If you want to start your own business, chances are that you only have a set amount to kickstart your success. Rather than dumping all your money into something risky, you can pursue a revenue model that doesn't require much overhead. With today's technology, you can start your own business and thrive with nothing more than a laptop and some free time. Here are 5 of the best businesses to start if you can’t afford to invest much upfront:
Teaching an online course, or several of them, is a business model that requires minimal startup costs because you're selling a digital product. You can use your smartphone as your video recorder and spend less than $50 on a high-quality microphone. Outsource the designing of graphics to brand your course, and record yourself teaching your lesson plans. Schedule live streams for your students to attend or post pre-recorded lessons for them to watch at their convenience.
Some people are just naturally “good” at social media, and it shows. If you’re one of those people, you might want to start a social media management agency. You could begin as a freelance social media manager and build your profile on LinkedIn and other social media channels to demonstrate your talent and expertise. Since there aren’t many qualifiers beyond demonstrating you can create a good presence on social media, your own profiles can be enough.
Once you have some clients under your belt and can afford to hire other social media managers, you can register your business as an agency. Or, if you’ve built up one or more social media profiles with a large following, consider becoming a social media influencer and getting paid to represent brands.
Have you pictured yourself running an online store, but never wanted to deal with the inventory? When you set up an affiliate e-commerce store, there are almost no obstacles that can get in your way of opening for business and bringing in revenue. Using free platforms like YouTube and social media channels to market your store, you can make sales without putting any money down on inventory or product creation.
When you sign up for Fiverr's affiliate program, you can even earn commission on someone else's digital services when you lead a customer to a sale. If you have no startup funds but want to go into retail, this is a great place to start.
Similar to teaching an online class, virtual tutoring gives you the chance to share your knowledge and skills with anyone in the world over the web, without official training or a physical facility required. By offering a virtual tutoring or coaching service, you can meet a specific need for a target customer group.
For example, online fitness coaches measure and track their clients’ progress virtually, and they appeal to a specific niche of clientele, who travel internationally for business or sports events and need a coach who can meet them “on the cloud.”
Starting out as a one-person consulting firm requires very minimal overhead. While it does require having business experience you can draw from, you can work from home using your own computer and phone, to begin with. As you acquire more clients, you can start to hire other consultants and oversee the consultancy firm as a CEO.
Choosing a business revenue model that saves as much overhead cost as possible can help ensure you succeed past the startup phase. To reach your goals, your resources are best spent on raising brand awareness, connecting with the public and marketing your product or service. Start by outsourcing design work and marketing responsibilities to experts who can do the job better than you while saving you the time.
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