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.
Believe it or not, it is possible to actually reach a woman named Peggy (and not a man with a Russian accent) when you call customer service. That’s because of the homeshore movement, which is trying to hire more independent contractors to work from home on customer service issues. If you’ve got a phone line and an internet connection, you can work from home as a call center rep. Median salary: $30,460.
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.
Thanks for posting this. I really needed to hear (what my husband has been saying for a while) that just because I have a blog, doesn’t translate into a real business. And here all along I think I have been doing something great and fabulous. That smack in the face was sooooo necessary. I need to really focus on where is the revenue going to come from. My approach to this is like a serious business but my actions say cool hobby.
Here’s an instant going-out-of-business plan, no matter how hard you work: Charge your customers less than you’re worth. Why would you do that? Well, some people charge less than they’re worth because they don’t realize exactly how much they are worth. Others charge less than they’re worth because they are embarrassed or afraid to ask for an amount that reflects their true worth. Whatever the reason, if you don’t get paid what you’re worth, you are putting your business at risk.

If you’re a fitness buff and have the right combination of charisma and business sense, working as a part-time personal trainer as a side business idea can be both physically and financially rewarding. Once you build up a reputation and client base for yourself, it could easily turn into a full-time endeavor for you. Check out these tips to a successful personal training business by the American Fitness Professionals and this interview with several fitness blog owners who are making a living online, from MonetizePros. Finally, I'd recommend checking out this resource if you want to take this business idea seriously and get started with a business plan for your personal fitness trainer business today.

Pay-per-click advertising is the easiest way to get traffic to a brand-new site. It has two advantages over waiting for the traffic to come to you organically. First, PPC ads show up on the search pages immediately, and second, PPC ads allow you to test different keywords, as well as headlines, prices and selling approaches. Not only do you get immediate traffic, but you can also use PPC ads to discover your best, highest-converting keywords. Then you can distribute the keywords throughout your site in your copy and code, which will help your rankings in the organic search results.


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.
Naturally, it helps if you already have an online audience you can tap for listening to your regular podcast (like I did), but that hasn't stopped thousands of people from building successful side business ideas into lucrative podcasts—including Alex Blumberg, founder of Gimlet Media who teaches how to use storytelling and launch a podcast. You can also check out this class from podcaster and entrepreneur, Lewis Howes, about how to make money podcasting as a side business idea, which regularly broadcasts for free on CreativeLive.
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.
I see it time and time again: The number-one challenge faced by brand-new small online business owners is a lack of traffic. Obviously, if your website isn’t getting any traffic, you’re not generating any sales. And what’s worse is that without traffic, you can’t test the key components of your sales process. And if you roll out a large traffic campaign before you’ve tested your site to make sure it converts maximum visitors into buyers, you risk losing sales and looking unprofessional to potential business partners and affiliates.

Stay connected. Carry an organizer wherever you go. If you're still using a day planner or similar dinosaur, consider upgrading to a Blackberry or other high-tech gadget. You don't need to go crazy and spend a lot of money, but invest wisely in something that will hold everything you need and allow you to instantly access it on the go. Another good idea is to not keep all of your information in one location, such as the hard drive of your home computer. Keep your data hosted on a virtual exchange server so you can access it anywhere that has an Internet connection. A big misconception about homebased business owners is that they stay at home all day, everyday. And as you know, that's just not always true.
Some firms outsource their customer service operations and many of these companies accept home-based contractors. You can start by signing up on freelancing sites such as Upwork to test the waters with this business idea first. If you’re already a CSR specialist with management skills, then you can form and lead a virtual team online and engage clients as a bona fide customer service company or, provide customer service training to such teams as well as individuals.
Raw Generation is a raw juice company that launched its ecommerce store through Shopify, only to experience little success in its first 6 months. But you know what they say, where there’s a will there’s a way, and owner, Jessica Geier, was determined to find it. Raw Generation used deal sites to take the company’s monthly revenues from $8,000 to $96,000!
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.
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.
There's an audience for everything, whether it's making dollhouse furniture or creating organic dog food. With a specialty e-commerce store, you can reach those customers who are seeking your specific products. All you need is a web-hosting service with an integrated shopping cart feature or with e-commerce software, and your business will be operational in no time. You can even work with vendors to ship products to customers on your behalf, which means you don't need to own a lot of inventory. [See Related Story: A Small Business Guide to E-Commerce Shipping]
An important part of the home buying process is having a professional home inspector go through the house to determine the condition of the building and point out any potential problems. A home inspector needs to meet the state regulations for the profession, which varies from state to state, although anyone who has worked in the construction or housing industry will have a leg up. Median salary: $52,000.

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.

We have a site where you can get much information about fish farming and all other kinds of agriculture and what we call ecolonomic living (http://ecolonomics.org). That site is http://www.eatcommunity.com. We will be making you a FREE Member of that site and then we can communicate with you easily about your fish farming questions. On that site there is a questionnaire you can fill out to tell us about your aquaculture interests and even schedule a time to talk with us. I hope this has been helpful and keep up your aquaculture dreams! You are helping make the planet better.
Naturally, the next one on the list is coaching people how to deliver great speeches. Public speaking is the number one fear on most people’s list – some fear it more than death! This skill can prove to be handy in many areas – from pitching to investors, to delivering key messages at global conferences. If you’re a natural on stage, help entrepreneurs rediscover their in-born ability to communicate by selling effective presentation templates and online coaching classes. 

Online shoppers are getting more and more conscientious about their choices, and especially so when it comes to beauty products. Running a beauty shop that’s built on strong ethos and values that resonate with nature and animal lovers is one of the hottest online business ideas right now. Tropic Skin Care seems to be doing a great job at connecting with these shoppers.
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.
If you're a fast typer with an ear for dictation, than transcription might be right for you. A lot of different businesses require transcription, from medical practices to attorney's offices, and will pay handsomely for quality work. Why not be the service to meet their needs? All you need to start is a computer, an internet connection, and the will to build a network of professionals and gain their referrals.
3. Create a strong team. “Work with experts on parts of your business where you are not an expert,” says Cathi Brese Doebler, a home-based business owner for 10 years and author of Ditch the Joneses, Discover Your Family. “For example, if you are not good with computer hardware, hire someone to help you set up your computer network. Or, if you are not an expert on taxes, find a good tax advisor. Focus your business on your areas of expertise and strength, and hire experts to help you with your areas of weakness.”
The whole “building an audience” is challenging for me. I’m not much of a blog subscriber myself, and so I’m really not quite sure what makes a blog tasty enough for someone to subscribe to. I solve more of a technical business problem… one of those things that if you need it, you REALLY need it now. And if you don’t need it, then you’re not really interested in getting weekly updates talking about it (I would imagine).
When I used to work at CreativeLive, I regularly paid $250-$500 (or even much more depending upon audience size) per episode for 90 seconds worth of advertisements on relevant podcasts like The Tim Ferriss Show, the #1 business podcast right now from the 4-Hour Workweek author, Tim Ferriss. The podcast has even helped Tim launch his latest New York Times bestseller, Tools of Titans to a wider readership.
We're all guilty of spending too much time on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest sometimes, so why not get paid to put your expertise to work as a side business idea? Lots of companies, especially startups or those in retail and travel—even influencers have heavy social media presences and are constantly in need of people to help build their brands online. You can find these types of opportunities on sites like Flexjobs and CareerBuilder and most employers on these websites are conditioned to working with people who operate these services as their side business idea. Over time as you grow in your ability to leverage various social channels, you can add more service offerings like running high-return Facebook Ad campaigns or hosting lucrative sweepstakes competitions for the brands you want to work with.

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.
Hey there, Spencer. I guess you already noticed that brands on Facebook and Pinterest love to use photos with inspirational quotes on them to build community. Maybe you could generate some interest over time in your work, then start charging brands, bloggers for access. Before you try it, though, make sure a few people are willing to pay for quality rather than using a free alternative. Money speaks louder than words, eh? :) I would also suggest focusing on a niche, like fitness or Christian dating, or something.
#3 listening: I created a community targeted towards what I wanted to write about. I learned by providing value to my audience that what I was writing wasn’t what they wanted. So I rewrote an entirely new ebook the month of January. And every product I’ve launched after that has been in direct response to what my community is struggling with and needs help with.
Use Outlook or some sort of contact management software to serve as a visual reminder of what you need to accomplish that day. Live and die by your to-do-list. Try to have everything crossed off by the end of the day. Even my own children know that if they want me to do something for them during working hours, they have to put it on my to-do-list or it will never get done.
The whole “building an audience” is challenging for me. I’m not much of a blog subscriber myself, and so I’m really not quite sure what makes a blog tasty enough for someone to subscribe to. I solve more of a technical business problem… one of those things that if you need it, you REALLY need it now. And if you don’t need it, then you’re not really interested in getting weekly updates talking about it (I would imagine).
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.
Larger companies can hire an agency or full-time staff member to run their Facebook and Twitter accounts, but small businesses often have to handle their own social media marketing. With so many responsibilities, business owners are often too busy, overwhelmed or undereducated about the importance of social media to spend time developing and implementing a great social media strategy. As a consultant, you can help them determine the best tactics, posting schedules and content for their target audience. As their follower count grows, so will your business.
Starting a pet sitting service requires almost nothing in start-up costs. You do need some general credentials that will cost little or nothing to acquire. Your list of credentials should probably include personal pet ownership--if not currently, at least in the past--as well as other pet-related experience, including working at a pet food store, an animal hospital or other animal-related business. You will need to spend a little to become "bonded." This is known as "honesty insurance," and ensures your clients that you won't get their house keys and make off with their valuables (or that they'll get their money back if you do).
Today, tens of thousands of people are considering starting a home based business, and for good reasons. On average, people can expect to have two and three careers during their work life. Those leaving one career often think about their second or third career move being to their own home. People who have been part of the traditional nine-to-five work force and are on the verge of retiring from that life are thinking of what to do next. The good news: Starting a homebased business is within the reach of almost anyone who wants to take a risk and work hard.
Yes, spending time on YouTube can be a legitimate business idea if you take it seriously. If you can create value-driven, entertaining video content and grow your subscriber base to a few thousand subscribers, your videos can start generating pretty substantial income from all the ads being displayed on your videos. Many YouTube users make well into the millions each year, so there's clear potential to take this from side business idea to eventual millionaire with the right combination of content, audience, skills, relationships and timing. If you’re considering starting a YouTube channel it’s important use best practices when making videos. Read the YouTube playbook for tips which will result in faster growth of your channel. Additionally think about investing in a quality camera and microphone since the production quality of videos can often affect your viewership.
Recently, I have been thinking about my other passion… motivation and inspiration. I have though that maybe my unique advantage is to merge my photos with words of motivation. I could add more products such as posters, calendars, cd’s, etc. much like one of those motivation sites. It would be personal to my photography and my knack for inspiring others.
The whole “building an audience” is challenging for me. I’m not much of a blog subscriber myself, and so I’m really not quite sure what makes a blog tasty enough for someone to subscribe to. I solve more of a technical business problem… one of those things that if you need it, you REALLY need it now. And if you don’t need it, then you’re not really interested in getting weekly updates talking about it (I would imagine).
Thanks for sharing these top 10 mistakes. Sometimes I think these “top failures/mistakes” posts are even more helpful than the usual “top 10 best advices” type of posts, since they give people concrete ideas about what they should avoid. For me, the biggest setback was and still is number 7, wasting too much time thinking and not enough doing. One of my favorite quotes regarding this is by Napoleon: “Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action comes, stop thinking and go in.”
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