New Biz on the Block
- Thursday, January 21, 2010
Offer to create a scrapbook of the photos you took for an additional fee. Make it on paper (and charge extra), or create a digital version if the customer prefers.
Walking dogs, cleaning the yard of their messes, and pet-sitting for neighbors on vacation form another great business opportunity.
Baking or Cooking
Offer to cook full meals and have them ready for a busy working mom when she arrives home. Homemade cookies, cakes, and pies are always popular. Be careful to follow local ordinances on food preparation. Your local county extension or 4-H office will have information on food safety in a business.
Plan a birthday party or holiday parties for your neighbors' children.
Redecorate a room if you have an interest in interior design, or offer to decorate a home at Christmas or other holiday times. Elderly neighbors might appreciate your willingness to set up their tree and string lights.
If you vacuum the interior or wax a car as well as washing it, you can charge an extra fee. Arrange a set time each week to arrive at a neighbor's house and clean the car. Your neighbor will love it!
Teach school subjects such as math and Spanish, or offer lessons in swimming, music, or art. Students may be able to walk to your house for the lesson or vice versa. Charge a premium for going to the student's home. Consider teaching a small group of children at the same time to maximize your income.
Neighbors would love to have you help them when their computer acts up. Offer phone service for a fee or in-person service for an additional fee.
Organize your neighbor's house, playroom, or garage.
Garage Sale Assistant
Advertise, organize, and run a garage sale for your neighbors. Get several neighbors together and really earn the bucks!
Offer to sell your neighbors' stuff on eBay and take a cut for yourself. Combine the decluttering, garage sale, and eBay tasks into a full package to help your neighbors profit from their excess stuff.
A family might want help creating a blog or a Web site for personal or even business use.
If you have taken a basic accounting class, you could offer data entry for a small business.
Tips for Running a Successful Business
• Keep good records. Record all sources of income and every expense. Total them by categories such as gas, supplies, and books.
• Talk to a tax expert if you find yourself making more than $400 in profit in a year. You may need to pay taxes. Visit my tax Web site, www.CarolToppCPA.com, and read the article entitled "Teens and Taxes."
• Collect payment from your customers when the job is complete, or you might forget to bill them later. If they don't pay immediately, hand them a bill and keep a copy for yourself. Office supply stores sell sales slips and receipt books with duplicate copies.
• Do a few jobs for free to get started. This will build your experience and confidence. Get a good referral from a neighbor and use it in your advertising to other neighbors.
• Make up a business plan. It does not have to be very long; one page will do. List what you plan to sell, how you will advertise, what you will charge, and what expenses you will incur. Get your parents' opinion on your idea and ask a business owner for feedback. Listen to their advice and follow it.
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