my own business | first steps to opening a business

To estimate your start-up costs, begin by creating two lists — one of things you’ll treat as expenses, one for your assets. Don’t forget to consider items such as brochures, business cards and website development costs or any security deposits you need to make. Consider whether you need the help of a consultant, tax adviser or lawyer to get started. Next, categorize these items as essential or optional — do you really need to spend money on these before you start making any kind of income?
Whether a small town is in North Dakota, Upstate New York, or South Florida, one thing is for sure: people prefer shiny modes of transportation to muddy, rusty wrecks. It’s just how human nature works. You pay your car payment every month, so your vehicle might as well shine! If there isn’t a car wash in your town already or at least one in the next town over, opening a cash wash might be your perfect small town business opportunity. One thing to think about before getting started: location, location, location. Nail this stage of the planning and you’ll make the rest of your ride significantly easier.
I “accidentally” came across this great post. Several of my clients are actually doing business with many of the ideas listed here. My business is to help their business by providing a smorgasbord of services in ONE convenient, trustworthy location. Please visit Jen Williams International at JenWilliamsIntl.com. We’d be more than happy to help!
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.
Though certainly not for everyone, recycling the containers from products left strewn around on the ground can become a surprisingly decent side business idea if you put in the time. Attending events like street fairs and outdoor concerts can be a great starting place. Put on a clean shirt, jeans, apply your sunscreen, grab a cheap pick-up tool like this one, sturdy plastic bags, and you can sell them for upwards of $4.00/pound on eBay.
#3 – Arise is a renowned company that contracts work at home customer service agents in the U.S. Their pay depends on the kind of client you are assigned to work with, but usually, ranges from $10-$20 per hour. The great thing about this job is flexibility. You can work as much as you want.
When you think of your neighborhood coffee shop and bar, you might not think of the same establishment. But if your town is small enough, and clientele scarce, merging these two business ideas might be just what the mayor ordered.
Having built one of the largest independent book publishers in the US, I can tell you that book publishing is not the easy road to riches that so many people think it is. Furthermore, I believe getting really rich publishing your own eBook can even be harder. For one the competition is insane…you will be competing with everybody and their mother, including people who are literally giving away their product. Furthermore, it is increasingly hard to get attention for books in the media, and it is hard to convert website visitors into book buyers. But hard is not impossible, and you could publish that rare book that makes a lot of money. Several of the book authors I published earned over a million dollars, and that was just from their royalties.
Launch your business. When you have everything ready, launch your business or website and take your first customers. These can be friends or family to start with. Keep in mind, you will not know everything about your business from the start. Entrepreneurs learn as they go!
You’ll need experience grooming pets or be willing to train. Past experience working with animals is recommended. Licenses and permits may also be required, depending on your location. As with other pet businesses, getting the proper insurance is recommended.
My wife is quite handy with a sewing machine and often hems and modifies our children’s clothes. She could easily take this a step further and offer her services to others, doing basic garment repair and modification for a small price on lazy evenings.
Have a knack for staying organized? If you’re a jack of all trades, you should consider working as a virtual assistant as a side business idea. You can find great gigs on Elance, Indeed, or Upwork. It can be an awesome way to rub shoulders with some very important people, build up your professional network, develop in-demand new skills (like creating GIFs and VR videos), grow your side business idea and you’ll have the added perk of being able to start this as a home based business idea. Becoming a virtual assistant can be a particularly great side business idea if you’re hoping to travel the world while making money online as a digital nomad.
I started two different map businesses while in college, both of which I later sold. One was a street map of a local resort area, which I sold to retailers and also sold advertising on the back side of. The other was a tourist map of the island of Nantucket which I sold at retail. Today with everyone using navigation systems, I would be less excited about putting together a street map. But a fun illustrated map showing local business sponsors still makes for a viable business model.
Yoga is getting ever more popular, which means yoga instructors are more in demand than ever—making this another physically rewarding side business idea. Link up with a local yoga studio to teach nightly classes or offer personalized yoga in-home at a higher rate to pursue this kind of emotional and physical balance with others, during your free time while helping your bank balance, too.
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.
Manage your running costs. Keep a close eye on your running costs and keep them in line with your projections. Whenever you see something spent wastefully—like electricity, phone plans, stationery, packaging—look around and estimate how much you really need, and minimize or remove the cost in every way possible. Think frugally when you start up, including renting items instead of purchasing them and using pre-paid plans for services your business needs instead of locking yourself into long-term contracts.
While having a formal background in graphic design is absolutely going to be helpful, it’s also relatively easy to learn the foundations of graphic design on your own. An increasingly easy-to-use Adobe Illustrator and even more easily accessible tools like Stencil and Visme are making it so that just about anyone with two opposable thumbs, a bit of creativity, and motivation can earn a side income doing things like designing (and selling) images like these motivational quotes that can be printed onto posters and sold on platforms like Etsy. Or you can find a local startup, small business owner, or photographer who could benefit from some extra help designing or altering images.
Enter: The Side Hustle. I’ve created an entire podcast to talk about the side hustle, featuring interviews with the world’s top entrepreneurs right here on—The Side Hustle Project. Listen to my episode about How to Find a Profitable Business Idea right here…
It’s not very engaging, or mentally stimulating, but online surveys do pay out (a little), believe it or not. Just don’t expect to make bank with this side business idea—I recommend combining it with another source of side income from this list of my best business ideas, and turning to surveys in your downtime when you need a little extra income.
By submitting one application, you will be considered for any of the Work At Home positions offered. Discuss your preferences with the Recruiter who contacts you! *Please note: These are NOT “freelance”, contracted, or independent contractor positions. Yo…
You can curate products from different suppliers into your own online store under a theme that focuses on a specific niche, like mats for yoga enthusiasts or water bowls for dog owners. When a customer buys a product from you, the order is sent to your supplier who fulfills it on your behalf. However, you are still responsible for your own customer service.
Protect your LLC status: Having an operating agreement makes your LLC more “legitimate” in the eyes of the court, especially if it is a solely owned LLC. Because there are many different types of business structures, you want to make sure that your LLC is recognized as an LLC and not something different. The formality of an operating agreement insures that your LLC will be seen as an LLC. [19]
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.
Visit the website of the U.S. Small Business Administration to learn what goes into a business plan and how to write one. You will need to provide an overview of your product or service, an analysis of your marketplace, a marketing plan and financial figures. Look for a SCORE chapter in your area so you can get free advice from retired executives on the first draft of your plan. You can also ask business friends and associates for advice.
Turning your favorite craft or hobby into a revenue-generating business idea easily counts among the most fulfilling experiences anyone can have. Just take a look at what Jacob Huss of Soteria Designs is doing wit his hobby of hand-building furniture and wood jewelry. With more and more people demanding a higher degree of personalization in just about anything they own or use, count yourself lucky if your craft happens to be the creation of custom furniture. Not only is the real estate sector regaining its footing, the number of style-conscious customers is also on the rise, creating plenty of room for growth into this business idea.
Opening up a taco or food truck might not have been first on your list of ideas for a successful small town business, but depending on the location of your town, the seasonality of its residents, and the weather, starting a food truck business can be a great investment. Many small towns have vibrant communities, and often these include outdoor activities such as sporting events, festivals, and markets. Having the ability the drive your business to where the crowds are means major cash in your pocket. Food trucks also have the added benefit that they can be rented for special events. So for a small town that might lack a proper catering service, being able to hire a food truck for your son’s bar mitzvah or daughter’s quinceanera is a perfect local option.
Consider some of the more common ideas. If no business ideas are coming to mind, think about some of the tried and trued home business types. Some highly lucrative home business ideas include tutoring, tax preparation, business coaching, counseling, marketing consulting, accounting, web designing, interior designing, dance instructing, newsletter service, proofreading service, and resume writing service. These home based business ideas just require your personal skills rather than large investments.
Being practical is extremely important when you are toying with the idea of starting a business. You need a steady source of income before you can set up your business, so it’s advisable to hold onto your current job. By retaining your present job, you will be more secure when you need to take risks.
For example, you may have worked with electronics as an employee for many years. You may have noticed a demand in your community for a particular form of electrical work, and combining your experience with the market demand can allow you to attract customers.
“Many of us want to start our own businesses. Public space is filled with reports of new ventures. But the reporting on entrepreneurship is heavily skewed in one particular direction: towards people who have started new kinds of businesses, pioneers who have pushed the boundaries of commerce by creating a wholly original offering, usually through the help of an innovative piece of technology…”
Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird, and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.
Starting a business takes much effort, but this effort could bring you huge rewards. For this article, the author assumes that you have already researched your business idea, obtained the funding and decided to actually start your business.
Form a business entity. You’ll need to decide what type of business entity you want to be, for tax purposes and hopefully to eventually attract investors. You will do this after you’ve decided whether you will need money from others either in equity or loans and with the advice of your legal and accounting experts. It is one of the last steps taken before you actually spend money or ask someone for money. Most people are familiar with corporations, LLCs, etc., but for the vast majority of small business owners, you will need to form one of the following[2]:
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.

State: The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration website offers all the information you need to know about state business taxes and special permits and licenses. The Governer’s Office CalGold Permit Assistance Tool is also a great way to find out what taxes and licenses apply to your business.
If you no longer wish to conduct business with your LLC, it is important to officially dissolve it. Failure to do so in a timely fashion can result in tax liabilities and penalties, or even legal trouble. To dissolve your LLC, there are two broad steps:
Nothing beats teaching more novice learners about your passion, hobby, or craft as a business idea (that’s a common theme here). Explore dozens of DIY portals (such as DIY.org, DIY Network, Instructables and Mahalo) to get business ideas on how to earn a healthy side income just by showing others how to do the things you love. You can also sift through the countless ad-supported YouTube channels that teach just about anything from guitar strumming to 3D printing.
In the past, I’ve discussed how it’s a good idea to spend your spare time dabbling in entrepreneurship: It fills your time with something that you choose (and thus you enjoy) and sets up a potential long-term revenue stream. I also discussed how I got a side business going myself.