Do you hate your job? If your answer is an equivocation –– like sometimes I do or just the paperwork but everything else is rosy –– then maybe you don’t have the entrepreneurial spirit. However, if the answer is a resounding “yes,” then maybe that spirit fills you. Maybe you need to harness it, and soon, before you explode.
An entrepreneurial spirit is part blessing, part curse. If you hate your job it might be because you want freedom, not flexibility. Flexibility is being able to come in after nine a.m. once in a while. Freedom is deciding exactly how you’ll spend your time. Entrepreneurs are persistent self-starters who don’t give up –– like the young person who only won an online business competition by repeatedly trying different approaches until he discovered the one that worked. Failure doesn’t stop entrepreneurs, it teaches them.
Examine how much structure you need in your life, and how much stability. If you like having a steady paycheck, you may not be a budding entrepreneur. Keep in mind that according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics around 20% of new businesses fail in their first two years with another 25% closing their doors by year five. I’m not advising you to quit today. Instead, embrace the side hustle. Start making a bit extra doing something you enjoy. There are hundreds of possibilities, but I’ve broken them down into four categories. They are all home business ideas with low startup costs.
1.Use Your Head
Chances are you can make money leveraging a skill you’ve already developed. Content creation is huge –– websites need blogs, product descriptions, photographs, graphic design. Start small, perhaps working for free for someone you trust. As you develop contacts and clients, you’ll want to invest in a decent website but initially you don’t need to spend anything. Because products and websites need promotion, you can also work as a social media manager or publicist. Although developing a home-based business based on something you already do is ideal, it’s not a requirement. Maybe you majored in journalism but now you work in marketing. There are lots of on-line writing opportunities.
2. Be an Admin
If you have what were once called secretarial skills you can put them to use. Many entrepreneurs need part-time help but don’t maintain an office. Becoming a virtual admin or assistant is fairly straightforward. From event planning to bookkeeping there are plenty of home business ideas with low startup costs. Although it’s less creative than other options, customer service and online help desk jobs proliferate. Steer clear of ones requiring expensive investment in equipment.
Dog walking, childcare, cleaning –– other people need your help. If your skill set is more physical there are tons of avenues to explore. They may not lead to a full time income, but they might. You could even subcontract, running a service that provides others to do the work. Although there are plenty of online businesses that handle this, a local reputation is invaluable. You could also be an online tutor –– from music to maths –– depending on your skill set.
There are probably millions of people who are making money right now by selling goods. Retail arbitrage –- where individuals buy items at stores then sell them online at a markup –– is a billion-dollar business. Some spend their time trolling big box shops like WalMart and Target looking for sale or hard-to-find items. Don’t worry, it’s perfectly legal to pay retail and then sell at a profit. You’ll want to steer clear of weapons, alcohol, or anything that could be dangerous when shipped. The key is that what is on sale in one market might be hard to find in another.
If you have an eye for trends, Ebay and similar auction sites offer potential profits. It may not become a career, but you never know. It’s how Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso got started –– transforming online sales into a $100 million business.
5. Original Goods
Are you crafty? Then you probably know there is a whole world awaiting. Etsy and other marketplaces offer a platform for selling your original goods. Don’t stop there –– if you have a talent for clothing, purses, jewelry and the like consider investing a little in Facebook ads or promoting products on social media. You may not know a top-level influencer but your pretty cousin and her thousands of followers could help turn your homemade goods into a booming enterprise.
The key with any of these home-based ideas (and the thousands I didn’t cover), is starting small. Don’t pour time or money into the business right away. Let it develop, let it grow. And if you hate your job, before long you may be able to kiss it goodbye.