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The Resurrection of the Cottage Industry

Photo by James Whitesmith via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Is this the best time ever to start a small business? It sure seems like it!

  • Countless brilliant minds, long cooped up in boring corporate jobs, are on unemployment and unable to find new corporate jobs.
  • The internet has made the world pretty flat. You have a good product? You can move it online for about the same per unit price as the big guys.
  • Culture has a distaste for big business. Enron, big banks, BP, Monsanto, Wal*Mart– we’re all questioning if we can trust giant. But we know we can trust local.
  • The genie has left the bottle. With all of that knowledge leaving big business… these folks know how to run a business, are well networked, and know all the tricks of their trade.
  • It’s never been cheaper. Seriously, in a bunch of states you can legally start a business for less than $100. Using existing free tools like Craigslist, Etsy, or Ebay you can advertise a product for free. (Or darn close to it.)
  • People are more willing to buy thoughts, ideas, designs, and concepts than ever before! Consultant isn’t just a fancy word for unemployed anymore.

If you are thinking about it, let me encourage you on two quick things.

  1. There is no time like the present. I started my first company in 2005 and sold it in 2008. It wasn’t scary. It was fun!
  2. While I don’t agree with all the MBAs out there that you need a business plan to start a small business, I do think you need to do the 30 minutes of work in setting everything up legally. Get a Tax ID, get a business bank account, get a business license if its require, form the right tax entity to protect yourself. None of that is hard and you don’t need a lawyer to do any of that.

Here’s a bi-product I love. All of those small businesses need a website. Which supports my cottage industry.

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