how to start a successful business | steps to start a company

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.
Welcome to Texas! Sole proprietorships and partnerships can move easily. Usually all that is required is to file an assumed name certificate or d/b/a (“doing business as”) in Texas. Moving an entity, such as a corporation or a limited liability c…
But before you can graduate from side business idea and start earning a full-time living as a graphic designer, you’ll need to build your skills—I recommend starting with reading the foundational book Graphic Design School and Steal Like an Artist, the incredible book by Austin Kleon about how to become more creative. To accelerate your education in becoming a graphic designer even quicker, check out the online courses Graphic Design Fundamentals and The Graphic Design Bootcamp.
Yes, graphic design is hyper competitive. But everyone wants a little different style. So, if you get a highly appealing design in front of your prospective audience you can be successful. For this business, I would go crazy having a fabulous looking website with a totally “kickass” front page! Then I would use SEO techniques, social media, and every other marketing tool I could think of to drive traffic to it.
Even in this digital age, there remains a huge market for independent sales reps who sell the products for a number of different companies to other businesses. You will typically work on a commission basis which means income will start slowly, but established manufacturer’s reps can make a lot of money over the years.
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.
Fancy yourself a poet? You can earn $300 for every poem you write that this greeting card company publishes—not a bad side business idea if you’ve got a way with words and aren’t afraid of rejection on poems that aren’t a good fit.
Is your business idea really unique? What value will it generate? Is it something your target audience really wants? Or is it something you think they’d want? Getting answers to these questions is important to determine whether or not your idea works.
We suggest you have a look at a free PDF online called “The Benefits of Doing Business in Illinois” published by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute back in 2014. As you’ll see, the regulatory environment can be very startup-friendly.
It should go without saying that entrepreneurs wear many hats — but “attorney” shouldn’t be one of them. While you will have to get acquainted with the laws and regulations that will impact your business, sometimes it’s important to leave the details to the professionals. Give your business the best chance at success: contact a small business attorney in your area for help. 
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.
We’re all guilty of spending too much time on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest sometimes, so why not get paid to put your expertise to work as a side business idea? Lots of companies, especially startups or those in retail and travel—even influencers have heavy social media presences and are constantly in need of people to help build their brands online. You can find these types of opportunities on sites like Flexjobs and CareerBuilder and most employers on these websites are conditioned to working with people who operate these services as their side business idea.
This could be a lot of fun, playing store merchant every now and then, when you decide to attend a flea market. There are general flea markets to attend, plus more specialized ones. For example, being a model railroad buff, I notice the many model railroad vendors who travel to model railroad shows around the northeast, selling new or used model railroad supplies. You could make your own items to sell, trade used items, or sell new items that you buy wholesale. The options are endless.
This is one of the most popular small businesses in the world! And no wonder! Everyone needs to have it done and many people don’t like to do it! It is also a business that can be challenging to get your employees to consistently do a fantastic job. That’s why this business is particularly well-suited for both solo entrepreneurs and an entrepreneur who runs one single crew of cleaners.
Like drinking beer? Why not try making it yourself as your side business idea? With enough patience and skill you might end up brewing something that others are willing to pay to drink. Pick up an easy-to-use starter kit from Mr. Beer online, invest the time it’ll take to perfect your craft, make a unique brew and start shopping it around to friends & family to see what they think of this side business idea.
Take Action: The first step is finding the right platform, which we highly recommend checking out Wix or Weebly. Both walk you through the process of building a professional website and are very easy to use. No need for you to have any previous website building experience.
I already know what you’re thinking when you read that title, ‘Here comes another one of those get rich quick scams. I don’t blame you. Most titles that begin the way tend to lead to some ebook or sales page. But what I’m about to reveal to you is totally legitimate and involves nothing more than speaking your mind. No I haven’t lost mine! Just be patient.
So, you start out with some stunning jewelry designs but how do you turn it into a business? One of my friends’ sisters turned her jewelry hobby into a full-time job by selling her products to a few local jewelry stores. Another woman I know built her business into a much larger enterprise…all built around a strong unifying theme. That’s the key here, success will come a lot easier if you build a distinctive overall brand, and ideally have closely matched collections within the brand.
Needing to tweak the ideas. Perhaps the product needs to be a different color, texture or size. Maybe your services need to be broader, narrower or more detailed. This is the time to attend to anything that crops up during your testing and development phases. You’ll know innately when something needs tweaking to make it better or to make it less like a competitor’s stale offerings.
If you don’t find what you’re looking for there, here’s a list of the 45 best places you can learn to code for free. Once you command a knowledge of HTML, Ruby, Python, Javascript, or CSS, you can start a freelance business as a side business idea to build your portfolio while you still hold onto your full-time job. Listen to my podcast interview with Laurence Bradford about her journey to become a freelance web developer, too. And over time, you’ll build more relationships, have more experience and eventually take this side business idea over to becoming a full-time source of income.
Freelance writing is one of the most flexible of the non-phone options, and it’s an easy field to break into without any experience at all! This is also an industry that can pay well, especially if you forgo content sites (such as the ones below) and work on finding private clients that will agree to the rates you set. The content sites don’t pay that well, but they can still help you get valuable writing experience and earn a weekly paycheck.
NerdWallet’s interactive small-business loans tool allows you to find financing that meets your individual goals. Enter the age of your business, your credit score, the amount of money you need and how you’ll use it. The list of lenders is based on factors including trustworthiness and user experience.
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.

Companies and non-profits spend a lot of money on meetings, and even when they have in-house staff they will often hire a meeting planner service. They are particularly likely to hire a meeting planner when they are planning a meeting in a distant city. To get going in this business take advantage of any contacts you have, approach local associations and businesses, and build up a strong online-presence.
The local bank or investment advisory service may decide to add a touch of class and the feel of quiet success to their office by adding art to its walls, but which paintings should they buy? That’s where you come in, the expert art buyer. You could offer your services to private art buyers as well. Where do you start? You could simply start with one recommendation for one painting for a friend’s empty wall space.
Launching a business website is another huge step for your brand, and we think the best way to go about it is by using a website builder. Working on an existing platform like Wix or StudioPress is a much easier and cheaper way to create a professional-looking website than hiring an expert to build one from scratch.
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.
One of my friends sold off his large family business that made industrial goods, and then embarked on a new career as an artisan furniture maker. He studied furniture making in a full-time study program and focused on very high wood furniture. He would display his furniture at shows and promote open studio nights. Clients were wealthy individuals and some high-end boutique hotels.
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.

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