For many years, the IRS has followed a very strict interpretation of "principal place of business," which prevented some self-employed persons—such as an accountant who maintained a home office but also spent a great deal of time visiting clients—from claiming the deduction. But in July 1997, responding to the concerns of small business advocates, the U.S. Congress passed a tax bill that redefined an individual's "principal place of business" to include a home office that meets the following two criteria: 1) it is used to conduct the management or administrative activities of a business; and 2) it is the only place in which the small business owner conducts those management or administrative activities. When this change became effective on January 1, 1999, it was expected to enable many home-based business owners who also perform services outside of their homes to claim the home office deduction.
When was the last time you went to a new restaurant without looking it up online beforehand? Or bought a product that didn’t have at least a few 5-star reviews? It seems like more and more our world is run on reviews. And you can make money online by writing them. Get started by creating accounts on sites like Vindale research, Software Judge, FameBit, CrowdTap, Influence Central, and Modern Mom. However, before you run off and start writing, be sure to check the small print on each of these sites. Writing reviews isn’t a huge source of guaranteed income and you want to make sure that it’s worth your time before you get going.
Set up an account on Rover.com. Enjoy furry company once in a while? These days, many professional pet-sitters set up an account on Rover.com. With Rover.com, you can reach people in your area who are actively looking for someone to watch their dogs, cats, hamsters, or turtles, either in their home or your own. You can set your own rules and schedule and come up with your own pricing through the Rover.com pet-sitting platform.
Successful home business ideas let contractors, freelancers, and entrepreneurs be in charge of their own lives. Maybe you’d prefer to wake up late and take long lunches, confident in your ability to finish your work on time. Possibly you prefer to be your own boss, setting up best practices and ditching those quarterly reviews. Or, it could be that you want to travel or be at home for your family, and you view commuting as a pain.
I like these ideas! Besides being good ideas in themselves, they stimulate MORE ideas! Some of them reminded me of something I was reading about called Craigslist arbitrage – buying low and selling high on craigslist, kind of like the first part of the old Oregon Trail game, but with washers and dryers and bicycles instead of cases of crackers and horses. Sounds like fun! Anyway, that one about the pooper-scooper business, that works, I know because I was quite successful in the pooper-scooper service I started back in 1988! I’ve been in the industry for 25 years now, though I don’t go out and scoop any more.
This is a man who on our first envelope job bought us our furnace gas heater by paying us upfront half the money he would have topay when the job was done. He was so concerned we had no heat he paid us before we even started writing out the envelopes…I felt so bad to see when I called him 2 months ago someone answered it but was not him or his family. I fear he lost his home:( If he hasn’t we would still be in the back of his mind for envelope work knowing we are his people to get the job done.
Now next, you’ll want to pick a WordPress theme from somewhere like ThemeForest, Elegant Themes or OptimizePress. This is the barebones design of your site, which you can then customize with your own branding, copy, and images. That being said, you don’t want to cheap out. It costs less than $100 to buy a theme that will make your website look professional (and you can upgrade to a completely custom design once you get the business going).
It’s not just that, though. Niche branding will allow you to say “this is exactly what I can do and this is exactly who I can help.” It will help you to stand out and your target audience will know that you’re exactly the brand that can help them. You’ll lose other potential customers, but at the end of the day, they weren’t the customers that you really wanted to begin with.
My 10-year-old son brought home a book from our park’s free library box. It was a biology textbook – teachers edition. He said it looked interesting and hey, it was free (having no idea you could sell it). I scanned it in my Amazon seller app and realized it was worth around $150. He was so excited. We listed it for sale for $130 and it sold! Going to tell him, he just made $130!
No business—particularly a small one—can be all things to all people. The more narrowly you can define your target market, the better. This process is known as creating a niche and is key to success for even the biggest companies. Walmart and Tiffany are both retailers, but they have very different niches: Walmart caters to bargain-minded shoppers, while Tiffany appeals to upscale jewelry consumers.