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.
Make sure you are buying items that are highly sellable, meaning that you there is a large market so you won’t have to wait years to find a buyer. And be disciplined enough only to buy items that allow you plenty of markup for resale. Specialization, or at least having most of your products fit your specialization, is highly likely to increase your chances of success.
This is another example on our list of home business ideas that caters toward outgoing individuals—people who don’t mind talking on the phone and who like guiding others and helping them solve problems. Many companies now outsource their customer service to home-based representatives, so you should have no shortage of potential clients—after all, any service- or product-based organization is more than likely going to have some kind of customer support need.
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.
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Figure out if you can make this business profitable. How much will people pay for your services? Can you make a good income off this? Many people see astronomical numbers in their future until they take the time to determine their profits. Be sure to consider how much time you can reasonably commit to your business and how much profit you can get back for your time and investment money. In some cases, a great business idea in theory can in reality be unprofitable. Account for every cost associated with your business instead of just the upfront costs such as inventory and advertising. Remember to calculate the easily overlooked overhead and expenses such as travel, legal fees and accounting.
Best of all, unlike a brick-and-mortar business, you don’t need a lot of startup capital. In fact, you can get many internet businesses up and running with no money at all because so many free services facilitate the possibility. For example, you can set up a website or blog for free using WordPress. Or you can leverage a third-party site like Amazon or eBay to sell goods with no inventory costs. You use their selling platform in exchange for giving them a cut of your sales.
Hi Akshara – You’ve given a lot of good advice. Though a home business seems easy (but yes, they ARE easy to start), it’s first and foremost a business. That means you won’t be an overnight success. It could take years before it earns enough money to live on. It might be best to start it as a side business. But always remember to run it as a serious business, and not as a casual hobby. One other thing about a business…the hardest part is getting it from zero to making money. You have to be willing to overcome that hurdle.
Cash 4 Books is an online business where you can sell new and used books. Grab your books and head to the website; here you’ll be able to enter each book’s ISBN, which is a 10 or 13 digit number that can be found on the back cover or inside the front cover of almost all books. Once you have entered each code, you’ll receive a quote for each book. Next, send your books in with a pre-paid shipping label. Once they receive your books, you’ll be paid either via check or PayPal.
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.
While I’m not an advocate of selling yourself short or devaluing your worth, there is a time and a place for freelance job sites. These sites are job boards for freelancers and businesses; it is a place to connect, shop around, and, most importantly, get some money into your pocket. While many of these sites may offer smaller payouts, they are a great place to gain experience and build up your portfolio.
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.
If you’re currently an accountant, this might be as simple as letting your clients know that you work remotely now for reasons of convenience or perhaps hanging your own shingle out to start your own firm. On the other hand, if you’re looking to enter the industry (virtually or not), you should be aware of the training and certifications necessary.
A customer persona is a fictionalized representation of a specific type of customer based on demographics and interests. Typically, a business will have several customer personas if they are selling to multiple customer types. You need to figure out which customer personas fit your business, because it’s important to know the demographics you should target in your market research.