start small | guide to starting a small business

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.
If you love to travel and find yourself randomly searching for airfare sales or browsing Lonely Planet, why not carve out a niche for yourself as a private travel agent? Take my friend, Mark Jackson’s lead with what he’s doing to build a travel consulting side business idea. Start with word of mouth recommendations from friends who know they can count on you for the cheapest flights, create a Facebook or LinkedIn group to invite people who want to stay on top of the latest deals and eventually you could spin this business idea into a full-time consultancy teaching people how to make your dream trip a reality.
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.
This section includes legitimate word of mouth marketing and paid online survey sites, explains what mystery shopping is all about, lists great websites to swap items or services and tells you how to channel your inner Judge Judy.
Enjoy baking and have a bit of an artistic touch? Learn how to decorate cakes and make them for special events. Sell your creations online via Craigslist or your local neighborhood Facebook page, or at local farmers markets. Many people are willing to pay others to create custom cakes for birthday parties and special events.
A search engine optimization consultant helps websites and blogs rank higher on search engines, such as Google. Duties typically include researching new keywords, writing content, analyzing and editing existing content, and staying up-to-date on industry trends and best practices.
I’m not going up in one of these balloons–but I know plenty of people who have, and have had a fabulous experience! This is a good vacation area business, but it could also be a good gift for special occasions. Nail down all of the licensing and safety requirements, and this could be fun business that quickly builds by word-of-mouth.
One thing that most small towns have in common is grass, lots, and lots of grass. Since small towns tend to be in rural areas, more residents are likely to have lawns and larger gardens. That means people will be on the hunt for lawn and gardening services. A few of the benefits to starting a business such as this in a small town is its predictability, reliability, and scalability. Once you begin finding customers, as long as you have quality services that are reasonably priced, you’re likely to keep the same customers for years. You’ll also be able to predict the repeat services that customers will need. Not only does grass need to be cut repeatedly, but lawns need to be fertilized and treated for weeds and bugs on a regular basis. Lawn care is also an ideal small town business idea that will scale well. You can start off by offering a few services such as lawn and shrubbery care, but can later expand to offering landscaping services as well.
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.
Cooking classes have become much more than just a way to instruct people in cooking. They have become more of a social event where for example, couples enjoy a cooking class together, get to meet some other people, enjoy sampling the food they cook, perhaps try some fine wine, and have a great experience. So carefully define whether you are selling the expertise, the experience, or both, and build your business model accordingly.
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.
Traveling Vineyard – Pop open opportunity and get ready to change your life one cork at a time. The only real requirement of this job: being awesome. It helps if you like wine, too. Other than that, the rest is easy peasy. Maybe you’re looking for a little extra spending money. Or maybe you just need a reason to get out of the house. Your reason for becoming a rock star Wine Guide is up to you. But the opportunity is all yours—all $30 billion of it. You ready? Let’s rock this dream.
Cambly is an online, foreign language, tutoring platform that lets individuals practice their language skills with a native speaker. Online tutors make 17 cents per minute ($10.20 per hour) talking to paying Cambly users. To get started, you must be a native English or Spanish speaker; you must have a webcam and Internet connection. Payments are made via PayPal.
You will also want to define your marketing message. In other words, what will you say to convince customers to choose your product? Here, you want to focus on your Unique Selling Point (also known as USP). This is the unique advantage your product has to solve your customers problem. For example, you may be lower cost, faster, or higher quality than your peers.
While no formal experience or training is necessary, you’ll need to be a talented, creative writer with strong interviewing skills. An editing or journalism background and strong communication skills are helpful, as is a sound marketing strategy to reach potential customers.
The next step in your journey involves choosing a business structure and registering it with the state of Colorado. Registering your business as an official entity is the only way to protect your personal assets and achieve total legal compliance.
3. Select a relatively simple idea to focus on first. The process I am laying out here is a test in and of itself. Without spending very much time or money, you can determine if your idea is worth pursuing further. That said, I highly recommend selecting a simple idea to focus on first. Complex ideas require more time, money, and work. Can you describe how your idea will solve a problem quickly and easily? Can it be manufactured using existing technologies? Will you be able to create an initial prototype inexpensively? Does it have a wow factor? Does it have mass appeal? Licensing an idea is all about risk reduction. You need to make it as easy as possible for a potential licensee to say, “Yes, that fits in perfectly, we need that product.”
Current market trends in Dubai offer plenty of opportunities for foreign investors to tap into imports and export of commodities, as well as taking advantage of the growing tourist traffic of the city for an almost unlimited number of potential clients and customers going your way.
Gardening is big and growing. And it is a business that is less likely to move totally online than many other businesses. You could start out with a supply center, expanding over time to add some plants to sell, and then, eventually vertically integrate with your own plant nursery. You could also expand into providing onsite services.
It doesn’t happen overnight, but licensing a foreign product for sale domestically, can be a lucrative business idea that (at times) leads to a big payoff down the road. Invest intelligently, sell a product you believe in, and you can reap the rewards for years to come.
Busy people could often use some help with their day-to-day tasks. Starting an errand service means you can charge people to take care of things like grocery shopping, dry cleaning and other odd jobs.
Virtual assistants can offer a variety of different online services to businesses and professionals, including email organization and communication, social media scheduling and bookkeeping. So you can start a virtual assistant business even if your experience in those areas comes from working for other companies.
There’s no denying the global marketplace is growing. All that cross-cultural communication is creating an increasing need for translators. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, the hiring of interpreters and translators is projected to grow by 46 percent by 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. This means it’s a big business opportunity for entrepreneurs who can bring foreign-language speakers together with businesses in need.
Simply put, dropshipping is a modern take on the oldest form of business: Buy an item for a low price and sell it for a profit. Except in this case, the supplier you’re buying it from is also the one responsible for getting it to the customer.
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!
Español: comenzar un negocio en casa, Italiano: Creare un Business da Casa, Português: Iniciar um Negócio em Casa, Русский: открыть домашний бизнес, Deutsch: Ein auf Heimarbeit basierendes Geschäft starten, Français: lancer un business depuis chez soi, Bahasa Indonesia: Memulai Bisnis di Rumah
Consider some of the more common ideas. If no business ideas are coming to mind, think about some of the tried and trued home business types. Some highly lucrative home business ideas include tutoring, tax preparation, business coaching, counseling, marketing consulting, accounting, web designing, interior designing, dance instructing, newsletter service, proofreading service, and resume writing service. These home based business ideas just require your personal skills rather than large investments.
Domain name trading has been around for the last couple decades, and while most slam-dunk names have long been sold off (Insure.com went for $16 Million in 2009) there’s still plenty of others that you can get your hands on for relatively cheap and broker as your side business idea. But beware: some experts doubt the long-term viability of this business idea, so you shouldn’t quit your day job just to put all your effort into this one without some successes already in the bag. To get you started, here are some tips from GoDaddy, arguably the world’s largest and most famous repository of domain names. Imagine owning desirable domain names for the next decade’s most innovative companies.
The member-managed LLC, where all the owners participate in running the business.[9] This is the most commonly utilized structure, in large part because most LLCs are small businesses without a need for separate management.[10]
It’s not exactly a way to make consistent great money, but housesitting—exactly what it sounds like—is a fantastically easy business idea that can fund your ability to live in exciting locales around the world (or your city) without paying a dime in rent. Did I mention it’s a way to travel and live rent free? Here’s a list of four great websites from the legendary Nomadic Matt, to start your housesitting side business idea search.
Tradesy helps women turn closet clutter into cash, allowing users to sell items clogging their closets by handling the transaction from the time a photo of the product is uploaded to its delivery to the purchaser’s door. Tradesy brings white glove customer service to the fashion resale space.
I find the car wash business highly attractive and even considered opening one at one point. You have a regular clientele, in many areas the competition isn’t too intense, and there is lots of room to upsell more expensive services like detailing. If I was going to go into this business, I might consider starting with a smaller facility in a smaller market, and really learning the business before going for a larger facility, in a more competitive marketplace.
Come to Canada!! I live in a very touristy small town called Springhill Nova Scotia Canada. It was a mining town and there are 2 museums and we have the Anne Murray centre, which is a museum for Anne Murray because she is from Springhill. We need coffee shops, burger joints, bistro’s etc. The sky is the limit. Contact me back at Novasupernova302@gmail.com if you want to chat more about it. PS. I have a daughter living in Germany.
Car washing or detailing services don’t always need to involve lots of complicated equipment or business acumen. You can set up a simple location where you provide services to customers or you can even travel to clients with your detailing supplies.
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.
Decide how to accept payment. You will need to do something to get payment from your clients or customers. You can get something like a Square, which is great for small businesses since it requires the minimum amount of paperwork and the fees are minimal. However, if you feel uncomfortable with technology, you can inquire about a more traditional merchant account.
S Corp: S Corps require a much more formal structure than LLCs. They’re made up of a board of directors, corporate officers, and up to 100 U.S. shareholders. However, like LLCs, S Corps aren’t subject to double taxation — all of the profits are claimed on the shareholders’ personal taxes.
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.

Busy schedules can stress people out. It can also disrupt family life to the point that busy parents and homework-laden kids barely have time to prepare decent dinners and weekend meals. Hence, the surprising demand for part-time family chefs as a business idea. If cooking healthy and delicious meals is your thing, then this lucrative side  business idea can supplement your regular income by helping feed busy homes. Hear Gaby Dalkin’s story of going from side business idea to full-time blogger while she was a part-time personal chef right here on my podcast.