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.
Ask your accountant and/or local IRS agents about filing tax forms, tax payment schedules, obtaining an EIN number, and allowable deductions. Have your financial advisors setup an organized business record keeping system with software that enables you to monitor your cash flow. Set up a business bank account and a merchant account if you will be accepting credit cards for payments.
47. Cloud-based sync-and-share tools: Jill Mayer uses SugarSync, a cloud-based sync-and-share solution. “My husband and I both have home-based businesses, and this service is invaluable to us,” says Mayer, a contractor with Lyman Public Relations. “It not only comes in handy while traveling or if we’re out of the office by giving us access to all of our data right from our phone, tablet or laptop as if we’re sitting at our office desktops, but the sharing and collaboration features are extremely helpful and convenient when working with colleagues and clients.”
Wedding photographers command premium rates. After all, you are capturing one of a couple's most important life moments, making it a very lucrative side business idea. Many professional wedding photographers charge between $2,500 - $10,000 (or more) to shoot a wedding, so it's realistic that this side business idea could quickly blossom into becoming a full-time endeavor with the right happy clientele base that's willing to refer you to their friends and family. Check out the Complete Wedding Photography Experience over on CreativeLive to get up to speed on everything you need to launch a successful wedding photography business.
But if you choose to bring employees into your home, you may want to set some ground rules to keep lines from blurring. Richard Rabinowitz runs a national, multimillion-dollar photo workshop series, Digital Photo Academy, right from his home. A staff of six works around the dining room table in his New York City apartment keeping track of teachers, students, and workshop spaces. Chaotic though it may seem, the business brings in over $2 million per year. Rabinowitz maintains order by enforcing the following seven rules.
Strictly speaking, this isn’t really an at-home business, as most of the work takes place outside the home. But for dog lovers who don’t want other people’s pets staying overnight, dog walking is a viable business idea with a low barrier to entry. Still, there are considerations including researching the state of your local dog-walking market and addressing licensing and insurance concerns.
Skills honed, the entrepreneurial 26-year-old launched her own graphic design shop, Darling Design, out of her apartment last year. She figures that an office lease would have cost an extra $1,000 per month. Sure, the home office can get a bit crowded--Schmechel shares the cramped three-bedroom rental with two roommates--but she's happy she did it. "I couldn't have started the business without doing it in my house," she says.
I have a friend that is the city manager of a town of about 25,000 where his main task is processing requests for building permits. Actually a volunteer-type job, no salary. But he makes a bunch of contacts every day, and his address book is huge. So he is busy all year except the Holidays. To fill in this time he started a Christmas tree lighting service (houses, lawn ornaments, etc.). In this 3-month period he makes enough to keep him going the rest of the year.
If you have never been self-employed before you need to do some further self-assessment to determine whether you have the right personality to be an entrepreneur. Starting a business is not for everyone. (See 6 Traits You Need to Be Self-Employed.) Common traits for successful business owners are motivation, self-reliance, perseverance, initiative, and the ability to deal with uncertainty.
For a small business on a modest budget, advertising must be cost effective, as the price can be prohibitive. ‘Businesses looking to take on advertising must weigh up their ROI,’ says James Blackman of CocoonFX Media. ‘If, for example, you’re considering an advert for £1,000 in a magazine with 12,000 readers, ensure that magazine is very much your target audience.’
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.
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.
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.
Without realizing it, I skipped over doing the good work of pinpointing my target market and ideal clients, defining my brand and my offer, figuring out my Why, etc. I studied audience-building and content marketing tactics and put a lot of work into growing a community from the start, but because I wasn’t clear myself on the purpose of my brand, I didn’t have a consistent message to share with that community to build trust and gain their interest in any kind of offers.
Someone out there is remodeling their kitchen and needs to know which shade of granite will match best with mahogany flooring. That someone will often be happy to pay you for your advice, especially if you’re the kind of person that subscribes to websites like Contemporist and you have the motivation to turn this business idea into a money-making enterprise.
The number of websites and blogs operating online demand a constant stream of high-quality, beautiful photographs that can help businesses attract and convert more customers. Setting up a stock photo library is a great business idea as it targets virtually every industry regardless of a company’s size. Check out sites like SmugMug, Photoshelter and iStockPhoto for more information.
Study the main types of software that system users will want--word processing, photo manipulation software, mail merge, spreadsheet, design and especially security software. Investigate all the components--monitor types in all their varieties; keyboards, from wired to ergonomic to wireless; mouse types; as well as peripheral components like printers and scanners. Become completely familiar with all the ISPs (internet service providers) available in the market area you plan to cover. Establish yourself as the guru who can meet the needs of the personal computer user, the small business or a larger corporation.