“Running a Side Business: How to Create a Second Income” by attorney Richard Stim and Lisa Guerin, JD is a great little book that contains the basics of starting a side business, while keeping your day job. It’s a collaboration of Nolo and USA Today, so it brings legal information in an easy-to-understand format with USA Today’s checklists, tips, and snapshots. It is an interesting and informative book.

The book is just over 250 pages long and contains 10 chapters. The first chapter looks at things to consider before starting a side business and discusses various side businesses available. The second chapter focuses on things online. Free stuff you can find online, as well as making money with Amazon, eBay, affiliate programs, etc.

The third chapter deals with money management. Provides the basics of record keeping, bookkeeping, accounting methods, cash flow, forecasting, and money-related matters. Chapter four provides some basics about personal property protection 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 items, products, or services, you may want to have some of your agreements reviewed by an attorney before finalizing them.

The sixth chapter deals with licenses, permits and other procedures. Good general info here, but you’ll probably want to check local laws to ensure compliance. And yes, the author recommends that you do this at the end of the chapter as well. Chapter seven is about working from home. Home office efficiency is the main focus, and then there’s a bit to assess 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, etc.

Chapter nine introduces some basic marketing concepts. There are a variety of marketing tips and strategies. The final chapter, ten, offers advice on taxes and deductions. Again, I would use this to learn some basics and then talk to your tax preparer.

Much of the information in this book can be found in other books in more detail, but what this book does is provide the basics in a single, simple volume with the small side business as its focus. Most other resources don’t provide that. I think if you’re thinking of starting a side business, this book would be a great starting resource. You’ll probably want more resources as you go and determine the areas you need more help with, but this is definitely a great first read for anyone thinking of starting a side business.

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