Business Ideas

Work from Anywhere or Nowhere: Small Business Ideas for 2018


The adage ‘you have to spend money to make money’ is less accurate than it used to be. Modern entrepreneurs are eschewing the prohibitively high start-up costs of their brick-and-mortar predecessors in favor of technology-driven innovation.  


Social media, apps, and mobile payment platforms make it increasingly easy (and cheap) for the layperson to offer products and services to a large and diverse marketplace.  


Here are some ways that millennial business people are supplementing, and in some cases replacing their nine-to-five income.


Work from Home

Avoiding the hassles, expenses, and liability of physical real estate can save you thousands of dollars and months of delay.  This is also a way to side-step constant stressors like property tax, workers comp, and liability insurance.

A) 3D Printing.  

In the past decade, the capability to generate computer-forged physical products from digital models has moved from science fiction to proto-type laboratories to private homes.  While the initial cost of this technology is high, the cost of supplies is relatively low, and the innovative possibilities are limited only by imagination.

Companies like Natural Machines (custom food), Banneya London (jewelry), and Makies (made-to-order dolls) are generating a buzz internationally.  


B) Custom Phone Cases.  

If you want everything you need to launch your home enterprise, you can buy comprehensive kits to launch your custom phone case start-up business. Case Escape offers packages that allow entrepreneurs to generate custom cell phone cases in their home.  Case Escape’s Start-Up Kit features the 3D Printer, heat-press, tools, blank cases, custom designs, and full product training.  Warranty and customer support add to the advantages of using this type of tailored resource to generate your products.


C) Handmade Craft Merchant.  

Consumers are increasingly interested in purchasing unique items.  Websites like Artfire and Etsy make it easy for artisans to peddle their wares online.  If you have a passion for visual art or functional design, consider using a room of your home as a studio.


D) Technology Repair / Technical Support.

Personal technology is ubiquitous, but in-depth knowledge of the hardware and software is not.  People’s dependence on these devices is very high, making debugging a priority. In addition, most small businesses do not have the budget for a full-time IT employee.  If you have the knowledge to provide this service, you can charge a premium for your time.


Work On-the-Go

Certain businesses may not function well out of your home, but if you have the capability and inclination to travel, you can make money doing what others don’t have the expertise or time to do for themselves.


A) Event Planner/Caterer/Disk Jockey.  

Consumers spend a LOT of money on having a good time, and wherever there are many people gathered, there are a lot of bank accounts to contribute to the fund.  Event planners offer the expertise to coordinate expensive and once-in-a-lifetime soirees. Caterers and disk jockeys both command impressive hourly rates once they have built up solid references.


B) Personal Trainer.

If you have a physique that others admire and the knowledge, versatility, and patience to coach others, consider this occupation which has almost no start-up costs.


C) Tutor.

Likewise, if you have either general or specific academic training, consider being a teacher for hire.  Students may not have much expendable income, but concerned parents do.


D) Handyman/Cleaning Service.

While this sort of personal work has been going on for quite some time in small circles, sites like Angie’s List make it possible for properly trained and adventurous technicians to efficiently multiply their output and profits.



Work Online

It’s no secret that an increasing percent of commerce (and consciousness) exists in a digital space.  With this spike in online presence comes a multitude of opportunities. Keep in mind that knowledge of and comfortability with the internet has a heavy generational correlation.  

While younger people are growing up immersed in personal tech, there is still a large demographic that finds technology foreign and frustrating.  If you have an affinity for one of these niche disciplines, you may find that your skills merit considerable compensation.


A) SEO Consultant.  

Search Engine Optimization is the science of tailoring a company’s online presence to maximize results in search engine queries.  In an age when most people ‘Google’ rather than remember, merchants will pay a premium to have their name at the top of the list. If you know how to get ‘Aunt B’s Bakery’ to top-out Google searches when users type in ‘fast, family breakfast’, your skills may fetch you a handsome compensation.


B) Social Media Consultant.  

While it may seem strange that companies would pay to have someone manage their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, many do.  And they pay a LOT. Social Media is a huge driver of revenue, so getting it right is worth the money.


C) Web Design.  

As with Social Media, websites are a dominant influence on profitability.  Design and functionality are huge components governing the success or failure of a web page.  If you know HTML and have a trained eye for nuance, business owners will compensate you to make them shine online.


D) Mobile App Design.  

The number of mobile applications for smartphones and devices increases exponentially each year, as does the consumer’s reliance on them for everything from mobile banking to personal music.  For this convenience, people are willing to pay. If you have ideas about how to make a task more user-friendly or automatic, consider designing apps. If you don’t know how to code it yourself, there are companies that will provide the expertise if you provide the innovation.


Fortune may favor the brave, but these days it also favors the versatile.  Be dynamic and flexible in your approach to running your own business. Don’t be afraid to try out several concepts in succession or simultaneously and see which turns a profit.  Technology-supported, low-cost startups may be your key to being your own boss.


About the Author:


Marsha Kelly sold her first business for more than a million dollars. She has shared hard-won experiences as a successful serial entrepreneur on her Best4Businesses blog. Marsha also regularly posts business tips, ideas, and suggestions as well as product reviews for business readers. As a serial entrepreneur who has done “time” in corporate America, Marsha has learned what products and services really work well in business today. You can learn from her experiences from shopping the internet for tools, supplies, and information to build your businesses and improve lives financially.


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