First off, I’m a blogger so it seems wrong not to mention it, but more importantly, it’s a legitimate way to make money. It’s quite possibly the least straight-forward way on this list, but it’s very doable and it’s also quite possibly the funnest way on this list. I love blogging and I know hundreds of bloggers who feel the same. So let’s talk about making money blogging and what it really means.
"Be prepared to adjust," said Stephanie Murray, CEO and founder of Fiddlestix Candy Co. "There's a saying in the military that 'no plan survives the first contact' meaning that you can have the best plan in the world but as soon as it's in action, things change, and you have to be ready and willing to adapt and problem solve quickly. As an entrepreneur, your value lies in solving problems whether that is your product or service solving problems for other people or you solving problems within your organization."
28. Subscription – If you think of something valuable (newsletter, online magazine, etc.) that you can consistently offer on a certain basis (weekly, monthly, etc.), you may want to offer a subscription service. This could be a fee charged each time your product is sent out or on a monthly basis. Either way, this has to be something that your customers can only get by subscribing to your website.
So there they are - fifteen ideas for inexpensive, easy businesses that almost anyone can start. What else do you need to turn one of these ideas into a successful business? The kind of people skills that will allow you to attract and build a regular clientele. But I'm guessing that you have these, or you wouldn't be thinking of starting a business in the first place.
If you have some revenue coming in but need an extra boost to get to the million-dollar mark, make sure to consider every possible way that your company can differentiate itself. Do you have a letter of commitment from a notable investor? Do you have some revenue or a contract to get some revenue? Do you have valuable intellectual property with the potential to generate revenue? Differentiators like these can make the difference between getting funded and being overlooked by investors and lenders.
"Too often, new entrepreneurs are so excited about their business and so sure everyone everywhere will be a customer that they give very little, if any, time to show the plan on leaving the business," said Josh Tolley CEO of both Tribal Holdings and Kavana. "When you board an airplane, what is the first thing they show you? How to get off of it. When you go to a movie, what do they point out before the feature begins to play? Where the exits are. Your first week of kindergarten, they line up all the kids and teach them fire drills to exit the building. Too many times I have witnessed business leaders that don't have three or four pre-determined exit routes. This has led to lower company value and even destroyed family relationships."
The second (and cheaper) path assumes that you have the design and dev chops yourself to build your dream software. Naturally, it’ll take more time to get your product off the ground, but being able to bootstrap the development of your software lets you retain more ownership in your business and be more in control of your path, making this a lower-cost, but higher time investment to make money selling apps.
Like talking to people and helping walk them through problems? You can bring in extra income as a contract customer support superstar for companies all over the world. Due to the 24/7 nature of online businesses, companies are looking for people in different time zones to help deal with issues that their users are having. Better yet, if you have experience in service or retail you’ll be perfectly suited. Check out indeed or the other remote job boards I listed earlier to find opportunities.
Having a eureka moment is great, but it can be hard to put that idea down on paper in a way that will speak to a potential investor. If you have owned your own business in the past or earned a business degree, why not help those with a eureka moment start something they love? Plan your fee around the various packages you are prepared to offer your clients. You can either:
If you have a great product, but no money to invest in a physical storefront, staff, and bills, why not set yourself up online? Aside from the lack of huge monetary investment and time commitment, the marketing opportunities online are endless. Also, although a storefront is great for branding purposes, it does limit the size and scope of your audience. By setting yourself up with an e-commerce store, you can:
Many small businesses in your community could use a very basic web presence to tell others about their business. Quite often, these businesses don’t have a large budget for such things. That’s where you come in – get a bunch of clients from the local community by beating the pavement, create sites for them, and maintain them for a small fee. Get enough businesses and you have a nice side business of your own that doesn’t require a ton of maintenance time.
If there are big names out there who already offer the same app as you, you are out of luck. The best hope is to be first to market with a new idea. If your app has any uniqur features, especially if you have some form of copyright protrction or patent, the that feature to the big guys amd perhaps they will add it to their app and pay you for the idea.
One of the easiest ways to utilize feedback is to focus on “The Lean Startup” approach (read more about it here), but it involves three basic pillars: prototyping, experimenting and pivoting. By pushing out a product, getting feedback and then adapting before you push out the next product, you can constantly improve and make sure you stay relevant.
Mechanical Turk: Amazon's Mechanical Turk is a resource for doing human-intelligence tasks, or as the site commonly refers to them, HITs. You get paid a very small fee for any given HIT and you'll need a good deal of volume to make a substantial amount of money. But it is a resource you can use in your spare time to generate a small income online.
20. Etsy – If you like to create arts and crafts, you can sell them on Etsy.It’s completely free to open an Etsy store. You simply sign up, post pictures of your creations and starting selling. You can choose your payment option, but PayPal is generally the easiest. Etsy makes it easy to sell and keep track of your inventory. There is a small listing fee and they take 3.5% of every sale you make.
Research selling prices of items similar to yours. Look up completed sales or current listings of items similar to yours. Find the high- and low-end prices, and price your object around the median price level. If you want your item to sell quickly, price it at the low end. The condition of the item also affects the price. Items in poorer condition should be priced at the lower end. Also, consider how many listings there already are of items similar to yours. If many similar items will be competing with yours, you may have to set the price lower to get the sale.
Hostgator is one of the best all-around hosting companies for new bloggers in terms of performance and cost. They also have a great infrastructure to accommodate your blog as it grows, which is important. At some point you may need to upgrade beyond what Hostgator can offer, but there is no need for that level of investment when you are starting out.
OnDeck has rates comparable to Fundbox and Kabbage on its small business loans. However, unlike a line of credit, you lose some flexibility in borrowing funds on demand. There is no benefit to prepayment, like with Kabbage, because OnDeck fees and interest are added to the principal at origination, and typically aren’t waived or lowered if you repay the loan early.
Startups requiring significant funding upfront may want to consider an investor. Investors can provide several million dollars or more to a fledgling company, with the expectation that the backers will have a hands-on role in running your business. Alternatively, you could launch an equity crowdfunding campaign to raise smaller amounts of money from multiple backers. Crowdfunding has helped numerous companies in recent years, and there are dozens of reliable crowdfunding platforms designed for different types of business. It's not challenging to find a good option for your business should you elect to launch a crowdfunding campaign.
But don't make the mistake of thinking this will be a passive source of income—you're on call whenever you have a guest and you'll always need to keep the place clean for incoming visitors. On top of just renting on Airbnb, consider offering your guests paid add-ons, like Lauren Gheysens', Royal Day Out in London, England—where she gives visitors a local's only tour of the city, complete with bespoke 18th century costumes.
My current company, Outbox Systems, began this way. We wanted to connect two software applications, but we didn’t have the capital to build the integration. Knowing we needed to generate money to fund our product development, I approached the partner channel at AtTask and asked if I could build a software integration for them. Fortuitously, an enterprise AtTask customer needed to integrate AtTask and Salesforce and was willing to pay us $125 per hour to build the integration. Then we turned around and resold the product to others. A typical tech entrepreneur thinks, “Raise money, build software.” But we turned the model on its head and essentially got the company to help us develop intellectual property for our business.
Use an Incubator. If you believe you have a solid idea and a workable business plan, you may want to consider a business incubator. Upon acceptance, these programs provide funding designed specifically to financially assist a startup company. Sometimes they offer office space or shared administrative services. Most incubation programs are sponsored by local or regional economic development organizations, and some are sponsored by colleges and universities.
If you have a propensity for writing and you can slay with your prose, consider writing an ebook. While the market has certainly become saturated as of late, books that help teach people about a technical topic still sell extremely well. This is a great source of passive income but does require a large amount of effort at the outset before any money is generated.