Test the Entrepreneurial Waters by Starting a Side Business

Ask an entrepreneur how he or she got started, and you’ll hear stories about striking out on their own long before their current business. Some freelanced or wrote code for open source projects long after their day jobs let out; others sold lemonade and candy as kids. Whatever it was, many caught the entrepreneurial bug early, and it paid off big later.

Q. I want to start a business on the side before committing. What industry/niche would you recommend and why?

1. A Service Business
John RoodA service business has the advantage of being able to start generating funds with only one or two clients or customers. That allows you to either deliver the product yourself or have a very small team. Think of a skill you have that you can sell right away, then plan how to grow a team over time.
John Rood, Next Step Test Preparation

2. The Same One You’re Already In
Brennan WhiteIf you’re doing something on the side, ensure that your day job is supporting your business by starting a business in the same industry. Every day you spend learning about your job will further improve your ability to run a business in that space.
Brennan White, Watchtower

3. E-Commerce
josh weissA lot of aspects in an e-commerce business can be automated, and if you are selling someone else’s product, you can get a website up fairly quickly and cheaply. Once you are able to get the volume to a point where you can support yourself, you can consider running the business full time.
Josh Weiss, Bluegala

4. The Pick-Your-Brain Niche
Nathalie LussierIf there’s something that people constantly want to pick your brain about, start with that. It’s a perfect indicator that you’ve got value to add in that capacity, and it could easily turn into a consulting business for you. Once you’re good at consulting and getting clients, you can move into more products or group programs down the line.
Nathalie Lussier, Nathalie Lussier Media Inc.

5. Something You Enjoy
Nicolas GremionHaving a business on the side — on top of everything else that’s going on in your life — is going to be tough. Make sure it’s something you enjoy doing, or it will likely go to the wayside.
Nicolas Gremion, Free-eBooks.net

6. None
Justin BailleA side business is a side business. If your intention is to keep it a side business, then build one for that purpose. If you are building a business to create significant value and change the world, you must be all in. The need to obsess, extend yourself, and sacrifice to get a business moving and keep it that way is more than a full-time job; it cannot be done half way.
Justin Bailie, FR8nex.com

7. One That You Love
Liam MartinIf you’re going to start a business, you have to love what you’re doing. A lot of people talk about being “passionate” about your subject, but how do you measure that? I usually challenge anyone looking to start a new business to write 50 blog post titles about their industry. If you can do that and still be excited, get started.
Liam Martin, Staff.com

8. One That Lets You Work Remotely
Matt WilsonI’m writing to you from the beaches of Nicaragua because my business can go anywhere with me. Why tie yourself to one location unless you are ready to stay there for the rest of your life? It’s like buying a home, especially if the business requires a large financial investment. You can’t take it with you if you decide to pursue opportunities elsewhere.
Matt Wilson, Under30Experiences

9. Something With Low Startup Costs
Sarah SchuppIf you’re not ready to jump in, find something with low startup costs, such as reselling products through an e-commerce site. This will give you a chance to dip your toe in the water before having to make a major investment.
Sarah Schupp, UniversityParent 

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