Most people think that starting a small business requires large sums of money. Some people go to the strengths of borrowing thousands of dollars from banks so that they can fund ideas and hope that one day they will work. Does it really require a lot of money to fund an idea and make it into a profit-making business? My simple answer is NO. Here are some ideas that will allow you to start your own gig with little or no start-up capital.
1. Drop shipping Amazon sales
Dropshipping is a retail selling process where you do not keep the stock of the products you are selling. Instead, when you sell a product using the dropshipping process, you purchase the product from a third-party seller and have it shipped directly from the seller.
A few years ago, I started dropshipping baby prams and high-feeding chairs that I sourced from Amazon. I added a profit mark-up of approximately 60% on each item. Products sourced from and fulfilled by Amazon are usually reliable in terms of quality and delivery times.
What I liked about sourcing my products from Amazon was that I could check out the reliability of the seller from the reviews. The seller also kept all the stock at their warehouse and would handle all the returns in case my buyers were not happy with what they received.
2. Taxi business
If you have a car and a few hours each week to spare, you can surely make some money by driving an Uber. It doesn’t cost you anything to register with Uber or other ride-sharing platforms like Ola and Taxify. However, they take out a small percentage from your takings.
Some days can be busier than others and it makes sense to drive during the busy days. I would expect weekends and public holidays to be the busiest and obviously the days when you would make the most amount of money.
Once, I met a Uber driver named Maxwell. He said that he liked the flexibility that the arrangement gave him. He said, “as a semi-retiree, I could be sitting at home right now doing nothing, but here I am spending my weekend making good money and meeting people.”
Be mindful that you may start incurring increased car expenses like depreciation, tyre replacement, insurance, and many more due to the added time on the road. Your car may even depreciate faster.
3. Cleaning business
Surely, anyone who is not lazy can do a great clean-up job. Nowadays, most people are busy with their lifestyles and do not get time to clean their homes. After all, most of us just dislike cleaning. With little or no money, you can start your small business by cleaning homes, restaurants, daycare centers, and many more right away. You can source customers from online platforms like Airtasker where you can get connected to people who need to get their errands done at an agreed-upon price. It does not cost money to register yourself on Airtasker and it eliminates the need to spend money on marketing yourself.
Thinking of starting a business but not sure where to start?
Here is a business plan template to help you take the first step.
4. eBay selling
Anyone can make sales on eBay without having to spend money on a start-up. Look for unwanted items around the house, polish them to look great, and sell them on eBay, Gumtree, or Facebook Marketplace. After all, we know that one man’s meat is another man’s poison. You can source additional items to sell from garage sales, liquidation shops, or auction houses.
To keep up on top of your game, you need to be aware of trending items at any given time and this may require additional time and research.
5. Holiday rental
Do you have a spare room in your house? If the answer is yes, then you can rent it out on a casual basis and earn some money on a free platform like Airbnb.
With the cost of hotel accommodation ever-increasing, especially during peak holiday periods like public and school holidays, hosting guests can be quite lucrative.
For those who can understand and speak more than one language, you can offer translation services to people and organisations. If you wish to become an interpreter, you just have to complete a short interpreter’s course.
Interpreter services are usually in high demand, especially in major cities due to more diversified cultural demographics.
7. Virtual assistant
If you are organised and are a problem solver, then this gig is for you. Work is provided by entrepreneurs who have a hectic schedule and want to focus on money-generating tasks. A virtual assistant will be required to perform the secretarial tasks without necessarily being on the site. You can be flexible and work from home, potentially for many clients at any given time and perform tasks like booking calendars, answering general phone inquiries, and administration work.
Please note that you may need to incur additional costs in getting a phone and fast home internet if you don’t already have one.
8. Social Media manager
It is now a necessity for almost every business to have social media marketing. Social media management is not a conventional role within a company, and most organisations are seemingly forced to outsource this service. As a social media manager, you can assist with creating the best social media strategy, scheduling posts, and determining the best content for each audience as well as finding ways to grow the number of followers within different social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
9. Dog (pets) walker
Do you like dogs and other pets? A dog walking or pet-care service could be a lucrative and exciting hobby for you. In addition, you are making money whilst you are exercising. You can even teach your children this concept so that they can make extra pocket money for themselves.
By optimising your website for SEO searching, you could easily find people in your neighbourhood who may require your services. Local results tend to be less competitive in Google search, which means that you are most likely to rank easier if your SEO is on point.
You can also join social media groups and animal platforms to find potential clients.
10. Start blogging
Successful blogging requires you to choose a niche that is viable, followed by creating good content and story-telling. That way, you are able to build a big audience within a considerable short period of time.
How do you monetize your blog?
1. Affiliate commissions
You can earn money via commissions on products that you promote on your blog. For example, if you blog on cooking, you could set up an Amazon associate account that will allow you to earn commission on the durable and user-friendly cooking pots you would have mentioned and linked in your post.
Sponsorship is when you get paid an upfront fee by a company for mentioning their product. For example, Le Creuset can contact you to mention their range of cooking pots at an upfront $2,000 fee paid to you.
You can also make money through paid adverts. If you get a big audience following, you can sell advertising space on your blog page or platform.
When is the best time to start?
There is no better time to get started on your small business than now. Sometimes it may seem daunting and undoable until you take the first step. Remember that success will not come overnight, but will take time as you perfect your craft by always learning and improving each day. Developing a pro-growth mindset will set you up for greater opportunities.