how to run your own business | guide to starting a small business

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?”
This is similar to the banquet facility business but built around a facility that is ideal for weddings. People will pay a lot of money for a wedding venue that excites them! You could provide the catering and related services yourself, allow customers to bring their own caterers or require your customers work with a particular caterer that you chose.
EA Help hires remote-based workers to assist their clients with administration and task project management. Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree and at least five years of experience as an executive assistant, project manager, or similar role.
Learn about employment laws. If you plan to hire employees or contract workers as part of your home based business, you will need to know how to navigate labor laws. These include, but are not limited to, minimum wage, overtime pay, required benefits, and other fair compensation regulations. It’s best to hire legal counsel to make sure that you do not run afoul of these regulations.
But that was 2007, and quite a bit has changed since then. Where a side business was once a novel idea, it has since become much more mainstream. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, freelancers now make up around 15% of the workforce, compared to only 7% in 1995. And the trend isn’t expected to stop here. The BLS reports that freelancers and self-employed individuals may comprise 20% of the workforce by 2020.
For example, if you are streaming video as part of your business, you are justified in buying faster internet. However, if you are mainly using the internet for browsing and email, there is no reason for you to get a higher speed internet package.
You’ll need experience grooming pets or be willing to train. Past experience working with animals is recommended. Licenses and permits may also be required, depending on your location. As with other pet businesses, getting the proper insurance is recommended.
CloudSource, the work-at-home division of Sutherland Global Services, employs customer service consultants from all 48 contiguous states to support industry leaders in the cable/Internet service, retail, software, and gaming console industries. While all CloudSource positions are customer service in nature, some are more heavily focused on sales and/or technical support. Inbound calls only, paid training, ongoing support and growth opportunities exist … All from the comforts of your own home.
NextWave Advocacy, LLC contracts with news junkies that are politically aware, home-based individuals who are critical thinkers to make outbound calls to educate citizens and help them participate in contacting their elected officials. No sales or fundraising calls are involved. This is not a telemarketing opportunity. The pay is $12.00 per hour with a minimum commitment of 20 hours per week.
#20 – InstaEdu is an online company hiring work at home tutors to teach online students different school topics. Payment is usually $20 per hour made using PayPal. Teaching sessions take place through Skype, text message, video chats or even whiteboards.
This is not my favorite business on this list but I feel compelled to list it because it is so popular. So why is it not my favorite? It tends be very competitive, hard work and relatively low profits. So, if you do go into this business I would do everything possible to differentiate your business and to be able to charge premium pricing.
Pink Zebra – When I found Pink Zebra I remember thinking, “Whoever thought of this company is pure genius. There is not a woman in the world that would not LOVE this product!” I was working long hours in the school system, and I had no direct sales background and wondered if Pink Zebra was something I could do. I started my own business for only $99! I was able to quit my job in two months, and I am now an Executive Manager and have seen a raise every month since! We love our team, the opportunity to work together, helping others, mentoring, and sharing Pink Zebra! We have seen so much growth with this company, and we cannot be more excited for the future!
#24 – Magoosh – If you are good at GMAT, GRE, TOEFL, SAT, and ACT, and tests, Magoosh is looking to hire online test prep experts to help students prepare for these papers. As a requirement, you must be an experienced BA or BS holder with high scores in GRE, SAT, GMAT. The standard pay for weekdays is $20 an hour and shoots up to $25 an hour over the weekends.
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.
Brand Portfolio Hilton Hotels & Resorts Waldorf Astoria Hotels Conrad Hotels & Resorts Canopy Curio Tapestry Collection DoubleTree by Hilton Embassy Suites by Hilton Hilton Garden Inn Hampton by Hilton Tru by Hilton Homewood Suites by Hilton Home2 Suites by Hilton Hilton Grand Vacations Hilton HHonors
ABC Fundraising –  Earn up to $5,000 per month or more! Work from home setting up fundraisers for schools, churches, and non-profit organizations. Since 1993 ABC Fundraising has helped over 50,000 groups, raise over 50 million dollars, and we want to help you start a new career today. Recently one of our distributors earned $7,200 by simply setting up a school-wide fundraiser with our flagship fundraising product. Get a FREE information kit now and sign up for our free online webinar to learn more about this exciting business opportunity.
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.
My friend’s wife earned an advanced degree in nutrition, put out her shingle, and tried some marketing, but her business progressed very slowly. Then she teamed up with a local gym and her business took off.
 Xerox – Read Review – It’s not uncommon to find data entry work from home jobs posted on Xerox. Type in “work from home data entry” on their careers page to see these listings. As with so many other data entry jobs, it may be location-based work.
Private school and private colleges and universities can cost a bloody fortune! Yet by carefully evaluating a family’s resources, reviewing school choices, assessing school financial aid offerings, and by exploring outside scholarships, a talented financial aid consultant could help a student attend a school that was previously viewed as completely unaffordable. To get going in this field, you will want to do extensive research, and then either help your own kids or perhaps those of friends, to get some experience under your belt, before seeking out the general public.
Whether you’re planning on delegating all of your marketing efforts to a professional or leading the expedition on your own, it’s important to keep a few fundamentals in mind so you can gauge the success of your marketing strategy.
Your marketing plan. What’s your marketing budget? Where will you focus your efforts? Social media, email campaigns, online ads? If you’ve done enough research on your target market, you’ll know where to find them. Just like your milestones, your marketing efforts are bound to evolve — but you still need to establish an initial strategy.
Needing to tweak the ideas. Perhaps the product needs to be a different color, texture or size. Maybe your services need to be broader, narrower or more detailed. This is the time to attend to anything that crops up during your testing and development phases. You’ll know innately when something needs tweaking to make it better or to make it less like a competitor’s stale offerings.
Many gymnasiums will trade membership and often a bit more for a person willing and able to teach an exercise class. You can also find people who don’t want to go to a gym and train them at home as a personal trainer. If you’re in good shape, this is a great opportunity to earn some extra money, plus it can often lead to additional income with one-on-one instruction opportunities.
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.
#4 – American Express (Read review) only hires work at home customer service agents from selected U.S. States. You must be ready to work a minimum of 40 hours every work. The beginners pay is $16 per hour but as you progress you stand to earn $28 per hour.
#49 – ETS is a testing company that pays you to score various tests for different educational institutions. The pay can go up to $20 per hour depending on the tests. Payment is twice a month via check and is tax deductible.
I am currently sitting in my co-share work space and beside me sits a green potted plant about 15” in height. Every day or two, the commercial watering service person comes by and pours a little water on the plant. Once a week or so, the service person may take out his plant clippers, and trim a leaf or two. Wow! I think I could master this work! And I bet you could too!
Kaeser & Blair – Promotional Products Business Ownership Program is the perfect business opportunity for today’s stay-at-home mom. With a minimal start-up cost, K&B makes it easier than ever to work at your own pace, create your own schedule and capitalize on an industry that does over $21 billion of sales each year. As a K&B business owner, you are your own boss and in complete control of both your hours and earnings. You have the ability to work as much—or as little—as you choose, and reap the benefits. Part-time business owners earn up to $20,000 annually, and full-time business owners make as much as $185,000. The possibilities truly are endless. Learn more about the risk-free opportunity with Kaeser & Blair here. here.
Resources I recommend for learning more about this industry include 21 Days to a VA Biz and The Bootstrap VA. Note that both of these books focus on starting your own virtual assisting business rather than working for a company (such as the ones above). For more in-depth training, you can enroll in the 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success eCourse. It will teach you exactly how to start your own VA business, what you need, what to charge, and also where to find clients.
Our talented Reservation Sales Specialists serve as the first point of contact for our hotel brands. This is a challenging, yet rewarding role, so we’re looking for Team Members with excellent communication skills, a persuasive sales ability, and a world-class customer service mentality.
I’m not as excited about the profit potential from podcasting as some other people are. It just seems to me that everyone is doing it and people generally expect podcasts to be free. But if you develop a strong enough following you can sell advertising or sponsorships for your podcast, then you can build a decent business.
Though not the cheapest of business ideas on this list, it’s one that can be extremely lucrative as well as appeal to the widest range of patrons in a small town. A successful bowling alley can become the center of a town’s social life. Besides the obvious bowling revenue stream, food and drink (especially alcoholic beverages), can also help you pull in the big bucks. Small town bowling alleys can also be rented out for additional income. Like all businesses, large and small, having a quality business plan for your bowling alley is incredibly important.
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.
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.
Depending on the type of business you’re in, your business structure, whether you’re hiring local Illinoisans, and where you set up shop, syncing with the tax code can happen as easily as hockey melded with Chicago.
Congratulations on your decision to start a new business!   Getting a new business up and running requires time, dedication and resources. Here are some important decisions you need to make: Structure. Determine the legal structure of your business…

Everyone knows legal proceedings take forever, can be very expensive, and the outcomes can be uncertain. I became involved in litigation with a service vendor and it looked like we had no alternative but to go to court. However, our opposing attorneys agreed to hire an arbitrator and we ended up with a much better result, with much less time and agony. A great business—and a great service for individuals and businesses.
Sign up for a bar-tending course at the local community college or adult education center, get a safety certificate if your state requires it, and then you’re ready to start serving. Usually the client will provide the booze and the glasses, you might bring a few mixing tools or even a service cart if you want to get fancy. Demand for this service will run strongest on the weekends, making it a great part time gig!
Resource Recommendation: Since this step can have such serious repercussions if it’s not done correctly, we highly recommend investing a few minutes to read through our business structure comparison guide before deciding on one. Then, when it comes time to officially form your business, you can either do so on your own or use an online incorporation service. Take a look at our top 7 incorporation services for an in-depth discussion of our favorite providers!
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.
These companies will do the rest of the digging for you (federal, state and local) and send you all the necessary applications in a tidy bundle, along with helpful instructions on how to fill them out.
Bridal shows can be an important marketing venue for the purveyors of wedding goods and services. You could start in this business by helping vendors prepare their display spaces at various shows, and then at some point you may want to organize your own bridal shows.

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  1. #24 – Magoosh – If you are good at GMAT, GRE, TOEFL, SAT, and ACT, and tests, Magoosh is looking to hire online test prep experts to help students prepare for these papers. As a requirement, you must be an experienced BA or BS holder with high scores in GRE, SAT, GMAT. The standard pay for weekdays is $20 an hour and shoots up to $25 an hour over the weekends.
    Federal: The federal licenses and permits page on the Small Business Association’s website outlines all the business activities that call for special permission from the federal government, and directs you to the proper agencies. They also have a decent article on business taxes, but the best place to learn about this is on the IRS website.
    One of my friends sold off his large family business that made industrial goods, and then embarked on a new career as an artisan furniture maker. He studied furniture making in a full-time study program and focused on very high wood furniture. He would display his furniture at shows and promote open studio nights. Clients were wealthy individuals and some high-end boutique hotels.
    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.
    Framing services are everywhere and often they are franchised operations with prime retail locations. But you don’t have to be. You could try this service online. Or you could try this service on a mobile basis, going to your customers’ homes. Or you could get that storefront.
    The business ideas we’ve covered might be easier to run when it comes to logistics, but that doesn’t make them easy. There are at least three things you should keep in mind as you consider your options, no matter what you decide to start.
    Work virtually from your own home office!Job Summary – Skill-sets, strong professional background in the following are sought after:- Administration- Customer Service- Marketing- Project ManagementQua…

  2. This is not my favorite business on this list but I feel compelled to list it because it is so popular. So why is it not my favorite? It tends be very competitive, hard work and relatively low profits. So, if you do go into this business I would do everything possible to differentiate your business and to be able to charge premium pricing.
    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.
    I am from an Arab country, I have an estimated in housekeeping and in agriculture and ability to do many jobs, my project is based on providing these services to a family who hosts me for one year and secure the way to get their nationality in. Then the project opens my own project based on providing Domestic services of all kinds. To communicate via email belal_trodi1987@yahoo.com
    For example, if you are streaming video as part of your business, you are justified in buying faster internet. However, if you are mainly using the internet for browsing and email, there is no reason for you to get a higher speed internet package.
    Everyone knows legal proceedings take forever, can be very expensive, and the outcomes can be uncertain. I became involved in litigation with a service vendor and it looked like we had no alternative but to go to court. However, our opposing attorneys agreed to hire an arbitrator and we ended up with a much better result, with much less time and agony. A great business—and a great service for individuals and businesses.

  3. According to the Innovation Benchmark report published by PwC this year, open innovation has become the most popular operating model around the globe. That’s the conclusion reached by a survey of over 1,200 executives in 44 countries. More collaborative forms of innovation, including open innovation, design thinking, and co-creation, have outpaced traditional R&D. I’m not surprised.
    If you think you might want to work from home, this section is a great place to start.  Take the work at home assessment to get a better idea of whether home-based employment is the right choice for you, and find answers to common questions about working from home.
    It’s not very engaging, or mentally stimulating, but online surveys do pay out (a little), believe it or not. Just don’t expect to make bank with this side business idea—I recommend combining it with another source of side income from this list of my best business ideas, and turning to surveys in your downtime when you need a little extra income.
    Shutterstock – Read Review – May be open worldwide. This popular stock photo company has occasional openings for remote image reviewers, where you determine which submitted photos should make it onto the Shutterstock website. Pay and other details are under wraps — workers are required to sign an NDA, so it’s hard to find many details online.
    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.
    If you have ever lived in a small town and entertained houseguests, you’ve probably often wished that your town had a bed and breakfast. Though small towns with a tourism industry will often have historical inns or at least a motel or two, towns that aren’t exactly Plymouth, MA or Williamsburg, VA often go without. That means no place for the in-laws to stay or guests for a family reunion or wedding. Opening a small inn or bed and breakfast can help fill a need in your area. If you’re worried about being able to keep your rooms booked, go small. Bed and breakfast owners tend to live in the same homes they manage, often converting their larger homes into B&Bs. This is a great idea for those who have recently become empty nesters with too many rooms to fill. If you’re later in life and looking for business ideas for small towns, this concept is a great one to explore.
    Then you can move on to more immersive sales education through online courses like Sales Training and Prospecting on Udemy, The Guide to Pitching and Selling Clients on CreativeLive. Once you’re ready to put your selling skills to the test, check out Angel List and see if any sales position opportunities align with your interests—the last thing you want to do is get stuck selling products or services you’re not interested in. However, by starting out your sales career as a side business idea, that gives you the flexibility to easily change courses if you ever need to.
    Elaine Turner Elite has new openings for their national network of personal stylists who represent the brand and earn up to 25% sales commission. Designer brand, Elaine Turner creates exclusive apparel, handbags, shoes and jewelry for women who appreciate quality and comfort at an accessible luxury price point. Their mission is to make women “Feel Beautiful Inside and Out”. Elite Stylists have the ability to create their own flexible schedule and are provided with tools, samples and support to reach their goals. Stylists connect with clients via one-on-one styling sessions, trunk shows and philanthropy events. Stylists can also style and sell virtually through our new “try before you buy” box service. To apply for a position in your area, visit Elaine Turner Elite.
    Car flipping can be a fun way to turn your love for cars into a quick side business idea if you have the capital and a stomach for the inherent risk. Buying and selling cars is similar to other “buy low, sell high” business models, but the profit potential per hour invested can be very high. According to Jeremy Fisher at 3HourFlip.com, the trick is to learn how to make car deals come to you, so you can minimize your time invested and maximize your profit on each flip with this side business idea.

  4. You could start a baking business where you create dessert items at home and sell them wholesale to local bakeries or restaurants. You’ll need to learn first about regulations in your community for commercial food preparation, however
    For a new business, acquiring commercial restaurant equipment can feel daunting. Take the headache out of this task when you browse our helpful restaurant equipment list, which incorporates the basics you’ll need before launch.
    I also recommend FlexJobs for finding more. You can regularly search legitimate work at home jobs for data entry and other industries. FlexJobs guarantees all their job leads to be scam-free, and it’s the only membership-based jobs site I currently use and trust. Their listings are updated 5-6 times per week, and there is no shortage of listings. You can currently get 30% off a subscription using promo code AFFILPROMO.
    Do one thing well. Don’t try to master SEO, social media, online advertising and email campaigning all at once. Make an educated decision about where to focus your efforts based on your knowledge of your target market, and stay there.
    As you know, many people opt to contact companies via email rather than by chat or phone. Because of this, some companies do hire for work at home email support. These jobs are a little hard to find, I come across very few when I’m researching work at home job leads. You can read this blog post for everything I’ve been able to find about these jobs.
    Have a knack for staying organized? If you’re a jack of all trades, you should consider working as a virtual assistant as a side business idea. You can find great gigs on Elance, Indeed, or Upwork. It can be an awesome way to rub shoulders with some very important people, build up your professional network, develop in-demand new skills (like creating GIFs and VR videos), grow your side business idea and you’ll have the added perk of being able to start this as a home based business idea. Becoming a virtual assistant can be a particularly great side business idea if you’re hoping to travel the world while making money online as a digital nomad.
    Do you play a musical instrument well enough to teach it to others? How about taking your skills at producing music or sound design and teaching others as a service-based business idea based on your experience? Private music instructors in all disciplines charge upwards of $20-100/hr (or more depending upon skill and experience), and you don’t necessarily have to do them in person, either. This makes for a great side business idea that can channel your passion for music into profits.
    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.
    Is the URL available? Check to see if the name of your LLC is available so that you can reserve your domain name. Even if you don’t plan to make a website today, you may want to buy the domain name in order to prevent others from acquiring it.

  5. Many states allow people to start an in-home daycare with minimal licensing and paperwork. If you love children and have plenty of time and space at home, this is a perfect business to get into. All you need is a safe room or two for children to play in, some toys and activities, and a whole lot of patience.
    If you speak like James Earl Jones or Scarlett Johansson, quite a number of digital publishers (including game developers, animated film-makers, and training video producers) pay good money for voice talent and the time investment isn’t too intensive—making this a great side business idea. You can find these publishers looking for voice-over artists on sites like PeoplePerHour, Freelancer and Upwork, as well as their calls for talent directly on their websites or through voiceover agents. If you do pursue this as a side business idea, be prepared to invest for the long-haul as it can be a very competitive industry.
    Fashion, style, and grooming continue to be a lucrative side business idea that can be done in your hours outside of work. If you know how to mend clothes, then you have a growing market of budget-conscious and/or personalization-obsessed customers. Entrepreneur says you need around two thousand dollars to start a decent side business idea in this niche but there’s no harm in starting smaller and growing from there, as long as you can make magic with needle and thread.
    Contrary to popular wisdom, real estate prices don’t always go up and catching the trends can tremendously amplify your success in this market. One of my business school classmates caught the trend just right in the Houston commercial real estate market, and then did the same in Boston. Another business school classmate took advantage of the huge 2008 real estate sell-off by scooping up thousands of homes in particularly hard-hit areas like Las Vegas with his hedge fund. The safest way to buy real estate is to make sure that your cash flows from current rents will justify the minimum return you need, then you can look at any appreciation as pure gravy!
    Running a business can be overwhelming, and you’re probably not going to be able to do it all on your own. That’s where third-party vendors come in. Companies in every industry from HR to business phone systems exist to partner with you and help you run your business better.
    You can make good money at this business but you need great locations that provide enough volume to make it worthwhile to service provide a decent return on your investment. I have even seen some entrepreneurs try selling snacks at companies without any machine at all…totally on the honor system. Still another variant you could do is provide coffee, soft drinks or basic snack food for a company location and try to get the company to pick up the cost as a benefit for its employees.
    To open up a bank account for your business, you’ll need to obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number). You’ll use your EIN in place of your social security number so that this account is completely separate from your personal finances.
    Free work from home jobs are becoming more and more plentiful now a days. Around 40 million people are working at home in one way or another. Most of the free work at home jobs are based on using a computer. This is a result of the Internet being such an vital part of our lives. You may want to consider starting a home business because it can help you enter in the expanding market of e-commerce. Free Work At Home Jobs continued…
    Once you start servicing someone’s aquarium regularly they will come to trust you and view you as an expert, so you will be a in a great position to sell them new fish, new accessories or perhaps once they have seen the pictures or a video—that big new aquarium!

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