If you’ve developed valuable skill sets or certifications within your industry over the years, consider putting your skills to use in your free time by offering your consulting services to local business owners as a potentially lucrative side business idea. Whether you’re an expert marketer, business strategist, or manufacturing aficionado, there’s likely a local business owner who’s willing to pay you to help them solve an issue with their company—if you can craft an effective cold email that convinces them to hire you. Start with this 18-step checklist to becoming a local business consultant as a side business idea, from Karyn Greenstreet. When you’re ready to get serious about becoming a consultant, check out all of my picks for the best online business courses to keep building your skills and learning how to land your first consulting clients. Personally, I think this is one of the best business ideas you can get started with today.
Similar to a handyman service, a cleaning service is also a solid business idea for small towns. That is if you are looking to forgo a storefront. Though it’s becoming increasingly popular these days for customers looking for cleaning services to use larger companies or startups, often services such as these either haven’t expanded into rural areas or don’t have contract workers willing to travel to more remote towns. This might be frustrating for those seeking a sparkling kitchen, but it’s a massive business opportunity for you! It’s also one of the easiest businesses to start with very little, if any, overhead.
Sole Proprietorship: Consider this the path of least resistance, but know that it comes at a price. If you’re operating without any partners and haven’t registered a formal business structure, you’ll automatically be classified as a sole proprietor and have no liability protection whatsoever. No need to file articles of incorporation/organization, but you might benefit from filing a DBA.
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.
Incidentally, helping others grow their wealth is also a good way to grow your own financial worth as a side business idea. If you have stock market and finance credentials, then you can earn freelance commissions or consulting fees, advising clients on how to get the best returns for their investments as a lucrative side business idea if you can get results for those clients—otherwise this business idea can be the fast-track to alienating friends and family, so be careful.
Everyone puts off cleaning up their messy garage! They need your help! And lots of people, especially guys would jump at the chance to have a beautifully finished garage to proudly house their favorite automobile!
I love working for TTEC@home. I get to interact with and help others from the comfort of my own home. (Have you ever been in Houston traffic rush hour? That says it all!) Plus, they have some of the most amazing people I’ve ever had the privilege of working with. They aren’t just here to draw a paycheck. They truly care about their co-workers. I work many miles from the brick and mortar buildings, but I have a sense of security that my coworkers have my back and I’m not alone.
Team members will complete assessments along the way to ensure their success on the job. After training, you will gain realistic, practical experience with supportive coaching and feedback to meet daily customer service and sales goals
A photographer, for example, can service a local event while selling prints online through their Instagram account. Coupling your service-based business with physical products can give you another source of income that isn’t directly tied to your time.
Create a budget, dividing it into sections that list your pre-launch startup expenses and your post-launch operating costs. The budget should include the direct costs to make your product and the overhead costs to run the business. It also should show a break-even point and the profit potential. Create a first-year budget and a three-year budget. It often takes more than one year for a business to become profitable and pay back its initial startup costs.
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.
Another flexible non-phone option in the educational field is test scoring. There are a few reputable companies that do hire home-based workers to score everything from standardized tests to essays. Before you apply, you should know that ETS and Pearson (listed below) do require that you have certain qualifications and/or past teaching experience before they’ll let you become a scorer. WriteScore on the other hand requires just a two-year college degree.
Resources I recommend for learning more about this industry include 21 Days to a VA Biz and The Bootstrap VA. Note that both of these books focus on starting your own virtual assisting business rather than working for a company (such as the ones above). For more in-depth training, you can enroll in the 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success eCourse. It will teach you exactly how to start your own VA business, what you need, what to charge, and also where to find clients.
Figure out if you need additional insurance. Visit with your local insurance agent to determine if you are in need of any special insurance for your home based business. When you start a home based business, you immediately start exposing yourself, your family and your home to variety of risks and you want to make sure you are covered before it is too late.
Discover your inner publicist. You might truly believe in your product or service, but in order for it to be successful, everyone else must believe in it too. If you’re new to advertising and marketing or you dislike doing the sales pitch, now is the time to overcome such feelings and put on the publicist persona. You need to develop an excellent short pitch to convince people they need your product or service, one that reflects the value, purpose and potential of what your business is offering. Write down this pitch in many ways until you find one that you feel satisfied says it all and is something you can say readily. Then practice it like crazy!
Contrary to popular belief, there are genuine work from home jobs where you don’t need a website to earn good money. Working at home allows you to set your own hours. Most of the legitimate work at home jobs are based on contracts and you work as a freelancer. Genuine Work From Home Jobs continued…
Survey Savvy is an online survey site where you’ll get earn money for sharing your opinions with companies. Most surveys pay out between $1.00 to $20.00 depending on the length and topic of the survey. Once your account has reached $1.00 in rewards, you can request payment via check. Survey Savvy has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
One of my friends with a background in manufacturing started a business removing waste from building sites and then he progressed into the demolition of industrial buildings. Like other construction related services, one of the keys to success is very carefully bidding for your work. You also need to make sure you get paid–general contractors can be highly successful one minute and then short on money to pay bills the next.
Most companies that hire for search engine evaluation have multiple projects available to work on, so the exact work you do might vary. However, search engine evaluation in the traditional sense involves analyzing queries that regular people like you and me might type into Google or Bing search and then determining the best possible results to match up to that query so that users have the best experience possible using a search engine.
If you love baking and are able to keep your hand out of the proverbial cookie jar, making gourmet cookies is a great side hustle with plenty of long-term potential. Start by learning how to execute unique and tasty gourmet cookie recipes, then seal the deal by creating or purchasing professional-looking packaging. Sell your cookies online or to people in your local community.
Shop around local banks to see what’s out there. Local banks and credit unions usually have fantastic customer support, so we’d recommend looking into some award-winning Colorado-based banks like Alpine and Bank of Colorado.
Chances are you’ve probably watched a couple of youtube videos online. And if you haven’t you’ve definitely watched TV. With that said, have you ever thought about how much video you consume? Now imagine if you were paid for all the videos or TV shows you watched. Well you can!
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.
Many people would love to have a beautiful slideshow to commemorate the passing of a loved one, an anniversary, or a special birthday. With a computer and some select software, you could quickly turn anyone’s pictures into a beautiful, custom slideshow, and profit handsomely for your time and effort.
It also might surprise you that though there are far fewer bookstores around these days, sales at bookstores that have weathered the storm are up five percent. Though it is partially due to less competition, it is also that the opportunity to reinvent bookstores for the 21st century has proved lucrative.
Gardening is really big. Many people like to do their own gardening but they can use a little bit of help! That’s where you come in! Maybe you specialize in flower gardens or vegetable gardens, or even something more exotic. You will need solid expertise, but you will find a clientele willing to pay for it.
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.
Obtain a FEIN. Your Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) is a tax ID assigned to you for your business. It is required to open a checking account and to facilitate other financial transactions like opening a credit account with a vendor. Obtain your FEIN here. I like to refer to it as your business’s social security number.
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!
I love being a part of TTEC@home because of the flexibility of the schedule. There are way more benefits to working from home than most people realize. I save money on transportation and clothing. I save time. I have a tax write-off. And I have less anxiety. The bonus of working with TTEC is that I’ve met some great people and have learned new skills.
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:
If you have that drive and experience, however, being a restaurateur can be a successful endeavor and a great business for a small town. Just be aware that as glamorous as it might seem from the outside, one-quarter of all restaurants will fail within the first year. We don’t say this to discourage you; it’s just good to know what you’re up against. Doing your market research prior to opening, and investing in technology such as a restaurant POS system, can help you ensure your business stays open and on top.
There are many ways to gain a competitive edge over other businesses in your industry: you could have a better product, a more efficient manufacturing or distribution process, a more convenient location, better customer service, or a better understanding of the changing marketplace.
Learn about employment laws. If you plan to hire employees or contract workers as part of your home based business, you will need to know how to navigate labor laws. These include, but are not limited to, minimum wage, overtime pay, required benefits, and other fair compensation regulations. It’s best to hire legal counsel to make sure that you do not run afoul of these regulations.
Getting started in the sport fishing charter business may not be as expensive and difficult as you think. Unless you are going into particularly rough waters you don’t need to start with a large cabin boat. Furthermore, you can finance much of your purchase. And if your fishing skills are a little weak, hire a boat hand with some strong local fishing knowledge. In the right location, you can charge some serious money in this business.
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.
If you have a talent for helping people look their best, and know how to mesmerize with eyeliners and turn heads with lipsticks, consider using your beauty skills to pursue this easily profitable side business idea. For under $2000, you can start your own make-up artist business which can make for the foundation of a potentially lucrative side business idea that turns a profit largely by referrals and word-of-mouth from your happy customers.
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.
Local: If you live in Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District (TriMet) or the Lane County Transit District (LTD), you will need to file and pay for transportation taxes. Learn more about mass transit payroll/excise tax from the Department of Revenue.
You should also consider home owners’ associations in your neighborhood and consider the potential impact of your business on neighbors, especially if the business will increase traffic or noise in the neighborhood.
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..
So, you have the entrepreneurial spirit but not a lot of tech know-how? Despite all of the high-tech startups that have popped up in recent years, there are still plenty of small business options out there that don’t require you to know the difference between CSS and QR codes. Below are low tech business ideas you can start this year.
1. Study the market. When a product idea dawns on you, first you must situate it. I recommend searching through Google Images and Google Shopping. Do similar products exist? Study them carefully. What benefits do they offer? Consider your point of difference. Does it offer a benefit consumers truly need or want? Read Amazon product reviews for further insight. Search for prior art as well. (Your goal is to understand the history of innovation as it relates to your concept, not to prove it’s never been thought of before.) If you find your idea in a patent but not on the market, do further research. What happened?