steps to opening a business | running my own business

Stella & Dot – Run your own fashion social selling business. Stella & Dot is so much more than a fashion brand – we are inspired by, and created for, strong women just like you! We designed a smart, stylish business that works when you do. Plus, Stella & Dot is more than just a company – it’s a community. At Stella & Dot, success is defined by your happiness. It’s your business, your pace, your way.
Listen to my interview with serial entrepreneur and investor, Michele Romanow about how she built an app that earned $500,000 in 3 months (as a side business idea outside of her day job) and how she eventually sold the company to Groupon. It’s seriously incredible.
Take Action: The email course we mentioned in Step 1 really comes in handy here because planning and finances go together like The Windy City and snow. You can also browse our guide on How to Finance a Business to start generating ideas.
I’ve been getting so much feedback with great business ideas from my community and in the comments, so I frequently add to this post. If you have side hustle ideas you’d like to share (or personal experience with a side hustle of your own), please add to them in the comments below!
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.
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.
Like to grow vegetables? Focus in on one vegetable and sell the excess to grocery stores and at farmers’ markets. My father does this with tomatoes and earns some solid extra money during the summer months. You can do really well, though, if you can grow things inside during the winter – February fresh tomatoes can sell quite well.
Alternatively, if your business is more oriented toward the “in person” experience, traditional marketing may be just as important. For example, if you’re starting a landscaping business, focus on getting the word out to neighbors before starting a website
Ask the bank if you will need to present certain documentation to open the account, such as your certificate of formation or business license. Banks in Texas may vary in terms of what they require for opening an account.
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.
If you don’t find what you’re looking for there, here’s a list of the 45 best places you can learn to code for free. Once you command a knowledge of HTML, Ruby, Python, Javascript, or CSS, you can start a freelance business as a side business idea to build your portfolio while you still hold onto your full-time job. Listen to my podcast interview with Laurence Bradford about her journey to become a freelance web developer, too. And over time, you’ll build more relationships, have more experience and eventually take this side business idea over to becoming a full-time source of income.
Gabbyville – If you’re a bright, articulate individual with exemplary administrative, customer service, or receptionist experience and wish to join our talented, dedicated team of virtual receptionists, we’d like to hear from you. We are hiring full-time employees. Hours are between 8am – 8pm EST (M-F). This remote position is W2 with ADP benefits, and requires a laptop/desktop w/ Windows 8 or 10. Job requirements our ideal candidate will possess the following: Previous experience in the travel and hospitality industry preferred, strong communication skills, proficient computer skills, neutral accent, and a GREAT ATTITUDE is a plus! With flexible work schedules, competitive compensation and amazing growth opportunities, we invite you to bring your skills and expertise to our team. Please send your resume to career@gabbyville.com.
Your county or city will require a business license. The form takes minutes to fill out. Use your EIN instead of your Social Security number to identify your business (for privacy reasons if nothing else).
This is another heavily regulated business and it’s competitive. But companies that need security need it on an on-going basis and typically they need more than one person. That means every assignment you get can be an annuity stream as long as you service the customer well.
Cover the financials. The financial statements translate your marketing and operational plans into numbers — profits and cash flow. They identify how much money you will need and how much you might make. Since this is the most dynamic part of your plan, and perhaps the most important for long-term stability, you should update this monthly for the first year, quarterly for the second year, and then annually after that.
#45 – CyberEdit, Inc. offers highly advanced services in resume writing, technical writing, and text editing. It hires competent freelance essay writers with remuneration ranging from $15-30 per hour.
Software drives businesses today. This is a fact not lost on individuals and companies attempting to earn a profit, make a name for themselves, or simply get things done. As a result, the job outlook for software developers will be much sunnier than prospects for many other occupations—creating massive opportunities for this business idea well into  the future. In fact, it won’t take you long to find a good-paying software development project as a side business idea on sites like Upwork, Guru.com, and Freelancer. LinkedIn also recently launched their brand new freelancing platform, ProFinder which has a dedicated section just for hiring talented software developers.
Just because you don’t have the hustle and bustle of the big city breathing down your neck, doesn’t mean small town residents don’t have aches and pains and plenty of stress. If you’re a people person that likes working with their hands and meeting new people, this could be a great career and business idea for a small town. Massage therapy does, however, require a significant amount of training, so it’s not a business you’re going to be able to open in the next few weeks unless you are already a licensed massage therapist. There are, however, a variety of schools and programs you can enroll in to become licensed. Once your training is complete, being a massage therapist allows you to set your own hours, work when and where you like, and develop a strong repeat customer base.
You could run this as a seasonal camp during the summer. But I find it’s tougher to make lots of money at seasonal businesses, so instead I would first consider offering a creative arts day camp after school or on weekends. I suggest doing surveys to find out what age groups of kids and what specific art activities have the most appeal.
I’ve seen promoters begin in this business by first promoting regular nights at established night clubs, then by working a deal with a club to have their own exclusive night, then eventually launching their own club venue.
As with any business, marketing is what unlocks your success. It’s not enough to know that there’s demand for your products—you need to figure out ways to reach the people that are most likely to buy them. You need to get the right visitors to discover your products.
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.
The members have been asked to share how they originally got involved in their current business. The goal is to provide ideas to other members around the world who want to own their own businesses or who are involved in businesses that aren’t taking them where they want to go and are looking to make a change.
Pet Businesses are a $60 billion industry in the United States, so it just plain makes sense that a small town has at least one pet grooming or boarding facility or a combination of the two. The pet industry is also one that shows no signs of slowing down. In 1988, 56 percent of households in the United States owned a pet, in 2016 that percentage jumped to 65. This means that there are almost 80 million households in the U.S. with at least one pet.
#50 – Snuggle Buddies – You can become a professional cuddle and make anywhere from $40-$80 per hour. All you have to do is cuddle someone or hold someone’s hands. Yes, that’s right, a professional cuddler.
All of these are excellent ideas, and really go to show that you don’t need some groundbreaking new idea to start a business. Just pick one of these ideas that appeals to you and put yourself out there, and you’re already ahead of all the other people who are still in the “thinking about starting a business” phase (a phase that never ends for most people).
A business idea that looks good on paper may not be that attractive when you actually get into it. An expert’s opinion may help you look at things from a different perspective and gain more knowledge that you may lack.
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.
You still need to come up with a solid idea, build a brand, do marketing, and provide customer service. But you won’t have to keep a stack of products in your living room or ship every order yourself.
I’m not getting up on that high ladder anymore! That’s why I spend $200 to have a service clean my gutters twice a year. Considering that even one person can clean several houses a day, you can see that it’s very good money potential. Try really hard to geographically concentrate your gutter cleaning each day. This could be a great weekend business.
You can work from home giving your expert advice on various topics to people who need it. If you can prove your expertise in a certain field, then you may qualify to do this work, although for some it’s just extra money here and there. This is often non-phone because you may be able to give your advice via email or chat.

You could try to do this business online…but of course the issue is getting people the right size. You could even send several sizes if they are not sure of their size. Or you could have a storefront. You don’t need a fancy location or expensive buildout. There is a formal wear rental facility near me that has been very successful for decades, and the storefront looks like it was last remodeled about 50 years ago.
Wouldn’t it be fun to make a gift-basket overflowing with a bunch of carefully selected and really attractive items? Of course, it would! You could have a lot of satisfaction putting together distinctive gift baskets that will delight your customers and bring in sales!
Be sure to contact your local municipality about zoning laws. Some types of small businesses cannot be ran out of a home, and it is important to ensure your business is operating within its proper zone.
It might surprise you, but opening a flower shop is a fairly inexpensive business idea and great for small towns. That is, less expensive than say a restaurant or a car wash. According to openaflowershop.com, starting a flower shop has relatively few costs compared to other retail businesses. One of the only costs you will be faced with is the purchase of a cooler to keep your product (aka pretty flowers) fresh and cool.
Translator’s Town – Read Review – Open worldwide. Pay rate varies — this is more of a project bidding site similar to oDesk or Elance. Pay is handled between you and the person you’re doing translations for.
Most, if not all, businesses require some kind of license, whether local, county, state, or federal. Each type of license has its own set of requirements, which depend on the type of business you have. And while you can easily handle some licensing issues by yourself, other issues will require a lawyer, so be prepared to hire one [source: My Own Business].
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.
A lot of car owners simply don’t have time to personally care for their vehicles, much less make them sparkle. With simple equipment such as car shampoo, polishing wax, tire black, sponges, a pail and a sturdy hose, you can start earning a decent side income by making cars look fresh in your free time after work and on weekends. Not bad for an easy business idea that’ll keep you outdoors and moving your body on the weekends.
Userlytics hires people to provide feedback on websites, applications, prototypes, concepts and more. To apply, register for an account, and then wait for an invite to complete an assignment. Once you’ve completed your assignment, you’ll be paid $10 per task via PayPal.
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?”
Have strong English skills and exceptional grammar? You may have opportunities to work as a proofreader from home. Advertising for this can be difficult; seek out those who might actually be able to use your services and advertise directly to them.
Are you the one all your friends call when their sink is clogged or their roof is leaking? Are you looking to start your own business but not thrilled about having a brick-and-mortar location? A home improvement business might be just the small town business idea you’re looking for. When small towns lack a basic handyman, residents must book appointments days, if not weeks in advance to have a larger service visit their home. That’s not so convenient if your toilet has been clogged for three days. As long as you are qualified, have the experience, and know your way around a tool shed, starting a handyman business is fairly straightforward and requires little overhead.
Local: California issues general business licenses by city, so you’ll need to check in with your local Chamber of Commerce to find out the application process. They’ll also be able to let you know about any other local requirements you may be missing!
Starting a small business is without a doubt a large undertaking, but it is fortunately something that can be attained by anybody with a good idea, a strong work ethic, and a good set of resources. Starting a business involves thinking of a business concept, writing a business plan, understanding the financial side, and finally marketing and launching.
There are all kinds of directions this business can go! You could sell hats to retailers, you could sell them online, you could sell them to event planners to liven up their parties. You could eventually even open a hats-only store!
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.
Companies these days are expanding their office boundaries to incorporate the idea of working from home. These companies offer employees flexible working hours, better pay and freedom from office walls. Even though the internet is flooded with many online jobs, there are some that offer better pay. Here is a list of companies that pay $16 per hour or more to work from home. If this pay isn’t enough, I suggest this list of companies that $20 per hour or more.
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.
Photography can be very competitive and having a specialty, such as boudoir, can help attract customers and justify higher fees. The market for this tends to be brides and young wives buying pictures as a gift for their husband.
Women For Hire, the leading women’s and diversity career recruitment specialist, offers comprehensive products and services exclusively for top employers in every field that support and enhance your company’s commitment to diversity.
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.
Each of these ideas is very simple to start, and most can be done as a sole proprietorship at first (meaning you don’t have to file any legal documents to get started, though you will want to do that if it starts to take off). Most of these can be done at home in your spare time, and in your spare space, too.

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