If editing and advising college students on how to write compelling 500 word essays on topics such as "You were just invited to speak at the White House. Write your speech," seems like a compelling business idea to allocate your free time towards, trust me—tons of parents will pay you to edit admissions essays and offer constructive feedback for their children. Be careful not to blur the ethical line of actually writing their essays, but serving as an editor to help them convey their message can become a great side business idea that has the potential to spread by word-of-mouth referral in your community.
Valentine's day. Birthdays. Weddings. The list goes on and on—throughout the course of a year, there are dozens of occasions when people need to order flowers. What's more is that once you're up to speed with this business idea, your costs can stay relatively low if you know where to source your flowers, and typical margins are in the neighborhood of 300% (or more) on cut flowers which makes this a particularly profitable side business idea in the right geographic area. Check out this amazing interview with floral designer, Sara Tedford of Ladybird Poppy to hear about how her floral design company started out as a side business idea of doing weddings and events for her friends and family.

If editing and advising college students on how to write compelling 500 word essays on topics such as "You were just invited to speak at the White House. Write your speech," seems like a compelling business idea to allocate your free time towards, trust me—tons of parents will pay you to edit admissions essays and offer constructive feedback for their children. Be careful not to blur the ethical line of actually writing their essays, but serving as an editor to help them convey their message can become a great side business idea that has the potential to spread by word-of-mouth referral in your community.

Contact your local state representatives or senators and U. S. Congress members for information about entrepreneurial-assistance programs and regulations pertaining to your business. Experts at local offices of the SBA’s Small Business Development Centers or volunteers at SCORE offer entrepreneurs free or low-cost business counseling and management programs.

Working with other companies is one of the easiest ways to market your products. Sell baked goods? Ask local coffee shops if they’ll carry them. Are you a graphic designer? Offer to do low-cost graphic design for other businesses in exchange for referrals to their clients. There’s always someone you can partner with in a way that will benefit you both.
If a customer complains, it may be hard not to take it personally, because it is your business. Establish set policies or procedures to handle any complaints, whether it is a refund or a revision of your products or services. Consult with your lawyer for the proper wording and posting. Survey customers often for feedback, so you can head-off complaints.
If your mastery of another language is good enough to have the grammar and spelling down, translating is a great side business idea to set up for yourself and can even be done remotely. Flexjobs has literally hundreds of freelance, remote translator jobs available right now and if you're looking to land more remote work on the side of your other pursuits, check out my guide—how to get a remote job (this weekend).
New entrepreneurs often find it difficult in determining what to charge. Factors that will influence your pricing include the value your customers place in your products and services and what they are willing to pay for them; your industry’s pricing guidelines; and your own pricing strategy and “formula.” Your accountant can guide you in determining how to charge enough for each “billable” hour or product to cover your expenses and to ensure you will be making a profit.
Other steps in the process of forming a home-based business include selecting a legal structure, filing a fictitious name or "doing business as" statement, and obtaining any needed permits or licenses. The entrepreneur should also evaluate the risks associated with the business venture and make any necessary arrangements for health, life, liability, property, or business interruption insurance. Since it is sometimes difficult for a home-based business to be taken seriously by customers or creditors, it may be helpful to communicate a professional image through stationery and business cards, a separate phone line answered with a formal greeting, and distinct working hours.
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.”
Basically, you pick a profitable niche for your online business, and then you find an affiliate partner who has products available in that niche. Some of the most popular affiliate sites are Clickbank.com, Amazon.com, and CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction). Between them, they offer just about any digital information product (like ebooks, audio files, video files) or physical product you can think of.
No matter which way you do it, it’s passive income—money you earn while you sleep because you put these products up for sale on your website and a customer can buy and download them any time of day or night, automatically. All you have to do is check the sales periodically to see what topics or types of products are selling best so that you can make more of those.
Towards the end of 2007, one of our best customers decided to shift production to India. Since most of the machines were no longer required, the production manager asked us if we would like to purchase the spare parts from the machines for £600. We purchased the boards thinking they would be useful for parts for our repairs. Sadly, I didn't consider where we would store all these parts and soon my office was full of circuit boards. I spent the next three months climbing over parts to get to my desk. Something had to change.
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.
But if you do go the fashion route, be prepared to do quite a bit of networking before you get your business off the ground. Don’t be afraid to do free consultations for contests and giveaways. The more word gets around about your fabulous fashion sense, the larger a clientele you’ll build. If you’re really good, you can start this business with little to no training.
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.

If you understand design and have a passion for décor, a career in interior design could be a great path for you. While you may not technically need a formal education to be an interior designer, having a bachelor's degree in interior design will definitely give you a huge leg up in the field. But if working for a design firm doesn't feel right to you, try running your own interior design business from your home.
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.
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.
Darlene – How did you grow your mastermind group? I totally see the value in this but haven’t had much luck trying to get something going myself. I’m currently working on forming a local tribe (geographically speaking) with the idea that meeting in person might be really beneficial to us all although we’re all in different blog categories. How did you form your group? Who gets invited? What are the perks to membership? I would love to know!
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