Need help deciding which business structure is right for you? Try our Start a Business Wizard or check out our handy business structure comparison chart. LegalZoom’s business formation services include filing your paperwork with the state, obtaining your EIN from the IRS, and connecting you with independent lawyers and tax professionals through our business legal plan to answer any questions you might have.
1. Create a work environment you feel good in. And that includes investing in professional office equipment and furniture. “Everyone is vulnerable to repetitive stress injuries from using office equipment,” says Paul Robert Edwards, coauthor of Working From Home as well as a Small Business Development Center consultant. “So take care to get things that fit you ergonomically. Particularly important are your chair and your keyboard.”
Organize your family time. Once your professional life is organized, you may need to consider organizing your personal life. Maybe you noticed right away, or maybe it's just becoming apparent, that you tend to work around the schedule of your family members. This is especially true if you have children. A lot of people, especially young moms, decide that they're going to quit their jobs in corporate America and work from home in order to care for their children and save on daycare expenses. But in reality, if you're serious about running a homebased business and earning a decent income, you're going to have to make arrangements for childcare in or outside the home. Otherwise it becomes too distracting. Consider hiring a babysitter so you're guaranteed five to six solid hours to get your work done.

Have a knack for staying organized? If you're a jack of all trades, you should consider working as a virtual assistant as a side business idea. You can find great gigs on Elance, Indeed, or Upwork. It can be an awesome way to rub shoulders with some very important people, build up your professional network, develop in-demand new skills (like creating GIFs and VR videos), grow your side business idea and you'll have the added perk of being able to start this as a home based business idea. Becoming a virtual assistant can be a particularly great side business idea if you're hoping to travel the world while making money online as a digital nomad.


Dog walkers take pooches out for their daily constitutional one or more times a day, either individually or in small groups. In some cities across the United States, like New York, dog walking alone can be a booming business. But it's actually more common for dog walkers to offer additional services, including playing with and feeding pets, bringing in newspapers and mail, and turning lights on and off.
Business owners’ lives can change forever with one storm or other catastrophic event. It’s better to be prepared than to lose everything if the unthinkable should wipe out your home or business. Keep records of all your important papers and contacts in a fire- or waterproof place; backup important computer files; update your insurance policies as your personal or business circumstances change; and stay current of any new dangers that could happen, so you will be adequately prepared.
And a last tip — Most of the home-based business opportunities in this article call for specialized training or skills. If you don't have the specialized training or skills needed to start a business you want to start, you can still "be a part of it". Find a person with the appropriate training or skills and invest in his or her business. Being an angel investor can be rewarding in so many ways.
Create an arsenal of cleaning products that can clean almost every kind of product (paint, chalk, markers) from every kind of surface (cement, wood, pavement). The best way to conduct a graffiti service is to offer a subscription-like arrangement. Once a month or whatever interval makes sense for your clients, go around to their property and clean off the graffiti. Charge them a monthly or quarterly fee and make it simple for everyone--they don't have to think about graffiti, and you just do your job.
Additional legal matters you will want to check pertaining to your business may include advertising guidelines and labeling requirements regulated by the Federal Trade Commission; complying with labor laws if you have employees – U. S. Department of Labor; abiding by environmental regulations – U. S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA); and paying business taxes – IRS. SBA provides a guide to federal government rules and regulations.
Do you love woodworking? Even without a huge workshop, you can create some of the more popular crafts and sell them.  And like most things, your success in business isn’t necessarily related to how skilled you are as a woodworker. So if you can figure out which products consumers want and just create those, you could have a good business plan.  Etsy.com and farmers’ markets are a great place to start selling.
Employed techies planning to earn some extra side income can leverage their software and hardware skills by offering home-based computer repair services as a business idea that engages their passion. If this rings a bell, you can start with a modest one-man tech team before envisioning a scaled-up operation as massive as Geek Squad. Remember, you can provide home service locally as a starting point to this business idea, as well as offer remote support through online messaging and video calling services before making your way into a retail setting.
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.
Using your skills for profit is a common trend with all of the best side business ideas. If you're an expert at something, there's likely an audience of people online who would be willing to pay to become an expert in your field—just like you. If you want to take your skills and turn them into an online course that teaches others how to get the same results you've achieved in your life, career, or business, start with How to Create an Awesome Online Course on Udemy, where instructor Miguel Hernandez covers how he makes over $90,000/yr teaching online. You'll learn from more than 8 hours of video instruction.
If you are new to entrepreneurship, you can enroll in business start-up classes offered at area schools, colleges, or government SBDCs, Women’s Business Centers, and local SCORE offices. Consult with a professional organizer, a time management specialist, and/or a computer consultant to set up an efficient workspace, schedule, and an operational system with the best technology and communications for your type of business.

Ultimately, starting an online business is similar to starting a business with a physical storefront. You’ll still need to do business planning and you’ll benefit from making sure you understand your tax obligations from the start. Just don’t underestimate the importance of putting together a functional website and getting it in front of your target market.
Home-based businesses are in it for the long haul: Don’t assume that a home-based business is somehow a fly-by-night organization that has less long-term potential — this survey data found that 70 percent of home-based businesses are successful within three years of founding, compared with only 30 percent of regular businesses. This means that your home-based business might even have a better chance of long-term success than a typical brick and mortar business or retail storefront. As long as you can keep finding customers, making sales and finding new business opportunities, your home-based business can keep thriving and growing for as long as you want.

Advertise your services in places where everyone goes, like restaurants and grocery stores. Having a website is a good idea--people want some privacy in their decision-making when it comes to getting fit. They can go to your website and determine if your approach to personal training is an approach that would work for them. It is important to emphasize the safety aspect of using a personal trainer. You can help clients get fit and avoid injury.
My addition to this already great list is not investing money in the beginning. I know that money is tight when you start a business but focusing your funds on the important things (like design, knowledge, etc) . There are times to scrimp and save and there are times to invest. By not investing in the beginning, you tend to greatly limit your growth

My biggest mistake has been in thinking that I cannot start building an email list because I am broke. The old adage, “it takes money to make money” can make you stop thinking creatively. Even without money to join programs, there are many webinars and podcasts where info is given away. You have to open your mind and admit you cannot do it alone, # 8, and apply “where there’s a will-there’s a way.” I am still struggling but I believe I will be like #Chris Hufnagel below sooner than later.
Bob Lotich has over 10+ years experience writing about Biblical personal finance and is the best-selling author of 5 books including Managing Money God's Way. His writing has been featured on Forbes, The Huffington Post, Yahoo Finance, CBN, Crosswalk, Patheos and others. He has been a full-time blogger and author since 2008 and loves uncovering financial wisdom in the Bible as well as discovering the best ways to help you put more money in your pocket.

Then I worked my way through the Defining Audience and Differentiation courses in Fizzle and finally buckled down, stopped being lazy, and did the work. And it *was* work — I spent a good 2-3 months getting uber-clear on my points of differentiation/USP/positioning and creating a clear plan for how I could best articulate that in my biz. Afterwards, everything got easier: what to write about, what services to offer, who I (very happily) serve, and the whole 9.
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.
My biggest mistake has been in thinking that I cannot start building an email list because I am broke. The old adage, “it takes money to make money” can make you stop thinking creatively. Even without money to join programs, there are many webinars and podcasts where info is given away. You have to open your mind and admit you cannot do it alone, # 8, and apply “where there’s a will-there’s a way.” I am still struggling but I believe I will be like #Chris Hufnagel below sooner than later.
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Timing is a little trickier, as there’s no hard and fast rules to stick to. The goal posts shift between sectors and platforms, but try to think about the typical routines of your target market and post when you think they’re most likely to be online. The key is to test and learn which posts perform best and align your timing to that. Use a free tool like Hootsuite to make the process of scheduling posts a bit easier too.
2) Flexibility – Working out of your home provides much greater flexibility and control than starting a conventional business. With an internet business, you can choose when you want to work and where you want to work. You’re not confined to a single location; you can be on beach or in a plane and still be able to work. “In a way, the Web is like your Hollywood agent: It speaks for you whenever you’re not around to comment,” says Chris Brogan, CEO of Owner Media Group, Inc.
Over the past five years, Northern Industrial has grown 40% each year and now has customers all over the world and more than £9m worth of stock. We have supplied the Pirelli factory in Argentina, a beverage factory in South Africa, the US Air Force, and an oil rig off the coast of India. Not bad for a small family company starting off with a £19.99 website.
I am 3 years away from full retirement but would love to do it earlier and get out of the rat race and learn new skills. I have plent of office experience and working wiith numbers and pc’s. Can anyone give me an estimate of the cost of the online schools for certificates in medical billing? I looked at some of your links to the schools and I know I can ask them for info, but woud like to get an idea of the cost before I have someone contacting me without knowing first if I can afford to pursue this. I am very interested and thank you for wanting to help others.

Add Google AdSense advertisements to your blog or website. Google’s AdSense is a revenue-sharing opportunity for small, medium and large web sites that places ads for goods and services that are relevant to the content of your site, targeted to the people who frequent your pages. In turn, you get paid a small amount when the ad is either displayed on your page, or clicked on.
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.

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.
I could go on and on in this post with more tips about the success of your online business but what you should keep in mind is that the internet is constantly changing at unimaginable speeds and you have to keep up with it. But the principles of how to start and grow a successful online business haven’t changed at all. If you’re a newbie, still to this sequence and research more on each step to get better results. If you’re an existing online business, it wouldn’t hurt to revise your old game and these out.
People respect those who know more than they do. By specializing, you assume the role of a presumed expert, even if you’ve just started your business. It makes good business sense for your clients to hire an expert instead of someone less experienced. By avoiding the mistakes and dead ends that someone with less experience may make, your clients could end up spending less money by hiring you — even if your hourly rates are higher.
There's nothing more off-putting than a poorly designed website, and often, it kills credibility. If you know HTML and have a good eye for design, you can launch a service to create attractive, easy-to-use websites for small businesses. Put your skills to good use for business owners who want to take their online presence to the next level. Build a comprehensive portfolio, and then create your own website to show it off and attract a steady stream of clients.

The other thing that got me hamstrung in the beginning was the perfection trap that someone above mentioned as well. Good lord, the time I wasted tweaking and fretting and editing something “just one more time” before getting it out the door! I mean you wanna do the best work you can, but sheesh, you also gotta ship. So at the beginning of the year when I chose my 3 “words” or themes for the year, number one was “implementation.”


So happy to see Jam Maker on this list. I recently started my own business making and selling unique jams and jellies online. I never knew I was trendy. Many good ideas on here. I’ve only just started to make the break from traditional work force, but believe it is the best decision I’ve made in a long time – though I still haven’t fully quit my day job.
Another big suggestion is finding small and easy ways to test business ideas and assumptions. I think this is implicit in your post. For example, if you have an idea for a digital course, you may do a free webinar on the same topic first. If you can’t get enough people to show up for a free webinar, then there probably isn’t enough interest for a paid product on the topic.

If you want to speed up the process of launching your blog, I recommend setting up quick, affordable and easy website hosting with a company like Bluehost, choosing a simple WordPress theme and working on your first post, in order to set the precedent of prioritizing your time on creating content, connecting with (and building) your audience. Then once you've been able to build a community around your blog, you'll want to invest in really understanding your readers—so that you can give them more of what they want.
Every engine has a slightly different process for site submission, and it pays to follow their guidelines. For example, there’s a fee to list your site in the directory at Yahoo!, but Google doesn’t charge for their submission process. Here’s a tip: If you submit your site exactly as they ask, you stand a better chance of getting a good listing on the first page of search results.
Now you need to concentrate on getting know by posting links to your blog on social media. telling & asking your friends to read/recommend it to their friends, and building your email list. Then when you get 100+ people (or less if you see your traffic is steady & building) coming around put your offer out there – giving its benefits for people – and present it repeatedly, but not to often. Continue to provide benefit by giving info and inviting & answering questions. I am a Business Management student who cannot get a job but my Sales & Marketing professor told me the main thing to do to get sales is to (I guess this is 2 things) be enthusiastic about your product benefits for people & always be closing – when you give the benefits ASK for the sale!

When I set out to start in on a new business idea, I always make sure it aligns with both my core competencies and my interests. It starts with learning how to discover your strengths as an entrepreneur, and it's how I make sure I'll be engaged, even when the going gets rough. I learned this the hard way when I decided to start a freelance business a few years ago to offer my freelance content marketing services.
Of course, photography can take many forms, from photojournalism to portrait photography to general-interest stock photography. You’ll most likely go for either setting up a studio in your home or taking pictures for use as stock photos, as true photojournalism requires years of experience and almost never involves actually working from home. Keep in mind that stock-photo sites work on a revenue-sharing model, so simply selling pictures to one is unusual.
This is a man who on our first envelope job bought us our furnace gas heater by paying us upfront half the money he would have topay when the job was done. He was so concerned we had no heat he paid us before we even started writing out the envelopes…I felt so bad to see when I called him 2 months ago someone answered it but was not him or his family. I fear he lost his home:( If he hasn’t we would still be in the back of his mind for envelope work knowing we are his people to get the job done.
If you have a fondness for taking pictures of smiling families or laughing children blowing bubbles, consider becoming a stock photographer and selling your images to a stock photo company like Unsplash, ShutterStock and iStockPhoto as a side business idea. You’ll get royalties every time someone licenses an image you’ve submitted. To really be successful, build your own photography website to be able to showcase your portfolio and start getting higher-paid private corporate work.

Organize your family time. Once your professional life is organized, you may need to consider organizing your personal life. Maybe you noticed right away, or maybe it's just becoming apparent, that you tend to work around the schedule of your family members. This is especially true if you have children. A lot of people, especially young moms, decide that they're going to quit their jobs in corporate America and work from home in order to care for their children and save on daycare expenses. But in reality, if you're serious about running a homebased business and earning a decent income, you're going to have to make arrangements for childcare in or outside the home. Otherwise it becomes too distracting. Consider hiring a babysitter so you're guaranteed five to six solid hours to get your work done.
Business owners’ lives can change forever with one storm or other catastrophic event. It’s better to be prepared than to lose everything if the unthinkable should wipe out your home or business. Keep records of all your important papers and contacts in a fire- or waterproof place; backup important computer files; update your insurance policies as your personal or business circumstances change; and stay current of any new dangers that could happen, so you will be adequately prepared.
A real estate appraisal business can be operated from home, on a part-time basis, making for a fun side business idea if you have the credentials to back it up. A perfect option if you want to keep your day job while earning a little extra on the side. You won’t need a college degree to start in on this business idea, but you’ll need bankable appraiser credentials (including relevant training and professional licenses), strong knowledge of the sector, and a growing network of industry players including mortgage brokers, real estate agents, banks, and fellow appraisers that'll want to utilize your services.

1) A super short commute? The most obvious home business advantage is the lack of commuting necessary. No more minutes or hours spent each working day sitting in a car, on a bus or subway fighting your way to work. For many home-based business owners, their commute consists of just walking down a flight of stairs. (Of course, this advantage is wiped off the board if you don't actually work at home but have to travel to customers and clients.)


Web designers are incredibly valuable for technology companies—which is why becoming a freelance web designer is a top side business idea today. Web design is all about mastering the art of creating a beautiful, value-driven experience for the people using a website or app. There are always new websites popping up in need of professional web design, and foundational books like HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites by acclaimed web designer Jon Duckett and Don't Make Me Think by user experience legend Steve Krug will get you started down the right path to quickly determining whether or not becoming a web designer is a viable side business idea for you.
People respect those who know more than they do. By specializing, you assume the role of a presumed expert, even if you’ve just started your business. It makes good business sense for your clients to hire an expert instead of someone less experienced. By avoiding the mistakes and dead ends that someone with less experience may make, your clients could end up spending less money by hiring you — even if your hourly rates are higher.
It’s not the sort of side business idea that’s covered in glory, but someone needs to make sure all the numbers add up at the end of the year. Every business and most individuals need someone with the domain expertise to help prepare tax returns, especially time or resource-strapped small business owners. Majo Jacinto in his Udemy course provides an in-depth foundational understanding of how to prepare tax returns (and stay current with ever-changing laws) that'll certify you with tax prep skills in as little as a few hours of training and practice.  Then once tax season rolls around you'll be able to charge an average of $229 per return as a freelance tax preparer with this side business idea, according to CNBC.
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.
A big one — and forgive me if it’s been mentioned — is not building your tribe before launching a product. I hear from people a LOT that they’ve created this AMAZING course that NO ONE wants to buy. It does’t mean your list, or your FB group, or whatever, has to be massive. It just means they have to be loyal and know/like/trust you, want more of what you do or who you are, and excited to take the next step with you. I launch what I consider to be crazy-successful programs that started with 10 people in a basement (whatever the online equivalent to that is). It doesn’t happen overnight. You need to build relationships. Your course isn’t going to sell itself.

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.
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.
According to the Small Business Administration, more than 50% of small businesses are home-based. Home-based businesses offer low overhead, helpful tax incentives, and the opportunity to work in your pajamas, among other benefits. But before you get started, there are some things—101, to be precise—that you should know about running a company from home. Here is our list of top tips, lessons, pitfalls, and more to get you on your way.
Do you have items lurking around your household that you could sell on eBay? Figure out your asking price and decide whether to auction it or put it in your eBay store. Then decide if you want a minimum bid and how long you want the auction to last. You will want to establish a PayPal account to use for transactions. The eBay website provides all the information you need to know to get up and running with an eBay business. Chatbots are offering creative new ways to help businesses with these functions.
I joined the family company, Northern Industrial, in 2007. The company had been trading for almost 30 years and had been successful at providing an industrial electronic repair service to local textile manufacturers. The extent of our trade across borders was a weaving company in Dundee. At first it was difficult to see the way forward with many textile manufacturers moving production abroad. It wasn't realistic to expect people to send faulty circuit boards halfway around the world for repair.
2) Lower overhead. All home businesses, however, share the advantage of not having the expense of buying or renting business premises elsewhere which cuts down their overhead considerably. Because there is no separate office to rent or maintain, they may also save money on expenses such as utilities, and, depending upon local regulations, the cost of business licenses and taxes.
Once you’ve chosen a name and business structure, filed paperwork with the state and set up your website, you’re ready to get going with your online business. Remember that the Internet is a busy place and you can’t sit back and wait for customers to come to you. Look for ways to actively promote your business through online advertising, social media and old-fashioned word of mouth.
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.

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.
Driving for one of the two globally expanding app-centric taxi alternative services, Uber or Lyft can still be a fairly lucrative way to earn money as a side business idea on nights and weekends—working only when you want. But before you dive head first into this side business idea, do your homework and calculate the costs of extra gas, mileage, tires, wear & tear and usage on your vehicle—it's not a guaranteed business idea that'll turn a huge profit every weekend.
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