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Archives for January 7, 2018

Side hustles you can start with no money – messenger

Starting a business is often a pricey ordeal, but no- to low-cost ideas exist for aspiring entrepreneurs with unique and marketable talent.

Take inventory of the skills you already possess, recommends Holly Reisem Hanna, founder of career blog The Work at Home Woman. List your past jobs, education, training, passions, skills and talents to help identify vocational patterns and interests that can guide you toward your new business venture.

“In this exercise, you want to go deep,” she says, “so include what you liked and didn’t like about past jobs, training and schooling.”

Need more small business ideas to get the wheels turning? Consider these classic business ideas you can start with no immediate costs.


Your best assets are the knowledge and skills you already have. So whether you’re a math whiz, grammar guru or musical wunderkind, consider selling your well-honed expertise. While you may eventually want to spend a few dollars to get the word out about your services — beyond, say, your social media contacts — you already have the tools you need to get started, which will help keep overhead low.


Everyday home maintenance and repairs have a habit of piling up, so if you’re naturally handy around the house, consider positioning yourself as a master of manual labor. Start by specializing in a niche area, like building your expertise in painting or landscaping to help build credibility among clients and not overextend yourself.


More and more companies are looking to freelancers, or independent contractors, to lower their in-house costs, giving creative types — writers, photographers, designers — an opportunity to share their talents with multiple clients.


Americans shell out big bucks when it comes to their pets. According to the American Pet Products Association, pet owners spent $66.8 billion on their animals in 2016, with $5.8 billion of that going toward services like grooming and boarding. If pets are your passion, you can start a dog-walking or pet-sitting business for little to no money. Later on, you might take it a step further and become a trainer, though you’ll want to invest in a certification to give your business credibility.


Cashing in on the fitness craze is a great idea for the athletically blessed, and there are no required costs for starting out. You can start by working out with clients in public spaces like parks and focusing on body-resistance exercises. Take your hustle to the next level by investing in some gear, like resistance bands or weights, to keep your clients progressing–and coming back to you for more. While there are no state or federal laws regulating who can and cannot declare themselves a personal trainer, a potential cost (and a worthwhile one, at that) is getting certified by an industry organization like the American Council on Exercise. You’ll also want to consider liability insurance to cover any client injuries that may happen while you’re training them.


Hanna recommends avoiding work in highly regulated industries, like health care, because the guidelines can be hard to navigate. Even outside of tricky industries, there are common pitfalls to avoid when pursuing your side job:

— Don’t jeopardize your main hustle. You may need to maintain full-time employment to generate income while your business is getting off the ground. It’s crucial you don’t allocate your best self to your side hustle and phone it in on your regular job. It’s also good to double-check your contract — you don’t want to start a new business only to realize you signed a noncompete clause with your full-time employer.

— Look into licensing and certificates. Keeping overhead costs low is important, but there are some corners you don’t want to cut. Even if you’re building a business off of your existing skills, like cutting hair or baking, for example, make sure you follow regulatory guidelines for your industry. If you plan to run your business from your home, check your home insurance policy for what incidents are covered and which ones aren’t, and buy riders accordingly for added protection.

This article was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Jackie Zimmermann is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: Twitter: @jackie–zm.


NerdWallet: Guide to starting a business

The Work at Home Woman

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Some ideas on the future of the environment

Stanley Smith is a former Cedar Falls City Council member.

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Raised beds the way to go for newbies – Tribune

Updated 11 hours ago

If you’re thinking you might like to try your hand at growing vegetables in 2018, consider setting up a few raised beds to get started.

There are many benefits to gardening in raised beds, especially for those new to the hobby. Raised beds typically offer better drainage, looser soil and lower maintenance, making them a great choice for gardeners with limited time and resources.

Raised beds also offer more control and space efficiency. You can harvest high yields from raised beds, plus caring for the plants growing in them tends to be a lot easier than caring for an in-ground garden.

Raised beds are also a great way to deal with less-than-ideal soil conditions. Here in Western Pennsylvania, our clay-based soils can sometimes be poorly draining and difficult to work with. But with a raised bed filled with a premium soil mixture, you won’t have to deal with gardening in heavy clay.

There are may ways to start gardening in raised beds. You can purchase commercial raised bed kits that are simple to put together, or build your own raised bed frame from wood, rocks, bricks, or other materials. I suggest starting with just one or two beds, each measuring about 4-by-8-feet to start. Wider beds are harder to work in as you won’t be able to reach all the way to the center. A 4-feet width allows for easy access, even to the middle of the bed.

Raised beds should be a minimum of 18 inches deep to allow plenty of room for plant roots. Taller beds, between 2 and 3-feet tall, are great for folks who want to improve the accessibility of their garden because you can sit on the bed’s outer edge as you work.

Once the raised bed is built, fill the frame with a blend of 50 percent topsoil and 50 percent compost or leaf mold, both of which are available from local landscape supply centers. Do not fill raised beds with bagged potting soil as these peat moss-based products are too light for quality raised bed gardening.

Since you’ll be walking on the ground around your raised bed, rather than on the growing area, the soil will not become compacted and will remain loose and friable.

At the start of each new growing season, top your raised beds with two inches of high-quality compost. This provides nutrients to fuel future plant growth and helps keep the soil friable. It also serves as a mulch and limits weed growth.

When planting time arrives, fill your raised beds with a broad diversity of vegetable plants. But, be sure to give each plant plenty of room to grow. It’s easy to garden in raised bed by directly sowing seeds of fast-maturing vegetables, such as beans, carrots, lettuce and chard, into the soil. Alternatively, vegetables that take a bit longer to mature, such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, can be purchased as transplants and planted into the garden after the danger of frost has passed.

Caring for a raised bed vegetable garden is easy, as long as you make sure the plants receive ample water, especially during the dry summer months. Because raised beds are faster draining than in-ground gardens, it’s essential that you make sure the plants stay well watered. Use a hose or sprinkler to apply 1 inch of water per week, if adequate rainfall doesn’t occur. Raised beds dry out quickly so a layer of two to three inches of straw or shredded leaves spread around the plants also helps preserve soil moisture during the growing season.

Raised bed gardening is a simple way to start growing your own fresh vegetables at home. For added interest and beauty (and to attract important pollinators), don’t forget to include a few flowers and herbs, too.

Horticulturist Jessica Walliser co-hosts “The Organic Gardeners” at 7 a.m. Sundays on KDKA Radio with Doug Oster. She is the author of several gardening books, including “Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden,” “Good Bug, Bad Bug,” and her newest title, “Container Gardening Complete.” Her website is Send your gardening or landscaping questions to or The Good Earth, 622 Cabin Hill Drive, Greensburg, PA 15601.

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What to do in the January garden – Yakima Herald





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Sarah Browning: Deadline nears for Master Gardener applications …

Master Gardeners teach composting at Pioneers Park in 2016.

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