A lot of folks have the entrepreneurial spirit. Yet many never see it through.
According to a Gallup survey, potential entrepreneurs don’t take the plunge for a variety of reasons. They worry about a steady income, lack personal savings, or fear failure. A staggering 49% say they don’t start a company because they don’t know where to start.
What can address these concerns is a way to start small and generate reliable income. Here’s a list of low-barrier to entry business ideas that can prove fruitful with the right plan.
1. Online retailer
By starting on third-party platforms, you can bring in revenue immediately — without having to exhaust time and resources on building a website, marketing products, managing logistics, etc. Start with a product you know well and grow in a manner that’s profitable and sustainable.
There are lots of retailer websites out there, from platforms for creative merchants like Etsy to mammoth marketplaces selling everything under the sun like Amazon and Alibaba. Choose one that aligns with your product category and fits your budget (some sites have expensive fees).
For instance, if you want to start selling niche items or refurbished goods, eBay is a great choice. It’s also inexpensive to launch a store, as long as you can find the funds to buy the products you hope to sell. Just pay attention to costs. As Aron Hsiao, a long-time eBay seller and former eBay employee, notes, “use the eBay Fee Illustrator calculator to determine which store level is best for your business” and stay updated on fees and expenses (they change).
2. Tutoring service
Starting a tutoring service comes with basically no initial expenses if you do it entirely online. Marketing in the local community is inexpensive as well, especially if you make use of free classifieds, bulletin board locations, and your personal network.
You can make good money, too. According to a Care.com report, professional tutors typically earn between $20-$85 per hour, with rates varying due to location, subject/field, frequency of sessions, etc. Don’t set your asking rate too low, and you should be able to negotiate a fee that brings you in solid hourly pay.
So, where should you start? Finding students in your area is a great idea. You can expand your potential client base by using sites like Wyzant (good for academic subjects) and TakeLessons.com (good for music, hobbies, and art).
3. Handyman business
Why not monetize your ability to build and fix things? The only upfront expenses are your tools, which you may already have, and marketing costs.
Before you start a handyman service, be sure to get proper licensing, as it will give you credibility and legal protection. As HomeAdvisor advises, if you’re going to be doing HVAC, electrical, remodeling, or plumbing work, having a license is absolutely advised. For work like lawn-care, window cleaning, and trash removal, licensing isn’t necessary.
To get the word out in an affordable way, utilize the power of word-of-mouth among your friends and family, advertise for free on CraigsList, and post signs and business cards around your community. Signing up for membership on a site like Angie’s List may cost a little, but it gives you access to more potential customers and the backing of a reputable company, making it easier to build your brand and expand your business.
4. Driving service
If you like cruising around town in an automobile, why not make a living out of it? If you already have your own vehicle, you can get started right away.
With companies like Uber and Lyft, you can work as an independent contractor and not have to worry about finding clientele. Considering the average Uber driver makes around $30 per hour, you can do alright out there on the road. If you learn some tricks of the game, you can even do much better than alright. The blog, Six Figure Drivers, teaches drivers how to maximize earning by taking advantage of sign up bonuses and referrals and driving during busy nights and holidays, which is when incentives are offered. Also, the guides even show how to use data and analytics to find out where demand for drivers is highest in your town and what routes yield the most profits.
Once you start making good income, you could consider officially starting your own driving business as well. For example, running a party bus service can be lucrative (and fun). Just make sure you have proper licensing and insurance.
Consider all your options
If you think about it, lots of businesses don’t really cost that much to start and you can make money right away. For instance, any of the following services just require a computer and internet connection:
- SEO consulting
- Social media marketing
- Web design and development
- Technical support
- Virtual Assistant
- Tax preparation
- Photography (need a camera!)
In conclusion, the point is this: Think about your talents, passions, and interests, as well as what can reliably generate income. Be willing to compromise a little at the start — and you’ll be able to get your first business up and running. Then, you’ll be on your way to becoming a full-fledged entrepreneur.