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10 Totally Stupid Online Business Ideas That Made Someone Rich

How to get rich the smart way? Read what some creative people did:

1. Million Dollar Homepage

1000000 pixels, charge a dollar per pixel – that’s perhaps the dumbest idea for online business anyone could have possible come up with. Still, Alex Tew, a 21-year-old who came up with the idea, is now a millionaire.

2. SantaMail

Ok, how’s that for a brilliant idea. Get a postal address at North Pole, Alaska, pretend you are Santa Claus and charge parents 10 bucks for every letter you send to their kids? Well, Byron Reese sent over 200000 letters since the start of the business in 2001, which makes him a couple million dollars richer.

3. Doggles

Create goggles for dogs and sell them online? Boy, this IS the dumbest idea for a business. How in the world did they manage to become millionaires and have shops all over the world with that one? Beyond me.

4. LaserMonks

LaserMonks.com is a for-profit subsidiary of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Spring Bank, an eight-monk monastery in the hills of Monroe County, 90 miles northwest of Madison. Yeah, real monks refilling your cartridges. Hallelujah! Their 2005 sales were $2.5 million! Praise the Lord.

5. AntennaBalls

You can’t sell antenna ball online. There is no way. And surely it wouldn’t make you rich. But this is exactly what Jason Wall did, and now he is now a millionaire.

6. FitDeck

Create a deck of cards featuring exercise routines, and sell it online for $18.95. Sounds like a disaster idea to me. But former Navy SEAL and fitness instructor Phil Black reported last year sales of $4.7 million. Surely beats what military pays.

7. PositivesDating.Com

How would you like to go on a date with an HIV positive person? Paul Graves and Brandon Koechlin thought that someone would, so they created a dating site for HIV positive folks last year. Projected 2006 sales are $110,000, and the two hope to have 50,000 members by their two-year mark.

8. Designer Diaper Bags

Christie Rein was tired of carrying diapers around in a freezer bag. The 34-year-old mother of three found herself constantly stuffing diapers for her infant son into freezer bags to keep them from getting scrunched up in her purse. Rein wanted something that was compact, sleek and stylish, so in November 2004, she sat down with her husband, Marcus, who helped her design a custom diaper bag that’s big enough to hold a travel pack of wipes and two to four diapers. With more than $180,000 in sales for 2005, Christie’s company, Diapees & Wipees, has bags in 22 different styles, available online and in 120 boutiques across the globe for $14.99.

9. PickyDomains

Hire another person to think of a cool domain name for you? No way people would pay for this. Actually, naming domain names for others turned out a thriving business, especially, when you make the entire process risk free. PickyDomains currently has a waiting list of people who want to PAY the service to come up with a snappy memorable domain name. PickyDomains is expected to hit six figures this year.

10. Lucky Wishbone Co.

Fake wishbones. Now, this stupid idea is just destined to flop. Who in the world needs FAKE PLASTIC wishbones? A lot of people, it turns out. Now producing 30,000 wishbones daily (they retail for 3 bucks a pop) Ken Ahroni, the company founder, expects 2006 sales to reach $1 million.

by Dmitri Davydov

Make Money Online with No Website, No List, and No Money?

I get the best emails from my readers. I thank each of you for taking the time to email me and ask your questions about Squidoo, SEO, internet marketing, and the like. Your questions challenge me and bring me OUT of my ‘comfort zone’….for that, I am so appreciative.

Today I received an email that really got my attention. It was a short email with a very specific question:

“Hi,

I was just wondering if it is possible to make money online in 7 days or less with no list, no website and no money?”

Wow! What a question!

IS it possible to make money online in seven days without a website, without a list…and without any money to invest? When I wrote back, the first thing I asked was, “How much do you need to make online?”.

Apparently, this reader needed to make $350 in 7 days to pay a bill. This is FAR from an uncommon situation. I have to say, if you need money, why not turn to the resource you have right there in your home… your computer?

So, I brainstormed.
How to make a quick $350 online without a website.

If this was me….could I do it? Remember now – no list, no website…and not a dime to put towards the effort.

The problem is, if I promoted Clickbank or Commission Junction products, it could take a month plus to actually GET the money…and I need the money NOW.

How can I make FAST money online without a website, without a list…and without money? That is the real question, right?

Ok, here’s my plan.
My Plan for Fast Money Online

I would go to 7dollaroffers.com. All the products listed on 7dollaroffers.com offer 100% commission paid INSTANTLY into an affiliates Paypal account. When you click on a product listed there, take note of the url to that product and then add:

?e=YourPaypalAddress

to the end of the url. Obviously, ‘YourPaypalAddress’ would be replaced with your Paypal address. =)

To test, enter the url of the product into your browser followed by your affiliate code. Go to that page and click the ‘buy now” button as if you were going to buy the product. When the Paypal screen loads, you should see your Paypal address in the top left corner of the online invoice. That means YOU will be paid for that sale.

I would then get myself to Squidoo. Pages on Squidoo are free to make…so this takes out the need for a website (ie, a ‘landing page’). I would make Squidoo lenses to promote these products. Now, don’t get me wrong, I would work hard to make sure they are good Squidoo lenses full of high-quality information. Since I have no money to spend, I certainly didn’t buy the product and review it, so a dishonest review is definitely out of the question. Hard to recommend something I haven’t read or used (at least that is my opinion on that matter).

Also, hear me clearly, I will NEVER promote spamming the Squidoo community. ADD VALUE, or don’t do it…period.

What I CAN do on my Squidoo lens is talk about the subject matter and then point the reader to the product for ‘more information’. Get me?

I would crank out these Squidoo lenses. I am obviously short on time and simply creating the Squidoo lenses is only the beginning of my attempt to make money online.

I would then go to Associated Content to write articles on my subject matter. If you are US-based, you can get paid for these articles ($3-$10 each), and you can also add the url of your Squidoo lens as a “reference”. The payment for your articles (if approved) will be paid directly into your Paypal account within a week.

Now, I would get out there and promote the fire out of my Squidoo lenses. I’d be Digg’n, and Stumblin’, and tagging, using Only Wire and ALL of that like crazy. Remember, no list to promote to…and no money to buy traffic. I’d have to take advantage of every free traffic source I possible could and the social networks have a tendency to bring more immediate traffic.

I would do this 24/7 since I absolutely HAVE to have this money.

CAN you make $350 in 7 days WITHOUT a website, without a list…and without money?

Yes, I think you can. Is it guaranteed? No, nothing is guaranteed but death and taxes =)

However, if you needed money ASAP and you have a computer – this would be a good way to try and raise your funds.

by PotPieGirl.com

5 Tips to Start Making Money Online

With today’s economy and the real signs of recession, more and more folks are taking a good look at their computer to see if there is income potential. This is a smart move. Making money from home with your computer is a very real possibility for anyone who takes the time to learn.

However, learning is the roadblock that many run face first into while trying to learn this online marketing business.

There is SOOOO much information about making money online – it will certainly make your head spin. Worse yet, WHAT information is reliable? What program or system is real… and which are just out for your money?

The usual course of events for someone looking to start making money online goes like this:

1. I’m gonna get rich… really quick and really easy.

2. Spend a day, maybe two, reading all the great ways I can make a lot of money from my computer.

3. Buy a lot of programs, AdSense sites, sure fire systems to overnight riches…. read them once (maybe), work a system half way (maybe)….buy another program or system.

4. Spend too much money while trying to find a reliable way to make money online – and still not making a dime.

5. Quit trying and go back to life as it was…..with even less money than when you started.

Folks, I am living, breathing proof that it does NOT have to go that way. Making money online…sitting at your kitchen table…kids running around…whatever…. It CAN be done. If you are still relatively new to this whole online marketing thing, or if you are brand-spanking new, I have 5 simple tips I’d like to share with you.

5 Tips to Successfully Start Making Money Online

1. Do NOT fall for the latest and greatest, get rich quick, “I made $50,000 overnight”, so-easy-a-two-year-old-can-do-it online money making system. Better yet, resist the urge to pay money for ANY information, period. There is way too much FREE information online to help you start making money that it is silly to waste any of your hard-earned cash on anything until you have an idea of what you’re doing.

Online Internet Marketing forums are a great place to start. Internet Marketing blogs are also a very valuable source of FREE information. But Beware – there are also way too many people online that know so little about what they are talking about and give out bad advice and information.

When you can distinguish between GOOD online business advice and BAD online business advice, THEN you can start thinking about buying something to help your online business grow.

2. Diversify. Let me say that again… D-I-V-E-R-S-I-F-Y your online earning opportunities. Do not put all your income opportunity eggs into one project. While closing out my February earnings I realized that I currently have 25-30 sources that send me income earnings each month. Yes, I am quite proud of my AdSense earnings lately, however if AdSense stops working for me (or goes out of business, etc), I still have 29 other sources of revenue kicking each month. I also have 35+ web sites of my own that I use along with free sites like Squidoo. Do not put yourself in a position where ONE project or ONE affiliate program can break you.

3. Learn how to write articles and content for the internet. It is NOT the same as it was when writing term papers for high school. Being able to write content that converts and gets good rankings in the search engines is a LARGE part of the make money online battle.

4. Do not rely on any ONE internet marketing tool. When doing keyword research or market research, use MANY tools to get your information. No ONE tool is THE tool to have. There are PLENTY of great free research tools to be found online – no need to go forking out money until you KNOW what you need and KNOW what will make your work easier. There are no miracle tools, so please diversify your business tools, too.

5. Two Must Have Guides. If you absolutely, positively, have GOT to buy something to start making money online, then I recommend two products. Yes, only two and neither are my own…haha!

Online Business Information and Guide Book – This hunk of a book about starting an online business is fantastic. I wish I had bought it sooner. I refer back to it often and it is a great place to start to try and get a grip on this whole ’start making money online’ thing.

Solid System to Make Money Online – I have read a LOT of these ’systems’, and this one, hands down, is THE BEST. I did a review on this blog money making system the other day after reading and watching everything this system offered. No matter what place you are in this online money making thing, you will love this system. Learning how to create simple money making blogs is HUGE online now… and WordPress is the solution. I am still completely impressed with this package and can’t say enough about it.

Ok, I’ll admit that it IS the system I’ve been using for quite some time now, but this author explained it all so completely…MUCH better than I would have done. Best part about this system is that it is so easy to do over and over again. It works, but make no mistake… you still have to DO work. An online business is still a business…it’s not a get rich quick thing. However, you will probably like your boss when working online MUCH more than any other boss (uh, that boss would be YOU..haha)

I can not stress enough how valuable these two products are for the success of your online business. When you are ready, please check them out. The total investment for both is about $65. I would say that is a quite a bit cheaper than a college education, isn’t it? =)

Whatever you do to start making money online – do NOT quit. Yes, the learning curve can be a real wing-dinger, but you CAN get past it if you stick with it.

Above all, this last ‘bonus’ tip is the one I want you to take with you.

When in doubt, ASK. There are so many folks, like me, that have blogs designed to help others make their first money online… ask us! I answer emails all the time and would be glad to help you, too.

by PotPieGirl.com

Six Tips for Money-Making Hobbies

You can make money from your hobby.

Whether you knit, or write, or make photographs, or grow a vegetable garden, or tinker with cars, or build web sites, or collect ancient coins — you can make money from your hobby.

I’m not saying it’s possible to get rich by playing your violin at weddings, or by weaving baskets from pine needles, but earning money from a hobby is a nice way to get paid for doing something you would do anyhow.

This article is the first in a series that will explore how to turn a hobby into a source of side income. In the weeks and months ahead, I’ll describe general best practices, discuss potential pitfalls, and provide case studies culled from my friends, and from the stories of readers like you.

First, by way of introduction, here are some ground-rules for making money from hobbies.

Focus on something you love
Pursue something you’re passionate about. Choose a hobby that you enjoy, and find a way to make money from it. Don’t choose a hobby simply because it might make money and then dive into it with that aim in mind. You should be doing this hobby because you love it; any side-income should be secondary.

I love to write. I was struggling with debt. I began to read personal finance books, and then to summarize what I’d learned for my personal web site. From this, Get Rich Slowly was born. Now I make over a thousand dollars a month writing about personal finance. But I didn’t start this for the money — I started this because I was passionate about the subject.

Keep it fun. Don’t let it become a chore.

Be creative
If you’re interested in making money from a hobby but don’t know where to start, think outside the box. What skills do you have that others don’t? Define the term “hobby” broadly. Find something that you can do that most others cannot, something for which other people might be willing to pay.

At my day job, I have a customer whose wife loves to cook. She turned this hobby into a part-time job as a personal chef. She prepares meals in advance for wealthy clients. She spends a few hours a day preparing a week-long menu for people who pay her handsomely for her time.

I have a friend who likes to travel. One day he discovered that he could subsidize his journeys by writing about the places he visited, and by taking photographs. Now every couple of years he takes an all expense paid vacation. He’s doing something he’d do anyhow, and it doesn’t cost him a dime.

Don’t force it
Your hobby will not make you rich. In most cases, it won’t even net you enough to allow you to quit your day job. It’s quite possible, however, to earn enough money to make the hobby self-sustaining, to keep yourself in new tools and equipment.

My brother builds speakers and works with audio equipment as a hobby. He makes some money at it. (”Spending money,” he says.) Jeff notes, “It’s not hard to make money from a hobby. What’s difficult is trying to turn it into an actual business. Moving from a hobby to a business is a pain-in-the-ass.”

Often when you try to take your hobby to the next level, the joy goes out of it. Suddenly the extra income just isn’t worth it. When I tried to turn my computer-building hobby into a business, I hated it. There’s a balance to be achieved, and if you can find it, you can have a fun while earning extra income.

Don’t underestimate your ability
It’s easy to discount your abilities. When you truly love something, your prolonged experience can give you skills and knowledge that you don’t appreciate.

For example, I have a love for early 20th-century American pop culture. My brain is filled with facts and anecdotes about once-famous recording artists. I sometimes find myself under the impression that everybody knows who Billy Murray was, or is familiar with the song “Ukulele Lady”. But this isn’t common knowledge — it’s specialized.

The same concept holds true for you and your hobby. Know a lot about Napoleonic warfare? Start a blog about Admiral Nelson. Spend time tinkering with bicycles? Open a small-scale bike repair service. Not everybody knows what you know. Don’t sell yourself short.

Market yourself
This can be difficult. In order to actually earn income, you need customers. But just as most people have a tendency to underestimate their abilities, they also tend be uncomfortable with self-promotion.

There’s no shame in mentioning your money-making hobby to friends, family, and neighbors. You needn’t be pushy. Just mention it at natural points in the conversation. If you’ve decided to do some woodworking for cash, mention this when your uncle mentions he wants to buy a new bookshelf.

Marketing can be subtle, but it’s an absolute necessity if you hope to earn money from your hobby. People need to know you’re available before they can hire you.

Hone your skill
Practice, practice, practice. The more time and energy you’re willing to devote to your hobby, the better you will become. The better you become, the more likely that you’ll be able to earn money from it.

Photography is a terrific example. If you’re willing to make a hundred images a day, you can improve your skills quickly, especially if you teach yourself about composition. You may never become a professional photographer this way, but you can develop your skill to the point where you can sell images to stock photo agencies, or enter (and win) photography contests.

Some people are born with natural talent. Most of us have to work at it.

Conclusion

Why should you care about making money from hobbies? Remember: the wealth equation has two sides. You accumulate wealth by reducing expenses and by increasing income. Often we only focus only on our careers when it comes to “increasing income”. But there are other ways to make money. One of the best is to harness a hobby.

This is an especially good technique if you’re stuck in a low-wage job. And sometimes a person can turn a money-making hobby into a career. Who doesn’t want a job doing something he loves?

by J.D.

15 Crazy Ways People Make Money in Today’s Economy

In today’s economy, it can be pretty tough to make money anywhere, but some intrepid folks are earning money hand over fist online and they’re doing it in some crazy ways. There’s a lot that can be learned from these people, especially if you’re sitting on your own idea but think it’s too out there. As these people illustrate, there’s no end to the insanity when it comes to making money online!

1 . Virtual Farming – Nearly half a million people in China are making money by playing a game, earning gold and selling it to other players with too much time on their hands and a credit card burning in their pocket! The phenomenon that is World of Warcraft, a massively multi-player online role playing game, has spawned some of the most creative ideas for making money. The game’s currency is gold, but a lot of players don’t want to take the time to earn it themselves. So, these people in China, and all over the world, spend their days playing the game, making gold and selling it in the game for actual cash.

2. Doggles – If there is one thing dogs don’t need, it’s a pair of goggles, but this idea, which got its start online, has made millions of dollars and real stores have opened up all over the world. They took their original idea, of UV protective doggles and continued expanding their product line to include vests, other eyewear and even jewelry. People will spend countless dollars on their pets and this site more than proves it can pay off big time if you have a pet related product or idea.

3. The Million Dollar Homepage – This is probably the most iconic of all the crazy ideas that have ever been born. This guy decided to set up a site and sell one million pixels for $1 a piece. He got a huge amount of publicity and ended up making his million dollars. He has since gone on to other money making projects.

4. WhateverLife – This teenage girl who had a flair for the creative set up a site to offer layouts for MySpace and free tutorials. The idea took off and she now gets around 7 million visitors to her website every month. She’s managed to land some major advertising contracts and has received offers to buy her site that have exceeded $1.5 million.

5. MyYearbook – Two teens had a simple idea; why not create an online yearbook for people? The idea turned into a social networking site and they’ve been able to raise more than $4 million in venture capital. The company now has 45 employees, 3 million members and some heavy duty advertisers.

6. Cameron Johnson – This young entrepreneur got his start at the age of nine making greeting cards, expanded into reselling Ty Beanie Babies on eBay by the age of 12 and finally sold his online advertising company for an undisclosed sum after making $3 to $4 million a month. His latest venture, CertificateSwap, that allows people to swap out unwanted gift certificates just sold for six-figures. He’s now working the lecture circuit and focusing on helping others strike entrepreneur gold.

7. LuckyWishbone – This has to rank as one of the craziest of all time ideas. Why wait around for thanksgiving when you could get a wishbone whenever you feel like it? This company manufacturers and sells plastic wishbones. They are producing 30,000 of them a month and sales have exceeded one million dollars.

8. Steve Pavlina – This guy uses his blog to write about life hacks and by all accounts he makes a ton of money doing it. He covers everything under the sun from personal development to astral projection. He makes at least $300 a day for a few minutes of work.

9. Hungry Pod – Catherine Keane decided to make a business out of loading music on people’s iPod’s and it has paid off big time. She’s making more than $100k a year, after helping out a friend and realizing the kind of market that was out there.

10. Antenna Balls – You know those little things you see on the top of car’s antennas? Jack Wall turned this into a multi-million dollar industry by selling them online.

11. The Laser Monks – These guys really saw an opportunity and turned it to their advantage. Print cartridges are expensive and old ones clutter up the environment. Refills are cheaper and help reduce pollution. Viola! They made more than $2 million in 2005.

12. I Do Now I Don’t – Joshua Opperman got stuck holding the bag, a very expensive one, after his financee returned her engagement ring. Stuck with a ring that he couldn’t get the value back on he started a service online for everyone in this situation. He now runs a very successful home business.

13. SantaMail – Ok, this one takes advantage of little kids, but you got to hand it to Byron Reese for making millions off of this idea. Parents send him ten bucks and he writes their kids as “Santa.”

14. Amazing Butterflies – Selling butterflies and making millions? Doesn’t seem conceivable, but Jose Muniz has managed to pull it off. You can get your very own live butterfly from Jose, who started the business on a bet. I guess it paid off.

15. FitDeck – Playing cards with an exercise theme. Never work, right? Well, Phil Black made $4.7 million off of this little idea. His cards all feature fitness workout vignettes from his personal experience as a Navy SEAL and a trainer. They sell for $18.95 a pack and obviously, people are interested.

by Ryan.

Turning a Hobby into an Income

If, like most people, you are passionate about a hobby, you may have dreams of turning it into a business, and making a living from it. There are few more satisfying ways of making a living than from a niche that you enjoy, and indeed, many of the most successful business people in the world are those who are able to invest their time and passions in their work.

The chances are, that no matter what your hobby is, there are other people around the world who share your passion, and these people are your primary market. Whether you are a collector who wants to sell the things that you collect, or an expert in a particular subject able to sell that expertise as a consultant and advisor, there are many ways that a person can turn a hobby into a business.

Before starting a business, you need to be realistic about the time and money that you are going to be able to invest in it. It is no good having all the passion in the world for your new enterprise without having the time and capital to back it up. If you cannot afford to set up a business on your own, but you are certain that it can be successful after doing your research, there are many sources to approach for seed capital for initial expenses.

Banks will provide business loans and there are always investors around the world who will be keen to take a stake in your business in return for an injection of cash at the start up phase.

You should consider how you are going to actually make money from your business. Are you planning to sell a tangible product, or charge people for advice? Either way, you need to establish the market, and find out what kind of prices you can charge for your service.

The great thing about a hobby is that your target consumers are already passionate about it, and will be happy to buy a service that helps them to get more out of their own enjoyment of the subject. Collectors will pay for items to boost their collections, as well as appreciating it if you are going to act as a marketplace for objects that they no longer need.

eBay is one of the best examples of a business that was born of a hobby. It was initially started as a place where a TY Beanie Bear collector could sell items from their collection that they no longer needed, and has since developed into a billion dollar business that is one of the world’s most successful web sites.

While your business may never reach the heights of eBay, the one thing that is for certain is that because you are already passionate about the subject, you will find turning it into a business a real adventure and enjoy every step as you share your pleasure with other interested people.

by Lyndon

7 Inexpensive Business Ideas

Almost Anyone Can Start a Business With One of These Business Ideas

Want to start a business but don’t have a lot of money to invest or time to invest in developing specialized skills? Then you’ll want to have a look at this list of business ideas.

Every one of these business ideas is a business that you can start inexpensively; some of these businesses can be started for next to nothing if you already have the equipment. Every one of these business ideas will let you start a business quickly – in some cases, almost instantly. And all of the business ideas on this list can be operated as home-based businesses.

Be warned though; these business ideas are not suitable for anyone looking for a “get rich quick” plan or a way to become an instant millionaire. What these businesses offer to the person prepared to work at them is a good living – and of course, the satisfaction of being your own boss.

1. Pet Sitting.

More and more people are looking for someone to care for their pets when they can’t – people who don’t like the idea of putting “precious” into a kennel. Professional pet care givers comes into the home to care for the pet while the owner is away, feeding, walking, and playing with the animal(s). If you love animals and are knowledgeable about them, this could be a great business idea for you. According to the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS), in-home pet-care is one of the fastest growing industries in North America today.

Business Idea Requirements: Knowledge of and affinity with animals. Currently accreditation and special training is not required (although this may change).
Variations on the theme: Dog walking services.

2. Residential cleaning services.

Having your house cleaned by someone else is no longer only for the rich. With everyone getting busier all the time, more people than ever are willing to pay to get the benefits of a cleaner home and more free time to do things they consider to be more important. Residential cleaning services are normally provided on a once-a-month or once-a-week basis. If you’re an organized person who can build a clientele, you could do extremely well if you start a cleaning business.

Business Idea Requirements: Knowledge of cleaning products and procedures. The ability to attract and keep reliable staff. Strong scheduling and organizational abilities.
Variations on the theme: Specialized cleaning services, such as blind cleaning.

3. Delivery services.

We’re all familiar with the “big names” in the delivery industry, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no room for the little guy (or gal). If you can deliver things quickly and efficiently in your local area at a reasonable price, this may be a good business idea for you.

Business Idea Requirements: Clean driving record and good driving skills. Strong organizational skills. A suitable vehicle; it may be necessary to transport large items.
Variations on the theme: Delivery services of a particular product, such as establishing an organic vegetable box route.

4. Grass cutting/snow removal services.

We mow our own grass here (and remove our own snow). But we’re in the minority in our neighbourhood. Many people would rather spend the money on having someone else keep their yard looking good. The great thing about this business idea is that in many places, you can combine the two and have a viable business all year long.

Business Idea Requirements: Equipment, such as power mowers, edgers, etc. You need to be prepared to trim as well as to mow. Trucks equipped with blades for snow clearing. Basic mechanical knowledge to run and repair equipment.
Variations on the theme: For those with more knowledge and experience, landscaping and or gardening services.

5. Scrapbooking.

I freely admit that I know little about scrapbooking. But I do know that scrapbooking is a growing industry (of about $3 billion a year currently) and that kind of popularity tells me that it’s a business idea that could be very profitable. You can start a business as a creator of original scrapbooks or by becoming a consultant for a scrapbook business that’s already established. About’s Scrapbooking site is a great place to learn more about scrapbooking if this business idea interests you.

Business Idea Requirements: Artistic talent. Knowledge of scrapbooking (which you can get through research and experience or by taking scrapbooking courses). Materials to make scrapbooks.
Variations on the theme: Specializing in a particular type of memory book, such as books memorializing the lives of beloved pets.

6. Hauling services.

Ever try to fit a sheet of plywood into the back of one of those new compact SUVs? Then you know why the demand for hauling services is on the rise. Besides the size issue, there’s the whole issue of things that people don’t want to haul in their own shiny vehicles, such as yard waste or loads of compost for the garden. All the things they don’t want to or can’t haul could be money in your pocket.

Business Idea Requirements: A suitable vehicle or vehicles and a clean driving record. Sometimes a strong back if you’re loading the material yourself.
Variations on the theme: Specializing in hauling a particular product, such as delivering loads of compost or soil for gardeners.

7. eBay selling.

eBay’s popularity continues to explode. I personally know very few people who haven’t bought or sold something on eBay. But did you know that eBay is also a solid business idea? If you have a product that there’s a demand for and that is suitable for being sold online and shipped to the purchaser, eBay may be the way to go. It can be a more inexpensive option than setting up your own online store and eBay offers all kinds of information to help you sell successfully – including eBay seminars.

Business Idea Requirements: A worthy product or products. A computer. Knowledge of online selling and shipping. For more information on selling on eBay successfully see my article 7 Tips for Selling on eBay.
Variations on the theme: Moving from eBay auctions to having your own eBay online store.

So there they are – seven business ideas for businesses that almost anyone can start. What else do you need to turn one of these business 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. If one of these business ideas appeals to you, the next step is to see if it will work for you by developing a business plan. My Writing a Business Plan series will lead you through the process. Best of luck with your new business!

By Susan Ward

The Top 25 Home-Based Business Ideas

If you are thinking about starting your own home-based business, the available options can be overwhelming. However, there are many tried and true home-based businesses that may be just what you are looking for.

Here are the top 25 home-based business ideas, in no particular order:

Personal trainer. If you are fitness-minded, you can start your own career as a personal trainer. Check out the National Federation of Professional Trainers for information about the certification process.

Yoga instructor. Begin sharing your expertise with others by teaching yoga classes. There are a number of online resources, depending on the school of yoga that you practice. The Yoga Alliance Web site provides information on yoga schools, certification, insurance, and so on.

Tutoring. You can start a business tutoring students by advertising at schools, the local YMCA, and other places frequented by families. If you have children, talk to their teachers and determine the needs of your school district.

Business coaching. Have experience with management or some other specialized business skill? Share it with others by becoming a business coach. The International Coach Federation provides certification and a coach referral service for its members.

Consulting. If you are an expert in your industry, such as finance, marketing, or mediation, consider beginning your own consulting business.

Medical and legal transcription. If you have transcription skills and the necessary equipment, you can easily work from home for a variety of different companies. Check local community colleges or online for transcription training courses.

Medical claims billing. This industry is one of the most popular work-from-home businesses — so much so that suspect companies have been popping up on the Internet and in classified advertisements. ELearners.com can help you locate transcription training courses online.

Accounting. There are many franchises and opportunities available for certified public accountants. If you are interested in getting certified, take a look at the Web site of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants for information on specific state requirements.

Web design. If you can design quality Web sites, consider turning your skills into a home-based business. Although the software and hardware costs can be steep, good Web designers tend to be well-compensated for their efforts.

Desktop publishing. Do you have a creative flair for putting together brochures and newsletters? You can offer your own desktop publishing services to other small businesses. Software can be expensive, so make sure to give applications a trial run or take a course before investing in one.

Photography. If you are skilled with a camera, you can open your own photography studio in your home. Keep in mind that you will need space to shoot the pictures as well as a light-free space for a darkroom if you decide to process your film and print your photographs yourself.

Home inspection. The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors Web site provides information on becoming certified to inspect homes.

Remodeling. If you are a gifted carpenter or contractor, you can turn your passion into your own business. The SBA provides loans to experienced contractors looking to renovate homes or businesses in order to sell them.

Interior design. If you have a flair for the creative, consider interior design. The American Society of Interior Designers Web site provides resources for aspiring interior designers, including a list of each state’s requirements for licensing.

Catering or personal chef. Consider starting your own catering or personal chef business. You can set yourself apart from competitors by providing specialized services such as low-carb or vegetarian menus. (Be advised that catering requires a “food establishment” license and catering operations require a commercially equipped kitchen that meets all state and federal health requirements. Contact your local city or county health department for more information.)

Gift baskets. Gift basket creation is a popular and creative home-based business. Target both individuals and businesses to increase potential sales.

Wedding planner. If you are an ace at organizing important events and have a Rolodex full of contacts, consider becoming a wedding planner. There are numerous online certification courses online, including one from Weddings Beautiful.

Personal shopper. If you are a great shopper with an eye for people’s personal styles, you can offer your services to those less inclined. In addition, consider providing a gift shopping service for those too busy to shop themselves.

Concierge. If you have a lot of energy, a love for the mundane, and the ability to juggle multiple tasks, consider providing a personal concierge to busy business people or parents.

Custom jewelry creation. Designing your own custom design jewelry can be a lucrative pastime. Make sure to wear your own creations as a way to drum up business.

Computer repair. Are you the person everyone calls when they have a computer problem? Turn this into a business and start getting paid for fixing fatal errors. Check out Geeks on Call America and Rescuecom if you are interested in franchise opportunities.

Cleaning service. If you are good at cleaning, consider offering your services to others. One way to go is with a franchise. CleanNet-USA and JaniKing are two of the largest franchisers in the cleaning market.

Carpet cleaning service. There are many popular franchises that allow you to start your own carpet cleaning business and receive the equipment and training you need. ServiceMaster Clean and ChemDry are two of the bigger ones.

A riding school. If you own your own barn, land, and horses, you can open your own riding school. Equisearch.com offers resources, including some useful articles on liability issues.

Child-care services. Turn your expertise with children into one of the most popular home-based business opportunities.

by AllBusiness.com Inc.

The 9 steps to buying a business

You’ve dream of being your own boss, of owning your own business- here are 9 steps to help you on your way.

1 Self-assessment. Build a profile of the key things you enjoy doing and your strengths – your ideal business will contain many of these. Also list the things you don’t enjoy doing and any weakness. When you are looking, you will be asking yourself; is this something I’m interested in? Have I the appropriate skills, knowledge, and ability? If not, are these available within or outside the business. Determine how much you are prepared to risk, the hours you will work, and its impact on your lifestyle. Write these down, they will help you stay focused in searching through the many possibilities.

2 Determine your budget. Get a feel for how much you can spend. This will be determined by your cash reserves, equity you may borrow against, the bank and/or vendor finance. Exercise care in taking on too much debt, and ensure you allow for working capital and some cash reserves.

3 Select an accountant and a solicitor. You will need professionals to help. Get recommendations from your bank manager, business advisors and business friends. Check out the Yellow Pages. Interview several – have they the necessary experience in your area of interest, do their resources match your needs, are you happy with how and what they charge. You are selecting a costly but critical resource – you need to be dealing with someone whom you like working with, and who will add value to your business.

4 The searching. Contact key brokers who operate in your area of interest. Regularly check what’s on offer through Business for Sale Internet sites like www.nzbizbuysell.co.nz, newspapers and trade magazines. If you are seeking something specific, then get to know the appropriate trade associations, and tell them you are interested in buying a business. Look to advertise for what you want – ask your accountant or anyone else who may have contact with potential businesses for sale? Be patient – it can take time.

5 Discovery. You have found something that looks interesting, and fits your criteria. Ask the key questions: is it in a growing or declining market, at what stage is its business cycle, is it well located and operated, does it have good systems and resources, and does it have the potential you want? Look at the financials – are they healthy? Do you have a vision for where you could take this business? Is it you – does it fit your profile? The more work done here prior to making an offer, the greater the savings on fees.

6 Facts, facts and more facts – due diligence. So it’s good enough to continue with? You may be required to sign a confidentiality agreement to proceed with your due diligence. Now is the time for the in-depth financial analysis. Do your projections; check the going rates, the market conditions, the strengths and weaknesses of the business? Consult your solicitor and/or accountant to draw up an offer (there are a number of ways to value a business, your accountant will assist with this). Remember you are buying a business, not a job! – Usually your offer will be conditional upon certain aspects being satisfied. On conditional acceptance be thorough, check everything; call in an advisor, an industry specialist, and your accountant and lawyer. This will cost (be specific, ask for quotes), it will be cheaper than getting it wrong.

7 Decision time. Prior to going unconditional, gather all your facts, information and projections. Present any legal aspects to your solicitor, and all financials, including projections for the bank, to your accountant. Then present your low-risk business proposal to the bank, to get the okay on some suitable finance. So it feels right – this is your decision, you’re comfortable with your advisors advice, and the bank is fully satisfied with the business, and the conditions of your deal – then its time to go unconditional and complete the purchase.

8 The next day. You’re in business. Time to draw-up a takeover plan. It will cover the handing-over from the out-going owner, managing the affects on culture and staff, and how to maintain continuity with suppliers and customers. A new entity will need to be established, suppliers accounts, bank accounts, insurances and staff contracts, and of-course then there is your new business plan to do.

9 Enjoying your business.Congratulations! You have a business and a plan – manage, monitor and implement your plan by working on your business. Don’t try to change it over-night, learn the business first. It will be rewarding and sometimes tough going. Enjoy the process and its rewards – good luck and every success in your new venture.

by NZBizBuySell

 

Tips when looking to buy a business

Contact key brokers who operate in your area of interest. Regularly check what’s on offer through Business for Sale Internet sites, newspapers and business magazines. If you are seeking something specific, then get to know the appropriate trade associations, and tell them you are interested in buying a business. Look to advertise for what you want – ask your accountant or anyone else who may have contact with potential business sellers? Be patient – it can take time.

Contact a Business Broker

Business Brokers are often used in selling businesses; they will be happy to discuss your needs as a buyer and will generally have several businesses on their books for sale at any one-time. Some specialise in particular areas and will be able to offer industry advice and opportunities. It is important to remember however that brokers work for the seller, and that the better the sale price, the better their commission. No sale equals no pay. Visit several brokers to gain a complete picture on what’s on offer in your area of interest. No one broker will hold all the options; develop a network with key operators that can help you – they’re a good resource. Make sure you brief them well on what you are looking for.

Check the Internet

Go online and check out www.nzbizbuysell.co.nz. Here you get to search a database of New Zealand business Business for Sale listings by specifying the type of business, location, and price range. It accommodates both private and brokered sales – you deal direct. If you cannot find what you are looking for, place a free ad in the “Wanted to buy” section, or call one of the listed brokers and ask them if they have any other listings. It is free to search, and has a number of resources to assist you in buying your business including free fortnightly Buyer Bulletins bringing you just the latest business for sale listings. This is not the only site, but is the most highly visited and widely used in the buying and selling of New Zealand businesses.

Try the newspaper, trade journals and magazines.

Search the classifieds section of your local newspapers. Adverts in these periodicals charge per line and often don’t describe businesses in any detail. You will need to get busy on the phone to filter-out those that aren’t suitable. Some key questions will help; find out exactly what they’re selling, what their market is, what’s the opportunity, why they’re selling, and how they have arrived at the asking price? This will eliminate many. Trade journals and magazines are another place to look and will sometimes run a section on business opportunities. Check those for the industries you are interested in, as well as giving you a feel for what’s going-on, they may have what you want.

Contact trade associations

Talk to the people running the trade associations you are interested in (ask around or visit the library for a list of these). Contact the local chamber of commerce. These groups may well be aware of people looking to exit the industry, and should be able to provide you with a list of professionals who specialise in your area of interest. Talk to these specialists – if they can’t help, they will usually know someone who can.

Check out your networks

Ask your lawyer, accountant, insurance broker, and any one else who could be associated with potential business sellers. Don’t rule out friends and family. It may pay to be discreet – especially if you are still working and don’t want your job compromised.

Advertise or go direct

This way you can target specifically what you are after – you may know of some desirable businesses to door knock, or just work through the Yellow Pages. Alternatively advertise on the Internet or in the newspaper classifieds. There are pros and cons to this approach. You could be the only one knowing the business is for sale, and your timing may get you a bargain. Or you may find yourself spending considerable time with an unrealistic and poorly motivated seller. Numerous sellers will alter their expectations with time, having spent many hours interviewing potential buyers. This is not easy but it can work.

Searching for that right business takes time, prepare key questions to get the facts, and stick to your criteria to eliminate time wasters. Happy hunting!

These points are intended to act as prompts to assist you in seeing if business ownership maybe for you. They do not provide any guarantee of success.

by Richard O Brien


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