Posts belonging to Category 'Weekend Business Ideas'

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.

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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

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Starting a Freelance Writing Businesss

starting a freelance writing businessBy Donald Michael Schwartz

Starting a freelance writing business is a dream of many people. Part of the allure is the thought of working from home and choosing your own hours. There is one problem with that thinking – deadlines. Freelance writing, although, can be a rewarding business. But, be ready to be very patient in the building of such a business. You may not get paid that much when you first start out, but you can get better paying assignments as you establish your reputation. There are many specialties within the freelance writing business, you could work as a newspaper or magazine reporter, contribute content to blogs, write grant requests, work on speeches for special occasions, etc.

Job duties

When starting a freelance writing business your most important duty will be prospecting for writing jobs. Once you find jobs you are interested in, you will need to bid on them. When you win a bid, you need to make sure you understand all the needs and requirements of the job. You will need to make sure the jobs are done in a timely manor. You will also need to edit for grammar, spelling and style. If you are doing academic writing, you will need to prepare the papers according to the MLA handbook or whatever style book the customer is using.

Where will you work?

When starting a freelance writing business much of the work is on the Internet, so you can work anywhere there is a good Internet connection. It is good, though, to work in an area with a lot of up-and-coming small businesses and organizations. They will need press releases, and other types of letters written. Non-profits need grant writers. A resort area could also be a good source for writing assignments.

Basic Costs

When starting a freelance writing business you will need to buy a good computer set up, and pay for an Internet connection. For local prospects you will need a gasoline budget. You will also need to set up an unlimited phone account so that you can communicate with clients and interview subjects. You should get a good laptop computer, so that you can write as you travel around. You should also have a printer and good quality paper made for that type of printer.

Starting a Freelance Writing Business Tips

  • If you want to make money as a poet then think outside the stanza – you could solicit wedding planners to offer their customers custom vow writing services. Or, you could market custom eulogy services to funeral homes. It is difficult to make a living publishing poetry books, but there are many poetry contests available.
  • Check out the job boards – many job boards charge you a commission and have too many people willing to work below minimum wage. But, it is a place to start, and as you build your reputation on the board you can start winning bids for better paying assignments.
  • Keep an open mind and observant ear – think about different kinds of professionals who need to make speeches, and could use a good speech writer.
  • Do volunteer work for people or organizations you want to write for – volunteering for college departments or non-profits is a good way to establish a reputation.

Not sure about starting a freelance writing business? See a list of small business ideas

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Starting a Hair Braiding Business

By Donald Michael Schwartz

starting-a-hair-braiding-business
Have you done a lot of hair braiding for friends? Have you expanded your portfolio of styles and built up your hair braiding speed? If you answered yes to the above questions, then might want to consider starting a hair braiding business. If your state allows it, you could start in your home; or you could start by leasing space or a chair in a salon. The hair braiding business can be quite lucrative, once you have built up your reputation and clientele. You will need to take the proper course or courses and then pass your licensing exams.

Job duties

When starting a hair braiding business you will need to find a space to operate out of. If the state or local government does not let you operate out of your home, then you will need to find a chair or a section in a salon to lease. You will need to decide which braiding styles you will offer and how much to charge for each of them. When doing this consider what your competition is charging. You should keep a client database so that you remember braiding information and personal details of returning clients. You will also need to know how to unbraid hair without damaging it. When starting a hair braiding business you will need to promote it. If you expand, you will need to hire qualified employees. You will also need to be sure you have all the necessary licenses, permits, and insurance coverage.

Where will you work?

When starting a hair braiding business you will work in areas where hair braiding is popular (it could be an urban area). Check to see how long the hair braiding shops have been in business in a locale. Has there been a steady growth of hair braiding services over the years? Survey salons without hair braiding services to see if they think their clients would like to have that type of service added to the salon.

Basic Costs

When starting a hair braiding business you will need to pay for the necessary licenses and permits. You will also have the cost of your space lease if you are not working from home. You will have to start out with a collection of tools and combs for your business. You will need a phone for making appointments. You should also have an appointment book.

Starting hair braiding business tips

  • Build your brand – you will need to promote your hair braiding business through social media, fliers and an ad campaign.
  • Promote through education – go to interested groups and organizations to offer talks about the latest in hair braiding styles and caring for braided hair. You can also talk about the advantages and disadvantages of hair braiding over other hair styling techniques.
  • Build up a portfolio of pictures of hair braiding styles – you could buy books with different hair braiding options pictured. You can also cut out pictures of celebrities in hair braids out of magazines and put them in a scrapbook.
  • Look for other profit points – have a collection of beads and ribbons to sell to your customers for the purpose of adorning their braids.
  • Consider specializing – you could specialize in your hair braiding services, i.e., opening up a hair braiding business for children.
  • Trends – Keep up with the latest trends in hair braiding.

Advertising a Hair Braiding Business

When starting a hair braiding business you can advertise through the following methods. You can test various forms of advertising to see which are the most effective for your business in your location. Keep the advertising methods that are bringing you the highest return on investment.

  • Hair Braiding Business Cards- Give out your business cards whenever an opportunity appears. Network as much as possible.
  • Flyers- Determine if you can put up flyers in local grocery stores, parks, bakeries, beauty stores, daycares, 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.
  • Website- You can decide to develop a website to provide clients with access to general information about your hair braiding services such as rates and styles.
  • Social Media Sites- Take advantage of social media sites such as twitter and facebook to promote your services.
  • Craigslist.com- You can use Craigslist.com to advertise your services.

Not sure about starting a hair braiding business? See a list of small business ideas

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Share with us your story on starting a hair braiding business.

Starting a Bike Tour Business

starting a bike tour business
Have you been on a few bike tours? Have you noticed what has worked and what has not on the tours? If you love riding your bicycle and promoting your favorite bike rides with others, than starting a bike tour may be your ticket. The great thing about starting a bike tour business is that you do not have to quit your job to start it. You could start by offering a few tours a year, or on the weekends or holidays. There are even short evening tours you could offer.

Job duties

When starting a bike tour business you will need to do competitive research on other bicycle tours. You will need to decide on what added services you want to provide. You will want to check for any required permits or licenses needed to operate a bike tour. You will also have to make sure you have adequate insurance. You may want to hire a lawyer to help you develop a waiver form for tour participants to sign. You will also need to develop an advertising and cross-promotional campaign. You may need to hire additional employees for big tours. You need to determine if most of your business can be done through your home office. You will need to find an approved staging area to begin and end your tours.

Where will you work?

Tourist areas would be ideal when starting a bike tour business, but also keep in mind the location’s competition and local rules. You should choose a location where people want to tour. A place with many sites and scenic views to see. You can decide to start with a tour off the beaten track. If you have a reputation for knowing the hidden secrets of an area, this can be a good place to start.

Basic Costs

The start up costs depend on how big you want to start. For instance, if you want to host long distance tours, you will need a chase vehicle. The basic costs for any bike tour company would include a good repair kit, a first aid kit, a cell phone with a good range, a promotional budget, insurance, and the basic costs of running a home office. You will need a bicycle and helmet for yourself if you don’t already have one.

Starting a Bike Tour Business Tips

Research what tours are available in your state– you can start with google search, e.g., +bicycle +tour +Michigan (the “+” symbol in front of a word makes it a required word in the search).

Do your competitive intelligence – you need to research other bike touring companies. You can start with the above search. Look to see what kind of tours they offer, their tour rules, tour prices, years in business, etc. Look at the comments about the tour. If you have gone on a tour with a company, they might be more willing to give you advice – especially if they are in a different area than you want to operate. Look up reviews of bicycle tours. Go on a couple different tours. Observe what customers like and don’t like about the tour. Casually mention to the owner or one of the guides, “Gee, this tour was great, I would like to start one at X place.” This may engender interest from the guides and guests.

Other places you can check for professional advice – bicycling organizations have a general interest in promoting biking and may need your services to help with a tour they are sponsoring. Bike shops who don’t offer tours may be your best bet in getting professional advice and referrals for more advice. You can also talk to the local tourist bureaus. They are going to have an interest in anything that promotes tourism in their community.

Come up with unique themes – even if there is a lot of competition in your area, you can come up with a unique theme for your ride. Some ideas might include a taco stand tour, a haunted house night ride, garden tour, etc. If you have a special knowledge of the area, you can use this to your advantage.

Package your deals – the money is in the packaging. Include a souvenir t-shirt. If you can get a commission from other businesses, you can package things such as accommodations, restaurant stops, entertainment, etc. Maybe you can even include a tune-up stop at a local bike shop. Have accessories you lend out for the higher priced packages.

Advertising a Bike Tour Business

When starting a bike tour business you can advertise through the following methods. You can test various forms of advertising to see which are the most effective for your business in your location. Keep the advertising methods that are paying off and dump the ones that are not. You should also look at places where your ads will likely be seen by your target market (the people likely to want to go on a bike tour).

  • Bike Tour Business Cards-Create business cards and hand them whenever an opportunity appears. Network as much as possible.
  • Flyers- Determine if you can put up flyers in local parks, bus stops, gyms, biking trails, 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.
  • Website- You can decide to develop a website to provide clients with access to general information about your bicycle rental business. Be sure to include information such as rates and directions on your website.
  • Social Media- Create a twitter and facebook page for your bicycle tour business and encourage visitors to join. You can use social media to let customers know of discounts or special themed tours.
  • Online- People are constantly looking online for fun things do in their city and local area. Search for “things to do in (your state or city)” in search engines such as google and check out the websites that appear. Contact the website owner and let them know of your bike tour business and if they can add your business to their website. You can also go on forums for bikers and let them know of your bike tour.
  • Newspaper- You can consider advertising in your local newspaper.

Not sure about starting a bike tour 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 about starting a bike tour business.

Resources


Small Business Development Center- consult with experts

SCOREs - find a SCORES chapter near you to speak with a business consultant.

Small Business Administration- provides information for starting a small business.