How to Start your Own Digital Photo Business

January 12, 2010 · Filed Under Business Ideas for Teens, Home Based Business Ideas for Moms · Comments Off on How to Start your Own Digital Photo Business 

If you’re a teen looking for a quick way to earn some extra money, grab your family’s digital camera and start taking photos. You can start your own digital photo business with as little as a digital camera and a computer that has photo editing software on it.

Since digital cameras are all the rage now, photography has become easier than ever. Whether you’re looking for part time income or a full time business, selling digital photos is a great way to go.

Since you probably love to hang out with your friends and family, anyway, taking your camera along to take photos is a natural. If you go to a concert or other public event, grab the camera and take it with you. Even if you’re not allowed to take the camera into the event, you may still be able to snap a celebrity photo outside, or at the very least some pics of the crowd before and after.

A digital photography business is easy to start and can become very lucrative. Digital cameras come in all price ranges and most households have at least one. Familiarize yourself with yours before you start shooting pictures to be sure you get the best quality.

As to what to take, there are all kinds of subjects. Nature photos, landscapes, still lifes, household objects, people, animals, and more. Take photos of your yard, the landscape around your home, or your siblings playing in the snow.

Take shots of local news and events, such as a car stuck in the snow, or photos at the high school football game, and submit them to your local paper. Local newspapers are often looking for pictures that were taken by residents. Whenever you get a great shot, submit a copy to your community paper. You can get, not only name recognition, but cash as well. And you’ll be making your name known to others who might need a photographer.

Another way to find business is to contact a real estate office and offer to take photos of the homes they have listed for sale. Take several different views and offer them for a nominal fee to the realtors. This, alone, could turn into as much business as you can handle!

Also consider offering your services for local events such as Santa visits, school plays, parties, etc. Parents love to have copies of their kids participating in such activities. The opportunities are unlimited.

Showcase your works on CD or a laptop before printing whenever possible to save the expense of ink and paper if no one is interested. With digital photography, the only expense is printing photos you actually sell.

For pricing, you can call other photographers in your area and ask out what they charge for photos as well as the sizes and packages offered. You can then price your services competitively.

If you don’t have access to a printer, you can sell the photos only on disk or by email. Though, once you get going, you’ll want access to a good printer, which you can get for under a $100. Then you can print as many copies as you need and charge accordingly.

Use some of your best photos to create a flyer and business card for your new business. Hand them out to all your friends and family members. Post them on bulletin boards around town, in grocery stores, libraries and other public buildings. Ask your family members to give them out to co-workers, and more.

Take photos at family members weddings and observe the wedding photographer and how many photo’s they shoot. Practice makes perfect and with a little practice you can learn how to do weddings and other formal portraits and create your own clientele.

You can also take photos of your friends and family, their kids and even their pets. Edit the photos on your computer and print them out to use as Christmas gifts. The more people see your work, the more chance you’ll have to sell photos. Before you know it, you’ll have a real following.

Create brochures for local businesses or offer to take their picture in front of their store to print and frame for them. Do the same with local athletes who’d like a photo of themselves in their uniform, holding a trophy, or carrying their golf clubs.

Between community jobs, go through your photos often, edit them, and publish them online with digital photo companies. There are many online photo sites that will offer you either a flat payment or a usage fee for your work. Webmasters and online businesses are always on the lookout for photos to enhance their Websites, and your photo has a great chance of being purchased or leased for such use.

Take as many jobs as you have time for, and be prompt and follow through on your task. Discover what your client wants whether it’s a portrait, natural poses, a formal pose, etc. Always be polite and produce your work in a timely manner.

With a little creativity, you can set yourself up in business and be earring a lucrative income in a very short time. Develop a positive reputation for yourself, and you could become the best known and most sought-after photographer in your hometown.

Make Money Selling Homemade Cakes and Cookies

January 11, 2010 · Filed Under Business Ideas for Teens, Home Based Business Ideas for Moms · Comments Off on Make Money Selling Homemade Cakes and Cookies 

If you’re looking for a way to make money, you might think babysitting or lawn care are your only options, but you can also make money baking and selling homemade cakes and cookies! The materials needed to complete are inexpensive and can be purchased at the grocery and dollar stores. And the profit potentials is very good.

The only skills needed are being able to understand a recipe, measure correctly and follow directions. A parent may be needed to supervise once you start baking your cakes or cookies, depending on your age and experience. And cleanliness is mandatory so you’ll need to be sure to keep your utensils and hands clean to avoid contamination. You might even want to wear gloves that are easily available when doing some tasks.

Start a Cake Decorating Business from Home

Before starting, bake us some cookies and/or cakes to be sure you understand the recipe and that they turn out well enough to sell. You can have your parents, siblings and friends be your “taste testers” and let you know what they like best. They’re likely to be your best critics.

Pick one or two recipes that most everyone likes and plan to start with those. You can even take a couple photos that you can use on advertising flyers later on if you want.

Ask a store owner if they’d allow you to set up a booth outside their store to let customers sample your wares. Ask for feedback from the customers. Write down all the positive and negative feedback, these will make great testimonials for your flyers. (Always use gloves when passing out samples and bagging orders.)

Keep a notepad handy to take special orders. The samples may be so good that the customers may want an order filled as soon as possible. And have some ready made items available for sale right then. Often, customers will want a snack as they’re leaving the store and that can make your biggest sales.

Set up a budget detailing what you plan to spend on supplies and materials to help your business succeed. If you don’t have cash on hand, ask your parents for a loan that you can pay back from your baking profits.

Purchase the ingredients you need to get started. Also buy some paper plates and plastic wrap, as well as notecards to keep track of customers and special orders. Whenever you take a special order, be sure to let your customers know when to expect delivery. Get customer names, addresses, phone, email as well as the items they order. Try to get payment in advance whenever possible.

For special orders, prepare your baked goods the day before you plan to deliver them so they’ll be fresh. Again, be sure to keep your work area clean and use gloves. Wash utensils often and don’t use the same utensil before cleaning it again. And never lick the spoon, bowl or your fingers!

Be sure to take change along when you deliver orders. Customers will often hand you a larger bill for their order, so you want to be sure you have the correct change available.

Call the customer who placed the order to be sure they’ll be home before you deliver. You don’t want to leave freshly baked goods on their doorstep. Bring a trusted friend or family member with you for security.

To find new customers and build your business, make us some catchy flyers. Be sure to include your name, phone number, email, if you want, and price. Also, include delivery options, if available, or any special instructions you need to make know such as pick-up only if you don’t have transportation.

Place the flyers on poles and ask store owners if you can place them inside the business. Hand out flyers to people you pass on the street or in your neighborhood. Ask your parents to hand out flyers to co-workers and friends.

If you can afford it, place a small ad in the newspaper. The more business you get, the better profit you’ll earn. You may find you have to have help to fill all your orders!

Baking and selling homemade items can turn into a great side business for a teen. Just do a good job, keep everything clean and professional looking and you’ll find people are happy to take your goodies off your hands earning a great profit for you!

Recommended Resource:

Start a Cake Decorating Business from Home

How to Start Your Own Lawn Care Services Business

January 8, 2010 · Filed Under Business Ideas for Teens, Home Based Business Ideas for Moms · Comments Off on How to Start Your Own Lawn Care Services Business 

Starting your own lawn care services business is a great way for teens to earn some money. Most teens have helped out in their own yard for years and are often in charge of the family yard. With this experience, you can start this service with existing equipment that the family owns with minimal start up costs. If you want to upgrade equipment, you can do so later with your profits.

You’ll need to have a lawn mower, gas, or if the lawn mower is electric, a long extension cord and permission from clients to plug in and use the client’s electricity. If the lawn mower doesn’t have a bag attached, be sure to bring a rake and some garbage bags so you can clean the yard up when finished.

You may opt to include weeding, mulching and gardening services along with the lawn care services you provide. In addition, you can provide services such as watering and fertilizing a yard.

In order to set competitive pricing, call other local lawn care service providers and ask what they would charge for various sized yards. Set your prices competitively, but slightly below the prices of your competitors.

Your prices should vary according to your duties also. If you are in charge of the yard, weeding and other clean up, you’ll be able to charge more than if you’re only mowing the yard on a bi-monthly basis.

Consider setting a flat rate that includes specific services such as mowing, raking and bagging up yard debris. As other services such as watering and weeding are included, adjust the price upwards accordingly.

After you’ve made sure you have the proper equipment and have figured out your pricing, you’ll need to find ways to advertise your business to get clients.

If you have access to a computer, you can make your own business cards. Add your name, a business name if you have one, the services you provide, and a way to get in touch with you such as a phone number and email address.

Flyers are another great way to advertise your new business. Simply create flyers similar to your new business cards and post them on bulletin boards around town. Bulletin boards are often located in supermarkets, libraries, city halls, banks, and other public facilities.

If you have a few dollars you can add to your advertising budget, you may want to place an ad in your local newspaper. Often elderly people read these ads and you can read them easier than with a flyer on a local bulletin board.

Be sure to tell your friends and family that you’re starting a lawn care services business and ask them to let their friends and family know and refer them to you. You might even provide them with a few business cards and flyers to hand out for you.

Ask your friends and family to have potential customers tell you that “Uncle Al” sent them (or whoever it was that referred them), and you can give the referrer a small discount on his own yard. Sometimes a small incentive will help spread your name faster.

When you get a new customer, ask them specific questions so you know exactly what they expect of you.

• Do they want you to mow behind the shed and garage?
• Do they want you to bag up and remove yard waste such as grass clippings or do they just want you to bag it up and put it in a composting area or out by the trash can?
• Should you use your mower or theirs?
• Etc.

Knowing what your customers want and providing that service will build a good reputation for you and ensure repeat customers.

Show up when you say you will, or call and let your customer if you’re delayed and when you’ll arrive.

Be honest.

Be prompt.

Follow through on your commitments.

Providing your customers with the best lawn care services you can provide will gain you a valuable reputation and ensure your continued success in this and future businesses you may start.

Babysitting as a Part-Time Business

January 8, 2010 · Filed Under Business Ideas for Teens, Home Based Business Ideas for Moms · Comments Off on Babysitting as a Part-Time Business 

Babysitting is one of the best ways for a teen to earn money. In order to get started, you’ll need to decide what age child you’d like to care for. It’s also important to know if the parent requires transporting their children at any time. You’ll have to decide on what type of family you’d like to work with as well.

Taking a CPR class can really help because you’ll want to be prepared if an emergency arises. You can also take a babysitting course at the American Red Cross. This will let parents know you’ve taken time to get the training needed to babysit their child. And it will help them feel comfortable knowing that their child is in good hands.

When it comes to licenses, each state differs. If you plan on babysitting in someone else’s home, a license is usually not required. But you’ll want to call your local business license office to be sure.

Set a price on what you’ll be charging for your babysitting services. Once a price is determined, don’t lower it just because you know the parent. This is a business and your goal is to make money.

Write out a contract on what your services are, including the price. Have the parent sign it, you sign it, and each keep a copy. This will help if a parent decides not to pay for your services. Everything they agreed to will be written out for them.

Plan on games and activities you can do with the children to keep them busy. You may even want to buy some games, crayons, markers, and activity books of your own. You can also make a poster board that you use each time you babysit. Put a star beside the child’s name if they’re good and they listen. After so many stars, give them a prize. This will encourage better behavior which will make your job easier.

Ask your parents if they know of anyone who needs a babysitter, or check with parents of your friends who have younger siblings. If no one comes to mind, then you can start advertising.

Make a simple flyer advertising your business. Be sure to include the age of children you’ll watch, your phone number, credentials obtained such as CPR licensing, and your price if you want. Also note if you will babysit special needs children.

Ask store owners to let you place flyers in their stores. Post flyers on poles. Give them to people you see on the street. Explain your business and ask if they know of anyone who needs a babysitter. If so, give them your information.

Place an ad on Craigslist and other free online services. You can also place a small ad in your local newspaper under Services Offered.

Once you start getting children to babysit, you’ll want to meet with the parents. Ask them to give you a daily schedule for each child. For instance, a parent may want you to give the child a snack at a certain time. Ask about what they can eat, what they may be allergic to, how to handle discipline and what to do if the child misbehaves. The parents should also give you numbers to contact in case of an emergency.

You’ll want to stay calm and cool when babysitting. Most children will misbehave at some time. When that happens, try putting the child in time out for a few minutes. If they continue to misbehave, and the parents haven’t give you other options, call the parent. Whatever you do, never hit or spank a child!

Babysitting can be a fun, rewarding business if you enjoy children. It’s easy to find clients, and it pays well. Learn all you can, maintain a good attitude, and you can build a great part-time business watching other people’s children.

Start Your Own Profitable Jewelry Making Business

December 31, 2009 · Filed Under Business Ideas for Teens · Comments Off on Start Your Own Profitable Jewelry Making Business 

Teens looking for a home based business they can start in their spare time might want to try their hand at jewelry making. Beaded jewelry, created from a variety of raw materials such as stones, metals, plastic beads, and more is a great way to quickly earn a good income in your spare time without investing a lot of money.

You’ll need to learn how to make the jewelry, of course. You can do that through local or online classes, from books, DVDs or videos. Or if you know someone in the trade, ask if you can spend some time as their apprentice and get valuable on-the-job training, which is one of the best ways to learn anything.

In addition, you’ll need to learn about the materials and tools you’ll use. What each type of “gadget” is and how to use it, including clasps and head pins (commonly called findings), various beads, gauges of wire, wire cutters, pliers, etc.

And you’ll want to understand something about jewelry design, such as what works and what doesn’t, what’s hot and what’s no longer popular. There’s a lot to learn… but the learning itself will be fun because you’ll get to practice making jewelry as your knowledge grows!

Begin by choosing the type of jewelry you’d like to make. While you can make a variety of pieces such as necklaces, pins or brooches, bracelets, or earrings, it will be easier to learn if you choose one specific item like pierced earrings to begin with. Earrings in particular, are popular and worn by many people, so your possible market is larger than for a pin or necklace. But choose something you like and that you’ll enjoy making.

Next, decide on the basic findings you’ll need. Ear wires or posts and clutches are mandatory, for instance, if you plan to make pierced earrings. Clasps and jump rings may be optional. You’ll need specific tools regardless of the pieces you start with. Basics include a flush cutter, round nose pliers, chain nose, and bent chain nose tools. You can buy them individually or in kits.

You’ll also need to select some beads. The options for beads are practically unlimited! You can choose from a variety of materials such as semi-precious, non-precious or precious stone, metal, plastic, even paper or clay. If you want, you can even make your own beads. Instructions and materials are readily available to teach you.

Most beads come in a variety of shapes such as diamond, bicone, round, oval, rondelle or teardrop. And the sizes vary ranging from 4mm up to large 16mm beads. You can find beads made of fire polished glass, pressed glass, swarovski Austrian crystal, freshwater pearls, birthstones, gemstones and so much more. Truly, the options are astounding. But don’t despair!

Visit an online jewelry supply store and request a catalog, or visit your local craft store such as Michael’s or Hobby Lobby and browse the bead department. Pick a few you like best and start with those. You can add other designs and options later, if you choose.

A couple basic designs will get you started since the different beads will vary the look of each piece. And design ideas are all over the Internet. Search for “free jewelry designs” and print out the ones you like best. Check the supply list and tools needed to be sure you have everything on hand before you begin, then make up a couple samples.

Set a reasonable selling price based on the supplies you use and the time it takes. You want to keep your prices low enough that people will buy, but high enough to cover all your expenses and allow you to make a decent profit.

Once you have a few samples in hand, and you’ve set your prices, it’s time to start selling! You can sell your finished products through consignment at local or online craft shops, through Etsy or another craft site, at flea markets and craft shows, or to friends and family members.

Making and selling jewelry can be a fun, exciting and profitable business for anyone. But it’s especially good for teens since the investment is low and the learning curve is easy.

Is Dog Walking Right For Me?

Out for a WalkBy J.D. Antell
Copyright 2008, All Rights Reserved.

So you are thinking about starting your own dog walking business? As a dog walker of over seven years and author of a book on starting your own dog walking business, I’m going to give you the 5 most important aspects of running a successful and lucrative dog walking business.
1. Trust
2. Reliability
3. Professionalism
4. Contact
5. Services
Before we get into these in more detail, I would like to offer a little history and some explanation about dog walking and pet sitting in general. First of all I’d like to define the distinction between “pet sitting” and “dog walking.” These terms have been used interchangeably for far too long and there are major differences between the two you should be aware of, and which will have a direct impact on moms looking to start a business.

Pet sitting, as it’s known, really began to take hold back in the late 80s and early 90s. Why then? Near as I can tell Americans simply started caring more about their pets and decided that leaving the dog in a kennel for a week or more just wasn’t fair or humane. It was during this “age of enlightenment” that some entrepreneurial pet lovers decided there was a market for “pet sitting” and created businesses that served that need. Thus the pet sitting industry was born.

Dog walking, a newer variation on the pet sitting theme, differs considerably from traditional pet sitting and through its smaller commitment, offers more flexibility, and therefore a much better opportunity for stay-at-home moms who need to be home in the mornings to see the kids off, and home in the afternoons when they get home.
So what exactly is the difference? Pet sitting is about pet visits: feeding the cat, bird, dog, or fish, making sure they are fed and have water, making sure the owners house is still standing, watering plants, taking in mail, taking the dog out for a potty break or a walk and some companionship. Pet sitters take care of many different types of animals from domestic pets to live-stock. But here is the cincher: the hours are pretty much 4 blocks of time in each day: early morning, noon, late afternoon, and an evening tuck-in. Pet sitting was born out of the need for kennel alternatives and best serves those who are away on vacation, not just at work for the day. If you are a pet sitter you can expect to be working very hard and to be out most of the day with brief 1-2 hour blocks of down-time scattered here and there throughout the day.

By contrast, a dog walker’s job, focus, and services are very different and the hours are much more conducive to stay-at-home moms. Dog walkers generally work between the hours of 10am-3pm leaving mornings, afternoons, and evenings free. Dog walking is a Zen-like business model, providing a steady, predictable income, and your customer base is much, much larger.

America has experienced changes to its neighborhoods and subsequently its municipal laws; and it’s not just us humans who have felt the impact of urban sprawl. Congested neighborhoods and vehicular traffic is now the norm–leaving little room for dogs to tour the streets on their own, as they once did. In most communities in America it’s now against the law to let your dog roam free or be left out in a yard all day; and socially unacceptable to leave it locked up all day in the house. I remember reading somewhere that commute times have increased 200-300% in the last 20 years as more and more dual earner households have become the norm. Unfortunately, dogs’ bladders haven’t kept pace! In sum, all of these changes have created an opportunity for those in the dog-care industry. What we’ve seen is a growing number of commuters needing to hire DOG WALKERS to take their dogs out during the day.

Long commutes and hours of endless boredom in the lives of dogs have resulted in many opportunities for creative animal lovers, which is why it’s such a hot business to get into. Stay-at-home moms would be well advised to consider starting their own dog walking business. The hours work out so well for moms that it’s probably why 9 out of 10 dog walkers seem to be women. Folks need their dogs walked during the mid-day hours and this is usually when children are in school. A dog walker can walk about 4 dogs in two hours (and more if you offer group walks or outings) at $15 per dog (a fairly standard rate.) That’s $60+ for a couple of hours work. Most moms can squeeze in at least 4 hours per day so let’s double that making their daily part-time income $120. So this part-time job can earn $600 or more per week. When you start getting more clients than you can handle consider hiring another walker and simply manage the business from your home; then watch your part-time business generate full-time income!
Dog walking is pretty much recession proof. American households with dogs have increased exponentially and continue to grow. We aren’t going to get rid of our pets, and since we can’t stop working and commuting, dog walkers will still be needed–even in a down economy. There is competition but the field is still new and there is a lot of room for new-comers. Those who offer the best services and top-notch customer service will be the leaders. Those who don’t put much effort or time into the business will likely fail; making it even easier for dog walkers with a plan to succeed. Which brings me to the 5 main points that make or break a dog walking business; and at times I quote directly from my book: The Dog Walker’s Startup Guide: Create Your Own Lucrative Dog Walking Business in 12 Easy Steps.

Trust: This is the most important one of all. People are very particular about who takes care of their pets. Animals, as of yet, have not learned to communicate in our language and so it’s up to the owners to screen their care-givers very carefully. While it’s true that trust is earned–and in this business earning trust will be a daily practice–there are a few shortcuts that can help you get your foot in the door. The way to overcome your potential customers’ initial resistance is through credibility indicators such as: your past work experience, memberships and associations, community involvement, past references and advertising. These things will establish an initial level of credibility and trust. Once you’re hired your new clients will be seeking confirmation that their trust is well placed, and this brings us to the next point.

Reliability: This is so crucial I cannot say enough about it but I will try to be succinct. You absolutely must be consistent, both for the dog’s sake and your own. Your clients have asked their friends and neighbors to keep an eye on you and believe me, they are. If you show up late for walks or short change them to try and catch up it’s going to catch up with you! Your clients will hear about it and it will erode their confidence in you. Once that kind of word-of-mouth gets going, it’s very hard to stop. You want your reputation to be good! Being consistent is critical, but there are a few other things that can generate good word-of-mouth which brings me to the next key element.

Professionalism: How you do appear to others when you are out walking dogs? Your appearance can be as simple as your attitude, mannerisms, your clothing, or your car. You need to make sure you look professional, clean, and reliable. Old sweats and an old jalopy aren’t very good indicators of your business success. The other key issue in the professionalism category is how you handle the dog. Are your handling techniques selling your services–or selling you out? I go into this in detail in my book and it’s crucial you understand how your actions when out on a walk say more about your business than any advertising copy ever will!

Contact: You may be working with dogs 90% of the time but you must be able to connect with people. You may be a dog whisperer but if you don’t connect with the dog’s owner you’re unlikely to ever be given the chance to whisper in old Fido’s ear. Let’s assume you are pretty good with people. You get hired and you begin taking care of their dog. What then? Do you know that I have met most of my clients only once? In one year of walking a particular client’s dog I had only seen the owner once–at the client interview! This can create quite a distance between you and the people you serve. That’s why it is imperative you maintain contact at least on a weekly basis. When I started out, blogging wasn’t even on the radar screen. Now it’s everywhere, but many dog walkers aren’t even using this fantastic medium for keeping in contact. Make sure you create a weblog for your business! I discuss all the angles for making a weblog for your business in my book and even ways of generating secondary income with it through PPC (pay-per-click) advertising!

Services: You might be wondering why I have put this last. It’s really quite simple: dog walking as its name implies, is pretty straightforward. Feel free to add things to your services such as transportation to the vet or groomers and other ala-carte services, but the bread-and-butter of dog walking is well, walking dogs. There are important (and lucrative) variations on that theme which I discuss at length in my book.
I started out when “professional dog walking” was really a new idea in most of America. My background was in advertising and video/film production but that didn’t stop me. I made mistakes along the way and found what worked and what didn’t. My wife and I read tons of books on dog behavior, training, and history. She took courses at Harvard University and attended lectures by world renowned scientists at the forefront of animal behavior studies, and we both learned quite a lot. Over that time the idea of creating a dog walking startup guide and kit began to emerge and eventually I put my pen to paper to tell others what we had learned. What has resulted is: “The Dog Walker’s Startup Guide” and “The Dog Walker’s Companion (DVD),” which give you step-by-step instructions on how to start your own dog walking business. The DVD adds the practical instruction aspects of the training through demonstrations and also contains all the forms and materials you’ll need once you get your business set up. I offer it at my website at http://www.dogzanny.com. I invite you to take a look.

J.D. Antell
Author, “The Dog Walker’s Startup Guide: Create Your Own Lucrative Dog Walking Business in 12 Easy Steps”

Creative Commons License photo credit: di_the_huntress

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