By Laura Gayle, Business Woman Guide
Most people don’t have large sums of money lying around that aren’t already slotted for a particular expense or purchase. But what if you did? Say you had $5,000 — you inherited it, got a tax refund, or saved it up. Sure, you could use it to buy that new car or invest in home renovations … but what about using it to launch a business instead? With a successful business, after a couple of years, you could turn a profit and make a nice ROI on that money, allowing you to then buy a better car or a bigger house.
At this point, you’re probably wondering what kind of business could be started for $5,000 or less. That’s impossible, right? Nope! And the good news is, you don’t even need to buy office space. According to some statistics, 69% of people who do take the plunge into entrepreneurship start their businesses right in their own homes.
There are lots of business opportunities you can pursue for under $5,000, each operable with very little overhead. Here are just six of them.
1. Create mobile apps or games
Mobile technology has evolved to become a vital part of our daily lives and, as a result, the industry continues to boom. With this market explosion, of course, comes a demand for apps and games. If you’ve got some programming savvy, take those valuable skills and turn them into a business designing apps.
- Identify an appealing idea, preferably one that people need or want.
- Research to see if you can fill a market demand for your idea or if there is already a saturated market (and if so, go back to the drawing board).
- Build the game or app, then test it with friends, family, and anyone who can offer an informed perspective on its functionality.
- Market your work on social media and build a solid email marketing list.
- Seek partnerships with other businesses who need your services.
The consumer appetite for apps is not going to wane anytime soon. If you’ve got the skills and a creative idea, you could end up building the next big thing in mobile tech.
2. Turn your expertise into a consulting or service firm
If you have any specialized knowledge or skills the average consumer doesn’t possess, you can launch a consulting firm centered on that expertise. From home security to designing and building gardens, there are numerous consumer and businesses niches waiting to be filled. Here are some other consulting ideas:
- Home or office organization (a high in-demand service with the current trend toward minimization)
- Marketing and public relations
- Human resources
- Accounting and payroll
- Home and color design
- Home staging for real estate
- Career and job counseling
- Green living
If you’ve got marketable skills, be assured that there are people out there seeking your expertise and willing to pay for it.
3. Offer your love of animals as pet services
People love their pets and want the very best care for them, making this an evergreen market to tap into. Many people either work long hours or have pets needing special attention while they are away; these people hire others to pet-sit, walk, feed, or groom their furry family members. Others who travel frequently don’t want to leave their pets in a kennel where they might feel lonely or catch an illness from another animal. In addition to offering a caring touch, you’ll want to be sure to research what licensing, certifications, or insurance you need in your state or county before you begin to market yourself.
4. Offer your home as a vacation rental
If you own your place (or have an understanding landlord — make sure first!), renting out your home as a host on a vacation rental site or two is a potentially lucrative business option that could cost you even less than $5K of startup money. Save that amount against the likelihood of future repairs, supplies, and administrative fees. Even factoring in the time and effort it takes to clean, restock and maintain the rental, plus communicate with renters, you can still come out with a nice profit on your investment.
5. Share your knowledge through tutoring
If you have in-depth knowledge of a specific field of knowledge, such as math, language arts, programming, history, music, or science (to name just a few), tutoring is a great business to launch. You can either set up space at home, arrange to work in rented space, or even teach online using Skype.
6. Share your organizational skills in party rentals
Trends have shifted in the American home, and now many people outsource for their kids’ birthday parties, either holding them somewhere else (laser tag, pottery shops, or good old Chuck E. Cheese) or hiring someone else to manage things. If you love parties, are a good organizer, and have a vehicle large enough to hold party supplies, decorations, food, and beverages, you’re good to go.
A brief startup checklist
Whatever business you do decide to start, keep in mind that you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the necessary processes associated with starting a business.
- Write a business plan. This is a road map for your company to help guide you as you get started and begin to experience growth. It’s a living, breathing document you should revisit often as your business changes and grows.
- Choose a likely location. Whether you’re working from home or renting space, be sure you can afford the local expenses. For instance, if you launch your startup in an affordable city, such as Tampa, you’ll bring your business that much closer to turning a profit in its early years.
- Select a legal business structure. Explore the differences between a sole proprietorship, an LLC, and an S Corporation, and be sure to weigh the pros and cons of each before you register your company. Don’t forget to apply for any licenses or permits that might be stipulated by the structure you choose.
- Understand tax requirements. The processes involved in figuring business taxes can differ from those of individual taxpayers in many ways. Learn how to calculate your taxes so you don’t make any mistakes with Uncle Sam. Remember, you’ll need both federal and state tax IDs for taxation purposes.
- Focus on marketing. Once you get your logistical i’s dotted and t’s crossed, you’ll want to turn your focus toward marketing your business. Get active on social media, attend trade shows for wider exposure, and explore which marketing channels are best suited to your specific audience.
If you always yearned to be your own boss and you suddenly found yourself with the cash to do it, would you make the leap? While many people do decide to pursue their dreams and go out on their own, one-third never make it past the dreaming stage. Don’t let yourself become one of those statistics; instead, become one of the hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. who do follow through on their dreams by becoming their own boss.