Great ideas! I’ve been thinking about starting a home-based business for years but I just never stopped long enough to actually start and I didn’t know what kind of business to pursue. Now I’m ready to get started and you gave me some really good ideas. I really appreciate the links to more information on how to get started in several of these business opportunities. I will definitely look into them.

Like drinking beer? Why not try making it yourself as your side business idea? With enough patience and skill you might end up brewing something that others are willing to pay to drink. Pick up an easy-to-use starter kit from Mr. Beer online, invest the time it'll take to perfect your craft, make a unique brew and start shopping it around to friends & family to see what they think of this side business idea.
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Publishing is dead; long live the e-reader! Now that anyone can have their work e-published, it is possible for anyone to make a fortune off their writing. The biggest recent example is the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy, but there are many authors taking advantage of the ease of e-publishing. If you love to write and are willing to do your own promotion (and having a blog can really help in that case), writing an e-book is an excellent way to make money at home.
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).
The first step in getting a top ranking in the search engines is to submit or suggest your site to them. In other words, you have to provide them with details about your small online business site. You want to make sure that the “spiders”–automated programs that crawl the web indexing sites for the search engines–find your site and include it in the search results.
Schmechel charges $50 an hour to spruce up brochures, business cards, catalogs, case studies and occasionally Web sites. Her tools of the trade include a computer and basic printer. (For high-end printing, she heads to Kinko's.) Additional overhead: a mere $10 per month for a Web site hosting service. Initial marketing amounted to posting an ad on Craigslist. Darling Design's first-year profits: about $50,000, she says.
But if you get the green light to do it, starting a catering service is a relatively low-overhead way to create a new business. It’s a lot of work, but if you enjoy cooking, it could turn into a lucrative and fulfilling career. To get started with minimal investment, you could first cook in your customers’ homes and use their dishes. Also, a narrow specialization on a particular type of cuisine or event may help you attract clientele as you work develop a strong customer base.

The process of gathering information and writing a business plan helps the entrepreneur take an objective, critical look at the business idea and its chances for success. A home-based business may be related to an individual's previous occupation, but may also be based upon a hobby or the discovery of a unique business opportunity. In any case, the idea should be evaluated with an eye toward market potential and competition. Once the business is up and running, the business plan sets forth goals and standards for management and serves as an operational tool to measure progress. Although there are many ways to start a home-based business—including "moonlighting" while employed full-time, working part-time for an employer and part-time at home, and just taking the plunge—planning is important to all of them.
Keep your clients well informed: When clients spend their money on you, they want to be kept apprised of your progress, not only to stay in touch with the project, but also to keep a watchful eye out for problems before they get out of hand. Do your clients a favor, and keep them informed about your project’s progress. Whether the news is good or bad, your clients and customers will appreciate your forthrightness and candor.
There are many directions you can take this business. If you want to work during hours when no one else does, you can focus on office clients. You can focus on retail businesses and keep your customers clumped into one or two blocks. Restaurants are in great need of daily thorough cleaning and can be a great source of steady clients. Perhaps you would be more interested in house cleaning. Many times with cleaning services you don't have to spend lots of money on advertising or marketing because your customers will come by word of mouth.

At this point, I was confident that people were searching for these parts and decided that we needed our own website. I contacted a few local web developers who all came back with quotes ranging from £4,000 to £8,000. Being a proud northerner, it was more than I was willing to gamble and I decided to put the whole thing on the backburner. Searching the internet one wet afternoon I discovered a hosted e-commerce solution for just £20 per month.
Not only is Airbnb a great way to make money by renting out your spare bedroom or living room couch as a legitimate home-based business idea, but you also have the benefit of meeting new people and making new friends if that's your kind of thing. You can even rent out an entirely new apartment just to manage as an Airbnb side business idea, but don't make the mistake of thinking this will be a passive source of income—you're on call whenever you have a guest and you'll always need to keep the place clean for incoming visitors. On top of just renting on Airbnb, you can take this business idea to the next level by offering your guests add-on and personalized experiences for an extra charge. Take Lauren Gheysens' Airbnb-based side business idea, Royal Day Out in London, England for example—where she gives visiting tourists a local's only tour of the city, complete with bespoke 18th century costumes.
38. Credit cards: Personal credit cards are still the No. 1 way that people fund a business. The rates are not terribly attractive, but using credit cards does not require any collateral other than your credit score, and credit is available instantly upon approval. Even more attractive than personal credit cards are business credit cards. You can call your current credit card companies and tell them you are starting a business and need business credit cards. While they will still require you to pledge your credit score as collateral for the loan, it will not appear on your credit profile and thus could make it easier to secure future funding if needed.
Create an arsenal of cleaning products that can clean almost every kind of product (paint, chalk, markers) from every kind of surface (cement, wood, pavement). The best way to conduct a graffiti service is to offer a subscription-like arrangement. Once a month or whatever interval makes sense for your clients, go around to their property and clean off the graffiti. Charge them a monthly or quarterly fee and make it simple for everyone--they don't have to think about graffiti, and you just do your job.
Point number 1 is extremely true. You can convince yourself there will always be a better time to launch. The one caveat I would add to part 1 is that you spend at least a little time making sure there is an audience before you spend lots of time building something. You need honest real opinions from people as to whether they would pay for your product or service if it existed. Ideally you are getting paying customers before you have even launched to validate your offering or service. Wasted time can eat you alive. Once you have validation though, Corbett is right. Just launch there is no better time than now. You can fix all the problems later.
Expertise is another matter, but remember that writing can take many forms—from resumes to news articles to marketing materials and even thank-you notes. (You can even write for businesstown.com, although that gig doesn’t pay … yet.) There’s probably some form of writing you’re qualified to do. Plus, if you’re good enough with grammar and punctuation, companies will pay you to be a freelance editor. One friend made good money editing posts on a popular travel site.
Like birthdays, marriages happen all the time. Which means you can treat weddings as a recurring fountain of business opportunities: wedding dresses and coats, jewelers, food caterers, venue providers, photographers and videographers, performers, flower shops, travel agencies, souvenir crafts, and a host of other ventures. Now imagine if you can form a network of these service providers so you can offer engaged couples a range of hassle-free wedding packages as a turnkey business idea. The process is certainly fun (and time-consuming), but as a side business idea, the pay can be pretty great.

Your home office also must be your principal place of business if you want to claim the deduction. Some small business owners fear that taking the home office deduction will trigger an IRS audit. While even tax pros don’t know exactly how the IRS decides whom to audit, most agree that small business owners should not worry about the home office deduction bringing the IRS to their door.
One way to make money in this field is by being an expert witness yourself. If you have an expertise that could be useful in legal cases, you can market yourself to attorneys to act as an expert witness. Another way to be active in the expert witness field is to play a sort of matchmaker, matching attorneys up with expert witnesses for their cases--either for the defense or for the prosecution. Expert witnesses for big money cases can be expected to fly anywhere to testify. There's no reason your database of witnesses can't be from all parts of the country.
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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