Starting a business is easy. So is turning a profit. Unfortunately, most people over-complicate things. Men will read a book on Elon Musk or Steve jobs and immediately start thinking about venture capitalists and international markets.
If you’ve never run a business before you need to start small.
Below are five businesses that you can start for less than $10. I’ve done all of them and turned a tidy profit from each.
In addition to learning how each venture works, you’ll see the total start-up cost and difficulty of the project.
By the end of this post you should have enough ideas to start your own business.
1. Freelance On Fiverr
The first real money I made online came from Fiverr. I earned enough from writing articles and penning Amazon reviews that I was able to quit my job. This is probably the easiest place to learn about business. There’s no start-up costs and you can start turning a profit right away.
Fiverr’s a great place to learn about business. You’ll figure out how to market yourself, meet customer needs, stick to deadlines, and deal with unruly clients. You’re also providing simple services, like writing 500 word blog posts or formatting eBooks, so you don’t have to worry about coming up with some “big idea” or wooing investors.
If you want to know more about Fiverr, check it this incredible article (it’s more in-depth than a lot of books) about a guy who made $1,800 in his first 30 days of freelancing on the site. Also, you might want to grab a copy of Matt Forney’s Fiverr guide, Writing for Peanuts (review here).
Total Cost: $0 – $5
2. Sell T-Shirts
(The mark-up on clothing is insane)
Businesses live and die by their marketing. Beats By Dre are garbage headphones that have made billions off of how they’re advertised. Apple makes fun computers, Dell does not. There are thousands of companies that have grown huge because of their marketing campaign. Nowhere is this more evident than in the fashion industry.
($555 for a T-shirt)
Go to your local Versace store (though Neiman Marcus will do in a pinch) to see shirts costing a dollar to manufacture and being sold for $500 to $600.
When it comes to clothing people will spend insane amounts just to seem cool or original. Expensive shirts, funny shirts, shirts that showcase a certain band or movie, the list goes on and on.
I’ve designed and sold quite a few shirts. I even wrote the book about it. You can get shirts designed on Fiverr and then sell the concepts to businesses. I even had a line of funny science themed shirts that I pitched to ThinkGeek.
Even if your designs don’t sell you can always make a web store and market them yourself. This guy made over $2,000 selling Black Pride shirts.
Total Cost: $0 – $10
3. Write eBooks
You aren’t going to make money writing the generic copycat books that self-publishing gurus advocate. If you want to write non-fiction you must have something worth talking about. Go take a different activity from this list, try it, and then write your own eBook.
If you want to write fiction, that’s great too. Women read more than men. And most of what women read is either romance or erotica. Focus on these two niches. I’ve already reviewed the best book on self-publishing erotica. Buy a copy, follow the path laid out in it, and watch as your profits roll in.
Authoring your own books will teach you about marketing, SEO, quality control, and international buying habits (if you publish to Amazon your books will be sold all around the world). When you write eBooks you learn how to produce and market your own product line.
Total Cost: $0 – $10
4. Write Essays For College Kids
Doing other people’s homework for them is the worst job on the planet. I grew up in Iowa where summer jobs consisted of cleaning manure from barn stalls and bailing hay. Both of those activities are a walk in the park compared to writing essays for idiots.
The college students who hire you to do their homework are the laziest and stupidest people on the planet. Some of them can barely form complete sentences and many of them are so dumb that you have to wonder how they’re still alive.
While this job sucks I’ve done it twice. Once while working for someone else and once on my own. Writing essays for lazy college students is an easy way to make money and it teaches you a lot about dealing with lazy idiots.
(Intentionally blurred to protect my sales copy)
To get started in this business you’ll need an email address, phone number, and some sort of advertisement. I made up some flyers and hung them around a community college. The total cost for all my marketing was $7. You can also post Craigslist ads or try joing student Facebook groups and promoting your services there.
Because clients can be a huge nuisance, set your standard rate at $10 per written page. The traditional formatting for a college essay is 300 words per page. A five-page essay (which should take you an hour or two to write) will net you $50. That’s a pretty good deal.
Lastly, you’re probably wondering why anyone would pay $50 to $100 for a simple writing assignment that they could do themselves. The quickest answer I can give is that lazy people will spend whatever it costs to avoid work. If you want a more in-depth explanation, go read about a company called Pro Tax. The owner explains his entire business model in the book No B.S. Direct Marketing (Amazon). What his clients do for “fast results” will amaze you.
(The book also gives you some great marketing ideas for this type of business)
Total Cost: $0 – $10
5. Resell Books And Toys On Amazon
While Fiverr was the first ongoing business that I had, reselling textbooks was one of my first money-making ventures. In fact, I actually got into this on accident. When I was in college my school did a textbook buy-back. The were paying pennies on the dollar, a $60 book was now worth $10. To be a jerk (and make a point) I sold all my books other students who were in the campus bookstore.
While I’ve never resold a lot of stuff, I’ve done it enough that I know it pays. About once or twice a year I usually stumble on textbooks, comics, and board games that are worth 10 to 20 times the original price.
While reselling items is pretty easy, I do want to warn you that regular old books (even rare ones) aren’t exactly hot sellers. Board games, electronics, sneakers, and watches seem to do better. If you want to learn more about doing stuff like this, here’s a guy who made $2,700 in three days reselling sneakers.
Total Cost: $5 – $10
If you have $10 and a good idea, you can start your own business today. There’s no need to worry about venture capitalists, or mortgage your house to buy an office. There are plenty of lucrative, low-risk ventures you can profit from.
I hope that my suggestions have helped and I look forward to hearing about your success.
Until next time,