250 Ideas For Self Employment

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If you’re out of work, not meeting your financial goals, or frustrated with your present job, self employment is an option that may be worth considering. Self employment can either serve as an income supplement or an income replacement — depending on your objectives, your skills, and the demand for your products or services.

Starting Your Own Business

Below are articles, online guides, training materials, books, software, websites, and other useful resources that offer ideas and proven methods for launching and succeeding in your own business:

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Starting an Internet Business

I started making extra money as a freelance writer and entrepreneur back in 1993, when the Internet was in its infancy. It took me a few years before I began to grasp its immense potential as a communication tool, a marketing vehicle, and a business opportunity.

Twenty-four years later, the Internet has taken on a life of its own and is a driving force in the business world, the media, and people’s personal lives. The existence and growth of the Internet has also spawned a new realm of business opportunities — many of which can be launched and operated from your own home.

The good news is that there are many legitimate, practical ways to make money online.
The obstacle for many entrepreneurs is that it’s difficult to sort through the choices
and determine what opportunity is viable, realistic, and potentially profitable.

To make money online, all you need is a viable business plan, a moderate amount of initiative, and the ability to persist until you succeed… and then keep going!

This is encouraging for entrepreneurs looking for ways to generate income online, expand the marketing reach of an existing business, and/or make money online as an e-commerce merchant (more details on that, below.)

However… The idea of starting an Internet business (or any other business, for that matter) can also be very daunting.

Not knowing where to begin or how to create an Internet presence are among the obstacles preventing many people from taking that all-important first step. The good news is that you do not have to waste time, energy, and money “reinventing the wheel.” It’s already been invented, refined, and successfully implemented.

For example: If you’ve been looking for ways to start your own online store, Shopify* can provide you with the tools, the software, and the marketing strategies to make it happen. [Try it for free!*]

In addition to helping you create your own e-commerce website, Shopify enables you to sell your products on Amazon and  social media sales channels, like Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

FAQ: What is Shopify? It’s an integrated e-commerce platform for managing products, orders, customers, sales channels, and analytics. It can help you streamline, centralize, and effectively manage everything (in an online business) from product marketing and customer payments to secure online checkout and shipping.

Find out how you can accept credit card payments online, fulfill orders in a single step, monitor sales (and sales growth), keep track of your inventory, and create your own customized business website and blog. Once you’ve accomplished that, you’re off and running! Start your 14-day free trial today! *

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“What Business Should I Start

For many entrepreneurs, the first hurdle to being self employed and building their client list is not a lack of a marketing strategy, but something much more fundamental: deciding what business to start.

Hundreds of Business Ideas for Entrepreneurs

The following list (below) of 250 business ideas is intended to help you come up with viable concepts for starting your own part-time or full-time business. (The list consists mostly of service-oriented business ideas, but also includes product-based self employment ideas.)

Your decision of what business to start (or whether to start a business at all) depends on a lot of variables, such as your professional skills, your level of motivation, experience, talents, personal contacts, existing reputation, market conditions, competitive factors, your financial resources, tolerance for risk, salesmanship abilities, people skills, willingness to persist and continually improve, and work ethic.

Luck” can also be a factor in business and personal success, but you’ve probably heard the often-repeated quote about the relationship between work and luck. The quote has been attributed to everyone from movie producer Samuel Goldwyn to former U.S. President Thomas Jefferson: “The harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.”

 List of 250+ Self Employment Ideas

Some of the more popular business ideas that people are now pursuing or researching include the following self employment options:

  1. Cleaning business: house cleaning, housekeeping, office cleaning, janitorial
  2. Photography:
  3. Catering business
  4. Consulting business: List of specialties.
  5. Landscaping business
  6. Lawn care business
  7. Dog walking business
  8. Online business (Get the tools to create your own online store with Shopify*)
  9. Real estate business (Visit my blog on writing real estate marketing letters)
  10. Academic tutoring services or music lessons
  11. Foreign language translation services
  12. Construction business
  13. Jewelry sales/jewelry making:
  14. Vending machine business
  15. Cupcake business
  16. Painting business (interior and exterior house painting)
  17. Retail sales
  18. Food businesses: restaurants, food trucks, Italian ice cart*, hot dog carts
  19. Recycling business
  20. Clothing business: [How to start your own clothing line*]
  21. Transportation
  22. Carpet cleaning
  23. Trucking
  24. Party planning business
  25. Pet sitting business
  26. Home health care business
  27. Courier business
  28. Bookkeeping services
  29. Daycare/childcare services
  30. Wedding planning
  31. Computer repair
  32. IT consulting
  33. Web design and/or graphic design business
  34. Handyman business
  35. Greeting card business
  36. Craft business:
  37. Pressure washing
  38. Baking, bakery or cake business
  39. Repo business
  40. Credit repair business
  41. Fashion business [How to get your business up and running]*
  42. Limo business (limousine service)
  43. Marketing/advertising agency
  44. Social media marketing services
  45. Pizza shop
  46. Gym/fitness business
  47. Shoe business
  48. Bar business
  49. Pool hall business
  50. Wholesale business
  51. eBay business
  52. Pest control business
  53. Bail bonds business
  54. Medical transportation
  55. Tax preparation
  56. Cell phone business
  57. Gift basket business
  58. Cookie business
  59. Manufacturing
  60. Laundry business
  61. Delivery service
  62. Car rental business
  63. Car detailing
  64. DJ business
  65. Scrap metal business
  66. Junk removal business
  67. Concierge services
  68. Boutique business
  69. Party rental
  70. Dog boarding/kennel
  71. Swimming pool cleaning and maintenance
  72. Plumbing services
  73. Magazine publishing
  74. Medical supply business
  75. Medical billing business
  76. Lingerie business
  77. Life coaching
  78. Career counseling
  79. Background check business
  80. Agriculture: farming, ranching, raising livestock, aquaculture, growing crops
  81. Greenhouse business
  82. Coffee shop and/or coffee roasting business
  83. Check cashing service
  84. Hotel business
  85. Hot dog cart business
  86. Printing business
  87. Candle sales/candle making
  88. Travel agency
  89. Storage business (storage unit rental/self storage)
  90. Event planning
  91. Mail order business
  92. Dropship business [Tools and tips for getting started cheaply]*
  93. Security services or consulting (residential, commercial, personal security, etc)
  94. Dog training
  95. Dog grooming
  96. Laundromat business (coin laundry business)
  97. Senior care business
  98. Real estate investment business
  99. Property management business
  100. Fast food business
  101. Furniture business
  102. Massage business/massage therapy
  103. Fundraising business
  104. Resale business [Tips on selling thrift store items]*
  105. Sewing business
  106. Consignment business
  107. Spa business
  108. Web hosting business
  109. Home staging business
  110. Home party business
  111. Locksmith business
  112. Website design
  113. Import export business
  114. Bottled water business
  115. Hair salon
  116. Call center
  117. Dump truck business
  118. House flipping
  119. Grocery delivery
  120. Ice cream business
  121. HVAC business
  122. Lead generation business
  123. Window washing
  124. Dog kennel
  125. Non medical home care business
  126. Stationery business
  127. Soap making business
  128. Paintball business
  129. Rental car business
  130. Coaching business
  131. Chocolate business
  132. Popcorn business
  133. Smoothie business
  134. Matchmaking business
  135. Flea market business
  136. BBQ business (barbecue food catering)
  137. eCommerce business [Create an online store with Shopify*]
  138. Franchise business
  139. Moving business
  140. Freight brokerage business
  141. Logging business
  142. Remodeling business
  143. Personal chef business
  144. Bed and breakfast
  145. Beauty supply business
  146. Nursing home business
  147. Nail salon
  148. Hauling business
  149. Handbag business
  150. Hair bow business
  151. Gas station
  152. Video game business
  153. Frozen food business
  154. Financial planning business
  155. Horse boarding
  156. Telemarketing
  157. Laser tag business
  158. Floral business (flower shop)
  159. Clothing business online
  160. Multi level marketing/network marketing business
  161. Referral business
  162. Decorating business
  163. Nursery business
  164. Concrete business
  165. Car wash and/or hand card wash business
  166. Staffing/recruiting business
  167. Perfume business and/or cosmetic business
  168. Powder coating business
  169. Go kart business
  170. Sign business
  171. Interior design business
  172. Bowling alley
  173. Rain gutter cleaning business
  174. PC repair business
  175. Computer consulting
  176. Beverage business
  177. Car audio business
  178. Insurance agency
  179. Tanning salon
  180. Professional organizing service
  181. Catalog business
  182. Pet store
  183. Group home business
  184. Paralegal business
  185. Dollar store
  186. Nanny business
  187. Dry cleaning
  188. Mystery shopping business
  189. Gardening business
  190. Export business
  191. Senior home care business
  192. Mobile oil change business
  193. Fashion design business [Helpful ideas for getting started]*
  194. Home healthcare business
  195. Liquor store
  196. Balloon business
  197. Horse business
  198. Voip business
  199. Direct sales
  200. Non-Emergency Medical Transportation
  201. T-shirt business [Free Course: How to Build an Online T-Shirt Store*]
  202. Wedding chapel business
  203. Retail clothing business
  204. Silk screen business
  205. Sporting goods business
  206. Security consulting
  207. Day spa business
  208. Feed store business
  209. Fishing business
  210. Home inventory business
  211. Honey business
  212. Hunting business
  213. Coffee cart business
  214. Boat charter business
  215. Bookstore business
  216. Beauty salon business
  217. Taxi cab business
  218. Cabinet making business
  219. Car transport business
  220. Chair massage business
  221. Knife sharpening business
  222. Psychic business
  223. Pet cremation business
  224. Pottery business [Sell your artwork]*
  225. Pet boarding business
  226. Pet photography business
  227. Motorcycle business
  228. Mobile dog grooming business
  229. Personal fitness training
  230. Dog bakery — [Check out this step-by-step business system*]
  231. Recruitment business
  232. Animal rescue business
  233. Answering service
  234. Barber shop
  235. BPO business
  236. Business card printing
  237. Pet shop
  238. Mailing service
  239. Loan broker
  240. Skateboard business
  241. Gift shop
  242. Newspaper publishing
  243. Stained glass business
  244. Woodworking
  245. Electronic dog fence installation
  246. Shoe repair
  247. Appliance repair
  248. Window tinting
  249. Foreclosure cleanups
  250. Dumpster rentals
  251. Concert promoter
  252. Talent agent
  253. Freelance writer [Online training available]*
  254. Roofing:

While this list of self employment ideas is far from all inclusive, I think it does cover a lot of possibilities. If you can think of any other unique ideas for starting a small business, feel free to post a comment on this blog or email me your thoughts at prowriter30years@yahoo.com

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Home-Based Business Ideas to Consider

If the idea of a home-based business appeals to you, here are a few ideas, websites, and information kits* that can help you get started:

If you’re a stay-at-home mom looking for an income supplement or even a profitable home business idea, you’re not alone. It’s a common challenge that countless parents face every day, throughout the world.

As a work-from-home dad, myself, I can speak from experience when it comes to being a home-based entrepreneur, freelance writer, blogger, website owner, and online marketing affiliate. In my opinion, one of the best businesses to start from home — whether you’re a stay-at-home parent, a college student, or a retiree — is freelance writing.

While you may find that searching for freelance gigs, self employment jobs, and work-at-home opportunities can be discouraging at times, your most important asset is your mindset: the ability to cultivate self confidence, determination, momentum, and the belief that you are surrounded by opportunities waiting to be discovered — opportunities that are often “hiding in plain sight.”

To quote Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.”

In the Internet Age, there are countless ways to get a job, make money online, or start your own business. While there are no guarantees of success in any endeavor, the path to starting a profitable home business begins with a good idea, a proactive plan, and the determination to persist until you succeed.

Whether you’re considering being a freelance writer, a tutor, a bookkeeper, a virtual assistant, a freelance photographer, a social media marketing consultant, an event planner, or an e-commerce business owner, there are a lot of opportunities out there waiting to be identified and acted on. Why not get started today?

A couple of my favorite inspiration quotes, which are attributed to Liam Linisong, are the following:

“A year from now, what will you wish you had done today?”

“No one can stop you but yourself!”

Stay tuned to this blog for more small business ideas, resources, marketing strategies, and guides to starting and succeeding in your own business.

Small Business Marketing Ideas

One of the biggest challenges that face many entrepreneurs is finding customers. You can be the most talented graphic designer, event planner, consultant, or handyman in town, but if you don’t have any customers, your skills and talents aren’t going to do you much good — at least not financially!

In addition to the freelancing and self employment ideas listed above, I ‘d also like to offer some basic business marketing ideas, which will hopefully help you attract and retain customers and clients (without having to spend a bundle of money).

Business Marketing Tools*

  • 20 free online tools for marketing and managing your business, including logo generator, slogan generator, business name generator, business card maker, profit margin calculator, and website templates.

Advertising, direct sales, and marketing can be a bit of a rocky road if you’re not sure where to begin or how to go about it, but as the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

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What is Marketing?

Marketing, which entails everything from advertising and public relations to blogging and SEO (search engine optimization), is one of the cornerstones of any successful business. The ability to generate leads, inquiries, referrals, and customers depends — to a large degree — on your willingness to create and implement a marketing plan for your business.

Marketing plans do not have to be lengthy or complicated to provide you with a practical and useful road map to customer acquisition, but should be well thought out, researched, flexible, and cost effective. A starting point to creating a small business marketing plan would be to think about and write a “SWOT” analysis, which stands for “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.”

Two other components of a marketing plan would involve identifying your target market (demographics), listing as many feasible marketing tactics as you can think of, and pinpointing your business’s USP, which is often referred to as either a “Unique Selling Proposition,” “Unique Selling Points,” and/or “Unique Value Proposition (UVP).” Obviously, the operative word there is “unique.”

To a large degree, marketing is all about two things:

  • Offering your customers unique advantages and benefits that they can not get elsewhere
  • Being able to effectively communicate those unique advantages to as many targeted and “qualified” prospects as possible

In a nutshell, here is a handful of cost-effective and, in some cases, low-cost business marketing ideas that are worth considering.

  1. Handing out business cards, promotional flyers, brochures, inexpensive advertising specialties, door hangers, post card mailers, and coupons (if applicable and appropriate).
  2. Written business proposals: I’m a big proponent of using business proposals to solicit new clients, respond to RFPs, and to pursue corporate and government accounts. Here’s why: First of all, back in the 1990s, I worked as a proposal writer for a major IT company for five years, so I can appreciate the pivotal role that a well-written business proposal plays in the competitive bidding process. Secondly, I’m an affiliate of a company that sells proposal-writing software, templates, sample proposals, and frequently needed service contracts. They’ve been in business for 20 years and are obsessed with continually improving and fine-tuning their software products. For more information on how and why written business proposals are important (and can help you land more clients, customers, and lucrative accounts), check out their article “It’s All About Trust.”*
  3. Building up an Internet following, either through blogging, developing a social media presence, or inviting your website visitors to subscribe to your monthly newsletter, mailing list, or special announcements.
  4. Face-to-face networking can also be an extremely valuable way to connect with prospective clients and develop mutually beneficial relationships with other entrepreneurs, organizations, influencers, potential clients, and mentors. It’s old-fashioned, but it’s not going to go out of style anytime in the foreseeable future!
  5. Sending out newsworthy press releases to local media outlets, reporters, editors, bloggers, and websites. Press releases can often result in a free publicity in the form of a feature article, listing of an event, interview opportunity, or business profile in your local newspaper, regional magazine, miscellaneous websites, business blogs, podcasts, editorial pages, radio stations, and TV news and interview programs. Visibility in the media helps boost your credibility and recognition factor. [BTW… Did I mention that I worked in the public relations field for nine years and have been a journalist and news reporter — mostly on a freelance basis — for 34 years?]

Software for Creating Winning Business Proposals*

This is the proposal-writing kit I mentioned, earlier: “Accurately quote your projects, create winning proposals, negotiate your contracts, multiply your profitability, brand yourself as a top professional and close the sale. Proposal Kit helps you demonstrate to prospects and clients that you are the right professional for the job. It’s the mission-critical tool for writing effective business proposals on a moments notice. Proven for two decades to be fast, easy, and accurate.” [adv]

Order and download Proposal Kit software here.*

Thanks for checking out my latest small business marketing tips and self employment ideas.

Best of luck in all your entrepreneurial pursuits!

–Joel

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Business blogger, freelance writer, *compensated affiliate marketer

Question: Are you interested in starting your own affiliate marketing business? It’s no get-rich-quick scheme, but it’s an opportunity to start your own potentially profitable Internet business. To learn more, read the inspiring success story of Rosalind Gardner.* It’s a great business model most people are unfamiliar with. (I’ve been doing it for 16 years.)

Update: I’ve recently begun devoting more attention to the topics of personal development, human potential, and motivation in a new blog (about life) called Mastering Life Takes Time!

Important: Starting a businesses of any kind involves an element of financial risk, so it’s always wise to consult a CPA, business insurance advisor, and a business attorney when setting up, expanding, or anticipating future needs for a new or existing business.

*Note: I am a compensated affiliate of the e-books, courses on starting your own business, e-commerce software, membership websites, small business marketing tools, and other products and services featured on this blog.

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How to Start a Business and Succeed

If you’re thinking of starting your own business, one of the most important attributes you need to have is an “abundance mentality.” In other words, if you believe that there’s an untapped demand for your products and services — and that you’re surrounded by economic opportunities — then you’ll tend to make that a self-fulfilling prophesy. The expectations and beliefs that you cultivate will help motivate and guide you to being productive, resourceful, and action oriented. When you take inspired action on a daily basis, you will attract the people, and opportunities you need to build a profitable business. On the other hand, if you allow negativity and “scarcity thinking” to infect your mind, then you’ll end up building your business on a foundation of sand. Negative expectations and defeatist attitudes will undermine your potential success and sabotage your hopes and dreams.

Update: I’ve recently begun devoting more attention to the topics of personal development, human potential, and spirituality in a new blog (about life) called Mastering Life Takes Time!

The first step to starting a successful business is to do an honest self assessment to make sure you’re a good candidate for self employment and being your own boss. There are a lot of great business ideas to consider, but if you lack the initiative, leadership qualities, and determination to make a good idea fly, then starting your own business might prove to be an uphill battle. Making sure you have other key elements in place, such as a business license, startup capital, a suitable place to conduct the business, necessary supplies and equipment, and the support of your family and/or significant other can also make a difference in your prospects for small business success.

What is a Good Business to Start?

That’s a question on the minds of many aspiring entrepreneurs, who are either unemployed or dissatisfied with their current job. That question, in and of itself, will probably not produce the answer you’re looking for. It’s too vague and it doesn’t help inspire meaningful ideas. Rather than spending too much time and energy dwelling on the question “What is a good business to start?”, here are some better questions that may help you begin formulating some ideas and plans for starting your own business.

  • What marketable skills do I have that can be offered for a fee to individuals, businesses, groups, governmental agencies, educational institutions, hospitals, medical practices, legal offices, contractors, consultants, parents, homeowners, senior citizens, job seekers, families, non profit organizations, political campaigns, entrepreneurs, investors, fitness enthusiasts, or dozens of other target groups and market segments. Once you’ve identified what services, skills, or products you have to offer and who your customers would most likely be, then you’re in a good position to begin drafting a marketing plan for your business idea.
  • Is there a sufficient market for the products or services I’d like to offer and what would be the best ways to reach out to that target market? Assessing the extent of unmet needs in your community or market, as well as then degree of competition you’d have to contend with, would also be vital steps in determining whether a particular business would be a good one for you to start.
  • What am a passionate about and what type of business would I find the most engaging, satisfying, and rewarding? For many people, the best business would involve doing something they love, such as sharing knowledge, helping people solve problems or achieve goals, creating art, music, or architecture, marketing inventions, making and selling unique food products, designing clothing or jewelry, and countless other possibilities.

Small business success often boils down to identifying basic human needs and doing an exquisite job of satisfying those needs.

Stay tuned to this blog for more ideas, strategies, and prerequisites for starting your own successful business.

Best of luck in all your entrepreneurial pursuits!

Joel