Virtually every small business needs help running their day-to-day administrative tasks, but they may not particularly want to pay a full-time in-house employee to do it. Virtual assistants perform a variety of tasks that a traditional assistant or secretary would normally do, including making travel arrangements, paying bills, or managing expense reimbursements.
Once a pie-in-the-sky idea, home businesses are a reality for millions today. It's easier and more affordable than ever to build a home-based career. This doesn't mean that profits will be automatic, immediate, or easy to achieve, but you can be a successful home-based entrepreneur if you have the desire, a plan, and you're willing to put in the work.
Has anyone ever told you you have a voice for radio? Are you great at creating original characters with just your voice? There are tons of people looking to pay for quality voice overs for their corporate videos, animation series, or educational videos. Check out Fiverr and UpWork or create a profile on a specialized site like Voices.com or The Voice Realm to get started making money online doing voice overs.
You could also opt to use existing websites for making money. These include both active income and passive income methods. For example, you could sell some used items or invest in creating some digital designs that then can be sold on merchandise. Again, devote a sizable portion of your time to passive income so that you can slowly build up earnings that will arrive on autopilot without any extra added effort.
The restaurant chef is not the only person that has a say on what goes on the menu. High-end restaurants often find themselves indecisive when it comes to the food they want to serve, especially as seasons change. A menu planning business is a very low-cost idea, but is perfect for those who love to work with food without any direct involvement in preparing or serving it. Many places are willing to hire a consultant to design their seasonal menus, so visit local restaurants and make them aware of your culinary skill set.
It’s sometimes hard to comprehend just how much people love t-shirts. And with the right niche, marketing, and tools, you can create an online t-shirt business that makes you extra money online while you sleep. (Even Bloomberg and Forbes feature stories from entrepreneurs who've done just that.) Services like TeeSpring make it easier than ever to create a t-shirt drop-shipping business where they handle the sales, printing, and shipping, and you’re only responsible for design and marketing. Or you can even buy into well-established franchise businesses like Rhea Lana that sell fashionable, affordable kids clothing and get the backing of a proven organization to fuel your online sales. For more tips, check out this simple guide to launching and marketing an online clothing store by my friends over at Selz.
Build your audience on a course community: If you’re just getting started building an audience for yourself and want to leverage communities already actively looking for content you can choose to host and sell your online course on a site like Skillshare or Udemy. These are easy, cost-effective ways to build an audience and test your niche to see if there’s demand for it.
You may also want to include your company’s goals or objectives, so the reader of your business plan will get a good sense about why you are in business and what you hope to achieve by operating your business. You should definitely include this part if your enterprise is a nonprofit organization, since a nonprofit is based on mission and vision. This will convey to funders or other supporters the objectives and goals towards which you are working as a nonprofit.
But, if you do need to expand your one-page business plan into a more full-fledged plan that includes more details on your company and your target market, you can follow our step-by-step guide for writing a detailed business plan, download our free business plan template, or review any of our more than 500 complete sample business plans. These resources are all free, and if you have questions, please reach out on Twitter @Bplans.
More and more people are looking for someone to care for their pets when they can't - people who don't like the idea of putting "precious" into a kennel. Professional pet care givers come into the home to care for the pet while the owner is away, feeding, walking, and playing with the animal(s). If you love animals and are knowledgeable about them, this could be a great business for you. According to the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS), in-home pet-care is one of the fastest growing industries in North America today.
If you need financial assistance, a commercial loan through a bank is a good starting point, although these are often difficult to secure. If you are unable to take out a bank loan, you can apply for a small business loan through the Small Business Administration (SBA) or an alternative lender. [See related story: Best Alternative Small Business Loans]
As angel investor and tech-company founder Tim Berry wrote on Entrepreneur, "You can probably cover everything you need to convey in 20 to 30 pages of text plus another 10 pages of appendices for monthly projections, management resumes and other details. If you've got a plan that's more than 40 pages long, you're probably not summarizing very well."
If you are struggling to find exactly the material you are looking for, try Open Culture’s listing of free online education courses. The page highlights 1000 lectures, videos and podcasts from universities around the world. The site features a lot of material found only on universities private sites, all in easy to browse categories. This means you can find hundreds of university courses, without having to visit and search each university’s own site.
When you’re ready to share your business plan with investors, don’t just automatically send them the entire plan. You should send an inquiry and set up a meeting to discuss at length about a possible partnership. You may also consider bringing a non-disclosure agreement for the investor to sign, which will protect you against someone trying to steal or repurpose your ideas for their own use.
Next, you’ll need the right tools. You can be as complicated or simple as you want depending on your comfort with audio equipment, but at the minimum you’ll want a microphone and software for recording your voice. Companies like Behringer, Blue, Focusrite, and others sell studio-quality plug-and-play podcast setups that can get you recording today.
"A lot of startups tend to spend money on unnecessary things," said Jean Paldan, founder and CEO of Rare Form New Media. "We worked with a startup that had two employees but spent a huge amount on office space that would fit 20 people. They also leased a professional high-end printer that was more suited for a team of 100 (it had keycards to track who was printing what and when). Spend as little as possible when you start and only on the things that are essential for the business to grow and be a success. Luxuries can come when you're established."
If you live in an area where Uber or Lyft operate, why not become a driver? If you're looking to make some short-term cash, you can definitely rake it in by working for one of these popular car-hire apps. As long as your vehicle fits within the specifications of their program, and you have a clean license, you could do this on the side, especially if you're in a crunch for cash.