Starting 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:
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.
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.
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?