Who amongst us has not sat at work and daydreamed about wiping the slate clean and going into business on our own? We all fantasize about working for ourselves and setting our own working hours, defining our own career path and being in control of our working lives, particularly as in the era we are living there is no longer any chance of the old jobs-for-life way of working and consequently no point to staying with one company.
The only way to ensure absolute job security these days is to do it yourself. But how easy is that? Most of us have the ideas but not the funds. And funding is by far the largest obstacle to finally being able to go it alone. The first time people sit down and calculate how much a new business might cost them before it is even off the ground is often quite an eye-opener. The majority of businesses will require a large chunk of change to start up and in the current financial climate the traditional route to finding that money – the banks – is not available to most people. So what is the alternative? Some people might be lucky enough to borrow from family, friends, colleagues etc but on the whole most people give up at that point. There is however a third way and that is to look at business models and business types that can be built out of low-level funding. This article will consider a couple of these:
Working Freelance or as a Contractor
This is the most common and fastest route into setting up your own business and for most people it is also the easiest to fund because it is the cheapest. The basic premise is that you do whatever job it is you do at the moment for somebody else, but you do it for yourself and your own company. If you have a skill all you need to do is advertise that skill (often online these days) and contract it out to individuals and companies. Unless your particular skill requires a great deal of expensive equipment all you need to do to get started is put up your own website (and perhaps a portfolio of your work) as well as signing on with one of the numerous freelancing sites out there (such as Elance or Odesk). These sites will advertise your services to thousands of people in your own country and around the world all looking for your particular skill set. At the same time, advertise in all the traditional ‘real-world’ places too, such as the Yellow Pages, the newspapers and boards in your local area.
Freelancing Online Only
One of the reasons contracting online is so easy is because it is a much simpler process to get a business set up and running online than it is in the ‘real world.’ There are much, much lower overheads, no real estate costs and a far wider audience is available. If you really want to cut costs then forget about advertising locally or in the papers. Go online only. Every week there are more and more articles about the death of the high street and the growth in online business. Take advantage of that. No matter what your skill, you’ll be able to find someone online who needs it.
Offer People Convenience
If working online really isn’t your thing and you don’t have a contracting-type skill then think about setting up your own business offering convenience services. Basically a convenience service will be anything that you can do for people that they are willing to pay money for. That could be taking their dog for a walk to doing their household cleaning or laundry to tutoring their kids. These are all normally good ways of starting out small with little investment and then growing the business as your customer base grows through word of mouth. Once you get big enough you can hire other people to offer the services to a wider group.
Working in Network Marketing
Unlike franchises, network marketing allows you to sign on with a large company for a little fee and then sell their products on their behalf. Whilst you have to buy a franchise, network marketing means they provide the products and you are responsible for your own sales and your income – the buck stops with you.
Hopefully these points illustrate the fact that if you’re really determined and have something to offer, then money doesn’t have to get in the way of you setting up your own business.
About the Author
Alex blogs regularly about anything related to small business, from staff issues to website design and from start-up funds to small business finance.