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 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.
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