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Obviously some of these small business ideas have more earning potential than others, but what they all share in common are relatively low barriers to entry and the flexibility to work at them for a limited amount of time per week. I also tried to focus on side business ideas that have some sort of online component to them, since that’s what I love most.
Consider your talents, experience, and knowledge when selecting a concept. If you have a particular skill set or talent, consider how these resources can be applied to meeting some sort of market demand. Combining skill and knowledge with a market demand increases your odds of having a successful business idea.
#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.
Maybe this is an obvious choice for a small town business opportunity, but sometimes the obvious answers are the most overlooked. Though a grocery store might not sound like the sexiest business choice, it is one of our most practical recommendations and one that your whole town is guaranteed to need. Like many small town business ideas, there are many directions you can take this business in. Perhaps your town already has a local grocery store, in that case, opening a specialty food shop might be the right call. If your town already has that as well, what about a wine or cheese shop? Though you might be thinking, “how much wine or cheese can one small town consume?” Remember, when serving a small community, options are limited, which can open up an opportunity for you to serve residents in more ways than one. Consider opening a wine and cheese shop combination. Just make sure not to bite off more than you can chew. Being a few things to a few people is ok, but don’t try to be everything to everyone.
If that isn’t enough, you can expand your services to include pet grooming as an extra side business idea. To do that, you’ll need to have relevant training, an operating license depending on your location, and pet grooming equipment. According to PayScale, pet groomers have an average salary range of $17,600 to $48,500. Not bad as a side business idea if you can find a way to get in most of your clients on the weekends.
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.
Car flipping can be a fun way to turn your love for cars into a quick side business idea if you have the capital and a stomach for the inherent risk. Buying and selling cars is similar to other “buy low, sell high” business models, but the profit potential per hour invested can be very high. According to Jeremy Fisher at 3HourFlip.com, the trick is to learn how to make car deals come to you, so you can minimize your time invested and maximize your profit on each flip with this side business idea.
It doesn’t matter how long or detailed your plan is, as long as it covers a few essential points. Most successful small businesses will need to have a break-even analysis, a profit-loss forecast and a cash-flow analysis. A cash-flow analysis is especially important since you could be selling your products like hotcakes, but if you won’t be paid for six months, you could still run out of money and have to close your doors.
I also recommend FlexJobs for finding more. You can regularly search legitimate work at home jobs for data entry and other industries. FlexJobs guarantees all their job leads to be scam-free, and it’s the only membership-based jobs site I currently use and trust. Their listings are updated 5-6 times per week, and there is no shortage of listings. You can currently get 30% off a subscription using promo code AFFILPROMO.
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.
Keep in mind, I’m only talking about setting yourself up to do business: I’m not talking about writing a business plan (although if that’s what you want to do, here’s a comprehensive guide to writing a business plan), sourcing financing, developing a marketing plan, etc.
It seems that just about every business I’ve been involved in hires home-based editors, who work on a freelance basis and set their own hours. Generally, this work falls into three categories: 1) Developmental editing or making highly substantive changes; 2) Copy editing or wording and grammar improvements; 3) Proof reading. Many editors specialize in one aspect of editing, others cover them all. You may further specialize such as in technical document editing.
When making a website keep in mind that simplicity and clarity are key. A simple design that clearly states what you do, how you do it, and what you charge is most effective. When making your website, remember to emphasize why your business is the best solution to a clients problem.
Potential customers need to be able to Google you and investigate your business. They need to have digital payment options. They need contact forms and blog-content in some cases to see what your brand is all about.
If you don’t mind parading yourself around in public places as a side business idea, and enjoy a little attention, then working as a human billboard can pay a surprising amount of dividends. Renting out your beard, for example can earn you as much as $5 a day while having a brand logo tattooed on your shaven head for five years could pay as much as $7,000—though this type of earning opportunity is admittedly rare. This business idea is definitely not for the faint of heart, and is a little extreme for me, but nonetheless it’s been done as a side hustle for many people. You can start by holding a placard or wearing a sandwich board. If you think this is a good side business idea, you can go all the way and turn it into a full on small business idea with enough hard work—plus you won’t have to deal with all the issues other more complex businesses have to constantly think about (like reducing churn).
If you have the gift of gab, public speaking is a worthwhile side business idea for you to pursue. Many authors, medical practitioners, scientists, artisans, politicians, and other subject matter experts earn extra income by delivering speeches, seminars, and presentations. Professional motivational speakers earn an average annual salary of around $90,000 with just that portion of their income, making this a very realistic side business idea while you continue practicing your craft.
The real estate market is on the rebound (for today) and people are buying and selling properties in many locations across the U.S. That means a lot of opportunities for professionals who know how to navigate the legal, financial, and commercial aspect of real estate to build up a stable of clients as a side business idea, especially if you begin to scale your sales hiring and build a team of reps working to help you close more deals. If you consider yourself an expert in the subject, it won’t be a walk in the park (hehe), but you can earn significant additional side income as a home-based consultant.
Thanks to a combination of technology and third party suppliers, it’s easier than ever to build a business and start making sales without getting caught up in sourcing products and managing inventory.
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.
Let’s go flying and get paid for it! You can finance your plane and contract out most of the work, including getting help to get your company certified to fly. This is a service business and those little touches can make a difference in keeping customers coming back.
Even Rapunzel needed a trim now and them. It’s one service, that regardless of your age, most people need a few (if not a few dozen) times a year. If you’re currently calculating the average number of women in your town and multiplying it by three, thinking that is the amount of business you will drum up yearly, you’re thinking too narrowly. Opening your own hair salon has a variety of additional services that go far beyond haircuts. Think coloring, nails, and makeup, just to name a few. And remember, men tend to get their hair cut at least once a month. And, if you’re covering up that gray, every six weeks sounds about right. Quality cuts, depending on your geographic area and the experience of the stylist can go for around $100. Just make sure you have a solid business plan before opening up your small town shop.
Rather than replacing sofas and chairs, many people prefer to save money and just replace the fabric, often changing colors in the process. This is a great service business—you can’t be underpriced by Amazon. Furthermore, not only will your customers come to you for more business at some point, but you bet that next time they are entertaining in their living room that your new fabric covering work will come up in the conversation! Eventually you may want to consider offering complete re-upholstering services.
Depending on the printer you work with, you can turn your work into products such as posters or framed wall art, even greeting cards. There are plenty of digital templates and mockup generators like Place.it that you can use to showcase your products without having to print out each item and conduct your own photo shoots.
When I used to work at CreativeLive, I regularly paid $250-$500 (or even much more depending upon audience size) per episode for 90 seconds worth of advertisements on relevant podcasts like The Tim Ferriss Show, the #1 business podcast right now from the 4-Hour Workweek author, Tim Ferriss. The podcast has even helped Tim launch his latest New York Times bestseller, Tools of Titans to a wider readership.
If you have the right touch, this business can be a goldmine, and very personally rewarding. One of my business school classmates changed into this career later in life and did very well, specializing in putting together highly talented teams for well financed startups, and early stage ventures. The typical head hunter makes endless cold calls–but at the higher end firms networking is much more important.
Investment: Depending on where you live and the services offered, you may need to obtain a business license or be registered with your state. The startup costs could run high if you need to purchase tools and a work truck.
Thankyou For this great article and tips to help online business owners. I myself work at home online and set my own hours. It a great feeling to be your own boss and make money and a living online 🙂
As long as you know multiple languages, you can build a business by offering translator services to individuals or businesses in need of assistance converting conversations or documents from one language to another.
Swagbucks – Read Review – Open to US, UK, and Canada. While this is just extra money or regular Amazon gift codes, there are tons of tasks you can do to earn daily — everything from paid surveys to watching videos. I’ve been a member since 2007 and can vouch for the company. They have paid me many times. It’s definitely a fun site to use.
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.
While many social enterprises offer their own original products, you can also take any of the business ideas above and partner with a non-profit, or execute that social good with your own hands, as long as you’re transparent about how it works.
Corporations, limited liability companies, and limited partnerships in Georgia are formed by filing with the Corporations Division of the Office of the Secretary of State. Get the necessary forms, file online, find out about filing fees, and search businesses.
Like birthdays, marriages happen all the time. Which means you can treat weddings as a recurring fountain of business opportunities: wedding dresses and coats, jewelers, food caterers, venue providers, photographers and videographers, performers, flower shops, travel agencies, souvenir crafts, and a host of other ventures. Now imagine if you can form a network of these service providers so you can offer engaged couples a range of hassle-free wedding packages as a turnkey business idea. The process is certainly fun (and time-consuming), but as a side business idea, the pay can be pretty great.
Anyone can sell goods on Amazon, provided you have products to sell (or buy low, then resell). If you’re the type to hit all the local garage sales each weekend, there’s all sorts of valuable things that can be resold online as a side business idea. If you want to step your Amazon selling game up, check out this detailed guide to Amazon and eBay retail arbitrage on Entrepreneur featuring an interview with Julie Becker and several drop-shippers who’ve grown this home based business idea from side business idea into a lucrative money-maker.
This is a business you could start in a couple hours with literally zero investment. In the public library on the resort island of Nantucket, I watched a man create a flyer for his walking tour business on a free public access computer. Then he went outside and posted the newly created flyer on the public bulletin board. A few hours later he greeted his customers as they gathered on the advertised street corner, collected their money, and then took them on the walking tour. Not sure how to set up your walking tour? Get a history or even a self-walking tour guide at the public library.
People love to be organized but often they never find the time to make it happen. And a lot of people just aren’t very good at it either. You can help people organize their house. And in the process, you can make them feel more organized about their life! What a great service!