If you have been thinking about setting up your own business for a while, why haven’t you done it yet? Even if you’re not ready to leave your job and take the leap, there are lots of ways to get started now in your spare time.
No money? That’s not necessarily a problem either, the costs of setting up have never been lower, thanks to new technology. It has never been easier to start a business with no money. In the UK we also have the fairly accessible, Government-backed Start-up Loans scheme if you do need access to additional funds.
There are lots of reasons why today is the day to start your own business. There are lots of businesses that you can run in your own time from home.
As a minimum you must first register as self-employed with HMRC. Then set-up a clear book-keeping or accounting system (you could use an excel spreadsheet to get started), put together a simple website (or just a Facebook page if you have zero funds) and spread the word.
Here are 10 cheap and easy to start business ideas to consider:
1. Set-up an online store
Lots of people make a good living buying and selling products on online platforms like Ebay and Amazon. You can even set up your own online store by using software like Squarespace or Shopify. Experiment until you find the right product. You can use powerful market research tools like Terapeak to analyse sales trends in your area and maximise your sales potential.
With a smart dropshipping approach you could sell goods direct from the wholesaler or manufacturer with very low risk to you. See our comprehensive guide to setting up a drop shipping business in the UK.
2. Share your home
If you have a spare room you can now make it pay using online platforms like Airbnb and Bookings.com The flexibility of those online systems means that you can decide in advance which dates you want to open to bookings and how long you’ll let people stay for. If it’s not working out for you, just take your room off the system for a while.
3. Become a blogger
It is possible to write about your passion and build a business on the back of it those days. Most bloggers don’t make much money but as they tend to love what they’re doing any income that it brings in is a bonus. However, if your blog strikes a chord with others you could start to make money from online advertising and sales of associated products or services.
4. Start a consultancy business
Have you built up knowledge and experience in a particular industry over a few years? If you’re now feeling it’s time for a change, maybe you can take that expertise and offer it to others? You will need a website to display your services on, you can build a beautiful site yourself for little or nothing with Wix; and you can find a domain name for your website here. Use a logo making service and get some business cards to hand out. You will also need to use and build your network, get out to networking events in your industry and build up your contacts on Linkedin. Once you get the word out, referrals and word of mouth will be your strongest source of work.
5. Social media marketing
Social media is an increasingly important part of most companies marketing mix, in fact social media management is one of the fastest-growing business tracks out there. If you are always online and enjoy social media, maybe you could turn that talent into a business?
If you have teaching experience or any kind of specialist knowledge you could think about offering a tutoring service. There are numerous agencies and platforms which can connect you with students. Speaking English is a valuable commodity in many parts of the world and you can earn money by offering 1-1 English conversation online.
7. Dog walking
Walking is good for your health. And if you take along a few furry friends it could be good for your bank balance too. Dog walkers can charge £10-£15 per hour and can take up to 6 pooches at a time.
They say that cleaning can be a form of mindful mediation. Some people even enjoy it! If that is you then you could make a lot of people, including yourself, very happy. The 5 mile-zone around any Waitrose store is almost guaranteed to have more demand than supply for reliable cleaners. If you can get yourself there, pin a card on the community board and wait for the phone to ring. Gumtree is another good place to advertise your services.
As a cleaning company, your start-up costs could be zero if the customer supplies a good vacuum cleaner and materials. The average payment rate for cleaners is £12 per hour, up to £20 an hour in London and more affluent areas.
There is always demand for gardening help too. Even if you have little expertise you may be able to start-out with weeding and grass-cutting. With more skill and experience you will be able to increase your rates. The average payment rate for gardeners is from £14 – £25 per hour.
If you have any kind of hobby or interest, perhaps you could make a business out of talking about it, or demonstrating, online? YouTube has enabled people with the most niche interests to connect globally. Suddenly you may find that you are no longer alone with your passion for that obscure… sport, computer game, craft, type of dog, approach to cake making. The more niche it is, and the more passionate you are, the better.
All you need is a smartphone. Set up a free account with YouTube, upload your videos and, if and when it starts to take off, you can earn a portion of the advertising revenue. Don’t expect it to be quick and easy though. Most successful YouTubers uploaded regular videos for months or years before they started to take off.
All of those businesses can be started easily and cheaply. But if you want to build a sustainable business with a good income you’ll also need to focus on quality services and happy customers.
Download our free set up your business checklist to start moving forward with your business today.
Image: Dog walker via shutterstock