Good Small Business Venture Ideas

Darwin is the author of Darwin’s Money where he takes an evolutionary approach to money. In this rapidly changing world, there are always new opportunities to save money, make more money and expand your horizons.

If you’re anything like me, you’re constantly thinking about different business ideas and models that could work out. Through either addressing an unmet need or making something better or inventing the next Facebook, you could be deriving a nice side-income outside your routine day job and have an eventual payday down the road when you want to quit or move on to the next thing. I just watched The Social Network the other night and it put me in the mood to start thinking more about business startups again. I’ve split out a few ideas and ventures I’m involved in by “Old Economy” and “New Economy”. They can both earn you a handsome income and even turn into a full-time gig. The New Economy ventures tend to be more “Scalable” though.

Old Economy Side Businesses

Making Money From Home And Supporting A Family Just Got Easier

For many couples who want to start families, it’s getting increasingly harder to do so without sacrificing a lot financially.  Education costs for kids are soaring and it now takes two incomes to afford a home in many big cities rather than just one 30+ years ago.

The nagging question on a lot of couple’s minds is, “Can we afford to have one person stay at home to raise the kid(s)?”  An equally common question is, “Can we afford to have kids at all?“  It’s kind of sad that many well-educated and well-paid couples have these thoughts.  Part of the reason why I’m working so diligently on building up Financial Samurai and Yakezie.com is because my spouse or I would like to have something to do if one of us decides to one day stay at home and raise a family.

After a couple of years blogging, I know that making money online is possible.  Not only that, it gives the stay-at-home spouse something exciting to do for several hours a day, in addition to raising the kids.  Working from home while being able to raise a family is an enormously attractive proposition and I’m excited to present another way to do so!

A KILLER PRODUCT TO HELP GET US THERE

Real Entrepreneurs Are Successful

According to the dictionary, “entrepreneur” is a term applied to a person who is willing to launch a new venture or enterprise and accept full responsibility for the outcome.  What the hell does that mean?  We all start things and accept responsibility for the outcomes, unless of course we don’t because we expect handouts if things don’t work out.

As far as I can tell, many of us want to be entrepreneurs because it sounds so sexy.  We dream of starting the next multi-million dollar company, get recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine, and earn a fortune in the process.  Yet, this type of success is unlikely for many of us.  We don’t have a great business plan, we run out of capital, we don’t have charisma, and we lack the perseverance to keep on going.

THE PROBLEMATIC ISSUE

The Comfortable Lifestyle Business or The Big Payout?

Over poker one night, we got to talking about what we always talk about: entrepreneurship.   Out of a table of 10, four work at start-ups, three are at Google, one is a high-tech lawyer, one works as a medical correspondent for CNN, and then there’s me, a hybrid.  I had just got done working on Yakezie.com for three hours after working an 11 hour day, and needless to say, I was a little bit tired.

I love going to Friday night poker mainly because I get to bounce ideas off of really smart and incredibly hard working people.  When I hear stories of one start-up player working from 7am to 3am every night for two weeks straight to launch a product offering, I get pumped.  When the Venture Capitalist player recounts his firm rejecting a pitch by Tim Westergren, Pandora’s founder in 2008, I wince, but daydream in amazement.

THE QUESTION

The Difference Between Three Types Of Corporations

If you’re about to go out on your own and create a business, congratulations. Once you’re here, on the side of the entrepreneurs and others who make the economic engine run, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner. Salaried employment is great for some people, less so for others.

But if you’re going to do it, do it right. There’s more to creating a business than buying a license (you do know you have to buy a license, right?) and creating a website.

Most general contractors, plumbers, electricians, gardeners and graphic designers who set up shop don’t even think about what legal form their new business is going to take. (That’s legal “form” as in “organization or arrangement.” We’re not talking about a piece of paper you have to fill out, at least not directly.)

Making the wrong decision about legal form can cost you serious money even before the first sale. While you might have learned the terms “sole proprietorship” and “corporation” in high school, back when they meant nothing to you, now would be a good time to determine what they do mean and how organizing your business under one or the other can hurt or hinder you.

Don’t Go The Default Route

Small Business Owners Encouraged To Fire Employees Before Tax Hikes

The Bay Area is full of entrepreneurs.  There’s something in the air that creates an almost godly electric spirit that causes people to work hard and innovate.  As 2011 nears, more and more I hear about how small business owners are clamping down in preparation for next year’s tax hikes.  Clamping down is generally not a good term to use if you are a politician who wants to create job growth.

Let’s say you make roughly $3 million in annual gross revenue from your internet business like my friend Zach does.  Not bad, but not exactly big money if you take into account his cost structure.  If his pre-tax operating profit margin is 25% after he pays the salaries of all his employees, the rent, and so on, Zach is left with roughly $750,000 subject to taxes.  If his tax rate goes up from 36% to 39.6%, for every dollar he makes over $375,000, he will pay roughly $25,000 more in taxes a year in 2011.

Well guess what?  My friend is letting go of one of his junior programmers who makes roughly $85,000 to pay for next year’s $25,000-$35,000 tax increase!  My friend feels bad letting his 2006 college graduate employee go, but he has no choice since revenue has declined since 2007, and the government is tightening the screws.  Zach believes that 2011 revenue will be worse next year than this year, and is budgeting a decline.  Thank goodness for 99 weeks of unemployment insurance!  And no, it’s not reasonable for the junior programmer to just go work in fast food after only several weeks of looking.

DON’T LISTEN TO THEIR LIES.  THEY AREN’T IN IT FOR YOU.