If you don't already have work experience with importing and/or exporting, you will have a longer learning curve. You can start by learning the basics and hosting educational sessions to teach others what they need to know to get started in import/export. That alone would probably gain you your first couple of clients. If you keep going with educational seminars and expand your reach to outside your immediate region, you could probably develop a sufficient and ongoing customer base very quickly, but be careful not to outpace your learning curve!
‘Facebook retargeting has been effective for us: when people go on our site, we can drop a cookie on their browser, and if they go on Facebook we can remarket an advert to them. Retargeting means you know the people are qualified, and you don’t pay unless they click on your ads, so you aren’t spending lots of money waiting for random clicks – it’s more focused.
If you love to travel and find yourself randomly searching for airfare sales or browsing Lonely Planet, why not carve out a niche for yourself as a private travel agent? Take my friend, Mark Jackson's lead with what he's doing to build a travel consulting side business idea. Start with word of mouth recommendations from friends who know they can count on you for the cheapest flights, create a Facebook or LinkedIn group to invite people who want to stay on top of the latest deals and eventually you could spin this business idea into a full-time consultancy teaching people how to make your dream trip a reality.
Choosing the path of entrepreneurship, and working on your side business idea, is without a doubt riskier than being content with holding a 9-5 job. It requires way more sacrifice. However, once you’re reaping the lifestyle benefits of being your own boss and hustling your way into making significantly more money with your business idea than you ever could at your day job, the hard work will have all been worth it. So, let’s talk business ideas.
Women start more home-based businesses: According to Small Biz Trends, women are more likely to operate home-based businesses. 72 percent of women who own startups operate the startups out of their home, compared to only 61 percent of men who own startups. And 68 percent of women business owners are still running their businesses from home after 3.5 years, compared to just 53 percent of men. This is a sign that home-based businesses can be a good solution for women entrepreneurs who might have less access to startup capital, or who might be juggling the obligations of work and raising children or caring for family members. Women often want more freedom and flexibility in starting a business, and running a business from home often enables them to have the best of both worlds — a substantial business income but with a flexible schedule.
You will also want to gather a network of business owners and resource people. These people could include a business mentor, another entrepreneur in the same industry or profession, and additional business owners or leaders you meet at local organizations’ meetings or through Internet groups. These people may also be sources for future outsourcing work or collaborative ventures.
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.
One evening, I decided to list a couple of the spare parts on eBay to see if anyone would buy them. I would like to say the parts went like hotcakes and it was an overnight success, but sadly they didn't. Thankfully, I decided to try again with slightly different listing text and managed to sell one of the spare parts for the grand sum of £100. One down and only 200 to go. At this rate, I would be able to see my desk in three years.
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.
Market your talents to building contractors. People purchasing new homes can often be overwhelmed with the choices and possibilities in home decorating. Design some questionnaires for each major element and each major room in the house. Find out how the homeowner will use the home--are there children? Pets? Does the woman of the house wear high heels? Do the home's residents neglect to remove shoes? How will each room be used? Where might task lighting and ambient lighting be most appropriate?

Yes, even the PowerPoint presentation requires outside consulting every now and then—especially if it's not your forte. I know I would happily outsource the visual layout of my presentation decks for work meetings, investor pitches and lectures. Tobias Schelle of 24Slides is living proof that you can turn your skills at slideshow presentation design into a legit side business idea—and potentially earn up to $20 a slide for your time and talents.
I realised I wasn’t going to have time to approach every online directory to get my company listed, so now I also use Yell’s Connect product, which is separate from the advert that I’ve put up and costs £25 a month. They create directory listings for your company in all of the directories they have access to, and every day their computer system checks it to make sure that nothing’s changed; Google favours companies who have no discrepancy between their listings online. Now I’m listed at number two for the Yell search ‘Vets in Finchley’.
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