With all my experience in book publishing I am not going to tell you that this is an easy business, especially with the domination of players like Amazon. But if you pick a defensible niche, keep your overhead low, you could develop a decent business.
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.
This is very competitive. Just a few feet away from me in the co-share space I am working in currently, several young people started an Internet based food service, but gave up after a few months. But there is a huge demand for food delivery both from restaurants and grocery stores, and you just might be able to make a go of it!
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.
You also will need to file certain forms to fulfill your federal and state income tax obligations. The forms you need are determined by your business structure. A complete list of the forms each type of entity will need can be found on the SBA website. You can also find state-specific tax obligations there. Some businesses may also require federal or state licenses and permits in order to operate. You can use the SBA’s database to search for licensing requirements by state and business type.
For this reason, consider testing out your dishes on a smaller scale first, at a local farmer’s market or a food festival. You can get feedback from customers on your product before investing in a mobile operation.
Colorado doesn’t issue general business licenses, but there are a number of scenarios that do call for special permits, licenses and taxes on a local, state and federal level. Here are the best resources for each:
Know someone who rents out property to others? Perhaps they could use a hand managing their property. If so, you can make a decent amount of money on this side business idea with relatively little work on your part (most of the time). It’ll take some hustling and the willingness to be flexible with your schedule, as you’ll be responsible for collecting rent checks, managing repairs and improvements, and simply being on call for emergencies. But, a property manager is essential for most real estate investors that have a large enough portfolio, so there’s definitely merit to this business idea.
As an ABC Fundraising® distributor you will have the opportunity to offer a large variety of unique and highly profitable fundraisers including The Entertainment® Card, with up to 75% Profit! and Spinners® with up to 97% Profit! We are constantly adding new unique fundraisers to our catalog which always come with bonus Scratch & Help® cards or Spinners® to increase your client’s profit to the HIGHEST in the fundraising industry!
There will also be some restrictions based on things like your location, business size/type and the amount of funding you’re seeking. Before diving into crowdfunding, microloans, social lending or any of the other options, make sure you fully understand their implications. We discuss all of these funding methods and more in our guide to financing a new business.
Now that you have your idea in place, you need to ask yourself a few important questions: What is the purpose of your business? Who are you selling to? What are your end goals? How will you finance your startup costs? All of these questions can be answered in a well-written business plan.
Then you can move into more actionable online courses like Modern Web Design on CreativeLive and Learn Web Design and Profitable Freelancing on Udemy will teach you everything from foundational web design knowledge to earning your first freelance income as a web designer. On top of that, you can take even more immersive courses and learning experiences with access to direct instructor feedback and personal mentorship with platforms like Treehouse, Lynda and General Assembly to get up-to-speed even quicker with this career path and listen to my podcast interview with Ian Paget about how to become a freelance designer as a side business idea.
I learned a lot about resume writing as my book publishing company became the leading seller of resume books in the US. Resumes are not obsolete, even if you don’t always use one when applying for a position online, recruiters expect you to bring a resume to the interview. With the Internet, you can help write resumes and cover letters for anyone in the world. If you can write succinctly, you can write a good resume.
I think providing eBay selling and shipping services is a great, high-demand service business. This is a very different business than what I would call eBay trading where you buy and sell products on eBay. A trading business can have high potential but it also has higher risks and may take longer to make money at.
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.
A few years ago, I overheard a conversation in a gym about a fellow who was planning on starting an Irish pub, of which there are close to million (well almost a million) in Boston, but then changed his mind and opened a pub focusing on craft beers. It was wildly successful! In addition to being a unique idea at the time, he also chose an excellent location and developed a solid food menu. Unless your overhead is extremely low, you are probably going to need to serve food to make a go of this business, so yes you can be extremely successful–but it is no small undertaking.
If you have ever lived in a small town and entertained houseguests, you’ve probably often wished that your town had a bed and breakfast. Though small towns with a tourism industry will often have historical inns or at least a motel or two, towns that aren’t exactly Plymouth, MA or Williamsburg, VA often go without. That means no place for the in-laws to stay or guests for a family reunion or wedding. Opening a small inn or bed and breakfast can help fill a need in your area. If you’re worried about being able to keep your rooms booked, go small. Bed and breakfast owners tend to live in the same homes they manage, often converting their larger homes into B&Bs. This is a great idea for those who have recently become empty nesters with too many rooms to fill. If you’re later in life and looking for business ideas for small towns, this concept is a great one to explore.
Build a trusting customer base. By adjusting to your customers’ needs and consistently providing good services or products, you get the best form of free advertising: word of mouth recommendations. Your customers will recommend you to their friends if they are truly satisfied with your work, and your business will grow accordingly. You’ll have get some customers coming back for repeat service and build up a consistent revenue pipeline.
Many business and non-profit associations are too small to hire a full-time administrator but still have a lot of administrative work to be done. Some of the business groups I belong to, such as local chapter of The Young President’s Organization and The Harvard Business School Association of Boston, have hired an association management service which is typically a single individual or in one case a mother/daughter team. For these businesses, the management service processes membership dues and event payments, fields questions about events, arranges logistics for events, and attends events and welcomes members. Payment is usually on a monthly retainer basis.
Start planning ahead. Where do you hope to see your business in 6 months? What about 3 years down the road? Life is full of surprises and there’s plenty that you can’t plan for, but setting realistic goals is still an important practice.
Totspot is a mom-to-mom mobile marketplace for buying and selling gently used or new children’s clothing. Totspot users can list clothing items for sale in less than one minute, and all transactions are handled in-app. Totspot then notifies the seller when their item is purchased.
The Give & Grow Shopify app makes it easy to partner with charitable organizations and incorporate your mission into your business. You can set it up to donate a specific amount or a percentage of sales, or ask your customers to add a donation at checkout.
Set up a dedicated phone line and internet service. Almost all businesses will require contact with customers over the phone. In order to ensure that your line will be free when customers call, you’ll have to get a dedicated phone line for business use. You should also sign up for voicemail rather than using an answering machine. This sounds more professional to customers. You should also add an internet connection that is fast enough for your business purposes while still remaining affordable.
Founded in 2003, Small Business Trends is an award-winning online publication for small business owners, entrepreneurs and the people who interact with them. It is one of the most popular independent small business publications on the web.
Define your management and financial structure: the operating agreement should define how your LLC is going to be run and how the finances will work – including who will share in the profits and what will happen in the event of a disagreement. If you do not have an operating agreement, you and your partners will have a much more difficult time resolving financial or management disagreements. 
The major benefit of becoming a foreign corporation is that it allows your company to operate as one entity in many jurisdictions. For example, if you originally incorporate your LLC in the State of Delaware, you can file your existing domestic LLC as a foreign corporation in other states.
People will pay a lot of money to get their dog trained and you can provide the service. To get going you can read a book or take a dog training class yourself. This business would also be a great source of clients for dog walking services, if you want to expand your dog services empire!
If you don’t mind parading yourself around in public places as a side business idea, and enjoy a little attention, then working as a human billboard can pay a surprising amount of dividends. Renting out your beard, for example can earn you as much as $5 a day while having a brand logo tattooed on your shaven head for five years could pay as much as $7,000—though this type of earning opportunity is admittedly rare. This business idea is definitely not for the faint of heart, and is a little extreme for me, but nonetheless it’s been done as a side hustle for many people. You can start by holding a placard or wearing a sandwich board. If you think this is a good side business idea, you can go all the way and turn it into a full on small business idea with enough hard work—plus you won’t have to deal with all the issues other more complex businesses have to constantly think about (like reducing churn).
Create a working name. You could even do this before you have an idea for the business, and if the name is good, you may find it helps you define your business idea. As your plan grows, and things begin to take shape, the perfect name may come to you, but don’t let that hinder you in the early phases. Create a name that you can use while you plan and don’t hesitate to change it later.