I closed my web design and IT consulting business in 2012 and plan on starting a new business in 2013. It wasn’t that the old business was failing. It was a success, I just wanted to do something different, something that was easier to scale up without adding employees (at least not right away), and the name (Watershawl) just didn’t make sense anymore.
Why Start Your Own Business?
One of my primary reasons for wanting to run my own business is to be able to hire workers just as I was hired when I first started out. I think of it as the natural progression of things and as a way to give back to the community who has given so much to me. The secondary reason is the scheduling freedom it allows.
With that in mind, here are some business ideas I am considering in 2013:
Start an eCommerce Business
I’ve done affiliate marketing for around four years now, but I’m ready for the higher margins associated with e-commerce. It all started when I realized that three of my clients were doing e-commerce and I kept getting job requests from e-commerce companies. After I continually got told I was over-qualified I began to realize that I should probably start my own e-commerce business. The only issue now is in deciding what product to sell, which is not easy. In fact, there isn’t much about e-commerce that is easy, but it is a proven business model.
Start an Alternative Energy Installer Business
When you consider how many homes and businesses still don’t have solar, wind, or other alternative energy sources connected to them, the opportunity seems huge, but when you look up on a cloudy, winter day in Indiana it seems like there could be better businesses to start. It may be better to start a business simply painting roofs white in the summer. There are companies in Indiana doing this though, mostly up north.
Start an eCommerce Consulting Business
When I think about all I’ve learned from e-commerce in 2012 and couple that with my web design, SEO, and affiliate marketing knowledge I seem like a good candidate for an e-commerce consultant or what the customer might call a ‘ecommerce web designer’. I have experience with WordPress and WP-Ecommerce, but I recommend BigCommerce or Shopify.
Start a Restaurant
This is one of the most capital-intensive and risky things you could do, but I’ve always had the desire to own and run one. I’d serve chili with cut celery sticks (like a Bloody Mary) and put sliced pickles in our grilled cheese sandwiches. And since community involvement is one of the trends in 2013 I’d hold contests for creating and naming new menu items. Scotty’s does a good job of this and with social media.
Start an ePublishing Company
I see a trend towards self-publishing ebooks and even traditional paper books, but although this process had become easier it still requires some graphic design, layout, and technical knowledge not to mention basic editing, sales, and marketing techniques. There could be a need in the Indianapolis area for a digital book consultant service based on some feedback I’ve gotten through presentations and meetings I had in 2012.
Start a Content Management Company
Content managers are relatively new job roles that are a direct result of the amount of information now stored in company Intranets, business blogs, and e-commerce sites. Because of the ease of creation and the fact that content marketing is so important to SEO, the sheer amount of content each organization has to maintain has created the need for content management services. This interests me because I like to organize the world’s information (like Google).
Start an Affiliate Marketing Business
Although I have been doing affiliate marketing for a while now, you could say I haven’t been too methodical about it. By applying systems, consistency, and dedicated effort to affiliate marketing, I could turn this side hobby into a real business. Although the margins can be lower than traditional e-commerce, there is no inventory to store and ship. This is the least capital-intensive, but still requires a lot of work to be successful.
Start a Business Consulting Company
I believe management is an important component of a business’ success. As a business analyst I helped business owners create systems to manage their business by analyzing, summarizing, and reporting on my findings to business owners. I did this as a technology consultant, but most of the time IT work was very little of what I did. There seems to be a need in the Indianapolis market for people with advanced Excel and Visio skills, but the trends are moving more towards analyzing SQL and other types of databases which require programming languages I don’t know.
Start a Dental Consulting Business
Independent dental offices are usually ran by either the dentist alone or the dentist and an office manager. They don’t usually have their own marketing or IT staff, but have the need for both marketing and IT services. There is a steep learning curve to understanding dental procedures and their specialized software (ex. Dentrix, Eaglesoft, Practiceworks). It also helps to know HIPAA laws, CPR and OSHA requirements, and systems for how to greet, treat, and keep patients. On top of all of that there is staff efficiency, utilization models, report tracking, and HR issues. It is amazing how complex one dental office really is and so there are many ways to add value through consulting services.
Start a Mobile Device Consulting Company
I actually started one of these in 2011 called “Geek Hand”, but I may have started it a little too soon. Since then smartphones and tablet PCs have only grown in popularity and use. Businesses are now starting to give their employees iPhones and iPads instead of Blackberries and laptops. The value here is in helping businesses learn how to sync their email, contacts, and calendars with Microsoft Exchange and Google Apps. For screen repair I normally refer people to CPR in Carmel.
Bonus: Start an Import/Export Business
If you have the connections, the capital, and don’t mind travel, this is an exciting business model that is similar to affiliate marketing in that you take a percentage of each sale you make. The primary difference is you’re normally dealing in wholesale amounts, which means the payouts can be bigger. The key to the import/export business is to look for opportunities where you can add value to the transaction. For example, you might have identified a farmer who operates 75% of a given market, but has no email account. By being the connection between the farmer (the manufacturer) and an e-commerce site, you can take a cut of the goods shipped. Another example is to look for countries that used to not trade with other countries that have had a change and now have started to trade openly. One example is Vietnam. The service you will provide is in developing first-of-its-kind relationships between vendors in the US and suppliers in Vietnam. You will have to find global shippers, learn the laws of their country and yours, and make sure your packages don’t get stuck in customs!
If you read this, you might also be interested in 20 Good Business Ideas from 2011.