7 Practical Business Ideas that you can Start Anywhere
There has never been a period in history that was better to start a business than it is today. As discussed in the article ‘How to Become a Millionaire by Adapting 5 Powerful Principles‘, most wealthy people have several sources of income; ranging from things such as investments, side businesses, blog posts, books, consultation, etc. If one of your goals is to someday become a wealthy individual, then it is highly advisable you start building a diverse portfolio.
Most of the business ideas discussed below are fairly easy to set up and manage. Our focus is on simple ideas that you can start planning for today, and be ready to launch by the start of 2018. That buys enough time to save some money, research extensively, put together strategic business plans, build alliances, etc. If you dedicate the remainder of this year to such activities then your chances of success will be greatly enhanced. Also if you happen to come across anything that interests you, then I would recommend you take 5 minutes to learn about the most realistic sources of finance which you can leverage for startup capital.
7 Practical Business Ideas that you can Start Today
Alibaba is the world’s largest online commerce website. The number of transactions that they handle are larger than that of eBay and Amazon, combined. Alibaba helps connect exporters from all around the world with manufacturers in China who are selling a wide range of products at whole sale prices. They have almost everything imaginable; from zebra print t-shirts to sport shoes and all types of electronics – all at wholesale rates. For instance, you could find quality sports shoes selling for only $2, or headphones selling for $0.60 apiece (sounds unrealistic but it is true. Go see for yourself).
Importing and reselling things from Alibaba is one of the most practical business ideas to consider for 2018. The first thing you need to do is to research the most trending items in your market segment – whether clothes, shoes, jewellery or electronics. Once you have a list, you can then visit Alibaba and compare prices from different sellers. If you happen to have some cash at hand, then you can go ahead and purchase in bulk (in order to fully benefit from the wholesale prices). If you don’t have capital readily available, then you can start saving up between now and 2018. Business begins as soon as the products arrive from China, you just need to add your margins and resell the items through online platforms such as OLX and Craigslist.
- Drop shipping
Drop shipping is a retail method where the seller does not keep or own inventory of any of the products that he or she is selling. They usually post different products through online platforms like eBay, and whenever a customer makes an order, they then buy the product from a cheap supplier and then ship it directly to the customer’s address. The seller does not interact with the product at all; it goes from supplier directly to the buyer. For instance, a pair of shoes that costs $10 from an inexpensive source such as Alibaba can be posted on eBay for $20 – the average retail price. Only after an order has been placed is when the seller would then buy the shoes from Alibaba, and request for it to be sent directly to the buyer’s address. The seller makes the $10 difference. Platforms such as eBay are convenient for drop shipping because buyers are required to pay in advance.
The reason why drop shipping is one of the most ideal business ideas to consider for 2018 is because it costs almost nothing to set up. All that is required is to research a few trending items, open an online shop on eBay or a similar platform, and post the products as though you actually have them. You are neither keeping inventories nor shipping products yourself. All you need is a computer and internet connectivity, and you can be drop shipping from anywhere and to anyone in the world.
- Handmade crafts are golden in international markets
Many of us may know someone who does handmade crafts such as bags, slippers, wood carvings, glassware, etc. Just within my extended family I can think of 3. Strolling through the streets of cities like Nairobi often unveils abundance of highly creative handmade items being sold roadside or in Maasai markets. While the aspect of ‘selling roadside’ may reduce their perceived value, such items are usually golden in other parts of the world.
Online platforms like Etsy and ArtFire are designed to connect buyers and sellers of creative handmade products. Most of the people visiting such platforms care a great deal about such crafts; some may even be willing to spend quite substantially on them. The same roadside items which often cost less than $10 locally may be worth ten times as much in other countries where they are less common. Both Etsy and ArtFire are most commonly used in the US, however being online platforms, you can still set up and sell from anywhere else in the world. Whether you intend to sell your own crafts or team up with someone that makes them, such online platforms expose you to an international audience that could potentially make you large profits.
- Professional freelancing
A freelancer is someone that offers his or her expertise to clients, and charges hourly rates or fixed amounts as per the job requirements. Such clients may include businesses or individuals who seek to outsource some of their work to professionals. Freelancing leverages on one’s expertise, therefore it goes without saying that a requirement before considering this option is profound expertise on a particular field. Such may include web development, graphic design, writing, online marketing, accounting, business consultation, etc. The most common freelancing platforms are Freelancer, Upwork and Guru – both free to use, however charge a commission from sales. The most widely used platform that is specifically designed for the Kenyan market is FiveSok.
Many people do not think of freelancing as a viable business option, but there are so many full-time freelancers earning high incomes. One of the biggest perks of freelancing is that you are free to work as you please, whether part-time or fulltime, in pajamas or in a suite, at home or in an office. If you decide to take this route, please do not quite your job just yet. It is advisable to first feel the ground by working on a part-time basis. Once you establish all the ins and outs, then you can consider taking it up fulltime. You can get started by creating your profile on FiveSok, Upwork, Guru, or many other similar platforms.
- Drive for Uber
Driving for Uber also falls under the ‘freelancing’ umbrella because one has the freedom to work at his or her own schedule. Drivers that drive for more than 10 hours each day generally make incomes that are far above average (I cannot give figure examples as it varies from region to region). In countries like Kenya where labor is pretty cheap, one can employ a driver rather than do the driving themselves. Although this would reduce the profit margins, employing a driver represents a more realistic proposition for people who are not in a position to do the driving themselves. And besides, the net income after reducing the cost of a driver may still be sufficient to make Uber a reasonable business idea.
Driving for Uber as a part time or fulltime job has already proven to be a stable business idea worthy of being considered. The biggest cost will be acquiring the car, that is if you do not have one already. But the good thing is that this post is focusing on business ideas to start saving up for 2018. That gives you some time to figure out how you will finance the car – if you decide to take this route.
- Be a virtual assistant
Virtual Assistants are remote personal assistants who are usually located in other parts of the world. The entire job is fulfilled online, and may include things such as editing reports, writing emails, data entry, managing blogs, researching, etc. Offering virtual assistance to a client who is located in another part of the world can be very convenient because time difference becomes an ally. For instance, if the virtual assistant is located in Asia and the client is located in North America, due to the significant number of hours in time difference, day time in Asia will be night time in America. This means that while the client is asleep, the virtual assistant has an entire day to do other things such as go to a 9 – 5 job, fulfill other part time work, go to school, etc; and in the evening, during their free time, is when the American client would be awake. It is the perfect part-time job.
Virtual assistants usually work over a pre-determined number of hours each day depending on the client’s requirements. If the client is paying for 3 hours per day, then they will work no more than 3 hours. Such type of work can be found through freelancing platforms like Freelancer and Upwork. The pay may vary a great deal, but is generally based on the virtual assistant’s hourly rates and the nature of work required. Many freelancers often charge anywhere between $3 and $50 per hour.
AirBNB is a global platform that allows anyone to rent out extra rooms in their homes to other people who are visiting the area. Many of us often end up having spare rooms on various occasions such as when the kids go to school or a roommate travels out for a couple of weeks. Other people like to be creative and convert spaces such as unused garages/basements into rooms. Either way, AirBNB allows you to sell the spare rooms as hotel rooms.
The thought of letting strangers into your home may be scary at first, but AirBNB has actually not had very many incidents since the site launched in 2008. And to help settle your nerves, they offer $1,000,000 guarantee to protect from any kind of property damage that is caused by its guests. A spare room can do more than just collect dust; if you do not have one, then you can improvise. Another bonus is that you get exposure to new cultures and stories from renters coming from all around the world – that’s if you care for such; otherwise you have no obligation to listen to anecdotes. AirBNB is available in over 65,000 cities around the world including Nairobi, Mombasa, Sao Paolo, Kuala Lumpur, etc., and is one of the most ideal business ideas you can consider for 2018.
I hope that this post gave you some realistic business ideas that you can start, regardless of your location. One reason why more than 90% of new ventures usually fail within the first year is because most entrepreneurs don’t take enough time to build strong business foundations. They usually fail to do adequate market research, develop weak business plans, assemble unstrategic teams, etc. If you start laying down plans for 2018 today – several months in advance, then you instantly give yourself sufficient time to do a substantial research, save some money, prepare all the necessary licenses, find strategic partners, learn how to be a growth hacker, etc. By exactly 1st January 2018 you will be raring to go and there will be very little that can hold you back.