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5 Small Business Ideas for Men and Women in 2018

Self-employment is something most people working a 9-to-5 job dream about. Starting your own small business is a great way to supplement income or to become your own boss entirely, turning that dream into a reality. However, it does not come without risk.

Deciding to start a small business can be equal parts exciting and daunting. It is no secret there is a ton of competition among small businesses in almost all niches on the market.

Several businesses can be started from scratch with only a computer connected to the internet. There are a few things to keep in mind when brainstorming for your new business:

-Is there a demand for it on the market?

-Do you have any skills or interest in the business?

-Will it make a profit years from now?

-How much will it cost to startup?

Menand women both deserve to have a business they are proud of. It can be difficult deciding what is worth pursuing. Below are five small business ideas that are in high demand, have little-to-no startup cost, and are predicted to turn a profit for many years to come.

1. Web Development

Web Development

Almost every business has a website for informational and shopping purposes. Online traffic is vital for a small business to thrive, especially if it is new with no loyal customers. A website drives traffic to the business which helps make sales.

Many small business owners do not wish to burden themselves with building a website or are confused by the process. It is highly common for them to reach out to another business to fulfill their website needs.

Pros:

Web development does is not costly to start out. An amateur web developer only needs a computer and internet access to begin designing websites for clients.  

Cons:

There is a lot of competition among web developers. You will need to work hard to build a portfolio that will bring in new clients and establish business credibility.

2. Lawn Care Service

According to a consumer survey conducted by the National Association of Landscape Professionals, 78% of US adults have a house that has a lawn and/or landscaping. 44% of adults hire a professional for lawn services. It is a common misconception that lawn care service is only available during the spring and summer months.

However, the winter months can bring in some work as well. Offering snow removal and winter gardening services is a good way to keep the business going in all twelve months of the year.

Pros:

It can be fairly easy to market your new lawn care business since it will most likely be local clientele. Once you have established a customer base, it will likely remain steady and consistent for many seasons. 

Cons:

The initial cost can be hefty if new or additional equipment is needed. It is also important to be in the vicinity of your clientele. Long driving distances demand more fuel which adds to your expenditures. Winter months will slow down business as well. It is also important to remember that there are some economical risks with a lawn care business. Most families will cut lawn care from their expenses during tough financial times. 

3. Bed and Breakfast Landlord

Whether it is for business or pleasure, most people travel at one point in their lives. Anyone traveling is likely to be looking for ways to save money every chance they can. Sleeping accommodations are typically the largest expense.

People around the globe have utilized the growing popularity of Airbnb: an American company that allows a host (landlord) to rent out a room or building to travelers through an online marketplace.

Pros:

There is versatility in renting out space to someone. You choose what the guest is given and has access to in the listing. Offering something unique, such as a tour of the area from a local can increase profits. Renting out a bed and breakfast also gives you the freedom to choose which dates the room/house is available for rent. This is ideal for someone looking to supplement an income.

Cons:

You will not earn a fixed income from a bed and breakfast. Most landlords will find that their guests will be seasonal, resulting in fewer profits. 

4. Social Media Consultant

Social Media Consultant

Social media consulting is a great small business idea if you are social media savvy, understand or can learn about various online services and programs, and want to help raise a business’s bottom line through online interactions.

Successful marketing campaigns bring in customers and help a business thrive. According to CNNMoney, being a social media consultant is predicted to see a 9% job growth within the next decade.

Pros:

Like many small businesses, being a social media consultant can be done in the comfort of your own home and can start out on the side of a normal 9-to-5 job. Building your online credibility can be done through friends or family with small businesses, even if they have just launched them. You also do not need to be in the same location as your client, effectively driving online traffic to a business from across the globe through social media. 

Cons:

While you are busy managing your clients’ social media, it is important not to neglect your own. A client will lose confidence in your consulting abilities if they discover your own accounts do not reflect your business, such as engagement and frequency of posts. Social media is both a positive and negative place. You may encounter a marketing campaign backfiring and vulgar comments.

5. Personal Trainer

Diet and exercise are the two components of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. While there are numerous health trends and fads, nothing can replace the benefits of exercise. If you have a passion for fitness, becoming a licensed trainer is the best way to make money by doing what you love. Through a personal trainer license, you can do one-on-one training sessions at a place of residence, instruct group sessions, and open your own fitness studio. 

Pros:

Starting your own personal training business allows you to stay fit. Clients who hire personal trainers for a long-term duration tend to be financially well-off. 

Cons:

It is typically required to become recertified every one to two years. Anytime people are physically active there is a chance of injury. You will need excellent liability insurance in the case of an injury, especially inside of a private residence. 

Final Thoughts

Your small business should reflect who you are and fill a demand in your niche. Launching a small business requires some sacrifices. It takes time, effort, and skill to start and maintain. While there is no shortage of small business ideas, only some will drive profits and always be in demand.

The Quick and Easy Way to Register a Company in the USA for 2018

Every year, millions of Americans and international citizens launch businesses in the United States. The many benefits of forming a company in the United States steadily emboldens entrepreneurs to take on the multidimensional task of registering their businesses.

Unbeknownst to many, there is no American citizen requirement to register a business in the USA. Savvy international entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the non-residency provision to both form and expand their companies in the United States.

Our comprehensive guide takes you through the various steps involved with opening a company in the USA. Straightforward and easy to read, our guide makes it a simple task to garner the education and knowledge you need to not only get started on registering your business, but also advises you how to effortlessly deal with the most common challenges that occur during the registration process.

Step 1: Determine the legal disposition of your business

Any successful business endeavor must first start with determining and defining the type of enterprise that it is. Common examples include sole proprietorships, corporations, nonprofit organizations, and limited-liability companies or partnerships.

With so many options to choose from, business owners must carefully examine multiple aspects of their business to find the most prudent course of action. Regardless of the type of business you form, each type must be organized as a legal entity that encompasses highly specific financial, legal, and tax concerns.

When determining the legal classification of your business, you should include the level of autonomy and control that you desire, the degree of vulnerability to litigation and lawsuits, and the financing needs.

Also, depending on the legal characterization of your business, there will inevitably be other structure-specific registration requirements. These are often dependent on the state, and registration forms may have to be filed in more than one agency.

If the business is considered a sole proprietorship, or sole trader, then you will not need to register on the state level. However, numerous states require that sole proprietorships register their business name with their own name unless a DBA (Doing Business As) name is registered.

Keep in mind that your choice of business type is not a permanent decision. You can, for example, switch your business classification from a sole proprietorship to an LLC. Businesses change their legal status frequently, particularly when the business experiences significant growth and concurrent risk of liability.

The legal name of your business is necessary on all associated government forms and documents, including, but not limited to licensed, employer tax IDs, and permits. A “fictitious name” may be registered if your business intends on setting up a storefront or selling products under an alternative name.

Consider consulting with your local Small Business Administration chapter to get guidance and advice from those experienced in the business registration process.

Step 2: Obtain the federal tax ID for your business

Obtain the federal tax ID for your business

Acquiring a federal tax ID for your company is a prerequisite to doing business in the USA. Also referred to as an “Employer Identification Number” (EIN), it is used to identify a business entity.

There is an array of methods you can undertake to apply for an EIN/Federal ID number, with an online application among the most convenient and expeditious methods available.

Employer Identification Numbers (Federal Tax IDs) are required for the following:

  • Businesses with employees
  • Corporations
  • Business partnerships
  • Other various organizations

EIN/Federal ID tips

  • Contact the U.S. Internal Revenue Service at 1-800-829-4933 for assistance and guidance through the process
  • Applying for an EIN/Federal ID is completely free of charge
  • Businesses are required to inquire with their specific state to determine if they need a separate state charter or number
  • Obtaining Employer Identification Numbers do not require having a social security number

Step 3: Taxes

After registering your business with the state (and other agencies if required,) and procuring a Federal Tax ID/EIN, you will need to obtain a Tax identification number,

Any business that sells products will need to pay sales tax to the IRS, and as such, will need either a Vendor’s License or Sales Tax Permit. In addition to remitting taxes to the federal government, businesses will need to pay tax state and local taxes.

It’s of critical importance to be cognizant of the many various taxes involved with owning a business, as a lack of knowledge can result in hefty fines and penalties.

Examples of tax-related requirements include the following:

Employment taxes

Any business that has employees is required to pay federal and varying state taxes. Required by all states within the US is a requirement for businesses to also pay unemployment insurance taxes and state workers’ compensation insurance

Sales tax

The vast majority of states in the USA require that business owners register their business with the state tax agency to apply for any necessary permits to collect sales tax

Income Taxes

The majority of states in the USA determine a business’s tax obligation based upon its legal structuring.

Additionally, nearly all states place levies on corporate or business income taxes. Important to note is that sole proprietorships need to report both their business and personal income tax on a single form while LLCs are taxed independent of its legal owners (if classified as a Limited Liability Company.)

Disability insurance must be paid if a business is in California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, or Rhode Island.

Conclusion

Registering and incorporating a company in the USA may seem like a daunting task for aspiring entrepreneurs, established international companies, and many other types of enterprises.

Our comprehensive guide streamlines the business registration process to arm you with the essential information you need to start your company in the United States and be well on your way to substantive market success.

Top 5 Online Businesses in 2018

Today, making money online has become something of a phenomenon. When you read about the number of people making a better than wonderful living online, you will question everything you were ever taught about your typical 9-5.

The numbers are astonishing:

  • DanTDM makes roughly $16.5m a year from YouTube (he makes videos of himself playing Pokémon and Minecraft)
  • PewDiePie makes about $12m for recording himself playing games and making funny comments on YouTube
  • Kayla Itsines makes about $17m from her App and $150,000 per Instagram post for her workout videos and tips
  • Jeff Bezos owns Amazon and is arguably the richest man on Earth today

Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Ma Yun of Alibaba, and Sergey Brin of Google: these are all colossal brand entrepreneurs who have made their fortunes online.

Yes, it’s easy to say that these people all went to Ivy League schools and were destined for greatness anyway. The truth is if they hadn’t chosen the online money-making path, they might have still ended up with good, high paying jobs, but we wouldn’t know their names today.

Why You Should Consider Starting an Online Business in 2018

Forget about the Ivy League for a second: there is one main reason why starting an online business is probably the best decision you will ever make.

The internet is the great equalizer!!

That is the naked truth. Whether you have an Ivy League degree, a high school diploma, or just a knack for making money and not much else, in the online world, you can make something of yourself. All you will need is a viable idea and the will to see it through.

Although the barriers to entry are pretty slim, that should not fool you; the challenges are monumental. However, with the right attitude and motivation, you too can make millions online. Here are some ideas you can start exploring right away:

Top 5 Online Businesses in 2018

Make Money Through the App Economy

If you think that you are not technically or internet savvy enough to build platforms like Facebook and employ your Jedi-like internet marketing skills to make a killing online, then maybe you should consider leveraging the App economy. Think about it:

  • Uber is now the biggest taxi company in the world, and it is always taking on more drivers.
  • Airbnb is now the biggest bed and breakfast company in the world, and it too is always taking on new homeowners
  • Postmates is always taking on more delivery staff
  • iBotta can help you make money by purchasing featured products from select retailers

All these options give you an opportunity to be self-employed and the freedom to determine how much work you get done and thus how much money you can make. It is kind of like owning your own business only leveraging someone else’s platform for the marketing. Win-win!

Become an Affiliate Marketer

Affiliate Marketing is still by far one of the best ways to make money online. One of the biggest affiliate marketing companies online is ‘Survival Life‘ which makes more than a million dollars a month.

All you have to do is find a niche where people spend a lot of money buying items online and sell those items to those people. You don’t even have to own the items in questions.

You can merely generate traffic and lead them to platforms such as Amazon and eBay where you will get a commission for every sale you make.

Through affiliate marketing, you can make anything from $0 to millions per year depending on how well you do it and who you sell to online. All you will need is a website, a way to generate interest in your products (blogging) and something to sell (Amazon, eBay,etc.)

Sell Your Work Online

There are very many platforms through which you can sell things online:

So long as you have something to sell, whether it is a commodity or a service, you can always find someone willing to buy it online.

Become an Amazon FBA Seller

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) selling has become a big industry of late. The idea is to come up with products and piggyback off the popularity of one of the biggest retailers in the world: Amazon.

To own an FBA Seller account only costs you about $40 a month and for that, Amazon does everything for you including:

  • Advertising
  • Packaging
  • Shipping
  • Returns

They even deal with all the bothersome customer service issues. All you have to do is make sure that you come up with a product that people actually want to buy, which means you will have to spend quite a bit on R&D. With this model of business, you could make anywhere from $1000 to millions of dollars a year.

Become a Virtual Assistant

Become a Virtual Assistant

More and more people are starting online businesses to make money nowadays. According to Forbes, one in every five Americans works from home now. All these people will need someone to help them manage and run things. From:

  • Helping them keep appointments
  • Helping them keep the books
  • Digital marketing
  • Appointment making
  • Social media postings

The list of what people need a virtual assistant for is virtually endless. All you have to do is highlight how you can help entrepreneurs and start marketing your services through online platforms such as Upwork, PeoplePerHour or even your own website.

The beauty of the online economy is that you can pretty much do anything you set your mind to. You could:

  • Become an indie writer/publisher (the median earnings reported by authors is about $20,000)
  • Become a life coach (Michael Serwa commands a whopping $45,000 per client)
  • Become a social media influencer (with about 20 million followers, Cameron Dallas earns about $17,000 per sponsored post while people like Cristiano Ronaldo and Selena Gomez make more than $400,000 per sponsored post)
  • Become a blogger and write highly valued blog posts (Perez Hilton makes about $575,000 per month)

To say that the online business world is lucrative would be to understate the matter. If you can find the audience and the product, and you can formulate a sustainable digital marketing strategy, there is really no limit to how much you can make every year.

Best Proven Inexpensive Marketing Ideas for Small Business and Startups

Marketing is often one of those tasks that every business would like to accomplish, but budget restrictions often limit its actual potential. In fact, the majority of small businesses and startups spend no money on marketing and instead rely solely on word of mouth.

However, plenty of inexpensive marketing campaigns can quickly be started. These campaigns do work, and they can save you a lot of money in the beginning stages of your business.

Publish Great Content on Your Blog

This is the first inexpensive marketing idea that any small business or startup can successfully employ. Every company should have a corporate blog that they fill with valuable content. This type of strategy is also known as a content marketing strategy.

Some examples of great content for your blog could include articles explaining how your product works and articles relating to your niche. For example, a company that sells water filters might want content that explains how a water filter works and how to install a water filter. They could also write content about the benefits of clean drinking water and the dangers of unfiltered water. Every industry has thousands of potential articles to write.

Content marketing works great because it will gradually improve your search engine rankings over time for keywords relating to your niche. Using our previous example, it could help improve your rankings for searches that relate to the purchase of a water filter.

Finally, if the content is great and extremely valuable, then it might get shared amongst readers on social media. Readers will then read the article on your website and potentially purchase a product.

Publishing content is one strategy marketing idea that you cannot ignore. The amount of money and time required is minimal as well. Once you publish the article, then no further work is required unlike Google Adwords or Facebook ads.

Use Reddit

Posting high-quality content to Reddit about your niche is an excellent way to market your business. However, marketing on Reddit requires extreme caution as it can easily backfire if done improperly.

For best results, post to a small sub-Reddit relating to your niche. The most important step is to post valuable content that does not look like an advertisement. Reddit users are very adept at spotting advertisements and do not like companies that advertise on Reddit. Don’t let that scare you though. Many companies have successfully advertised on Reddit without Reddit users discovering the advertisement.

Utilize Infographics

Infographics work amazingly well for advertising your company. You can make them yourself, but you probably should hire a designer to make them look as good as possible.

A strategy that many businesses use involves turning their high-quality blog posts into an infographic. This works because people are much more likely to share an infographic than a blog post. Just make sure to place a watermark with your company name on the infographic.

For example, a company that sells water filters can turn a blog post about the benefits of filtered into a visually appealing infographic. People are much more likely to share the infographic on Facebook or Twitter than the blog post.

Readers of the infographic will automatically see your brand while viewing the image. A powerful infographic campaign can turn your business into a well-known name in the industry just because of the positive association with your company.

Partner with Other Businesses

Partner with Other Businesses

Partnering up with other businesses can work well for a marketing campaign. You obviously do not want to partner up with a direct competitor, but a business in a similar niche can have amazing benefits.

You get to piggyback onto the brand equity that the other company has developed. The best way to find businesses to partner with is through networking. Go to business events and industry events. Often you can find businesses looking for a partnership and utilize this to further both your businesses.

Apply for Business Awards

Most industries will have awards for businesses in the industry. These awards often receive little to no entrants, which makes winning them surprisingly easy. If you do win, then you can add the badge to your website and marketing materials. This badge can often increase the trustworthiness of your business and result in even more business.

Finally, winning the award itself can lead to publicity depending on the organization that awards it. A good place to look for competitions is the local industry organizations. Every industry will have an organization,and many of them will offer rewards. Those organizations also offer a great networking opportunity as well.

Email Your Customers

Emailing your customers is another great way to market your business with a budget. This works particularly well for businesses that must collect customer email addresses such as ecommerce. Once you have their email address, you can focus on nurturing them as customers and providing value. After a period of time, you can send them promotions and updates about future products.

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to market your business. It is also very effective with the proper email strategy. Make sure to setup a mailing list if you already have customer email addresses. There is no good reason you should not have a mailing list. The cost is low, and the returns are phenomenal with the proper strategy.

Final Thoughts on Inexpensive Marketing Ideas

The above ideas are a great place to start for marketing your business. All the methods listed above are very inexpensive to market your business. A few of them, email and blogging, can be utilized by almost every type of business at little to no cost.

Other methods might only be suitable for some industries. However, you can still attempt all the marketing techniques listed above no matter the industry. An added bonus is that the uniqueness of the above techniques will make your business stand out. Customers may begin to recognize your business as the one that has the best content, infographics, or most business awards.

Most businesses struggle even to find customers. If customers can remember your business for any positive reason, then your business is already on the path to success.

10 Fun Games to Motivate Employees at A Startup (These Really Work)

One of the difficulties that startup founders’ face is motivating their employees and keeping them focused. These difficulties are usually caused by the long hours and low pay often associated with startups.

The following 10 fun games will help motivate your employees. It will also help build stronger bonds between your team and create a greater sense of community in the workplace. All this will lead to more productivity, which increases the chances of your startup’s success.

Egg Drop

You might remember this game from your middle school science class. It still works well in a startup environment. The goal is for different teams to build a device to protect an egg from cracking when dropped from a certain height. You typically use household materials such as string, straw, and paper.

This game will help unite your employees by giving them the opportunity to work together and come up with fun solutions to the problem. This team building will then translate into closer bonds and more motivation while working on problems relating to the business.

4-Way Tug-of-War

This is a fun twist on a classic game. For this game, you tie a rope so that four teams can tug at once. This fun activity will help build teamwork among team members and offer a good break from a busy day at work.

Holiday Themed Competitions

Creating competitions around the holidays will help improve motivation and overall morale of your team as well. The best example of a competition is a costume contest. Have your employees dress up for Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and any other holiday. The winner of the contest gets some sort of office award for their desk combined with a monetary award.

This improves motivation, but it also makes things more fun at the office.

Start a Company Raffle

Company raffles are another terrific way to encourage motivation. Reward raffle tickets to team members that perform well or continuously meet their tasks. The criteria really depend on the type of startup you are running. If you choose to do this activity, then make sure the raffle prize is a good prize to offer the employees a bit more incentive. Some examples of good prizes include cash and Amazon gift cards.

Role Exchange

This game involves switching the roles in your startup. This works especially well if you already have a few different teams working on different projects. Some examples involve putting the engineers on the customer service team and putting the customer service team on the operations team. This gives team members a unique look at the different problems that their co-workers face.

It also motivates them to work better as a team because they see the different problems that they all face. Further, your engineering team will get to see some of the problems that customers complain about, which gives them a unique insight into the software that they write.

Pat on the Back Game

This is a fairly simple game to play. You line up your team members and tell them to pat each other on the back and mention a positive reason why. This game will mentally reward your employees for completing their tasks.

You can even add a competitive edge to this game, and the employee that receives the most back pats will receive some sort of reward.

Have a “Decorate Your Area” Contest

A contest like this works well because people are naturally competitive and will strive to have the best possible area. However, it works for more than just that. An area that looks better will lead to more productivity from your team members while working on their tasks.

Circle of Questions

Circle of Questions

This game works well as your company grows. The basic instructions of this game are to instruct your employees to line themselves up into an inner circle and an outer circle. The employee on the inner circle will ask the employee on the outer circle a question chosen by the manager. After 15 seconds the team member that answered the question will then ask the question. Once both sides have answered the question, the circle will rotate counter-clockwise, and a new set of questions will begin.

This works well because it will bond your employees closer together, which is not common at a surprising number of companies. These closer bonds will further motivate the employees to work harder toward the company goals.

Some example questions include asking them about their future and their favorite part about working at a startup. Think of light and fun questions for the employees to ask each other. Obviously, avoid anything related to politics and religion or anything that may be deemed controversial.

Wheel-of-Fortune

This works in a similar style to the company raffle. However, instead of raffle tickets, each winner gets to spin a prize wheel. You can determine winners by setting up criteria such as meeting a deadline or finishing a particular project.

Rewards can be something simple such as items with your company or more practical like cash. Honestly, the reward does not matter nearly as much as the fact that you reward positive results with some sort of prize and chance drawing.

Jar Full of Dollars

Jar Full of Dollars

Jar Full of Dollars is a very simple game to set up as the name implies. You simply fill a jar full of dollar bills. When an employee, or team, meet a certain goal they get to draw a dollar from the jar. The employee that wins the most times during the day gets an additional prize.

This works great for motivation because it rewards good work for all employees. However, the top performer gets an even bigger bonus. This helps motivate everyone to try to become the top performer in the company.

Final Thoughts

The fun games mentioned above will all work well for motivating your employees. You might have noticed a pattern of rewarding positive results with some kind of prize or another incentive. This method works great for motivating employees as everyone loves receiving prizes. More importantly, people will channel their inner competitiveness to win a game.

The end result of these games will be a motivation boost to your team, which results in more productivity and better work for your team members. Try a game out at your startup and see how they work with your team.