11. Don’t underestimate the importance of branding. “Branding is the most important thing when building an identity for your company,” says Michael Di Pippo, founder of Penfishingrods.com. “The objectives that a good brand will achieve include delivering the message clearly, confirming your credibility, connecting your target prospects emotionally, motivating the buyer, and [securing] user loyalty.”

A little budget can go a long way when it comes to advertising online, if you’re smart about it. From targeting customers on Facebook to showing banner adverts on popular websites, there are plenty of great opportunities you can investigate for your business. You don’t need a big budget but you do need to be very clear about what you want to achieve. That’s a key point to take away throughout this guide: have a plan with clear goals and minimise the risk of wasting money.
In my experience, one of the greatest challenges people face is deciding why they are starting a business, what they hope to accomplish and what they really want to do. Starting a business, particularly from home, sounds glamorous and free but, in reality, it can put a strain on home life if not done right. People I talk to often need help decision-making which is an essential quality in running a business.
A home business promises many benefits: the freedom to become your own boss, to work from your home in a manner and style that pleases you, and to take control of your financial life. You may decide to quit your job and work at home to be with your newborn baby and take care of your growing family. Or you may simply be fed up with the daily grind of corporate life that you now want to work at your own pace.
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).
Yes, you can turn your car into a money-maker by driving for Uber and Lyft, but there are other ways to convert mileage into money as a clever side business idea. One way is to do vehicle advertising, a potential side income source of anywhere between $100 to $600 per month. Whether you own a compact sedan or a full-sized bus, your vehicle’s exterior space is prime real estate for ads. Check Wrapify, carvertise, and similar sites for more details about getting started with this business idea and for being paired up with local advertisers. 

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.
Towards the end of 2007, one of our best customers decided to shift production to India. Since most of the machines were no longer required, the production manager asked us if we would like to purchase the spare parts from the machines for £600. We purchased the boards thinking they would be useful for parts for our repairs. Sadly, I didn't consider where we would store all these parts and soon my office was full of circuit boards. I spent the next three months climbing over parts to get to my desk. Something had to change.
Most hosting providers come in at a similar low price point – often from just £1 a month – so business owners should look at online reviews and go for quality of support, says Alex Price, founder of 93digital.co.uk. ‘You need to know you can get in touch with your hosting provider quickly and easily, at any hour, if your website goes down,’ he adds.
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.
Still, knowing something about how the flower business works is a good idea, and your online presence and photos of your work will be critical to your success. Remember, the business is all about visuals, so make yours as compelling as you can. Get started networking by contacting local wedding planners and funeral homes and letting them know you’re in business. From there, let your business bloom. A friend in Maine turned a flower-arranging business into a successful flower shop she later sold at a profit.
You can start simply by using the Web’s free pages for business advertising that are part of the benefits of a business ownership membership, or by testing your products’ sales potential at online auctions sites. If your preliminary sales are good, you can then purchase a domain name/URL and build a basic site with tools like Microsoft’s FrontPage or Adobe Dreamweaver; or hire a Web designer.  Keep web your site simple and easy to navigate. You can use PayPal to first accept online payments. If your Internet sales increase, consider adding a shopping cart program and applying for a merchant account so you can offer credit card processing. (Your site should be hosted by a service that provides a secure server for your credit card orders.)
Price of 93digital.co.uk says companies should make sure they define their target audience and who they’re marketing to. ‘If you set up a Facebook ad campaign for anyone between 20 and 30 in the centre of London, you’re not going to get value for money, so it’s about defining those personas,’ he says. ‘What are the pages they might like on Facebook? What kind of interests do they have? Make sure you target that advertising in as much detail as possible.’
Everyone (even kids and retirees) need to have some level of technical know-how to stay competitive and appreciate the marvels of the digital age. Just observe how learning sites like Codecademy, Treehouse, and Udacity continue to grow and you’ll understand the urgency of getting computer training for our generation (thus making it a great business idea to train others if you already have the skills). If you’re a techie, you can cash in on this need by offering lessons and tutorials within your neighborhood or across cyberspace through portals like YouTube or Udemy as a side business idea. You can even set up your own tutorial site with an interface for online payments.
Lots of successful makeup artists started their career on YouTube. All you need is a strong portfolio and a professional-looking website to get this gig going. Offer a couple of free makeup sessions to build your reputation and use content marketing to spread the word online. When you feel that you’ve got enough momentum going, start selling makeup tutorials, makeup products and personalised tips. 

Corrisa, thank you for adding your thoughts on Annie’s list. I wholeheartedly agree with your points to consider and would encourage anyone looking to join a network marketing-based business to do their due diligence before signing up. As I have found in my past ventures into home based businesses, the KEY to success is to treat your business as exactly that and not a hobby or trending fad.

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You can start simply by using the Web’s free pages for business advertising that are part of the benefits of a business ownership membership, or by testing your products’ sales potential at online auctions sites. If your preliminary sales are good, you can then purchase a domain name/URL and build a basic site with tools like Microsoft’s FrontPage or Adobe Dreamweaver; or hire a Web designer.  Keep web your site simple and easy to navigate. You can use PayPal to first accept online payments. If your Internet sales increase, consider adding a shopping cart program and applying for a merchant account so you can offer credit card processing. (Your site should be hosted by a service that provides a secure server for your credit card orders.)
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.

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.
Basically, you pick a profitable niche for your online business, and then you find an affiliate partner who has products available in that niche. Some of the most popular affiliate sites are Clickbank.com, Amazon.com, and CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction). Between them, they offer just about any digital information product (like ebooks, audio files, video files) or physical product you can think of.
Are you an extrovert that loves meeting new people? Selling insurance products—particularly life insurance—may be a great way to bring in some extra cash and build residual income in your spare time. Selling life insurance on the side could quickly generate a consistent $1,000 - $2,000 per month depending on how much time you invest in this side business idea. To get started you’ll likely want to take an online course to brush up on the subject matter, and then pass a state licensing exam. The biggest challenge you'll face as a new agent is generating sales beyond just helping out friends and family. From there, it’s all about networking and lead generation to grow this one. Learn more about this side business idea with this getting started in life insurance guide from the team over at NoExam.
Still, knowing something about how the flower business works is a good idea, and your online presence and photos of your work will be critical to your success. Remember, the business is all about visuals, so make yours as compelling as you can. Get started networking by contacting local wedding planners and funeral homes and letting them know you’re in business. From there, let your business bloom. A friend in Maine turned a flower-arranging business into a successful flower shop she later sold at a profit.
One of the best ways to improve search engine visibility for small businesses is to target local searches. This is a proven way small businesses can get ahead of some of the bigger brands within their local areas. At Blue Digital, we have utilised this tactic ourselves; as a small agency in Leeds we are competing against much larger digital marketing agencies, but through well-optimised local targeting we are managing to compete.
If you have a way with words and know how to make the keyword-friendly, beautifully designed, SEO-optimized landing pages, why not charge other companies for your services and turn it into a money-making side business idea? Even a short landing page is worth a couple hundred bucks in most cases, and so much more if you know how to pitch your prospects well. If you want to get started with your business idea of becoming a landing page specialist or freelance copywriter, check out Len Smith and Sean Kaye's awesome course on Udemy, Copywriting Secrets: How to Write Copy That Sells.

I mean come on, who wouldn't be interested in this side business idea? Getting paid to take care of a cute pup sounds like a dream. The prevalence of unattended pets is another side effect of busy life, creating job business ideas and opportunities for people with time, patience, and affection to spare. Just check out DogVacay and Rover to see what I mean. Would the payout be worth it if you try? One person in New York earns $3,300 a month just pet-sitting for busy animal lovers as his side business idea.
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).
Take time out for good behavior. It's not uncommon to find yourself working 60- to 70-hour weeks. But the good thing is, if you want to sneak out and see a movie at two in the afternoon, nobody's going to tell you not to do it. You have that freedom and flexibility as a home business owner. It can be tempting to work all the time when you start seeing how successful your business has become, but know when to relax. You've already established a smooth-running business. Take a break every now and then so you don't get burned out.

There's an audience for everything, whether it's making dollhouse furniture or creating organic dog food. With a specialty e-commerce store, you can reach those customers who are seeking your specific products. All you need is a web-hosting service with an integrated shopping cart feature or with e-commerce software, and your business will be operational in no time. You can even work with vendors to ship products to customers on your behalf, which means you don't need to own a lot of inventory. [See Related Story: A Small Business Guide to E-Commerce Shipping]
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.

The real estate market is on the rebound (for today) and people are buying and selling properties in many locations across the U.S. That means a lot of opportunities for professionals who know how to navigate the legal, financial, and commercial aspect of real estate to build up a stable of clients as a side business idea, especially if you begin to scale your sales hiring and build a team of reps working to help you close more deals. If you consider yourself an expert in the subject, it won't be a walk in the park (hehe), but you can earn significant additional side income as a home-based real estate consultant—especially if you employ one of the best CRMs for small business and know how to work magic over the phone.


Yes, you can turn your car into a money-maker by driving for Uber and Lyft, but there are other ways to convert mileage into money as a clever side business idea. One way is to do vehicle advertising, a potential side income source of anywhere between $100 to $600 per month. Whether you own a compact sedan or a full-sized bus, your vehicle’s exterior space is prime real estate for ads. Check Wrapify, carvertise, and similar sites for more details about getting started with this business idea and for being paired up with local advertisers.
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