Sometimes the thought of starting your own business can seem like a daunting task. Between the paperwork, advertising, accounting and everything else required to run a reliable operation, the certainty of having your pay cheque handed to you by an employer just seems like the safer option.
But creating opportunities, instead of applying to them, may be a better path for some of you.
Like the people that start them, businesses come in all shapes and sizes. Even the largest retail chain likely began as a single location with a specific market. Nearly every one started out small and grew over time. With starting, it’s all about managing what you’re working with and knowing the risks that come from stepping off the beaten path.
If you’re looking at self-employment as a viable career option, or just looking to generate a little side income, there are easy, effective ways to get started. Being self-employed can mean anything from being a magazine freelance writer to an eBay Powerseller.
Since web connectivity and online business has made the world your marketplace, there will likely be someone, somewhere who is interested in buying whatever you’re selling.
The keys to starting are being practical, persistent and creative. But since being practical and persistent are required for success in anything you do, let’s talk more about being creative.
The truth is there are lots of people selling lots of stuff. Avoiding ads for Shamwows and Showtime Rotisseries has actually become an unconscious habit for me. While there are many things I don’t want to buy, I have become adept at finding the businesses which sell what I do want to buy. What always catches my attention is when something is new and original, especially if it comes at good price.
Enter the recent grad with not too much money but a basket full of good ideas. How does one generate a little income from some of those ideas before it’s too late? Well, like I mentioned in a previous article, start small. You may underestimate how many valuable skills you have accumulated through school and summer jobs, and you would be surprised to know you might be able to actually make some money off them.
Elance.com is a great site to exchange your skills for money. If you have expertise in anything from web design to language translation, you can start your business as a freelance professional offering those skills to customers looking to outsource their work. Technical know-how in nearly anything can get you started on jobs in no time.
But, lets say you’re like me and mostly use the computer for web surfing and online courses. What else can you do to get started towards the path of financial independence? Many things, I say!
You can start developing your own prototype of a product you would like to see in stores one day. Anything from fashion accessories to novelty food items are fair game here. If you happen to develop something of interest that requires patenting and manufacturing, it may be a lengthy process, but I can’t imagine there would be anything more satisfying than seeing it on store shelves one day.
Whatever idea you’re working on, being creative in bringing it to life can be the difference between your customers saying, ‘I’ve seen that before, and it was cheaper at Zellers’ or ‘Where have you and your sweet-ass product been all my life!?’
To get the latter response, start selling vanilla-flavoured popcorn to baseball fans, green shoes to environmentalists, bookmarks with googly-eyes to kids learning to read, everlasting gobstoppers to candy fiends, daily voicemail jokes to those looking to laugh, custom notebook designs to students, or funny sunglasses to funny-looking people. And so on. Or maybe offer students and recent grads a very useful service, like TalentEgg.
But whatever product or service you choose to offer the world, be creative!