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[ 2 ] Sep. 4, 2012 | SBO Editor

75 ways to make money at home and be your own boss!

Starting a business from home is a wonderful way to test the entrepreneurial waters without spending a fortune on overhead, outside facility rental, etc.

Everyday businesses are being established in spare bedrooms, garages, attics, dining rooms and the kitchen table. The SBA sees SOHO (small business/home office) numbers as continuing to grow in record numbers in the 21st century. Business is back.

Thanks to easy technology, the Internet and great resources at the click of a mouse, it is easy to start a business right in your own home. The 75 businesses we present are offered in not particular order. Please check with your local county clerk’s office to determine cost of filing a “doing business as” certificate in your county—you’ll need it to open a business checking account.

Conduct your own research. It’s called “due diligence” and it will help you answer questions you have about the business you are interested in launching. Determine your fees or costs for your service or product by analyzing what your particular market will bear. Call other service businesses in your area and see what they charge per hour or for the service rendered and adjust your fees accordingly.

1. Apartment Preparation Service. You get apartments ready for the new tenants before they move in, preparing all the little touches such as painting, cleaning and you could even provide other services such as filling the refrigerator and waiting for any installers (phone, cable) that need to be let into the apartment.

You’ll need less than $400 to start this business, which will entail advertising and distribution of flyers along with stocking up on a fresh pail and mop and extra vacuum cleaner bags.

2. Senior Service. You are a knowledgeable jack-of-all-trades when it comes to brokering information for seniors. This includes info on local activities and clubs, health insurance options, tours, activities, living arrangements, home care and more.

Most of your work will be in research you can do from home with your phone and fax machine. Print up some nice stationery and business cards. Charge by the hour with a one-hour minimum. Fees could range from $25 to $75 for your services. Promote your new service to senior groups to kids who care for their parents or look after their needs.

3. Vending Machine Entrepreneur. You stock vending machines and place them in high traffic areas. You then collect the cash and restock the units for another round of profit. There are a number of companies selling or renting vending machines. Some offer the units in groups and others permit you to purchase one machine. You’ll need anywhere from $1,000 to $15,000 to get started.

Before you invest, take a tour of your region and see if there are potential sites for your vending machines. Will the property owners make you pay a fee? Usually it’s about 20% of your take but it could also entail a monthly space rental fee. Check it out before you invest or you could be stuck with a vending machine that you just can’t place.

4. Custom Tile Painter. Buy blank tiles and create custom designs for your clients. They can use the tiles to enhance their home decor. Local art schools will probably let you rent their kiln if you need to fire the tiles for final refinishing.

5. Garage Cleaning. You clean up garages for people who have no time, inclination, but who have at least $100 (your minimum) to pay you for showing up. You’ll need about $100 to promote your new business via newspaper ads and by distributing flyers. Consider offering to install racks, hang up bicycles, put up shelves, etc. Of course, your clients will pay all of your out-of-pocket expenses for these items as well as your hourly rate.

6. Window Washer. You’ll spend less than $100 for advertising, flyers and some initial supplies. Charge by the window, as an hourly rate won’t give you enough money for the amount of windows you’ll be able to clean in one hour.

7. Informative Performer. If you know about a particular era of history, or if you’re interested in a section of science that can be taught and demonstrated in a 45-minute or 1-hour show, you could be in business. Informative Performers research one topic—The Civil War, for example—and get dressed up and put on a complete show performing this educational skit. They can include props, maps, slides, music, etc. Your clients will be local schools and bookstores.

8. Custom Design Flag Biz. Flags are very popular for homes, boats, beach houses and backyards. You can start a business custom designing flags for individuals who have flag mania. Visit your local fabric store and see what they offer in the way of waterproof materials for your flags. Start designing a few. You can offer standard designs—pineapple, sunflower, and sailboat—and customize them with family surnames or addresses for your clients. Or you can be commissioned to come up with a specific design for your customers who crave individuality.

9. Blogging Business. Start blogs for small business owners who are too busy to establish them and write for them. Setting up blogs is free through blogspot.com and wordpress.com.

10. Flyer/Poster Distribution. You distribute flyers or handbills for other businesses, concert promoters, grand openings, etc. $100 expense for local ad announcing service.

Charge by the hour or charge $20 to drop off flyers at stores that will permit you to leave them on their giveaway table.

11. Lawn Care Service. Mow, trim, weed lawns and include leaf removal during appropriate seasons. You’ll need a good mulching mower (so clippings don’t have to be swept up), a trimmer, and a spreader if you get into seeding and fertilizing. A truck is required or car with a trailer to pull equipment. Charge by the hour. Investigate the competition to see what your rates can be.

12. Personal Assistant. You offer yourself as a personal assistant to homeowners who need parties planned; businesses that are planning events or disgruntled consumers who need a dispute with a local merchant resolved. You can go it solo and realize you’ll need a good computer and laser printer. At Your Service is a business opportunity program that sells a kit on how to start this business (manual, software, bookkeeping manual, plus 15 consulting hours) for $6000. For info: contact Personal Assistant International Inc. at 355 17th St., Boulder, CO 80302 or visit their website: dottie@personalassistants.com or call 303-443-7646.

13. Kid’s Party Entertainer. Develop a character and entertain at kids’ parties.

You’ll need about $100 – $500 to purchase or make a costume and to advertise your service in the local newspaper. Hand out flyers at parent-child events, too.

14. Playhouse Designer/Builder. You design and build playhouses for your clients. Build on site or at your own home, but you’ll need a trailer to deliver.

You’ll need to construct a playhouse in order to create a photo portfolio of what you can do. You could offer three types of playhouses: dollhouse; pirate’s cove; explorer’s hut, etc. Come up with cost estimates based on materials and your all-important labor charge.

15. Model Train Settings. If you have a flair for trains, start a model train set-up biz. It’ll cost you very little to photograph your own train set-up. You’ll need to advertise your services in a local newspaper and ask the owner of a local train shop or toy store if you can distribute your flyers there. That way, the shop owner will make more money too, as they’ll sell more trains and track if there is someone available to set up elaborate train settings. Start-up could range from $50 to $100.

16. Gift Basket Business. You make and market gift baskets in a wide variety of themes. You’ll need to develop resources for wholesale baskets and goods that you can include in your offerings. Check out your local Yellow Pages for manufacturers who will sell you goods at wholesale rates. Also, contact local trade show facilities (convention centers, chambers of commerce) to see if any gift or novelty shows are planned for your area. They are a good source of product offerings. Costs vary from $250 to $1000.

You’ll need a “resale or resell number” in order to buy goods at wholesale rates and to purchase goods without paying tax. Cost for this license will vary depending on where you live. Your county clerk’s office can help you obtain this license.

17. Closet/Pantry/Office Organizer. Print up some stationery and business cards and take an ad in a local newspaper. Try to get the local paper to interview you about “getting organized” for some free publicity. Costs to start will range from about $100 to $250. Spread the word on this type of service. Call local business groups and ask if they need a speaker on organization. Offer your services to a local non-profit organization. Once word spreads that you are good at what you do, the calls should come in at a nice rate for your new business.

18. Researcher. If you live in an area with opportunity for researchers, you could start a profitable research business. You conduct research for local businesses, homeowners, organizations and associations for a fee. You’ll need to promote your business by taking out an advertisement and distributing a flyer in appropriate locations. Consider a direct mail letter to well targeted potential clients: college professors, small business owners, organizations, corporations, public relations firms and writers. Range is from $100 to $250.

19. Make Carts For Vending Entrepre-neurs. You make original and appealing carts for entrepreneurs to use in their vending cart business. You’ll need to construct a few generic carts for entrepreneurs to examine. Considering lumber costs, figure anywhere from $100 to $2000. Develop decorative painting techniques also to jazz up your carts.

20. Keepsake DVD Biz. You video important days, events, moments in your clients’ lives and put together a keepsake video.

You’ll need a camera, computer and a few accessories. You can create videos of golf tournaments, awards programs, grand openings, etc.

21. Backyard Herb Biz. Americans are desperately trying to eat in a more healthful manner and you can help them with a backyard herb biz. Grow your herbs organically and bag them up for sale to local markets, health food stores or sell them on your own at flea markets.

22. Shuttle Service. You provide quick trips for seniors, kids and just about anyone else who needs a taxi. You are going to need a car or a van. If you have a car, start-up will be about $100-$300 to advertise the business in your area. The higher start-up cost will be for those readers who will need to beef up their liability coverage on their car insurance.

23. Landscape and Deck Designer. Use design software that enables you to design decks, landscapes and kitchens and provide these services for your clients. You’ll need a computer and you’ll need to purchase software. Visit your local shops and see what they offer. There’s a wide variety out there today. If you have a computer, figure on spending about $300 to update your software. Advertise and publicize your business via gardening clubs, home shows, fairs and even flea markets where you set up your computer to demo your designs.

24. Commercial Cleaning. Carve out a niche for yourself whereby you concentrate on small businesses that need cleaners to come in at night and do their thing. You’ll need to advertise and send a direct mail letter to your local small businesses and you’ll need to invest in cleaning supplies. Figure on spending about $400 to get started.

25. Bird Feeder, Bird House Biz. Make and sell birdhouses and bird feeders. It’s a booming biz. You’ll need about $300 to get started for materials and ads. Chances are you already have samples of your work available that you can show to local gift and novelty stores. Photograph your samples and set up your home workshop. Visit bookstores, too, and other similar shops and ask if you can display some of your creations along with your business cards.

26. Medical Disk Information Service. Record all of your clients’ medical history on a CD and when they visit a new doctor or have to move to a new area, they will have all of the information right at their fingertips. You’ll need a computer and plenty of blank disks. You’ll need to advertise your service. Figure on $500 with a computer and $2,500 if you need to purchase a computer.

27. Power-Washing Service. Power-wash decks, fences and homes. Power-washers range from $150 to $1000 so check them out. Make sure you are familiar with the power they possess and purchase some insurance just in case you get a little overaggressive and damage a cedar shingle. Advertise in local papers and distribute fliers.

28. Video Entrepreneur. Use your video camera to make a wide range of videos for clients including: local rock bands, real estate brokers, new home owners/builders, film to video transfer jobs, insurance videos, video resumes, instructional videos, video messages, surprise videos (baby showers, etc.), wedding day videos, baby’s first video, security videos, etc. Plan on spending about $1,000 to get started if you need to purchase a camera.

29. Gardening Teacher For Kids. Visit local schools, day care centers, playgroups and camps and teach kids how to plant a small garden that is manageable even for them. Advertise in local papers, send letters to local school principals; figure on about $200 to start. Bring seed packs for all the kids, so they can go home and practice what they learned. Wear a “gardener’s outfit.”

30. Bed & Breakfast. Use extra rooms in your home to make money with your own bed & breakfast business. Bed & breakfast businesses do well in areas where there are things to see and do. If you are around a local tourist attraction, a hot golf tournament, a college or university, then you have a very promising future as a bed & breakfast entrepreneur. Costs will range from $100 to $500 depending on what you need to do and to place a local ad or create a flyer for distribution.

31. Videotape Family Histories. You compile videos (10, 15, 20, or 30 minutes) on family histories by interviewing the family members and reviewing their memorabilia and history. Include letters, photos, homes and pets. Supply your clients with a DVD.

32. Sell From Carts. Get a cart and sell your wares from the cart. It could be food, jewelry or t-shirts at a flea market. Carts range from $500 to $2000.

33. Car Buying Consultant. You help people buy cars—used or new. If you are a car buff and love reading about the automotive industry, this could be a great business for you. We met a car buyer who met with the clients, compiled a profile of what they liked and what they needed along with how much they were willing to spend, and found the perfect car for them. New or used. He charged $500 for his service and the customers he shopped for were all very satisfied.

34. Wreaths. You make decorative wreaths for your clients and sell them wholesale or retail. You should make a few wreaths to take around to gift stores, card stores and other novelty shops that will offer your wreaths. You can sell them outright or sell them on consignment. See what works well for you. Costs could range around $100 to $200 for initial inventory and for ads and flyers. Consider marketing your wreaths to local hospitals, nursing homes, bed and breakfasts and other businesses in your region that want to keep their environments decorated on a regular basis.

35. Freelance Publicist. Develop media contacts and hire yourself out to local businesses, event coordinators, universities, hospitals, retail stores and civic groups to help them promote their special events, products and services. You’ll need a letterhead, cards and a website describing who you are and what you do. Make sure it looks great—this is the selling tool that will make or break your business. You’ll need a computer, printer, fax and mobile phone. You’ll spend anywhere from $200 to $1,500 to get started, provided you have the hardware to get going.

36. Tutor. Teach others what you know. You’ll need about $50 to $100 to develop a flyer promoting your business; also consider an ad in a local newspaper. Charge anywhere from $25 to $75 an hour or whatever the going rate is in your area.

37. Music Teacher. Teach others how to play a musical instrument. Fees range from $15 to $25 an hour for music lessons. The beginner’s lesson should be 30 minutes and about 40 to 60 minutes for more advanced students.

38. Costume Designer. Costume wearing all year round is experiencing a big boom. New Year’s Eve is a big time for costumes as well as costume wearing for themed parties and special events. You can make costumes for kids and adults and sell them for a whopping profit. The range will be from $25 to $100 depending on how elaborate you want your launch to be. You can take ads in local papers, distribute flyers and make a costume or two to show what you can do.

39. Perennial Gardens. Everyone loves flowers but few have the time to garden. Once they get going, you might be called in to prep them up each spring and to maintain the weeds, etc., but basically you are offering a one-time set-up service. Design about 4 or 5 gardens ranging in price from $150 to $1,000. You, of course, will be getting all your plants wholesale from the local nursery. You are charging not only for your labor, but your know-how and design sense. If you love gardening, this is a perfect business.

40. Day Care For Local Biz. You offer to set up and run a day care center in hospitals, business centers, supermarkets, malls, inns, hotels, and civic centers. Contact all of the managers of all of the above facilities and determine if they’d be interested in your service. Call your local county clerk’s office and see if any special licenses for day care centers are required in your state or county. You’ll need to purchase toys, games, balls, chairs and tables. Start-up could run anywhere from $250 to $1,000 depending on how much inventory of toys and goods you already have.

41. Garden Shed Building. You can start a business offering one or two types of sheds that you build on site or deliver when ready to your clients. If you’ve built your own shed, you already have a picture for your portfolio. Talk to gardeners and see what they would like. Design a basic budget model and then the super gardener’s shed.

42. Waiting Game. You stay at home to wait for your client’s repairman, cable operator, painter, plumber, etc. You can make anywhere from $10 to $80 an hour for this service. If your clients expect you to perform other tasks while you are there—answer phones, feed the pet, water the plants—you can charge more. You might want to charge a minimum on this business. Say, two hours. With experience you’ll learn if you can book more than one client a day. Look into getting bonded.

43. Potpourri Empire. Make and sell potpourri and market it to local businesses, at fairs, through gift stores, card stores, garden shops, etc. Find a good recipe for potpourri (check bookstores as there are a lot of books available on making potpourri), pack it up and start marketing. You’ll need a little tag or label to identify your company or leave it blank if you plan on selling it private label style.

44. Photo Album Designer. Take photos from your clients and create beautiful photo albums. Take your own photos and create a photo album. Add decorative touches, such as lace for wedding albums, and hand-sewn baby-oriented styles for baby albums.

45. Tool Rental. Power tools, trimmers, circular saws, tile saws, etc. How many of these are sitting around unused in your basement or shop? Rent them out by the hour or by the day. Draw up a simple liability statement releasing you from any liability should an accident occur. You can make additional money if you charge $10 to drop off and $10 to pick up the item. Make sure you ask your renters to leave a substantial deposit for your equipment.

46. Box Lunches For Events. You make lunches to go and sell them at beaches, in parks, near events and gatherings. You’ll need to call the county clerk in your area to see if you need a food handler’s license to make sandwiches and sell them. Requirements vary state by state so check it out. You can also purchase the sandwiches and snacks ready made from a nearby deli.

47. Newsletter. Start a newsletter on a topic that you love and market the newsletter to folks obsessed with that particular area. You’ll need a computer and a laser printer to start this business. Once you have this equipment, you’ll need to develop a mailing list and you’ll need to advertise your newsletter to the proper buyers.

48. Deck Builder. Specialize in one or two types of decks and start a business building them. You’ll need to build a deck or two to photograph for your portfolio, but since you know how it is done, you’ve probably already built a deck or two. Costs could range from $250 for an ad campaign and portfolio assembly to $800 to actually build your own small deck to photograph.

49. Bread Baker. Bake bread for businesses, restaurants and shops. You will need to bake some samples and take them around to local restaurants for tasting. If they like what you’ve baked, they just might order your products in bulk. Survey local shops, cafes and restaurants first to determine if there would be interest in your bread business.

50. Car Detailing. You wash, wax and clean the interiors of cars for profit. Visit a local auto store and stock up on supplies. Ask the salespeople there about the best, most efficient products to use. Starting should run about $150 for supplies, ads and flyers. You can charge anywhere from $75 on up per car for your service. Car owners who buy $80,000 vehicles don’t care about an extra $100 every two weeks for detailing.

51. Museum. Start your own museum. If you are obsessed with a particular topic, then consider starting a museum to showcase your love and knowledge. You’ll be charging for admission, of course. If you have collected a wide variety of goods and know-how on one topic, then you are already there. If you have to go out and purchase items to stock your museum, then you could incur start-ups costs in the thousands. If you have a space on your property—a guesthouse, garage, tidy shed, or even an extra room in your home—then you have the makings of a museum. What are your interests? The Wizard Of Oz paraphernalia? We know there’s a museum in San Francisco completely devoted to Barbra Streisand. The entrepreneur charges admission and probably sells souvenir trinkets to museum-goers, too.

52. Pet Photographer. We’ll assume you already have a good camera for this business and that you have a good knowledge of photography. Build a portfolio taking pictures of your friends’ and neighbors’ pets. This could cost about $200 for printing and a portfolio. You can generate interest for your business by hanging your pet photography in local schools, galleries, malls, pet stores, etc. Figure on having about $300 to get going.

53. Specialty Plant Biz. If you have a knack for growing one particular type of plant, orchids or roses, than start a business growing and selling that one type of plant. If you are a gardener already and know how to grow these plants, then you have all the tools that are necessary. Sell your plants at crafts fairs, flea markets and even to local florists and plant shops.

54. Internet Tutor. Lots of people have computers but are clueless when it comes to going online. You come over and teach them. For this business, we’ll assume you’re online and enjoy the Internet and exploring the World Wide Web. Take out ads in the business section of your local newspaper and in the regular classifieds. Charge by the hour.

55. Grocery Shopping Service. Folks email or fax their orders and you do their shopping. It will be under $100 to advertise your service. You get the cash in advance from your clients for your shopping trip. If they call the supermarket and fax in an order, you can go and pick it up for your customers. There is an ever-growing senior population that would love a service like this. They can call in orders if they don’t have Internet access.

56. Flower Arranger. If you have a flair for floral arrangements, start a business dropping off weekly arrangements to restaurants, banks, businesses, stores, doctors’ offices, hospitals, catering halls, etc. Drive around with your photo portfolio of grand flower arrangements and ask your potential clients if you can provide them with weekly fresh floral arrangements. Buy your flowers from a local flower mart or wholesaler, take them home, arrange in vases, drop them off and collect the money. Start-up costs to create initial arrangements for your portfolio, stationery and business cards, plus a flyer for businesses will cost about $500.

57. Local Directory. You compile a directory or special commemorative magazine, and make money from the sale of advertisements and from consumers who want to buy it. Is your town celebrating a special anniversary? Or is a mayor retiring after a great long term in office? Is there a class reunion coming up? You organize the directory, write stories, get the photos together, sell the ads and make all the profit.

58. Nature Walks. If you have a love of the great outdoors and can talk about it with others, consider putting together tours and take folks on a beautiful walk while you describe everything they see. You can also offer this tour to groups such as seniors, school classes, and gardening clubs.

59. Assembly Service. If you have a knack for assembling things bought in home stores such as desks, bookcases, dressers and more, then you can start a business offering this service in your clients’ homes. Under $100 to develop flyers, business cards and place a small ad in the local paper. Visit all the local home stores and discounters to make sure they know of your service. Ask if they will give out your cards or flyers to their customers. It could help them make a sale.

60. Make and Sell Piñatas. You make piñatas filled with themed gifts and trinkets for parties and sell them. The start-up costs will be $25 for piñata supplies including paints and $50 for a wide variety of trinkets you can purchase from novelty stores. We know of one couple that makes $60,000 a year selling their piñatas. Offer your piñatas for corporate events, birthday parties, outdoor picnics, holiday parties, retirement, etc.

61. Coat Check Service. Check coats for restaurants, catering halls or for people who host a lot of parties in your region. You’ll need foldable garment racks, hangers and tags (available in stationery stores). Start-up costs should average around $300 and that includes an ad in the local paper. Print up a press release offering your service and send it to the local newspapers. It is very unique and they might be prompted to do a story on you.

62. Man With Van. You have a van and plenty of people who need one don’t. You rent out your van and yourself to move furniture, deliver plants, bring home bags of topsoil, move play equipment, etc. You can start this business for less than $100. All you have to do is print up flyers that you’ll distribute to local shops that sell furniture; gardening centers, etc.

63. Bottle Your Own. Do folks always tell you that you made the best pasta sauce or the best salad dressing? Then bottle it! Sell it to local merchants. You need labels, bottles and lots of information from your state department of health on requirements. Some states will require that you get a food handler’s license. Others will want to ensure that you include very specific information on your labels rather than just “Mom’s Hot Tamale Chili Sauce.” So do a lot of homework in your own state, as requirements are different all over the country. Find sources for label printing and research where you will get your glass jars. But before you do anything, take your product to local markets and ask the store buyers, owners or managers to sample. Call the department of health in your county and they will refer you to the proper state office to inquire about food handler’s licenses.

64. At-Home Antique Dealer. Collect antiques and interesting collectibles and display them in your home. Consider taking items owned by others and sell them on a consignment basis. Collect items from friends and family. Take a cut when the item sells. Open your house on weekends for your antique sales. Let shoppers browse through your living room where the items are displayed. Call your local town board and determine whether or not you’ll need a special permit to conduct this business from your home. Will parking be a problem; will the neighbors mind? If so, then try another venture or consider pooling your resources with a partner and open a shop in town.

65. Home Office Consultant. Start a business designing and organizing office spaces for your home-based clients. Develop a list of good home office supply/furniture resources and develop a portfolio of home office photographs that you can copy, or take photos of a home office you’ve created such as your own. You’ll have to make your money first time around on this business, because it is very likely that you will not have repeat clients.

66. House Child-proofer. You go around and childproof homes and apartments for your clients. You’ll need to conduct lots of research on the best baby-proofing materials and products available before you open your new business. You’ll need about $100 for an initial advertising budget and an additional $100 to start a flyer campaign: libraries, hospitals, toy stores, day care centers, etc.

67. Nursery Set-Up Service. There’s a baby boom going on and lots of prospective parents need help in organizing the nursery so it’s all painted and decorated when Baby Bo or Baby Bob comes home from the hospital. Is there a nursery you can decorate? Do you have one of your own? Photograph it and use it to generate more business.

68. Walking Tours. Everyone is told to get more exercise, and with the current thirst for knowledge on local topics and history, a walking tour business is a perfect example. If your area has some nice historical buildings and a good story, you can start this business right away by conducting research, developing a speech/patter for your tour.

69. Translation Service. If you are fluent in another language, then you can start a translation service. All you are going to need is the money to advertise your business. An ad could cost as low as $35. Distribute flyers throughout your city or in places of research and any other place where your language skill might be needed. Charge by the hour, but you might consider posting a minimum charge

70. Crafts Fair Entrepreneur. You assemble a group of artisans and organize their wares for sale. You are going to need a space for this one, complete with parking. If you have a large yard or adjacent field to your home, you can use that. Check with the town to ensure there are no additional costs/permits required. You’ll have to rent a space if you don’t have one. This could be a church basement, a fire station, etc. Look at the facilities in your town. Collect a group of artists you find at flea markets and fairs and start advertising.

71. Stepping-Stones. There are many ways to make your own stepping-stones. Visit a home center and inquire about the various products on the market that use instant cement and check out the molds that are available. The cement can also be tinted. If you have a truck you can also purchase the stones from a quarry and install them for your customers. Start-up costs average about $100 for materials and one ad in your local newspaper.

72. Home Entertainment System Service. You handle the installation of entertainment systems for your clients. They can also call on you to unhook one of the items in the rack when it needs to go to the repair shop. If you’re good at this business, word of mouth will generate more jobs.

73. Holiday Decorating Service. You decorate residences and businesses for the holidays. You bring all the lights and trim and ladder and do the work and then take it down at the end of the season. Take pictures of your own home or the homes of friends that you have decorated. Consider extending this business into the interior of the homes as well. Initial start-up should be less than $500 to buy trims, lights and power strips. Advertise in stores that sell trees and in local newspapers. Charge by the hour or develop a few themes in small, medium and large offerings.

74. Party Fare. You provide all of the party goods—napkins, plates, balloons, banners, etc.—to fit a themed party for kids. Pick about 4 or 5 different themes—dinosaurs, animals, construction, trains, princess—and source out where you can buy party goods at wholesale rates in your area. Offer packages to consumers. Advertise in the local paper and wherever kids and their parents congregate. Day care, malls, flea markets, carnivals, etc. Give out flyers offering a 10% discount on the first party.

75. Family Trees. You research and prepare family trees for your clients. If you are a history buff and enjoy doing research, this could be a dream business for you. You’ll need a family tree software program.


A sole proprietorship is the easiest way to establish your new business.

In a sole proprietorship, you own and control the business. You reap the profits, take the losses and are personally responsible for the debts and other obligations of the business.

As a sole proprietor, you report your business income and expenses on your individual income tax return. Call the county clerk for info.

Setting up a sole proprietorship is the easiest way to go into business. Legally, all you have to do is obtain the licenses and tax identification numbers that the federal, state or local government require for your type of operation. If the business has a name other than your own, you also must register your business name with your local county clerk. This is called filing a “doing business as” form or a “DBA.” File with your Social Security number.

This is the fastest, cheapest way to get into business, and many successful operations have started as sole proprietorships. As your business expands, you can change to a partnership, limited liability company, or corporation if it is more advantageous.

20 Easy Startups For Under $100!

Work from home and save a ton on overhead!

1. Mail Order: Find a product and start selling. Place ads.

2. Small Biz Vacation Fill-In Employee: Fill in for small biz owners who need a break.

3. Boat/Car Detailing: Start your own detailing biz.

4. Move-In Service: You do the cleaning before folks move in.

5. Apartment/House Cleaning: Once you develop good word of mouth, customers will be calling you.

6. Errand Service: Help biz owners get things done.

7. Assembly Service: Distribute your business cards.

8. Holiday Decorating: Start a website promoting your holiday service to commercial and residential customers.

9. Delivery Service: Many stores don’t deliver.

10. Meal Delivery: Promote your service.

11. Inventory Service: Record insurance data.

12. Parking Lot Pickup: You can charge for the lot
or by the hour.

13. Junk Removal: Cart away junk for cash.

14. Concierge Service: Contact local businesses.

15. Start A Website Biz: Start a website, sell products.

16. Pet Walker: Charge by the visit. Print up a flyer.

17. Lawns and Landscapes: Start your own lawn cutting, weed cleanup.

18. Garage Cleaning & Organizing: Clean garages.

19. Sell Goods Online: Visit eBay.com and start selling.

20. In Demand Product Sales: Flea market riches.


infofree.com™, a leading provider of Unlimited Sales Leads, Mailing Lists, Business Credit Profiles and Email Lists for $49.95 per month, has provided 300 million sales leads to subscribers .”Sales leads are the lifeblood of any business – especially in this recession. Now large and small businesses can get targeted sales leads in seconds as well as unlimited business credit profiles for only $49.95 per month, ” said Vin Gupta, founder of infofree.com™.

infofree.com™ provides unlimited search and download of sales leads from several databases of 14 million businesses, 225 million consumers and homeowners, and hundreds of other unique databases. It gives users the ability to reach new businesses, new movers, newlyweds, newly divorced, and new homeowner sales leads. Subscribers can cherry-pick or download all of their best prospects and create their own mailing lists or sales lead prospect file. They can work with their sales leads right in the application and access it from anywhere.  infofree.com™ will be available for iPhones, iPads and other devices coming soon.

10 Businesses That Make $1 Million The First Year

The following businesses have the potential to make $1 million the first year of operation.

1. Buy and Sell Homes: HomeVestors, invites you to start your own business in real estate.

2. Handyman Agency: You can start a business linking homeowners with home repair and remodeling contractors. Handyman Connection 18 franchisees make more than $1 million a year.

3. Become A Franchisee: Franchises provide more than a trillion dollars a year to the economy and many first-time franchisees generate revenue or sales greater than $1 million a year.

4. eBay PowerSellers: PowerSellers are those who consistently make $20,000 a month and more through eBay sales and auctions. There are PowerSellers who make $150,000 a month.

5. Cash in Collectibles: The franchised Vintage Stock stores sell new and vintage music, DVDs, comics, and more. Many exceed sales of $1 million. See vintagestock.com.

6. Real Estate: Deborah Niles made $1.5 million her first year out and started with $0. Her company, Key 2 Chicago, is now a leading corporate housing company.

7. Import / Export Empire: If you find the right product to import from a cheapie source, you can make a mint selling it to shops, flea markets, online, etc. Looking for information to start your import/export empire? Don’t forget the U.S. Small Business Administration. Visit sbaonline.sba.gov or call 800-827-5722.

8. Buy A Business: Check through opportunities listings and consider buying a business that already generates sales of more than $1 million a year.

9. Market Your Invention: Do you have a million-dollar idea? If you think you do, conduct your own due diligence search to find out if anyone is doing something similar. If no, consider going for it. There are dozens of books to help you. We like everything from Nolo on inventing, especially The Inventor’s Notebook.

10. Visual Communications Franchise: Check out alphagraphics.com. Their franchisees have average annual gross sales of more than $1 million a year.


$1 Million From Home In Weed Business

With nearly 90,000 lawn care and landscape firms in the United States, the uncertain economy has proven to be no match for the growing lawn care industry. Weed Man, in particular, has reported 15 to 20 percent growth on average among its franchises over the past two years. While other businesses are closing or cutting back, Weed Man is restructuring its internal operations to support its growth and hiring more employees. With a current presence in over 260 territories across the country, the company is on track to have a presence in 800 territories in the next 10 years.

Weed Man, North America’s leading lawn care franchise company, continues to lead the lawn care sector with double-digit sales increases. Additionally, company executives predict a steady stream of growth for the remainder of 2012.

In 2011, the company, which specializes in environmentally responsible lawn care services, signed 11 new license agreements and added 19 territories across the United States. As part of an aggressive nationwide expansion plan, Weed Man has a strong focus on franchise development across the United States and plans to sign 20 new license agreements and add 34 territories in 2012.

“We attribute our growth momentum to the support of our Weed Man franchise partners,” said Jennifer Lemcke, COO of Turf Holdings, Inc. and Weed Man USA. “The success of Weed Man franchisees is built upon the twin pillars of training and support. As we continue to grow our brand, both in the U.S. and internationally, we always remember that our franchisees are the key to our success.”

The average yearly gross sales per location in the U.S. are nearly $500,000. The company also reported $44 million in U.S. sales in 2011, with total systemwide sales of $110 million when including both Canada and the United Kingdom. In addition, there are plenty of Weed Man franchisees that are currently above $1 million in revenue, a notable feat as only 10 percent of all lawn and landscape companies nationwide are currently above $1 million in revenue.

In 2011, Weed Man created a new financing program to help potential franchise partners gain access to credit. The program, which launched in September, offers franchise owners up to $40,000 in financing. Typical start-up costs for a Weed Man franchise range from $40,000 to $50,000 including training, software and equipment. The financing program is available to all candidates who have a good credit rating.

Founded in Mississauga, Ontario, in 1970 by Des and Brenda Rice, Weed Man, North America’s No. 1 franchised lawn care provider, is a network of locally owned and operated lawn care professionals providing environmentally responsible fertilization, weed control and integrated pest management services. For more than 40 years, Weed Man’s promise has always been the same: Weed Man treats every lawn as if it was their own and provides customers with honest and open communication. Weed Man entered the U.S. market in 1995 through a licensing agreement with Turf Holdings, Inc. Today Weed Man USA helps support franchisees in more than 260 territories throughout the United States. For more information, visit weedmanfranchise.com.

Find Money Now

The National Collegiate Inventors and Innovations Alliance (NCIIA) is dedicated to funding and training faculty and student technology innovations. “We support technology innovation and entrepreneurship in universities and colleges to create experiential learning opportunities for students and successful, socially beneficial businesses.

“With a membership of nearly 200 colleges and universities from all over the United States, the NCIIA engages more than 5,000 student and faculty innovators and entrepreneurs each year, helping them to bring their concepts to commercialization.

The NCIIA ‘pipeline’ provides nascent student start-ups with early stage funding, business strategy development training, mentoring, and investment. The NCIIA provides faculty with funding for courses and programs, opportunities for recognition, and entrepreneurship education training and networking. For more info visit nciia.org.

Social Media Marketing  Tips to Improve Communication

Steve Nicholls, author of the best-selling book “Social Media in Business,” (SocialMediaInBusiness.com) is a proven expert who has helped business managers add millions of dollars to their bottom line by implementing social media into their organization from the top down.

Nicholls offers the following 10 social media tips to improve internal communication within your company:

Create a common language: Train the entire staff and create a common language.  Explain how this will help the company achieve its goals.

Understand your company culture: Culture will define how well your social media projects will do within your company and if you have a closed culture by nature, a transformation towards transparency needs to be made.

Create internal social networks: this will bring the company closer together by facilitating formal and informal communication between different departments as well as lower and upper management.  Using social networking applications like LinkedIn as a personnel directory is a very good way of finding people in your organization and looking at what skills or experience they have.

Information sharing: Many organizations suffer from lack of information sharing. Creating a platform, such as a DIY Wiki platform, composed of all company-related information – articles, videos and webinars amongst many others – is an excellent way to allow all company members to access valuable company information anytime.

Encourage employee participation: Speaking up in the boardroom can be intimidating for junior staff.  Management should encourage staff to offer ideas in a less threatening environment via social media.  This gives everyone a voice.

Collect intelligence: User-generated content via social media is worth its weight in gold as it becomes valuable business intelligence that can be used to understand how to perform better, generate new ideas and thus become more successful.

Mobile technology and online project management tools: taking advantage of new technologies like iPads, smartphones, conferencing tools like Skype and Webex or project management tools like Wrike and Zoho allow a company to function efficiently from different geographical locations.

Small Business in the U.S.

By Carole Wood, Marketing Manager, Business Centric Services Group

There has been a recent injection of hope into America’s small business economy. The US small business market is formed of c. 27 million companies with a yearly revenue of up to $2 million. According to research, the drive behind setting up a business for 55% of US small business owners is a desire to be their own boss, and despite tough economic times 26% of established businesses still believe that  running their own company is a better option than working for someone else. The most encouraging statistic reveals that 47% remain optimistic about their prospects in the upcoming year.

And small business owners have a lot to be positive about going into 2013. Despite the six challenges identified by The Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute that businesses are likely to face, there are simple steps owners can take to successfully navigate these challenging conditions and achieve growth:

1. Stay strong during continued economic volatility by implementing dynamic & flexible plans.

2. Overcome tight access to capital by investing borrowed funds primarily into strengthening workforce skills, upgrading equipment and marketing.

3. Fight the risk of insolvency by improving productivity; surround yourselves with the right team of people and focus on working efficiently together to achieve growth

4. Resist larger companies poaching small businesses’ customers by differentiating: offer customized local products.

5. Do not be disheartened by politicians forecasting doom and gloom for small businesses; instead keep morale high by maintaining a positive, confident attitude.

6. Capitalize on the likely trend that 2013 will bring lots of deal-making; negotiate with vendors and larger customers by offering to make commitments in return for price reductions or better payment terms.

Proof that the US is attracting new small businesses can be found in the case of Peter Bauer, an entrepreneur who has recently moved his start-up from London to Boston in order to focus on growth. He runs Mimecast, a tech firm with 270 staff and $33 million turnover, and firmly believes America holds the key to vast growth.

John Davis, Managing Director of Business Centric Services Group (a small business also located in both the US and UK), states: “There is no doubt that this has been a challenging year for small businesses in America, yet there is evidence that growth is returning and this signifies an important turning point going into 2013.

About Business Centric Services Group: BCSG create and distribute value adding products and services to over 135,000 small businesses through financial institutions. For info visit: www.bcsg.com.

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Category: Magazine, Start Your Own Business, Start Your Own Business Winter 2013

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