In today’s information age, you have never had greater opportunities to start a business with very little or even no up-front cash. There are literally limitless ways you can leverage new technological tools to start something with nothing but a little time and effort.
Here are just a few ideas for you to explore:
As with a job, with personal services you’re trading your time for money. This is not where you want to be long-term, but it’s a great place to start, for a few reasons.
First, the idea here is to do something on the side to supplement your income and build discretionary investment income.
Second, there’s a possibility that what you do here could make you more money than you’re making in your job. In this case, you could quit your job and be in a better place.
Third, there’s a possibility that whatever you build here could be expanded and leveraged. Perhaps you could hire employees to replace your role and build it into a full- edged business. Regardless, the process can give you vital experience and valuable lessons.
Here are a few possibilities:
Self-Employed Service Businesses
This could be anything you can do right now with very little up- front investment, such as window cleaning, lawn care, cutting hair, painting, or pet care.
The caveat here is that you don’t want to get trapped in a self-employed situation where there’s no or little possibility for eventual leverage and you’re not making enough money to get ahead.
The freelance industry is booming like never before, causing massive cultural and economic shifts. There are currently an estimated 53 million Americans are conducting freelance work. This represents around 34% of the U.S. workforce. Forbes is currently estimating that this percentage will increase to over 50% by 2020. Freelance opportunities are available for everything from graphic design to writing, marketing to web development, project management to accounting.
As with any entrepreneurial venture, to succeed as a freelancer you’ll need to learn how to market effectively. Marketing and selling yourself are among the most important skills you need to learn to develop a 5 Day Weekend lifestyle anyway, so it’s perfect.
Fiverr and Upwork
One way to market freelance services is to offer them on online marketplaces, such as Fiverr.com and Upwork.com. You offer your services, and people who need them can find you from all across the world. At the time of writing this, Fiverr lists more than three million services on the site that range between $5 and $500.
Build Mobile Apps for Business Owners
Among the cutting-edge frontiers right now are mobile apps. Consider these astounding statistics compiled in May of 2015:
- Mobile apps account for 52% of all time spent on digital media.
- Smartphone users spend 89% of their mobile media time using apps.
- 42% of all mobile sales generated by the leading 500 merchants came from mobile apps.
- Between 2004 and 2014, the average time people spent on their apps increased by 21%.
- 5% of people prefer native mobile apps to mobile websites.
Clearly, apps are here to stay, and their number and popularity will continue to skyrocket.
Building an app to monetize yourself is speculative, which we will discuss in a later blog post. What I’m referring to here is charging business owners to build apps for them. Currently, there are about 19 million local businesses in the U.S. and fewer than 1% of them have an app, so there’s huge opportunity in this space right now. Mobile apps are to small businesses what a website was in 2000—the market is tiny but exploding as business owners are realizing how apps can help them.
You may not even know how to build an app yourself, but you can outsource the tech work to a team of freelancers. Your job is to get the customers, which you can do via social media promotion. Your customers could be lawyers, real estate agents, chiropractors, dentists, doctors, restaurants, travel agents, nightclubs—virtually any business. Apps can help them market to customers via push notifications, set up appointments, feature their Facebook and other social media pages, showcase YouTube videos, and more.
One survey of 96 mobile app developers found that the average cost to develop a simple app was $6,453.7 Another popular blog reports that developing a “small app” can cost $3,000 to $8,000, and more complex apps can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000. The average app developer in the U.S. charges about $100 per hour.
App-building software programs are making the process even simpler and cheaper. You could charge business owners $997 up front for building the app to their business and applying a $97 per month maintenance fee, while outsourcing all the tech work.
In my next post, I’ll offer more suggestions for increasing you income, with personalized business opportunities.
I’d love to hear from you: have you done freelance work in today’s marketplace? What did it consist of – and where did it take you? Thank you for sharing.
Secure your copy of the “5 Day Weekend” book. 5 Day Weekend: Freedom to Make Your Life and Work Rich with Purpose [Nik Halik & Garrett Gunderson]
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