online service business ideas | how to start a business from nothing

Great ideas about a home based business. However, we all need to understand that most ONline and OFFline buisnesses fail about 90% of the time. Franchises seem to do some better but they have challenges too. Our goal is focused on building a PLAN B to help build financial security. After 32 years in the trenches as an entrepreneur, we invite you to visit our website, join us as a subscriber too where we share about our lumps and bruises in business owners.
Whether it’s a close friend or family member, partner with people you can trust. Most of the time, we focus on the character and virtues of those we are legally partnered with. But vetting other people and entities that you are associated with — including your vendors and advisors — is equally critical.
Enter: The Side Hustle. I’ve created an entire podcast to talk about the side hustle, featuring interviews with the world’s top entrepreneurs right here on—The Side Hustle Project. Listen to my episode about How to Find a Profitable Business Idea right here…
There is solid demand for this business—and no wonder installing carpet including stretching it out to fit just right—is harder than it looks! Demand comes not just from homeowners but also from commercial businesses. You can land installation work from carpet retailers, from online business service directories, or from advertising on places like Craigslist.
The local bank or investment advisory service may decide to add a touch of class and the feel of quiet success to their office by adding art to its walls, but which paintings should they buy? That’s where you come in, the expert art buyer. You could offer your services to private art buyers as well. Where do you start? You could simply start with one recommendation for one painting for a friend’s empty wall space.
Many small businesses have gaps in what their employees can take care of. Hiring a full time employee to fill in those gaps isn’t necessarily feasible, which is where your work-at-home business comes into play. Here are some work-at-home ideas that every business needs:
The other option for online sales is to simply become the eBay middleman. Millions of vendors sell their wares on the online auction house. If you can find an inexpensive source for (legally!) saleable merchandise, you can get into business.
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.
Even if you don’t have a background in online marketing, you can take a cheap online course to get started – particularly with SEO.This is another competitive industry, so if you want to stand out, focus on a niche area, such as AdWords, or emerging marketing fields like influencer marketing.
Once you’ve gotten your workspace set aside, decide what you need around you to make you most productive. Aside from the usual paper clips, stapler and pens, here are some other items to keep in mind:
The real estate market is on the rebound (for today) and people are buying and selling properties in many locations across the U.S. That means a lot of opportunities for professionals who know how to navigate the legal, financial, and commercial aspect of real estate to build up a stable of clients as a side business idea, especially if you begin to scale your sales hiring and build a team of reps working to help you close more deals. If you consider yourself an expert in the subject, it won’t be a walk in the park (hehe), but you can earn significant additional side income as a home-based consultant.
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You could try to do this business online…but of course the issue is getting people the right size. You could even send several sizes if they are not sure of their size. Or you could have a storefront. You don’t need a fancy location or expensive buildout. There is a formal wear rental facility near me that has been very successful for decades, and the storefront looks like it was last remodeled about 50 years ago.
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If you keep your money hidden in the attic or earning close to nothing in a savings account, you might want to consider putting it to better use through smarter investing as your side business idea. Sure, there are plenty dangers to look out for, but most personal finance experts will advise you to start learning about the stock market if you want to grow your wealth, and to avoid jumping too heavily into trends like Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies without proper understanding.
Wherever it is, make sure that it becomes synonymous with work. It’s important that you and anyone who lives with you treat your workspace as sacred. By establishing a specific room or spot where you will work, you will develop a routine and start conditioning your mind and body to associate that workspace with being productive.
If you are in a climate that consistently gets a lot of snow each year, then this could be a good business. But if the snowfall is inconsistent, you could get stuck with having a nice new snowplow and truck, but no business.
I’ve found that fear often stops aspiring consultants from starting a consulting business–or any business–and on my blog, I talk about how to overcome those fears. I also talk about practical, concrete things you can do to start and run a successful consulting business, along with tools, tips, tricks, and techniques for automating your business and keeping costs to a minimum. The info I give is applicable to most other types of businesses as well.
If you don’t mind doing other people’s chores, then TaskRabbit may be the right side business idea for you. Earn a little side money doing odd jobs like walking your neighbor’s dog or mowing Mr. Smith’s lawn. Running errands not your style? Tell that to the top taskers on the portal who reportedly earn as much as $7000 a month, making this a full-time business idea for some.
There’s never a guarantee of making it big on YouTube. But you can create and post a variety of video content to the platform right from the comfort of your own home, and maybe even make enough from ads to run it as a business.
That’s why I’m a huge advocate of always starting a side business while working full-time, so that you can test your way into your new product or service, get feedback, validate the business idea, and start generating income before you quit your job. If you can master the art of scaling a side business idea while keeping your day job, you’ll have no trouble succeeding once you’re fully self-employed.
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!
If you’ve developed valuable skill sets or certifications within your industry over the years, consider putting your skills to use in your free time by offering your consulting services to local business owners as a potentially lucrative side business idea. Whether you’re an expert marketer, business strategist, or manufacturing aficionado, there’s likely a local business owner who’s willing to pay you to help them solve an issue with their company—if you can craft an effective cold email that convinces them to hire you. Start with this 18-step checklist to becoming a local business consultant as a side business idea, from Karyn Greenstreet. When you’re ready to get serious about becoming a consultant, check out all of my picks for the best online business courses to keep building your skills and learning how to land your first consulting clients. Personally, I think this is one of the best business ideas you can get started with today.
People with wood burning stoves and fireplaces need wood to burn and they love to have it delivered, all cut up into bite-sized pieces! They don’t want to have to carry logs around, they don’t want to get their nice car dirty and they don’t want to split up logs.
Potential challenges: Depending on your location, you may need to get licensed. You may also face heavy competition from other local sitters and companies such as Rover, which connects dog owners to sitters and walkers. You’re also responsible for the safety and well-being of the furry ones.
Set up a dedicated phone line and internet service. Almost all businesses will require contact with customers over the phone. In order to ensure that your line will be free when customers call, you’ll have to get a dedicated phone line for business use. You should also sign up for voicemail rather than using an answering machine. This sounds more professional to customers.[7] You should also add an internet connection that is fast enough for your business purposes while still remaining affordable.
I mean come on, who wouldn’t be interested in this side business idea? Getting paid to take care of a cute pup sounds like a dream. The prevalence of unattended pets is another side effect of busy life, creating job business ideas and opportunities for people with time, patience, and affection to spare. Just check out DogVacay and Rover to see what I mean. Would the payout be worth it if you try? One person in New York earns $3,300 a month just pet-sitting for busy animal lovers as his side business idea.
This is one of the most popular small businesses because everyone wants a house cleaner. The work is repetitive. But if you can show up on time and do a good job consistently (I find many the work of many cleaners deteriorates after the first few weeks), you will build a healthy clientele. And if you can charge enough so that you can delegate, you can grow this into a large business.

To create a successful virtual assistant company, I knew we would need a “techie” to manage the platforms, a “connector” to connect us with the right clients, and a few trusty team members ready to get their hands dirty and take on any project thrown their way. Every team member was tasked with becoming an expert in the productivity space by testing other VA companies and learning the latest tools.
One of our strongest selling books at my book publishing company was “Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands?” Traveling business people and others want to know how to fit in with foreign cultures. With a little bit a research or overseas exposure you could offer basic courses and consulting, and then you could provide more in-depth expertise as you build your knowledge overtime.
You can make a room in your house into a photography studio, but you’ve got to get out to promote your services or do some clever marketing. Doing photography for groups (typically at their location) is one way to get going. Another is to develop a specialty (such as children’s portraits).
Another option is cleaning offices. One friend in Boston built a highly successful cleaning business focusing on small businesses. They trusted him with access to their businesses at night and were willing to pay him a hefty premium. He worked just 4 or 5 hours a night and made a very healthy living.
Working from home can be a lot of fun — if you’ve chosen the right career. There are now more options than ever when it comes to home-based businesses. And some of the opportunities might be just what you’re looking for if you want to add some more fun to your life. Below is a list of the most fun home based business ideas.
If the web were around when I was younger, I would have spent so much time on this next way to make money. Internet earning revolves around completing digital offers, sharing offers with friends, testing websites, watching videos, using smartphone apps, completing surveys, and clipping and using coupons.
We all love the moment in Antiques Roadshow when the owner learns how much their heirloom is worth. Becoming an antiques appraiser will allow you to live that moment every day. This does require a background education in the subject and access to an excellent reference library.
Spending a leisurely afternoon in a swimming pool can be a lot of fun. But cleaning it can be a pain in the neck. Hence, most pool owners hire people to do the cleaning for them. If you need extra cash and don’t mind getting physical, then pool cleaning is a viable side business idea for you.
Everyone puts off cleaning up their messy garage! They need your help! And lots of people, especially guys would jump at the chance to have a beautifully finished garage to proudly house their favorite automobile!
Users of smartphones and tablets are always damaging the screens. Sometimes just a single drop can be enough to crack a screen. Many devices require special tools to replace screens and so most people need to turn to a screen repair business. You could charge customers for your labour and there would be little costs after the initial set-up costs.
There are a lot of items that can be purchased very inexpensively at garage sales or thrift stores and sold for higher prices elsewhere. A few years ago I discovered that I could purchase good hardcover books at my local thrift shop for $1 or less. I realized that some of them could be sold on Amazon.com for $15-$20, which turns out to be a pretty decent profit. Find and sell enough items and you have a fun home business.
I just recently started my own in home personal training business. If you have the passion for fitness and helping people and also have a good set up in your home (separate training room) then I highly suggest it! It’s fun and why not make a little extra money?
My kids did an upscale sneaker and related goods boutique. This can be a lot of fun but it may be harder than you think to make money. First make absolutely sure your location has great foot traffic—stand there and count heads before you sign a lease! Then develop a distinctive plan for merchandising, and don’t be afraid to mark down what isn’t moving.
I am 3 years away from full retirement but would love to do it earlier and get out of the rat race and learn new skills. I have plent of office experience and working wiith numbers and pc’s. Can anyone give me an estimate of the cost of the online schools for certificates in medical billing? I looked at some of your links to the schools and I know I can ask them for info, but woud like to get an idea of the cost before I have someone contacting me without knowing first if I can afford to pursue this. I am very interested and thank you for wanting to help others.
It’s clear there are more opportunities to start a home based business without spending thousands of dollars. Thanks for the very doable suggestions and ideas. I used do engraving and eBay. Now I blog. I love to share information about making money online ethically.
Laurie Davis started the dating website eFlirt.com with $50 and a Twitter account reports Young, Fabulous and Self-Employed. Her successful enterprise has been profiled by the New York Times, The Washington Post, Good Morning America, and many other media outlets.
Once you’ve established yourself in any number of freelance verticals online, spending your time focusing just on doing inside sales (booking freelance contracts with high-value clients) and then subcontracting your work out to other freelancers can help significantly grow your client list, and revenue generating possibilities with this business idea.
I love wine bars! There is even a successful wine bar in the small village on Cape Cod where my summer house is. How did it become successful? The owners found a location near the center of the village but at a low rent. They started with a very limited food menu but eventually expanded it to become a full-service restaurant. They also offer live music on most nights. Beware that many customers expect truly exceptional wines at a wine bar.
This is a great list. There are work from home companies that pay well and are legit. Find forums where people are doing it. I had two different jobs that I could work as many or as few hours as I wanted from home and they paid $14+ an hour. I need to get on the freelance stuff. Thanks for sharing.
This is a business you could start in a couple hours with literally zero investment. In the public library on the resort island of Nantucket, I watched a man create a flyer for his walking tour business on a free public access computer. Then he went outside and posted the newly created flyer on the public bulletin board. A few hours later he greeted his customers as they gathered on the advertised street corner, collected their money, and then took them on the walking tour. Not sure how to set up your walking tour? Get a history or even a self-walking tour guide at the public library.
Great ideas. I currently work from home and love it. It beats driving 2 hours in traffic any day. I constantly have people asking me about jobs from home, so I’m going to have to pass this list along.

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