By Larry Kim
Want to become a solopreneur?
There are so many options for hustlers and dreamers that want to forge their own unicorn path.
Here, I rounded up 10 ways to start your own business right now — with no backing or VC capital required.
1. Chatbot Marketing Consultant
Facebook Messenger marketing and chatbots are the future of marketing communications.
Messenger offers unprecedented open rates (80% on average!).
Businesses want in on the action, but there’s a learning curve — and that’s where chatbot marketing consultants come in.
If you can develop an expertise in Facebook Messenger marketing and chatbot building, there’s no limit to what you can do for businesses.
The first step is taking a deep dive into Facebook Messenger and setting up chatbots.
With a tool like MobileMonkey, you can get started for free — build bots, watch tutorials, read guides and hone your craft.
Knowing how to harness the power of a chatbot like MobileMonkey is an invaluable skill for a digital marketer looking to break out into a specific and lucrative niche.
2. Affiliate Marketer
Whether you’re a business, content creator, or influencer, affiliate marketing is a valid channel.
Once you have a significant audience, you should be able to push calls-to-action that may get some conversions.
Affiliate marketing lets you partner with a company in pushing their products and services through your content.
You can promote their business with promo codes or affiliate links that your audience can then use to buy from them.
Whenever those codes or links are used, you get a percentage of that sale in exchange for that conversion.
The more people you’re able to promote that business affiliate to, the more customers they get and the more you earn as well.
Affiliate marketing is a great addition to any online effort with a significant audience or community.
3. eBay Seller
E-commerce and online retail have never been better, with tons of options available for anyone looking to start.
eBay is the usual go-to for a good reason, as it doesn’t have a lot of speed bumps for new users.
You can become an eBay seller with little to no startup cash by selling stuff you find in your closet or attic that you no longer need.
You’d be surprised just how much money you can make by merely flipping old stuff you could’ve just left in your house for decades.
After all, one person’s trash may be another person’s treasure, and that’s certainly true in e-commerce.
While you can technically do the same with an old-fashioned yard sale, you can reach more people online.
If you’re selling new stocks instead of old things, you can do it just as easily on eBay.
You put in your product listings on your account and not have to worry about a physical storefront.
4. Social Media Marketing Consultant
If you’re a social media marketing savant, you can make a living advising companies on how to use social media as a whole to market their businesses.
You need to be knowledgeable in all the major social networks and how companies can thrive in each, from both a paid and organic standpoint.
Develop a portfolio of impressive results, market yourself and commit to constant education in this ever-changing space.
5. App Developer
If you’re a programmer with proficiency in mobile app development, you can make your own apps.
This is especially lucrative if you happen to come up with an app that innovates or does something new.
If not, it can still be profitable if the app does something better than existing apps.
App development does depend on being able to come up with a good app that people will want to pay for.
Mobile app marketplaces like the Apple App Store and Google Play Store make it easy for developers to sell their apps.
6. Airbnb Host
If you have extra space in your home, then you may want to use that to provide accommodations for travelers.
Renting out your space can add a significant boost to your monthly income.
All you have to do is keep the space clean and organized, and boost your Airbnb profile with great pictures, a thorough description, and stellar reviews.
If you’re worried about risk, rest assured — Airbnb insures homes up to one million dollars for personal injury or property damage.
7. T-Shirt Designer
Starting an online t-shirt business has a fairly easy point of entry as t-shirts are cheap to source.
They also have universal appeal and are simple to customize, especially if you happen to have good ideas for designs.
It’s best to choose a particular niche you can sell your t-shirt designs to and come up with your designs well in advance.
You can then source your t-shirts, making sure to have different sizes and colors your customers will want.
Selling t-shirts online is a fairly competitive field, so be sure you have a market you can sell to before going into it.
8. Online Business or Creative Tutor
If you have expertise in a technical or creative field, then you can do online tutorials as a business.
It can be either offering private tutoring to clients or putting up an online tutorial course for in-depth learning over the Internet.
You choose a niche where you have expertise in, then do research to understand how to relay that information.
Compile a syllabus of lessons for what you’re teaching to have a reasonable progression of learning.
Then you bring together the tools you’ll need to do the online teaching method of your choice.
If you’re doing private online tutoring, an online video conferencing software like Skype should suffice.
You may also use a cloud storage service like Dropbox to provide lesson materials at any time.
If you’re putting together an online video course, a video camera or webcam with a microphone for quality audio is necessary.
You may also use something like a video editor or a desktop recording software to add presentations and put it all together.
9. Stock Photographer
If you have a camera and adequate skill in photography, then you have the option of taking and selling stock photos.
There’s always a demand for high-quality stock photos for things like video production, web content, advertising, and so on.
This makes stock photography a good source of income for photographers, especially those who know how licensing works.
Sites like Shutterstock let photographers take a cut for stock photos downloaded by users who pay a monthly subscription fee.
The more an image is downloaded in such a service each month, the more you earn from your cut.
You also get to keep the rights for the stock photos you’ve taken, as long as you distribute them through proven means.
9. Online Recruiter
There will always be companies in need of skilled and talented workers under their employment.
As an online recruitment agent, you can help job seekers find employment in reputable companies for their niche.
You must first choose your niche, preferably in an industry you know and have experience in.
Then you draw up a business plan for your own online recruitment agency and register your business.
You then find clients who are willing to let you help them look for jobs, which you can do through various online channels.
The applicants must be pre-screened and checked for their credentials, qualifications, and required paperwork.
Most recruitment agencies charge a one-time fee based on the candidate’s first-year annual salary.
Once you get the hang of it, you should be able to establish yourself as a reputable online recruiter.