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.
Obtain UIA Number. You can get your Unemployment Insurance Account (UIA) online from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. You must have this account prior to hiring employees; you’ll also need this number to file your quarterly tax reports. It only takes moments.
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.
There are several loan programs aimed at helping first-time entrepreneurs set up their business. The Small Business Administration (SBA) operates the loan programs offered by the U.S. government. To qualify for the loan, your business must meet some criteria such as your business must operate in the United States, your business must qualify as a small business according to SBA guidelines, you must operate for profit and you should have a good credit score.
I met Wally Amos who made a blockbuster success out of famous Amos cookies, which he launched after a career as a Hollywood talent agent. Wally eventually lost control of his company to outside investors. However, he came back again with still another cookie line. Everyone loves a fancy cookie and it’s an easy food to both differentiate and to charge a premium for.
Another dropshipping model, print-on-demand puts inventory, shipping, and fulfillment in the hands of a third-party supplier. But unlike the dropshipping idea above, the focus here is on customizing these products with your own designs to create something original.
One of my friend’s mothers offered art lessons in her home after school. She had a steady clientele and they made some really cool art! You may already have an art specialty that you want to teach to others. Or you may find that you are better off learning the basics of a new art skill and teaching that, or offering a survey course covering a number of art skills—most of the market will likely be beginners anyway.
You’ll need to see if any local or state permits are required and you must follow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s guidelines on pet food products. You’ll need a good recipe and a selling point that will make your tasty treats stand out from competitors.
It’s hard especially for really small companies to hire someone dependable and that they can trust, to do their cleaning at night in the office alone. That’s why if you are willing to work hard and be dependable, you can make good money at this. I met a fellow who earned an excellent living cleaning offices, and he only worked 4-5 hours a night, and had no employees.
Almost everyone has a skill or three they could put to work to earn money as a virtual assistant. The list of things potential clients might need done for them is endless — writing, graphic design, social media management, internet research, answering emails, etc.
Market your business. To bring in more customers, you’ll have to market your business. This includes advertising, establishing a strong social media presence, and other activities designed to draw in customers. Your type of advertising should vary based on the type of customer you are trying to attract. If you’re working locally, advertise on local radio stations or in the newspaper. If you work online, sign up for Google AdWords or advertise your business on relevant websites.
Referrals and showcasing your work in an online gallery are two keys to gaining new clients. If you don’t have a lot of experience in photography but still want to pursue this business idea, try working as an assistant to a professional photographer to build up your resume.
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.
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.
Cigar shops can bring in decent and steady revenue. Better yet the profit margins are good, so you can be very profitable without hitting sky high sales levels. This is a relatively easy business without too many headaches. But choose your location carefully…then roll out your wooden Indian!
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.
The traditional model of entrepreneurship that continues to be taught today is to write a business plan, raise capital, source manufacturing, develop marketing materials, and fulfill and distribute orders — to do it all yourself. Clearly though, not everyone has the time, financial resources, experience, or even the desire to start and run a business. And what about those who have many ideas for new products? Not every idea needs to become a business.
I cringe at the thought of “wasting” any time running errands. It is no wonder that many people love to hire others to run their errands, in addition to those people who may be home-bound for health reasons. Errands often take longer than you think, so you may be better off charging on an hourly basis.
It doesn’t matter how long or detailed your plan is, as long as it covers a few essential points. Most successful small businesses will need to have a break-even analysis, a profit-loss forecast and a cash-flow analysis. A cash-flow analysis is especially important since you could be selling your products like hotcakes, but if you won’t be paid for six months, you could still run out of money and have to close your doors.
All you need to start your own cleaning business is a stockpile of cleaning supplies and access to clients, which you can gain through word of mouth, flyers or classified ads if you don’t want to set up your own website.
Someone wise once said that to qualify as a small town there is a prerequisite that it must have an ice cream shop. Ok, maybe we made that up. But regardless, if it’s not true, it should be. Opening an ice cream shop in a small town is a business idea guaranteed to draw a crowd. Knowing your product, being familiar with the most popular ice cream flavors, and having a willingness to work nights and weekends are all important factors to take into account. Just remember, this business comes with the challenges of seasonality. So, as we recommended boutique fitness businesses as great for cold weather climates, we are recommending ice cream shops for areas that are warmer. Find the perfect town with the perfect weather and this small town business idea is a no-brainer.
Utilize the tools at your disposal. There are so many fantastic free resources out there to make marketing easier for small-business owners. You can find tools for monitoring your social media, crafting professional emails, calculating ROI and much, much more — all you have to do is seek them out. Marketing a business is a full-time job, but if you’re stuck doing it on your own for now, using services like these can make the task more manageable.
The best way to hold onto your competitive edge is to protect your trade secrets. A trade secret is that information that isn’t known to others that gives you a competitive advantage in the market. There are many kinds of trade secrets, and trade secrets receive legal protection as long as their owners take steps to keep them secret. Those steps could be anything from marking confidential documents to requiring partners and employees to sign nondisclosure agreements.
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I like the vintage clothing business because you are not competing head to head with all the retailers and online sites selling new goods. Furthermore, you can have high margins. I would look to at least double my money on any vintage clothing that I buy, and I would try to pay for items with store credit not cash, as much as possible.
Even Rapunzel needed a trim now and them. It’s one service, that regardless of your age, most people need a few (if not a few dozen) times a year. If you’re currently calculating the average number of women in your town and multiplying it by three, thinking that is the amount of business you will drum up yearly, you’re thinking too narrowly. Opening your own hair salon has a variety of additional services that go far beyond haircuts. Think coloring, nails, and makeup, just to name a few. And remember, men tend to get their hair cut at least once a month. And, if you’re covering up that gray, every six weeks sounds about right. Quality cuts, depending on your geographic area and the experience of the stylist can go for around $100. Just make sure you have a solid business plan before opening up your small town shop.
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I receive at least 2 emails a day asking me for my expert opinion on a given company or website. Is so and so a legitimate company? Should I pay $49.95 to work with DataEntryBlahBlah.com? Honestly I’m not that much of an expert. I just know how to do a little research. If you’re currently thinking about joining a work at home company and a fee is one of the requirements, put your wallet or purse down. Before you make a decision that you might regret, watch the video we created. By the end of watching this video, you’ll never question whether or a not a company is a scam. You’ll know with certainty if it is!
Believe it or not, this freelance bike messenger makes more money than some people glued to their office desks. You won’t rake in a whopping $50,000 as this guy does by just doing this in your free time as a side business idea only, but you’ll surely get a piece of the action. Even Uber is trying out a blueprint for a delivery service, and companies like WunWun and Amazon are stepping up their efforts to expand same-day delivery, increasing the demand for more to jump in on this business idea. If you have a decent bicycle, those pair of pedals might just earn you a healthy side hustle income.
#33 – Carenet – For a nurse looking to make some extra bucks from the comfort of your home, try Carenet. This is an online company that hires registered nurses for telephone triage. Carenet pays $25 for every hour.
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.
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.
From your morning coffee to your kid’s birthday cake, neighborhood bakeries can fill a vast number of small-town needs. Though owning and operating a bakery is hard work, if it’s your life-long dream to produce pastries for the masses, it’s a business idea that can be incredibly rewarding. Employing youth from your town is also a great way to give back and stay connected to your community. If you’re a newbie to owning a business in a small town, doing research on opening a successful bakery is extremely important. You’ll also want to familiarize yourself with how to price baked goods.
If you’re proficient in a highly specialized software, you can get paid to pass your knowledge on to amateurs and professionals looking to expand their skill sets. Technical manuals are available for programs like QuickBooks and Final Cut Pro, but these are often expensive and difficult for the average user to get through. Schedule small group workshops or private sessions, and charge by the hour for a full tutorial of the program. The best thing about this gig is that it can be done part time.