Could you use this concept?

Recently Entrepreneur featured a great article showcasing eight hot startups from the Washington D.C. Area. If your interested in reading the article it can be found here. D.C. isn’t necessarily the first place that comes to mind when thinking about where to launch your new business. But that just shows a great idea is a great idea and you can succeed from just about anywhere. Lets take a closer like one of these hot startups.

Opower: Opower is like gamified energy conservation. They have partnered with 80 leading utility companies to bring you a unique twist on energy conservation. See how your energy usage compares to your neighbors. If they can save energy so can you! You can also see how you stack up this month compared to how you did the same month last year. By making this information readily available to you, you naturally want to conserve more then you did the year before and of course more than the Jones’ across the street. Opower also partnered with Honeywell to create a great thermostat that can be controlled from a smart phone. Perhaps, you could use this same type of technology and apply it to your car’s MPG rating. Compete against yourself, friends, and total strangers to see who is going the farthest on each gallon of fuel. Good for your wallet and for the environment. How can you use this same concept in a different way to grow your current business or start a new one?


Professional Cleaning Company


It can be a dirty job, but someone has to do it. Starting a professional cleaning business has many pros. This business can have very low startup costs, be full or part time, and be home based if desired. Your potential client base is huge! Every business and home needs to be cleaned, some people don’t want to do it, while others just don’t have the time. This business is far from tech savvy and doesn’t require too many special skills. It all sounds pretty good but like every business there are some cons. These include: potential “dirty” work, weekend and evening hours, as well as a lot of competition. But, don’t let that scare you! There is money to be made in this flexible startup.

Below are some things to consider before starting your own cleaning business.

1) Although you could eventually clean both businesses and residential homes, start with one or the other. This will keep you focused on a certain type of client and will prefect your cleaning procedures. We recommend starting with small offices because they are less time consuming and they offer a steady stream of income. Consider dentist, lawyer, and real estate offices.

2) Big or small? Full or part time? Deciding these things will help you determine if you can be home based and if you will be doing all the cleaning yourself or if you need to hire a few employees to help. If hiring employees, make sure they have a clean criminal record. No one wants a three time convicted thief in their home or business when they aren’t there. Having honest, ethical employees will help avoid some potential headaches down the road.

3) Licenses and insurance. Some areas require licenses for professional cleaning companies. Insurance may not be absolutely necessary, but it is highly recommended. Most businesses will be more inclined to hire a professional company the is licensed and insured, plus it makes your cleaning company look more professional.

4) Marketing. Previously we said that this isn’t a tech savvy business. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an online presence. A nice little website will attract potential customers and make your business stand out from the rest. A Facebook page never hurt either. Try flyers and post cards to get your name out there. Always offer free estimates. Offer a green cleaning option to attract more customers. You should also considering being active in the communities you serve. Sponsoring youth sports teams, 5K races, and volunteering for charity work give your business great exposure while helping those in need.

Looking for more information on starting a professional cleaning business? Check out the following links.




The Next Big Thing


Up until now, we at StartUp Options have focused on smaller business ideas. Well, who is to say your not sitting on the next Pinterest, PayPal, or Facebook? You may know you have a great idea but how could you ever get the publicity and financial support to turn your idea into the Next Big Thing? Every year more and more startup conferences are held. These conferences give the beginner entrepreneur a chance to get their foot into the door. You will attend seminars on all kinds of different topics that will assist you in making your idea a reality. You will be able to network, gain media exposure, and perhaps even pitch some VCs. There are many different conferences out there. At the top of your list should be The StartupBus and The Startup Conference. The StartupBus gives a new twist on a “startup conference”. For more info click here. The Startup Conference is a very large and well known conference that almost 2,000 eager entrepreneurs attend. What’s is it like to attend a conference like this? Check out Deborah Drake’s article at Authentic Writing Provokes for a firsthand account about attending The Startup Conference. O yea, earlier in the article we mentioned Pinterest, what we didn’t mention was that Pinterest was pitched at The Startup Conference before anyone ever heard of them. You could be next!

Maybe you don’t have the Next Big Thing figured out…but attending a startup conference may just spark the idea you have been waiting for!

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Part-time And Weekend Business Ideas


You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to start your own business. Many people start their business on the weekend and grow it from there. Below you will find several low cost businesses you should consider if you want to start out on a part time basis.

Personal Trainer
If your a health nut and know your way around the gym this one might be for you. Try to partner with local gyms to gain some exposure. Focus on a certain type of client or style of exercise, like CrossFit. First, offer Saturday classes and see how it goes. Clients will pay between $20 and $75 per personal session. Also, you may want to consider becoming certified. Here is an article on how to become a personal trainer.

Tour Guide
Live in a area filled with tourists? It’s your turn to cash in! Tour guides can bring in more then $10 to $20 per person. Get a group of five to ten people and keep your tours to a few hours…you do the math. People love finding out more about landmarks, wineries, and food. If you can’t do a walking tour then you will need a van or small bus to transport your customers. Want more info? Check out the Tour Guide Blog.

Teach Something
Give music lessons, tutor a student, or help someone with their golf swing…the list goes on and on. People always want to better themselves and there is no better way to capitalize on your talents then to help people improve their skills an knowledge. Depending on what lessons you are giving expect to bring in $15 to $30 an hour.

Who doesn’t love taking pictures? Put your skills to good use and start a photography business. Your clients will range from newborns to senior citizens. You will be working at weddings and other special events which are usually on the weekends or evenings so you should be able to keep your day job while you get started. Having an online presence is key to finding new customers so make sure your on Facebook and have a good website at the very least. Your site should reflect your experience so customers know they will be getting what they paid for. Check out L.A. Photography to see a good example of what your web site should look like.

Find these ideas intriguing? Let us know!

Doing good never felt so good!

It’s never been better to do good. People love businesses who give to charities and improve the world they live in. Although this post isn’t a business in itself, it’s a great promotional tool and a potential revenue stream for businesses needing great publicity… what business doesn’t? CentUp is the “do good like button” for websites and blogs. People create a CentUp account for an amount of their liking: say $20. As they surf the net for great content they hit the CentUp button if they stumble across something that tickles their fancy. They can then decide on how much to “CentUp”…say 20 cents. Half goes to the blogger or site with the great content and half goes to a wonderful charity. It’s a win win for everyone: the charity receives funds, the site receives funds, the site gets great publicity, and the reader keeps getting to read the quality work from the site. Check out this link to find up more about CentUp: Here at StartUp Options we think CentUp is going to be a big deal and we cant wait to be a part of it. As we expand our site we hope to add a CentUp button, you’ll be sure to hear about it.


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Because I’m Awesome


Box of Awesome is just that: Awesome! Here is another great example of a subscription themed business making it happen. Box of Awesome sends you a free box filled with all kinds of goodies such as music, movies, cards, and games. No they aren’t outdated dust collectors, these are hot new products not yet on the open market. Companies partner with Box of Awesome to get their new products some exposure. What’s the catch? They only have so many so you have to get on the list early for your free box. You better believe we put are name on the list already! Don’t wanna chance the opportunity for some awesomeness? We don’t blame you…for a small fee you can guarantee yourself a box. Check out their video here: I want a box!

What other ideas can you apply this concept to?

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We Have Exciting News!

We are excited to announce the second side of StartupOptions. In addition to great business ideas we will be talking to people who are making it happen! Yes, people who were once just like you until they took the plunge. Some have pretty high ambitions, others are just looking to make ends meet. Stay tuned to StartupOptions in the coming weeks for great new content!