Shoestring Budget

Maybe you have always dreamed of starting your own business, or maybe it is an idea born out of necessity brought on by the loss of a job or your spouse’s income. Whatever the reason, there are ways to start your own business without needing a huge amount of capital. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you get started:
• What are my strongest talents and skills?
• What kind of market is there for those talents and skills?
• How much can I spend on my business?
• How much income do I have to make from my business?
• Do you see a market for your products, talents or skills?

Creative Endeavors

Once you have those answers, you are ready to start seriously brain-storming. Think outside the box. You don’t have to start with your own website to sell your custom, hand-made quilts. A FB business page is completely free and allows you to showcase your work. Start with friends and family and ask them to spread the word about your new business.

Freelancing

Freelancing

• Consider freelancing. If you want to sell your skill or service, research reputable websites designed for clients and freelancers to find each other. The best thing about this is there is virtually no startup cost. The websites make their money by taking a percentage of what you make on each job. Of course, most of them offer premium services that do have a small monthly fee, but it is not necessary to get started. Do your research and find out which websites are the most reputable. Even then, be aware that there are scammers and know what things to look out for to keep you safe. Fiverr and Upwork are two of the most trusted websites for doing freelance work.
• Use your network to your advantage. Offer your services on a freelance basis directly to companies that need your specialized skills. LinkedIn can be an invaluable tool in reaching out anyone you know in the industry you are considering freelancing for. Let them know you are available, and be prepared with a portfolio of your work. Know what the industry standard rates are and price yourself carefully. Keep in mind that you will have added expenses in being a freelancer. This means your goal should not be the hourly rate you were making at your last job. You now have to pay self-employment taxes, insurance and other expenses that did not come with your last job.
• The freelance economy is booming. More and more people are discovering that it is a great way to make money, and companies are discovering the benefits of using freelancers. According to Forbes, 56.7 million Americans are doing some form of freelance work. Some are predicting that the labor force will soon be made up of close to 50% freelancers.

B2B (Business to Business)

There are many opportunities in this growing market place. The concept is simple. You start your own business providing a service or product to other businesses. Marketing and networking, then building a stellar reputation are the keys to success in this arena. Some fast growing B2B markets are:
• Web design and development
• Security Specialist
• Transcription service
• Automation design
Studies show that over 80% of B2B business is conducted over the internet, so establishing your presence there is crucial to your success.

B2B (Business to Business)

Business

• Pet Sitting and dog walking
• Uber
• Cleaning service
• Lawn service
• Flea market vending
• Errand service
• Scrap metal recycling
• Consulting
Whatever small business you decide to start, take advantage of as many free resources as possible. This will help keep your start-up and overhead low and many offer truly valuable tools to help you establish your business.

• Find your states’ Small Business Development Center. Most offer free classes over developing a business plan, how to raise capital and other valuable information you will need.
• Business USA has on online start a business wizard that will ask a series of questions and based on your answers, prepares an action plan with steps to take and local resources.
SCORE is a non-profit supported by the SBA (Small Business Association) that can connect you with volunteer mentors and helps you expand your knowledge through online webinars and local workshops. SCORE also has other tools, templates and can even offer confidential business counseling.