The internet is the great equalizer. In business specifically, it has leveled the playing field. Anyone can start a money-making online business—anyone with a computer, that is. But here’s the thing: virtually no technical experience is needed. Today there are plenty of tools you can use to build an online business that makes the technical work a lot easier than it was in the past.

A great way to test your business idea without spending a lot of money is to run a crowdfunding campaign. This is preselling a product before you’re ready to deliver it so you can raise money to create it. Crowdfunding is a great way to determine if there is a market for your product. Typically, a crowdfunding platform charges a 5% fee of the total amount raised plus a 3% transaction fee.
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.
Sure, there are a lot of graphic designers out there, but there are far more Websites, companies and organizations in need of design work than there are designers. That’s the good news. The more difficult news is that graphic design does require a certain level of expertise and possibly some pricey software, although designers can often get by without necessarily having the most expensive applications on the market.
Over the last decade, high-speed internet, a proliferation of devices and applications, and changing attitudes about the nature of work have made working at home a reality for millions of people around the world. One study, in fact, concluded that nearly half of all American employees work at home. And the trend isn’t limited to the United States; 79 percent of knowledge workers globally now do at least some work outside the office.
For instance, suppose that you want to start a creative business using your sewing skills to make homemade quilts. Because of the time involved, you're only able to make two quilts per month. You discover that people are willing to pay $300 for each quilt you produce. That produces revenue of $600 per month, minus the cost of expenses related to quilt production and advertising.
“The massage therapy business has been growing by leaps and bounds in the last decade, tripling in volume. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, it should grow by an additional 20% through 2016, meaning this home business has strong potential for growth. And, because all in-home massage services are necessarily local in nature, it’s work that can’t be outsourced to another country.”

The key to successful Podcasting isn’t just racking up listeners in big numbers. It’s getting listeners to engage. A small group of engaged listeners is more valuable than a large but passive audience. Specialize in an area of your expertise and constantly remind listeners to participate in your Podcast via social media or your Website. Making money Podcasting isn’t easy, but it is possible.
The only thing better than the smell of grandma’s chocolate-chip cookie recipe baking in the oven is watching cash roll in as customers order those delectable treats. Home baking is an approachable business idea in that it involves doing what you’re probably doing a lot of, anyway, if you love to bake. You probably have all the equipment and expertise you need to get started.
While having a great product or service is require, without buyers, you still don't have a business. Knowing your market, what it wants and needs, and what inspires it to buy, are crucial to your success. This means discovering your target market and determining your unique selling proposition, the thing about your product or service that sets apart from others that are similar. Here are a few things to consider:
Holly Reisem Hanna is the publisher and founder of The Work at Home Woman, which has been helping individuals find remote careers and businesses that feed their souls since 2009. Through her unconventional career path of holding over 30 jobs and obtaining two college degrees, she's been able to figure out how to find a career path that you're truly passionate about. Holly's had the pleasure of sharing her expertise on sites like CNN, MSN Money, Huffington Post, Woman's Day Magazine, as well as being recognized by Forbes as one of the “Top 100 Websites for Your Career.” Holly resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband and daughter and enjoys reading, traveling, and yoga.
Handcrafted products: These are items you make yourself, like jewelry, clothing, paper goods, wooden decor, and food. This is a great option if you’re crafty, want full control over production, and are looking for lower startup costs. But bear in mind: it can be harder to capitalize on success — it’s more difficult to scale when you personally make each and every product.
Sure, there are a lot of graphic designers out there, but there are far more Websites, companies and organizations in need of design work than there are designers. That’s the good news. The more difficult news is that graphic design does require a certain level of expertise and possibly some pricey software, although designers can often get by without necessarily having the most expensive applications on the market.
For families looking to go on a two-week vacation or couples planning their honeymoon, hiring someone to handle the details, big and small, of their trip, can be invaluable. Plus, in working with different hotels, resorts, and vacation attractions, you’ll start to build relationships with the staff—and possibly, receive discounts or perks that will make traveling on your own even easier (you might even start a travel blog while you’re at it).
As a personal trainer, you could make house calls, visit a gym, or let clients come to you (if you have the necessary equipment). You need to be very knowledgeable about everything from proper exercises for different body types to how to motivate people who want to get healthy. You should feel comfortable getting close to your clients in order to learn what works best for them.
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.
A great way to come up with a business idea is to brainstorm about your existing skills. Focus on identifying the skills that are unique to you or that you particularly excel at. Evaluating your previous professional experiences should give you a hint. Think of instances in which you were able to provide value to the organization for which you worked: do you notice any trends?
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