The world we live in is changing so fast. Gone are the days when the 9 to 5 office structure was king, and brick and mortar stores were a must. There is room for innovators out there, and with every passing month, the demand for new consumer options grows. Folks like to think that anything they want, no matter how niche, or obscure that product might be, someone out there is selling it. That’s where you come in. People do a lot of their working, socializing, and even shopping online. Meaning you can get through to potential customers without taking out billboard space, or running commercials on TV. You could be getting word out about your creative small business today, and directly reaching the people interested in it.
You are a creative individual, and you have an idea that you stand behind 100%. The question is, are you ready to turn those ideas into a business? If so, you are one of the many entrepreneurs out there making their own way, and setting their own rules. Certainly it’s not all fun and games to run a business of any size, but the pride and personal sense of accomplishment which comes along with running your own business can’t be beat. Let’s take a look at some thriving, small business ideas.
It used to be the case that in order to sell anything handmade, you would have to wait until your local church’s Christmas Bazaar, and try to make a respectable profit in that one weekend. As you can imagine, there was not a heck of a lot of room for growth in doing these local craft shows. Along came Etsy, and suddenly, crafters, and creative types of every stripe had a dedicated outlet for their handmade goods, and it caught on like wildfire.
I happen to have a friend who is running an extremely successful baking business on Etsy. She came up with the unique idea of offering cupcakes in mason jars (not just a cute idea, but also very handy for shipping purposes!), and her business has taken off. Another friend of mine came up with the idea of herb infused sea salts for cooking, and she even had one of her products featured on the Huffington Post. While each job requires these ladies to spend an awful lot of time in their kitchens, they love what they do. They have made products they are proud of, they are completely in control of quality and consistency, and as a result, they have grown from side projects to legitimate second incomes for their families.
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Crowdfunding is an innovative new way to launch start up businesses. Kickstarter is an organized means of asking people to pledge money to a project you are launching, and for those pledges, they are able to pre-order the product itself. Essentially, what you are doing is selling advance copies of items until you have enough startup capital, and hopefully word of mouth advertising to begin mass producing.
For example, I recently backed a kickstarter for a board game I was interested in playing. The creators had put together a great presentation, complete with videos, commercials, and lots of examples of what the finished product will look like. I pledged $35 to support it, but what I was really doing was purchasing the game itself in advance. When the project hit its funding milestone, production commenced, and I got my copy of the game in a few weeks. Easy!
Since the producers had presented their project in a really fun, and interactive way, they had no problem getting funded. They used their knowledge of how kickstarter works to ensure success. You can too.
Consignment Sale Franchises
If you have kids, then you already know how alarmingly fast they grow out of their clothes. Not to mention how relatively unused they are by the time they’re done with them. Seems like a waste to just toss them, or unload them all on a local thrift shop. That is where consignment sale franchises come in.
With two kids (one girl and one boy, so they can’t share clothes, go fig!) it didn’t take me long to become a diehard consignment shopper. We may be on a budget, but we don’t have to dress the kids like we are! These seasonal sales pop up twice a year in the fall and spring, and typically take over giant warehouses for four or five days. All the while, parents, grandparents, and expecting couples are pouring thousands upon thousands of dollars into the sale, of which the franchise owners are keeping nearly 50%!
With a little fine tuning to brush up your sales skills, you could be making lots of money by providing a venue for parents eager to buy and sell years worth of baby gear. Think of how many people must be dying to sell all that stuff in their attic. By allowing them a means to do that, you have just launched a very lucrative business.
iPhone or Android Apps
With the dawn of smartphone technology came huge opportunities for independent programmers and game developers. If you are the tech savvy type, or if you are interested in learning how to program apps, you could be in for some nice profits. With app prices averaging between $1 and $3, they are not a very tough sell at all. If you can make your app interesting, and better yet, if it fills a demand that’s not being met, it will begin to sell.
Then again, there are those who see huge profits even by offering their apps for free. Often apps will have both a free version, and a paid one. The free version will have advertisements included onscreen, which you the developer are being paid for. If your users get annoyed with the ads, or if they want the expanded content you offer with the paid version, they will be willing to part with that small fee for it. As long as you can stay innovative, and have an eye for where the tech is going, then this may be the best option for you.
A decade ago, those wishing to have their writing published had to play a very specific game. It involved pitching their book over and over again, mailing heavy manuscripts, making cold calls to book companies, and a whole lot of waiting in between it all. Ask any author to tell you about their most stinging rejection letter, and you may be amazed by what you hear. While publishers have a duty to their readership to provide them with certain types of content, that does not mean there is nobody out there who would like to read your book.
Thanks to the popularity of e-readers, and online formats, self publishing is easier than ever, even for the beginner. While it’s true that not every book will be a best seller, wouldn’t it be worth it to you if you could sell 500 copies? 1000 copies? These smaller publishing runs are attractive because the profits go directly to you (not a company), and as an extra bonus you can set your own deadlines. As a writer, believe me when I say that’s a wonderful luxury!
Got your own ideas for a small business? Let teacher Scott Britton show you some insider secrets on “How to Land a Startup Job“