If you've developed valuable skill sets or picked up certifications within your industry over the years, offering your consulting services to local business owners can be a lucrative way to make money online. Whether you're an expert marketer, business strategist, or manufacturing aficionado, there's likely a local business owner who's willing to pay you to help them solve an issue with their company. Start with this 18-step checklist to becoming a local business consultant from Karyn Greenstreet and then use my guide to crafting an effective cold email to convince them to hire you.
Then once you’ve got your domain name and hosting sorted out, it’s time to pick a CMS, or Content Management System, that will let you update pages, build your blog and integrate with all the other services you need. It’s hard to go wrong with WordPress—the CMS powering close to a quarter of the internet. Keep in mind that eventually as you start growing traffic to your blog, you'll be wise to invest in a managed WordPress hosting plan from a company with great service like Kinsta, where all of the settings are custom-tailored and optimized to work particularly well with WordPress-powered websites.
If you’ve got a way with words and expertise in a niche, there are plenty of sites that will pay for articles and content you write. Think of the sites you read regularly. What can you contribute to them that would be interesting? Research your niche and then look for ways to pitch articles. Many sites will simply have a submission or contact link in the footer. To get started, check out my full guide to becoming a freelance writer on the side and then submit your articles to places like Instash, Listverse, TopTenz, A List Apart, International Living, FundsforWriters, and Textbroker.
There's a proverbial gold rush happening today, of people trying to launch chatbots for their businesses to help automate some of their sales and marketing efforts that are needed to properly grow and scale in today's market. However, similar to California's Gold Rush, those that will likely get rich are the ones that sell the picks and shovels. For that reason, why not launch your own chatbot business? Sure, there's some effort involved here, but this is definitely worth the steep learning curve.
You’ll have to decide for yourself when to “formalize” your company by creating a legal structure like an LLC, buying liability insurance, and such. For advice on these matters, you can meet with volunteers at SCORE, and there are even places to get inexpensive legal help. Meanwhile, why not pull out a $100 bill and take a look at what you can do with it.
So there they are - fifteen ideas for inexpensive, easy businesses that almost anyone can start. What else do you need to turn one of these ideas into a successful business? The kind of people skills that will allow you to attract and build a regular clientele. But I'm guessing that you have these, or you wouldn't be thinking of starting a business in the first place.
To test these websites, you’ll be asked to visit the site in question and record your reactions and thoughts as you go through it. To get started making extra money online by testing websites, sign up for some of the most popular services like UserTesting.com, Userlytics, TryMyUI, Userfeel, TestingTime (for people outside the U.S), or Side Income Jobs.
Firstly, you will definitely need the appropriate licensing and permits to start a home daycare business. That said, if you love children; have worked with them before; and have friends, neighbors, or family who take their young children to nurseries while they are at work, then starting your own home daycare business could be very profitable. When getting licensed, you will need to:

Sign up for a reputable affiliate network: Aside from Amazon, there are dozens of large reputable affiliate networks, such as Share-A-Sale, Clickbank, and Skimlinks, that specialize in connecting you with merchants who are looking for affiliates to sell their products. They charge relatively low commission fees for the privilege of connecting you with merchants, and the merchants on these sites tend to offer much higher commission percentages or set dollar amount payouts.

If you're thinking about starting a business, you likely already have an idea of what you want to sell, or at least the market you want to enter. Do a quick search for existing companies in your chosen industry. Learn what current brand leaders are doing and figure out how you can do it better. If you think your business can deliver something other companies don't (or deliver the same thing, but faster and cheaper), you've got a solid idea and are ready to create a business plan.


If you enjoy writing, find a topic you’re passionate about and start a website dedicated to covering that topic and anything else interesting you want to talk about. All you need is a computer, some time, and some energy to consistently write. It can start as a hobby and turn into a business over time. And blog hosting can cost less than $12 per month.

Include strategies for funding or investments. If you are using your business plan to secure funding of some sort, this section will be especially important. You need to know exactly how much money you want and how it will be spent. For example, you might write: "Ultimate Kid Granola Bars is asking for $25,000 in investment funds to support the expansion of our current kitchen location. $10,000 will go towards renting additional space in our current location, $5,000 in additional equipment (two ovens, assorted supplies), and $10,000 in salaries to hire an extra employee to meet the needs of our Sacramento public school contract."
Understand how a niche website works. A niche website focuses on very targeted, specific information. The content must be specific, useful and interesting to your target audience. Successful niche websites get anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 visitors per month.[5] You build content on a particular keyword, and you make passive income with Google Adsense or through affiliate links.[6]

Choose your niche and check for demand: The golden course combination is when you can find an in-demand niche that aligns with your skills and unique experiences. A great way to do this is to use Google Trends and Google’s Keyword Planner to look for average monthly search volume for keywords related to your proposed course content. Are people actively looking for high-quality information about this subject? Of course, if you’re already creating content for a blog, coaching service, or a site like Medium, you can test demand this way for free just like Bryan did.
Like starting a home bakery, developing a catering service comes with a unique set of food-oriented challenges. Right off the bat, you need to make sure that it’s legal in your state or municipality to use your home kitchen for commercial food production. If it is, you’ll still need to make sure that you’re following food-safety regulations and other relevant laws.
Remember my earlier post about breakfast burritos? Making meals in advance is a great way to save money for yourself – but you can often prepare these for others as well and sell them for a markup. Prepare eight casseroles, for example, then sell six of them to cover your costs, and you’ve got two free dinners for your family (and maybe a bit more). You can grow this by taking orders from others and finding out what they like.

Include strategies for funding or investments. If you are using your business plan to secure funding of some sort, this section will be especially important. You need to know exactly how much money you want and how it will be spent. For example, you might write: "Ultimate Kid Granola Bars is asking for $25,000 in investment funds to support the expansion of our current kitchen location. $10,000 will go towards renting additional space in our current location, $5,000 in additional equipment (two ovens, assorted supplies), and $10,000 in salaries to hire an extra employee to meet the needs of our Sacramento public school contract."
Start researching your potential rivals or partners within the market by using this guide. It breaks down the objectives you need to complete with your research and the methods you can use to do just that. For example, you can conduct interviews by telephone or face to face. You can also offer surveys or questionnaires that ask questions like “What factors do you consider when purchasing this product or service?” and “What areas would you suggest for improvement?”
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.
If you’re serious about making money selling things online, it’s pretty much impossible to not recommend Shopify. The platform gives you everything you need to get your online store up and running in less than a day including a custom domain, beautiful templates (so you don’t need design skills), secure payment options, and they can even take care of marketing and shipping for you. Whether you’re promoting your own products, designs, or curating other products for people in your niche, Shopify is the best option for powering your online store.
Add supporting materials. Depending on your business and the level of detail in your business plan, you may want to include additional materials to support your plan. Some possible materials to include might be: tax returns, balance sheets, cash flow statements, contracts, letters of intent, resumes or curriculum vitae of key management, and so on.

This is a great time for a concierge business or errand business startup. In many areas where there is significant development in the luxury market (residential and commercial), you will find increasing opportunity for concierge service providers. I remember my first job as a residential concierge, which helped me start a concierge business from home. The knowledge I acquired while employed by an established concierge business set the groundwork for my long-term career as a concierge business entrepreneur and author.

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.

For example, you might write: "We rely on locally-sourced ingredients for our granola bars, and our local suppliers are dependent on good conditions for producing crops. If California faces more drought-like conditions, we may need to expand our supplier list into Oregon, Nevada or Idaho. We will prioritize working with California-based suppliers, however."
For example, you might write: "Ultimate Kid Granola Bars (UKGB) is a limited liability corporation registered in the state of California that will provide quality healthy baked goods to schools in the Sacramento area. Created in 2008, UKGB has received numerous awards, including Best Small Business in Sacramento and Best Granola Bars from Healthy Foods Magazine. Our granola bars are made from all natural, locally-sourced ingredients and will healthy foods to local children."
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.
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Affiliate marketing is where a person promotes a product that another merchant sells. Using advertising, social media, blogging and more, an affiliate marketer can attract customers to their landing page. When customers click a link to buy the product they will then be brought to the merchant’s store to buy the product. As an internet business idea, this is great for another no matter their previous experience.

Investors and bank loan officers will likely want to see a more formal, professional business plan that reflects careful planning and forecasting. If you are looking for a business partner or other interested party, you may choose to reflect more of your business and personal ethos in the business plan. Err on the professional side, however, when putting together your business plan.
Clearly, there's a lot of demand on Amazon, and if any product is going to sell, it's going to sell well on Amazon. But the goal here is to source the right products that will easily sell at the world's largest online retailer. Generally, products between $10 and $50 sell very well here. Just be sure to do the right market research before jumping on this bandwagon.
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