Many state and local governments revised their laws in the aftermath of the recession to encourage new businesses. The reasons are clear.
- Underemployment – As of April 2015, the underemployment rate (unemployed but actively looking for work and people employed part-time but looking for full-time work) stood at 14.9%.
- Personal debt – 40 million Americans have $1.2 trillion in student loan debt.
- Difficulty making ends meet – median household income is only $53,046
Additionally, technological and cultural changes result in new opportunities. Consider the following side/main businesses:
If you make a fantastic specialty bread or muffin, you are in luck. Many states revised their cottage food laws, and now people can sell goods baked in their own kitchens through a variety of venues. California’s new law began in 2013, and home bakers can sell directly to consumers through farmer’s markets, roadside stands, and even online. Bakers there can even apply for a “Class B” license and sell their goods to indirect sellers such as restaurants.
Cottage food laws come with several restrictions. Selling foods that have meat or dairy are pretty much prohibited. Some states cap what you can earn from a cottage food operation. In California, cottage food operations could have annual gross sales of $45,000 in 2014 before the operator had to rent commercial kitchen space.
Did your friends turn to you for help with English and Math classes? Are you a teacher looking to make extra money? You should consider tutoring.
Tutoring is big business in America with revenues of $4 billion annually. Parents want to address academic concerns. In response, some areas deregulated zoning laws to allow individuals to tutor more than one person at a time. These changes permit people to tutor a group of three students as opposed to just one student at a time. Skype allows someone to tutor students from the comfort of his or her home.
Marijuana for recreational use is legal in 4 states. Marijuana legalization is on the ballot in Nevada in 2016, and advocates hope to have ballot initiatives in states such as California and Massachusetts for that election. With these changes, you might wonder if investing in a marijuana business is for you.
Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. There is a risk that a new administration will crack down on marijuana businesses. You also have to be conscientious of how state laws are written. In Florida, only 21 of the 7,001 nurseries in the state are eligible for licenses to grow medical marijuana.
Factors to Consider
Make sure to check that you have the appropriate permits and insurance if you start a home-based business. Talk to a lawyer so you have a legal structure (i.e. sole proprietorship, LLC) that is right for you. Examine investments carefully to avoid fraud and limit difficulties.
Media discussions about regulations frequently concern federal agencies such as the EPA. However, state and local laws often have a strong impact on business opportunities. As a citizen, make sure you hold politicians pass regulations based on public health and safety, not fear and favoritism.