Keep in mind, I’m only talking about setting yourself up to do business: I’m not talking about writing a business plan (although if that’s what you want to do, here’s a comprehensive guide to writing a business plan), sourcing financing, developing a marketing plan, etc.
If you plan to operate a business in an area that is zoned “residential,” you need to become familiar with the zoning ordinances. Certain business activities are prohibited completely in residential areas. For example, operating a website design company is likely to be permitted, but an auto repair shop may be prohibited.
While you can find terrific resources online about family history, it takes someone to patiently piece it all together—that’s where you come in as the family history writer. Do your research carefully, put it together in a snappy-looking package, be patient in answering customers’ questions, and you could grow this business nicely.
If you can craft anything, anything at all, have any sort of design qualities or experience, or just some creativity and a working set of arms and legs, you can create things and sell them. There are so many online market places that you can sell in, eBay, Amazon, Etsy, to name a few… so many product to create, from wearable art (a nicer term for clothing), through craftsmanship of things like pots and jars, through genuine art – painting sculpting etc.
But be wary. Food service—even a delivery service, which is the most likely scenario for home bakers, as opposed to setting up a storefront—comes with built-in risks. Prepare yourself, and read up on your local insurance requirements. And don’t be afraid to start out by making just one or two really great treats. Consistency is more important than variety in the baking business.
The list given above applies to any business. However, there are licensing rules that are triggered when a business is operated from a home (or in an area zoned as residential) and special considerations that come into play for the general type of permits.
Investment: You can reduce your initial costs by starting small and part-time. Besides needing a professional camera, lighting equipment and editing software, costs may include website setup and marketing, and hiring photography assistants.
Another idea someone could do from home is to start a service or write a software program that scours local ad listings (like craigslist) for a particular used item a person wants to buy. They have services like this for new items, but not used. I know others like me who are keeping their eye out for something used (like a canopy king bed!) but don’t have the time or inclination to search for it every day.
Potential challenges: It’s a seasonal type of business, as wedding bookings are likely to slow down in the winter — though this depends on where you live. As a result, you may need to get creative when it comes to stretching your earnings throughout the year.
Because a home-based or online business operates with the goal generating revenue by selling goods or services to the public, most of the rules designed to guard the public and collect tax revenue apply. This includes obtaining an array of business licenses, permits, and zoning approvals, as well as incorporating or forming an LLC to operate your business legally, protect your personal assets, avoid fines and penalties, and boost your business credibility.
I have worked for Community Colleges, traditional non-profit universities, and a for-profit university. I cannot warn you enough to stay away from for-profits. Total snake oil salesmen who would steal from their own grandmas.
An errand service can be a natural business to tie into grocery delivery, or vice versa. Once again, if you already have a car you’re ready to get started. People often need someone to check on their dog at home, or run to the store if they are homebound.
Mechanical Turk operates much like TaskRabbit and GigWalk: it’s a corner online where Amazon gathers tasks to be done, people willing to do them, and people willing to pay for them. On Mechanical Turk, you get to do the oddest jobs you can imagine as an online business idea, made possible by a parallel online universe that runs on hits, visits, surveys, reviews, pins, likes, CPCs, reads, and other metrics. But don’t get too ambitious. The small sums being paid out to human Mechanical Turk users rarely add up to anything seriously substantial, even if you invest most of your spare time into it. It’s a better opportunity for internationally-based people with internet access and lower costs of living than in the US. Here’s one person’s account of his former life as a Mechanical Turk talking through how he got started with this business idea and what the experience was really like.
The market for daycare is gigantic! Of course, you can start in your home or in the workplace. Corporations may consider providing you with free space if you provide day care for their employees’ kids. Safety and licensing are essential for this business. You can quickly build a steady income and a valuable business.
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.
It used to be that if you had a product to sell, you also had to have a storefront and all the costs associated with it. These days, you can sell anything to anyone anywhere in the world. Whether you’re marketing the organic honey from your backyard apiary, or selling personalized linens that you embroider yourself, you can find a market for your products online.
I believe that every business, even a lemonade stand, should have a business plan. But many people either hesitate to create a plan or don’t know how to do it. That’s where you come in. But remember your big value added is to help your clients learn how to develop a framework for making critical strategic decisions for their business, not just to create a nice-looking document.
I’ve owned a lot of boats (and even built a couple) and I’ll tell you most boat owners want their boats totally ship-shape! And yet boats tend to get dirty easily! Which leads to a great demand for boat maintenance and cleaning. To make a go of this, you want to have a good concentration of boats in one town, at one harbor or ideally on one dock. So, do a great job (this is a finicky crowd), don’t sell on price, be dependable and you will build word of mouth. I would also do as much work as possible wearing my company T-shirt, when boat owners are around cleaning their own boats…such as on Saturday mornings.
A lot of these sign businesses are franchise operations, but you don’t have to be. The key is marketing. Watch what other players in this field do, explore the hundreds of marketing videos on BusinessTown.com. Unless you are really strapped for cash I would recommend starting with a storefront but not a third-rate location, and a simple and small facility should be fine. Alternatively, you could try this business totally online, shipping signs to customers.
This is a great business and I can’t tell you how many times I have used pest control services for my residences as well as commercial locations. The rates vary hugely from one locale to the next, so carefully survey nearby markets to determine which market may be the best opportunity for you.
Hi. I especially like the Ebay business model, because it is so easy to start and quickly profit, Also Amazon FBA can be a very profitable business and again is very easy to start for newbies. I just recently picked up just a couple of books for less than $12 and sold them for over $80! very easily. Good luck everyone. Hope this helps.
What about an online business? Many of the principles discussed above apply to a business that operates solely online. For example, an online business with employees will need to register with the workers’ compensation and unemployment departments. While an online-only business is unlikely to run afoul of zoning laws or signage restrictions, the online proprietor must grapple with sales tax on certain transactions. In fact, the sales tax rules for online sales are often more complex, idiosyncratic, and ambiguous than those that apply to in-store or traditional mail order transactions. Therefore, a conversation with your accountant is advised before you start taking orders.
If you have something you’re skilled at and very passionate about, you can turn that winning combination into offering your services with one-on-one online coaching as a solid side business idea. Just be sure to implement your own opportunity management system so you don’t get caught up working with clients that you can’t measurably help. Elmira Strange will give you a step-by-step plan for putting your skills and experience to work by developing an online coaching business—even as a side business idea in the time around your full-time job—so be sure to check out her course on Udemy for a jump start on this side business idea.
These writers put together promotional materials for businesses, including ads, websites, newsletters, commercials, direct mailings, and many others. Copywriters generally have a degree in advertising, marketing, English, or communication, but any excellent writer can do a great job copywriting. Median salary: $55,000.
Build up a following on your Instagram account and you could quickly be approached by major brands, gear companies, and other relevant businesses that sell products or services related to the type of content you share on Instagram—creating multiple potential side business ideas that’ll come to you. If you have the right marketing skills and hundreds of thousands of followers, you can easily charge anywhere between $500 to $5,000 per post (or more)—which makes for a very profitable side business idea. Check out this fashion Instagrammer on ThePennyHoarder, making a significant income from brand sponsorships. Once you get some traction, to cut down on the amount of time you spend uploading images, you can make your entire workflow more efficient by posting photos from your Mac or PC.
I kind of “fell into” my at home business. I was a customer of their website division a few years ago. When my husband got downsized – I closed my business and started working with my current company. It’s been such a blessing to be able to stay at home (2 girls in elementary school) and help contribute to our family. When our company started another division helping non-profits with alternative funding – it was something I was passionate about. I feel very blessed to have found the real deal with my at home businesses and in the two years I’ve been with them – it all keeps getting better.
One of my friend’s mothers offered art lessons in her home after school. She had a steady clientele and they made some really cool art! You may already have an art specialty that you want to teach to others. Or you may find that you are better off learning the basics of a new art skill and teaching that, or offering a survey course covering a number of art skills—most of the market will likely be beginners anyway.
I live in a flat but I own the leasehold. Does that mean I can use the flat for whatever I want? The short answer is no, you can’t. Your lease will govern how you can use the property so you will need to check whether it contains any restrictions. There may be an absolute prohibition on business use, or it may say that you need to seek your landlord’s consent. Certain types of leases (including the widely used assured shorthold tenancy or “AST”) prohibit business use. Running a home business in these circumstances would be a breach of your lease and there would be a risk of your landlord trying to terminate your tenancy.
Potential challenges: Starting a food business can be complicated, as you’ll have to deal with permitting requirements and health department regulations. Other obstacles include securing a desirable location and fierce competition, although these factors may depend on your local market.
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.
Anyone with a knack for style and design can offer interior design services to clients. And it isn’t a requirement to have a separate office. So you can do much of the brainstorming and administrative work from home.
Health and fitness services are being rebranded to become trendier and more sociable. Opening a health club or gym targeted specifically to millennials could be a great way to capitalize on the fitness trend, especially if you focus on creating a strong, fun and engaging social media presence to really connect with young members and potential customers.
Everyone wants a clean house, but many people don’t have the time or desire to do it themselves (most of us are just waiting for Roombas to become more affordable while we drown in dust). Starting your own housecleaning service is another great home-business idea, although of course this job requires travel and can’t strictly be done from home-you’ll mostly be in other people’s homes.
I’m not getting up on that high ladder anymore! That’s why I spend $200 to have a service clean my gutters twice a year. Considering that even one person can clean several houses a day, you can see that it’s very good money potential. Try really hard to geographically concentrate your gutter cleaning each day. This could be a great weekend business.
While it’s incredibly difficult, and requires a big investment, to open up a new operating business, introducing clients to existing businesses is an idea that can hardly fail you, if done properly. The concept is simple – find an existing business that is looking to recruit clients, and willing to accept introductions. Most businesses will be happy with something along these lines as this sort of deal is performance based. There’s not risk on anyone’s behalf.
On the other hand, if you want to market your own t-shirts you might have more upside potential but the downside is greater too! The brothers who started “Life is Good” t-shirt business for example, lived out of their van for several years until their business finally gained momentum.
I hate being locked out! And I hate how much money I have to pay a locksmith! Let alone how much I have to pay to have locks changed or a better lock system installed! Wouldn’t it be nice to be receiving this money instead of paying it out? Not only is there a constant need for this service, but with more elaborate door systems there is more room for upselling your customers—wouldn’t it be cool to have a keyless lock system?
CT Tip: Even if your planned business does not run afoul of your local government’s zoning restrictions, you might be violating the terms of your Home Owner’s Association (HOA) agreement. Originally confined to condominiums and cooperatives, many single-family communities now have HOAs that govern what residents can, and cannot, do on or to their property. It may be necessary to get an exception or waiver of the rules.
There’s more to being a coach or personal trainer than just being fit and loving to exercise. Finding a specialization is important, and licenses might be required for certain types of coaching roles. For instance, a friend in Boston obtained US and European soccer-coaching licenses before opening a successful one-on-one soccer-instruction business.
If you don’t know what Uber is, basically it is the 21st century version of the taxi. You just use your own car and when someone near you wants a ride you get a notification on your phone (assuming you selected that you were available in the app) you go pick them up and drop them off where they want to go and then you automatically get paid.
I always recommend people start in an industry they know well – as long as there is money to be made. In addition, an Internet-based business has very little overhead expenses and so in turn, you can get into profit a lot faster. Those would be my two recommendations for anyone looking to start a small or home-based business.
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Set up your home office. To work effectively, you’ll need to have a dedicated business space within your home. If you work locally, this is also your commercial space. You’ll need to create an area separate from family members, pets, and other distractions. If possible, separate this area as much as possible from the rest of your home. The physical separation will help create mental separation between your home life and work life and also make the tax deduction for a home-based office less subjective.
As I’ve already covered with TeeSpring, the T-shirt retailing business is worth millions of dollars. But what if you want to do the manufacturing side of things? T-shirt printing turns out to be quite a rewarding business idea for many each year, but can quickly consume much of your side business idea time—so know what you’re getting into before diving in. This multi-billion dollar industry counts big corporate factories as well as home-based part-time entrepreneurs.
This usually entails starting a business from home, and like all great business ideas, it begins by filling a need. Even if you are going to sell something find an underserved segment and provide the best service possible.
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