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Starting a business sounds exciting, but where do we start? We often think that we can start later: “Later, once there’s more money in the bank.” Or, “Later, once I have another degree under the belt.” Or, “Later, once the opportunity shows up.” The reality is that later can turn into never. If you’ve been wondering how to start, read on to find out how.
How to come up with a business idea
Talking about or focusing on a specific topic for hours on end, every single day can get monotonous. However, when you run a business you will have to spend a lot of time talking about your business and you will have to master the topic. Aside from the main topic, you will also have to master many other things. Problem-solving, which will include everything from an unhappy customer, a broken pipe, or a website that isn’t running, is a key skill for small business owners.
When you’re brainstorming business ideas, first, think of something that you absolutely love, something that you are obsessed with. You must be comfortable with your business becoming a major part of your life. What is something that makes you forget about time? What is something that captures your attention?
Next, think about what problem you’re solving by starting your business. Consider these questions:
- How is your business offering unique?
- What sets you apart from the competition?
- Can what you’re doing become a profitable business? If so, how?
- How long do you project it will take to become a profitable business?
Answering these questions will help you come up with a business idea. If you’re still unsure about what could be right for you, keep reading for ideas that might spark interest.
Small business ideas
Have you noticed flower arrangements in shops, restaurants, coffee shops, and at baby showers and weddings? If you’re gifted with arranging flowers and making them look beautiful, look into starting a flower arrangement business. Start small with one or two orders and see if you like it. From there, decide if it’s for you!
As the Irish playwright and Nobel Literature prize winner, George Bernard Shaw, wrote, “The best place to find God is in a garden. You can dig for him there.” If gardening is a long-time hobby of yours, consider starting a gardening business.
“You can make your clients provide the tools; it depends on what level of service you're providing. You can have a gardening business with very minimal tools. You can also buy a lot of tools. I started with a pair of pruners, a rake, a shovel, and a weeding bucket. That’s it!” says Judith Meier who owns a landscaping business in the Hudson Valley in New York. She has grown her gardening business through word of mouth, and she specializes in vegetables, perennials, small fruit trees, and herb gardens, but she does not do lawns. The beauty of running your own business is that you can choose your specialty and choose what you do not want to do, as well.
Meal delivery service
There are many meal and meal kit delivery services available. That doesn’t mean that there is no space for you to enter the market. Do you love cooking a specific cuisine? Do you cater to certain diets, such as keto, vegan, pagan, or gluten free? Many people don’t have time to cook, or simply do not enjoy cooking, so you can solve a problem for them. Start offering your meal delivery service to your neighbors, friends, and community and see what response you get. From there, fine-tune your offer and launch it at a larger scale.
Do you thrive off running multiple projects at once? Event planning requires heavy-duty planning and many types of projects that all turn into an event. As an event planner, you will be responsible for making sure that each piece of the event is ready: Flowers? Check. Food? Check. Music? Check. Even minute details such as making sure the candles are lit and that there’s enough toilet paper in the bathroom stalls will fall under your responsibility. If all of this sounds exciting, then event planning might be for you.
Low investment business ideas
Pet sitting might be for you if you are an animal lover. Pet sitting requires a low investment. You might consider buying a pet-sitter liability insurance. Otherwise, the costs associated with pet sitting are going to be low. You will have to be comfortable visiting other people’s homes and possibly staying overnight. For good client service, make sure to keep your clients updated about their pet by sending them videos and pictures.
Some people get major satisfaction out of cleaning. If this is you, starting a cleaning service could be a good idea. To get started, market yourself online through local community boards and on your social media pages. If you want to keep your business low investment, use your clients’ cleaning products and equipment, such as the vacuum, mop and sponges. If you want to use your own products and equipment, make sure to fold that into the cost that you will charge.
While some people loathe organizing, others find immense joy in sifting, sorting, and arranging. Your idea of fun could solve many problems for someone who needs help arranging areas of their home or office. Starting a professional organizing service requires little investment. Document your organizational skills with “before” and “after” pictures so that you can market yourself and get more clients.
Weddings, parties and birthdays are more beautiful with live music. If you play an instrument or sing, you could start a business as a music performer, especially if you’re already performing for free at your local church or in your community. Start by reaching out to your network and also offering your services on social media. Describe your music style and repertoire of songs. Continue marketing yourself until your business takes off.
The task of picking and dropping things off can be daunting for some and exciting for others. If you enjoy delivering items, consider starting a home delivery service. To get started, outline your delivery rates and terms, factor in your costs (the vehicle, the gas, and anything else that you might need, as well as the value of your time), and choose your payment processing options (mobile payment services or cash).
Online and work from home business ideas
Just like work from home has become a very normal thing, so has online teaching and learning. If you are adept at a subject and can help others, online teaching could be a great business for you – and you can do it from home! If you excel at something and know how to explain it well, then try teaching!
The thought of bookkeeping can be overwhelming for many. Luckily, there are people that are talented bookkeepers. Start with small projects and grow your business from there.
Host a group program
If you’re good at leading groups and would like to solve a problem for people, consider hosting a group program. You can do this straight from your living room with a free application like Zoom or Google Meet. Topics can include nutrition, health, careers, parenting and finances.
Calling all polyglots! As our world becomes more interconnected, many people need documents translated, specifically technical and legal documents. To start your translation service, look into whether you will want to get a certification.
Making money on social media platforms opens up a world of opportunities for individuals and businesses alike. Whether you sell through Amazon, or earn money from content on TikTok or Twitch, monetizing social media platforms presents countless benefits, including financial independence, global reach, and the ability to turn hobbies into lucrative careers.
Frequently asked questions
How to start your business with no money?
Some businesses do not require much overhead and so you can start with very little, especially if you get creative. Remember, you can start small and build over time. As you get more clients and work, you can reinvest some of your earnings into equipment. Other businesses, however, require a heavier investment. If your business requires capital, look for investors and co-owners, or borrow money from the bank.
What business trends are we seeing in 2023?
Businesses will continue to be tech driven. Experts believe that our relationship with technology will deepen, including work and daily commercial transactions, according to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center. There will also be a decrease in business travel. “Businesses will continue to encourage more online meetings (less travel) and more work from home (less travel),” cites the study.
How to prepare for your business in 2023?
Look into basic tax information before starting your business. You should also choose a business structure (for example, LP, LLC, or Corp.), choose a name, register your business, and open a business checking bank account to handle all your business transactions through it.
In addition to selecting a business structure, naming your business, and opening a business checking account, it's important to be aware of all legal requirements for starting a business. LegalZoom is a resource that can provide assistance with business registration and ensuring compliance with necessary legal procedures.
Lastly, start imperfectly. Start your business as a side hustle. But, just start. One of my first writing assignments that would later become my writing business was a press release for a tech startup. The startup founder needed someone who could explain the product. If I hadn’t written that press release, I probably wouldn’t have learned that I could become a full-time independent writer. The moral of the story is: start now. Learn as you go. Be curious about what genuinely feels exciting for you, and take a chance on yourself.
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