Home-based businesses are quickly becoming the fastest growing form of business start-ups. Growing your company out of your home allows for flexibility that is difficult when renting or buying office and warehouse space. Although working at home requires self-discipline, the benefits can be substantial - especially in the start-up years. (We provide six tips for creating a winning business in a losing economy. Check out Starting A Small Business In Tough Economic Times.)
Niche marketing can be used to reach consumers who can be targeted based on various characteristics, such as demographics, hobbies, occupations, or interest in social or political causes. Each niche market defines specific product features -- including design, price, production quality and the demographics that the organization intends to address. Goods and services that are under the niche-marketing umbrella include products for addressing physical conditions (such as dermatitis, dandruff or acne), fitness products to tone specific parts of the body, clothing for specific body types and wedding planning for budget-conscious customers.
This has become a popular business model for online entrepreneurs over the past several years, and will probably just continue to grow in popularity. The best thing about selling online courses is that once you do the up-front work in creating the course and setting up your marketing strategy, you can get paid over and over again for work you do once.
18. CraigsList – Some things don’t ship very well. Other things may make you feel uncomfortable to sell to someone across the country. Anytime you’re selling a large item or something you just don’t want to ship, Craigslist is a great place to go. It’s simple to list your item (again, take good pictures!). If you don’t like the idea of putting your phone number out there, the interested individual can send you a message to your inbox without even getting your email address.
But if you get the green light to do it, starting a catering service is a relatively low-overhead way to create a new business. It’s a lot of work, but if you enjoy cooking, it could turn into a lucrative and fulfilling career. To get started with minimal investment, you could first cook in your customers’ homes and use their dishes. Also, a narrow specialization on a particular type of cuisine or event may help you attract clientele as you work develop a strong customer base.
Become a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants perform a wide range of services for their clients, all of which can be completed online. Depending on the day, they may open and reply to emails, schedule online work or blog posts, write mock-up letters and proposals, or perform data entry. You can look for virtual assistant jobs on sites like UpWork.com and Problogger.net.
Offering specific online SEO services is also another online freelancer role that businesses are crying out for. If you know how to improve a website’s SEO by doing keyword research, creating content that can rank in search engines, adding metadata/schema to posts and pages, and building backlinks to a domain, to name a few tasks, then this could be a great line of work for you.
A spin-off for web designers is to offer a landing page creation service. Well-optimized landing pages can be the difference between a successful and a failing business. And, as creating the perfect landing page isn’t easy, this is a service many businesses are prepared to pay for. I know people who are earning 6 figures per year and all they do is create landing pages for businesses. There’s serious money to be made.
No one likes doing taxes, and they need to be paid whether the economy is booming or tanking. This is why at-home tax preparation can be a great business for anyone with a tax background, or anyone willing to take training courses. Since there are annual changes to the tax code, you will need to refresh your training each year, and you will also need to register with the IRS as a tax preparer. This is more of a seasonal business than a year-round endeavor, but it can be a great way to earn some extra income each winter/spring. Median salary: $30,900.
Becoming an Uber driver has quickly become a great way for people to get their own business off the ground. You will need to pass a background check and have valid instate driver’s license and auto insurance. The process is pretty painless and will get you rolling on your own business. Many people start as an Uber driver to pay the bills while they work on another business that they are more passionate about. Check out our post to learn more about Uber driver requirements.
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Running a coupons website can be very lucrative. Find a coupon niche, select a WordPress coupon theme, and then display relevant coupons on your site. When your audience uses the coupon codes or discount links, you will earn an affiliate cut, for example, you could set-up a site dedicated to iHerb Coupons or add a page to your website with Web Hosting Promo Codes. Coupon websites are quite high maintenance as they need to be constantly updated with new offers. However, if you build up an engaged audience and allow them to post coupons and discounts they have found themselves, then quite quickly your workload will reduce.
3. Always test-market. Before moving ahead, assess the direct competitors you'll find in the new market niche and determine how you will position against them. For an overview, it's best to conduct a competitive analysis by reviewing competitors' ads, brochures and Web sites, looking for their key selling points, along with pricing, delivery and other service characteristics.
The key to success in this business is being very disciplined in buying. Limit your car buying to popular models that you can turn over quickly, models that you have a strong understanding of current local pricing on, cars that you can buy at a significant discount to the price you believe you can fairly sell them for, and cars that are highly unlikely to need major work.
Consider selling in lots. A lot is a collection of similar items that is sold in a group. For example, if you have a collection of books, magazines or similar pieces of jewelry, consider selling them all at once in a lot. You many not make as much money as you would have if you sold each item separately. However, the items will likely sell more quickly in a lot than they would individually.
When creating a membership site, always offer different plans and pricing tiers to appeal to your different categories of audience. Access to specific types of content is then dependent on the plan selected by a member. Membership fees can be a one-off payment or a repeat subscription. And you can even sell products on your membership site to boost your income.
With whom do you want to do business? Be as specific as you can. Identify the geographic range and the types of businesses or customers you want your business to target. If you don’t know whom you want to do business with, you can’t make contact. “You must recognize that you can’t do business with everybody,” Falkenstein cautions. Otherwise, you risk exhausting yourself and confusing your customers.