best business to start | how to get your own business started

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.
Companies are increasingly turning to freelance and contract workers to fill the skill gaps in their staff. It’s not hard to imagine that you could build a whole company around providing freelance services of one sort or another. Some freelance gigs pay by the project and others pay hourly, and the rates can vary greatly. But as you gain more experience, your earning potential will soar.
If you have the gift of gab, public speaking is a worthwhile side business idea for you to pursue. Many authors, medical practitioners, scientists, artisans, politicians, and other subject matter experts earn extra income by delivering speeches, seminars, and presentations. Professional motivational speakers earn an average annual salary of around $90,000 with just that portion of their income, making this a very realistic side business idea while you continue practicing your craft.
Organize your business as a legal entity. When setting up for business you have several options in determining the structure of your business. The easiest is to simply act as a sole proprietorship where you, the business owner, are legally the business. In this case, you would use your SSN for tax identification purposes. However, if you plan to have partners or hire employees, you will need to organize your business as a separate entity like a corporation. Doing so will require you to incorporate your business with you state and obtain an employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS.
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.
With many of the business ideas we’ll explore in this post, you may not be shipping your products, but you still need to cover the cost of shipping. Consider your shipping costs and how they will vary in the different countries you want to serve.
Toluna is a survey and product testing site where you can earn points for participation. Most surveys and questionnaires take 15 – 20 minutes and members earn anywhere from 15 – 20,000 points depending on the length. Points can be redeemed for sweepstakes tickets for gadgets or getaways, vouchers for stores like Amazon, even cash. Payments are made via PayPal and check.
That said, dropshipping is a low-investment way to test product-market fit and launch a business before you invest in your own original products. Just be sure to always order a sample for yourself to make sure that your supplier is reliable and that the quality of the products is fit for selling to your customers.
If you play your cards right, certain types of businesses will pay you to promote their products and encourage sales. If you’re interested in learning more, check out affiliate marketing programs such as Amazon Associates, Commission Junction, LinkShare, and ShareASale.
Anyone can sell goods on Amazon, provided you have products to sell (or buy low, then resell). If you’re the type to hit all the local garage sales each weekend, there’s all sorts of valuable things that can be resold online as a side business idea. If you want to step your Amazon selling game up, check out this detailed guide to Amazon and eBay retail arbitrage on Entrepreneur featuring an interview with Julie Becker and several drop-shippers who’ve grown this home based business idea from side business idea into a lucrative money-maker.
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.
9. Practice win-win negotiation strategy. Familiarize yourself with basic clauses and what to expect first. Remember: You’re forging a partnership. Focus on getting to a term sheet first. Don’t bring your attorney in too soon. Be a team player. More here.
While the barriers to entry for a retail shop can be very high, one way to keep costs down and limit your time investment while you keep your full-time job, is to set up a weekend popup shop as a side business idea. More of whatever it is you’re selling—donuts, clothing, antique baseball cards, or anything else—will stay in your pockets instead of going to pay for operating expenses such as rent or utilities by choosing to pursue retail as a side business idea with a short-term rental. This guide from Shopify will give you a step-by-step process for getting your popup shop off the ground.
Washing windows for retail stores is about as simple as it gets. Just get your cleaning supplies and knock on the doors of retail stores, asking if they want their windows cleaned. If you get some takers you could arrange to make it into a regular service.
One major reason why? Technology has enabled the phenomenon known as open innovation to thrive. Open innovation is a paradigm shift that embraces the benefits of transparency and collaboration as they relate to idea-sharing. Dr. Henry Chesbrough, a professor at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, first described the concept at length in his 2003 book of the same name.
Fancy Hands hires remote-based workers to complete customer service requests like making phone calls on behalf of people, scheduling appointments, tracking down the best price, finding hotels, and data entry.
One of my friends and his wife liked having a nanny so much that they kept her to help out around the house even after the kids went off to boarding school. This same friend told me they went through 23 nannies in 22 years! No wonder there is a demand for nanny services! This business is all about trust. If you don’t have successful placements under your belt, you can build trust other ways. Show off your background, describe your thorough vetting process, and have a very professional looking website and marketing materials.
A photographer, for example, can service a local event while selling prints online through their Instagram account. Coupling your service-based business with physical products can give you another source of income that isn’t directly tied to your time.
S Corporation: If you’re looking for a more formal structure, an S-corp might be right for you. You’ll be allowed up to 100 shareholders and required to have a board of directors and corporate officers. You also won’t face corporate taxation — all profit/loss will be claimed on the shareholders’ personal tax returns.
You should check with a professional to be sure, but I’ve read that you can file for an LLC in any state (regardless of where you live). Therefore, it would be excessive to file in more than one state.
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.
Bob’s Rent-A-Bike was my first business which I started when I was 19 years old. For this business, you can set up service stations or other local business as your agents, giving them a percentage of the rental fees. Vacation areas and being near bike trails are great places for bike rentals.
It’s easier than ever to find a trend and turn it into a full-on entrepreneurial venture. Channel your passions and skills to leverage a professional opportunity in the new year. Here are 12 great business ideas for 2018.
You should have some decent equipment that makes your audience happy but that could mean different levels of investment for different audiences. Are you going to be playing for large event venues or for junior high school birthday parties? I know a fellow who started a successful mobile DJ business even before he was old enough to have a driver’s license. He would either have a friend give him and his equipment a ride to his gigs, or he would get a taxi.
#11- TranscribeMe,  a company that pays up to $20 per hour for an audio transcription. As a requirement, you must pass their short transcription test for you to be shortlisted for transcription projects. TranscribeMe pays weekly via PayPal for every completed order.
WineShop At Home – Frequently recognized at international wine competitions, our wines are deliciously different, wonderfully one-of-a-kind and exclusive to us. WineShop At Home Independent Wine Consultants earn an income by marketing our artisan wines through in-home Wine Tastings and they have FUN doing so. Tasting & learning about wine with friends, what’s not to love? Come for the Taste and Stay for the Lifestyle with us! Three Business Kits to choose from starting at $79. Contact Shelley Whitmarsh-Beal, Director of Field Development @ Shelley@wineshopathome.com for more info.
Define your team. Will you do this alone, or will you bring in one or two trusted friends to join you? This brings a lot of synergy to the table, as people bounce ideas off each other. Two people together can often create something that is greater than the sum of the two separate parts.
10. Move on to your next great idea. Licensing is a numbers game. You have to keep getting up to bat to land a home run. When a company rejects your submission, you must inquire why. You may be able to redesign your product to meet their needs. When you approach a company that rejected you with your second idea, you’re a professional. They’ll respect you for it.
Lots of businesses try to save money by hiring people as independent contractors rather than full-time employees. The IRS will impose large penalties on businesses that do not withhold and pay taxes for workers that it considers full-time employees rather than independent contractors. Here are some things the IRS will look at to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or a full-time employee:
Most people, even those many won’t admit it, love moving their bodies. It’s also a great workout. If at some point in your life, you had to hang your dancing shoes for a more sensible office job, there’s nothing stopping you from earning money with this side business idea as a passion project around your day job. Part-time dance instructors get a fraction of the pie that their full-time peers enjoy, but it can add up to hundreds each week if you’re consistent—making for a great side business idea to those with the skills and drive.
If you love to write, create a blog and turn it into a business. If your site gets a lot of traffic, you can earn money via direct advertising, or through affiliate marketing, where you’d promote someone else’s product or service and earn commissions based on sales.
Understand your audience. Who are you selling to? Where are they? What qualities do they find appealing/off-putting? The answers to these questions should influence both your marketing content and the platforms you’re advertising on. Even the most brilliant campaign can flop if it’s broadcast in the wrong places.
If your business will have employees, you will, at minimum, need to purchase workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance. You may also need other types of coverage depending on your location and industry, but most small businesses are advised to purchase general liability (GL) insurance, or a business owner’s policy. GL covers property damage, bodily injury, and personal injury to yourself or a third party.
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.
Liveops is a virtual call center company. They hire at-home agents to perform inbound and outbound calls for customer service, customer acquisition, customer retention, revenue maximization, political, disaster relief, incident response, and fundraising.
The California Small Business Development Center is a great resource if you need a little assistance coming up with funding opportunities. They’ve got dozens of locations across the state where you can go to discuss potential funding approaches for your business based on all the criteria above (and more).
A lot of people make some really neat crafts. But to be able to make money at it, you also need to be able to price your products reasonably—and allow yourself enough money to bring your product to market. That being said, there are more markets than ever for your products! In addition to local retailers and craft fairs, you can sell them online, on your own website, or through third party sites like Etsy or EBay.
You’ve probably noticed that most companies nowadays offer ways to for their customers to contact them instantly via live chat support. Many of these chat support agents do work from home. Below is a list of the companies I’ve reviewed on this site that have occasion openings for work at home chat agents.

Although TeleTech offers many customer service jobs at call centers across the U.S., the company also hires at-home workers. Just look for the listings with “work from home” or “Remote” under “Location.”
Being a wedding specialist works well for top-notch players, but being a generalist also has its benefits. Event and party planners leverage their network of service providers to cover not only weddings, but also seminars, corporate events, birthdays, baptisms, concerts, conferences, holiday parties, and other events, making it a relatively diverse business idea. Here are some tips if you want to run a part-time event planning business at home as a side business idea. And here’s a very honest look into the upside and downside of the trade.
This is a nice little niche business with a strong personal service element and a market that’s not just looking for the cheapest product. Netting for railings, cabinet door catches, safety coverings for electric outlets, door locks…there are lots of safety elements that need to be changed to make houses safe for babies and toddlers. Do your research carefully and make sure you are not missing any safety elements.
Banks levy varying charges. For a business startup, these can amount to a substantial sum for a bank-dependent operation. Always confirm the requirements and charges beforehand. Do not choose a bank based on only the reputation.
A large proportion of homeowners and small businesses have lawns to tend to. Many turn to independent providers of yard work services to take care of their lawn care woes. To start and sustain a yard work services side business idea, you need training, equipment, and a growing network of customers. In the U.S., a full-time landscaping and groundskeeping worker reportedly earns a median wage of around $25,000, while those working on this as a side business idea largely during evenings and weekends can expect to make substantially less.
Nothing beats playing your favorite game. But getting paid for coaching a sports team and staying close to the action is the next best thing. Not only will you learn new skills, you’ll earn money getting your team into shape with this side business idea. The median pay for sports coaches clocks in at $30,400 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Expect to have only a slice of that if you’re signing up for part-time coaching as a side business idea only.
Potential challenges: You are responsible for the safety of children, and you should plan for accidents to happen — that’s why insurance is crucial. This can also be a stressful business to operate, so the ability to handle or cope with stress is vital.
Acceleration Partners hires for a wide variety of affiliate marketing jobs. Candidates must reside within a reasonable driving distance of one of their key hub regions: Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Denver, or Santa Barbara/Los Angeles. These remote, full-time positions come with benefits and lots of perks.
Nicole received her Bachelor’s degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the managing editor. Reach her by email, or follow her on Twitter.
Fiverr is a great place for first-time freelancers who might not have tons of experience and want to build up a portfolio of their work. You’ll be able to complete simple tasks ranging from logo design, to creating animations, or even drawing a company logo on your forehead. While this side business idea likely won’t be growing into a million dollar startup for you, it can still be a platform for funding your next big business idea. Want to learn more about Fiverr’s history and how to get the most out of selling on the platform? Listen to my interview with Fiverr CEO Micha Kaufman.
With the wide array of digital marketing options to consider, not to mention traditional options, local businesses increasingly need outside help to develop and execute the best marketing strategy. To get going in this field you will need to be familiar with the most popular online and offline marketing venues, and be comfortable selling your services to local business people.
Someone wise once said that to qualify as a small town there is a prerequisite that it must have an ice cream shop. Ok, maybe we made that up. But regardless, if it’s not true, it should be. Opening an ice cream shop in a small town is a business idea guaranteed to draw a crowd. Knowing your product, being familiar with the most popular ice cream flavors, and having a willingness to work nights and weekends are all important factors to take into account. Just remember, this business comes with the challenges of seasonality. So, as we recommended boutique fitness businesses as great for cold weather climates, we are recommending ice cream shops for areas that are warmer. Find the perfect town with the perfect weather and this small town business idea is a no-brainer.
When you’re searching for B2B partners, you’ll have to choose very carefully. These companies will have access to vital and potentially sensitive business data, so it’s critical to find someone you can trust. In our guide to choosing business partners, our expert sources recommended asking potential vendors about their experience in your industry, their track record with existing clients, and what kind of growth they’ve helped other clients achieve.
Unum is hiring Remote Customer Service Specialists. Are you looking for a career change? Do you have great energy, love helping people and a drive to succeed? If so, Unum wants you. We are hiring now for remote employees located in Pacific and Mountain time zones. Unum is a Fortune 500 company with enormous opportunity for growth and career advancement. Plus, professional development, competitive salary, great benefits and a mission you can be proud of. Take your career to the next level. Hurry and apply today.
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.