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Blake Stockton is a staff writer at Fit Small Business focusing on how to start brick-and-mortar and online businesses. He is a frequent guest lecturer at several undergraduate business and MBA classes at University of North Florida. Prior to joining Fit Small Business, Blake consulted with over 700 small biz owners and assisted with starting and growing their businesses.
I am 3 years away from full retirement but would love to do it earlier and get out of the rat race and learn new skills. I have plent of office experience and working wiith numbers and pc’s. Can anyone give me an estimate of the cost of the online schools for certificates in medical billing? I looked at some of your links to the schools and I know I can ask them for info, but woud like to get an idea of the cost before I have someone contacting me without knowing first if I can afford to pursue this. I am very interested and thank you for wanting to help others.

I have a friend that is the city manager of a town of about 25,000 where his main task is processing requests for building permits. Actually a volunteer-type job, no salary. But he makes a bunch of contacts every day, and his address book is huge. So he is busy all year except the Holidays. To fill in this time he started a Christmas tree lighting service (houses, lawn ornaments, etc.). In this 3-month period he makes enough to keep him going the rest of the year.

Organize your business as a legal entity. When setting up for business you have several options in determining the structure of your business. The easiest is to simply act as a sole proprietorship where you, the business owner, are legally the business. In this case, you would use your SSN for tax identification purposes. However, if you plan to have partners or hire employees, you will need to organize your business as a separate entity like a corporation. Doing so will require you to incorporate your business with you state and obtain an employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS.

One way to get started might be to focus on children’s parities, which can be a bit simpler and less stressful to plan than adult get-togethers. Go further into specialization by following kid trends and offering superhero or Frozen parties. Remember that you’ll be competing not just with other party planners but with local restaurants and facilities, so excellent networking skills and a personal touch to your services will be important.


These pay-per-click ads appear on your blog. Every time somebody clicks on an ad (which is supposed to be about a subject related to your niche), you make a few cents or more. Small amounts each time, but it adds up. This is extremely hands-off. You just need to get a code from Google, place it on your website - and the ads will automatically appear on your blog. Google will only show ads that are relevant to your blog so it's a good experience for your visitors and maximizes the number of clicks you get, meaning more income.

Another option to start a business with no money is by running a crowdfunding campaign. Crowdfunding allows you to presell products before making them. For example, if you wanted to start an at-home bakery, but need to raise $3,000 for equipment, you could presell baked goods on a platform, like Kickstarter, to raise funds. Before starting a crowdfunding campaign, it’s important to have a network of potential customers who are interested in buying your products.
For Song, starting a home business was about seeing a gap and finding a way to fill it. This is the secret to success for many top subscription box businesses. Birchbox, for example, saw that there was no way for consumers to test multiple beauty products without spending a fortune. So it filled that gap with affordable curated boxes of smaller sample-sized products.
You know this one already. You include links to products you are promoting as an affiliate and every time somebody buys the product, you get a commission. With a blog, you can integrate advertising with content to make it even more likely you’ll get the sale. For example, you could do a product review—which is useful content—and then include a link to buy the product under an affiliate link.
Almost all home businesses should register as a legal business entity, such as a limited liability company (LLC). This would protect a business owner’s personal financial assets if a lawsuit ever occurs against the business. Incfile is an online legal service that assists business owners with registering their company as a legal entity with the state.
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