I`m so glad to have joined your community. Please take a look at my SuN introduction and life plan at http://www.startupnation.com/forums/11096/41/1
I have so many ideas for a side business. I`d like to let out my top five ideas and get your feedback.
1. First, I thought I needed to just get going on something - create a product, produce it and sell it on eBay and Amazon. I have an idea for a high-quality, office desktop accessory; it is a perpetual, daily flip calendar that beautifies the environment and shares a timeless advice quote each day. After reading some of the SuN Step-by-Step articles (Open for Business and Creating and Licensing and Invention), I decided to back off from this as my initial attempt. So, my current goal is to create a nearly complete prototype that I can have on my own desk and eventually market when I am better equipped to make it succeed.
2. Still thinking about manufacturing an actual object, I considered my idea to sell plastic origami. Recall the basic origami crane. Now, rather than using the medium of paper, it is a strong, thin plastic. It replicates the thinness and delicacy of paper, but with the texture and durability of plastic. I envision this being sold in places like the Museum Store or Crate and Barrell, and other home decor stores. I also believe it would sell well on Etsy and eBay. Nevertheless, is it worth the time and energy to do? How much profit could I make? It`s not all about money, but this is not something that would sell very many for very much. I would make it just because I want one in my house, which is a pretty good reason, but I want to make a profit on my first try.
3. Another idea I had was creating a "new graduate`s library". Nephew Nathan is graduating from high school and has plans to head off to Texas A&M. As his entrepreneurial, achievement oriented uncle, I want to give him something really awesome. What could be better than giving him all the information he`ll need to succeed in business and in his career? I head to www.graduateslibrary.com . Here I can select one to fifty books individually, or as pre-organized sets, and pair these books with college-specific bookends or bookmarks. So I proudly bring my box containing A&M bookends, and books by Napoleon Hill, Dave Ramsey, and the Sloan brothers. For Aggies, I may also include a picture book. Now my nephew has all the information I wish I`d had when I was 18. Questions here include how to manage the distribution of both books and bookends, especially since I`m in no position to warehouse anything myself.
4. Moving away from physical products, I considered an ebook and coaching service. I`m quite good at helping financially illiterate people (most people) get on a written budget. I learned how the hard way, and I have since showed others how to tell their money where to go and what to do while keeping the process simple. I can do this first by offering an ebook about how I use Google Spreadsheets to manage my income and expenses. Second, I could offer a 2-3 hour budget setup consultation, whereby I and the client sit down at our own computers and each log into the same Google spreadsheet so we can collaborate visually on the same document from our own location. At the same time we would be communicating on the telephone. I would quickly teach them the basics of using Google Spreadsheets, including how to export to Excel, and go over with them my budgeting philosophy. This information could also be on my website for free or as a video or ebook. I hesitate on this because I`m not thrilled about working directly with people, and it does not provide residual income. If I consult, I get paid. Otherwise, nothing. Except for the ebook, but I`m not so sure I have enough information to write anything more than what I could put into one article.
5. My other service idea pertains to helping small businesses. I see so many small company websites that have misspellings, bad grammar, incorrect word usage, and other blatant errors in the use of English. Whatever the reason for such shoddy work, I want to help them improve their image by proofreading their website for them. This one really appeals to me most. I work with clients indirectly. I can work at my own pace. The results of my work are evident and give me satisfaction for a job well done. There is plenty of work to be done! The trick here is marketing. I had considered just visiting the websites of companies I`d heard of, identifying some typos, and then emailing the company directly pointing out how I could specifically help them. Someone said, Who wants to be told their website sucks? So, a big part of this would be marketing tactfully. I`ll really need help with that aspect.
What do you think?