“Running a Side Business: How to Create a Second Income” by Attorney Richard Stim and Lisa Guerin, J.D. is a great little book containing the basics of starting a business on the side, while keeping your day job. It is one of the Nolo and USA Today collaborations, so it brings legal information in an easy to understand format with the checklists, tips, and USA Today Snapshots. It’s an interesting and informative book.
The book is just over 250 pages and contains 10 chapters. The first chapter discusses things you need to consider before you start a side business, and looks at various side business available. The second chapter focuses on on-line stuff. Free things you can find on-line as well as earning money with Amazon, ebay, affiliate programs and so on.
The third chapter is on managing money. It provides the basics regarding record keeping, bookkeeping, accounting methods, cash flow, forecasting, and related money matters. Chapter four provides some basics on protecting personal assets by discussing business entities and insurance.
Chapter five is titled “Avoid the Lawyers” and provides information on contracts. The basics are here, but if your business involves certain elements, products, or services, you may want an attorney to review some of your agreements before finalizing them.
The sixth chapter deals with licenses, permits and other paperwork. Good general information here, but you probably want to check your local laws to insure compliance. And yes, the author recommends you do this at the end of the chapter too. Chapter seven deals with working from home. Home office efficiency is the primary focus, and then there is a little to evaluate when you might want to move out of your house, as well as a few other tips.
The focus of chapter eight is working with others. The basics of employee vs independent contractor are explained, as well as other topics related to working with family, taxes and so on.
Chapter nine presents some marketing basics. There are a variety of tips and strategies for marketing. The final chapter, ten, provides advice on taxes and deductions. Again, I’d use this to learn some basics and then discuss with your tax preparer.
A lot of the information in this book can be found in other books in more detail, but what this book does is provide basics in a simple single volume with the small side business as the focus. Most other resources don’t provide that. I do believe, if you are thinking of starting a business on the side, this book would be a great starting resource. You’ll probably want more resources as you get going and determine the areas you need more assistance with, but this is definitely a great first read for anyone thinking about starting a side business.