Starting a business is very popular right now, but should you really jump on the bandwagon. After all, most small businesses fail within the first 10 years. By year 5, a substantial portion of new businesses fizzle out. The longer you’re in business, the more likely you are to fail – up to at least the 16th year, according to some studies. Why bother? Because it’s fun, it gives you more control over your life, and it doesn’t take a lot of money to get started. In many cases, you can start a business right out of your garage.
Selling A Handmade Product
Crafts, and other handmade products, are almost always in demand. People love that stuff. There’s something surreal about holding something in your hand that someone else made. For most commercial products, there’s no sense of personalization. Usually, the product was made by a series of machines.
With handmade products, you see every detail, and even flaws are considered valuable. Consider glass blowing. You can buy perfectly-made wine glasses from any grocery store. But handmade wine glasses sell at a premium – flaws and all.
If you’re looking for online business ideas, this is probably the mother of them all. However, you have to have a fair amount of technical and artistic skill to pull this type of business off successfully. Look at the folks on Etsy.com. Those are the people you’re competing against.
Become A Freelancer
Being a freelancer isn’t as hard as it used to be. Today, the Internet makes it very easy to find work if you’re a writer, programmer, or in any technical field that uses a computer. Whether you choose to start your freelance business using freelancing websites like Odesk and Freelancer.com, or you decide to advertise outside of an established platform, a lot of freelance work can be done very easily online.
What if you’re not savvy with a computer? Well, there’s always tree-stumping. That’s where you dig up old tree stumps and haul them away. Yes, people really do pay a lot of money for this service. There’s also a wide variety of broker-type jobs. From professional services like accounting, real estate, and insurance to simple job brokering (i.e. a head hunter), all you need is a phone and a list of names (which is also easy to get if you have access to your town or city’s public property tax records). Failing that, you can always use the tried and true SRDS.
Become A Virtual Assistant
There are a lot of people out there looking for virtual assistants. Real assistants cost a lot of money these days – retirement benefits packages, worker’s compensation, health insurance, and unemployment coverage. But a virtual assistant usually doesn’t come saddled with any of this extra overhead. Why not? Because virtual assistants are usually independent contractors.
You get a list of tasks that your client wants done, and you go out and do them according to pre-set terms and conditions. It’s a win-win for everyone. You can be a virtual assistant for an almost unlimited number of companies while retaining your own personal freedom and independence.
Jack Bishop values entrepreneurship. He enjoys integrating business models with the small business entrepreneur. Image courtesy Justin Russell