I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. From a young age, I began reading every book I could get my hands on about wealth, personal finance, and entrepreneurship. Most of these books were heavy on concepts, but light on specifics. With this in mind, I went to seminars and started mingling with people who were already doing it to find out how they started. Here are five suggestions from what I’ve learned.
1) Start a bulk-candy vending business
Pros: extremely low maintenance
Cons: difficult to secure locations, requires some startup funds
Everyone has seen a gumball or candy machine in the lobby of a restaurant. Have you ever wondered who owns those machines? Most bulk candy businesses are owned by small, independent operators who have negotiated their way into another’s place of business. The vending operator either gives the owner a percentage of the revenue or promises to give a percentage to charity.
A quarter vending machine that offers three different types of candy can be bought for about $200 and the candy to fill it costs around $50. In a good location the machine can easily bring in around $25 per month. That means that you can pay off the entire asset in about six months or roll your profit into a second machine. After another six months, you can buy two more machines.
This may not seem like big money, but it is planting the seed for big money in the future. If you don’t have the money or credit for real estate, this is one way to turn a couple hundred dollars into a couple thousand.
The hard part is finding locations. You will have to learn some sales skills and utilize the power of persistence as you knock on doors. You might approach 20 different businesses before you get your first location. However, once you get a few locations, finding more will get easier.
2) Help Local Businesses Market Online
Pros: in extreme demand
Cons: requires acquiring a skillset, knocking on some doors
If you know anything about the internet, you probably know more than 50% of the small businesses in your community. Just think of the last time you Googled a dry cleaner or a doggie daycare… How bad was the web presence of the results?
To take it one step further: If you can do something special like create internet video for local clients, you can demand even more money for your services.
To learn more, check out Local Video Guru, a project I recently worked on with Local Internet Marketing Superstar Jack Mize.
Pros: low initial startup funds needed, huge potential
Cons: must overcome negative stigmas, many scams out there
Network marketing is an industry that allows individual entrepreneurs to team up with a company to market their products or services. The idea behind network marketing is for the company to eliminate the costs of marketing, advertising, sales, and distribution, allowing the consumer to take on these responsibilities if they choose.
Many highly respected companies such as AT&T, Direct TV, Gap, Amazon.com, Google, Apple Computer, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Travelocity, and tons more have started to borrow from the concepts of network marketing. These companies have realized that the impact of their multi-million dollar advertising budget pales in comparison to the power of word-of-mouth advertising. When I noticed this trend towards the network marketing method, I dropped my “no way” attitude and decided to investigate the traditional network marketing model.
Most people have very negative feelings about network marketing because there have been a lot of bad apples in the industry, especially early on. What these people don’t realize is how far the industry has evolved. A few of these companies have learned from past mistakes and rid themselves of many of the negative aspects of old-paradigm network marketing. If you can find the right network marketing company today, it is possible to build extra income without a lot of money and still keep your friends.
Have you ever recommended a great restaurant or movie to someone? Have you ever told someone where you found a really great buy? Did the restaurant, theatre, or store ever pay you for your referral? That is precisely what the new generation of network marketing companies is doing.
The good apples offer a wide variety of great products or services at a great price, meaning that you don’t have to refer people to make it worthwhile. Selling something that is expensive and unnecessary is hard, but recommending a product or service that is better and less expensive is easy.
The way to minimize your costs with network marketing is to find a company that has products that are already on your shopping list. Then, replace the products you are already buying and you have just started a business for nothing. You might even find a way to save money.
The new generation of companies handles all the inventory, paperwork, and sales for you; all you have to do is refer people and the company does the rest. It is truly amazing how simple the process really is. What’s that you say? You don’t want to bug all of your friends and family? Not a problem, smart networkers use the internet, or other forms of creative advertising to bring prospects to them.
The big money in network marketing is made when a referral decides to make a business out of it. Most companies pay referral fees not only on your referrals, but on secondary referrals and beyond. Your efforts will be multiplied by the efforts of those you refer. Your business will soon be leveraged into a money making machine when some of their referrals decide to do it as a business, and so on.
4) Create Interesting Internet Content
Pros: extremely low cost, extremely low maintenance.
Cons: some computer skills required, must have interesting content
The internet is entering an exciting new phase where otherwise average people are being rewarded for creating and sharing interesting content. There have been a group of internet pioneers such as Google, Revver.com, istockphoto.com, Amazon.com, and others, who have decided to share their revenue with content creators. This means that if you can come up with an interesting blog, movie clip, photo collection, flash design, podcast, or other form of easily distributable electronic content, you might be able to make extra income from it.
People who spend the time to come up with a clever video that lends itself to a lot of peer-to-peer sharing make a lot more money. Take this next video for example. At the time of this posting, it had been watched over 3.5 million times.
Amateur film-makers aren’t the only ones benefiting from the internet revolution. iStockPhoto.com allows photographers to sell use of their photographs on their site. Just upload your photos and sit back and collect a check.
If you can generate traffic to your blog, you can make money with advertising or affiliate programs. This site is an example, but the king of monetizing blogs is Steve Pavlina. He has posted that his blog generates over $1000 per day. He is successful because he has great content and is unselfish. He will tell you on his site exactly how he did it and how you can also.
Be sure to check out my Blog Income Reports to see how much I’m making on Genius Types.
Read How to Blog :: The Manual for more details.
I love the fact that average people can be rewarded for good ideas and creative content in the internet. Creative people have a new chance to pursue the Amercan Dream.
5) Set up an Automated eBay Business
Pros: relatively easy, system already in place
Cons: time spent acquiring & shipping, must find unique product sourcing
eBay is to product markets what the Nasdaq is to the stock market! If you can find a reliable, wholesale source for a product, there are over 50 million people on eBay waiting to buy it from you at retail.
It is easy to fall into the trap of turning an eBay business into a full time job, so to keep it as low-maintenance as possible you need to automate. Find a product that you can get over and over from a reliable source at wholesale. Then automate your eBay auctions with one of the hundreds of auction software programs available to you on the internet.
The software will start new auctions when the old ones end and basically do everything for you except ship the products. Eventually, one could even hire out the shipping to his kids for allowance money.
The key to a profitable eBay business is a good product source. Even though eBay is known for rock-bottom prices, it still works on market principles. For example, you could shop eBay’s “Wholesale Lots” section to find products in bulk at a discount. Then, you would turn around and sell them one by one for a profit.
I have used all five of these techniques to produce extra income. In doing so, I have been able to quit my job and work from home. You can read my income reports for a complete breakdown. I hope that my experience has provided you with some insight on how to do the same.
(Featured photo by Jeff Belmonte)