steps to start a small business | what you need to start your own business

People with wood burning stoves and fireplaces need wood to burn and they love to have it delivered, all cut up into bite-sized pieces! They don’t want to have to carry logs around, they don’t want to get their nice car dirty and they don’t want to split up logs.
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!
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.
To succeed at car resale, you need to find a great source of used cars at a good price. Sources to buy cars include: car dealer auctions, bankruptcy auctions, new car dealers selling older cars they don’t want on their lot, government car auctions, and rental car agencies. You can also watch for bargain priced cars being advertised by individuals, but you need to snap up the best deals before someone else does. Focus on just a couple cars at a time, so that you can try to keep your overhead low by operating out of your house, and keep your profits up by choosing your cars carefully.
Health and fitness services are being rebranded to become trendier and more sociable. Opening a health club or gym targeted specifically to millennials could be a great way to capitalize on the fitness trend, especially if you focus on creating a strong, fun and engaging social media presence to really connect with young members and potential customers.
#12 – Rev is a transcription company that requires you to work as much or little as you want. As a qualification, you need to pass the skill test for you to access the transcription assignments. The pay ranges between $24-$39 per audio hour made every week through PayPal.
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.
Sammi Caramela is a recent graduate of Rowan University, where she majored in writing arts and minored in journalism. She currently works as a Purch B2B staff writer while working on her first novel in her free time. Reach her by email, or check out her blog at sammisays.org.
Who says you need technology in order to start? Some people even enter paralysis from just not starting just because there is not enough technology or the technology they currently have is not as updated.
This could be a lot of fun, playing store merchant every now and then, when you decide to attend a flea market. There are general flea markets to attend, plus more specialized ones. For example, being a model railroad buff, I notice the many model railroad vendors who travel to model railroad shows around the northeast, selling new or used model railroad supplies. You could make your own items to sell, trade used items, or sell new items that you buy wholesale. The options are endless.
Do you have an extra room in your house or condo? You could rent it out by the day like the Airbnb model, or you could rent it by the week, or you could rent it by the month. Then maybe you could use the income to help subsidize your expenses as you start another business!
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.
Competition isn’t just about the goods or services themselves. It is also about your social and environmental credibility. Consumers are increasingly conscious of the need to show that your business is concerned with labor conditions and isn’t damaging the environment. Certification endorsements from reputable organizations, such as labels and stars, can reassure customers that your product or service is more aligned with their values than one lacking the certification.
Swagbucks – Read Review – Open to US, UK, and Canada. While this is just extra money or regular Amazon gift codes, there are tons of tasks you can do to earn daily — everything from paid surveys to watching videos. I’ve been a member since 2007 and can vouch for the company. They have paid me many times. It’s definitely a fun site to use.
Believe it or not, some people have such a difficult time with dating, that they don’t even want to participate in the online (or app-based) component of it. If you’re a smooth talker, why not leverage that skill into becoming a paid match maker as a side business idea? People are paying.
The California Small Business Development Center is a great resource if you need a little assistance coming up with funding opportunities. They’ve got dozens of locations across the state where you can go to discuss potential funding approaches for your business based on all the criteria above (and more).
Enterprise Holdings, the parent company of Alamo, Enterprise, and National Car Rental services hires home-based customer service reps, escalation support reps, reservation and sales reps, and bilingual reservation and sales reps.
There is a huge upside potential rebuilding auto parts, like transmissions. However, I have friends who have gone into this business and it can take years to nail down your production process, develop your customer base and start to reap the big money.
This website is meant to be opinion and information based, not legal advice of any kind. We spend hundreds of hours per month updating and refining our content as things change, but to be used as-is. For questions while starting a business, we recommend consulting with an attorney or accountant. Names, trademarks and logos mentioned all belong to their respective owners. Some of the links may be affiliate links, earning us a small commission if you decide to use them, allowing us to continue creating content.

Guest interactive murder mystery productions are very popular and no wonder–they are a lot of fun. You could do this on your own, renting a public venue and all that. But instead I would recommend that you partner up with a local business, such as an inn or restaurant, which could use an event like this to promote their business.
The day spa business is hot as more and more overworked people seek rejuvenation for their tired bodies. I would pull first time customers in with very sweet deals, then try to tie them in with a membership model, such as so many day spa visits per month for one flat rate. Building out a day spa can be expensive and will usually cost more than you budget, so with your first spa I wouldn’t get too carried away with remodeling. Instead make the spa nice, but not lavish, and then offer great service.
If you’re a fitness buff and have the right combination of charisma and business sense, working as a part-time personal trainer as a side business idea can be both physically and financially rewarding. Once you build up a reputation and client base for yourself, it could easily turn into a full-time endeavor for you. Check out these tips to a successful personal training business by the American Fitness Professionals and this interview with several fitness blog owners who are making a living online, from MonetizePros. Finally, I’d recommend checking out this resource if you want to take this business idea seriously and get started with a business plan for your personal fitness trainer business today.
Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission. Know that I only recommend tools and learning resources I’ve personally used and believe are genuinely helpful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to purchase them. Most of all, I would never advocate for buying something that you can’t afford or that you’re not yet ready to implement.
InboxDollars here you can earn cash for surveys, reading emails, playing games, redeeming coupons, searching the web and shopping online. Membership is free, and you’ll receive $5.00 for signing up. Payments are made via check.Love playing games on your mobile?
Working Solutions hires work from home travel agents to take inbound calls to schedule air, hotel, and car reservations using Sabre Red. Experience preferred, but for the right individual, they’ll provide reservation training at no cost.
Nyla and Noelle – Run your own fashion empire from home. Clothing is the hottest new trend in social selling, and you can get in on the ground floor. We are a boutique clothing and jewelry direct sales company. Our fun and fashionable clothing is offered only through our Curators who sell socially from in-home parties, local events, and online through social media. Our Curators purchase a POP box of inventory to get started. After receiving their POP box our Curators choose every style and color of clothing they receive from our always rotating selections. We offer many truly boutique styles from BOHO chic, western chic, casual basics, dressy clothes, and high-end boutique items. We offer sizes S-3XL. Our Curators enjoy a generous profit margin. 
When making a website keep in mind that simplicity and clarity are key. A simple design that clearly states what you do, how you do it, and what you charge is most effective. When making your website, remember to emphasize why your business is the best solution to a clients problem.
If you are in a climate that consistently gets a lot of snow each year, then this could be a good business. But if the snowfall is inconsistent, you could get stuck with having a nice new snowplow and truck, but no business.
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.
Secure start-up costs. Most businesses require capital to start. Money is typically required to purchase supplies and equipment, as well as keep the business operational for the period before your business becomes profitable. The first place to look for financing is yourself.[1].
One of my friend’s mothers who had performed as a Radio City Rockette, founded a highly successful dance studio for young girls. She was successful enough to rent large commercial space, but this is a business you may want to start in your home.
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.
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.
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!
Live in a destination where travelers frequently visit? If you love meeting new people from around the world and also love the city you live in, starting your own local tour company is arguably the best business idea that will give you both of those perks. Take a unique spin on your local tour business like Erik from Vantigo. He was starting his VW van tour business in San Francisco as just a side business idea while he was still working a full-time job, and grew it to being a sustainable source of full-time income before quitting—now he’s running a multiple van tour company on the back of what originally began as a crazy side business idea.
#43 – Testing Time is a business opened to a global audience looking for an opportunity to share their opinions and get paid $50 per study made. You must have access to a Skype account and work a minimum of 90 minutes. The payment takes almost a week to process.
As a TTEC@Home associate, you’ll use our technology to support and assist customers with a variety of customer service and technical needs. This could include helping customers over the phone, via chat, or on social media. Best of all, you can do it all while wearing your slippers or flip flops! (To get started, you’ll need internet access and a home phone. Bunny slippers are optional.)
It’s funny how much baking can relate to making money. Start bringing in some side income by kneading flour, mastering the oven, and appeasing everyone’s sweet tooth. While some experts have already turned baking into their sole “bread and butter,” you need not leave your day job to pursue this business idea just yet. Depending on your experience, you can start by doing something simple on the side like perfecting Grandma’s nostalgic cookies before heading on to offer exquisite artisanal fare.
Yes, even the PowerPoint presentation requires outside consulting every now and then—especially if it’s not your forte. I know I would happily outsource the visual layout of my presentation decks for work meetings, investor pitches and lectures. Tobias Schelle of 24Slides is living proof that you can turn your skills at slideshow presentation design into a legit side business idea—and potentially earn up to $20 a slide for your time and talents.
In my book business, we had up to seven full time publicists on staff, and yet we would still hire outside publicity firms to promote our books. Most publicity work is promotion work—getting attention for businesses and their products. Most publicity firms specialize, for example one firm may specialize in promoting high tech firms in Boston, another may specialize in promoting restaurants in Providence. Many of the national publicity firms I have used were founded by somebody who had previously had experience working at a media outlet. But this business isn’t rocket science…if you are good at networking and you can get promotion for your clients then you can succeed at this business.
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.
Lionbridge has work-at-home opportunities for Internet Assessors who evaluate the results of web searches. The position is open globally, and individuals can work up to 20 hours per week. Average pay is $13.50 per hour.
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.
Think about the areas that you are either weak in, or have little knowledge of. Finding partners compatible with your personality who can fill in your knowledge or skill gaps is an excellent way to ensure your business has the resources you need to succeed.
Are you an extrovert that loves meeting new people? Selling insurance products—particularly life insurance—may be a great way to bring in some extra cash and build residual income in your spare time. Selling life insurance on the side could quickly generate a consistent $1,000 – $2,000 per month depending on how much time you invest in this side business idea. To get started you’ll likely want to take an online course to brush up on the subject matter, and then pass a state licensing exam. The biggest challenge you’ll face as a new agent is generating sales beyond just helping out friends and family. From there, it’s all about networking and lead generation to grow this one. Learn more about this side business idea with this getting started in life insurance guide from the team over at NoExam.
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.

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