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Tax Accountant

Help clients organize their taxes to get the biggest return.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Tax Accountant

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Tax preparation can be time-consuming, detail-oriented, confusing, and,for most people, frightening. Tax laws change frequently, the IRS has atyrannical reputation, and most of us balk at arithmetic anyway. But ifyou’ve got a head for figures, you like solving puzzles of thefinancial kind, and you can keep up with changing tax laws, this couldbe the business for you.

You can work with individuals to fill outtheir yearly tax forms, specialize in small-business tax preparation,or represent clients who’ve fallen under the IRS’ beady eye and arebeing targeted for hefty liens or penalties. The advantages to thisbusiness are that you can work at home, you get to learn an awful lotabout everybody’s personal and company business (although morally,ethically and legally, you must keep it to yourself), it’srecession-proof because people will always need to pay their taxes, andit can be very profitable. As a tax preparation expert, you should havea solid working knowledge of tax laws for your targetmarket–individuals, estates, partnerships, or other types of small orlarge businesses. (Our tax system is too broad for you to knoweverything.) You’ll need a good eye for math and the people skills tohelp your clients make the best of a usually nerve-draining situation.You should also have the experience and instincts to judge whether theinformation your clients give you is A-OK or doesn’t quite ring true.

The Market

Your clients can be individuals or businesses. Get yourself thebusiness by placing ads in your local Yellow Pages and newspapers,networking with professional and small-business organizations in yourarea, and with CPAs and attorneys who can refer their clients to you.Direct-mail your brochures to local businesses or to individuals whohave just moved to your area.

Needed Equipment

You don’t have to have any sort of license or certification, but youmay want to get certified as an EA (enrolled agent) by the IRS. Thisinvolves training followed by a rigorous two-day exam, the completionof which is a bonus as far as your credentials are concerned.

It alsoallows you to go before the IRS in place of your client during anaudit. (Only enrolled agents, CPAs and attorneys are granted thisprivilege, which means you can charge more than an uncertified taxpreparer.) Whether or not you go for the EA designation, you’ll need acomputer with a laser printer, a fax machine, a copier, the usualoffice software, as well as tax preparation software like Intuit’sProSeries. You’ll also need reference materials, including the U.S.Master Tax Guide (available on Amazon), and regular updates to all thisstuff. You can get a CD containing IRS forms for $22, plus lots offreebies, all for the asking. Be sure to check with your insuranceagent about errors-and-omissions insurance as well.

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Financial

Online Venture Capital Forum

Help investment-seekers from far and wide with an online VC resource.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Online Venture Capital Forum

Startup Costs: $10,000 – $50,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? Yes

Business Overview

With more than 700,000 new business venturesbeing started every year in the United States, developing an onlineventure capital or ‘angel’ forum has the potential to make you rich. Avery healthy percentage of these 700,000 new business ventures requiremoney to make them work, and securing financing to start or expand abusiness is one of the largest challenges facing any entrepreneur.

Thatis what makes this online venture so exciting. This type of site couldfeature information and services including:

  • A classifiedadvertisement section featuring advertisements posted by entrepreneursseeking business financing and lenders or venture capitalists seekingprojects.
  • A ‘pitch a plan’ section that entrepreneurs could use topitch a business plan or opportunity in digital video format.
  • Tipsand information about business financing topics submitted by successfulbusiness owners and venture capitalist financial gurus alike.
  • Abusiness for sale and business opportunity section. The options areunlimited and ways to generate revenues and profits from this type ofonline venture are also unlimited. Like any Internet enterprise, thekey to success lies within attracting visitors to the site to takeadvantage of and use the information and services provided within.

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Financial

Stock Day Trader

Consider investing in this business if buying and selling is your specialty.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Stock Day Trader

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? Yes

Business Overview

With the advent of the internet, an entirely new homebasedself-employment opportunity has surfaced. This business has thepotential to generate six-figure incomes for everyday Americans whobecome day traders of stocks and commodities.

However, this opportunitycertainly has a risky downside, as the potential is as great to losemoney as it is to make it–especially for the novice and inexperiencedtrader. The key to successfully earning an income as a stock day traderis to gain as much knowledge about the industry as possible. Specializein a specific type of stock or commodities trading, have considerableinvestment capital to get rolling, and most importantly nerves of steeland an understanding of what goes up must come down. Remember, most daytraders go for short gains, buy in early and sell out the same day.Holding overnight is too much risk, especially for heavily investedtraders in unstable market conditions. Of course remember the goldenrule of stock and commodities trading: ‘never risk more than you canafford to lose.’

The Market

People who want to hire someone to manage their stock portfolios

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Financial

Tax Preparation Service

Your accounting and tax prep skills can give customers time to stop and smell the roses in April.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Tax Preparation Service

Startup Costs: $50,000 – $100,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

An accounting background is preferred;however, there are training and certification courses available thatwill enable you to start your own income tax preparation service as aqualified professional. As in any business, the more you know and thebetter your skills are, the more you will potentially earn. Though taxpreparation is a seasonal service, additional income can also be gainedby providing business clients with year-round bookkeeping services.Once established, word-of-mouth advertising and repeat business willsupport the service. However, to initially secure clients for thebusiness, consider offering a two-for-one special for your first yearof operation, prepare one tax return for the regular fee, while aspouse or partner receives the service for free.

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