Getting familiar with the tax laws will be necessary as a home-based business owner. The more knowledgeable you are, the more likely you’ll be able to save yourself major bucks when filing your taxes. Paul Robert Edwards highlights 10 top deductions for home-based businesses, but consult your accountant to make sure you apply them correctly to your company.
I think the biggest killer of new ventures is good ideas. A good idea sparks the imagination, causes the founder to invest heavily in a dream, and much of that investment goes into building filters to bad news, which ensures you will be way too overconfident and prevents you from transforming a good idea into an idea that works. The end result can get pretty ugly, and usually involves uncontrollable crying. (That’s right. Real men cry.) As an idea man, I have learned the hard way to distrust my ideas. Better to start with some problems worth solving that I am uniquely able to address and build a simple MVP prototype with no expectation that it will work. Then find out what is wrong with it, fix it, repeat.
There’s no need to be an artist, just an expert in some form of art. Visit galleries. Get on their email lists, and go to their parties. Get to know their clients. Gallery owners will love you, even recommend your services, because you’ll be telling people to buy art from them. You don’t have to own any inventory. It’s pure consulting. There is almost no overhead cost for a business like this. It’s really about having a passion for art and a knack for earning people’s trust. And it’s fun!
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.
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).
To be clear, providing care for the elderly often requires a broader set of credentials (as it should) so this business idea isn't one most people can get started with this weekend. These credentials may include licenses, training certificates, business permits, and tax forms depending on which state you wish to operate, the level of care you intend to provide, and whether you plan on running a formal business or just hiring yourself out as an independent worker as a side business idea. If you’re already giving unpaid care to an elderly relative or friend, you may want to review Medicaid provisions for some compensation. In all cases, you need genuine affection for the elderly, a lot of common sense, and good knowledge of first aid, CPR, and elderly care basics to excel with this side business idea.
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.’
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.
If you know how to make jewelry, there’s really no reason not to sell it. Handmade jewelry has long held appeal for collectors and admirers alike. The biggest challenge to setting up a jewelry business might be running the business itself—just making beautiful things won’t be enough to sustain the operation. Study up on what it takes to run a jewelry business and then make it happen. A great place to start is online with sites like Etsy and eBay
#4 is killer important. So, so very. In fact, until I got into Fizzle at the beginning of this year, I hadn’t done the hard work of figuring out the “different” and the “better” as it applied to my business, even though I knew I really, really needed to, and even though I fully knew it was hurting my business not to get this sh*t figured out — in the form of price-shoppers and less than ideal projects and so on.
At some point, you might be ready to hire employees. Fortunately, that won’t necessarily require you to expand into a commercial office space because your employees can work remotely from their own homes. Not only is it becoming more common to have a remote workforce, apps and other tools make it fairly easy to manage others from afar, so long as the job can be done remotely and you use the right tools.
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.
These days, even a home-based business can afford to operate out of another space. Consider renting temporary office space to get benefits such as tech support and conference services, or to hold meetings with clients. Sharing office space with other small businesses can also be a great way to grow your network. A great way to get inexpensive office space is to offer free services to another business in exchange for office space.
One thing is clear – clothes and accessories will always be one of the super-profitable online business ideas for an ecommerce site. However, with so many boutiques and brands already online, rising above the noise is extremely difficult. Yet, one promising idea that savvy entrepreneurs have probably already noticed is the booming trend of “ethical fashion”. Brands, such as Pachacuti, People Tree, Sea Salt and Matt&Nat have successfully crafted their brands around the concept of organic, ethical production of fashion items and are riding the trend to the top of the strongest brands list.
Dogs are amazing. But, owners aren’t always at home to take them for a walk. If you’re a canine fan like I hope you are, this great side business idea can net you a regular profit by just taking some adorable pups for a stroll around the park. With pet-crazed, yet busy Americans having more pooches around, dog walking services have become a thriving industry in some U.S. cities. In fact, there’s already an app called Wag that links up dog walkers who want to exercise this business idea with the pet owners who need a helping hand.
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.
It takes a very thick skin to go into this business, but debt collectors only need a telephone and a computer to work, making it a great work-at-home business. It’s also a recession-proof (or even recession-loving) business. Licensing requirements vary from state to state, so make sure you do your homework before setting up shop. Median salary: $31,300.
Many small companies simply don't have the time or staff to properly run their billing operations. That's where entrepreneurs who want to offer invoicing, bookkeeping, human resources and other clerical services to business owners on a contractual or part-time basis come in. With just a laptop and a few clients, you can get the ball rolling from home.
Another starting point is to have an idea that very few people other than the founders can actually build. These technical feats provide a natural defense against competition. Remember, every hard problem you solve drops a massive obstacle in front of anyone who’d want to replicate you. Certain problems haven’t been solved because none of the few people smart enough to do so have made it happen. Look at something like Google, which co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were technically capable of building at a time when not many people were. Back then, there were very few people smart enough to build their own search engine let alone imbue it with software that could crawl and rank the entire World Wide Web.
The internet is the great equalizer. In business specifically, it has leveled the playing field. Anyone can start a money-making online business—anyone with a computer, that is. But here’s the thing: no technical experience is needed. You don’t have to know how to build websites—no programming knowledge is required at all. You can also live anywhere you want, set your own schedule, and work as little or as much as you want, depending on how fast or big you want your business to grow. No business or marketing experience is needed either.
If your home business will be in the same industry in which you worked for a former employer, make sure you are free of any non-compete agreements that you may have signed. Meet with your lawyer to consider any business liabilities and for any disclaimers you should have drawn-up for legal protection. A lawyer can also recommend contracts you should have if you plan to work as an independent contractor or to subcontract work out.
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.
No one likes doing taxes, and they need to be paid whether the economy is booming or tanking. This is why at-home tax preparation can be a great business for anyone with a tax background, or anyone willing to take training courses. Since there are annual changes to the tax code, you will need to refresh your training each year, and you will also need to register with the IRS as a tax preparer. This is more of a seasonal business than a year-round endeavor, but it can be a great way to earn some extra income each winter/spring. Median salary: $30,900.
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.
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.
For the musically gifted, offering lessons to others who want to learn an instrument can be a great source of extra income. Unless you're teaching piano, students can bring their own instruments to your home for hour-long lessons. Stock up on sheet music or songbooks in varying genres and aimed at various skill levels so you can offer a wide selection for your potential clients. Voice lessons can also bring in a lot of money if you market yourself to local high school and community theater groups.
If you have an eye for quirky stuff, maybe running a mystery object shop could help you combine the thirst for curious things with a steady source of income. TheSomethingStore and Muddy Creatures are nailing the concept of a surprise purchase that taps into the explorer instinct many of us possess. There’s no exact science or skill fueling this business idea – let your imagination go wild…
I have owned several Internet business’ and the one thing that I have learned that I tell people is start out small and work to big. Give yourself time to grow, see what works, and build some cash flow. I was so excited and had so many “big” ideas when I started my last business that I flew out the gates with guns blazing. This cost me time and money that I didn’t really have yet.