Are you thinking about starting a new business this year, but worried about the cost and the risk involved? Don’t push your dream of business ownership aside. There are plenty of wonderful low-cost businesses you can start on a shoestring. Below are a few ideas.
1. Mastermind Groups
A mastermind group is an advisory group that services people that are seeking advice and support from others in a specific area. These are common for small business owners, but you can create one for any group that matches your interests or expertise. This group can function online or offline.
- Income: $60-$500 per member per month.
- Expenses: Phone, computer, room rental, marketing costs
- Tips: Create several groups, and populate them with people who have similar challenges. They can be business owners, moms, students or other coaches.
Tutoring isn’t just for school subjects anymore. If you have a skill or talent that you’ve honed, chances are that there are others who would like to learn it as well. You don’t have to be a super-expert, but rather just better than the folks you are teaching.
Help people improve their skills in anything, from cooking to computer skills to knitting and beyond. Maybe all your pupil needs is a jump-start in a specific area of interest—you can create an offer to help them get started, and then provide ongoing support.
- Income: $25-$200 per hour, or consider creating offers and bundled packages for a fixed price. This makes it easy to give as a gift.
- Expenses: Limited to the items you’ve already purchased for yourself and your craft. Chances are your clients will have what they need as well.
- Tips: Be sure to target a very specific customer, or create a very specific offer. For example, “Learn to Play 10 Christmas Carols by December 20th.”
3. Online Research
You would never think that this would be a profitable business, but think again. Online publishers and bloggers have to create and publish multiple articles per day on a broad range of topics. It’s a huge benefit to have credible and current research at the ready on the topics you’re writing about.
- Income: $10-$45 per hour, depending on the difficulty of the research. You can also create flat rate packages that can include additional value-added items, such as ready-to-use customized images.
- Expenses: Computer, internet access and subscriptions to specific industry research reports or databases.
- Tips: It really helps to focus your online research in a specific area. This allows you to target the most credible research sources, and it will save you time and effort while providing your client with higher quality research. Jumpstart your business by setting up shop on UpWork, or provide a simple offer on Fiverr.
4. Online Business Manager
Coaching and consulting is one of the fastest and largest growth industries in the country with 575,600 jobs added annually, or 4.7% growth! Most coaches and consultants run online virtual businesses. This means that they are using online marketing strategies such as email marketing, webinars, online events, live events and live and group coaching.
Coordinating these marketing activities is the job of an online business manager. This is a growing business industry, and is ideal for anyone who has run their own marketing and understands online marketing technology.
- Income: $40-$150 per hour, possibly more depending on your skill set.
- Expenses: Online marketing software and tools, subscription to project management software.
- Tips: Be sure you are well-versed in all of the standard online marketing tools and components. You must be detail-oriented and an excellent project manager. Having an online marketing strategy background is a great asset.
5. Technical Writer (as Content Marketer)
If you are a good writer and have experience in a technical industry or discipline, you are sitting on a goldmine! Technical writing is ripe for useful content marketing strategies. In fact, 58% of B2B companies that employ content marketing classify themselves as “immature or young” in the industry. This screams opportunity for a content marketing business in a specific industry.
- Income: $40-$500 per article depending on your experience and skill level. The higher dollar amounts are typically reserved for influencers in the industry.
- Expenses: Computer, internet access and subscriptions to industry publications and associations are helpful.
- Tips: Start your own blog for your industry, and build your influencer credentials via content marketing and social media. Reach out to other influencers in your industry, and request to be a contributor. Create offers that include content and promotion across channels.
What If None of the Above Ideas Pique Your Interest?
If that’s the case, don’t throw in the towel yet. Start by doing a personal inventory of your passions and peeves. Make an exhaustive list of:
- Things you like
- Things you don’t like, or things that annoy you
- Problems you have
- Things you’d like to learn
Your next step is to check and see if there is a demand for any of your ideas. My favorite way to check is to search Amazon on your area of interest, and look on the “Best Sellers” list for books that have a rank of less than #30,000. In the example below I search on “Business and Money” best sellers, and was surprised to find that “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” was at the top of the list.
This tells me that business owners are looking for ways to organize their lives. With that as my theme, I can look at any of my potential low-cost business ideas and create them around this theme. And now, you can do the same!
Once you have your idea in place, don’t hesitate to ask for help along the way. That way, you can take your new business from “survive” to “thrive” mode, and run a thriving business.