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.”
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.
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.
Strauss advises that you should never lose sight of this advantage as your business grows. If you play your cards right, you will reach a point when your house has become too small for your venture. Now that you can afford to get your business its own space, Strauss shares this lesson: “The main reason you were successful enough to move out was that your overhead was low. Keep it that way. Run a lean and mean, low overhead, entrepreneurial machine out there in the real world, and you can’t go wrong.”
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.
If you don’t mind doing other people’s chores, then TaskRabbit may be the right side business idea for you. Earn a little side money doing odd jobs like walking your neighbor’s dog or mowing Mr. Smith’s lawn. Running errands not your style? Tell that to the top taskers on the portal who reportedly earn as much as $7000 a month, making this a full-time business idea for some.
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.
You need to decide whether you will sell your herbs as live plants, picked or cut in bunches and packed, or dried. If you plan to market to cooks instead of gardeners, you will want to sell your herbs either fresh cut and packed in sealed bags, or dried and sold in baggies. You can also consider a "pick-your-own" arrangement; however, be aware that herbs are more delicate than most P.Y.O. products. You may save your garden a lot of strife and your plants a lot of wear and tear if you do the picking.
Many small companies simply don't have the time or staff to properly run their billing operations. That's where entrepreneurs who want to offer invoicing, bookkeeping, human resources and other clerical services to business owners on a contractual or part-time basis come in. With just a laptop and a few clients, you can get the ball rolling 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 #@!^&*^
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.
You offer the products for sale, for example, on your blog or e-commerce website. Each product has a unique link that tracks back to your account with your affiliate partner. A prospect who clicks on the link is taken to your partner’s shopping cart for checkout. Once they buy, that purchase is recorded and you receive a commission. It varies depending on the affiliate partner, but is generally 5 percent to 25 percent, or 50 percent or more with digital information products. As you can see, there’s little risk on your part and virtually no investment needed either.
The key to success in this business is being very disciplined in buying. Limit your car buying to popular models that you can turn over quickly, models that you have a strong understanding of current local pricing on, cars that you can buy at a significant discount to the price you believe you can fairly sell them for, and cars that are highly unlikely to need major work.