Category Archives for Online Business Ideas

Party Plan Business Opportunities

If you always loved throwing themed birthday parties for your kids or you’ve helped several friends plan their big celebrations—whether they were Christmas parties, birthday parties or weddings—you might want to consider starting a party planning business. There are two ways you can do this: partner up with a company that throws themed parties and become a representative, or plan the parties yourself and use a network of vendors to make them happen.

Partner Up!

Unless you already happen to know a lot of musicians, décor artists and other talented people who can help you throw excellent parties for an affordable price, this is the easier way to go. Many companies have started selling their products through themed parties, including Tupperware and Lego.

Ask other party planning consultants what companies they enjoy working with. If you don’t know any party planning consultants you can find them on an online forum like PartyPlans.com. You can also ask on Yahoo Answers or similar sites.

Make sure you check out any companies you’re not familiar with before you agree to represent them. It’s important that you believe in what you’re selling and equally important to be selling quality products if you want your business to grow. Purchase a test product if you’ve never used them before and if possible try to attend a couple parties thrown by the company you’re considering partnering with.

You want to learn as much as you can about the company’s compensation plan before you sign up. If you’re considering a couple different companies compare reviews from actual associates as well as the compensation plans. The best compensation plan won’t do you any good if you’re selling crappy products, but if products are otherwise equal or at least similar you want to go for the better compensation plan.

Here are some questions to ask before you sign up:

  • What is the cost to start? And what is included in that cost?
  • What are sales figures like across the country(not just top sellers)?
  • What percentage do starting consultants make from sales?
  • How does commission work for online orders?
  • What extra incentives are provided?
  • What are the sales tax requirements?
  • What is included in the training?
  • Do you receive ongoing one-on-one sales mentorship? From who?
  • How much of a support culture exists? Is there a members-only forum? Offline meetups? This community is crucial both to being successful and to enjoying your party planning business
  • Does the company allow returns? What does the return policy look like?
  • Are there any exit costs when you want to leave the company?
  • What are some of the most commonly asked questions by new representatives? (This is a great way to find out about any weird procedures the company has in place)
  • How many other party planning consultants for this company work in your area? If there are a lot of local consultants the area might already be over saturated.

Once you’ve signed up, get to know your team and who you can rely on for support. Corporate support makes all the difference in this kind of business. Figure out who you can ask questions, who can help you with different things, what packages are the most popular, etc. as quickly as you can.

Some things to remember about partnerships:

  • You can partner with multiple companies but it’s not generally ideal. The exception might be if you choose one company to pitch to adults and one to pitch for kids’ parties
  • Some companies require you to deliver all the materials yourself. This can quickly eat up all your time and profit, so try to work with companies that can deliver materials to the host’s house directly. This makes it easier to scale your business and sell to people further away
  • Many party planning companies require payment up front. Make sure you know when payment is due and that you make it clear to all customers

Do it on your own

Starting a party planning business without the direct support of one of these companies is possible, but it is much more difficult. To be successful you should focus on a specific type of party, whether it’s birthday parties, corporate parties or parties with a specific theme like Lego or science fiction.

In order to start a successful party planning business you need to either a) be crafty enough to make all the décor and themed materials yourself or b) have a talented network of people willing to help you for an affordable fee.

This is usually only a successful strategy if you’ve already worked for a party planning company or you have the resources to pour full time hours into your business for the first several months as you build yourself up. The main advantages are that you get complete control over what comes in the party packages you create and you get to keep all the profit. Still, for most people this simply isn’t a viable option.

Some things to consider about doing it on your own:

  • You will have to work a lot harder to build a reputation because you won’t be able to rely on a partner company’s reputation
  • The extra time to create decorations, loot bags and activities will add up quickly
  • You will have to deliver everything yourself
  • You won’t receive any training or corporate support

Final Thoughts

Starting a party planning business can be thrilling, but it is still hard work, just like starting any other business. Here are a few tips to get you started, with or without a partnership:

  • Try to book parties for as many friends and family members as possible in the first 2-3 weeks. This will give you the courage to keep going and allow you to appear more established when pitching new people
  • Decide in advance how much time you’ll spend on the business and during what times so it doesn’t take over your life
  • Practice your sales pitch in the mirror and with honest friends who can give you feedback. You might never be fully comfortable pitching but you should at least have a pitch memorized

Good luck with your party planning business!

Top 10 Online Business Ideas

Everybody knows the stories: brilliant minds create companies like Google, Facebook and Ebay, grow them from tiny start-ups to massive conglomerates, often by pulling 80 hour weeks and refusing to take days off for the first few years. Others become astronomically successful by self-publishing books online or creating video courses. If you spend a lot of time reading online media, it seems like online billionaires must be everywhere, but you’ve probably never met one yourself. And frankly, it seems ridiculous.

All right, so these seemingly-mythical billionaires do exist, but you’re right about one thing: they aren’t everywhere. Oh, and you probably won’t end up in their ranks. But you can start an online business and see some success. In fact, 1 in 10 Australians is already earning money through an online business.

Why create an online business?

While some businesses simply have to be operated in brick-and-mortar locations, online businesses have several advantages in many industries. Here are the top 5:

Freedom to make as much money as you want. When you run your own business, you are in complete control of how much money you make. Often you’ll have to work harder initially to start making good money, but once you do, the work gets easier. Many online business models also feature passive income, meaning you can make money even while you’re on vacation.

The ability to control your own hours. You might have to be up and “at work” during daylight hours to have meetings with clients, but for the most part, you get to control your own hours when you run an online business. In the vast majority of online businesses you can even work in your PJs, although many entrepreneurs find it easier to stay focused if they dress up in their work clothes.

Low overhead costs and little risk. Most online businesses require very little financial outlay and only a small amount of risk. Many website building platforms such as WordPress make it easy to build an attractive website and even come with cheap (under $100) pre-made designs that can really help your website stand out. If you’re running a service based business such as a freelance writing business you don’t even need to worry about purchasing massive amounts of stock or shipping products.

There are endless options. These days you can start almost any kind of business online with ease. You can make money at any time or day of night and sell directly to customers in any part of the world. You can even use one website to make money in several different ways, many of which require a minimal amount of skill to set up even if they require a significant time investment.

It’s easy to find an affordable training program. There are training programs to help you get started in every kind of business, often found at every price range. The pros who started making money online ten, twenty years ago are now teaching people of all kinds how to start their own dream businesses—and odds are pretty high that you can find one in your niche.

Potential online businesses

  1. Affiliate marketing – Typically done through a website although it can be done via email as well, affiliate marketing involves linking a particular product with an interested customer. This is often done through ads placed on your website or links added to blog posts.
  2. Paid consultant – If you’ve been successful at anything in your life, you can probably find people willing to pay for help reaching that same level of success. This is particularly true if you’ve had a successful career in something unusual or creative. You can start by selling half hour phone sessions.
  3. Freelance Writer – Can you write well? Do you enjoy working with words? Freelance writing can be an extremely lucrative career. The highest paying clients are often rather difficult to acquire, but it’s entirely possible to get clients in the middle range within the first few months of your freelance writing career.
  4. Social Media Management – Are you extremely comfortable with a range of social networks? Have you worked in social media before? Many small businesses hire part-time social media managers who work either primarily or entirely from home. If you don’t already have the experience there are many courses run by social media professionals and many companies offering internships.
  5. Ebay Reseller – Do you have a lot of stuff you never use? Do you love hunting through thrift stores and garage sales to find gems, but hate filling your house with junk? Well, it turns out, a lot of that stuff can be re-sold for more money. If you have a good eye for what will sell—or you do the research to find out—you can make quite a lot of money buying low in the real world and selling high on Ebay.
  6. Website Designer – These days website building is so simple you can learn how to do it well enough to sell your services in just a few weeks. There are hundreds of courses available, many of which cost little to nothing. As you gain experience and build a portfolio this can easily become a full time gig.
  7. Freelance Editor – Everybody’s writing can improve with the help of a good editor and some people really, really need it. If you have a good eye for spelling and grammar and you enjoy reading critically, this might be the gig for you. Volunteer to edit a small business’s website or some friends’ school papers to build a portfolio so you can find editing work.
  8. Ecommerce – Are you a crafty person? Do you knit, sew, weave or work with wood, metal or wire to create nifty things for your home or beautiful gifts? You can also create crafts of all kinds and sell them online. Visually appealing crafts that also serve some kind of purpose around the home are often a big hit.
  9. Sponsored blog posts – This only really works once you’ve created a blog with a strong community, but if you make a point of ranting about or reviewing awesome products online, you might be able to get paid for it. Companies regularly sponsor blog posts on well-read blogs to establish themselves in the customer’s mind.
  10. Bookkeeping – Many small businesses only need a part time book keeper, and most of this work can generally be done from home or online. With some businesses it’s possible to do this work entirely online, and it can be quite a lucrative business. Small business owners rarely have time to work on this themselves or the knowledge to do it well and are often quite happy to pay you well for this service.

With online business, the possibilities are endless. You can sell almost any skill and certainly any product online, and more people are turning to the internet for their purchases every day. As the younger generations who have grown up surrounded with technology gain purchasing power you can bet the success of online businesses will only continue to grow.

Still, make sure to research opportunities before you try to start any online business. Each one has its own advantages and drawbacks, and some require you to get a professional certification of some kind before you complete them. Make sure you truly want to commit to something before you spend any money on training. You’ll thank yourself later.