The days of a ‘job for life’ are a distant memory and most can forget about the healthy pensions which our parents and grandparents enjoyed. Whether someone is a retail store worker, sales manager, civil servant or a solicitor there are no guarantees that their job and income are safe until they hit retirement age.
It’s not all doom and gloom, if an individual loses their job they can usually find themselves in a new one relatively quickly. But it’s the uncertainty which a lot of people don’t like, this has given rise to the so called ‘5-9 generation’ for those who work from 5pm – 9pm outside of their job to grow a business or supplement their income.
Whether you’re looking to build a pension pot, have more expendable income, give yourself peace of mind or just earn money from doing something you love, starting a business can be a great option. It doesn’t come without a lot of hard work and sacrifice, but there’s literally billions of potential customers out there and we’re going to cover how you can trial a new business or side hustle with next to no financial outlay, you just need to decide what product or service you are going to sell.
Do What You Love
Everyone is different, whether you have a passion for fitness, crafts, design, coding or dogs there will usually be an income which you can generate from working at your hobby. Deciding how to monetise your hobby or interest will be up to you but remember the old saying goes:
“Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life”
Andrew and I love watches and fashion accessories, so we genuinely enjoy working on our business. Of course there will still be mundane tasks and stressful times but it’s far more enjoyable to work in a business or industry that you are passionate about rather than, for example, setting up a bookkeeping business just because you are qualified to do so but actually hate the work involved.
Remember that if you’re starting a side hustle you will need to be motivated to start work on it when you get home after being at work all day, so you will need some passion for what you are going to do.
Don’t Know What You Love?
If you don’t have a burning desire to start a certain type of business, have a hobby or a specific skill this isn’t a barrier to entry in starting your business or side hustle. Thanks to websites such as People Per Hour and Fiverr you can start earning money almost immediately by doing an extremely wide range of tasks from data entry through to being a voiceover artist and just about everything in between. Even if you don’t want to promote a particular service you can actually respond to people around the world who are asking to have a task completed and you can message the individual saying what you can do, how long it will take and what fee you will charge. You could literally be making money within the next 24 hours, even if you have no idea what direction you want your business to take.
This type of definitive action is in my experience a very good thing. Rather than spending months or years waiting to think up the perfect business, you can actually get to work almost immediately and understand what you like and dislike. More importantly, as I’m sure anyone in business will agree with, opportunities start to arise when you do something rather than think about it.
Passionate About Retail?
Unlike a service business, a product business will naturally have a higher startup cost as you will need to purchase goods, store and advertise them. Those starting a service business can be up and running fairly quickly through sites like People Per Hour which was mentioned earlier; online retailers can also have a pretty rapid start by using sites such as eBay, Etsy, Gumtree and DePop. The main advantages of using these sites initially is that it removes the need to invest in a website and paid advertising as being on these platforms alone will usually bring in a strong amount of traffic and sales, as long as there is sufficient demand for what it is that you’re selling.
As there are higher start up costs involved with a product business I always advise limiting expenses as far as possible. Don’t immediately buy hundreds or thousands of products from a wholesaler or manufacturer without first testing the market to see if they actually sell. Buy in really small quantities initially, this will be more expensive as wholesalers give better deals for those buying in bulk but don’t get caught up in the hype they will no doubt give you. Test the market and make sure you don’t buy products in bulk until you’re confident that there is sufficient demand at the price you wish to sell them for.
Realise How Lucky We Are
Without a doubt this is the best and easiest time in history to start a business. Imagine back just twenty years ago and think about trying to source products from around the world without the Internet, the cost of print advertising in newspapers and the Yellow Pages. It would have taken real grit, determination and a sizeable investment to get started as opposed to 2018 where you can be speaking with suppliers around the globe in a few minutes and potentially have your first paying customer in a few hours.
If It Was Easy Everyone Would Be Rich
Of course, if it was easy everyone would have their own successful business and no one would be getting up at 6am to get to a job they hate. Starting a business is exciting, running a business is stressful and demanding.
There’s a long list of headaches that entrepreneurs endure ranging from cashflow, accounting and taxes, paying staff, bad debt and a high level of competition.
This isn’t to put you off, not at all. Being an entrepreneur is both exciting and challenging in almost equal measure (depending on the week!) but many online, particularly on social media only portray the high life of fast cars, designer clothes, access to exclusive events and being friends with celebrities. You won’t see many Instagram pictures of an entrepreneur filling in a VAT return form at 10pm on a Friday night.
Let Us Know What You Decide On!
Andrew and I love business and we also love speaking with other business owners so if you do decide to dip your toe into being a consultant or Etsy seller after reading this article please comment below or reach out to us on social media, we would like to follow your journey.