Which Type Of Business Suits You Best?
Are you considering all your options?
When you make the big decision to be self-employed it's important to be aware of all your options. Many people see things very black-and-white and miss out on possibilities that could prove to suit them better than the norm.
I know many people who are self-employed and most run the same type of business, making or buying and selling online~ normally through an online marketplace such as Etsy or eBay. Take some time to consider all the options before you start or even if you're already established. Try combining some of the options for multiple sources of income, to tailor make a business that is perfect not only for your customers but for you too.
Here is a breakdown of just some of the possibilities with pros and cons of each...
Making and Selling tangible goods online.
Known as being a Designer/Maker this is one of the first and only options most people think of. It suits many people, especially those with chronic illnesses, as many have developed creative skills to compensate for physical ones as well as the fact that creativity is a wonderful way to relax and express yourself. There are a number of online marketplaces available that are easy to set up and maintain. The cost to set-up depends on the art/craft but setting up a web shop or selling through a handmade marketplace tends to be relatively cheap.
- Pros~ interesting, makes a business out of a hobby, no travelling, a large online support system ready to help you, easy to talk about something you have knowledge on already.
- Cons~ many Designer/Maker's make very little profit after materials, time & fees, it's easy to get lost in the crowd with so many competitors (it being a popular choice for making a living/extra income).
Have you ever tried to sell on eBay?
Have you ever tried to sell on eBay?
Buying and selling online
Buy stock from a wholesaler, either set up your own website or sell your stock through sites such as eBay. Again the cost depends on the cost of the stock but selling fees tend to be cheap.
- Pros~ less time consuming than making products, low overheads.
- Cons~ again it's easy to get lost in the crowd, especially with cheap imports flooding many markets, if you pick the wrong stock you can be stuck with it for a long time and end up losing money, unless you have an exclusive contract others can sell the same goods and so the pricing war begins...
Dropshipping and selling online
Set up a website, or list on online marketplaces but sell items which are sent direct from the supplier.
- Pros~ you hold no stock and items are only paid for by demand saving you money, space and some shipping costs, you save time as you don't have to do any of the packing and shipping, you don't have to guess what stock to get.
- Cons~ Dropshippers normally require a fee, cutting into profits, it's easy for others to do the same so you will have a lot of competition.
Stalls (& shops)
You can acquire any of the product types as listed above, rather than selling online you can sell on stalls at either markets or shows or setup a shop.
- Pros~ you get to meet your customers face-to-face which is easier to gauge responses and interest, you can talk up your products (I personally love selling face to face and find it easier than trying to show how passionate you are about the business through typing).
- Cons~ Higher overheads with stall fees, insurances, travelling and displays, it's exhausting...most markets/shows are open early and close late afternoon and you cannot pack up early at most of them, it's a full day~ if you do a show make sure you are as comfortable as possible~ chairs, suitable clothing, food/drink etc., you need at least some stock so need to invest and choose the right products.
If you are arty, creative or inventive you might want to consider 'renting' your work for others to use on their products. This is a good choice depending on how you react to pressure as Licensees often have big demands with tight deadlines.
- Pros~ you hold no stock, creating the products is done by the manufacturer saving you time and expense.
- Cons~ it can still take a lot of time finding and negotiating with Licensees, it can be tricky getting the contract right and someone who doesn't know what they're doing could lose out big time.
Do you have a particular skill others would pay for? Are you good at marketing, cleaning, social networking, designing, bookeeping, dog-walking etc. or some other skill most people wouldn't have or don't have time to do? Sell it!
- Pros~ low start up costs, people often pay a deposit in advance
- Cons~ depending on the skill this could entail a lot of travelling and you have to be prepared for difficult customers who wont pay up fully if they don't think your service is good enough.
Sell Digital Products & Information
Many people make massive amounts of money thanks to the digital age, selling their skills and information. Everyone knows at least one subject or has at least one skill that is better than the average Jane or Joe. From obvious subjects such as 'How to make money' and 'How to lose weight' to the wonderfully weird and obscure such as 'Spelunking for beginners' or 'How to make your hair grow faster' nobody can say they don't know any information that they could sell. There really is a market for everything! Also don't forget websites, web graphics, digital wallpapers/screen-savers, patterns, tutorials & paper-craft designs and so on are all digital and can be delivered to your clients through a simple email. Sites like this are also a wonderful way to not only make a few quid but also share your knowledge and opinions with others. If you're not a member already you can join HubPages here.
- Pros~ next to zero set up costs, you are not bound by location, no trips to the post-office, making it personal also makes it fun~ you can work in your underwear if you really want to!
- Cons~ this is an extremely popular type of business...if you want to get ahead it's worth learning as much as you can about marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Professional Blogger/Internet Marketer
Again a very popular choice and often combined with Information Selling/Selling Digital products. A professional blog can be in the style of a simple blog or it can be set up as an online magasine or eZine. The majority of pro-blogs don't charge for others to read their posts. So where does the money come from? Normally from paid adverts, Google Adwords, affiliates with other companies and in some cases charging subscriptions.
- Pros~ next to zero start-up costs, you can chat about what you're most passionate about and get paid for it, no travelling, you can make money from anyone anywhere even if they don't actually shell out for anything.
- Cons~ you've really got to know marketing well, again this is one of the most popular types of business due to the low start up costs~ thankfully there are MANY hubs on this subject, along with many other sites that share marketing info for free!
New Business Strategies
There are also a number of new types of 'businesses' where people are making a decent (and sometimes VERY decent) income by having many fingers in many pies. Hubpages is a prime example.
People are coming round to the idea of more unconventional forms of income and are taking into consideration the cost to them in terms of money AND time. As mentioned in Get More Done By Working Less I make this point too...that it doesn't make sense to work all hours, make yourself stressed and ill in the hope of one day being able to retire.
Another site these people are enjoying is Fiverr.com where you say what you will do for $5. Many of the most successful people on there have found ways to sell valuable products or services that don't take them much time or effort but are invaluable to their buyers, such as 'I will get you 250+ likes on Facebook for $5' and so on. I'm fascinated by the multiple streams of income theory and in which ways people approach this way of working. If you do this let me know how below...
Some helpful hubs on SEO and marketing
- Write SEO Content
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tips. Learn how to write SEO Content. Get found on Google and increase your website traffic.
- Best Top 10 Niche Markets To Start An Internet Busin...
Top 10 niche markets to create yourself an online business with, see which of these ten niche ideas you really can start an internet business with.
- How to Find the Most Popular Products so You can Sel...
When you know that the most popular products are then you can sell stuff online to a bunch of hungry customers!
There are other types of business opportunities out there but I covered the most popular and accessible here. Whichever method(s) you choose make sure you...
- Either learn about (intimately) or pay someone really good at marketing it can make or break your business
- Know who your Target Market is~ you have GOT to know who you are talking to
- Research your market, supplies, information very carefully
If you are just starting or already established I'd love to know what type of business you've been drawn to. Have you combined more than one? Please let me know by leaving your comments below!