Grand Lake Host Welcomes Mercer Metal to Our Website Business Platform!

We are pleased to announce local Wilshire based business Mercer Metal has joined Grand Lake Host’s website business platform today with a Standard Secure Shop account! We are building their new site now.

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Grand Lake Host March 12, 2020 0 Comments





Hotel - Search


Hotel - Selection

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Grand Lake Host February 27, 2020 0 Comments

Grand Lake Host Welcomes Lofts on Main to Our Website Business Platform!

We are pleased to announce local Celina Main Street based business Lofts on Main has joined Grand Lake Host’s website business platform today with a Standard Secure account! We are building their new site now at

Lofts on Main, owned and operated by Lisa Buschur and her husband, is renovating several properties along Main Street, at both street level and second floor, for both commercial and apartment living.

Lofts on Main

While we’re building Lofts on Main’s new site at, you can follow them on Facebook here: Lofts on Main (FB).

Grand Lake Host is very happy and appreciative that Lofts on Main is taking on renovations for some of our great downtown buildings. We have personally toured the properties and are enamored with their quality. Like so many of our Members, Lofts on Main is also doing a great service for our community through their investment, hard work, and creative, community-focused vision. We’re proud to add them to our Platform.

Are you also a Grand Lake area business? Join us today!

Lofts on Main

Lofts on Main

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Grand Lake Host February 24, 2020 0 Comments

Ludos Paradise


Ludos Paradise


Ludos Paradise - Shop


Ludos Paradise - Product

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Grand Lake Host February 23, 2020 0 Comments

Grand Lake Host Welcomes Dreadfully Good Games to Our Website Business Platform!

We are pleased to announce local Main Street area Celina-based business Dreadfully Good Games (at 202 South Sugar Street at the corner with West Fayette Street) has joined Grand Lake Host’s website business platform today with a Standard Secure account! We are building their new site now at

Dreadfully Good Games, owned by Dave Elking, specializes in tabletop games of all kinds: roleplaying games, board games, and collectible card games.  The store has been in business in Celina for over 6 years now and has expanded in size. It hosts gaming sessions with player groups and weekly regular events, such as Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition one-shots for regulars and newcomers alike. They have an extensive collection of Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40k and offer Magic: The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon cards, miniatures, tons of unique board games, and so much more.

Dreadfully Good Games

While we’re building Dreadfully Good Games’s new site at, you can follow them on Facebook here: Dreadfully Good Games (FB) and join their Facebook Group here: Dreadfully Good Games FB Group.

With Grand Lake Host Owner / CEO Xander Davis’s background in the games industry, continued operation as an independent games designer with his parallel businesses, and his hobby as an active tabletop gamer with his family, welcoming Dreadfully Good Games into the Grand Lake Host ever-growing collective of Members and having the opportunity to design, host, and manage their website as part of this community is especially dear to his heart.

This business joins our many other wonderful platform Members. Check them out and join us today!

Dreadfully Good Games

Dreadfully Good Games

Dreadfully Good Games

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Grand Lake Host February 20, 2020 0 Comments

Introducing the New olive + ASH Site

We have launched the new olive + ASH site built and hosted by Grand Lake Host at olive + ASH is a Member of our Platform through the Standard Secure Shop plan. The Web Shop has the Square payment gateway directly integrated for processing orders with credit cards securely, connected to the same account used for their physical point-of-sale terminals in their store.  The Web Shop can also accept PayPal and Afterpay.  Inventory is synced automatically with Lightspeed, which populates dynamically throughout the website.  The site design uses our Iniya Theme, from our ever-growing professional-grade Themes collection.  All of this, including ongoing updates and maintenance, is included with their plan.

olive + ASH is an on-trend clothing, accessories, and home & dry goods boutique on Celina, Ohio’s Main Street, available in-store and online, founded in early 2018 by co-owners Stacey Brunswick and Todd Bader.

Their goal is to help individuals love their life AND their style by offering an array of products for themselves and their home. Stop in and visit them or shop online 24/7 today!

Stacey approached Grand Lake Host after paying around five thousand dollars, PLUS hosting fees, to an expensive marketing agency in the area. All they did was install WordPress and a Theme and then failed to get her products integrated with her site and get a Web Shop operational. Their web-designers and developers weren’t even in this state. Instead they apparently resided in Texas, around 1,300 miles away, and Stacey had no direct contact with them. They had been ‘working on it’ for months with virtually no progress made.

When Stacey heard that our offer is only $39/mo for a Standard Secure Shop that could achieve all of this quickly, she was stunned.

We completely started over with her site from the ground up and got her Member web-account spun-up within 24-hours. It took a bit to get all of her inventory into Lightspeed, mainly just to photograph and upload images for all of her hundreds of products, but once that was achieved, we were able to install her Theme of choice and replace all demo content with her own in a matter of only a few weeks.

Her site is now live and fully operational.

The entire time, Stacey was in direct contact with us and our developers working directly on her site, 24/7.

Stacey is now in direct control of her site’s Web Shop. She can use the Lightspeed backend to edit, remove, or add anew any product. Our Web Shop auto-syncs with her Lightspeed account every day at a time of her choosing, and she can always push a manual sync herself anytime she wishes.

Completed transactions on her site will immediately show up in her Square account and any changes to inventory will be synced with Lightspeed.

Further, we have her Instagram account directly integrated with her site, so the latest images dynamically appear in this section on her homepage. This integration of her main site and social media will help cross-promote both and, with it, it’s even easier for Stacey to continuously add fresh content to her site without any coding required at all.  She can even do this directly from her iPhone, anytime and anywhere.

We at Grand Lake Host are very proud to have achieved all of this for Stacey at an affordable rate when our competitors could not (at outrageous fees).  And, comparatively, we did it in record time.  We look forward to continuing to work together with Stacey to grow and evolve her site even further over time, all included with her plan.

We can do all of this for you too, whether you have an existing site you want to migrate or want us to create a whole new one for you from scratch. Join us as a Member today!

Stacey Brunswick Home

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Grand Lake Host February 7, 2020 0 Comments
Excited businesswoman working on laptop computer

14 Small Business Ideas That Are Easy To Get Started

Launching a business allows you to find autonomy and increase flexibility in the length of your workday and the people you choose to work with. But not every entrepreneurial endeavor needs to be the “next big disruptor” in your space; some self-starters are looking for ownership with less risk, minimal investment, and manageable commitment. Thankfully, on this more modest scale, there’s a small business idea that caters to every skill level and ambition.

According to Industry and Occupation census data, self-employment is thriving across a range of industries. Consulting, scientific research, creative endeavors, and management and administrative contracting are common areas of self-employment. The services sector also includes a large proportion of self-employed workers, particularly in fields like personal care and building and maintenance.

Whether you’re founding a consulting business or opening a shop front, starting your own business can provide emotional fulfillment and financial success, at whatever level meets your needs. This article explores some tried-and-true small business ideas that are easy to get started and require low initial investment.


1. Expert Consultant

If you’re an expert in your field—whether that’s marketing, finance, branding, or business management—consulting is an effective way to bolster your income and diversify your client book. There are minimal overheads to starting a consultancy, and you can grow and scale down operations at any pace you wish.

(Find out about different types of consultants and the steps to take in starting your own consulting business.)


2. Tour Guide

If you have a special interest in the history of your city, or if you’re particularly skilled in activities like outdoor hiking, kayaking, or cycling, you might consider opening a tour company.

This venture would see you sharing your knowledge with locals and tourists alike, as you explore desirable destinations or places that require specialized guidance. Beyond word of mouth, a website and social media presence are helpful in promoting your experiences and sharing testimonials from those who’ve enjoyed your trips.


3. Personal trainer

If health and fitness is your forte, starting a business as a personal trainer is a good way to make money doing what you love. Some trainers begin by working in a gym, finding individual clients as they staff the gym floor or host group fitness sessions. You can also promote your business elsewhere, pitching corporate clients for group sessions or advertising on local billboards or job sites.

Social media is helpful in building a brand around fitness: Exercise videos are instructional and can help bring in prospective clients, while sharing progress pictures and healthy recipes is a good way to drive engagement. If you’re not yet trained as a personal trainer, it typically takes between two to four months to become certified, depending on the educational organization.


4. Event planner

Event planning requires logistics, organization, time, and people skills—and not everyone has the time (or the mental fortitude) to plan events accordingly. Whether it’s weddings, baby showers, personal events, or corporate conferences and parties, organizing vendors and budgets requires special handling. Plus, hosts who are under pressure to deliver an enjoyable, memorable experience for their guests are often looking for assistance.

If you perform well under pressure and possess supreme organizational skills, event planning might be a viable small business idea. Clients will pay a lot to hire an experienced event planner, someone who has strong, lucrative connections with vendors and a track record of delivering on time and under budget.


5. Virtual assistant

Employed by companies or executives in lieu of salary workers, virtual assistants are hired remotely to handle a range of tasks that include personal assistant duties, administrative tasks, customer support, and publishing support.

Starting out as a virtual assistant typically involves listing your services and contact details on a job site like Upwork or Fiverr, and then establishing hours of operation and an hourly rate with potential employers.


6. Beauty specialist

Personal care professions, including manicurists, hairstylists, and beauty physicians, are easily geared toward self-employment. It’s an area in which word-of-mouth referrals carry weight, and if you’ve built a client book at a salon, it’s common practice to take these same clients out of house. Alternatively, if you’re looking to enter a fresh field, you can typically train as a makeup artist, nail technician, or a skin-care specialist in under 12 months.

In starting your own beauty business, it’s important to understand the necessary licenses required to operate a salon in your state. In most cases, cosmetology certificates are granted at the completion of your training and these are enough to begin work. However, specific requirements vary between states.

If you’re not looking to open a salon or become a physician, there are other ways to enter the beauty world. Rebecca Lima, founder of workplace beauty provider The Lieu, for example, started her business because she wanted to help people.


7. Tutoring

If you’re particularly talented in a certain subject—English, math, or music, for example—offering tutoring services to school and university students is a viable business idea. Whether you run a private business or contract through a tutoring school, you’re typically afforded great flexibility in the hours you work and the money you make as a tutor.

A note on tutoring: You must prove expertise in your dedicated area by showing your own school results or professional successes. Plus, students and their parents will be monitoring the effectiveness of your tutoring by looking at the student’s exam and assessment results.


8. Dog walking

If you’re an animal lover, walking dogs is an effective (and enjoyable) way to start a business. Particularly in cities that afford limited access to nature parks, dog owners often employ dog walkers to exercise their dogs while they’re at work. This might be as simple as walking the dog around the neighborhood or to the park in the middle of the day. It could also involve traveling with the dog to remote hiking trails or wider spaces.

Depending on your capacity and affinity for dogs, you can choose the number and size/breed of dogs you walk at one time. Typically, dog owners will require a meet-and-greet before giving you access to their pet and their home.

(Find out more about different jobs, like dog walking, that constitute the gig economy.)


9. Babysitting

In Grand Lake, we’re a community of families. Helping other parents out by watching their children can be a fun and enriching experience. There’s always a need for this, and it requires virtually zero up-front capital to get started. These are both two excellent factors for starting a new business.


10. Social media management

Although many companies recognize the need for a well-curated and strategic social media presence, not all marketing teams have the capacity (or the know-how) to handle this execution themselves. For this reason, there’s growing demand for social media agencies: teams of people who run social campaigns, respond to comments and messages, and connect brands with social media influencers.

Things to consider when starting a social media agency: Between likes, comments, and shares, it’s very clear when a social media strategy is working—or not. It’s best to have specialized experience in delivering effective campaigns. Plus, unlike a website revamp, social media management requires ongoing and ever-growing activity; consider hiring assistants as operations grow so you can focus more on strategy than day-to-day execution.


11. Online Store

If you make your own clothing, jewelry, or homewares, starting an online store is a cost-effective solution to opening a storefront. While some investment is required to build an e-commerce site—and promotional strategies like advertising and affiliate marketing also cost money—shipping products to remote customers is a much lighter financial lift than paying rent for a single, inflexible retail space.

This is especially what Grand Lake Host helps you create, as we are the website business platform for the Grand Lake area! Join today!


12. Food Trucks

If you’ve got a knack for foodstuff—whether it’s baked goods, a specialty cuisine, artisan coffee, or other drinks—selling these goods at a market or as a catering service can be a good way to turn a profit. There will be some initial investment involved, as you’ll need adequate supplies and equipment to produce food at scale.

In serving food or alcohol, you will also need specific licenses: for example, a food service license, liquor license, food handler’s permit, and health department permit. You will need additional certificates if you’re operating out of a food truck, or if you’re using outdoor signage to promote your business. Note: These requirements vary between states.


13. Travel Planning

If you’re well traveled or you enjoy the logistics, planning, and foresight required to put together a successful trip, travel planning could be an accessible and achievable way to start a business.

It could involve organizing large groups of people for corporate getaways, planning trips in remote, difficult-to-access areas, or taking the grunt work out of luxury travel for clients. Whatever the case, people are willing to pay to have their trip itineraries planned and all the visa, airfare, insurance, and accommodation considerations sorted.


14. Bed & Breakfast

With the rise of home sharing sites like Airbnb, it’s easier than ever to make money from a space you’re not using. Whether it’s a separate room or suite, or your entire place for weekends when you’re away, people are willing to spend money to live like a local and stay in people’s homes.

If you live in a highly desirable urban area, it’s a good idea to call out the sights and attractions that visitors can easily access from your location. If you’re living in a remote area, consider marketing your home as a “getaway spot” that’s ideal for disconnecting and relaxing.


Get your business off the ground with the right support

No matter your industry or the size to which your business grows, having a support network is a major driver of success. The people you know will help in referring clients, brainstorming ideas, and keeping you grounded.

Grand Lake Host’s Memberships and Meet-Up Spaces offer this milieu of people and activities. A global network of members and frequent community events make it easy to find fresh collaborators and pitch potential clients. Plus, programming such as yoga classes, meditation, seasonal markets, and occasional meals also provide that activity-based distraction that is so important.

If you’re looking for financial success and independence in starting a business of your own, these ideas are a launchpad to the future. Whether you’re following your passion (from wedding planning to dog walking) or if you’re looking to make money off your expertise (like website building or social media management), these small business ideas offer an easy and inexpensive path to getting started.

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Grand Lake Host February 6, 2020 0 Comments