Ways to generate ideas for income opportunities in your spare time

Growing an income opportunity starts with an idea. Try these proven idea generation methods to stimulate your imagination and come up with money-making opportunities you can run from home in your spare time

The lousy economy may give you a shove into thinking about coming up with ideas for income opportunities in your spare time. But it shouldn’t be the only reason. Imagine how it would be to have a second income that flows into your banking account proving your self-reliance, passion and providing you with greater peace of mind.

Though there are many tools for generating ideas, we will help you get started with some of the more creative and powerful methods.

 This method stretches your creativity

If you want to explore techniques and tools for generating your own ideas for products and services, one of the easiest is to quickly come up with a list of 101 ideas. You may think it’s a lot but when you try it out you will find that this technique forces you to stretch your creative juices to the limit. Often your best idea is hidden in the last 10 ideas that you list. Try it out. Don’t censor or judge your ideas – just write them as quickly as they come to you. You can review your list after a few days. Select your best three ideas and see how you could expand on them.

A tool to produce ideas at any time

Another tool is the 20 Idea Method. Write down 20 ideas quickly to a problem you may have. Don’t overcomplicate things. You may want to focus your idea generation session with a question like, “In what ways could I increase my income this year by 25%?” Review your ideas after a day or two. When you’ve completed your list, choose your best idea and write down a plan to implement it. Put your plan away and review it after a few days.

Try these for amazing results

Try out other methods such as brainstorming on your own. Drawing mind maps (write a central subject or theme in the centre of the page and add related thoughts as quickly as you can for 10 min). Freewrite 10 minutes without consideration of grammar and punctuation. Try a random process such as selecting a word from a dictionary (use nouns) and free associate them with your problem at hand.

Income opportunity ideas to spur your own

Once you get started on idea generation your income opportunity ideas will flow. For example, you may have an idea for offering to copy records to a DVD or making MP3 files. What about a photography service with a twist such as updating photographs for small businesses such as restaurants? Check Twitter for ideas. Randomly link trends to your topic.

You could consider a jewellery business, computer support business, pet sitter or cleaning business, or offer a virtual assistant service for home-bases businesses such as updating websites for small (even one-person) businesses, typing documents, transcribing audio files, uploading podcasts, calling people to build up a mailing list (a valuable asset for on-line promotion). Think of who these services would be offered to – check your online Yellow Pages, local Chamber of Commerce, speak to friends. You just need one customer to get started.

If you’re interested in serving the woman’s beauty market you could, for example, think about taking your service to working women. A mobile hairdressing service in our city involves the hairdresser riding a motor bike to your home any day of the week, including Saturday afternoons. The service is so excellent it rivals any regular store-based salons at a competitive price. But the personal attention and convenience outrivals conventional hairdressers. A similar service could be nail salon business for manicures, pedicures, polish changes and nail art.

For those with an interest in the automotive world, generate ideas for services such as mobile minor repairs, emergency services, battery replacements and hand wash car cleaning.

Training is a big market and anything from computer skills to on-line courses offer opportunities for you to apply to your idea generation session.

Questions for the reality check

But whatever business idea you come up with you need to ask yourself:

  • Does a need exist for the business?
  • What is the profit potential for this business?
  • How long will it take to reach the level of sales to make this profit?
  • How many hours in a day will I need to give to this business?
  • What is the experience required for the business?
  • Does the business require hiring specialised skills?
  • What is the capital required to start and run the business?

The Internet provides many opportunities for small home-based businesses. Take a look at the Internet and see how many businesses are selling health products, information products, marketing services, package businesses. Biz-op type kits abound.

Sleep better at night

Generate your own ideas using these idea methods and come up with income opportunities that will help you sleep better at night. Don’t be discouraged if nothing happens immediately. You have planted seeds that will eventually allow ideas to pop from seemingly nowhere. Use the same idea generating methods to brainstorm an implementation plan. Before you know it you will be on your way, whether you are man or woman, old, young, to turning your ideas into money making opportunities.

Who else wants to generate ideas for income opportunities from home in a lousy economy?

Looking for ways to earn a second income in your spare time could help ease the blow of rising living expenses

You hope the lousy economy is going to improve. How bad can it still get? Petrol price increases. Electricity price increases. Tax increases. Toll road fees so high they are effectively blocking entry into your city, forcing you to rethink where you work. Shortages driving up prices. As a friend remarked, “I don’t know how people are managing to live anymore.”

How are you managing to keep to your budget with expenses rising?

But after paring your personal business expenses to the bone, where should your focus be?

Second income opportunities and home-based businesses are looking increasingly attractive.

Home-based income opportunities may not be a substitute to formal employment but can be complimentary.

Use your creativity to generate ideas for niche markets

With the information explosion, Internet growth, and new ways needed to reduce costs and increase value, generating your own ideas for products and services is becoming within reach of many more people. Business-in-a-box packages and franchises are huge but designing your own business is becoming more attractive with markets going markets.

How can techniques of creativity of idea generation help you generate ideas and turn your ideas into moneymaking opportunities?

We look at how you can use techniques for producing ideas to make a second income, a silent income, without giving up your day job to make life a little easier.

I visited an outdoor market, probably the largest in South Africa, on Saturday morning to check out home business creativity first hand.

Stalls were overflowing with natural and organic fresh fruit and vegetables, handcrafted gifts, deli items, clothing and footwear in natural fibres, toys, arts, ceramics, hand-crafted jewellery, natural make up and health and wellness products. This informal retail environment provides a platform for crafters, farmers, pharmacists and artists – people who earn a living expressed through their passion and creative abilities.

“They know who they are buying from”

Most of these small businesses have some manufactured product (mostly handmade). The manager of the outdoor market said that what’s big is health products because of the health-conscious mothers in the area as the demographic has changed. More men are getting into the outdoor craft market with quality products that rival mass-produce products. I asked the manager what brings so many customers to the market. “It’s the quality of the handmade products and the interaction between the customers and stall owners,” he says. “Customers can deal directly with the manufacturer of the product – there’s more involvement… They know who they are buying from”.

Businesses that began from an idea

Not one of these close to 100 small business operations have been started from a pre-packaged business kit or public franchise. All these businesses were begun in the form of an idea and the creative yearning of the owners.

Open market selling is not for everyone. But the point is that many businesses are started all the time by people who have generated their own ideas for cash, either full-time or part-time (some of these stall operators sell on-line when they are not on show at the outdoor market).

Franchise businesses are proven in many cases with risks ironed out but they are expensive. Risks remain in any business such as changing demographics, new customer buying patterns and competitive threats. There’s no guarantee for any business whether you buy a franchise, a biz-kit type business or purchase a firm someone else started. Your idea for product or service has just about the same chances of success as all those ready-to-start businesses available off-line or online.

Consider the difference in opportunity

Just consider the difference in opportunity. You buy a franchise for R1 million ($125,0000) and have to be very successful to make back your initial investment. A business formed by an entrepreneur doesn’t have to pay this cost. You can sell your business at a healthy multiple whatever way you determine its value.

On the Internet you find many businesses that have begun in the form of an idea by their owners. These businesses express the know-how, experience, skills and passion of their owners. They are filling the many niches (creneaus or holes) left open by the larger businesses not geared to service them profitably.

If you are thinking about a second income opportunity for yourself, why not first try to generate your own ideas before you buy a turnkey business that you will have to pay for a long time before you start earning money. In the next article from ideaaccelerator.co.za we will help you to quickly generate ideas to come up with money making opportunities in your spare time.

By generating your own ideas, you may just discover an income opportunity that can help you cushion the blow of increased living costs or give you a little extra to make life more interesting.