This article is excerpted from U.S. News money senior editor Kimberly Palmer’s book, “The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life,” which was released this month. Copyright © 2014 Kimberly Palmer. Published by AMACOM Books, a division of American Management Association, New York, NY. Used with permission. All rights reserved
Dogs are amazing. But, owners aren’t always at home to take them for a walk. If you’re a canine fan like I hope you are, this great side business idea can net you a regular profit by just taking some adorable pups for a stroll around the park. With pet-crazed, yet busy Americans having more pooches around, dog walking services have become a thriving industry in some U.S. cities. In fact, there’s already an app called Wag that links up dog walkers who want to exercise this business idea with the pet owners who need a helping hand.
If you aren’t familiar with the term, bootstrapping, also known as “self-funding,” refers to the various methods entrepreneurs can use to fund their startups beyond funding sources like small business loans. The phrase, based around the popular idea of individuals “pulling themselves up by their bootstraps,” refers to doing something without outside help—in this instance, funding your business.
Like birthdays, marriages happen all the time. Which means you can treat weddings as a recurring fountain of business opportunities: wedding dresses and coats, jewelers, food caterers, venue providers, photographers and videographers, performers, flower shops, travel agencies, souvenir crafts, and a host of other ventures. Now imagine if you can form a network of these service providers so you can offer engaged couples a range of hassle-free wedding packages as a turnkey business idea. The process is certainly fun (and time-consuming), but as a side business idea, the pay can be pretty great.
Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Yuletide, Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year, 4th of July, Mother’s Day. There are a ton of traditional holidays that count as solid reasons to explore the side business idea of crafting and selling seasonal decorations. After all, people and businesses pay good money for them. In fact, total sales of Christmas trees in the U.S. alone amounted to a whopping $1.04 billion in 2014. And you still have holiday lights, nativity scenes, crafted hangings, baskets, wreaths, and other decorations to cover, making this a potentially year-round seasonal side business idea.
Before we go here, just wanted to share with you a great mindset to get into to help motivate your side hustlin’ even more. I call it the “Gigs For Goals” mindset and the idea behind it is that you attach all gigs of yours to a specific bill or a future want/need. If you can match them up to break even, you’re golden! If you fall short, you need to re-arrange your wants and/or start bringing in higher income streams to match ’em. It looks like this:
I surprisingly get a lot of people asking to detail their car. I never intend to make a business of it, but I love doing it to my cars and people ask me to do it to theirs. All it takes is a cheap orbital buffer (mines a used craftsman) and a shop vac. I normally get easily $100 for a basic wash/wax/vac, or $200 to remove scratches and polish then wax the car.
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