says Tim McGraw, a home-based marketing strategist and copywriter. “It should be considered your ‘first day at work.’ I highly recommend a full-day seminar from the likes of Franklin-Covey or the American Management Association. It will be the best $300 you invest to launch your business, you will walk away with tools in hand—paper-based as well as software applications—and it will instill habits that will serve you through your career.”
After creating a plan for the home-based business, the entrepreneur is ready to put the plan in action. One of the earliest steps involves preparing family members and enlisting their support. The loss of a reliable source of income may cause some anxiety or resentment among other members of the household. In addition, the creation of a home office will probably necessitate changes in family members' schedules or lifestyle. Dealing with such issues in advance can help avoid problems later. Another important step is to establish an area of the home as a business office. The most important consideration when choosing a location for a home office is that it allow the entrepreneur room to work comfortably and efficiently without too many distractions. The office should be as physically separate from the living area of the home as possible, and should project an air of professionalism to potential visitors as well as to its occupant.
Guidant Financial helps individuals secure small business funding to start, buy or grow a business. An industry leader in innovative business and franchise funding, we work with new and existing business owners to educate them on their options and create customized funding solutions. Our full suite of funding options includes 401(k) business financing, SBA small business loans and unsecured loans, as well as growth capital and other business services.
Your business is only going to come to life if you do the things you need to do to bring it to fruition. If you continue to put off the things you need to do to get your business started until tomorrow--you're too busy at work, or your kids need you to pick them up at the mall, your spouse wants you to watch a popular new television show--then when will you ever get around to doing them?
While the barriers to entry for a retail shop can be very high, one way to keep costs down and limit your time investment while you keep your full-time job, is to set up a weekend popup shop as a side business idea. More of whatever it is you’re selling—donuts, clothing, antique baseball cards, or anything else—will stay in your pockets instead of going to pay for operating expenses such as rent or utilities by choosing to pursue retail as a side business idea with a short-term rental. This guide from Shopify will give you a step-by-step process for getting your popup shop off the ground.

A doula is a labor coach that can help a birthing mother in any labor environment, from a hospital to a midwife clinic to home. Doulas are non-medical professionals who offer information, emotional support, and physical assistance in the process of giving birth. While licensing for doulas is not required by most states, getting certified by DONA International, the only certifying body for this profession, is a good idea. Doulas do have to deal with unpredictable schedules, but they easily can do this work from home. Doulas generally charge between $500 and $1000 per birth.
44. Equipment lease: An equipment lease is a loan in which a lender buys equipment and then “rents” it to a business at a flat monthly rate for a specified number of months. At the end of the lease, the business may purchase the equipment for its fair market value. This option is great for businesses that are making small purchases and have no revenue yet.

If you want to broaden your services and earn more, you can opt to make the entire house look neat and clean with this side business idea. House cleaning services cover carpets, floors, lawns, garages, windows, walls, and roofs, requiring a whole range of cleaning tools. You can hire maids and janitors to do the actual cleaning while you handle sales, administrative and customer service tasks. Or, you can start small by actually getting your hands dirty as a contractor, learning on the job before launching your own cleaning operations with the help of cleaning business management tools like Swept. Beyond that, I'd recommend checking out Cleaning Zoom's ultimate guide to starting a cleaning business if you plan on taking this business idea seriously.
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.
Starting a pet sitting service requires almost nothing in start-up costs. You do need some general credentials that will cost little or nothing to acquire. Your list of credentials should probably include personal pet ownership--if not currently, at least in the past--as well as other pet-related experience, including working at a pet food store, an animal hospital or other animal-related business. You will need to spend a little to become "bonded." This is known as "honesty insurance," and ensures your clients that you won't get their house keys and make off with their valuables (or that they'll get their money back if you do).

Starting a pet sitting service requires almost nothing in start-up costs. You do need some general credentials that will cost little or nothing to acquire. Your list of credentials should probably include personal pet ownership--if not currently, at least in the past--as well as other pet-related experience, including working at a pet food store, an animal hospital or other animal-related business. You will need to spend a little to become "bonded." This is known as "honesty insurance," and ensures your clients that you won't get their house keys and make off with their valuables (or that they'll get their money back if you do).
The type of business you have, its size, and the amount of risks concerning liability or other possible threats will determine the insurance coverage you will need. Insurances include those that can be attached to your present homeowner’s or vehicle policies (if your vehicle is used in your business); separate commercial business policies; employees’ insurances; disability, life, and health insurances for you; and other specialized ones. Talk to a licensed insurance agent who represents numerous carriers to find the best policies. If you need health insurance, local business owner organizations usually have discount group plans for members.
It used to be that if you had a product to sell, you also had to have a storefront and all the costs associated with it. These days, you can sell anything to anyone anywhere in the world. Whether you’re marketing the organic honey from your backyard apiary or selling personalized linens that you embroider yourself, you can find a market for your products online.
I will send you an email with some thoughts on how we could work with you in fish farming. In the meantime I have also registered you for our Ecolonomic Action Team Community and you should start to attend our live webinars and watch replays when you cannot attend live. You will learn a lot for FREE and meet many other people who can help you in your business.

If you had a knack for standardized tests and had no trouble acing the SAT, ACT or other college exams, why not start tutoring high schoolers as a side business idea? Parents of all economic backgrounds are more than willing to shell out upwards of $100/hr to the right tutor, if it means their son or daughter will get admitted to the college or university of their choice. See this quick checklist for starting an SAT tutoring business from the Work At Home Mom. Whitney over at Rookiemoms also has a cool story to share about a stay-at-home mom making $40/hr helping kids out with homework and turning it into a profitable side business idea.
#3 listening: I created a community targeted towards what I wanted to write about. I learned by providing value to my audience that what I was writing wasn’t what they wanted. So I rewrote an entirely new ebook the month of January. And every product I’ve launched after that has been in direct response to what my community is struggling with and needs help with.
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.
2. Keep your overhead to a minimum. “It’s not about how much money you make, it’s about how much you keep, so overhead is key,” says Craig Wolfe, founder of CelebriDucks, a company that creates celebrity rubber ducks. “It’s great that you’re working from home, but you can still bankrupt yourself through ill-conceived overspending, especially in technology.”
Just about every company has a website that has the potential to collect data from its customers. Furthermore, many businesses store their customers' data, personal information – even credit card numbers – in their company computers. But, how many smaller firms can honestly say they know the data is safe from identity thieves and hackers? Most small companies can't afford to hire a full-time data security specialist. That's where your home-based security consulting business comes in. If you've got a background in IT, you could be working as a consultant helping small businesses shore up their data security.
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.
Have a talent for crafting or creating other handmade goods? From bracelets to phone cases, rings, furniture, and more, Etsy is one of the world's largest independent marketplaces that’s perfect for anyone who is creative and willing to sell their handmade creations. As long as you have the space, this can make for one of the best home business ideas that can be started as a side hustle with a very limited investment. Consider these 5 steps to starting an Etsy store, from Handmadeology. Then, after you're able to build your brand and grow your own audience, you can start an eCommerce site of your own and retain a larger portion of the revenue from your product sales—making this a very lucrative potential business idea if you're able to find an audience that loves your products.
If you know how to make jewelry, there’s really no reason not to sell it. Handmade jewelry has long held appeal for collectors and admirers alike. The biggest challenge to setting up a jewelry business might be running the business itself—just making beautiful things won’t be enough to sustain the operation. Study up on what it takes to run a jewelry business and then make it happen. A great place to start is online with sites like Etsy and eBay
With the help of Sageworks, a Raleigh, N.C.-based private-company data provider, Forbes.com has assembled a list of the 10 most profitable businesses--on a pretax basis--that could be run out of a home. The data were drawn from eight years worth of financial statements (nearly an entire business cycle) for tens of thousands of privately held U.S. companies with annual revenues under $1 million and bucketed by Internal Revenue Service classifications. Average pretax profits ranged from 8% to 14%.
Home-based businesses make great money: Many people have the misguided idea that home-based businesses aren’t “real” businesses — like you’re somehow “less” of a success if you work from home instead of having a brick and mortar storefront. But according to this survey data, business is booming for home-based entrepreneurs. Home-based companies are generating big bucks — with total annual revenue of $427 billion per year. And 20 percent of home-based businesses make $100K-$500K per year — that’s a very comfortable income for anyone working from home. You have to remember that if you do start a home-based business and build a great income, you are on your own for health care and other benefits, so that is a consideration.
Enjoy plenty of flexibility. One big pro of running a home-based business is that your home office is just a few steps away. So if you’re a night owl whose prime work hours are from 10 to midnight, you can take advantage of that without having to drive to a commercial office and let yourself in after everyone else is gone for the day. Working from home, without set office space size and costs, also gives you the flexibility to scale up or down as needed. For example, if you grow quickly and need to contract or hire more help, you don’t have to worry about whether more workers will fit in the office space you lease. On the other hand, if business slows and you need to streamline temporarily, you’re not stuck with more space than you need.

How can you make a living as a real social-media expert? Practice. Build an audience for yourself before offering your services to others. Determine your target sector, build your own online presence in that community and start making contact with the social-media elite. Twitter is a great place to start. Keep cranking out content and getting it to the right users, and you’ll find a way to get yourself hired even in an ever-expanding universe.


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.’
From the inside looking out, I want to see the world as clearly as possible. And so do a lot of homeowners and particularly office managers. Now that creates a demand for window cleaners to step into this business idea, especially if you can land a contract cleaning windows for an office building. If you want to try it out as a side business idea, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to start a window-washing business at home.
I will send you an email with some thoughts on how we could work with you in fish farming. In the meantime I have also registered you for our Ecolonomic Action Team Community and you should start to attend our live webinars and watch replays when you cannot attend live. You will learn a lot for FREE and meet many other people who can help you in your business.

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.


As Paul and Sarah Edwards noted in their book Working from Home, successful home-based business owners are usually good at what they do and enjoy doing it. It is also helpful to be independent, self-sufficient, and flexible. Other keys to success include being able to sell oneself and the business, and staying on top of personal and business finances. Since it is often difficult to associate being at home with working, home-based business people must be able to maintain boundaries between their personal and professional lives. In addition, they require a great deal of self-discipline to overcome the sense of isolation, frequent distractions, and lack of motivation and concentration that commonly affect those working from home.

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 #@!^&*^


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.”
The internet changes so fast that one year online equals about five years in the real world. But the principles of how to start and grow a successful online business haven't changed at all. If you're just starting a small business online, stick to this sequence. If you've been online awhile, do a quick review and see if there's a step you're neglecting, or never got around to doing in the first place. You can't go wrong with the basics.
The basic idea behind an online drop shipping business is that, as a small business owner, you don’t have to maintain a large inventory of products or handle any delivery to your customers. That eliminates the financial cost and risk of having a warehouse full of stuff you might not sell, and the hassle of arranging to send orders all over the country or the world. In fact, you don't have to manufacture or store any products at all.
Getting beyond the decor of your office, it’s important to fill your workspace with the proper tools. Opinions vary, but generally your home office essentials should include a computer, a second monitor so you can multitask if necessary, backup for your data, a printer, and a scanner. Other home office must-haves: good lighting, virtual or traditional telephone service, a surge protector, a fire safe box, a shredder for sensitive documents, and an uninterruptible power supply. Even if a paperless office is your goal, you might still need a file cabinet to neatly store the inevitable documents that will otherwise pile up in your office.

How can you make a living as a real social-media expert? Practice. Build an audience for yourself before offering your services to others. Determine your target sector, build your own online presence in that community and start making contact with the social-media elite. Twitter is a great place to start. Keep cranking out content and getting it to the right users, and you’ll find a way to get yourself hired even in an ever-expanding universe.
Enjoy plenty of flexibility. One big pro of running a home-based business is that your home office is just a few steps away. So if you’re a night owl whose prime work hours are from 10 to midnight, you can take advantage of that without having to drive to a commercial office and let yourself in after everyone else is gone for the day. Working from home, without set office space size and costs, also gives you the flexibility to scale up or down as needed. For example, if you grow quickly and need to contract or hire more help, you don’t have to worry about whether more workers will fit in the office space you lease. On the other hand, if business slows and you need to streamline temporarily, you’re not stuck with more space than you need.
In general, a home office deduction is allowed if the home office meets at least one of three criteria: 1) the home office is the principal place of business; 2) the home office is the place where the business owner meets with clients and customers as part of the normal business day; or 3) the place of business is a separate structure on the property, but is not attached to the house or residence. The deduction is figured on the size of the home office as a percentage of the total house or residence. For example, if the total house size is 2,400 square feet and the home office is 240 square feet, 10 percent of the total house is considered used for business. That would allow the business owner to deduct 10 percent of the household's costs for electricity, real estate taxes, mortgage interest, insurance, repairs, etc. as business expenses.
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