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Published on October 1, 2018

15 Stellar Startup Business Ideas for the Burgeoning Entrepreneur

15 Stellar Startup Business Ideas for the Burgeoning Entrepreneur

We live in a gig economy and more and more people are embarking on new business ventures for themselves. In 2016, nearly 34 percent of the workforce was made up of freelancers and that’s expected to rise to 43 percent by 2020.

Whether you’re looking to leave your full-time job behind or embark on a rewarding side hustle, it’s never too late to channel your entrepreneurial spirit. Because we live in such a technology-driven society with the internet allowing us to connect with customers around the globe, launching and maintaining a startup business is easier than ever.

Here’re 15 stellar startup business ideas for the burgeoning entrepreneur:

1. Online Coaching

If you know how to do something well and enjoy teaching others, launching an online coaching business can be one of the most rewarding business endeavors out there.

Whereas pre-internet, you would largely be limited to the people in the city you live in, a camera and internet connection is all that is needed to share your skills with the entire world.

Looking to get started?

  • Write down three skills you’re really good at.
  • Break them up into how-to steps.
  • Begin putting lessons together.

Whether it’s offering dating advice, teaching music or yoga lessons, people are willing to pay for specialized coaching.

2. Social Media Management

If you haven’t noticed already, social media is everywhere and every business on the planet is looking to use it to expand their customer base. It’s how businesses attract new customers and keep existing ones informed about new products and services.

Creating social media posts for businesses and launching campaigns that truly go viral isn’t easy, but for those with a wild creative streak, it can be incredibly lucrative.

If you have experience in navigating the ever-changing social media landscape, the sky’s the limit for expanding your client base.

It should also go without saying that being an expert in social media strategy will prove incredibly useful in growing your own business.

3. Healthy Option Vending Machines

After years of unhealthy processed foods, we’re seeing a movement towards more health-conscious fare. It’s happening in the restaurant biz, and vending machines are likely next to ditch the empty calories.

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Employers want their employees to stay healthy. It means fewer sick days and higher rates of productivity. It’s why so many businesses are looking to ditch the standard junk food vending machines and bring in healthier snacking options.

The healthy vending machine wave is already a strong $43 billion and growing industry and new entrepreneurs have the option of launching with a single machine or fleet of any size.

4. Flipping Websites

Flipping houses is so 2010. Plus, it’s incredibly hard labor and there’s no telling when the housing market is going to take another downward turn.

If you’re willing to do your research, flipping websites can equal some fast cash — though it does require some skill.

Through buying and selling domains on your own or using existing platforms like Flippa.com, this is a business with absolutely zero overhead. When you factor in that every new business is launching a website and a good domain name is everything, this online business will be around for quite some time.

5. Virtual Assistant

If it has the word “virtual” in the job title, then you can bet that it’s a growing industry. There are quite a few companies out there looking online for remote help and assistants are one of the leading roles they’re looking to fill.

As a virtual assistant, you’ll pick clients whom you enjoy working with and will manage their emails, schedule meetings, and complete other tasks that they need done in order to help their lives and businesses run a little smoother.

This startup industry should be especially appealing to somebody who is well organized and prides themselves on planning and helping others.

6. Crowdsourcing

It’s a term you’ll find littered throughout media outlets like Forbes and The Wall Street Journal, and for a good reason.

Renting is more popular than ever. People would much rather pay a few bucks to borrow X or have somebody do X task for them.

It’s precisely why mega crowdsourcing companies like Takl and Upwork are booming and long-established companies like Budweiser and Coca-Cola are embracing the trend.

Looking to launch your own crowdsourcing business?

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  • Build a platform where people can list their goods or services.
  • Get it in front of your intended audience.
  • Take a fair cut of each transaction.

Find the right niche and you just might have the next Airbnb on your hands.

7. Drone Photography

Few technologies have seen the boom in popular culture the way drones have and it’s estimated that some 600,000 are currently in the skies today.

Offering photo and video options that would have previously costed thousands of dollars and required the use of a helicopter, drone photography is a booming industry.

Resorts use them to capture the grandeur of their lodgings from above, farmers use them to monitor crops, and newlyweds use them to take wedding selfies.

With a higher-end drone and good camera, an operator can tackle any number of projects.

8. Property Management

From housesitting to managing a vacation rental, ensuring that one’s property is properly cared for is a service that will always be in demand. Property owners may not be around to handle things like managing repairs or tackling the needs of renting guests and will need reliable help.

It will take some willingness to be flexible in your schedule and knowing somebody who needs their home or property managed will help to help to establish early clients. With a large enough portfolio though, this can be a very profitable business.

9. Eldercare

There are more than 74 million baby boomers in the United States today and as they age they want to continue the lifestyle their accustomed to. Most of them want to continue to live at home, but as they grow older they’ll be in need of more at-home care.

Because of this, there is a wealth of opportunity for businesses that serve the various needs of senior citizens.

Whether it’s helping out with driving and delivery services, cleaning, landscaping, pet care, or medically-specific requirements, this market is a deep well of possibilities for anyone who enjoys serving others.

10. Monthly Box Services

Subscription box services are one of the fastest growing startup businesses today and the vertices for these services are nearly endless.

Seriously, they range monthly tie subscriptions like Spiffster to Cuban snack services like Abuela Mami.

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The business model is so appealing because it allows you to zone in on offering a premium service to a particular niche with continuous recurring revenue.

As the business grows, you can branch out to other products that people may want monthly or bi-monthly. This is exactly how Dollar Shave Club grew from nothing into a company valued at over $600 million.

11. Website Consulting

Remember earlier when we pointed out how every business needs a website? Well, many of them have no idea how to build or maintain a website and turn to outside help in order to get their business on the web.

If you happen to be an IT wizard with an eye for design, then the opportunities to custom build websites are endless.

You’ll need the patience and know-how to deliver a stellar website that aligns with your client’s vision, but you’ll be able to charge several hundred dollars for getting their idea up and running online.

12. Plus Size Clothing

With all the technology focus on this list of stellar startup ideas, launching a clothing business kinda seems out of place.

Customers and retailers are looking for more diversity these days and want collections and products that appeal to every body type.

There’s a real need in the fashion industry for more startups dedicated to curvy bodies and with 25 percent of women browsing through the plus size section while shopping, opportunities abound for the right products.

13. Professional Organizing

Just like virtual assistant, property management and website consulting, there’s a large market out there for those who can make life and business a little easier for others.

If you can declutter an overwhelmed mom’s closet or help a business owner finally tackle the storage room that hasn’t been organized since the Clinton administration, your services will be put to use.

Obviously, this job is only for those who are highly organized and have an eye for making the most out of any sized space. As long as people are messy though, this job will need to be filled.

Bonus: Combine it with crowdsourcing and expand your business faster.

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14. Gadget Repair

Cell phones and tablets are in the hands of everyone, yet most of us don’t know what to do past turning the device off and back on once there’s a problem.

People put their entire lives into these devices and can’t fathom the thought of going a day without them.

If you can repair a smartphone or tablet with a quick turnaround time, then you’ll always have customers.

Companies like iDropped smartphone repair are going national, but with the market for this service being anyone with a cell phone — so, everyone — this industry is going continue to grow.

15. SEO Management

As long as people continue to use their smartphones, tablets and laptops to find their next Chinese restaurant/ landscaping company/ personal trainer, this business will be around.

Businesses big and small want to do everything possible to ensure that customers can find them when a keyword is plugged into Google, and those who know how to work that internet magic are in high demand.

Knowing how to manage SEO really well isn’t something that one stumbles onto, there are hundreds of algorithm classification factors; but it offers a passive income route to earn serious online revenue.

Bonus Advice!

Our world is only becoming more digital with every passing day and those who can figure out how to combine the best aspects of existing businesses with new niches will pull ahead of the pack.

Several of the business ideas above offer the potential to be incorporated into each other and provide you with a greater chance for entrepreneurial success.

Good luck out there!

The Bottom Line

While the business world is constantly changing and trends come and go, there has never been a better time to be a burgeoning entrepreneur.

The internet has allowed us to reach a greater audience faster than ever before and with that comes not only new businesses, but new ways for old business ideas to find greater success.

All of the business ideas above are on the upward swing, but it’s up to you to find the one that fits best and make it your own.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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Chris Porteous

The CEO of Grey Smoke Media / My SEO Sucks, helping entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.

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Published on December 13, 2018

How to Start a Company from Scratch (A Step-By-Step Guide)

How to Start a Company from Scratch (A Step-By-Step Guide)

If you’ve ever thought about starting and running your own business, you’re not alone. Being your own boss, having flexibility with your schedule and keeping more of the financial rewards that come with business ownership are all good reasons to own your own company.

But as you might expect, it’s not all vacations and fat bank accounts. According to the SBA, 2/3 of businesses survive at least 2 years and approximately 50% survive 5 years.[1] So why is the failure rate so high? At least for the businesses that fail early on, lack of, or poor planning can be a major factor.

So how to start a company?

Starting a business from scratch doesn’t have to be hard or complicated, but it does take planning and work. Here are the first and most important 9 steps to take when your are starting a company from scratch.

1. Do an Honest Evaluation of Yourself

Do you work better in a structured or unstructured environment? Does a daily routine reduce your anxiety? What kinds of things are you good at? Does public speaking or making presentations make you nervous? Are you good at accounting and numbers? Can you handle the rejections you’re bound to get when selling or cold calling?

These are all important questions to ask yourself, in fact it’s a good idea to get other peoples opinion about their perception of you in each of these situations.

Whatever the answers you come up with for your evaluation, remember that’s all it is, an evaluation of where you are now. Think of it as a way to identify both your areas of strength and weaknesses.

You maybe good at public speaking which can help when raising money, but bad at accounting which just means that you’ll need to find some kind of help with that area of the business.

2. Evaluate Your Idea

If your business idea involves a new product or service (or even an enhancement to an existing product or service), it needs to be evaluated. This is technically called market research.

There are firms that specialize in doing market research for new products, but if you are on a tight budget, you can do this yourself.

First, if you can build a prototype for people to use, touch and look at that’s the best option. If a prototype is not possible or it’s a service business, then offer a highly descriptive presentation of the business plan complete with it’s unique benefits and how it’s different from the competition.

Then listen! Remember that this is not about others liking your product, this is not your baby that they are talking about. You want honest market research that gives you the best chance for a successful business. Take notes, when someone tells you that they didn’t like a feature or some aspect of your idea tell them ‘Thank you”.

After several rounds of market research with different groups of people, you should see patterns emerging about things that they both liked and didn’t like. Use this information to tweak your product or service and do another round of market research.

Keep in mind that you’ll never come up with a universally loved product, your job is to produce a product or service that appeals to the broadest range of your target market.

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3. Make a Business Plan

I know, I know this isn’t the “fun” part of starting your own business, but it is an very important step in creating a successful business!

Basically, you can think of a business plan as an outline or blueprint of your business. A good business plan should have the following elements:

  • Executive Summary – This should lay out the businesses product or service and the problem that it solves for the consumer.
  • Market Evaluation – This should talk about the market you are serving. Is it an expanding market, and how does your product better fulfill the consumers in that market.
  • Market Strategies – How are you going to penetrate the market and sell your product.
  • Operational Plan – How will the company run from day to day? Who are the key employees and what are their specific rolls. Do your key players have specific goals set for them in advance?

A final word on making a business plan: while lying is never acceptable especially when you are using the business plan to raise money, it is acceptable to “put your best foot forward”.

Playing up the positives while minimizing the negatives is almost expected in a business plan.

Besides, banks as well as professional investors will both do a more in-depth analysis before investing any money into your idea.

4. Decide on a Business Structure

You have many options here, and discussing them with your accountant or financial adviser is really the only way to know what’s right for you. But just to give you a quick rundown of the types of business entities and their pros and cons we will briefly go through them:

Sole Proprietorship

This is a common way for small businesses to get started.

The pros being:

Relatively low costs to set up (usually a business license and sales tax license).Owners normally do not have to set up a special bank account, they are allowed to use their personal one. Any income earned can be offset by other losses (check with your state!). You as the sole proprietor have complete control over all decision making. 

Finally, sole proprietorship’s are relative easy to dissolve.

The cons of using a sole proprietorship include:

You as the sole proprietor can be held personally responsible for the debts and liabilities of the company. Some benefits, such as health insurance premiums, are not directly deductible from business income.

If you need to raise money, you are not allowed to sell an equity stake in the company. In that same vein, hiring key people maybe more difficult because you cannot offer them an equity stake in the company.

Partnership

A partnership is formed when two or more people decide to start a business. Although there is no legal requirement for any documentation to form a partnership, it is my advice that you never enter into a partnership without having a partnership agreement. (Remember, spending $1500 now can save you $150,000 in legal fees later!).

The pros of a partnership include:

Being relatively easy and inexpensive to start. Hiring key employees can be easier as you are allowed to give equity ownership to as many partners as you want.

For tax purposes, partnerships are relative simple as any income is treated as “pass through” meaning that each partner pays tax on their individual portion of the partnerships income (As of this writing, always check with your tax adviser).

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As far as the cons go:

It can be difficult for some general partnerships to raise capitol. Because it is a partnership, the actions of one of the partners can obligate the entire organisation. All profits must be shared according to the partnership agreement regardless of the amount of work done by any single partner.

Some employee benefits may not be able to be deducted on income tax returns.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

This is a very popular business entity for small to medium sized businesses. The reason for this is the cost of set up is not prohibitive and there is a separation between the owners and the company.

The pros of an LLC include:

Limited liability for the partners, unlike sole proprietorship’s and partnerships where the owners are held responsible for all of the companies debts and liabilities, an LLC provides some protection against certain debts and liabilities that are solely the companies.

Simple taxation, just like the sole proprietorship and partnerships, income is considered “pass through” and is only taxed once on an individual level.

There is no limit on the number of shareholders in an LLC. An LLC requires fewer fillings and administrative requirements than a corporation.

Corporation

A corporation is much more complex and expensive to set up. And a corporation is legally considered an independent entity that is separate from its owners.

The pros of a corporation include:

Complete separation between the owners and the company. Because the corporation is considered its own legal entity, owners can not be held personally responsible for any debts or liabilities of the company.

A corporation can raise capital much easier just by selling more shares in the company.

Cons of corporations include:

Much higher administrative costs than any other business entity. Corporations generally have a higher tax rate. Dividends are not tax deductible for corporations. Income paid in dividends is taxed twice, once by the corporation and again by the shareholder.

Again, this is just a short summary of the pros and cons, always check with your tax adviser about what will work best in your situation.

5. Address Finances

Again, not one of the “Sexier” parts of starting your business from scratch, but very important nonetheless.

So, you’ve done your business plan and an estimate of your start up funding should be included. It should include the amount of funding you’ll need to get you through your first full year of operations.

Now, how do you get that money?

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Self Funding

If possible, self funding is the easiest. You won’t have to go to banks and investors with hat in hand, or give up ownership or control of your company. But as we know, this is not a reality for most people. But don’t worry, there are still plenty of options available.

Friends and Family

They can be a good source of funding your business if they can see and understand your vision.

Remember that business plan? Pass them out to everyone you know. Then follow up, be prepared to tell them the total amount of money you expect to raise, the minimum investment you are looking for and what you will give in return for the investment.

For example, you give a friend your business plan and follow up with him/her a few days later. You can explain that you have secured funding for $80,000 of the $100,000 you need. You are selling a 2% share in the company for every $2,000 investment. How many shares would he like?

And when he/she tells you no, thank him/her and ask if he/she can think of anyone off the top of his head who might be interested? Tell him/her you really appreciate his/her time and if he/she does come across someone who might be interested to let you know.

Banks

These guys are happy to lend you money when you don’t need it, but all of the sudden they get stingy when you actually need a loan! This is where preparation comes in.

It’s a good idea to go over your business plan with an expert and maybe even have it rewritten by an expert before you approach either a bank or professional investor. Both will want to go over your business plan with a fine tooth comb, verifying all the numbers and data you provide.

You should also brush up on everything in the plan so that you can answer any questions they have with authority.

Crowdfunding

Finally, there is crowdfunding through sites like Kickstarter or GoFundMe. Crowdfunding helps to build interest, community spirit, and a customer base. It’s also an efficient way to raise funds. You can take a look at these tips to find out more:

6 Crowdfunding Tips To Get Your Project 100 Percent Funded

6. Register with the Government

As stated earlier, different types of business entities have different filling and administrative requirements. At the very least, you’ll probably need a business license as well as a state sales tax license.

Unless you are forming a corporation, there are many good resources on the web that will do everything for you at a minimal cost.

7. Assemble Your Team

Remember when we evaluated your strengths and weaknesses? Here is where we fill in the gaps!

Do you hate sales and cold calling? Great! There are people who love selling and wouldn’t want to do anything else.

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Bored to death with accounting? There are a ton of small accounting firms out there that will take care of that for you.

What about marketing? You can hire someone in-house or out-source that too.

Your job is to keep on top of all the different aspects of the business to make sure they are all running smoothly and getting the results you need. If not, it’s your job to figure out the problem and implement a solution.

Check out this guide and learn how to delegate effectively:

How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

8. Buy Insurance

No matter what kind of business you start, you need insurance! Yes, I know, no one likes to buy insurance, but it can literally be the difference between having a minor inconvenience and declaring bankruptcy.

We live in a very litigious time, even a minor slip and fall at your place of business could bankrupt you without insurance. If you need help finding a good agent, check with your local trade organizations or fellow business owners.

9. Start Branding Yourself

Has anyone ever ask you for a Kleenex or a QTip? We all know what they are because of branding, Kleenex is just a brand of tissue and QTip is just a brand of cotton swab. It doesn’t have to be as widely known as Kleenex or QTip, but you can make your brand a common name within your niche.

I once owned a manufacturing company that developed a product that was so popular that my competitors started co-opting my brand name for their products.

If you aren’t sure how to kickstart branding yourself, check out these ways:

5 Ways to Build your Personal Brand & Make More Money

The Bottom Line

Starting a business from scratch can be one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have.

But do you know what’s even more rewarding? Having a business that succeeds, is profitable and provides a good source of income for you, your employees and their family’s.

More Resources About Entrepreneurship

Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

Reference

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