Many online sellers try to bake their shipping costs into their retail price so that they can offer free shipping, or at least a reasonable flat rate. Others focus on encouraging shoppers to add more items to their cart with conditional free shipping (e.g. free shipping on orders over $50) to maximize their profit.
Twice I have heard Jim Koch, founder of Sam Adams beer, talk about how he started his business. I find this to be a tough business. First you need a brew master with deep expertise. Then you have to get your beer taste to be very distinctive and very pleasing. You need consistent quality. You need to stand out versus the many other small brewers, build a clientele, and arrange for transportation. Nonetheless the market is huge and because of the success of micro-breweries, established beer distributors are increasingly willing to take on smaller labels.
If you’re artistically inclined or know your way around a camera, you can dropship using a print-on-demand business model to let others physically own a piece of your work. Just be sure you have the rights to the content you want to print, unless you’re using public domain assets that you can freely monetize.
Originally, after creating my business plan, I planned to stay at my job for at least another year. I was flat broke at the time, and I knew you needed money to start a business. Also, I thought I needed more contacts, experience, and business knowledge before I would be confident enough to branch out on my own. But in 2014, one LinkedIn message changed everything.
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.
Listed below are links to basic federal tax information for people who are starting a business, as well as information to assist in making basic business decisions. The list should not be construed as all-inclusive. Other steps may be appropriate for your specific type of business.
With many print-on-demand services, you’re paying per-product, so the base price per unit will be more expensive than if you were to order in bulk. But the advantage is that if a certain t-shirt design doesn’t sell, you haven’t actually paid for the item yet (only the design if you outsourced it).
Yes, spending time on YouTube can be a legitimate business idea if you take it seriously. If you can create value-driven, entertaining video content and grow your subscriber base to a few thousand subscribers, your videos can start generating pretty substantial income from all the ads being displayed on your videos. Many YouTube users make well into the millions each year, so there’s clear potential to take this from side business idea to eventual millionaire with the right combination of content, audience, skills, relationships and timing. If you’re considering starting a YouTube channel it’s important use best practices when making videos. Read the YouTube playbook for tips which will result in faster growth of your channel. Additionally think about investing in a quality camera and microphone since the production quality of videos can often affect your viewership.
If keeping your home organized comes naturally and you enjoy helping other people, consider becoming a professional organizer as a side business idea. As the need for baby boomers to start downsizing grows, you can use your organizing and decluttering skills to start making an industry standard $50-125 an hour with very little startup costs and some free expert advice from Jen Kilbourne. Believe it or not, pro organizers don’t just work with hoarders. More and more people are hiring professional organizers in order stop wasting time and money due to the stress of everyday disorganization. What’s even better, is that you can take this on as a side business idea during the nights and weekends when your clients will be at home.
A catering service may be a large business serving meals to armies of people at special events. Or it may be a single person business serving dinner to just a few people. Specialization can help build your business. For example, here in New England some caterers specialize in clambakes.
You could try to do this business online…but of course the issue is getting people the right size. You could even send several sizes if they are not sure of their size. Or you could have a storefront. You don’t need a fancy location or expensive buildout. There is a formal wear rental facility near me that has been very successful for decades, and the storefront looks like it was last remodeled about 50 years ago.
Marketing a business can also include building a brand, setting up a professional website, driving traffic to your site with search engine optimization, and using a promotional strategy, among other tactics.
S Corporation: If you’re looking for a more formal structure, an S-corp might be right for you. You’ll be allowed up to 100 shareholders and required to have a board of directors and corporate officers. You also won’t face corporate taxation — all profit/loss will be claimed on the shareholders’ personal tax returns.
I see this as an arbitrage opportunity. You finance your fitness rental equipment as one package at a low rate, and then you rent it out to your clientele at a much higher rate, providing them a service they can afford. Nice for everyone! My experience in the rental business is you need to pay careful attention to what happens at the end of the rental period—is the equipment still rentable? Is it sellable? And what happens when the equipment breaks down? Work out these details and this could be a solid and very scalable business.
#49 – ETS is a testing company that pays you to score various tests for different educational institutions. The pay can go up to $20 per hour depending on the tests. Payment is twice a month via check and is tax deductible.
People get into this business thinking it is a totally passive way to make money and then they find out—they actually have to do some work! Heavily used washing machines and dryers can break down, and the laundromat will need to be cleaned constantly. That being said people need clean clothes so this is a classic steady income business!
One of my friend’s mothers offered art lessons in her home after school. She had a steady clientele and they made some really cool art! You may already have an art specialty that you want to teach to others. Or you may find that you are better off learning the basics of a new art skill and teaching that, or offering a survey course covering a number of art skills—most of the market will likely be beginners anyway.
It should go without saying, but it’s important to pay what you owe — especially when dealing with the IRS. The IRS can impose harsh penalties and even come after a business owner’s personal assets if the owner doesn’t remit payroll taxes on time.
From the inside looking out, I want to see the world as clearly as possible. And so do a lot of homeowners and particularly office managers. Now that creates a demand for window cleaners to step into this business idea, especially if you can land a contract cleaning windows for an office building. If you want to try it out as a side business idea, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to start a window-washing business at home.
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. 
Tree services charge a lot of money for their services and one reason is that this can be dangerous work. A tenant of mine was injured working for his own tree service. So, think safety first. Don’t take on a job that is over your head–or don’t be afraid to ask someone more experienced to help when you need it. You can also rent lift trucks and other specialized equipment when you need it.
If you buy a franchise, they may come with back-office support to help you run your business, including with money transactions. If you’re running the business on your own, you could use a service like Paypal to conduct any transactions.
Create a working name. You could even do this before you have an idea for the business, and if the name is good, you may find it helps you define your business idea. As your plan grows, and things begin to take shape, the perfect name may come to you, but don’t let that hinder you in the early phases. Create a name that you can use while you plan and don’t hesitate to change it later.
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).
One additional thing to keep in mind is to make sure that your coffee shop design appeals to both a mid-day and a post-work crowd. Nothing says small town charm like a simple, relaxed business layout. Opting for a design concept that is genuine and modest will suit most customers and provide that small town ambiance patrons crave.
Pet grooming and boarding are also businesses where convenience and distance matter, making them perfect ideas for rural businesses. No one wants to drive two towns over to drop their pet off for a trim, nor drive back to pick them up. Since most small towns don’t have a pet specialty chain such as a Petco, businesses can also capitalize on the lack of a major pet store where owners would usually purchase food, toys, and clothing for their pets. If you plan your business well, you can become the one-stop shop for all things furry. And that translates to big profits.
Are you an extrovert that loves meeting new people? Selling insurance products—particularly life insurance—may be a great way to bring in some extra cash and build residual income in your spare time. Selling life insurance on the side could quickly generate a consistent $1,000 – $2,000 per month depending on how much time you invest in this side business idea. To get started you’ll likely want to take an online course to brush up on the subject matter, and then pass a state licensing exam. The biggest challenge you’ll face as a new agent is generating sales beyond just helping out friends and family. From there, it’s all about networking and lead generation to grow this one. Learn more about this side business idea with this getting started in life insurance guide from the team over at NoExam.
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.
One thing that most small towns have in common is grass, lots, and lots of grass. Since small towns tend to be in rural areas, more residents are likely to have lawns and larger gardens. That means people will be on the hunt for lawn and gardening services. A few of the benefits to starting a business such as this in a small town is its predictability, reliability, and scalability. Once you begin finding customers, as long as you have quality services that are reasonably priced, you’re likely to keep the same customers for years. You’ll also be able to predict the repeat services that customers will need. Not only does grass need to be cut repeatedly, but lawns need to be fertilized and treated for weeds and bugs on a regular basis. Lawn care is also an ideal small town business idea that will scale well. You can start off by offering a few services such as lawn and shrubbery care, but can later expand to offering landscaping services as well.
To become an officially recognized business entity, you must register with the government. Corporations will need an “articles of incorporation” document, which includes your business name, business purpose, corporate structure, stock details and other information about your company. Otherwise, you will just need to register your business name, which can be your legal name, a fictitious “Doing Business As” name (if you are the sole proprietor), or the name you’ve come up with for your company. You may also want to take steps to trademark your business name for extra legal protection.
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.