how to start a business in california | having your own business

LLC: LLCs are the most popular business structure because they offer the protection of a corporation without the double taxation or extra paperwork. California allows SMLLCs (single-member LLCs), so you can form one even if you’re the only member of your company. Read our guide to more about how to form an LLC in California.
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Amazon mTurk – Read Review – Open worldwide, but you can’t get paid in cash unless you’re in the US — you have to opt for money in your Amazon account. Pay varies depending on the tasks you choose. Payments are made via bank transfer or you can get money to spend on Amazon instead.
Beware of people who ask for money before giving you business. Trade leads to prosperity through mutual gain,[3] so a business should be willing to pay you to work for it. (A franchise store or home-sales business may have legitimate start-up costs, but they should reflect a reasonable cost of getting you started in the business so the managers would make money through your success, rather than just by getting you in.)
Like birthdays, marriages happen all the time. Which means you can treat weddings as a recurring fountain of business opportunities: wedding dresses and coats, jewelers, food caterers, venue providers, photographers and videographers, performers, flower shops, travel agencies, souvenir crafts, and a host of other ventures. Now imagine if you can form a network of these service providers so you can offer engaged couples a range of hassle-free wedding packages as a turnkey business idea. The process is certainly fun (and time-consuming), but as a side business idea, the pay can be pretty great.
We all wear clothes (at least some of the time). Which, of course, makes the business idea of cleaning soiled laundry an obvious hit. In fact, the self-service laundromat industry in the US is worth more than $3 billion, with many related businesses such as a mobile app laundry service, a real rolling mobile laundry service, and home laundry pickup & delivery services springing up each year. Here’s one way you can cash in on the trend as a side business idea.
Share in the comments if I’m missing any of  your picks for the best side business ideas that you can start while working full-time! Bonus points if you’ve already gotten started on one of these business idea, and share the link to your website.
A lot of people don’t know how or don’t want to go through the trouble of recycling large items like computers. So you could offer the service of picking up those items for a fee and taking them to the proper recycling outlets.
Needle – Read Review – Open to US and possibly other countries. Note this company used to pay you in cash, but now they are points only, although you can redeem your points for Visa gift cards. Extra money only.
Create a business plan. A business plan helps to define what you think you need to launch your business, large or small. It summarizes the sense of your business in a single document. It also creates a map for investors, bankers, and other interested parties to use when determining how they can best help you and to help them decide whether or not your business is viable. Your business plan should consist of the elements outlined in the steps below.
I’ve been around boats almost since I could walk so I forget that some people need to be educated in how to run a powerboat or captain a sailboat. Now taking a boat for a spin and introducing someone to the pleasures of boating…how fun!
If you’re able to build up your own online network or audience related to a specific topic, you can start working with different brands as an affiliate and earn a portion of each sale you send their way.
For travelers, hiring a house sitter can offer peace of mind. And offering those services doesn’t require you to do anything tech-related, though there are some websites that let you advertise your availability.
One additional thing to keep in mind is to make sure that your coffee shop design appeals to both a mid-day and a post-work crowd. Nothing says small town charm like a simple, relaxed business layout. Opting for a design concept that is genuine and modest will suit most customers and provide that small town ambiance patrons crave.
The selling costs are remarkably low on the Etsy website. But you will be competing with some awesome looking crafts, so make sure you create some great stuff that is highly distinctive. Then take perfect photographs and write up snappy descriptions. Try to build a following by developing a related line of goods
Choose an adventure really carefully. One that people will easily pay good money for. “Focus group” it. At least informally ask lots of people for their feedback on a suggested adventure before you put any money into marketing it. Then when you do offer your first trip, make it incredible! Research it carefully and surpass people’s expectations. On your first few trips it is more important to build a great experience and a great reputation, then to make a lot of money right out of the gate.
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.
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.
These businesses have been around forever, and I have hired temp workers through them from time to time, typically for simple packing or assembly type work. Historically your success would be largely dependent upon how successful you were at making sales calls on companies that hire temporary help. But today you can also bring sales leads to you through online marketing.
Who are your competitors? Do a competitive analysis to identify key competitors. Find out who is doing something similar to what you are planning, and how have they been successful. Just as important is to find the failures, and what made their venture fall apart.
RaesWear – Reach your financial goals selling products all women love! RaesWear sells luxurious, hands-free athleisure clothing that allows women to exercise, run errands, push strollers, or go out on the town without the worry of arm bands, fanny packs, or purses! With a patented product, you won’t worry about competition from imitators and the market is ripe to grow your business as this is the fastest growing apparel segment in the United States. Join now, earn up to 30% commissions, and have an opportunity be a Founding Member of our growing organization. Contact us today – leigh@raeswear.com.
Did you major in a subject like English, history, or math in college, or do exceptionally well on the SAT exam? Do you have patience with children? If so, you likely have what you need to tutor kids in particular subjects. Seek out parents or teachers and let them know that you tutor students in a certain subject, and offer materials for them to share, and phone calls will often trickle in. You can get going locally or expand across the country by offering to tutor online.
Form a business entity. You’ll need to decide what type of business entity you want to be, for tax purposes and hopefully to eventually attract investors. You will do this after you’ve decided whether you will need money from others either in equity or loans and with the advice of your legal and accounting experts. It is one of the last steps taken before you actually spend money or ask someone for money. Most people are familiar with corporations, LLCs, etc., but for the vast majority of small business owners, you will need to form one of the following[2]:
The idea of this business is that you can personalize just about anything your customers may want. T-shirts, hats, mugs, pens…you name it. Initially you may want to outsource all of the work, but if your business takes off you may want to bring some of the personalization processes in–house to further boost your profit margins.
Every company needs content for their website to attract search engine traffic and develop a bond with their customers and potential customers. Hence the market for creating web-friendly content has exploded with both large firms and independent content marketers helping to fill the need. Specializing in the needs of a particular industry can help jump-start your business, but many companies are willing to hire content marketers who are good researchers and can write well, even if they lack specific industry expertise.
Many families with kids, including single-parents, have very limited time resources, creating a demand for part-time child care providers (and a business idea opportunity for you). If you love kids and have some spare time, you can earn plenty of side income by looking after children while their parents are away. Just be sure to identify the particular age group you’re comfortable caring for and you’re all set after any necessary certifications. Establishing a home-based daycare center capable of servicing six or more kids is also a lucrative way to really expand upon this business idea if you have the right environment for it.
It’s messy, dirty work that must be meticulously done, and done by someone dependable. That means it can be a high margin business. I would start this business by taking on very small jobs and working my way up.
Time Etc. hires part-time virtual assistants. If you have experience as a personal assistant, executive assistant, secretary, or admin assistant and can work for at least three hours per week – Time Etc. wants you. Pay ranges from $11 to $16 per hour, depending on your experience.
In most cases, these firms offer a team of experts to plan out your company registration from scratch — this includes the strategies you need to follow in order to smoothly set up your business, itemizing potential costs, offering licensing and location options, coming up with solutions for potential business hurdles, and so on.
T-shirts, hats, phone cases, hoodies, skirts, tote bags, and more become canvases for your creativity. You can think up witty slogans for developers or references that resonate with cat owners—if there’s passion and pride within a community, there’s a potential t-shirt business you can start.
Have you cracked the code for landing higher paying jobs at the drop of a hat? If you have a knack for helping your friends or co-workers navigate the process of finding their dream job, nailing an interview, negotiating a better salary or getting a raise at their current day job, other people would be willing to pay for your help too—making this a great side business idea that doesn’t take too much time. Get started by sharing your advice on a personal blog and becoming a career coach on platforms like The Muse and Coach Me where there’s already an existing audience of people looking to make a move in their careers. From there, keep your focus on helping people get real results, building case studies to support this side business idea, and eventually charging for the results you’re delivering clients.
Sole Proprietorship: The least formal structure of all — if you’re doing business on your own, you’re automatically seen as a sole proprietorship. There’s no need to file anything with the state, except perhaps a DBA (if you want to operate under a name aside from your own legal name). The main problem with this structure is that there’s nothing shielding you from business liability.
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?”
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.
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…
While having a formal background in graphic design is absolutely going to be helpful, it’s also relatively easy to learn the foundations of graphic design on your own. An increasingly easy-to-use Adobe Illustrator and even more easily accessible tools like Stencil and Visme are making it so that just about anyone with two opposable thumbs, a bit of creativity, and motivation can earn a side income doing things like designing (and selling) images like these motivational quotes that can be printed onto posters and sold on platforms like Etsy. Or you can find a local startup, small business owner, or photographer who could benefit from some extra help designing or altering images.
If your mastery of another language is good enough to have the grammar and spelling down, translating is a great side business idea to set up for yourself and can even be done remotely. Flexjobs has literally hundreds of freelance, remote translator jobs available right now and if you’re looking to land more remote work on the side of your other pursuits, check out my guide—how to get a remote job (this weekend).
A lot of people don’t want to leave their bowser at the busy kennel along with all the other dogs. They are willing to pay a premium and even drive a distance to a place where they believe their dog will be pampered.
A perfect example of this is if you make specialty cakes and, because of the extreme designs, sizes and amazing flavors, people are willing to pay you $350 per cake. However, due to the work that goes into producing such amazing cakes, you are only able to make one every week which brings your profit to $1400 a month minus the cost of your supplies.
Take Action: We know picking a spot can be tough if it doesn’t somehow happen naturally through your personal/professional networks. If you’d like to brush up on everything that goes into making this decision, refer to our friendly guide on How to Choose the Perfect Location.
Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird, and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

NerdWallet has rounded up some of our best information on starting a business, including structuring and naming your company, creating a solid plan and much more. We’ll help you do your homework and get started on the right foot.