10. Avoid going into business before you know you have a winning idea. “A good way to vet this is also a method of bootstrapping: Apply for grants. If your idea is good enough to become a successful startup, it’s good enough for someone else to help with development,” advises Amy Baxter, founder of MMJ Labs, which makes reusable, inexpensive products for personal pain control. “Programs such as local university incubators, Huggies MomInspired, Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards, and even Small Business Innovation Research grants can bankroll part of your R&D.”
Your home business may be small, but it enjoys one great advantage big conglomerates can only envy: very low overhead costs. You have no rent to pay, no payroll for an army of workers to disburse every month, and no office furniture and equipment for each one of your staffs to buy. Instead of paying for overhead costs, you can channel your limited resources to making your business grow and flourish. Your concentration should be to spend on items that will give you multiple returns for your money.
Getting the best web hosting package is key for your website to work smoothly and problem free, says James Blackman, founder of website design and digital marketing agency Cocoonfxmedia. ‘When we set up our business, there weren’t many hosting options out there; however, the golden rule we stuck to was rock-solid customer support and UK-based servers,’ he says.
Your business structure will have a big impact on your startup, including taxes, liability, and other facets of your business. Possible business structures include: sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), partnership, and corporation. Business structure decisions can be complicated, so consult with a tax professional, attorney, or other qualified expert to explore the pros and cons of each structure. For whichever structure you choose, you will have to meet your state’s filing and registration requirements.
If you don’t mind parading yourself around in public places as a side business idea, and enjoy a little attention, then working as a human billboard can pay a surprising amount of dividends. Renting out your beard, for example can earn you as much as $5 a day while having a brand logo tattooed on your shaven head for five years could pay as much as $7,000—though this type of earning opportunity is admittedly rare. This business idea is definitely not for the faint of heart, and is a little extreme for me, but nonetheless it's been done as a side hustle for many people. You can start by holding a placard or wearing a sandwich board. If you think this is a good side business idea, you can go all the way and turn it into a full on small business idea with enough hard work—plus you won't have to deal with all the issues other more complex businesses have to constantly think about (like reducing churn).
All homeowners are always on the lookout for ways to save on their utility bills. You can come to their aid by providing them with an audit of their house and giving them a breakdown of how they could accomplish real savings in heating, cooling and electrical use. You can go one step further and do the implementation and installation of some of your suggestions in their home yourself. Do a complete appliance audit, with efficiency ratings and calculations based on the age of the appliance. And don't forget the water heater!
Your home office also must be your principal place of business if you want to claim the deduction. Some small business owners fear that taking the home office deduction will trigger an IRS audit. While even tax pros don’t know exactly how the IRS decides whom to audit, most agree that small business owners should not worry about the home office deduction bringing the IRS to their door.
This is a perfect business idea for trained accountants who would like to work from home, although it is not necessary to be a Certified Public Accountant in order to become a freelance bookkeeper—it’s just necessary to have the background knowledge that bookkeeping courses at any community college can offer. This kind of freelance work is especially helpful for small businesses that do not need or cannot afford a fulltime bookkeeper, making it possible for you to have full time work through several smaller clients. Median salary: $34,000.
Small businesses know they have to get online, but finding the time to figure out how is proving a real challenge for small business owners of every stripe. If you're Internet-savvy and know how local businesses can harness the power of local search, coupon pages and social media, you could be working from home helping small business owners promote their companies online.
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.
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.
If you’ve always wanted to publish your own book as a side business idea, there never been a better time than now. That’s because access to self-publishing tools and marketplaces has never been easier and more affordable. This eBook writer currently earns up to a couple of thousand bucks each month from six ebooks she published; while you can reportedly demand around $1000 per eBook project serving as a ghostwriter. My good friend, Caroline Beaton used freelance writing as her side business idea to eventually go from secretary to self-employed, while focusing on her own personal development and looking inward to discover what she's truly passionate about.
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.
If you speak like James Earl Jones or Scarlett Johansson, quite a number of digital publishers (including game developers, animated film-makers, and training video producers) pay good money for voice talent and the time investment isn't too intensive—making this a great side business idea. You can find these publishers looking for voice-over artists on sites like PeoplePerHour, Freelancer and Upwork, as well as their calls for talent directly on their websites or through voiceover agents. If you do pursue this as a side business idea, be prepared to invest for the long-haul as it can be a very competitive industry.
13. Have backup. “Have subcontractors in mind, should you get enough business to warrant bringing them onboard,” says Michelle Garrett, founder of Garrett Public Relations. “I’m a one-person shop, so there are times when it’s nice to call a colleague and give them some projects to work on on my behalf when I’m feeling overloaded. What you want to avoid is getting into a situation when you need help and then trying to find subcontractors. This can be extremely stressful.”
Become an affiliate marketer. There are many companies and webmasters who use affiliate programs to boost their online sales, and most of these affiliate programs are free to join. When you sign up for an affiliate program, an affiliate link with a unique affiliate ID will be assigned to you. The affiliate link is used for marketing the products of your merchant. When a visitor buys an item through your affiliate link, you earn affiliate commission.
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The prospect of working from home has gained credibility over the years. Home offices can now compete with small commercial businesses and save on rent in the process. It may also be possible to tax deduct some of your home expenses while running a home based business. Faxes, high speed internet connections, dedicated home telephone lines, and cell phones help to make a home-based business a reality. Earlier home businesses had been where families lived on the second floor of their house while converting the first floor into a store, where upon close of business they would secure the first floor and retire to the upper floors. This type of home business is still done in some rural areas. Many home businesses are started off in a much smaller capacity whilst the owner is still employed elsewhere, and then expanded once they are proven to be profitable.
It helps to have right the aptitude and characteristics to own and operate a business. Many successful entrepreneurs are creative problem-solvers who do not give up when faced with challenges. They are risk-takers who are not afraid of failing and learn from their mistakes. They continually ask questions and persist until they find the answers or the right people to help them. Entrepreneurs are also self-starters with sometimes seemingly boundless energy. Though few entrepreneurs possess all of these characteristics, you are more likely to succeed if have several of them.
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
A lot of car owners simply don’t have time to personally care for their vehicles, much less make them sparkle. With simple equipment such as car shampoo, polishing wax, tire black, sponges, a pail and a sturdy hose, you can start earning a decent side income by making cars look fresh in your free time after work and on weekends. Not bad for an easy business idea that'll keep you outdoors and moving your body on the weekends.
20. Invest in a separate landline even if you’re trying to cut costs. “One of the first things I realized that I needed to do was get a separate landline and number for my office so that my son, who was then 5 years old, did not pick up the phone when reporters called,” says Julie Phillippi-Whitney, founder of Phillippi-Whitney Communications, a home-based PR consulting firm. Paul Robert Edwards also recommends getting a landline in addition to a cell phone. “When the electricity goes out, you want to be able to get calls,” he says.
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.