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Which Type Of Business Suits You Best?

Updated on June 30, 2014
It can be hard to know which way to turn for the best
It can be hard to know which way to turn for the 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...

The most popular place to sell handmade goods online has to be Etsy!
The most popular place to sell handmade goods online has to be Etsy! | Source

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?

See results

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.

Licensing

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.

Everyone has a skill they can sell
Everyone has a skill they can sell

Services

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...

Also...

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...

  1. Either learn about (intimately) or pay someone really good at marketing it can make or break your business
  2. Know who your Target Market is~ you have GOT to know who you are talking to
  3. 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!

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    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      Hello Karen, thanks for so much food for thought. I would never have thought of "selling" 250 on facebook for $5, but that sounds like a great marketing tip. Information like that starts the wheels turning. Great hub!

    • KarenCreftor profile image
      Author

      Karen Creftor 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      Thanks!

      Alicia, congratulations on fulfilling 3 dreams, that's fantastic :D Especially after being laid off.

      Angie, Thank you :D I'm glad you found it useful. SEO is not natural for me and I too am trying to learn it! If I find anything useful I'll let you know.

      ~Kaz x

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Well done, Karen ... this is a really useful and informative hub.

      I keep trying to get 'intimate' with SEO but it still baffles me ... lol.

    • aliciaharrell profile image

      Alicia Rose Harrell 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Well thought out, researched and written hub! Loved it! As for me, I chose a unique route becoming an author, freelance writer and owner of an online bookstore - fulfilled 3 self-employment dreams after being laid off November 2008. I am happy in the choices I made; perfect for me. :)

    • KarenCreftor profile image
      Author

      Karen Creftor 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      I DID!! :D Thanks wordscribe43

      SO happy *dances*~ thanks to all who voted you have no idea how much this means to me

      ~Kaz x

    • wordscribe43 profile image

      Elsie Nelson 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

      Woot! It looks like you won, congrats!

    • KarenCreftor profile image
      Author

      Karen Creftor 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      Thank you! I'm so happy to have this article nominated :D If I've read it right the voting doesn't close for a few hours yet...can't wait hehe

      Congratulations on your hubnugget too GoodLady!! Well deserved tbh. Thanks for the link too I'm off to check that out now.

      Thanks for the votes it's much appreciated and such encouragement to keep writing too

      ~Kaz x

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 5 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Congratulations! Happy for you.

      I got the HubNugget award the week before Karen Creftor. Feels great doesn't it?

      Here is the link to my new blog which is still in the experimental stage.

      All comments appreciated.

      http://goodlady-maremma-and.blogspot.com/view/flip...

      I'll be reading yours thanks.

    • wordscribe43 profile image

      Elsie Nelson 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

      Fantastic hub, very informative and complete. I voted for you in the Hubnuggets, so best of luck.

    • KarenCreftor profile image
      Author

      Karen Creftor 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      Thanks guys and gals, glad you like it :D

      GoodLady that's fantastic!!! Please send me your link and let me know how you get on it sounds really cool. I think it's always worth 'going for it'...let's face it what's the worst that could happen? Especially compared to what's the best that could happen :)

      ringlawncare glad you like the format of the article :) I spent many years trying to sell onlone with mixed success...I only recently came to the conclusion that selling online doesn't suit me and I don't suit it! As you know I've only been on HP a short time but I've had more success writing in my first month than I've had in years trying to sell online. We all have unique skills and I think it's important we appreciate and follow those to be our best :)

      ~Kaz x

    • ringlawncare profile image

      ringlawncare 5 years ago from Stillwater MN

      I appreciate the "Pros & Cons" breakdown you've listed. I think you make a great point that established or not, people re-think their niche when advertising or selling online services. Good Hub!

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 5 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Very well put together Hub which I'm happy to have read. I learned something here, that writing about food could be lucrative. Since I really enjoy writing about food, you have given me the confidence to 'go for it'.

      I'm trying to set a blog up right now.

      You can tell I'm a neewbie too huh?

    • Olyver Jutnoff profile image

      Olyver Jutnoff 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

      Very well said. You have given some deep insights into this!

    • KarenCreftor profile image
      Author

      Karen Creftor 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      Ahhh I see! Glad I answered it one way or another hehe

      Thanks hunny, hope you're having a great weekend.

      ~Kaz x

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 5 years ago

      Hi Karen ~ This hub sort of answers my question from your Silver Lining blog, or was it another one of yours when I inquired what people could do in these rough economic times to get out of the financial depression. Many good ideas here. Blessings, Debby