Launch your own biz from home! Start with no experience or big money down. Here are 75 ideas for you to consider.
What do Apple Computer, Hershey’s, Mary Kay Cosmetics, and the Ford Motor Company have in common? These well-known corporations all started out as home based businesses. In fact, more than half of all U.S. businesses are based out of an owner’s home. What does it take to launch your own business?
Starting your own business can be an exciting and rewarding experience that offers numerous advantages, such as the ability to be your own boss, set your own schedule and make a living doing something you enjoy. Becoming a successful entrepreneur requires sound planning, creativity and hard work. It also involves taking risks because all businesses require some form of financial investment. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration you can begin evaluating whether or not owning a business is right for you, by considering the personal characteristics and qualities that can help improve entrepreneurial success.
The fact is, says the U.S. SBA, Anyone can learn how to be an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs often have similar traits and characteristics. Here are some of the qualities that can go a long way in bolstering business success. If you don’t have all of these traits, don’t worry. Most can be learned with practice.
• Calculated risk taker
• Avid learner
• Hard worker
• Problem solving skills
• Strong management and organizational skills
Businesses are built on ideas. In fact, the first step to starting a business is to come up with an original idea. Therefore, entrepreneurs must be open to thinking creatively. Are you able to think of new ideas? Can you imagine new ways to solve problems? Do you have insights on how to take advantage of new opportunities? Many people believe that some individuals are just born with creative minds, while others are not. This might be true, but you can learn to be more creative if you want to become an entrepreneur!
One approach to improving creativity is to research and learn as much as you can about the things that interest you. New ideas can come from reading or by talking to others who have the same interests. Another way to spark your creativity is to think about a problem and picture different ways to solve the issue. Once you have an idea, think it through and determine if it is a reasonable option. If it is, try it. If it isn’t, keep thinking. Don’t limit yourself. Be open to a variety of possibilities and your creative mind will naturally form new ideas.
To keep your creativity flowing, use these helpful hints:
• Look for new ideas in a variety of ways
• Keep the process simple
• Start small
• Try, try again
We’ve rounded up 75 business ideas for you to consider. They can all be run from home and launched as a part-time or full-time venture:
1. RESIDENTIAL CLEANING: It is not uncommon to hear that people start this business and make $60,000 in six months. They then start farming out the cleaning jobs to employees and sit back and just book the jobs. You can do it, too. Pick up a batch of cleaning supplies, place an ad and get ready to make money. you can charge $50 to clean a one bedroom apartment and up to $150 for a house
2. ASSEMBLY SERVICE: You assemble items such as bookshelves, armoires, dressers and just about anything else that people buy from stores that needs to be assembled. Must people are too frustrated to read directions. This is where you come in and offer your services. If you have the patience, you can do it. You can also pick the items up and assemble them at home and then deliver them to your clients. This way you can do it on your own turf and listen to the music you like while you assemble the goods.
3.TEACH YOUR CRAFT: Do you engage in a hobby or craft that people have told you they would love to learn? Then why don’t you start offering classes or lessons in this hobby craft? Do you make quilts, do stained glass or build small sailboats? There is probably a market to teach this service in your community. if you don’t want to teach at home, call your local high school. You might be able to teach this class at a local high school adult education class, too.
4. HOWDY NEIGHBOR SERVICE: Is your area booming with new homeowners? Consider a welcoming service. You make your money from all of the local merchants who pay you to include them in your “get to know the neighborhood” package. You drop in or make appointments with new neighbors and tell them where the local video rental store is, whether or not the local deli delivers, where the best pizza place is, and how late the bank stays open on a Friday night. The merchants often give you coupons to present to these newcomers to help generate business.
5. NEWSLETTER: You don’t have to be a genius to even a great writer to start your own newsletter. To newsletter readers, it is much more important to digest the information that’s in the newsletter, rather than analyze the writing style. For example, choose something you’re interested in as you’ll have more fun this way, and uncover better information for your subscribers. Say you like scuba diving, but there are already too many magazines and other newsletters that focus on scuba. What if you narrow your focus to Weekend Scuba Divers–those that don’t have the time to take long vacations once a year, but who want to go every weekend. Start a newsletter focusing on something you love, something you are obsessed with and you will enjoy your business every day.
6. COLLECTIBLES DEALER: Do you love old things and love collecting? Old toys, Barbie dolls, Mickey Mouse watches, snow globes, lunch boxes are all valued collectible items and dealers will pay a tidy sum to have these goods in their collections. We recently saw an ad for Ty Beanie Babies. Collectors looking for the one or two they don’t have will pay a fortune to complete their set. Not all collectibles, therefore, are old. Another example is the Swatch watch. You can start this business by developing a mailing list of individuals who are interested in collecting a particular type of collectible. Pick up newsletters and examine them for potential contacts, too.
7. HERB GARDEN: You plant an herb garden for your clients. It can be indoors or outside. You supply the equipment, soil, herbs and give them a plan to keep the herbs going, or they can hire you to come back once a week to maintain the garden.
8. DRIED FLOWER WREATHS: You can gather dried flowers from your own garden and make your own wreaths from dried flowers, herbs, and ornamental grasses, hollies and pines. These could be sold at crafts fairs, flea markets or via mail order. You can also customize the wreaths to meet special needs: a wreath for a gardener could come with a pair of gardening gloves attached; a wreath for a golfer could come with golf balls or tees; a wreath during the Christmas season could come with an ornament.
9. TRAIN TABLES: Do you have a knack for building tables that are low enough for kids to get a look at what’s on the tabletop? If you can do this, you can start a business building tables to house the various goods that go along with train sets. Decorate the tabletops with trees and lakes and roads. Advertise your tables in the local newspaper, sell them at fairs and ask local hobby shops if they’ll let you hang a poster on your train tables.
10. BIRDHOUSE BUILDING: If you can build birdhouses, start turning them out and sell them at local fairs and flea markets. Make sure you investigate what types of birds like what types of houses. Some birds prefer a small entry hole for their doorway and others like a larger one. Some don’t like certain colors, etc. Everyone loves to feed birds these days, it seems, and there should be a good market for your birdhouse collection.
11. FLEA MARKET ENTREPRENEUR: Do you have goods to sell? Then you can become a flea market entrepreneur. You’ll need to research locations in your region where you can set up shop and sell your wares. Some flea market entrepreneurs empty their homes and attics or get their products from neighbors and friends. You’ll need to find sources for your goods. Invest in a good chair, too.
12. LAWN SERVICE: Cutting lawns is something that every homeowner must do. You can start a business offering this service. If there is lot of competition in your region, offer a discounted price for new customers.
13. MONOGRAMMING: This is a fun business that doesn’t require any special skill thanks to a wide range of machines and software programs that will handle the monogramming for you. You can work at home or set up shop in a men’s store, sporting goods shop, kitchen store or kiosk in a mall during the hot holiday shopping season. Go online to research monogram machines you can purchase.
14. SERVICES FOR SENIORS: There are plenty of senior citizens outs there who could use some help in getting chores done, answering mail, helping out with seasonal duties around the house and much, much more. You can start a senior service business where you help them do all of these things. Post notices around town and ask the local newspaper if they would consider putting your flier in every paper.
15. FLOWERS TO GO: If you live on a street on which harried executives travel on their way home, consider growing flowers and selling them right from your front yard. It’s an easy start business and once you reel in a few customers it will attract more and more. You should have some attractive wrap handy to wrap up the flowers, too.
16. PERENNIAL GARDENS: If you have a flair for gardening and if you are good at design, start a perennial garden business. You visit the home of your clients and design a perennial border for them. You purchase the plants–or transplant them from your own divided perennial garden–and actually dig and plant the garden. There are many design books available that can help you get started.
17. COMPUTER TUTOR: If you have a knack for working on your computer, then you might want to start a business that enables you to earn money while helping folks learn how to operate a computer. Take out a few ads in local newspapers or distribute fliers on bulletin boards around town. Don’t forget schools and local corporations.
18. HOME DELIVERY SERVICE: Home delivery is predicted to be one of the hottest business opportunities of the decade and beyond. People are lazy and pressed for time. The population is getting older and more consumers want stuff delivered right to their doorstep. We’re referring to prescriptions, grocery goods, hardware, lumber yard, etc.
19. HOME INVENTORY BIZ: The horrible storms and tornadoes have taught homeowners the importance of keeping a good inventory log of all possessions. This audit is necessary in case of fire, storm, mudslides, robbery , etc. Insurance companies want to see documentation before they start writing their checks to help homeowners recover from tragic losses. You can do this by hand, or with the help of a laptop computer.
20. KIDPROOF HOMES: You can set up a business in which you go into homes and conducting a troubleshooting session for parents who have young kids and babies. Are the outlets exposed? Is there bleach under the sink or other harmful chemicals within reach of the children? Could a child fall down a staircase or from a deck? These are the types of situations you’ll be looking to uncover as you help parents childproof their home from potential disaster. You’ll need to brush up on what things to look for, so talk to a lot of parents and find out what steps they’ve taken to make their homes a safe haven for their kids.
21. PERSONAL SHOPPER: Do you like to go shopping? Can you imagine how much fun it would be to get paid to do this? You can, as a personal shopper. Lots of busy executives and harried single parents don’t have the time to shop for themselves or for others. Your service comes to the rescue. You select and choose and maybe even wrap the gifts for your clients. When you start shopping around for clients don’t forget to call on local corporations for their business. In major cities, personal shoppers can make anywhere from $50 to $150 an hour shopping.
22. GARAGE SALE: It is possible to host a garage sale every weekend. You don’t have to come up with all of the merchandise, you can sell things on consignment or buy up the contents of homes for sale and then re-sell them at a profit. You’ll need to advertise your mega garage sale to generate a steady flow of customers. Try to come up with unique items to display such as a horse from a carousel.
23. HOMETOWN GUIDE: If your hometown features some unique historical monument or water mill or windmill, or if you town is steeped in history that others would find fascinating, then why don’t you put together a tour and offer it as an option whenever tourists come to town. You can dress up like a character from that period to make the tour more accessible, amusing, fun for your clients. Contact the local chamber of commerce and ask them if you could give them the tour. It could be a great way to get them to mention your tour whenever they speak to out-of-towners getting ready to plan a visit to your area. You could also print up a brochure and ask the chamber of commerce to send it out with their mailings on your town.
24. SPORTS EQUIPMENT REFUR-BISHING: You can start a business sprucing up golf clubs in the springtime and waxing skis in the fall, and fixing dings in surfboards, for example. Examine what your area has to offer in the way of sports and figure out how you can get paid to keep this gear in top-notch condition.
25. ASTROLOGICAL CHARTS: You can use your home computer (along with the appropriate software) to prepare astrological charts for your clients. They might want their charts done for their friends, too, of course, and you can build a nice clientele via positive word of mouth. Advertise in the local newspaper and try and book yourself as a guest on a local cable TV show. Use the Internet to search for software to help you execute this business.
26. WEED REMOVAL: That’s it. Just weeds, o.k. And maybe some vines, too. You advertise in local papers, offer prices that are lower than landscapers and you take on clients. You don’t need much equipment at all, just some weed digging tools and a pruner. You’ll need barrels to cart away the weeds and vines and you must have a destination for this compostable material.
27. MAKE AND SELL A FOOD PRO-DUCT: Do you make sauce or salad dressing that people tell you, you should market? Then do it?! Investigate with local health officials if you can produce your recipe at home. You might need a food handler’s license. Find out what information you must include on a label.
28. COSTUME EMPIRE: If you are handy at sewing and have some good ideas, you can start a business creating costumes for children and for adults. Costumes are big all during the year not just at Halloween time. Kids wear costumes all the time, or wish they could. Adults could use them for special events.
29. BOOKKEEPING FOR SMALL BIZ: If you are handy with numbers and can master some of the accounting software programs available, you can start a business offering bookkeeping and accounting services to small business owners who don’t have the time nor the inclination to set this type of system up for him or herself. Check out local software shops and read some new books on the latest accounting tips and methods.
30. LANDSCAPE DESIGN: If you are good with that computer, check out the various landscape and garden design programs available on CD-ROM. You can use these to help start and run a landscape design business for your clients. You don’t have to be the one to do all the planting, either, as you can farm that out to another business that specializes in plantings. Or, you can offer your services to an established gardener who needs new ideas.
31. BACKYARD PONDS AND WATER GARDENS: These are increasingly in demand. Homeowners want to have this type of sanctuary in their yard. They love the sound of water splashing over rocks and would love the idea of having some fish in the backyard, too. These ponds are very easy to build today. There are kits that can help establish them very quickly.
32. PERSONAL ASSISTANT: If you are good, and we mean really good, with details and you are very perfectionistic about the jobs you do, you can start a business hiring yourself out as a personal assistant to your clients. You will do everything from problem solving, to writing letters to handling the caterer, the gardener and special events for your clients. Your clients might be small business owners who need an occasional right hand or they might be homeowners who have too much to do when they are planning to have their kid’s wedding in the backyard.
33. ERRAND SERVICE: Charge by the hour to perform a wide variety of errands for your clients. You can market your services to moms, single parents, grandparents, seniors, etc.
34. MARKET YOUR ARTS AND OR CRAFTS: If you make jewelry, art, photography, distress furniture, make baskets, etc. figure out how you can pay to do it. There are several books on the market available that can help you learn how to market your arts and crafts. Sell them at fairs or sell directly to stores or even to catalog owners.
35. BED & BREAKFAST BIZ: Do you have an extra room or two that you could rent out? Congratulations, you’re in the bed and breakfast business. This is a great business you can start without too much hassle. You don’t necessarily have to provide a private bath, but it is a nice touch. You should call your insurance company and ask them to review your policy. Should you beef up your liability coverage? It just might be a good idea.
36. CAR DETAILING: Americans spend more and more on their cars, and they are willing to spend an extra $50 to $150 a month to have the car hand washed and waxed. You can start this service with very little money. Spend a day in an auto products store and learn what products are available and learn how to use them. If you are tidy and detail oriented by nature, this business is a natural for you.
37. PLANT SERVICE: Do you have a green thumb? Are you lucky with plants? Then consider starting a plant service. This business is similar to a pet sitting business. You’ll care for plants when folks are away on business trips or on vacations. You can care for the plants in their home or yours. You can also start a plant business just geared to commercial customers.
38. PARTY PLANNER: If you enjoy people and parties, then this could be a great business for you to start. Do you have great organizational skills? Then you are one step closer to launching your own party planning service. You get to throw great parties spending other people’s money. You’ll have to develop a very good file of resources for music, catering, places to hold events, florists, invitation printing, and just about any other aspect of hosting an event. Charge by the hour or charge by the event. Some events take a long time to plan, so be cautious before you commit to do the event for one set fee.
39. MOVE-IN SERVICE: How many times have you or someone you know moved into an apartment to find the refrigerator in need of cleaning, the stove quite unkempt, the bathroom grout full of mildew, the walls in need of a paint job, etc. Well, you can make some money by starting a move in service. You get everything ready for the folks before they move in. It is well work the $250 to $1000 you’ll be charging for them to move into a clean environment. Many individuals (especially single parents) simply don’t have the time to get all this work done. They would gladly pay someone to take care of the cleaning and shaping up of their new digs. This service could also be marketed to people who buy a new home.
40. FIREWOOD DELIVERY: A few years ago, we interviewed three firewood delivery entrepreneurs who worked weekends only. They bought their wood a few counties away where it was cheap and tripled the price to sell it locally. They made profits of up to 400% on a cord of wood in some locations. They sold to residential customers and to the owners of restaurants, inns, etc.
41. ANTIQUE CENTER: Yes, you buy antiques and collectible items and set them up on display right in your home. On weekends or even every day if you live in a well-trafficked location, you invite the buying public in to tour the room(s) in which you feature these items for sale. You can also sell antiques that belong to your neighbors and take a cut for your display and sales services.
42. HOLIDAY DECORATING: There are plenty of homeowners and business owners who just don’t have the time, the inclination or the design know-how to decorate their homes and businesses for the holiday season. This is especially true for the winter season, but you could expand this business into a four-season enterprise. You’ll be handling holiday lights (and purchasing them at wholesale rates and selling them at a whopping profit). You’ll also be putting up other decorative items.
43. LIGHTING DESIGN: Whether you start this business for residential or commercial clients, you’ll be installing lights in backyards, walkways, lampposts, security lights, decorative lights around pools and gardens, etc. You buy the goods wholesale and then resell them to your clients for a profit.
44. PARTY ENTERTAINING: If you are a natural entertainer, consider starting your own entertainment business. You will be hired to perform at parties. Parties for kids, for civic groups, for corporate sponsors, for town celebrations, etc. You’ll need a good rapport with people. Think of the various personas you could create: gorilla, historian, clown, etc.
45. CRAFTS C0-OP: Do you have the space to invite 50 or 100 crafts people to set up tables and sell their wares? If you do, and your property is zoned to accept the amount of cars this type of sale can attract, you have the makings of an exciting crafts fair. You don’t sell anything but table or booth space. The crafts people are happy to pay for space and will fork over about $10 or $15 a day.
46. ART GALLERY: You can set up your very own art gallery right in your home. Hang the art of local artists on your walls and host a party once a month to show the work to potential buyers. Getting together a group of artists for a show will not be a problem. There are plenty of folks out there who are making art but who have no place show their work. You will make a percentage of whatever the paintings sell for the customer. For example, perhaps you’ll give the artist 60% of the sale price and you’ll keep 40%.
47. WINDOW WASHING: Window washing is a business that, while you don’t actually work at home, you do run the business from home (sending out fliers, making calls to place ads, calling customers to get business.) There is almost no one out there that doesn’t refer to the task of window washing as a disagreeable necessity. You come to the rescue.
48. HANDYMAN: Are you handy around the house? Wouldn’t it be nice to get paid for it? There are probably plenty of folks right in your own town who would love to avail themselves of your handyman services. You might think it’s simple to install a light socket, put up molding, change a doorknob, patch a screen, repair a broken door hinge or put up some bookshelves, but most people do not.
49. GIFT BASKET BIZ: The gift basket business is still booming as Americans have discovered a tried and true solution to the “what should I give” blues. Look into getting a “resell number.” This will enable you to purchase goods at rock bottom wholesale prices. It will also help you get into “trade only” shows where many manufacturers come and show their wares.
50. SPECIAL EVENTS VIDEOS: Do you enjoy making videos of special gatherings for your family and friends? Why not get paid for it? Take your video camera and start a business recording special events around town for your neighbors and business associates. Your jobs could range from a corporate retirement dinner, a school picnic, a wedding, a special town club event, a marathon, a local bands’ gig, you-name-it.
51. BICYCLE REPAIR: You can turn your love of bicycling into a moneymaking enterprise by advertising that you repair bikes. This type of business can translate into any hobby or love. If you ski, you can offer to wax and repair skis, you can refurbish rollerblades, fix or shape surfboards, etc.
52. VINTAGE CLOTHING STORE: You can set up a vintage clothing store in your backyard or attic. Check with the local zoning board and make sure this is all right in your neighborhood. Some towns require that you get a permit to do this occasionally. Hang the goods–they can be yours, you could have bought them, or they could belong to friends and neighbors–on a few garment racks. Host nostalgic weekends such as Return To The Seventies and display all your polyester pants, tightly knitted sweaters, platform shoes.
53. AQUARIUM MAINTENANCE: When people buy tropical fish and put the fish in that gleaming fish tank with the special lighting and that cute little plastic skin diver, it really does look great. But, who wants to maintain the beauty of the tank on a regular basis. This is where tropical fish maintenance entrepreneurs come in handy. There are fish that can be selected for a tank that require little care and tenderness. You can learn these breeds and select them for your clients. Of course, we don’t advocate this business unless you are really concerned about the little fish.
54. PARTIES FOR KIDS: You can start a business planning parties for children. You can buy all the party fair and drop it off, or you can also provide the cake, the entertainment and even be on hand to supervise these events. You’ll need good resources for the cake, entertainment and party goods.
55. STEPPING STONES: If you can make concrete stepping stones from a simple mold, you can start a lucrative business making garden paths for your clients. You can dye the concrete to have a wide variety of color offerings, too. Mix in some decorative stones or pebbles and you are really on to something.
56. FURNITURE REFINISHING: Even if you’ve never done this before there are scores of books out now on the topic and dozens of magazines that teach one how to refinish furniture. You can offer this as a service and do it at your place, or theirs. You make anywhere from $20 to $75 per house, depending on your location and on the project.
57. DECK BUILDING: If you are handy with carpentry, then starting a deck building specialty business could be the right one for you. Specialize in just a few styles and build some for your friends. (Let them supply the materials.) use these “models” for your photo brochure or deck album. This will be your selling tool to generate business.
58. HOT TUB MAINTENANCE: Hot tubs are still a big item when people build a new home. It takes less than 15 minutes a week to maintain a hot tub. You can start a business offering this service. It could be a great add on to a pool cleaning business. If you have a hot tub already you know what to do.
59. INSTALLATION SERVICE: If you are handy at putting together items or if you have a knack for installing VCRs, laser disc players and whatever, then this could be a lucrative, fun and easy business for you. you can advertise in local newspapers, put up a flier and drop into stores that sell these items and ask them if they can refer you to their customers.
60. WEDDING PLANNER: Planning a wedding is tough for the harried bride who has enough on her mind. A wedding planner sits down with the bride and the groom and plans a wedding that they want. The wedding planner must work within a budget and should have good resources in the community to find a location, a caterer, band or DJ, flowers, invitations, etc. Patience is a virtue for this business.
61. DISH RENTAL BUSINESS: Ever throw a party and not have enough dishes to go around? Or rather, dishes that matched? There are plenty of folks in that predicament including many catering businesses and you can start a business just renting your dishes to them. You’ll have to buy a few sets of dishes that can accommodate up to 100 place settings–or more.
62. PET SITTING: Do you love animals? This could be a business dream come true. There are plenty of people out there who don’t want to leave their precious pets alone during the day. Or, maybe there is an individual who travels a great deal for the job he or she holds and would prefer to leave their pet in their own home or in yours, rather than in a kennel. You might call a local insurance company and ask them what it takes to become “bonded.”
63. OLD BOOK & MAGAZINE DEALER: You buy up old books and magazines and sell them for a profit. You should be able to haggle to run this business because you’ll be buying up old books and magazines in bulk at garage sales, house sales and flea markets. You’ll probably spend around $100 to get this business started and pick up some inventory. Go to a bookstore and buy a book on collectible books and magazines.
64. JUNK REMOVAL: Many landfills across the U.S. are closing, and giving way to recycling centers. It’s a great thing, but it has made it more difficult to get rid of a lot of junk. You can start a business removing items from people’s homes and yards that they can’t get rid of themselves. Maybe your customers have no way to haul their stuff to the dump, maybe it is too heavy for their car, etc. You do the research and find out what’s dumping/recycling facilities are available in your county, but before you haul the stuff to the centers, check it out! It could be an item that an antique dealer would love once you fix it up a bit, that is.
65. KEEPSAKE VIDEOS/ALBUMS: You meet with your clients to review their photos, letters, keepsakes, and mementoes. You organize them into photo albums, scrapbooks or even a video. If you are organized and have a bit of a flair for putting things together, this could be the perfect business for you. Charge by the hour or by the project.
66. DIRECT SELLING: We don’t usually feature multimarketing businesses in this magazine because our readers don’t consider it having a business of their own, but it is something you might want to consider. Direct selling means that you sell your products directly to the customer without a store or shop. It’s the Fuller Brush or the Avon type way of earning extra money. Today there are direct selling opportunities galore! There’s a direct selling venture for just about any type of product you would want to sell.
67. PASTRY PROFITS: You can turn a recipe you’ve refined into a hot moneymaker. We know of one elementary school teacher who perfected a dessert. He offered the dessert to catering companies. They loved it and were soon ordering them by the dozen for the weddings and other events they catered. He soon had to move out of his own kitchen and rented a bakery at night to produce his tasty treats. You can do the same. Make a batch of your favorite bread, cookie, cake or tart and offer it to the appropriate business. For example, offer your homemade bread to local restaurants, etc. Check out requirements for a food handler’s license in your state. It varies state to state, so check it out.
68. CLOSET RENOVATION: You can make anywhere from $100 to $1500 remodeling closets. You’ll have to brush up on some of the new organizer systems that are available, and if you have a knack for installing things, you’ll be good at fixing up closets and giving people more of that everyone wants: more closet space. You don’t have to be a design genius to be good at this very practical business.
69. RESUME SERVICE: If you have a good computer and a laser printer, consider starting your own resume service. There are lots of unemployed people and employed people for that matter, who would like to have a nice looking resume to land them a new job. If you already have a computer, you can start right away. Place ads and post fliers on your new service. Contact businesses in your area that might be laying folks off. Ask if you can work with the personnel department to provide resumes for these individuals.
70. CART VENDING: If you live in a busy area–near a bunch of outlets, for example, build a small cart and start selling. Sell lemonade, fruit salad, cookies, sunglasses, suntan lotion, but start selling. If you live en route to a busy beach sell your goods to drivers sitting in traffic. Sell vegetables from the roadside. Sell ski wax. This is a four-season business. Pick and choose the items that you will sell for each season. Buy them wholesale. You are in business.
71. HORSE BOARDING: Some areas across the United States are known as “horse country.” If you live in or near a region that qualifies, you might consider building a stable on your property and renting it out to people who own horses but who don’t have anywhere to keep them. Once again, call your insurance company and inquire about the possibility of beefing up your liability coverage. You wouldn’t want one of your boarders to stumble in the stable at any rate, but particularly not if you don’t have the proper coverage to protect yourself.
72. TOOL RENTAL: Do you have a basement full of tools that you are not suing all the time? If you do, why not start a business renting them to people who need them for a limited time and limited use? Do you really need that sander hanging around all day next to your dusty wet saw? How about that dry/wet vacuum? Or that giant wheelbarrow used only once to mix concrete?
73. PET PHOTOGRAPHER: If you like animals and enjoy taking pictures, consider starting a business in which you photograph people’s pets. Ask local pet shops if you can display a flier offering your service. If you own a pet, drop by your vet’s office and ask if you can hang a flier there, too. If you have patience and a knack in handling animals, this could be a great business for you.
74. GARAGE CLEANING: Just about every garage in the United States could use a cleaning. Some need a complete overhaul. You can offer this service to homeowners in your community and by the time you get all the garages cleaned and straightened up, it will be time to start all over again. You can offer additional services, too, like stain removal, painting, building shelves, etc.
75. FAMILY TREES: do you enjoy history? Do you like to do research? Then you can start a business tracing family histories? Advertise your service in a local newspaper or even in a regional magazine. There are software programs on the market that can help you trace family histories by plugging in a few items. You interview your client, get the answers to the right questions and tap out a fortune with your home computer.
EARN MONEY WHILE YOU WATCH TV!
You can earn money while you watch TV or even sleep by building a website and packing it with various ads and posts from companies that pay you every time someone clicks on their ad. It’s called “affiliate marketing” and a wide variety of companies from Amazon.com to MusiciansFriend.com offer affiliate marketing programs. Do a Google search to find appropriate programs to add to your blog or website. You’ll have to use twitter and Facebook to build a following to drive traffic to your site. Visit about.com and search for affiliate programs; they have a lot of how-to info and lists of companies offering these programs.
You need to write a business plan if you intend to go to a bank or investor group and ask for money. But there are a lot of other reasons to write a business plan. It can help you focus and target your goals. It will also help you answer every question you might have about starting a business. It will give you assurance and build your confidence that you will get it right from the start!
There is no single formula for developing a business plan, but some elements are consistent throughout all business plans. Your plan should include an executive summary, a description of the business, a plan for how you will market and manage your business, financial projections and the appropriate supporting documents.
To help you get started in writing your business plan, The United State Small Business Administration has summarized the essential elements you need to consider including:
- Elements of a Business Plan
- Cover sheet
- Executive summary (statement of the business purpose)
- Table of contents
- Body of the document
- Description of business
- Operating procedures
- Business insurance
- Financial data
- Loan applications
- Capital equipment and supply list
- Balance sheet
- Breakeven analysis
- Profit and loss statements
- Three-year summary
- Detail by month, first year
- Detail by quarters, second and third year
- Assumptions upon which projections were based
- Pro-forma cash flow
- Supporting documents
- Tax returns of principals (partners in the business) for last three years, personal financial statements (all banks have these forms)
- Copy of franchise contract and all supporting documents provided by the franchisor (for franchise businesses)
- Copy of proposed lease or purchase agreement for building space
- Copy of licenses and other legal documents
- Copy of resumes of all principals
- Copies of letters of intent from suppliers, etc.