There are a few businesses that you can get up and running quickly if time is of the essence. If youve just lost a job or you cant take the one you have much longer, here are a couple of fast start ideas.
1. Private Tutor. To start this business, you would have to be qualified in at least one academic subject, have some teaching skills and experience (being a training instructor could qualify). The subjects usually requiring tutoring are math, foreign language and any of the sciences. Its less demanding than full-time teaching and you dont have to put up with the bureaucracy. It will undoubtedly be evening and (perhaps) weekend work, but you can charge anywhere from $25 to $75 per hour depending on the subject.
2. Errand runner/driver. Many businesses today are in need of a runner to bring material around from place to place. A company which does a lot of printing may need constant business to printer assistance. As long as you have your own car and are a safe driver, youre in business. You dont need to learn anything about computers, either. Youre simply in business. You will likely always be on call during the week (maybe Saturdays), and if you dont like traffic this could be a problem. You should be able to canvass local businesses for work and be paid upwards of $10 per hour. Your auto insurance agent should be informed of the new use for your car.
3. Computer services for small businesses. Youll need a computer, laser or bubble jet printer and a fax machine to offer these services, but many small businesses need the assistance. It might be in copywriting, mailing programs, newsletters or maintaining a billing follow-up database. You can charge from $20 per hour and up depending on the work. Its easy to get going since youve already got the computer in your home. Canvass businesses locally for work after youve devised an attractive flyer listing and selling your services. There are other jobs that may require more set-up, but can be fantastic money-making opportunities. Among these are:
1. Tax preparer/bookkeeping services. Being computer literate will help you handle several dozen clients all at once. You may need some training if you are not a CPA, but software programs today make it easier to walk through even the most complex tax situations. You will be overwhelmed during the tax season of January to April, but you can charge from $25 to $50 per hour and make enough during the first four months of the year to almost get you through the remaining months.
2. Specialty grower. Lets say you have some land and you love to garden. You enjoy working outdoors and are tired of working inside a building for a living. Why not become a specialty grower? Gourmet stores all over the country are looking for the unusual in the way of plants and edible flowers. Herbs are also popular. You can even sell the crops you grow at the local farmers market on Saturday mornings. If you already have the land and the desire to do this, why wait. Start it part-time if you want, but you may find dozens of outlets for your goods if you are up to the test. The risk is bad weather, of course, but its a chance worth taking if you love gardening.
3. Cleaning services. Commercial building maintenance people are often on the lookout for good help in this area. Youll need a lot of cleaning supplies, but if you can handle the evening hours and can find reliable assistants, this can be a gold mine business, especially if you specialize in the hard-to-do work like swimming pools, blinds and windows. People hate to do windows. You can charge per house or per hour for commercial buildings. 4. Massage therapist. If youre good at giving massages, consider getting a license or certification to be a massage therapist. Health clubs, running clubs, and conventions are all good candidates for your work. You can earn up to $100/hour but you have to be in good physical condition. Arm, hand and back strength are particularly important. You make your own hours!
5. Caterer. If you like to cook, consider the catering business. If you have a good kitchen set-up and can cook large volumes well and have a few unusual, but tasty, recipes, you can become a local party favorite. Repeat business is the name of this game and you can charge per person for your catered meals or appetizers. Ethnic dishes are the in thing for parties these days and the more diversified you are, the better.
6. Computer consultant. If you are a programmer, this is certainly a job that can lend itself to contract labor, run out of your own home. Competition is heavy, but once you have a few clients, you will likely make an excellent living at something youre good at and probably enjoy. The low starting rate for programmers is $50/hour and you can charge more based on your expertise and the problem to be solved. The more diversified your experience, the more likely the calls will be coming in for your services. You will need to stay up on current technology, but most programmers do this naturally. There is a plethora of magazines and other publications about the latest and greatest technology. Canvass local businesses to ascertain their computer needs. Youre only selling your services, so cold calling is a low pressure issue. Most businesses have some complaint about their computer system and are looking for easy answers from someone who is local and has good knowledge and experience. Solid computer expertise is invaluable to small businesses.
7. Bed-and-breakfast accommodations. Wouldnt it be great to operate a bed and breakfast in the middle of a territory that attracts thousands of tourists and other travelers each year? If youve a knack for hosting people on a full-time basis and have the house to convert to a couple of extra bedrooms, you can be in business. Its truly full-time, even though youre only serving breakfast. Theres laundry to do, beds to be made, bathrooms to clean and reservations to handle, but it can often be done at a leisurely pace. Room rates are $75 per night and up, so the money can add up pretty fast. Be careful of burnout, however, as there are no holidays from this job, unless you have another person/couple who can take over for a couple of weeks.
8. Arts & Crafts. If you have a propensity for things arts and craftsy, you should consider selling your goods for a living, part- or full-time. Have you ever walked around an art show? There are plenty of these around and you can get a booth and earn back your expenses for the day with one sale. If you love to paint, sculpt, make pottery or whatever, there is a lot of potential for you. You can also starve, too, but you dont start up the business thinking that. Businesses buy lots of arts and crafts each year for their firms decorations or for sales contest prizes, convention awards, etc. If you are already doing this, you probably have studio space in your house plus some supplies to get going. Step it up to the next level!
There are many other types of home-based opportunities which may require more specific skills, longer training or more time to get up and running. They are no less useful, however.Here are a few ideas for you.
* Accounting/Bookkeeping Small businesses may be especially reliant on contract help for this type of work since many of them may not be large enough to have their own accountant and/or bookkeeper on staff. Book resource: Establishing An Accounting Practice. Available from: Bank of America, P.O. Box 3401, San Francisco, CA 94137.
* Apiary Raising bees for honey can be a part-time effort if you have an interest in this type of activity. This is not a business for those with no experience, but for those already doing something along this line, or have a hobby in this area, try ordering the book ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture from the A.I. Root Library, current edition, Garden Way Publishing, Charlotte, VT. 05445
* Balloon Rides Popular in areas where the weather is nice year-round, hot air balloon rides are popular gifts for special occasions like a birthday, anniversary, Valentines Day and other holidays. Those of you who are trained aeronauts can step into a needed void as a pilot for this craft. You can start as a pilot, perhaps, and then accumulate capital to invest in your own balloon. Other than advertising and the cost of the balloons and their upkeep, little else is required except some wide open spaces.
* Beautician This is a popular home-based business. An investment in the essential beautician supplies and chair can get you started. There is a licensing course that varies by state. All you need for this, other than the start-up merchandise, is an extra room in the house or a garage. If youre working for someone now and were wondering how to break away, it only takes a few dollars and your clientele to follow you. This happens quite frequently. Book resource: Start and Run A Profitable Beauty Salon. Author: Paul Pogue. Available from TAB Books, Blue Ridge Summit, PA. 17214. Its a complete business guide, organized for easy following of the text.
* Canning Walk into a country restaurant like the Cracker Barrel and the first thing you see is a foyer/waiting area where there is a variety of goods, including a number of specialty food items. Pickles, sauces, jellies, many of them homemade, all sitting and waiting for a buyer. And people will buy these specialties! Specialty coffee shops and gourmet stores are always on the lookout for the new treat they can feature. Why not sell to these stores if you have a talent for this kind of cooking? You can start out part-time and see how the demand and the income goes from there. The next time youre in a specialty food store, ask about their distribution.
* Chair Caning Country styles for homes are as popular as ever and the ability to cane chairs can bring in a sizable amount of side income if you have the talent for this type of work. If youre already doing it as a hobby, youve already established the necessary work shop, know where to get materials, etc. The only thing that remains is who to distribute to, a decision that may involve both private and public sales. There are locals who would certainly hire you to handle a chair or two for them personally. There are also specialty furniture stores and outlets with whom you can also contract. Youll have to do a little research on it, but the possibilities are there to expand a hobby that may already give you many hours of joy. Its time to cash in on this hobby and get your home-based business off the ground!
* Cheese making Like making jellies and pickles, the art of cheese making can also be turned into a tidy profit center for you, distributing to some of the same chains and specialty food stores. Cheese has been and will continue to remain a sought after food. Book resource: Making Homemade Cheeses And Butter, by Phyllis Hobson, Garden Way Publishing, Charlotte, VT. 05445.
* Chimney Sweeping Wood burning stoves and fireplaces are still dominant home items and the skill of chimney sweeping is a fine one with a number of business opportunities to choose from in plying this trade. Very little equipment is necessary and it wont take long to become proficient at this work if you have the ability and liking for physical labor.
* Consulting If youve been in a specific field for a length of time, youve likely built up an arsenal of knowledge about your subject. The more you know, the more you can offer any person or firm interested in breaking into, expanding or becoming more competent in this area. If your name is recognized, so much the better. Consultants can earn high hourly fees, expenses paid for. Book resource: Advice A High Profit Business, by Herman Holtz, Wiley Publications, New York.
* Copy Services. This would obviously require the purchase of a copy machine, the more versatile the better. Youll be surprised at the number of individual needs for this machine. At 7-10 cents a copy, the machine would pay for itself relatively quickly. Booklets and collating services for small businesses can be a relatively lucrative practice.
* Floral Arrangements You dont necessarily have to grow flowers to do this. You can purchase, make up elaborate flower arrangements and resell them. Dried arrangements and wreaths are popular in season. Some advertising and competitive pricing can generate a substantial workload for you.
* Home maintenance How many times have you heard that someone is looking for help to do a few odd jobs around the house. Or for a painter? Or someone who can do a variety of work from landscaping to electrical wiring? If youre good at putting up wallpaper, laying carpet and other assorted tasks, advertise! The more diverse the skills you publicize, the better your chances of regular employment.
* Insurance Sales Many people start off in this field on a part-time basis until they realize that a few sales a week will triple and quadruple the income theyre used to making. This field is not for everyone. It requires extraordinary discipline and a desire to succeed along with the belief that youre assisting people with their financial goals and objectives. But if you can handle it, the insurance profession can be one of the most lucrative for working out of your home. Overhead is relatively low. You can get licensed through your states insurance department, located in your capital city. It may require a certain amount of training and definitely an exam, but once passed you can seek out insurance companies who would be glad to work with you. Think of what your niche market might be. Who are your natural business associates and friends? These will be your first potential clients and you might test them by determining their interest in having you do an analysis of their financial goals and objectives.
* Kennel operator If you like animals, this could be a strong home-based opportunity for you. Pets will always need to be boarded and, although some capital will be required to set it up, it can be a lucrative business just for doing what you love — taking care of animals!
* Mail-order business This is a new rage among the home-based opportunity seekers in this country. You can start your own mail-order business quite easily and if you advertise in the right publications, generate an ample amount of business. Book resource: How To Start and Operate A Mail Order Business, by Julian L. Simon.
* Meals for Handicapped Contact your local social services for the disabled and elderly to see if there are any openings for someone who can cook meals out of their house and deliver them. This often involves a hot meal for lunch and a cold meal for dinner which is left with the client at the same time. If you like to cook, this can be another outlet for your talents.
* Music There are a number of opportunities for those with musical talent, especially songwriting. There are plenty of great voices out there, but a dearth of good material to sing. Some of the better artists along with the up and coming ones are always on the lookout for new artists adept at this skill. Book resources: Making Money Making Music (No Matter Where You Live), by James Dearing, and Song Writers Market current edition, from Writers Digest Books, Cincinnati, Ohio 45242.
* Pet breeding As long as youre considering a kennel career opportunity, you might think about breeding, an animal specialty that can earn you many dollars. Breeding can be by specific request or you can simply breed to produce animals for local pet shops like hamsters, cats and dogs. This business can be run in conjunction with the kennel. You can sell to the pet shops or take your business directly to the public which can earn you a higher fee, since you dont have to pay the retailer.
* Real Estate Sales If you like houses and dont mind working the evening/weekend hours, this could be a very rewarding career for you. Sales of houses can earn large commissions. You have to be very organized and always on the lookout for new listings, but once youve sold a few houses in an area, word of mouth will bring your next clients. The real estate market has been depressed the last few years, which creates an opportunity for those who are adept at selling homes. Sellers will tend to migrate towards the successful Realtor. There is a licensing course involved, but you can take this while youre still working at your old job. Like insurance, many people start this business part-time, until they sell their first big house and see how much money they can make from one sale.
* Rental Property Manager If you live in a vacation area with a number of condominium units, you will likely see numerous advertisements for someone to manage the units for rental. There could be some small maintenance duties required, too. But essentially you are collecting rent, advertising for new renters and managing the properties for the owner(s). It may well require that you live in the complex, but this can often be part of the compensation package. What a great way to live near the beach or in some fantastic resort spot. This can be the job for those people who have gone on vacation and wish they didnt have to go back to real life.
* Repair of Equipment Every home is equipped today with all the modern conveniences: television, VCR, stereo, refrigerator, microwave, stove, dishwasher, etc. All you have to do is know how to fix these pieces of equipment and youll have a new home-based business. This might be combined with the general all around maintenance business opportunity mentioned earlier. A skilled repair person is difficult to find, as is the general odd-job fix-it-up person. If you have any talent in these areas, there are plenty of local options for you to attract business. People cant do for long without their conveniences and the demand will be there for the work. Consumers will bring the appliance into the repair shop, but in this age of handiness, they would rather have someone come out and repair it its easier!
* Secretarial Services Small businesses can be counted on to look for help on a contract basis from someone with specific secretarial skills. A physicians office may be looking for a medical records person or an insurance billing clerk on an independent basis. The entire medical field, in its movement towards managed care, is looking for simplified answers to common administration tasks. This isnt the only industry utilizing outside secretarial services. If you have the skills and the small capital needed for the basic equipment, youre in business! Book resource: Starting Your Own Secretarial Business, by Betty Loogren and Gloria Shoff. Published by: Contemporary Books, Chicago, IL. 60601
* Sharpening Services In many hardware, sewing and fabric stores, you may notice an advertisement for sharpening services. Scissors and other craft tools can be sharpened less expensively than purchasing a new one. Often these businesses contract out the labor for the service. If you know how to sharpen these types of objects, perhaps even doing it for yourself as you knit or make crafts, then you can turn this into a lucrative side business. You just call on your store clients once or twice a week and pick up new work and drop off completed jobs. Its an unusual, but needed service.
* Sign Design & Painting Everywhere you look across this great country, youll find signs! Homes, businesses and individuals are all sign candidates. Advertising for and specializing in all type of sings and banners and even billboards (if you learn how), can create a substantial side business which will grow into full-time, profitable work for you.
* Telephone Answering Service Many small businesses are one or two person shops which have only an answering machine to pick up calls should they have to leave the premises. There is a great amount of business lost as a result. This can cost the firm thousands of dollars as someone hangs up when they cant reach a human voice and dials another number where they can. As an answering service, you can be that human voice at the other end. Even if you are just taking the message, people have confidence when they can talk to a person in a service-oriented business. If you can add a couple of lines to your existing home phone system, youre in business. With just a few clients, youll generally be taking messages during the day. There are organizations who look for answering services to be on later call for product ordering and similar tasks. This can be a very profitable venture just for talking on the phone!
* Writer There are a number of chances to obtain work doing copywriting. The written word is still very much in demand and you can attract a substantial amount of business in this area from smaller firms even just for their basic correspondence. Distressingly, people dont possess the same writing skills as they did en masse a few years ago and hence could use the assistance. The better a letter or document or brochure is crafted, the more likely the business will do well. This means work for writers in all phases of industry. A computer at home can be all the overhead youll need.
Conclusion Home-based businesses are the chances of a lifetime for many of us. Its the opportunity to be your own boss. This is not work without risk. Knowledge of how to run a business is critical. For that reason, consider contacting one of these Small Business Development Centers for help in breaking out on your own and getting the information every employer needs to know. Thats right! Youre a bona-fide employer now! Good Luck!