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.
This process will be very different for service-focused entrepreneurs, but no less important. You have several skills that people are willing to pay you for right now, but those skills can be hard to quantify. How can you establish yourself and your abilities? You might consider creating a portfolio of your work -- create a website to show your artwork if you’re an artist, writing if you’re a writer or design if you’re a designer.
Ask for assistance in developing your plan. Many clinics, nonprofit organizations, your local Small Business Administration office, and employment office often hold workshops about how to write business plans, develop marketing plans, and make financial decisions. Often staffed by volunteer business professionals or former executives, these organizations may also be able to give you valuable advice and feedback on your plan. They may also be able to give you guidance on resources that will be useful, such as resources to conduct market research for your business.
Teaching and tutoring English as a second language is a great way to make money online, not to mention open some doors for you to travel the world if you'd like. While full ESL (English as a Second Language) accreditation is recommended, as long as you’re a native speaker and have the ability to teach, there are people in countries such as Hong Kong or the UAE who are willing to pay upwards of $25/hr for you to tutor them English via Skype. Check out Indeed, Learn4Good and Remote.co for remote english tutoring jobs or sign up on a specialized site like VerbalPlanet or Chegg Tutors.
One way to stand out from the competition with a drop shipping business is to private label your products. This simply means you put your own label/brand on the products that the manufacturer is creating. That way you're not selling the same product brand and just competing on price; rather you can use your own brand and face less competition. Think about when you're looking at medicine at the pharmacy; the brand names sell for higher prices and people think they are different from the generic brands even though the ingredients are exactly the same.
Seek professional advice for specific sections. Some of the sections of a business plan may be confusing or you may be unfamiliar with them, such as the financial part or marketing section. Consult someone with expertise in these areas to help you. Even if you are developing a basic business plan, you should have some idea of how to approach elements about which you are unsure. The financial and marketing sections, for example, are often very confusing but are crucial to your overall plan.
Gardening has been one of the most popular hobbies throughout the U.S. and Canada for the last twenty years and today its popularity is increasing, perhaps thanks to people's increasing interest in the quality of food they're feeding themselves and their families. (Plus, as an avid gardener myself, I can vouch for the fact that there's nothing tastier than something fresh pulled or dug from the garden!)
Childproofing is a trade that many do not think of these days. But every family with a newborn baby or small child wants to provide a safe home for them. There are so many areas of a home that can be dangerous, from sharp corners to stairs. A childproofing business is very cheap to start up, but you may be required to follow certain state regulations, depending on your location. To understand all the ins and outs of the industry, you may want to undertake an internship in the field before setting up shop.
Provide information about the key people in your business. A good business plan will not only describe the business and its services, but the people actually implementing and operating the business. Include a description of the key people involved, their roles in the company, and their background and suitability for contributing to this venture. Include their resumes in the appendix of your business plan. If your business is just you, that’s fine. Give yourself a title and write a brief bio highlighting your relevant experience that has prepared you for your current business idea.
Research individual companies in your desired niche: If possible, it’s always better to become an affiliate directly with a company (if they have an internal affiliate program), as no one else will be dipping into your commission rate. This is the preferred route for most of the prominent affiliate marketers, including Pat Flynn. Unfortunately, it’s also the most work, as you’ll have to do the research yourself to see who offers programs (they’re usually listed in the website footer).
If you are looking for a way to make money at home without the need to learn new skills, home-based laundry services are easy to offer with the possibility for expansion in the future. The most complex part of the process will be establishing whether or not you need licensing to start this business from your home. This will depend on your location and the size to which you plan to grow your empire. Otherwise, all you need to do is:
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.
Still, knowing something about how the flower business works is a good idea, and your online presence and photos of your work will be critical to your success. Remember, the business is all about visuals, so make yours as compelling as you can. Get started networking by contacting local wedding planners and funeral homes and letting them know you’re in business. From there, let your business bloom. A friend in Maine turned a flower-arranging business into a successful flower shop she later sold at a profit.
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.
One of the most important internet marketing strategies is to develop every customer's lifetime value. At least 36 percent of people who have purchased from you once will buy from you again if you follow up with them. Closing that first sale is by far the most difficult part -- not to mention the most expensive. So use back-end selling and upselling to get them to buy again:
Take it seriously. Yes, you’re applying for an online job. Yes, you can do the work in your underwear, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a “real job”. You must treat it as such or they aren’t going to treat you as a serious candidate. You aren’t the only one who wants to work in their underwear. In fact, the competition online is likely higher than it is in your local area.