The majority of us don’t have the luxury of being able to quit our day jobs to pursue starting a business idea today, without having to worry about how we’re going to meet our financial obligations moving forward with no immediate income.
One of my business school classmates started a concert promotion business while still an undergrad at Harvard, and even as a student he was making a fortune at it. He started with lesser known groups and smaller venues, and within a couple years he was booking some of the largest venues in greater Boston. He also enjoyed partying with the rock stars!
There’s a lot of money out there in grants, but writing grant proposals can take a lot of time, especially if you are not experienced at it. Like so many other fields, specialization will help get business, and it will allow you to charge much higher fees. And, as you build a track record of successfully securing grants, you will also be able to charge more.
Not to be confused with hoarding, this business idea takes a lot of time, patience, and passion. If you have an eye for good art, it’s easy to get in on the ground level by visiting the studio department at your local university—though don’t expect to get rich overnight with this side business idea. Many art students are more than happy to sell their work for a bargain, and in as little as a few years, there’s a chance that piece you bought for a couple hundred bucks may be worth well into the thousands. Beware though, this business idea will take a whole lot of patience (and storage space for all that art).
If you need financial assistance, a commercial loan through a bank is a good starting point, although these are often difficult to secure. If you are unable to take out a bank loan, you can apply for a small business loan through the Small Business Administration (SBA) or an alternative lender.
I believe that every business, even a lemonade stand, should have a business plan. But many people either hesitate to create a plan or don’t know how to do it. That’s where you come in. But remember your big value added is to help your clients learn how to develop a framework for making critical strategic decisions for their business, not just to create a nice-looking document.
Figure out if you can make this business profitable. How much will people pay for your services? Can you make a good income off this? Many people see astronomical numbers in their future until they take the time to determine their profits. Be sure to consider how much time you can reasonably commit to your business and how much profit you can get back for your time and investment money. In some cases, a great business idea in theory can in reality be unprofitable.
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.
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.
Counted amongst the most valuable tech giants, Amazon is also a massive global market where virtually anyone can cash in on the rising tide of eCommerce if you have the right business idea. But, like everything else that involves money, you have to do quite a bit of work to earn it. In this case, you need to do tons of research (looking for generic products such as clocks, key chains and mugs to attach your brand to) as well as developing a sensible inside sales strategy that’ll help you generate profits from your private label side business idea. For an incredible deep dive on how to launch this kind of business idea, check out how digital marketer Neil Patel recently did this as a public experiment right here on his blog.
Your target market. Who are you selling to? Don’t be afraid to get mega-specific here. Age, gender, location, income level — all of it’s relevant, and the more specifically you can define your market, the more effectively you’ll be able to sell to them.
Start part time and build this business carefully! Only buy items you are confident that you can sell relatively quickly for a good mark-up, and avoid getting stuck with slow moving inventory. To really succeed, develop deep expertise in a specialty and build a loyal customer base.
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.
What a great excuse to travel and get paid for it! Yes, there are some really cool craft items you can find around the world for really low prices. It could take a little bit of patience to get going, and specialization helps. But this is a very doable business. One of my friends built up a successful import/export business while still in college.
I loved to collect stamps and coins when I was a kid. In Boston, the dealers’ stores were all side by side on Bromfield street. Today some coin and stamp dealers still have retail locations but many others work primarily online. This is a great business to start part-time and then consider going full-time later on. Or is it just a hobby with the potential for making a lot of money? American President Franklin D Roosevelt would spend many enjoyable hours alone with his stamp collection.
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.
If you have experience with marketing, SEO or a knack for getting people excited about the products and services you use on a regular basis, think about refining your skills and putting them to work as a small business marketing consultant in your region—especially if you can become a local SEO expert and can help local clients rank higher in their search results as your side business idea. Businesses of all sizes are in constant need of bringing in more customers, which is where you come in with your business idea. Start by pitching some of these small business marketing ideas by Brian Downard and you’ll be sure to impress the first set of clients you begin working with in your area.
There are tens of millions of small business in the US alone, and starting a new business to compete in this segment will require hard work and dedication. If you know how to run a business and you have taken the right steps to starting a business, money shouldn’t stop you.
I view a café as positioned somewhere between a sandwich shop and full service gourmet restaurant. You will be cooking a lot of items but not everything, and your dining space will be simpler than a fancy dinner spot. So, you save money on buildout both in the kitchen, the equipment and the dining space. And you won’t need as expensive a chef as you would for a full-service restaurant. Furthermore, if you choose your location well you could have a good lunch business, as well as a dinner time business, and you could do fine in the late afternoon time slot too. Then of course you could offer breakfast as well and really fill in your day!
There are a variety of print-on-demand platforms you can work with, many of which can be integrated with your Shopify store for seamless order fulfillment. However, be sure to always order a sample of your product (often offered at a discount) to make sure your custom products look good.
You having a great idea and you want to translate it into opening a business. There is one big caveat, you are short on cash. And for most aspiring entrepreneurs, getting hold of the much-needed capital is usually the biggest challenge.
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.
Understand your audience. Who are you selling to? Where are they? What qualities do they find appealing/off-putting? The answers to these questions should influence both your marketing content and the platforms you’re advertising on. Even the most brilliant campaign can flop if it’s broadcast in the wrong places.