By Oleg K Temple, September 2018
PART 3 of 3: Starting a business? Here are 4 more Low Risk, High Reward Ventures to consider when starting a company.
In part one of this article we looked at the primary principles in future-proofing your business.
In part two we reviewed the advantages of online business, as well as three distinct directions you may consider when starting your online business.
But first, a quick question: are you already self-employed? Share your experience and thoughts in the comment section after reading this article and remember that freelancers are welcome in this business directory. Do you want to reach businesspeople without paying a tithe commission on your gigs and leads? Then advertise your small business on The Cornerstones of World Business and be seen by tens of thousands of entrepreneurs from around the world. Our mission is to help small businesses grow and our prices, starting from just $2/month, reflect that. Alright, back to the topic at hand.
Here are four more ideas you may wish to maul over before starting a company to build up your future. Indeed, the reason why most business ideas seem to be common sense, is because they are. What most entrepreneurs need to prosper, is the entrepreneurial mind-set, rather than the bare business idea—almost every business can work in the right circumstances. However, timing, mind-set and execution determine whether the company grows or fails. Remember, to create success you need to help others succeed rather than focus upon your personal end-goal. In other words, if you identify a pain point or demand and solve the problem for others, by providing your clients with the best solution for their needs at the right time, your business will grow and prosper. Those who reach the pinnacle of success and, for example, become one of the best hotels or top car rental services do not get to their positions of privilege by boasting or patting themselves on the back. No, they succeed by securing a strategic location and focussing all their efforts on providing value to the customer, so that their acclaim grows and new customers materialise. So whichever business you choose, remember: take it one step at a time and always, always strive to provide each and every individual client with a memorable and valuable experience.
4) Freelance like a boss
In the old-world, being self-employed meant becoming a taxi driver, courier, private eye, interpreter, the neighbourhood handyman, or similar. Today one can make a tidy living without leaving one’s home. However, that’s not to say that freelancing is an easy way of making money. Far from it. Competition has never been fiercer and as fast internet connections become more commonplace around the world, the trend is only for the space to get more crowded in the foreseeable future. So brace yourself and think through every eventuality before plunging in. I would even counsel you to write down the core strategy for your envisioned venture in a coherent business plan and have those closest to you confirm that it makes sense.
While platforms like UpWork and Freelancer may not put much food on your table, they can provide a veneer of legitimacy if you find yourself working form a developing country. If you are operating from the developed world, you can skip the tedious middlemen that take a percentage of your earnings and get straight to establishing your brand by encouraging clients to come directly to you. If you are a writer or designer, put together an attractive portfolio on your blog and drive traffic by harnessing social media, directories such as this one and email lists—all ways to promote yourself without sacrificing a significant chunk of your income. Be proactive and approach clients directly, when you feel that your skills could be beneficial to their business.
Here are a few specific ideas you might consider when starting a business.
Launch a training company this can include anything from fitness to cooking to music. Just pick a niche you are genuinely passionate about and wish to continue to excel in.
Freelancing is also possible even if you do not possess a clearly defined skill or specialised education such as language diplomas, copywriting or graphic design. An area where so many people struggle these days and need assistance in is managing their social media, which is a terrible time-suck. Yes, automations such as Hootsuite exist, but they still require programming and active management. Dozens of hours get flushed down this insatiable sinkhole every week. Many people would like to be much more productive online than waste their time poring over an endless deluge of hashtags and water-under-the-bridge posts and tweets. Social media has become a pointless second or third job for millions of people. Yes, utterly pointless, because it is a losing battle and social media is not at all free, as the illusionists would have you believe. The vast majority of people can’t possibly keep up with all the fickle trends or attract any meaningful business from social media that would justify the time spent creating content, building up a platform AND serious cash spent on promoting it (let’s not forget that it’s virtually impossible to get any traction with one’s content these days without heavily promoting one’s pins, tweets or posts). However, social media CAN be a great tool for those who make it their primary source of income by helping to promote their clients’ presence on various platforms. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, your success is directly linked to the success and satisfaction of your clientele.
5) Live consulting or training
The internet is brimming with people in search of valuable advice tailored to their specific circumstances and methods of self-improvement, so create a course about what you know and love. You could write a comprehensive guide on an infinite gamut of topics from fitness and weight loss, to a personal hygiene, to parenting, to life style and stress management, fashion and style, to environmental and social awareness, to language, to musical instrument or professional skill training and the list goes on and on. And on. There are even people who make a handsome living by advising others on how to declutter their wardrobes, save a few dollars every day or better arrange their messy home… You can pick any topic you are passionate about, divide it into sections from beginner to advanced and create a course.
Few of us have the luxury of receiving one-on-one sessions with a master to take our skills to the next level. This is a very lucrative niche, as many people would pay dearly to have the full attention and advice of a competent private tutor. As mentioned above, your subject of expertise can be anything from business consulting, social media, singing, acting, drawing, languages, life coaching, writing, diets, fitness and everything in between—the only rule is that you are in a significantly more advanced stage of your study than those whom you are proposing to teach. In later stages, you will be able to organise annual retreats for your students, seminars, live streams and other public speaking gigs. If you enjoy public speaking, this is a craft and business formula that will serve you very well throughout your life.
6) Offer exclusive tour guide services of your town and surrounding area
This is another area of service that requires little to no training. If you have lived in a place for a few years, you are qualified to show newcomers around. It does help if you take a couple of weeks to plan your tours and do some research to familiarise yourself with the background of various attractions and local stories so your clients find you knowledgeable and helpful. Just like any aspect within the service industry, etiquette and safety of your clientele are of paramount import, so it is vital to consider from the onset, whether your country of residence is safe and appropriate for guided tours to begin with.
As a guide you must be confident and courteous, so do your research and take the time to rehearse and plan the routes, be entertaining and ensure that you surpass every positive expectation of those who hire you. If your guests enjoy themselves, word will swiftly spread and you will soon find your unique spin in high demand.
You need not limit your skills to catering to tourists, if you are a savvy translator, wedding planner, photographer, forester, food or art critic, mechanic or possess any other edge over the average history buff, be sure to mention that on your website. Clients may hire you to location scout for film or functions, to assist them in geological surveys or on their purchasing expeditions for anything from used vehicles to raw materials to hiring human resources. Guests to your country are aware that the local knowledge you possess could save them tonnes of time and money, so use your insider knowledge to your advantage.
Another tie-in idea you may take advantage off, lies in the accommodation sector. If you live in a picturesque area or in the vicinity of tourist attractions, you may find that registering with services such as AirB&B, could provide you with quite a lucrative source of additional income and potential clientele. Do not forget to register with the government when starting a business in this sector, however. Do be mindful of your neighbours, as rowdy tourists often disrupt community life and could land you into hot water with the authorities if complaints from local residents begin to pile up. Like everything, this requires research and planning.
7) Pick up new skills and solve problems for the wealthy
Perhaps you already know much about landscaping, renovations, IT support, interior design, vehicle detailing or the like, if so, you could approach your local vehicle club or chamber of commerce and inquire about introductions to local property or luxury vehicle owners. Essentially, take any skill you possess or one which you perceive to be in high demand and offer it to those who need it. If you see a skill in demand, which you do not yet command, but have an interest in… acquire it if your schedule and budget permit. Always striving to evolve one’s talents is a discipline that makes good entrepreneurs great. The two crucial ingredients of a successful freelance career are steady increments in the supply of clients and knowhow.
But not everything is rosy and this article would be incomplete if we did not look at some of the drawbacks of being your own boss. The trouble with gig employment is sustainability. Every day is an adventure, you never know what you’re going to get. While freelancers enjoy the unshackled freedom of non-committal labour and a fluid schedule, they deal with heavy doses of anxiety, as it is hard to plan one’s future while engaged in such an unstable vocation. The other drawbacks of being self-employed as a small company are: lack of social benefits and other guarantees, cut-throat competition, minimal taxes paid due to a fluctuating salary mean a shallow pension fund and perhaps above all, the knowledge that once one stops working—the income stream will dry up almost instantly. As a result, the “unshackled freedom” often results in pushing oneself to make working overtime a habit, sleeping less and working through weekends and public holidays. This is an excellent choice for a temporary career, if you are working on something bigger—for example if you use such a business to support your screenwriting aspirations, acting classes or other personal investments.
The best advice I can give you is this: make sure that you set concrete goals and pre-plan your business strategy before embarking on this journey (a very significant stitch in time, this) and carefully plan and partition each day. Do not take this decision lightly. As your own boss, you will be responsible for the entire production, promotion, supply and after-service chain. That is daunting and it is easy to become overwhelmed by the many tasks that scream for your attention each day. Plan for this and divide your days in a way that will allow you to work on what matters, when it matters. Remember, if you don’t value your time—no one will.
Now you are armed to the teeth with actionable tips and tricks, so go forth and make a great living… while, hopefully, also making the world a better place.
Let us know in the comments below which business idea appeals to you the most and if you can think of any lucrative business opportunities we have missed.
About the author: Oleg K. Temple has worked as an editor and consultant on numerous projects advising various start-ups and fledgling SMEs (mostly in the travel, accommodation, tourism and HR sectors) for over 12 years. His main project has been The Cornerstones of World Business, international business directory focused on bringing to light the best companies from each country and state, providing them with affordable advertising and marketing opportunities while encouraging them to engage in lucrative B2B and B2C relations. For travel information such as hotels in California, accommodation New York, hotels Illinois and other destinations across Europe and USA; or if you seek reliable financial, real estate, consultancy, insurance, construction or shipping partners – welcome to CornerstonesWORLD.com.