There’s no way around it – starting a business is scary. Few other ventures offer so little guarantee of a return with such a high risk, and few other sectors are as unforgiving of naivety. Many enterprising individuals with talent and novel ideas are discouraged of their dreams by the grueling path ahead of them and have to let their passion go in favor of security.
These near-entrepreneurs often cite their inexperience alone as what hindered them, and many express longing for a way to have made a trial run at running a business before they launched their magnum opus idea just to watch it crash.
There is a way to wet your feet, so to speak, in the entrepreneurial world, it just takes some reflection to figure out.
Before launching your business with no entrepreneurial experience, take a few moments to examine your interests and hobbies and brainstorm ways to turn those interests into businesses. Clyde Anderson, a CNN contributor to Entrepreneur magazine and financial lifestyle coach, says “the best way to start a business for less than $500 is to figure out how to get paid for what you love to do.”
This will give you a safe environment to learn the basics of owning and operating a business, and will also be a good gauge of your capability as an entrepreneur.
Need some quick suggestions to get you thinking about what kinds of talents can be converted into businesses? Here are three businesses you can start on a next-to-nothing budget that could be evolved out of hobbies or interests:
1. Fitness Consultant
Fitness is something that everybody wants (especially at the beginning of the New Year) and next to nobody understands. Think of how many people you’ve heard say, “I would get to the gym if I knew what I was doing there!” The few who have made physical fitness an important part of their lives and have learned all there is to know about it – this could be you – have the know-how to teach others the necessary skills they need to get fit. And they can charge a pretty for it, at that.
Personal trainers need to be certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and may have to own their own equipment, such as exercise balls, mats, portable CD player, and other common fitness accessories. Websites are a more and more effective way to advertise, so building a personal website with your personal fitness story and background will help. Finding clients will be the real challenge for you, but if you are already a member at a gym, offer specialized services there, and reach out to people you know who are hesitant to work out in public or at a gym.
2. Confectionary Expert
Ok, so it’s a fancy way to say baker, yes, but it’s also a great idea for a side business. People truly blessed with a talent for making sweet things are few and far between, and consumers will pay to indulge themselves in some heavenly cake. The start-up cost is relatively low as long as you aren’t trying to open a storefront; stick to the cupcake van model that has been popularized on the west coast.
You’ll need to get high-quality baking equipment, such as pans, mixers, and cooling racks, and you will probably have to rent a commercial kitchen, as selling goods baked in your home is illegal (except for small events, such as Boy Scout or church bake sales). You don’t want your assets seized because someone got salmonella from one of your cupcakes.
We live in a society dominated by technology, but there are some conventions and processes that are still paper-bound, and require manpower to execute. Having important documents, like property deeds, wills, or loan papers, signed in person by a notary is one of these conventions. And while most banks have notaries on staff, it is very easy to start a business as a notary, making house calls where people need documents notarized.
This line of work will requires a great marketing campaign, so a good website that has been optimized for search engines, along with word of mouth marketing are essential. Dany Victory, a mobile notary public in California, recommends notaries to pick a niche, noting that he specialized in loan documents and “it’s helped [him] earn referral customers such as realtors and title companies.”
About the Author: This is a blog post from Jacelyn Thomas. Jacelyn writes about identity theft protection for IdentityTheft.net. She can be reached at: jacelyn.thomas @ gmail.com.