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The Best Businesses to Start With Little or No Investment

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Most of us mistakenly believe that you need to take out a business loan, and invest your savings, to start a new business. But in reality, and with today’s technology, you can launch a business with little to no investment.

But before deciding on what type of business to start in order to make some extra money, consider these important criteria:

Use your day job as a jumping off point. Not sure what kind of business you want to start? Consider the skills, contacts, and experience you already have at your current day job, and how you build something similar on the side.

It can’t be the exact same thing your boss does because you’d likely get into trouble competing for the same clients. But keeping it in the same vein of something you already know will help you gain traction quickly.

Find your passion and leverage it. Are you absolutely obsessed with a certain topic? Could you endlessly learn more about it, and are you constantly giving attention to it? Take whatever it is you’re passionate about and find out ways you can charge money for it.

Any sort of hobby can be turned into a profitable business thanks to online sites like Etsy or Amazon. Focus on something you’re already doing and figure out a way to bring in revenue from it.

Create something to fix YOUR problem. Some of the best businesses and startups have been birthed out of solutions to fix common problems the CEO had themselves.

Do you have a recurring problem you wish there was an app, tool, or website for? Reach out to your network and see who you can partner with to create it. In this age of technology and innovation, the possibilities are endless.

Consider your time as an investment. When starting a new business, with little to no revenue, your time is the best asset you have, so you want to invest it wisely.

The two most limited resources we have are time and money, so if you’re low on one of them, you’ll likely have spent more of the other. Many startup owners invest hundreds of hours into getting their idea off the ground, so make sure you’re willing and have the time to do this.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of what to consider before launching into a business venture, here are some of the best ones to launch on a small budget.

  1. Do Coaching or Consulting

Do you have a skillset or knowledge base that people would pay to have access to? Do your family and friends already pick your brain about this topic on a regular basis? Why not start charging money for it?

Any type of coaching or consulting business can be very lucrative and can be started by simply updating your LinkedIn portfolio, or using an email address. You can choose to meet clients in person, offering at-home services (like organizational consulting, or finance advice), or you can even do virtual sessions via free tools like Skype.

As long as you have an internet connection and way for people to pay you for sessions, you can be in business exchanging your knowledge for money. There’s hardly any investment up-front, and you can open up shop this week. A few specific ideas include; home organization, tutoring, and bookkeeping.

  1. Create Digital or Physical Products

Do have an idea for a funny line of shirts or hats? Are you good at painting or some other creative outlet? Do you want to write an e-book about the best ways to manage a home budget?

Starting a company that sells physical or digital products has the potential to become very successful. It’s based on the whole “making money while you sleep” theory because you invest the time and effort up-front, then watch the revenue come in over time.

A digital product is a bit easier to deliver without ever having to invest more time into it, aside from updates. However, if you choose a physical product, you’ll have to fulfill the orders yourself -- at least until it grows enough for you to hire help.

If you have an idea that could partner with a distribution company, you could essentially take the orders and share a portion of the profits for someone else to fulfill them.

Both a physical or info product route will have little inventory cost for you while you’re still able to make money selling something you love.

  1. Launch a Micro-Business

If you’re really good at one particular thing you could start a micro-business using sites like Fiverr or TaskRabbit. For a small time investment, you can offer your services to other busy professionals who need your expertise.

The more work you do the more popular you become, giving you the opportunity to parlay your micro-business into something bigger as your time and revenue increases. There’s no investment for you because all you have to do is sign up for free and start selling your skills.

An extension of this idea is to become an assistant or VA (virtual assistant) to other successful entrepreneurs. You can learn about a new career you’re considering, and still get paid. As you continue gaining experience, you can build your own brand via a blog or website that turns into a full-time income.

The key to starting any kind of business for almost no money means being conscious of your spending and where you invest your time. Spend your energy instead of your money, and watch it pay you back when it’s more established.

About Carrie Smith

Carrie Smith is a money maverick and financial blogger who helps creative freelancers discover the art of making a living. In May 2013 she quit her full-time accounting job to start her blog, Careful Cents.

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