The Entrepreneur In You

Go into business for yourself! But try not to look this douchey.

Billionaire Sir Richard Branson of Virgin mega-empire renown had nothing going for him academically. But Branson still had a unique ability to connect with people, which led him to start his own student magazine.  After coming up with a solid plan and utilizing his unique skill set, he was able to launch a multinational corporation.

You may or may not become the next Richard Branson, but if you have a unique set of skills, and a bit of good old spunk, you may just be entrepreneur material.  Not an idea guy/gal? Here are some start-up ideas with initial investments of less than $2,000.

Remember that running you own business takes knowledge and a lot of hard work.  But you can’t put a price on being your own boss. So let’s get to work.

For the Fitness Freaks: Personal Trainer

Start up Costs: $1,800 for Exams, advertising, and equipment

Major Challenge: Building a Client List

Becoming a personal trainer is can be a fun and flexible career for those who already enjoy fitness.

The first step is getting certified through a reputable agency, like the National Academy for Sports Medicine or the American Council on Exercise. Make sure to do your research to figure out which one is right for you.  You’ll need some basic equipment, but when you’re just starting out no need to drop a ton of cash for advanced equipment. Basic equipment like jump ropes, push-up platforms, and medicine balls will do.

One obstacle you will encounter is the difficulty of building a client base. Once you get a few clients, you will likely rely on word of mouth to get more customers. However nobody is going to want to workout with someone that has no experience training. A solution could be to offer the first few clients a reduced rate.

For the foodies: Baker

Start up Costs: up to $2,000 for equipment, supplies, and advertising

Major Challenge: Keeping up with demand

For those who like to display their unique creativity in the kitchen, baking might just be for you. So long as you have a kitchen (with an oven), some supplies, and skill you have all you need to bake. There are a couple of different routes here. You can be a custom baker, if you have a high skill level, for private parties and events. Or you could do late night delivery of sweet treats to college students.

Advertising can be as simple as a craigslist ad or some flyers in your local coffee shop. Eventually you will have to set up a small business website when business picks up.

Speaking of business picking up, how is your kitchen going to keep up with increased demand? That’s one of the problems you will have to figure out as you establish yourself as a tier 1 baker.

Neat freaks need apply: Organization Consultant

Start-up Costs: $800 for advertising and supplies

Major Challenge: Solutions that fit your client’s needs

Sometimes feel you could have OCD?  Start using that skill to help others whose desks are drowning in paperwork. As an organizational consultant you will help people who can’t seem to organize the things in their lives, be it the office, at home, or in the car.

This gives you the freedom to charge by the hour or by the job. As you start to see patterns in people’s behavior you can simplify your tasks by coming up with a game plan to tackle each person.

That doesn’t mean you should help each person the same way. What works for one, may not work for another. Word will get around fast if people are following your advice and still drowning in chaos.

An eye for design: Personal/ Small Business Website Specialist

Start-up Costs:  $600 for advertising, supplies, reference material

Major Challenge: The patience to deal with clients

You’re creative and tech savvy? Consider making a living creating small business websites. You will need to familiarize yourself with different template based websites, such as wordpress. Learning some HTML is also going to be a necessity. Fortunately you can find a variety of media on the subject, books, online videos, or even at a nearby community college.

Once you master designing these sites, you can charge anywhere from $500-$1500 for a site. However, and this is really a warning, you must have sound people skills to be able to deal with the pressure and demands of the client. Remember that they are a small business owner and used to having a hands on approach to everything. If you can overcome that obstacle, you’ll find this business has high profit margins.

Philip Crean I'm an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran turned Brown University student. When I'm not in school you can usually find me at the gym, on my bike, or losing track of life and time in front of my beloved XBox. My career goal is to become a successful investment banker and open up a doggie daycare.

View all posts by Philip Crean

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