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Starting an Occasional Business

by Ron Kurtus (updated 8 October 2015)

Starting an occasional business venture is something you can do to make some extra money. Little or no up-front money is needed to start the enterprise. Typically, you sell goods that you already have. Sometimes such a venture can lead into starting a full-time business.

To start such an enterprise you need to get an idea of some product to sell or service to provide. Then you must gather things together and make preparations to sell your goods. Finally, you "open shop" and start selling your wares.

Although on a very small scale, you are still practicing entrepreneurship. It can also lead to going into business for yourself and having a full-time business.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Five steps

There are five basic steps in starting an occasional business:

  1. Have motivation
  2. Get idea
  3. Make plans
  4. Implement plans
  5. Start selling

Details of steps

The details of the five steps are as below:


Typically, the desire or need to make some extra money can motivate you to come up with an idea of a small business venture to start. But also, you probably have a secret desire to run your own business.

Get idea

The idea for a business venture consists of a product or service that you have available and a way to reach people and sell it to them.

Often the idea of an occasional business venture is from seeing what others have done.

You may see some odd-job work that a friend is doing, and that may give you an idea of a similar venture.

Or, you may have an object that you consider selling. It could be some old furniture that you want to replace or an automobile that you can probably sell for more than a used-car dealer would give for it. This stimulates your imagination to come up with a business idea.

Make plans and decision

Once you have an idea of a business venture to start or a way to make some money and have decided to pursue it, you make your plans and preparations. This is gathering everything you need until you actually open for business. If you are an organized person, you might even write up a check-off list of things you need to do in preparation to start selling your items.

Besides having the idea, you need to see its potential, as well as its downside. Some ideas require special knowledge, money or equipment to get started. Evaluating the idea and its requirements brings you to a decision on whether to pursue it.


Once you have an idea of a business venture to start or a way to make some money, you start your preparations. This is gathering everything you need until you actually open for business, including doing some advertising.

First sale

Once you are ready to sell your product or service, you are open for business. Your business consists of getting together with the customer, showing the product and making the exchange for money.


Selling lemonade

Setting up a lemonade stand is a good example of starting a small, occasional business.

Allison wanted some spending money and had seen other children selling lemonade in front of their houses. So she got the idea of setting up a lemonade stand to sell to thirsty people passing by.

She knew she needed a number of items before she got started.

Allison asked her mother to make some lemonade. Then she made a little stand outside and brought out some paper cups. Her mother gave her some change to give to people, in case they did not have the exact amount. Then she made up a sign, advertising her lemonade and its price.

Allison put her lemonade and sign by her stand and was now open for business. A few of the neighbors stopped by to purchase a drink.

Selling stamp collection

John had an old stamp collection from when he was a kid. Instead of simply keeping it, he got the idea of selling the collection on Craigslist.

John posted a photo of his stamp collection along with details, price and his telephone number on Craigslist in his community.

John was open for business once the phone rang from someone who had interest in his collection. Then he made arrangements for the person to come over. He sold his collection to the first customer.


The basic steps in starting an occasional business is get an idea of some product to sell or service to provide as a way to make some extra money. You would gather things together and make preparations to sell your goods. Then, you be open for business and ready to make some money.

Try your hardest to succeed

Resources and references

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