Looking for a new way to make money? Here are 20 businesses that you can start with very little money. You need motivation, a willingness to work hard and a desire to be financially successful.
1. College Application/Financial Aid Planning Consulting Business
A financial aid planner helps parents get the lowest possible price for their child's college education, thus saving them money. Tapping into financial aid resources is not just about being smart. It is about being aware of the resources that are available. This business involves advising parents and high school students on selecting a college, filling out the application and financial aid forms, providing tips for writing the college essay, advising parents about tax implications on college savings plans, and negotiating the best possible financial aid package when a college offer is received. A sound knowledge about higher education institutions and a thorough understanding of financial aid options are important. Market your services in high schools, libraries, private tutorial centers and universities.
Tip: Have a good understanding of different financial programs like Byrd Scholarships, Stafford Loans, private and federal grants, and PLUS Loans. Also be current with college savings plans including 529 plans, Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, the Uniform Gift to Minors Act, and Charitable Remainder Unitrusts.
2. Consignment Shop
Talking about wearing "pre-owned" clothing has never been a popular coffee table discussion. Times may be changing, though. Recycled clothes are back. The recession has led consumers to save their bucks by buying "gently used" items.
As a consignment shop owner, you don't pay anything for your inventory until it is sold, which makes this business ideal for the startup entrepreneur. Take clean, well-cared-for items and display and merchandise them online or at a physical location for the owners, splitting the profits when you make a sale. Many times, the profit split is either 50/50 or 60/40, with the higher percentage going to the consignment shops.
Tip: The key to a successful consignment shop is a pleasant atmosphere. Make it clean, fresh and fashionable.
3. Freelance Writing
Freelance writers can write articles on any topic, from horse training to buying an RV. A good way to start is by writing about subjects in which you are already an expert. The Writer's Market lists guidelines for thousands of publications.
Ghost writing is a good pursuit for freelancers looking for money and willing to forgo a byline. Websites are always on the lookout for quality freelancers, too. Create a website to promote your freelance writing business.
Tip: Your initial queries are likely to get rejected many times. Cultivate a stoic resilience to rejection.
4. Gardening Business
Herb farms are one of the fastest-growing industries. Medicinal herbs, herbal teas, culinary herbs, and herbs for candles and aromatherapy are just the tip of the iceberg. A solid working knowledge of growing herbs is essential.
Flowers used to scent potpourri, soap, candles and fragrant concoctions require just a few square feet of growing space. Most of your product preparation can easily take place in an average-size kitchen equipped with no more than a shelf, stove and counter work space.
Becoming a gardening teacher is a creative way to make money from your green thumb. Offer gardening seminars in your backyard, community colleges, recreation centers and local nurseries. Offer a class each month on a different aspect of gardening, including planning flower beds, learning about perennials, preparing the soil, creating an English garden, bulb planting, and the like.
Growing orchids can be a lucrative business if you are willing to spend time and considerable effort. Although they are typically grown in tropical areas, orchids can also be grown as houseplants or in greenhouses.
Tip: Through gardening, you can branch off to floral arrangements and market your products to local inns, hotels, wedding planners, churches, roadside flower sales and florists.
5. Gift Basket-Making Business
From corporate parties to baby showers, holidays and birthdays, gift baskets can be tailored to suit the taste of anyone. Gift basket entrepreneurs need a flair for the creative and the design ability to buy gifts and tuck them into baskets, decorative tins, boxes or bags. Attractive packaging is an important part of the gift basket business. You can't just throw some objects together and stick on a bow.
Market your gift baskets by taking photos of them. Prepare a brochure listing the contents of each basket and its price. You can sell your baskets online, to corporate offices, through mail order and in local shops.
Tip: There is a large, untapped market for merchandise with university and sports team logos on them. You will first need to get approval from the university's licensing department to make gift baskets that have merchandise with their logo.
Read This: Start Your Own Gift Basket Business and More: Special Events, Holiday, Real Estate, Corporate by Entrepreneur Press and Cheryl Kimball | Amazon | eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble
6. Graphic Design
Duties of a graphic designer include designing flyers, informational pamphlets, product catalogs and advertisements. Graphic designers also consult with printers or publishers to identify the best choice of paper, cover stocks and printing processes for any given assignment.
Market your services to ad agencies, publishing companies, small magazines, corporations, product manufacturers and individual entrepreneurs.
Tip: Good listening skills are essential to running a successful graphic designing business. You need to understand completely what your clients want.
Read This: Start Your Own Graphic Design Business by Entrepreneur Press and George Sheldon | Amazon | eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble
7. Grant Writing Business
The grant writer is the vital link between a funder and a grant seeker. Grant writers work as independent contractors, full- or part-time development officers, and freelancers. Nonprofit organizations account for the largest percentage of grant seekers.
Grant writers can apply for a myriad of categories of funding, including project grants, general operating grants, endowment grants, restricted grants, startup funding, matching grants, and challenge grants. Some websites that will help you start researching funders are www.fdncenter.org, www.tgci.com and www.fundsnetservices.com.
Tip: This is a field that you can learn on your own and offer your services for a handsome fee. Very few nonprofits require certification from their grant writers.
8. Home Health-Care Agency
An 80-year-old wants to live in his own home but has trouble bathing, fixing meals and cleaning the house. As a home health-care business, your responsibility is to send an employee to assist with the daily tasks of living.
Home health care is a rapidly growing business with today's skyrocketing costs of assisted living facilities and live-in nurses. Find out the legal requirements to run a home health-care agency in your area. Always be up to date on the laws for administering any kind of medication. Advertise your services at local community centers, rehabilitation centers, doctors' offices and hospitals.
Tip: You need top-notch people skills and an instinct for determining which caregiver to pair with which client. Most importantly, you must have a knack for hiring employees with monumental patience.
Read This: Start Your Own Senior Services Business, 3rd Edition by Entrepreneur Press and Charlene Davis | Amazon | eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble
9. House Cleaning
As long as dirt and grime exist, there will be a need for house-cleaning services. In many homes and apartments, people want to enjoy the luxury of not having to scrub floors and dust furniture.
Tip: With each new client, find out exactly what they need and expect from you. Catering to the wishes of your clients is as important as a good cleaning job and will earn you loyal and returning customers.
Read This: Start Your Own Cleaning Service by Entrepreneur Press and Jacquelyn Lynn | Amazon | eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble
10. Medical Billing Business
Medicalbilling is the process by which doctors and hospitals receive payment from health insurance companies. It also involves resolving any disputes and following up on claims that have been delayed or rejected. Medical billing services provide coding, invoicing and collection services to different types of health-care facilities. Individuals can get certified by enrolling in schools that have medicalbilling programs, or via online courses.
Tip: Working in a doctor's office can be helpful in understanding how patients are billed.
Read This: Start Your Own Medical Claims Billing Service by Entrepreneur Press and Charlene Davis | Amazon | eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble
11. Mobile Spa Business
Bring the spa experience to your clients via a mobile day spa. Mobile spa treatments can be offered in homes, offices or hotels. A mobile spa offers facials, massages, bridal hair and makeup, body treatments, manicures and pedicures. Mobile spas have low startup costs. There are no ongoing costs like those involved in operating a storefront operation such as rent, utilities, maintenance and insurance. Massage therapists, manicurists and hairdressers can run a successful mobile spa business.
Market your business to clients who are working from home and do not have time to go to a spa, older folks who cannot leave their homes, working professionals who want a break during a high-stress period, and clients who are not physically able to get themselves out of the house due to illness.