Starting a Composting Businesss

starting a composting business
Compost is used as fertilizer and soil amendment in organic farming. Compost helps put the necessary nutrients back in the soil to help your plants to grow. Many organic farmers or gardeners may not have the time to make the compost them-self so this is where your business can come in.

When starting a composting business there are several ways to compost. There is the most familiar way with grass clippings and fallen leaves. For composting with food scraps, there is vermicomposting – composting with worms. Starting a composting business is one of the best ways to help the environment, reduce the landfill, and contribute to the better gardening in your locale. It is best to start it out as a side business, because it takes six months or more to complete the composting process.

Job duties

When starting a composting business first you will have to decide how you will gather the composting material and what type of composting you will do. An area on your land will need to be set up with the proper equipment. You will need sufficient space to keep your rotting pile while it decomposes for at least 6 to 12 months. After that time you need to ensure there are no microbes in your compost (you can do this by using a microscope). You will need to come up with a marketing plan, and a plan for collecting the compost materials. You will also need to carry out the usual duties of starting a business, such as writing a business plan and keeping books. Be sure to plan out all aspects of your business such as how much compost you will be able to produce and sell.

Where you will be working

An area where there are community gardens, garden clubs or environmental clubs may be promising neighborhood. Depending on the scale of your business you can decide to sell your compost locally or package it and ship it to customers nationwide. However you should be aware that shipping can be expensive if you don’t work with the right carriers. It is important that you learn about local rules and regulations that you must follow when operating a composting business. For example you may want to ask how far from your neighbors must the compost be located.

Basic costs

When starting a composting business your costs will depend on the size of your business and how you plan to transport or deliver your finished product. If you will be selling the compost locally you may need a vehicle for hauling and transporting the compost. If you are bagging the compost you will need the bagging equipment. Basic garden tools will be needed, such as a couple different shovels, a wheel-barrel, and a garden or pitch fork. You will also need the materials for making the composting bins. Other materials include a soil test kit, burlap sacks, a microscope and wet mount slides. You should develop a small library of books on the various aspects of composting. There is also the cost of worms if you are going to do worm composting.

How to start a composting business tips

  • Use easy packaging – burlap bagging is a good way to go, and returned bags can be used for strip mulching.
  • You could graduate to worm composting – worms are quite dutiful workers when it comes to making compost. They can even turn kitchen scraps into rich compost. Red wigglers are the best worms for composting. Worm composting can also be done inside with a box. The box should have some sort of wet bedding such as shredded newspapers or shredded leaves. You will need about 1,000 worms (1 pound) to start a worm box.
  • Add coffee grounds to your composting mix – the worms love it and it helps enrich the compost. Coffee grounds and wood chips also makes a great composting combination. You can find used coffee grounds from your local coffee shops who usually throw it away.
  • Check for bad micro-organisms – you will need to be well versed in what the micro environment should look like for good compost.
  • Promote your business – give talks and demonstrations at gardening clubs, environmental organizations, and any natural-themed fair. You can decide to get compost business cards.
  • Seek advice– It is highly recommended that you seek advice from someone experienced in commercial composting. They probably have learned a lot through their experience in the composting business and this information can be very helpful to you.
  • Don’t put these foods in your compost!– Avoid putting meat, fish, dairy products, oil and grease in your compost. Not only do these foods break down very slowly, they can also attract rodents and smell very bad.
  • Check Local Regulations– Be sure to check into the local regulations surrounding composting in your region. There may be a limit on how much compost you can produce on your property. It is important that you are aware of these regulations.
  • Develop a niche– If you see that there is good amount of demand for for a certain niche in composting such as organic composting , take advantage of it and consider focusing on that niche.

Not sure about Starting a Composting Business? See a list of small business ideas

Do you have a business story or experience you would like to share?

Share with us your story on starting a composting business.

Starting a Translation Business


The translation industry is one which has seen steady growth, particularly in the last two decades, and which is set to continue this trend for the foreseeable future, to the tune of at least 5% per year. The market just for Indian languages is worth around half a billion dollars annually, and the Asian translation market as a whole is worth close to $1.5 billion!

So it is not surprising that translation service providers are myriad – the leading translation portal ProZ.com lists well over 36,000 translation agencies in its directory and there are probably many times more than that which are not listed.

How does the translation business work?

A huge proportion of translation services are provided not by in-house staff but by agencies to which translation projects are outsourced. Translation is the classic example of a largely outsourced business whereby agencies act as “middle men” between clients and freelance translators whom they employ on an ad hoc basis. This arrangement suits everybody concerned, since freelancers come by a steady stream of work, clients for translation services do not have to concern themselves with finding freelancers and managing translation projects, and the agencies in the middle can earn a healthy margin whilst largely acting as brokers, though their task should also be to manage projects closely and provide stringent quality control.

How to start a translation business

A large proportion of the time, translation agencies are founded by freelance translators whose business has outgrown their own capacities and who have begun to outsource work and to take on an increasingly managerial role. Often this does not happen particularly intentionally, but organically, as the volume of business increases. Not every freelance translator will go this route, as running a business can seem a daunting prospect – though any freelance worker in any industry should really be running their affairs as a business from the outset if they want to enjoy real long-term sustainability.

For an existing freelance translator wanting to go to the “next level”, here are a few important steps that they would do well consider:

  • Incorporation (if they have not done this already): there are many advantages to actually being registered as a business, but in particular the freelance translator needs to start thinking of him- or herself as a business rather than just a “lone wolf”.
  • Building a team: although translation agencies rarely employ translators in-house, the would-be translation business owner needs to begin identifying potential associates – translators and editors with whom they will work more closely on a long-term basis and with whom they can develop a stable relationship and mutual understanding. This is far more preferable to trawling freelance sites every time a new project arrives, looking for translators whose standard of work cannot be verified with certainty and whose reliability is not guaranteed.
  • Business profiling: the translation business needs to profile itself to a particular niche or market. There are far too many translation agencies that purport to offer services in “all languages and all fields”. Trust me, this is nonsense – none but the largest companies can possibly provide adequate quality control or reliable service with this approach. Far better to decide on a language combination in which to specialise – the choice will probably be obvious, based on the translator’s existing abilities. When I founded Odista, my own agency, I was very clear with myself that we would only accept Serbian-English translation projects and work on becoming the leading provider for that particular language combination.

However, you may be an entrepreneur who is considering entering this business with no prior experience of it. This is not particularly unusual and can also be successfully achieved: translation companies are run as businesses, and the project managers in charge of clients and vendors (freelance translators) are not in all cases translation professionals. Their job is primarily managerial – translations can go through a quality control process that does not directly involve the project managers, whereby freelancers are employed to conduct translation, proof-reading and editing, without the need for any quality control in-house.

However, it would probably be advisable for any entrepreneur planning to enter the translation market to have on board a language professional who understands what quality means from a linguistic perspective and how to achieve it.

Other than, similar advice applies as to freelance translators starting out in business, especially with respect to profiling your business – it is far better to focus on a limited number of languages for which you have identified quality providers. Also, it is highly advisable to choose carefully the fields in which your company will offer services. For example, medical translation is a very sensitive field requiring a whole level of quality control and expertise that cannot be established overnight. The same might apply for other specialist areas like law or engineering – these areas are best avoided for a startup translation agency until it has gained some experience in the industry.

One last piece of advice

Every company (not just a translation agency) needs to set up procedures for everything it does, so that all work is done according to the same standard workflow and quality control procedure. You can see an example of a basic translation project workflow. This also includes a paper-trail (albeit on-screen), which includes standard forms on which jobs are logged and tracked and purchase orders which are issued to freelancers before work is carried out, to name just a few key examples.

The translation industry can be a profitable one to break into. Provided quality is made paramount and the business carefully builds its own profile and identifies and capitalises on its target market, there is no reason for success not to be forthcoming.

About the author: Mark Daniels manages Odista, the Serbian-English translation agency he owns, based in Novi Sad, Serbia, and is also the author of the ebook “How to Become a Translator: Breaking into the freelance translation business” – a concise guide for would-be freelance translators.

Starting a Spray Tan Business

By Donald Michael Schwartz

starting a spray tan businessAre you considering starting a spray tan business? As more people become aware of dangers of long-term exposure to the sun or the ultra-violet rays of a tanning bed, spray-on tanning has become a more popular option. Spay tanning is the fastest growing segment of the beauty industry. In the spray tanning process, Erythrulose and DHA interact with the outer skin layer’s amino acids. Over time, this is what darkens the skin naturally without the exposure to potentially dangerous UV rays of sunlight or a sun lamp. You can buy tanning formulas with replenishing and re-hydrating properties for the enhanced health of the skin being treated.

Job duties

First thing you will need to do is learn how to operate the tanning air brush machine, then you will have to shop around for the right equipment. Deciding whether you will have an in-salon (or home) business or mobile operation will determine what kind of equipment you will buy. After choosing a location, you will need to set up your studio. If you decide to go with a mobile operation, then you will need to set up a strategy for where you will do the tanning once on location. If you hire others to perform the airbrushing, then you will have to make sure they are properly trained. You will need to make sure any of your customer service staff, in addition to the tanning staff, know the ends and outs of the tanning and related products. You should develop a strategy for selling customers after-tanning touch up and other self-care skin products.

Where you will be working

A spray tanning business can succeed anywhere there are people interested gaining a tan without the risks associated with overexposure to UV rays. College towns are a good choice. You could even provide your service in a beach town for those who are using sun blockers while on the beach. The best bet is a fashion conscious area.

Basic costs

The equipment and supply set up for a in-salon setup can start out at between $3000 and $4,000. You will also need to pay for your training on the airbrush machine and for anyone else who will be applying spray-on tans. You can get a mobile setup for under $1,000. You will also have the cost of renting salon space and/or maintenance of the vehicle for the mobile tanning operation.

Starting a spray tanning business tips

  • Learn about the related products– such as a pH optimizer for equalizing the skin’s various pH levels in order to get even results. A bronze intensifier can control the depth and customization of the tan. A DHA stain stopper can prevent tanning in unwanted areas, such as the bottom of feet or palms of the hands.
  • Shop around for the most professional spray tanning supply company– you will need not only excellent equipment and supply, but also marketing and technical support.
  • Up sell with after-care products – make sure customers leave with products they need to keep the skin healthy and touch up their tans between professional treatments.
  • Be well trained – not only do you want to be able to consistently give professionally looking results, but you also want to gain a knowledge in what products to which some of your customers may have a sensitivity. Get your certification from the manufacturer in skin preparation and cautions.
  • Be creative in your promotions– sponsor “I Wish I were There” beach-themed parties during spring and Christmas breaks. Have specials for bridal parties. Give talks on the dangers of overexposure to UV rays and the healthier alternative you are providing.

Advertising a Spray Tan Business

When advertising your spray tan business you can try out a variety of the following techniques to advertise your business. Be sure to keep track of their performance. Keep the methods of advertising that are working out the best for your business and dump the ones that are not :

  • Spray Tan Business Cards– Create business cards and hand them whenever an opportunity appears.
  • Word of Mouth– Word of Mouth can be a very effective way to spread the word about your spray tan business. Encourage word of mouth. Offer members discounts when they refer other members. Offer gift cards.
  • Signage– If you have a salon, make sure people can tell what your business is from the outside. This way you can make the most of passby traffic.
  • Website– You can decide to have a website to provide customers with general information about your spray tan business such and prices.
  • Social Media– Take advantage of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
  • Flyers– Determine if you can put up flyers in local parks, bus stops, gyms, community centers, and more. It is best to ask the owner of these businesses for permission first. Also hand out flyers to passer byes on the street.
  • Partnerships– Form partnerships with local wedding and party planners and offer them commission for referring new clients.
  • Yahoo Local Searches– If you include your business in the Yahoo Local Searches, when people search for your service in your local area your business will appear in the list. To add your business to Yahoo local search, enter the term “add business to yahoo local search” in Yahoo.com and click on the first link.
  • Google Local Searches– Google has a local search as well. To add your business to Google local search, enter the term “add business to google search” in Google.com and click on the first link.
  • Newspaper– You can consider advertising in your local newspaper.

Not sure about Starting a Spray Tan Business? See a list of small business ideas

Do you have a business story or experience you would like to share?

Share with us your story on starting a spray tan business.

Starting a Yoga Studio

starting a yoga studioBy Donald Michael Schwartz

For many starting a yoga studio is their dream. The literature on the Web about starting a Yoga business emphasizes being prepared for the business side of starting a Yoga business. These articles warn of the consequences of not treating the Yoga business as a business. How true it is that you can’t just expect to be monetarily rewarded for your passion, but you can be monetarily rewarded for making a well thought out and executed business of your passion.

Job duties

First before starting a yoga studio, if you don’t possess the fundamentals of good business practice, then you need to acquire them by taking some college courses. You will need to hire a good accountant to set up and audit your books. You will also need to choose some good liability coverage and attain professional advice on risk management. A well designed a curriculum based on the kind of Yoga style or styles you will be teaching will have to be drawn up. You will need to hire qualified instructors. You will need to choose a location to meet your needs and that is convenient to your prospective students. You will to conduct market research to determine what are the needs and demands for Yoga in the your community. A customer service policy and employee policy would be a good idea to have.

Basic costs

When starting a yoga studio the major costs are renting the studio space and marketing. A special floor will have to be installed, unless you’re lucky enough to acquire the accommodating studio space from a studio going out of business or relocating. You will need a good liability insurance policy and the council of a lawyer to set up a good risk management plan. You will have to pay for other professional fees, such as that of a accountant.

Where you will be working

A good location for starting a yoga studio is in a community with an interest in Yoga and not much competition. Take some classes at nearby studios and find out where the students are coming from; whether they are from out of town or know friends in other towns who would be interested in taking classes. If Yoga classes are taught through the community continuing education system, but there is a lack of private Yoga studios in town – that may be a good place to set up shop, however market research should be conducted to help you decide whether there is enough demand in a location.

How to start a yoga studio tips

  • Market to people’s values – when marketing your classes, educate people about all the benefits of Yoga practice and keep the values of each audience in mind.
  • Hold free demonstrations and classes – experiencing is believing. Hook up with local organizations and events to offer free workshops to attract new students.
  • Find your niche – find an unmet niche to add to the traditional market, such as “Yoga for the Inflexible,” or “Yoga for Endurance Athletes,” “Yoga for Healing Injuries,” “Yoga for Treating Depression,” etc.
  • Shop around for Yoga studios that are one-to-three years old for possible purchase – many studios go out of business in one to three years due to the lack of business skills of the owner. Some of them may be popular studios with good teachers, but the owners just have not come up with a good business model. This would be the best way to get into the business, because the studio is already set up and you can learn from the mistakes and successes of the selling owner. You would also have a clientele with which to start. However be sure that there is enough demand around that location.
  • Sell yoga items in your studio – selling to the back end is a good practice for any business. Not only can you sell mats, books and Yoga clothing to your students, but also think about products that will enhance their nutritional needs to succeed at Yoga.

Advertising a Yoga Studio

When advertising your yoga studio you can try out a variety of the following techniques to advertise your business. Be sure to keep track of their performance. Keep the methods of advertising that are working out the best for your business and dump the ones that are not :

  • Yoga Business Cards– Create business cards and hand them whenever an opportunity appears.
  • Word of Mouth– Word of Mouth can be a very effective way to spread the word about your yoga studio. Encourage word of mouth. Offer members discounts when they refer other members. Offer gift cards.
  • Signage– Make sure people can tell what your business is from the outside. This way you can make the most of passby traffic.
  • Website– You can decide to have a website to provide customers with general information about your yoga studio such as location and prices.
  • Social Media– Take advantage of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
  • Flyers– Determine if you can put up flyers in local parks, bus stops, gyms, community centers, and more. It is best to ask the owner of these businesses for permission first. Also hand out flyers to passer byes on the street.
  • Yahoo Local Searches– If you include your business in the Yahoo Local Searches, when people search for your service in your local area your business will appear in the list. To add your business to Yahoo local search, enter the term “add business to yahoo local search” in Yahoo.com and click on the first link.
  • Google Local Searches– Google has a local search as well. To add your business to Google local search, enter the term “add business to google search” in Google.com and click on the first link.
  • Newspaper– You can consider advertising in your local newspaper.

Not sure about Starting a Yoga Studio? See a list of small business ideas

Do you have a business story or experience you would like to share?

Share with us your story on starting a yoga studio.

Starting a Metal Recycling Business

starting a metal recycling business
Instead of “Where’s the Beef?“ are you always asking yourself, “Where’s the metal?“ Then, you might want to consider starting a metal recycling business. It is a great way entree into the green economy. The people who will make money off of this sector, are those who will keep their eyes open and imagination working on where the next opportunities are in collecting scrap metal. There are many environmental and economic benefits created by this type of business. Metal recyclers save metals from the landfills, and make it less necessary to have to mine new metal. There are many opportunities to “mine“ recyclable metals many have overlooked.

Job duties

When starting a metal recycling business your most important job duty will be doing the research. You will need to know the recycled value of various metals, and sources for harvesting them. You will also need to know what is involved in extracting a particular metal from a particular scrap source. A network will need to be built of businesses which buy particular scrap sources for refinement, and who will buy the extracted metals. You will need to decide whether it is more cost effective for you to extract from a particular scrap source, or have it sub-contracted out, or simply sell it to a business which handles that particular scrap source themselves. You will also need to learn how to test metals for composition and purity. In this business, it is very important to maintain spread sheets on all the costs related to recycling a metal, compared with the final selling price. Bookkeeping will be of the up most importance for the metal recycling business. You MUST find out about all the related laws and safety rules related to recycling metal.

Basic costs

You should have a pickup truck or other vehicle conducive for hauling scrap. Another important piece of equipment would be a professional electronic scale for weighing metal. The metal recycling business can be done with low overhead. You can run it out of a home office, and use your cell phone and laptop computer for your traveling office. You will need to load your computer with some good database and spreadsheet software, in addition to the word processing software. You should also retain a lawyer who knows the laws related to the metal recycling industry. As always, you should obtain the necessary permits and licenses.

Where you will be working

You can work anywhere that there are scrap yards nearby to turn in your metal.

How to start a metal recycling business tips

  • Always be thinking sources – dental scrap, film and photo scrap, are popular sources. Laws making it illegal to resell catalytic converters makes them a good source for scrap metal. Constantly do your research to discover new sources for scrap metal; and make sure you do your due diligence of any pitfalls or regulations in regards to a new scrap metal source. Automotive O2 sensors can be another good source.
  • Learn the ins and outs of each source of scrap metal – for instance, electronic scrap can be a good source, but it has its pitfalls. Research and test thoroughly before heading deep into a particular scrap market.
    Learn how to test metal content of unknown alloys – knowing how to find precious metals in alloys can give you a good edge.
  • Always look for the opportunities with disposable products – cell phones and other disposable products can be a good recycling source, but you have to do your homework.
  • Investigate the local competition – find out who is already out there recycling metal and what markets they are pursuing or dropping. Observe their business practices.
  • Talk to the competition– recyclers in another geographic market might be more likely to share information with you. But, first have information to share with them. The following link should be helpful in locating the competition: Superpages.com.
  • Low metal prices on metals can work to your favor – when metal prices are down, the national buyers can’t afford to send out employees on buying trips to outbid small players for scrap.

Not sure about starting a metal recycling business? See a list of small business ideas

Do you have a business story or experience you would like to share?

Please share with us your story on starting a Metal Recycling Business