There are a lot of businesses that are started on a shoestring budget. This can be because you have a desire to escape the 9 to 5 and branch out on your own, or you want to start something small on the side that can help to bring in some extra money while you raise your children.
No matter if you are good with your hands and want to start up your own plumbing or carpentry business, want to become a personal trainer, or you really love beauty and hair and decide to become a mobile hairdresser and make-up artist, you can unleash your passions and make good use of your skills by working for yourself.
Honing your skills
Many people are holding themselves back from starting up their own business because they don’t think they have the current skills needed or even enough money saved up to get started. However, starting your own micro-business need not cost you a fortune, and may just take a little spare time to hone your skills enough to give you the confidence to start.
Firstly, if you have taken some time out of the workforce because you have been raising your children, then you can look at your local college to see what courses they have on offer. Most local colleges offer refresher courses to help people brush up on their skills. This can often mean taking an evening class in learning the latest computer software packages to understand how to work a database and spreadsheets – very handy if you want to start a small business and keep customer records and handle your own business finances.
Even if you have been working the same job for years, you can switch careers and start something new by taking a vocational course in your spare time. Gaining fresh skills and qualifications can give you a real confidence boost that you need to kick start a new career.
If you are going to set yourself up as a sole trader or form a Limited Company, then taking a part-time business management course can give you all the skills you need to manage all of your administration tasks that are associated with running a small business.
It can be wise to look at the pros and cons of being self-employed compared to setting up a limited company for your business. If you want to separate and protect your own personal finances and assets from those of your business, then registering as a Limited Company with Companies House will be your best bet.
If you have the desire to start something new, but as yet you have not decided on a particular job or business to get into, here are some low-cost business ideas that you may find useful:
DIY and building work
If you have already spent a few years working in the construction industry, you may be in the position where you already have the skills, knowledge and equipment necessary to go self-employed and start up your own small DIY, home repairs and building business.
You can start up really cheaply and can create your own low-cost website and social media business pages to help promote yourself. You can also post flyers to homes and businesses in your local area to help raise awareness of your services and pick up some local customers.
Depending on your skills you could offer a lot of different services that local people need, such as roofing, building, carpentry, plumbers, electricians, DIY and handyman services.
A really cost-effective small business to start up would be your own cleaning company. You can start off working by yourself and would only need to purchase a few inexpensive pieces of cleaning equipment to get started.
You can decide whether you are going to offer a domestic cleaning service for homes or offer a commercial cleaning service for offices and workplaces. You could start off with a domestic service, then eventually take on some staff and start to offer commercial cleaning.
Mobile beauty or hairdressing
Mobile hairdressers and make-up artists are in great demand, especially for weddings and special events. Because you go to your clients you will not have to pay out for the overheads that come with renting a bricks and mortar salon.
Word of mouth is a great way to advertise your business. You can list your services in your local online business directory and on social media pages that advertise local services. Once you have had a few satisfied clients, they will be happy to spread the word and recommend you to others.
Craft market stall
If you have a creative flair for making your own arts and crafts, then you can spend your spare time creating your wares until you have built up enough stock, and then setting up a craft stall at a busy local market to sell your creations.
You could take your creations and sell online through well-known craft sites such as Etsy, which is like an online marketplace for unique hand-crafted items.
If you have green fingers and love spending time in the great outdoors, then offering gardening and garden maintenance services could be a perfect business to start. There are lots of people who need help to keep their garden neat and tidy, especially older people that are not quite so mobile any longer.
You could look at adding seasonal clearing work such as raking up leaves, cutting hedges and pruning bushes. People also like to hire in some help to do jet wash deckings and patios, plus give their garden fences a lick of paint or a coat of weatherproofing solution.
Dog sitting and walking services
With people spending long hours at work and lengthening travel times to and from work, this can often mean their precious pooches are left alone at home for too long. Grateful dog owners hire local, trusted dog walkers and pet sitters. If you love dogs and walking in the fresh air, then this could be a great business to start.
You can offer a pet sitting option for when the owners go away on holiday and cannot take their pets with them. You could look after them either in your own home or in their own home. This can add an extra level of security and reassurance for the owner as they know their pets are being well looked after, but also their property isn’t standing empty for a long time attracting potential burglars.
Street food vendor
If you live in a busy town or city and you love cooking, then you could look at setting yourself up as a street-food vendor. You would need to check your local events calendar and pick busy market days, planned street fares and special outdoor events to set up your stall.
You don’t need to be a trained chef to do this either. Simply having a passion for good food and a creative flair to produce some amazing flavour combinations to set you apart from others and make you truly unique.
If you can play an instrument such as the guitar, keyboard, violin etc. then you could look at setting yourself up as a music tutor. If you are self-taught or have no formal training, you could look at teaching beginners classes at your local community college as part of their evening classes offerings.
If you are qualified and have plenty of experience, you could look at taking on one-to-one students and either offer sessions from home or you visit them at their home on a weekly basis. You can build up a number of clients so that you can make a decent living from your talent and passion for music.