FAQ: What Business Should I Start?

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I’d make an educated guess that there are millions of people, right now, who would love to start their own business, but they’re hindered by a lack of focus and resolve. In my opinion, a lack of clarity is one of the top reasons aspiring entrepreneurs do not follow through and take the first step to starting their own business.

The second reason is fear. They’re afraid to fail. They’re afraid of being criticized. They’re afraid of losing money. And that’s the short list!

Are those fears realistic? To a certain extent they are realistic, although people often magnify the risks in their minds and blow them out of proportion. Small business failure is a common occurrence, but there are many ways to reduce risks, capitalize on opportunities,  make the most of your resources, and tip the scales in your direction.

One thing’s for sure, though: Starting your own business definitely requires courage, careful planning, and a willingness to take calculated risks.

Why Do Businesses Fail?

There are dozens of reasons businesses fail, but I believe that the undercurrent of fear that I mentioned is one of the primary causes. Here’s why: When you go into any endeavor in a fearful or tentative way, that state of mind saps your energy, diminishes your creativity, reduces your drive, and clouds your resourcefulness.

The harsh reality of business is that not everyone is cut out to deal with the challenges of setting up, marketing, and managing a small business. Establishing a business is often an uphill battle — at least in the beginning — and it takes a tenacious, goal-oriented, self-confident person to surmount obstacles, overcome setbacks, and persist until they succeed.

So whether you want to start a home business, an online business, or a bricks-and-mortar establishment, you need to first assess whether you possess the motivation, self belief, and mental fortitude to make a go of it. If you possess those qualities, then you already have an edge over much of the competition. It might take some time to realize that advantage, but — to quote one of my favorite sayings — “persistence breaks down resistance!”

How Do You Choose a Business to Start?

There is no simple answer to that question, but here are a two guiding principles and ideas which may help point you in the right direction.

  • Experience and marketable skills: If you have specialized skills, professional training, practical experience, or college degrees, then you may have the basis for a potentially profitable business. There are countless possibilities to consider, including service businessess, distributorships, consultancies, website businesses, retail stores, product lines, inventions to market, or other entrepreneurial pursuits. Note: Although skills, knowledge, and experience can be strong starting points, a stumbling block for many entrepreneurs and business owners is marketing and how to do it effectively. Without effective marketing tools and strategies, such as well-written business proposals*, your chances for business survival and success are small. (For more insights into marketing techniques and tools, visit my website Marketing Survival Kit.) By the way, if you’re interested in learning more about the value and purpose of business proposals, then check out this article: “It’s All About Trust.”*
  • A passion for a product, service, or worthy cause: You’re probably familiar with the old expression (and book title) “Do what you love and the money will follow.” While that concept doesn’t necessarily hold water 100% of the time, it does contain more than a grain of truth. If you love what you’re doing and find it personally rewarding, then that enthusiasm will help win over customers and clients. A feeling of passion for a career or business also fuels your own motivation, resourcefulness, perseverance, and sense of purpose.

100+ Business Ideas for Entrepreneurs

So getting back to the question of “What business should I start?”, here’s a variety of business ideas that will hopefully help you clarify your goals, narrow your focus, and trigger some actionable ideas for becoming your own boss.

  1. Photography business
  2. Consulting
  3. Residential or commercial cleaning business
  4. Lawn care, lawn mowing, or landscaping
  5. Construction
  6. Graphic design and/or website design
  7. T-shirt business
  8. Real estate sales or investing
  9. Tutoring business
  10. Catering
  11. Retail
  12. Computer repair
  13. eCommerce*
  14. Jewelry business
  15. Pet-related business: grooming, dog walking, pet sitting, boarding, breeding, dog training, or making dog treats*
  16. Clothing business
  17. Trucking
  18. Food business: restaurant, food truck business
  19. Home health care
  20. Personal training/coaching
  21. Carpentry
  22. Wedding planning
  23. Event planning services*
  24. Payroll service
  25. Tax preparation
  26. Handyman services*
  27. Medical billing and coding
  28. Vending machine business
  29. Gym/ fitness center/ health club
  30. Painting business
  31. Greeting cards
  32. Marketing and advertising agency
  33. Party bus business
  34. Carpet cleaning
  35. Daycare business
  36. Craft business
  37. Wholesale business
  38. Cake business
  39. Non-emergency medical transportation
  40. Mobile oil change service
  41. Property preservation or management services
  42. Junk removal
  43. Plumbing
  44. Silk screening
  45. Paintball business
  46. Bookkeeping
  47. Tax preparation
  48. Security guard business
  49. Bail bonds business
  50. Contracting business
  51. eBay business
  52. Flea market business
  53. Window cleaning
  54. Pressure washing
  55. Rental business
  56. Swimming pool cleaning and maintenance
  57. Taxicab service
  58. Photo booth rental
  59. Lead generation service
  60. Virtual assistant business
  61. Mobile locksmith services
  62. Print shop
  63. Roadside assistance services
  64. Wine business
  65. Spa
  66. Welding services
  67. Background check services
  68. Staffing and employee recruiting
  69. Moving company
  70. Home inspection services
  71. Furniture business (retailing, woodworking, being an antique dealer, etc.)
  72. Manufacturing
  73. Social media marketing
  74. Balloon business
  75. Hair salon
  76. Food delivery
  77. Financial planning services
  78. Personal chef services
  79. Fashion business
  80. Boat charter business
  81. Senior care services
  82. Decorating business/ interior design
  83. Massage business
  84. Candy business
  85. Trash removal
  86. Shoe store
  87. Floral business/ flower shop
  88. Courier services
  89. House flipping
  90. Gift baskets
  91. Sign business
  92. Counseling practice
  93. Snow removal
  94. Recycling
  95. Pest control
  96. Gymnastics business
  97. Contracting: Home remodeling, roofing, siding, plumbing, electrical services, HVAC services (heating/ventilation/air conditioning)
  98. Resume writing
  99. Makeup artist services
  100. Solar panel installation

Is There a Market for Your Business Idea?

If you have reason to believe there’s a market for a particular product or service you’re considering, then you may have the basis for a viable small business. Keep in mind, however, that a viable business idea is only the “raw material” for a successful small business.

To succeed, you may also need resources like marketing skills, specialized knowledge, funding, permits and licenses, salesmanship ability, customer service skills, equipment, machinery, supplies, vendor relationships, a physical place to do business, insurance coverage, employees, additional training and education, and the advice of a qualified accountant, attorney, and business insurance advisor.

For more entrepreneurial and small business startup ideas, I invite you to check out other posts on this blog, such as 250 Ideas For Self Employment.

Feel free to link to this post or pass it along to other entrepreneurs you know.

Contact me if you have any questions!

Thanks!

–Joel
Freelance writer, blogger, Internet entrepreneur

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*Disclaimer: I am a compensated affiliate of some of the websites, training materials, software, and marketing tools mentioned (linked to) in this blog. Unless otherwise noted, I am not currently endorsing specific products, services, or websites.

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 what your present situation is. One of the biggest challenges that face many entrepreneurs is finding customers. You can be the most talented graphic designer, wedding 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!

Since marketing is a subject that I’ve been involved with for the past three decades, I’ll frequently be weaving it into my blog posts. Despite the fact that marketing campaigns can be and often are very costly (and not always productive), there are a number of relatively inexpensive ways to attract clients and promote your products and services.

Before I get into “part two” of this blog post, which is the actual self employment ideas, I want to offer some basic business marketing ideas, which will hopefully help you attract and retain customers and clients, without spending a bundle of money.

Advertising, 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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Part One: Small Business Marketing Ideas

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 do 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 think of, and pinpointing your business’s USP, which is often referred to as 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’t 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 appropriate).
  2. Sending out newsworthy press releases to local media outlets and websites. Press releases can often result in a free publicity in the form of a feature article, event listing, or business profile in your local newspaper, regional magazine, websites, podcasts, and broadcast stations.Visibility in the media helps boost your credibility and recognition factor.
  3. Building up an Internet following, either through blogging, developing a social media presence, or signing up people on your website via an autoresponder to subscribe to your monthly newsletter, special offers, 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, and mentors. It’s old-fashioned, but it’s not going to go out of style anytime in the foreseeable future.
  5. Written business proposals: I’m a big proponent of professional business proposals for two reasons: 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, business proposal samples, and frequently used service contract templates. For more information on how and why written business proposals are important and can help you land more clients and customers, check out the article “It’s All About Trust.”*

“What Business Should I Start?”

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

The following list consists mostly of service business ideas, but also includes product-based self employment ideas, as well. Your decision of what business to start depends on a lot of variables, such as your professional skills, experience, talents, personal contacts, existing reputation, market conditions, financial resources, tolerance for risk, salesmanship abilities, people skills, and work ethic.

Part Two: List of Self Employment Ideas

Some of the more popular business ideas that people are pursuing or thinking about starting  include the following options:

  1.  cleaning business (housecleaning, housekeeping, office cleaning, janitorial)
  2. photography business
  3. catering business
  4. consulting business
  5. landscaping business
  6. lawn care business (lawn mowing, etc.)
  7. dog walking business
  8. online business (website/web-based business)
  9. real estate business
  10. academic tutoring services, music lessons
  11. foreign language translation services
  12. construction business/contracting
  13. jewelry sales/jewelry making business
  14. vending machine business
  15. cupcake business
  16. painting business (house painting)
  17. retail sales
  18. food businesses, such as restaurants, food trucks, cafes
  19. recycling business
  20. clothing business
  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
  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 poultry, 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
  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
  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 business
  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
  194. home healthcare business
  195. liquor store
  196. balloon business
  197. horse business
  198. voip business
  199. direct sales
  200. non emergency transportation business
  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
  225. pet boarding business
  226. pet photography business
  227. motorcycle business
  228. mobile dog grooming business
  229. personal fitness training
  230. dog bakery
  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. freelance writing/editing/proofreading
  246. electronic dog fence installation
  247. shoe repair
  248. appliance repair
  249. window tinting
  250. foreclosure cleanups
  251. dumpster rentals
  252. concert promoter
  253. talent agent

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 or email me at prowriter30years@yahoo.com

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

Books on Starting a Business

BTW… If you’d like to download  step-by-step guides to starting a business, I’ve posted links to several small business startup guides* at my website Marketing Survival Kit. Startup guides are available for the following small businesses: office cleaning, janitorial services, handyman business, pest control services, import/export car business, window tinting, vending machine business, roofing, roof cleaning, lawn care, flea market business, gift basket business, kettle corn business, cupcake business, fruit bouquets, candy bouquets, event planning, party rental services, record label business plan, t-shirt business, bail bond service, freight broker business,  professional organizing, Kindle book publishing,  transcription business, computer repair business, farming, aquaculture, and ranching. These and other books on starting a business are available through my website*. More startup guides will be added in coming weeks.

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

Best of luck in all your entrepreneurial pursuits!

–Joel
Business blogger, freelance writer, marketing strategist
Feel free to post a comment on this blog or  email me if you have any questions.

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*Disclaimer: I am a compensated affiliate of some of the websites, marketing software, digital products, templates, books on starting your own business, marketing services, and informational products features in this blog. With a couple possible exceptions, I am currently not endorsing specific products or services at this 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.