4 Businesses With Minimal Startup Costs

computer laptop mouseStarting your own business is less daunting than you might think, and you can do it without incurring significant start-up costs. Because the risk of failure is high with home-based businesses, initiating one with low out-of-pocket expenses is a shrewd idea. By doing so, you can save your capital for unexpected costs down the line, or to take advantage of opportunities to market or expand your business.

You never know where starting a home business might take you. I started one several years back, and as of January 1st this year, I became a full-time self-employed small business owner.

Here are four businesses you can start with little to no up-front investment:

1. Reselling
If you’re unsure where to start, consider starting a reselling business, a venture that can be launched by investing in little more than a roll of tape. Gather up the unused and unwanted items around your house and list them for sale on websites such as Amazon or eBay.

If you’ve recently graduated from school, you’ll likely have a wealth of textbooks. This is exactly where I started – I sold all of my old school books, as well as a few cell phones and other small electronics. After investigating several daily deal websites and other promotional sales, I discovered numerous items that I could buy online and then resell at a profit. By reselling, you can start slow, carry little overhead, and expand your business as more revenue streams in.

2. Drop Shipping
Running a business in drop shipping entails acting as the middleman in the sales process, and does not involve carrying a lot of inventory. Simply establish a relationship with a vendor, list an item they offer for sale, and only purchase the item from the manufacturer after you’ve already sold it. The supplier takes care of the warehousing, packaging, and shipping of the order.

While a great business idea in theory, this is, however, a glutted market, so be sure to do your research before jumping in. There is plenty of online help available in this niche – suppliers can be found via websites such as Doba and DropShipSites.

3. Service-Based Business
Rather than featuring a product for your small business, consider centering it on a service instead. If you’re handy around the house, you could launch a home repair service in which your clientele pays for the supplies, and you profit from your knowledge and labor. Furthermore, you can share your special knowledge for a profit by writing articles for blogs or consulting in your area of expertise. With these options, your only investment is time.

4. Freelancing
Instead of starting a registered business, you can always freelance your talents. By investigating websites such as eLance, Freelancer, or Guru, you can find jobs that you may qualify to perform. If the services someone is seeking matches your particular talents, submit a bid. If you’re new to the game, offer extremely low prices to build up a clientele base, a portfolio, and positive reviews. Once you’ve created a solid reputation, you can command higher compensation for your services.

Final Thoughts

If you have grander goals in mind, consider finding investors to get the financing you need to launch your venture. There are many “angel” investors and venture capitalists out there who are willing to invest in you, but only if you can show them that you know what you are doing. You’ll want to submit a specific business plan outlining the concept of your venture, along with a budget and a projected date of actual cash flow. If your idea is good enough, you may very well be able to get someone to take a chance on you.

Regardless of the required start-up capital, once you’ve started a business, learn ways to effectively market it. Utilize social media, commit to superior customer service, and engage in word-of-mouth advertising by asking your current customers to refer your business to others.

You can most certainly launch a business from home, even if you’re still working a full-time day job. Remain passionate and be willing to work hard, and one day soon you may be able to let go of your day job.

What ways can you think of to start a small business without a lot of investment cash?

Net neutrality for dummies

The arguments for and against so-called “net-neutrality” are mind-numbing in complexity – almost impossible to untangle in anything less than a mid-sized book. I have read extensively on the subject, but still cannot completely grasp all of the implications. I can only challenge you to do some research on your own to see exactly where you stand on the issues. As you read and scan the headlines over the next few years, let me try to make the issue a bit more clear.

Government regulation always stifles competition

Right now, the market for internet access is innovative and moving forward by leaps and bounds. Broadband access is becoming easier to acquire, download speeds are increasing. There are costs associated with this product – and some services cost more than others – but even the most inexpensive internet access is far improved from low end internet even five years ago.

Net neutrality is a move to force internet providers to give the same internet access to everyone, regardless of price or availability. The result of this means that either internet access will become too expensive for low-end users or high-end users will not be able to get the services they want, even if they are willing to pay for them. Net neutrality also throws a wet blanket of government oversight into almost every area of the internet. This “oversight” and “regulation” will serve to stifle competition and innovation, especially from the small providers. The big internet providers will manipulate the laws to serve their own interests.

An analogy can be drawn from different grades of gasoline. Not all of us can afford the highest octane fuel, so we buy the regular or mid-grade variety. What would happen if government decided that gas companies could no longer charge a premium for high-octane fuel, but had to charge the same price for all grades? Prices for fuel would go up, putting access out of reach of many drivers. Or, if the company did not want to raise prices, they would only be able to provide the low-grade fuel. In each case the consumer is harmed.

Government intervention always helps the big guy.

The more control that we give to government, even in the name of fairness, the more that the people or corporations with the most power will control that government for their own benefit. This is a major principle of government regulation. We need only to look at the examples of public education, Ma Bell, the US Post Office and Goldman Sachs (GS) to understand how this works. Did the taxpayer funded bailouts go to small, ethical, efficient companies or to big corporations who made risky bets?

Net neutrality represents a massive attempt by the federal government to control internet access. Many of the goals will be admirable, but in the end we will be left with higher costs, poorer service and less ability for small companies who do not have large lobbyist budgets to compete.

Photo by Elsie esq.

The money that is sold, is you

This was a tough video to post, but the reality is true. We are pushing all of our debt onto our children.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind taking on a little more pain today if I thought my children would be spared at least some discomfort in the future.

Financial Reform?

Do not trust the crooks in Washington D.C.

How many taxpayers

. . . does it take to pay the salary and benefits for one government worker?

No offense to those of you who are on the government payroll, but eventually you are going to have trouble cashing your paycheck.