It is the dream of many people to begin a side business with the hopes of either making a good bit of side income or even turning it into their main job.
However, starting a business is not something you should enter into blindly. To be successful, it is important to consider your options and implement some careful planning, this will allow you to possibly free yourself from the 9 – 5 struggle and work for yourself full-time.
Getting Started: Plan Your Business
One of the most important factors in setting out on your own is creating a business plan. Doing this will ensure that you have a clear set of goals to work toward and will detail the purpose of the business.
If you have never created a business plan before, these simple elements will make the process easier to navigate:
- An executive summary is exactly what its name may suggest, a summary of your plans and the business in general.
- The opportunity section allows you to describe what your business will offer and what will make it different from others of its kind. This space gives you the chance to detail how you are going to assist your target market.
- The execution portion of your business plan talks about how you will turn your ideas into a viable business. You might create a marketing or sales plan and detail any milestones you plan to reach.
- A management and company summary allows you to refer to any staff you already have or are likely to take on in the future. If you are starting a side business on your own, this section may not be necessary.
- A financial plan is a place to detail your financial forecasts, including your income and expenses, cash flow and anything else related to the financial side of your business idea.
- You can also add an appendix, which gives you the space to include any other relevant information. This might be product images, brainstorms or anything else you wish to add.
Small Business Ideas
For a lot of people, a business idea comes from either a skill they have or something that they are passionate about. But if you don’t have a skill or passion, this doesn’t mean that you are exempt from creating a side business.
Taking an online course to learn skills is one option. However, it pays to research side business ideas to find the right path for you.
One of the first questions you need to ask yourself is whether you want to work out in the community or whether you would prefer a home-based business.
Of course, this decision will also be based on the type of work you are offering. For example, if you are looking to undertake real estate as a side job, you will be required to go out into the field, whereas an ecommerce store can be created and run completely from home.
With that in mind, let’s explore some potentially lucrative small business ideas:
- General handyman services. If you have a more specific skill such as gardening, carpentry or plastering, you could target a niche.
- Blogging. Many people set up a monetized blog, which can bring in an income through affiliate marketing, sponsored posts and selling digital content such as ebooks or printables.
- Freelancer. If you have a skill such as writing, web design, graphic design or anything else that can be offered and delivered online, there are ample opportunities to make side income. In many cases, freelancers can turn this into a full-time career.
- Personal trainer. With so much demand for health and fitness professionals, personal trainers are exploring new ways to reach clients, including online coaching.
- Ecommerce. In 2018, a staggering 17% of all global purchases were made online. This can easily translate to ecommerce success. Whether you opt for a dropshipping program or selling your own goods, there is money to be made here.
- Online tutor. There are more people than ever taking online courses, with more than 6 million Americans doing this in some form. This means that there is massive scope for online coaches and tutors in areas from language learning to self-help and everything in between.
- Real estate. More and more people are turning to small real estate businesses to help them make some money on the side.
Setting Up Your Business
Once you have a clear idea of the type of business you want to start and have created a business plan, it’s time to let the fun (and hard work) begin.
Following the right steps to starting a business will ensure that you get off on the right foot. This may be an exciting time but it is important to take your time and be sure that everything is done properly.
- Commit to your business and make it something that you put as much energy into as possible. To be successful, you will have to eat into some of your free time, but those who make this commitment are the ones who will thrive.
- Look at your skills and decide which of these you are going to use to your advantage where your new side business is concerned. For example, are you easily able to create an attractive and easy-to-navigate website, or would it pay to employ the services of a web designer?
- Be sure you have a target market because your business will have no direction without one. Once you are sure of your market, you will need to create an aspect that is unique to your business that makes it stand out from the crowd.
- Be sure of your goals and stick to them. Any milestones you have set out in your business plan should be where you are headed. Staying on track early on is essential to building momentum.
- Decide on a launch date and work towards this. In preparation for your business launch, you should make sure that everything is ready to go — your website is up and running, you have all the physical stock you need, you have a solid network, you have advertised the launch and you have any tools or equipment set up and ready to use.
- Consider your reputation. In the early stages of your business, you will rely on people’s trust and goodwill to work with you but once you begin getting clients. Thus, it is important to gather reviews. This will put your business in an advantageous position for the future.
- Switch off at the end of each day. While it is vital to make the commitment discussed earlier, you should also allow yourself some downtime so that you are more energized and focused on running your side business.
- Don’t neglect the boring stuff. If you are setting up an LLC which gives you less liability than an individual company and are considered to be easier to manage, there are other factors to consider such as filing the correct paperwork, working with a registered agent and getting certified. You will also need to keep track of expenses and income for future taxes.
With multiple online and physical opportunities, starting a business on the side has never been more possible. That being said, careful planning is the key to success.
Deciding on the best small business to start is a deeply personal choice and should be based on your skills and interests, as well as being something that can target a specific niche in the market.
Once you are confident in your idea, you should create a business plan and follow the steps for success above. Whether you are looking to keep your business on the side or turn it into a fully fledged career, there is no reason why you shouldn’t succeed if you commit to your startup.