During the following weeks, I slept with a pen and paper next to my bed because I constantly found myself waking up with business ideas racing through my head. After burning through an entire notebook, I decided to take my scattered ideas and craft them into a business plan.
NerdWallet has rounded up some of our best information on starting a business, including structuring and naming your company, creating a solid plan and much more. We’ll help you do your homework and get started on the right foot.
If you have a way with words and know how to make the keyword-friendly, beautifully designed, SEO-optimized landing pages, why not charge other companies for your services and turn it into a money-making side business idea? Even a short landing page is worth a couple hundred bucks in most cases, and so much more if you know how to pitch your prospects well. If you want to get started with your business idea of becoming a landing page specialist or freelance copywriter, check out Len Smith and Sean Kaye’s awesome course on Udemy, Copywriting Secrets: How to Write Copy That Sells.
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.
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.
Luckily, marketing is a lot easier when you’re catering to a specific audience or identity (e.g. vegans, board game lovers, photographers in your city). You can produce social media content that resonates with these people or run ads that target their interests. Taking this approach also helps you project a consistent brand because you’ll have a more specific idea of who exactly you’re talking to.
If you own the business entirely by yourself and plan to be responsible for all debts and obligations, you can register for a sole proprietorship. Alternatively, a partnership, as its name implies, means that two or more people are held personally liable as business owners.
Keep learning, and be adaptable to change. Find buddies, mentors, local business-related organizations, Internet forums, and wikis to discuss the daily details of running a small business. It’s much easier for everyone to perform their core businesses well and prosper when they don’t waste time and energy “reinventing the wheel” on housekeeping.
Yes, you can make a lot of money with a simple ice cream shop! Perfect your ice cream before you start, find a good busy location without a crazy rent and consider starting with a smaller footprint to minimize your overhead. I’ll have an ice cream sundae please—with everything on it!
Get a post office box for your business. This is especially important if you have business cards or will be regularly corresponding through the mail. The simple fact of the matter is that PO boxes look more professional than using your home address.
Yes, you can start your own clothing line with just a few items, be successful and have a lot of fun along the way! Look at Ralph Lauren who started by selling a couple neck ties and then built that into a multi-billion-dollar empire. Contract out the manufacturing which is the really hard part of the work. Then focus on developing eye-stopping designs and talking it up with potential re-sellers, or sell the items yourself online!
Have you ever created a blog or website? If so, web development could be the business for you. Small businesses and entrepreneurs need to establish an online presence to reach customers, but many don’t have the time or patience to create a website.
Several of my friends have done this both as a side business and a main business. The ones doing it as a side business have actually done better. I think that is partly because they have waited patiently for better deals to buy.
The California Small Business Development Center is a great resource if you need a little assistance coming up with funding opportunities. They’ve got dozens of locations across the state where you can go to discuss potential funding approaches for your business based on all the criteria above (and more).
Federal: The federal licenses and permits page on the Small Business Association’s website outlines all the business activities that call for special permission from the federal government, and directs you to the proper agencies. They also have a decent article on business taxes, but the best place to learn about this is on the IRS website.
You having a great idea and you want to translate it into opening a business. There is one big caveat, you are short on cash. And for most aspiring entrepreneurs, getting hold of the much-needed capital is usually the biggest challenge.
A lot of people make some really neat crafts. But to be able to make money at it, you also need to be able to price your products reasonably—and allow yourself enough money to bring your product to market. That being said, there are more markets than ever for your products! In addition to local retailers and craft fairs, you can sell them online, on your own website, or through third party sites like Etsy or EBay.
Enter either the name of your city and state or your ZIP code under the Find Licenses and Permits section. Select the type of business from the drop down list. If you don’t see your business type listed on the list, select General Licensing.
Most home based businesses do not succeed. That is just the truth of the matter. There are a few new home based businesses every year that are really successful, however. All you can do is work hard and try your best.
Potential challenges: You are responsible for the safety of children, and you should plan for accidents to happen — that’s why insurance is crucial. This can also be a stressful business to operate, so the ability to handle or cope with stress is vital.
Also be sure to create an “at-will” relationship with your employees. Employers can terminate at-will employees for any reason, which is essential if an employee isn’t working out. There are many ways to make it clear that the employment relationship is at-will, including in employee handbooks and through offer letters. Don’t make any promises to employees about the length or terms of their employment, as these could become binding on you later.
Now that you’ve got your financial foundation set up, it’s time to get some money rolling in. Colorado is said to have the strongest economy in the U.S., so there are tons of funding opportunities are there — but not all of them are right for every new business.
Do you see eye to eye on the big picture? Arguments about the details are a given, and are important for getting things right. But not seeing eye to eye on the big picture, the real purpose of your business, can cause a split that may be irreparable. Be sure your team cares about the and buys into the purpose as much as you do.
Some firms outsource their customer service operations and many of these companies accept home-based contractors. You can start by signing up on freelancing sites such as Upwork to test the waters with this business idea first. If you’re already a CSR specialist with management skills, then you can form and lead a virtual team online and engage clients as a bona fide customer service company or, provide customer service training to such teams as well as individuals.
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.