Maintenance work from the comfort of your garage or basement is challenging on two fronts: overall set-up (equipment, ventilation) and finding clients. Take shoe repair. Ben Roush, a cobbler in Omaha, Neb., says that used finishing machines (with the proper buffering and sanding devices) go for $10,000; stitchers, $1200; and hydraulic presses for adding glue, $300. Some repair work requires more electrical power, too: 220 volts versus the typical 110 volt capacity in most houses.
Anyone can sell goods on Amazon, provided you have products to sell (or buy low, then resell). If you’re the type to hit all the local garage sales each weekend, there’s all sorts of valuable things that can be resold online as a side business idea. If you want to step your Amazon selling game up, check out this detailed guide to Amazon and eBay retail arbitrage on Entrepreneur featuring an interview with Julie Becker and several drop-shippers who've grown this home based business idea from side business idea into a lucrative money-maker.
Another common problem faced by those who work from home is isolation. In a standard business environment, people are dealing with co-workers constantly, as well as the noise of ringing phones and running machines. There are also meetings, breaks, and lunch hours that serve to break up the day and provide opportunities for socializing. This contact with other people provides a built-in system of motivation to at least appear busy at work. In contrast, many people who start a home-based business are faced with nothing but a quiet, empty house. Some find it difficult to motivate themselves and succumb to boredom and loneliness. But such isolation does have a positive side: working at home increases productivity by an average of 20 percent, so home-based business owners can often get more work done in less time. Planning is necessary to overcome the negative effects of isolation, however. Experts recommend that home-based business owners schedule interaction with other people on a regular basis, using such means as business meals, outside meetings and appointments, clubs and associations, and networking.
Focus on user experience. Your biggest considerations with an ecommerce site will be setting up your website to offer the best user experience. Choosing the right web design is crucial, as is making sure that your shopping cart software is well-suited for your business. Be sure to check out the various shopping cart options available—from Shopify to X-Cart and many more.
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.’
You love dogs? You’re good at taking care of them? You want to open a dog-boarding business? Just make sure you’re prepared. Sure, it’s a great opportunity, and it’s totally doable—with some planning. Make sure you know your local zoning laws and, perhaps more importantly, make sure your neighbors would be OK with some extra noise and activity around your place.
Packaging your skills and knowledge into a downloadable eBook that delivers value to those seeking to learn a skill, advance in their careers, or start their own businesses, makes for a strong value proposition if you target the right audience. Check out Leslie Samuel's great guide to selling eBooks online and start building your strategy around this side business idea. This class with Tara Gentile on CreativeLive will also show you how to use your existing body of work to write an eBook within the next week. Put in some serious work with your eBook, build an audience and you'll have a platform to pitch traditional publishers on landing a book deal—then you can write one of the best business books and really build your personal brand.
It is no secret that having an online presence is a great way of drumming up sales for a small business, and trading online will allow you to attract new customers. Unfortunately for many small businesses, the idea of e-commerce can be daunting. There is a myth that suggests trading online is expensive and that you really need to employ an agency to build and run a custom website. The reality is that you can build a successful online business from as little as £20 per month. I did.
I have always loved a bargain and enjoy shopping around for the best deals before committing to a purchase. Over the years, I have negotiated with suppliers for the best prices and services for my clients. Now, I had to do it for my own business. As a small start-up, funds were initially low – and at times non-existent – so committing to long-term contracts was not always practical.
Ghostwriting pays pretty well, and if you're talented at researching and creating great content within a certain subject domain, you can quickly build a roster of high-paying clientele with this business idea. Ghostwriters like Jeff Haden have created very lucrative careers for themselves by writing for business executives and CEO's—and Jeff also started his ghostwriting career as a side business idea outside of his full-time job as a factory manager. Listen to his interview with me on The Side Hustle Project (podcast) right here.
Websites aren't too dissimilar to stocks. Many are junk, but some can generate value for you, making it a strong potential business idea if you have an eye for spotting the diamond in the rough That’s why, like stocks, they are bought and sold all the time. You can buy and sell websites as a side business idea in the hope of generating future earnings based on their user traffic, current revenue intake, domain name, or some other factors that might be a hidden cash cow everyone else has overlooked. Interested? Check out marketplaces like Flippa and Flipping Enterprises to learn more.
Set up a merchant account. Service businesses in the past had to generally rely on cash or check—setting up an entire credit card processing system was a thankless, expensive task at best. Using a service such as PayPal makes it possible to accept virtually any form of credit or debit card for your services, and includes dispute resolution should the need arise (and it will arise).