By Angie Nelson
Entrepreneurship has boomed in recent years, with many millennials shying away from traditional careers which they now consider unstable. Freelancers and the self-employed now make up a significant portion of the workforce, and the choice is becoming attractive to many more people every day.
There can be some confusion over what type of business to start as a new entrepreneur, but here are some tried and tested ideas which have served the sector well.
Handmade craft products have never been so popular, with sites like Etsy dominating the marketplace. Many crafts are relatively inexpensive and enjoyable with practice. Tutorials for every craft imaginable can now be found online, and while the majority of sales take place on the web the potential for real-world selling is very strong with outlets such as independent gift shops, local markets and craft fairs. Some markets can be somewhat saturated but, as with everything, if the business delivers consistent high quality, excellent customer service and a unique product, this is by far one of the most enjoyable and popular startups for an entrepreneur.
The rise of the so-called ‘infopreneur' has seen people selling their expertise online in eBook, webinar, and course form. Everyone knows something another may be willing to pay to learn, and with some thoughtful effort put into the set-up nearly everyone can look credible enough to make a few sales. Networking is key here, as you want to build up your expertise and remain in contact with experts in your field who can signal boost your products.
Infopreneurs can earn passive income through eBooks and other materials, requiring a burst of effort which then results in multiple sales without any further input, or active income, which requires the infopreneur be present while the product is delivered, e.g. a webinar. Many entrepreneurs have experienced very high revenue using this type of business.
Thrift stores and charity shops are a goldmine for potentially valuable items, and the vintage/retro market is still very strong. Many entrepreneurs make a lot of money by journeying around flea markets, junk shops and the like, using know-how and instinct to pick items they think will sell for a higher profit online. There is potential for huge profit margins here, and this type of startup is very attractive for many people, especially those who already have a little knowledge of antiques or valuable items.
Pick a niche such as mid-century furniture, designer or vintage clothes, jewelry or modern art, research your target market and find out current trends that may forecast what will be profitable in the future. A certain amount of storage is needed for this startup, but if you are home-based it is easy to choose small items to specialize in. Take attractive photographs of the items, list them accurately, and preferably sell only those in good condition.
Another startup often overlooked includes the domestic services. Once seen as inferior work, many busy mothers now employ a local housecleaner at least on an informal basis and are willing to pay good rates for a job well done. This is a real-world startup which can flourish by word-of-mouth with little online presence; however a website or at least a social media page including a current telephone number is always advisable.
Some investment in your own preferred equipment is recommended, as clients may want a specific job done or will not possess everything you need. Many people abhor cleaning, but that is why they pay to have it done – if you do not mind it, cleaning can be very lucrative. This is a startup where specialism is not always necessary: you might experience more business, especially in smaller neighborhoods, if you promote yourself as a general cleaner. However if there is competition, it is easy to specialize by focusing on one aspect such as kitchen equipment or carpets.
Many people are now turning towards online Virtual Assistants (VAs) to perform the role traditionally assigned to personal assistants, administrative professionals, marketing departments and more. There are many reasons for this, including the chance to hire someone more qualified more easily, or a client may not need someone full-time or even on a regular basis.
The sector is growing, with more and more business owners employing VAs to take care of tasks ranging arranging a meeting with a client to listing items on eBay. To startup as a VA it is always good to have some prior experience to lend you credibility, or you could offer to lend your services to someone local first. You must be excellent at multi-tasking, punctual, have a high personal standard of the work you do and be courteous and prompt when it comes to correspondence. Ideal candidates for this startup include those who enjoy helping people and natural organizers.
Entrepreneurship is not easy, and is a choice not to be made lightly. Many startups can be tested alongside a traditional job on a part-time basis, migrating to full-time if they prove lucrative. There are a myriad more options for startups than the ones outlined here, however as many entrepreneurs choose one of these or a variant to begin with, they can be considered some of the most reliable ways to start a business on your own.
Angie Nelson has been a virtual assistant and serial blogger since 2007 when she took her future into her own hands and found a way to escape the corporate cubicle farm. Visit her site to find out how you too can become a Virtual Assistant to bloggers.
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