There are many reasons that people start their own business; they may have a passionate idea that they want to bring to market, or they might see an opportunity and want to create a business that will meet the needs of a particular segment of the community. But many entrepreneurs pursue the path of working for themselves after a job loss, or when they need to step into the role of caretaker for someone in their family. When a person is in that situation, they may not be able to invest thousands of dollars in a new business.
These 7 business ideas are low-cost to start-up, and many of them rely merely on a person’s expertise, computer, and Internet connection.
Where you good at a particular subject in school? Do you love to teach people when they’re struggling? Tutors are always in high demand. You can advertise on college and high school campuses, email lists, and also put ads on places like Craigslist. The Internet has also created a wide variety of tutoring companies where you can list your rates and your expertise and be partnered with students who can pay your fees.
You will often need to prove your educational expertise by showing your transcripts or your diploma.
If you have experience with graphic design, you may be able to set yourself up as a freelance graphic designer, using sites like UpWork to find clients. Depending on the work that you’d like to do, you might need to demonstrate advanced training or work for free to demonstrate your skills and commitment. Take a look to see what clients are asking for as you build your portfolio.
If you’ve done graphic design work in your previous career, make sure to talk to your clients and see if they will give you recommendations.
If you’re a reasonably competent writer, you may be able to find jobs writing for blogs, businesses, and even ghostwriting novels! Companies are constantly searching for writers who can meet their needs and craft a variety of documents for their business purposes. The key here is understanding the difference between different kinds of writing; a romance novel will have a very different tone than a white paper for a tech company. The good news is that you can research any kind of writing you might need to do on the Internet. Again, companies like UpWork are often a great way to get started, though pay is often low until you get some good reviews and can start applying to better jobs.
Do you have a compelling personal story about how you overcame adversity and made your life a success? You may be able to spin that into a social media channel, blog, and small ebooks that tell your customers how to succeed, just like you did. There’s a lot of work that goes into creating this sort of passive income, but over time, it can be incredibly lucrative. You might even manage to earn speaking fees and be asked to attend panels!
Odd jobs, lawn care, basic repair of small items, cleaning homes. None of it is glamorous work, but it’s always in demand. If you have basic cleaning tools, you can often get started quickly. Advertising your services on sites like Craigslist and Angie’s List can help you find your first few clients, but you may not have as much flexibility in your scheduling as you would prefer.
Computer Repair or IT Support
Many businesses are moving towards choosing to have their IT services offered either by a separate company or a freelancer, rather than in their business. If you are savvy about networking, cloud marketing, and hardware, you may be able to build a business around offering IT solutions to small businesses. Because so many people have degrees in IT fields, breaking in with just your experience may be complicated, unless your resume is impressive, but it’s certainly possible.
Do you have a steady Internet connection, and are you friendly and conversational on the phone and through email? Many small businesses are looking for online virtual assistants to help them manage the flow of emails that start once you become a business. You can network to find your own clients, look through services like UpWork, or connect with one of the agencies that specifically connects virtual assistants with clients who need them.
Whichever low cost startup option appeals to you, make sure you double-check licensing requirements and tax liability in your locale. You could call your local Chamber of Commerce if you’re not sure where to start in terms of what you might need to do to get started.
What low cost business options have you investigated?