With 13.9 million Americans currently out of work and jobs at a minimum, many people are looking for alternative ways to generate income. Starting your own business is an appealing prospect and for many good reasons. You can make your own hours and be your own boss. If you work primarily out of your home you’ll have little or no overhead expenses. But you should also be prepared for a great deal of hard work. It takes research, a sound business plan, drive and determination. Your first step is to decide what type of business you’d like to start. The following are 5 small businesses that can be started with little or no start up costs.
1. Resume writing service. If you have good writing, spelling and grammatical skills this is an excellent full or part-time business. A computer and an internet connection is pretty much all you need. You can advertise your resume writing business in local papers and on online classified sites like Craigslist. You can begin by developing a detailed questionnaire for clients to complete via email. Following up by phone or Skype interviews will allow you to prepare a professional, detailed resume for your customers. To get started, consider offering to write resumes for friends and family at no cost in order to build your resume writing portfolio.
2. Catering business. Do friends and family often compliment you on your culinary skills? Are you known for your delicious cakes, cookies or cupcakes? You can specialize in ethnic foods, baked goods only, children’s parties or tea parties, just to name a few. Consider starting out by catering small parties and gatherings. Start up cost is minimal. You most likely already have pots, pans and cooking utensils in your kitchen. Superstores like Sam’s Club and Costco have a good selection of bulk catering supplies at reasonable prices. As your business and reputation grows you can cater larger events. Be sure to check with your local health department to find out what rules and regulations are required. If regulations are restrictive, consider teaming up with a local church or organization that will allow you to prepare food in their kitchen facilities.
3. Daycare business. If you love children and have a lot of patience, a daycare business might be a good choice. Finding quality daycare is a huge problem for many working parents and you can fill this void. You’ll need books, toys and some equipment like cribs and play pens but these can be purchased at thrift stores and consignment shops to save money. Each state differs with regards to daycare rules and regulations so be sure to check with your local agencies. Becoming certified or licensed has the benefit of having access to USDA and other programs. Taking CPR and first aid training at your local Red Cross will make your daycare business more attractive to parents.
4. Affiliate marketer. Having your own website has never been easier or cheaper. Basically all you need is a domain name, a hosting site and a website builder. GoDaddy is an excellent one-shop stop for all of this. Once you have a website set up and you’ve added some valuable, interesting content you can sign up with several affiliate programs. Companies pay you to advertise their products on your website. When visitors to your site click on an ad and make a purchase you get paid a percentage of the sale. Some affiliate programs, such as Google Adsense, are pay per click, but many pay when a purchase is made. Either way, it’s possible to make a nice income through affiliate marketing.
5. Flea market vendor. There are flea markets and swap meets in nearly every city and small town across the country. For a minimal fee (often around $20 for a weekend) you can set up a booth and sell just about anything. Used goods, wholesale products, food and handcrafted items can all be sold for a profit. There are many indoor flea markets and antiques malls that are always actively seeking vendors.