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.
Sole Proprietorship: The least formal structure of all — if you’re doing business on your own, you’re automatically seen as a sole proprietorship. There’s no need to file anything with the state, except perhaps a DBA (if you want to operate under a name aside from your own legal name). The main problem with this structure is that there’s nothing shielding you from business liability.
On the other hand, if you want to market your own t-shirts you might have more upside potential but the downside is greater too! The brothers who started “Life is Good” t-shirt business for example, lived out of their van for several years until their business finally gained momentum.
One of the easiest ways to screw up your business accounting and possibly run afoul of the IRS is to commingle personal and business funds (and transactions). Using a business account for all business transactions eliminates that possibility.
You need to set up your business in an area that is most profitable for your business or most convenient to your business. A location in the right city can be selected for a shop or an office is most known for the type of product or service you are dealing with.
Open a bank account for your LLC. You will need to have your EIN prior to opening an account. Consult your bank of choice about the options on your account that will be best suited to your business needs.
Hold a party and invite people who can spread the word for you. It doesn’t need to be pricey––purchase the food and drink from bulk discount stores and get family and friends to help with catering (you can give them a product or service in return).
A small business typically doesn’t hire a full-time HR person until it reaches about 50 people in size. Until it reaches that size a company might contract for an HR person one or two days a week through a human resources service. One of my friends with experience in HR built up a good business on this model. It helps if you are a good networker or are comfortable approaching small business owners to sell them your service.
Assess your financing needs. While starting a business from home can be more affordable than starting a traditional business, you will still need money to get started. As you form your home business idea, think about how much money you will need to buy inventory, buy your production equipment, or cover any other initial costs. If you don’t have a lot in savings, you can also get a business loan to get started, but this would mean qualifying for and then subsequently being responsible for a loan, which can be difficult for a new business. Consider your financing options carefully as you set up your home business.
It might slip your mind as something you’ll “get around to” eventually, but purchasing the right insurance for your business is an important step that should happen before you officially launch. Dealing with incidents like property damage, theft or even a customer lawsuit can be costly, and you need to be sure that you’re properly protected.
From there, you need to learn which tools, resources, and feedback communities you can use to accelerate the pace at which you’re able to launch. Check out these 101 essential tools and resources I use to launch profitable side hustle businesses.
If you’ve got the attitude (and look), there should be a product or service out there on the hunt for the right model to promote their brand as a side business idea. You can sign up with a large agency, find a freelance agent, or look for your own modeling gigs as an independent talent. Since modeling is a complex field, get all the advice you need before jumping right in and find a mentor who can guide you through some of the early challenges it’ll take to establish your brand. Depending on your preference, you can specialize in a single media format such as video or still images, to build a compelling portfolio and grow this into a business idea that has the potential to scale.
Of course, if you decide to open a bookstore as your small town business you’ll want to make sure that the main focus is books. But that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate other aspects of your community or additional products into your store. It’s rare nowadays to go into a bookstore just for books. They’re now a prime destination for gifts, crafts, e-readers, coffee, and events. Selling a variety of merchandise and holding events will diversify your revenue stream and bring additional customers into your store, those that traditionally might not be the paper book type.
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.
This is a boom or bust business. One relative went into this business out of college and just couldn’t get any momentum going. Whereas a friend of mine who had sold his retail store business has quickly become hugely successful at commercial real estate. My friend is highly charismatic, he could carry on a conversation with a tree, and he is always meeting new people. He also worked for an established broker for a year or so before going on his own, which is a typical path in this business. While it can be difficult to build momentum initially, the potential upside is much higher than selling residential real estate.
My friend’s wife earned an advanced degree in nutrition, put out her shingle, and tried some marketing, but her business progressed very slowly. Then she teamed up with a local gym and her business took off.
Like it or not, people tend to judge you instantly on that first impression! That’s why so many executives and business owners consider hiring an image consultant. If you have a good sense of dress and appearance, this could be a good niche business for you!
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.
My father spent year after year remodeling our basement—and I’m glad he did because that’s where I located my model railroad! However, a lot of homeowners aren’t willing to invest the huge amount of time it takes a novice to remodel their basement—that’s where you come in! Remodel your own basement, put together a website with the before and after photos, and hang out your shingle!
Apply for an employee identification number (EIN). An EIN is an assigned number for IRS purposes, similar to a social security number. EINs are used for small business and corporations to account for employee tax withholdings. However, an EIN is not required if you do not have any employees and you are a solo member LLC. If this is the case, you can simply use your Social Security number instead. Another option, aside from hiring employees and applying for an EIN, is to hire only independent contractors. Independent contractors are not considered employees and therefore no EIN will be required. If you do plan on hiring employees, you can apply for an EIN by:
Be sure to contact your local municipality about zoning laws. Some types of small businesses cannot be ran out of a home, and it is important to ensure your business is operating within its proper zone.
While you can order one book at a time, costs naturally go down when you buy in bulk. You can consider pre-selling your book idea through Kickstarter to ensure that there’s demand and guarantee a certain number of customers for a bulk order.
For most people, successful investing will involve selecting mutual funds or ETFs, not individual stocks or bonds. That means to become a financial planner you don’t need to be a Wall Street wizard. You will need to understand the basics of investing (such as the importance of being diversified and understanding and respecting your client’s risk profile!) but this is very learnable. Study hard for this profession and you can do a tremendous service for people by helping them protect and growth their hard-earned money.
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.
For help with this step, a Business License Service is a good resource too. They determine everything required on federal, state, county, and municipal levels, get the forms, and provide step-by-step filing instructions.