Maybe you’re looking to supplement your full-time income with a side business. Or perhaps you’re finished with the 9-to-5 and ready to be your own boss. In either case, coming up with a killer small-business idea is the first step on the path to entrepreneurship.
Please Note: These business opportunities require a small investment up front, but give you all the tools and support that you’ll need to start your very own home-based business in the direct sales industry.
The biggest gaming companies spend millions developing their latest offerings and lots more money promoting them. Can you compete? Yes, you can. A recent college grad we hired had just launched her own game, and was getting hundreds of thousands of downloads. Sure, it’s a whole additional level to get people to start paying for your games, but it can be done.
My book publishing business often bought books from packagers. What is a packager? Typically, a book packager would sell to a publisher a completed manuscript with the pages already laid out, and a book cover all ready to go. Book packagers tended to sell more complex book projects, such as books that were heavily illustrated or books that were “packaged” with another component. For example, we bought a book about chess, boxed with a small chess set, from a book packager.
Learn how to start your own website and make money through online advertising, find out how to turn your “trash into cash” on eBay, and how you can become a home based entrepreneur by providing a service or creating a product line.
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.
1. Study the market. When a product idea dawns on you, first you must situate it. I recommend searching through Google Images and Google Shopping. Do similar products exist? Study them carefully. What benefits do they offer? Consider your point of difference. Does it offer a benefit consumers truly need or want? Read Amazon product reviews for further insight. Search for prior art as well. (Your goal is to understand the history of innovation as it relates to your concept, not to prove it’s never been thought of before.) If you find your idea in a patent but not on the market, do further research. What happened?
The question I’m asked the most (by far) when I meet and speak with fellow entrepreneurs is, “How do I know which business idea is best for me?” This one is always quickly followed by, “How do I start on this side business idea while I’m still working my full-time job?”
Suppose I was to tell you that I would pay you up to $15 to process rebates from various products and companies. I would send you a list, you proces the rebates and you get paid twice a month. All you need is a computer, internet access and our training program. Would you be interested? Chances are you would be! I know I would be too! Lucky for you that I stumbled across some crazy back door information about the rebate processors position that’s going to knock your socks off. Trust me when I say you’ll be so thankful that I go to the bottom of this opportunity.
Think about how you can zero in on a specific audience for your products and how the business you build can serve them. If you already have a sizeable audience (a blog, a YouTube channel, or an Instagram account), maybe you can even find a way to base your business off of that existing audience.
If you love to cook, take the “Blondie” route and start a home catering business. Catering is a business that’s perfectly designed to reward those who plan well, and it can often fit perfectly into weekends, which could work great if you are trying to build a business outside of normal working hours.
If you are offering pizza delivery you don’t need a storefront at all. You could just get an inexpensive industrial quality space, as long as it is convenient to your customers. Lure your first customers in with juicy offers. Then try to keep them with great quality. But beware that a lot of pizza delivery sales even to repeat customers involve some kind of discount or special offer.
We’re all guilty of spending too much time on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest sometimes, so why not get paid to put your expertise to work as a side business idea? Lots of companies, especially startups or those in retail and travel—even influencers have heavy social media presences and are constantly in need of people to help build their brands online. You can find these types of opportunities on sites like Flexjobs and CareerBuilder and most employers on these websites are conditioned to working with people who operate these services as their side business idea.
Interested entrepreneurs can either open a franchise from an existing vending machine business or sell vending-machine friendly products to help stock up schools and offices with healthier, affordable snacks.
Looking for work from home jobs that don’t involve the use of a phone? Many people are — most often because of the “no background noise” requirement most phone jobs come with. Kind of hard to abide by that when you have kids and/or pets running around during the day! Fortunately, you do have lots of options!
Hire professional designers. If you do decide to get a website, make sure it looks professional. Designers may cost more initially, but a well presented and trustworthy site is essential. It needs to look professional and work with ease. If you are including money transactions, invest in security encryption and check that your money transfer companies are sound and reliable.
There is a huge upside potential rebuilding auto parts, like transmissions. However, I have friends who have gone into this business and it can take years to nail down your production process, develop your customer base and start to reap the big money.
You’ll find this statement on the iQor website: “You’ve got energy, enthusiasm, drive and determination. We’ve got benefits, flexible schedules, and a career path that rewards performance with growth and opportunity.” Is that you?
One-on-one sports coaching is the obvious play here. But you could set up sports clinics or sports camps. You could build up a business based on your expertise in a particular sport or you could offer more general fitness training for athletes of many sports. Often sports coaches get started with a part time job coaching a school sports team, which then leads to private coaching work.
Cover your startup costs. How are you going to finance your business initially? The bank, venture capitalists, angel investors, Small Business Administration (SBA), your own savings: these are all viable options. When you start a business, be realistic. You will probably not roll out of the gate making 100 percent of whatever you project, so you need to have enough ready reserve to fund things until you are really up and running. One of the surest roads to failure is under-capitalization.
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The antique market is not as lively as it used to be. But there’s still money to be had from the industry if you love rare old stuff and possess the skill of restoring them to their former glory. To start an antique refurbishing business at home, you’ll likely need a few thousand dollars to build out a basic workshop and stock it with all of the right treatments and materials in order to truly excel with this side business idea. Start small by borrowing around what you can, and learning the basics of the trade as a side hustle before investing in a ton of equipment.
Contrary to popular belief, there are genuine work from home jobs where you don’t need a website to earn good money. Working at home allows you to set your own hours. Most of the legitimate work at home jobs are based on contracts and you work as a freelancer. Genuine Work From Home Jobs continued…
“Innovative companies aren’t going it alone,” the report states. “Instead, they’re pushing the boundaries of innovation both inside and outside their organizations by breaking down traditional barriers, tapping a much wider ecosystem for ideas, insights, talent, and technology, and incorporating the customer throughout the innovation process.”
Healthy Hands Cooking provides stay-at-home moms with a passion for nutrition and kids, the chance to make a healthy income while making a difference in kids’ lives. Keep 100% of your income, empower kids in your community with vital, healthy living skills, and LOVE WHAT YOU DO!
5. Capture the big benefit of your concept using a few highly impactful words. This is what I refer to as your ‘one sentence benefit statement.’ It needs to pack a punch! Your goal is to pique the receiver’s curiosity quickly. Yours should make the receiver think: “I want to know more about that.”
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.
Focus on your strengths, skills and experience. You can perform at a higher level earlier on if there’s less of a learning curve. And starting a business that you have passion for gives you a better shot at success and lowers the chances of burnout. A detailed business plan will help, too.
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One of my friends took over her father’s dry cleaning business that over a lifetime he had built into a dozen stores. This is really hard work. Every item has to be handled many times. Customers can be demanding. And it is competitive. But if you are willing to work hard, you can make a very solid income.
With new digital ad options abounding, developing a well thought out advertising program is more complex than ever! Hence, businesses are even more dependent upon third parties such as ad agencies to solve their marketing riddle and bring customers to their door. To get going as an ad agency you will need some broad marketing acumen. However, today no-one can be expected to be an expert in all aspects of marketing, so you’ll also need some contacts to bring in particular expertise when you need it.
Mobile tech is now a must-have for almost any business, but finding ways to go mobile is a challenge for many business owners. If you can provide affordable mobile solutions to businesses that need them, you’ll find mobile consulting a rich business opportunity.
Fancy yourself a poet? You can earn $300 for every poem you write that this greeting card company publishes—not a bad side business idea if you’ve got a way with words and aren’t afraid of rejection on poems that aren’t a good fit.
Working Solutions hires independent contractor home-agents to provide sales, technical support and customer service. Home agents can put their experience to work and enjoy the freedom of working when they want, where they want. They select highly educated, experienced professionals with product knowledge, certifications and industry experience to match our clients’ business needs. They never charge any fees. Home-agents earn anywhere from $8.00 -$20.00 per hour, depending on the program.
6. Create a sell sheet and, if need be, a short video. A sell sheet is essentially a one-page advertisement. They are frequently used to showcase new products. A good sell sheet will actually do the selling for you. It’s difficult to convey the benefit of some products statically though, which is why filming a short video may assist you (or, sometimes, be essential).
Though we already suggested a wine bar/coffee shop combo above, the clientele you’ll attract for that small town business idea versus this one is significantly different. Think first dates and book clubs versus Super Bowl Sunday and Monday Night Football. Speaking of which, special events for sports games can drum up major business. Opening a successful sports bar in a sports-centric town can be a great investment. But if you miscalculate the interests of your town, it can also be disastrous. So make sure you know the personality of the community going into this venture.
You have a passion, and you’d like to make it your profession. No matter how enthusiastic you are about your small business, though, it won’t be successful unless you have a plan in place for how you’re going to start and run it.
Have a meticulous eye for detail and love to get things gleaming clean? Auto detailing is probably a perfect side business for you. In essence, your job is to make cars sparkle inside and out – and many people are quite happy to pay well for this service.