If you’re thinking about starting your own home-based business, the available options can seem overwhelming. What type of business is the best fit for your background, skills, and interests? If you don’t have a lot of initial capital to invest, which ones can be started at a low cost? And, most important, which home business has the best chance of succeeding, especially with the U.S. economy still on the rebound?
Consulting is good work, if you can get it. Consultants give guidance to companies looking for help with everything from marketing to environmental remediation--and for that they clock an average 10% operating margin. Many consultants can easily work from home when they're not with clients on site, and most charge on a per-project basis rather than by the hour. Two big challenges: marketing and pricing the service. For more on the first, check out "Twelve Innovative Marketing Techniques"; for more on pricing, try "How To Figure Out Your Daily Rate."
Finding a niche is the best way to start out in the gift basket business. Are you a dog lover, horse lover, or exercise guru who could put together baskets that hold the things that people with this interest would like? Do you already create a product that a gift basket could be built around? Have you made your own soaps for the past 10 years? A gift basket that included one or two of your soaps, hand lotion, a scrub brush and manicure kit could be a lovely basket to receive.
If you have experience with marketing, SEO or a knack for getting people excited about the products and services you use on a regular basis, think about refining your skills and putting them to work as a small business marketing consultant in your region—especially if you can become a local SEO expert and can help local clients rank higher in their search results as your side business idea. Businesses of all sizes are in constant need of bringing in more customers, which is where you come in with your business idea. Start by pitching some of these small business marketing ideas by Brian Downard and you'll be sure to impress the first set of clients you begin working with in your area.
Great post. My husband has been selling used books on-line for 10 years…It’s not enough to fully support our family of 6, but it does afford us a lot of flexibility. We both work other odds and ends spot jobs and it ends up working out. We have also had the flexibility to be volunteer managers at a church camp in the summer. (Right now the camp can not afford a manager) I’m pioneering a women’s conference and event ministry. I’ve always been very greatful for the freedom we have. My husband helps at the kids schools, apointments are easy to make, and the stress is less. It’s been a sacrifice in some ways but worth the gains in time and flexibility for sure.
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.
Today's world of taxidermy isn't exclusive to preserving real specimens. Taxidermy also refers to recreating a specimen using completely artificial materials. Taxidermy schools where you can learn the trade are located almost throughout the country, typically as courses over several weeks specializing in certain levels of expertise, from beginner to master's level. Like any enterprise, there are taxidermy conventions that you can attend and learn about the latest techniques and materials.
It turns out, he thought the process of starting a business was really complicated. "I don't want to go through all that stuff," he said, "unless I'm absolutely sure my idea is perfect." Like a lot of would-be entrepreneurs, he was stalling because he was intimidated by the apparent complexity of the administrative and legal tasks involved in starting a business.
As a start-up, you shouldn’t be spending more than is necessary. Your website should look good and be easy to use and find information. It should not be overly expensive to create. In fact, as a small online business it might be better to direct your funds elsewhere, especially if you have concerns about cash flow in the company. Save your money for marketing your business online.
Many people start home-based businesses in the hopes of setting their own work schedules and increasing their free time, but few people realize the careful planning that is required to achieve these goals. In fact, time management is one of the more important challenges a home-based business owner may face. Experts recommend that home-based business owners set up a workable schedule immediately upon starting their ventures in order to establish good habits. In many cases, the limited amount of work available in the early stages of a home-based business's existence may cause the entrepreneur to establish a pattern of running personal errands or watching television during work time. In this way, lethargy and unproductive use of time become ingrained and perpetuate themselves. Instead, downtime that has been reserved for working should be used to market and promote the business.
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.
There are more and more third-party ecommerce marketplaces available, like eBay, Etsy, Amazon, and even Airbnb or Fiverr, depending on your product or service. Building a business through one of those ecommerce marketplaces can simpler, since you’ll have to make fewer decisions, and you won’t have to build your website yourself—you’ll use an existing template.
Minimize the cost of overhead. “The number one thing that will kill any business is overhead,” Wolfe says, noting that high overhead costs often pile stress onto new business owners. It can be costly to rent commercial office space and set up a phone system, internet, and other services in the space. In contrast, with a home-based business, you make use of space for which you were already paying rent or a mortgage, and you can piggyback off some services that are already in your household budget, such as home internet, he says.
And don’t forget social media as a home-based business. Many churches, other non profit charities, and business owners NEED to advertise via social media. You can either be hired to do theirs or become a consultant who trains their staff. Many churches don’t know the Internet laws like an avid social media user does. They’ll need someone to teach them how to use social media and protect their organization while doing it. Ask me how I know. 😉 My husband and I have worked with some organizations who refused to listen and they ended up with some scandals. Take a gander at what happened to Pastor Alios Bell’s ministry reputation when someone who knows social media happened upon her indiscretion at Applebee’s. Google it. It went viral.
Without realizing it, I skipped over doing the good work of pinpointing my target market and ideal clients, defining my brand and my offer, figuring out my Why, etc. I studied audience-building and content marketing tactics and put a lot of work into growing a community from the start, but because I wasn’t clear myself on the purpose of my brand, I didn’t have a consistent message to share with that community to build trust and gain their interest in any kind of offers.