Growth October 21, 2015 Last updated October 20th, 2015 2,006 Reads share

9 Businesses You Can Start with Less than £1000 [infographic]

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Starting a business can be a daunting prospect. Many people have full time jobs they are looking to escape but do not have the funding available to simply quit and start working full time on their business. But fear not, the age of the internet has now made it possible to become an entrepreneur without the previous financial risks.

The below ideas are all businesses you can start for under £1000 and whilst working on your full time job.

Infographic from: My Local Services.

#1. Create a Hosting Company

Skills needed: Basic technical knowledge of server integration as well as payment processing & autoresponder knowledge. This can be easily learnt when needed. Alternatively you can outsource the technical set-up aspect so this is all automated from payment processing to email delivery of new account information to clients.

Marketing tips:

  • Create an offer on web hosting talk to drum up initial business & also test any support / technical issues before beginning with your marketing.
  • Market to your local business using flyers/leaflet distribution. Offer cheap web design with a monthly or yearly hosting cost.
  • Rank for your local market “web hosting CITY”.

Biggest costs:

  • Dedicated server
  • Coding / Developer
  • Initial launch marketing

#2. Become a Designer

If you do not have any previous design skills, you can still become a designer! But you must specialise. If you have a creative talent but have no knowledge with web design, Photoshop or illustrator you must refine your skills into one area. For example become an infographics specialist or a logo designer and refine your skills to this specific area.

If on the other hand you already have basic design experience the method of promotions change slightly. You should still obviously target your marketing to your strength or the most profitable type of service.

Marketing tips:

  • Direct mail campaign: I recommend starting with a direct mail campaign, research and personalise every letter you send, explain what is wrong with the business’s logo / website / graphics and offer to change them for a fee. Remember building your portfolio & gaining trust is more important than making the big bucks early on, so ensure your quote is reasonable.
  • Run Facebook / Google Ads: Create a simple Facebook or AdWords advert. From as little as $5/day you can grow your following and pick up work at the same time. On your landing pages be 100% honest about how new you are, this will create trust with the prospect and actually improve your conversion rates.

Biggest costs:

  • Marketing – There are hundreds if not thousands of new “designers” every day, to get seen you will need to invest a lot of time or a substantial amount of money in smart marketing.
  • Software – Premium licenses of the most common design softwares can be expensive but offset very quickly.

#3. Start a Clothing Company

Have an eye for fashion trends? Starting a clothing company has never been such a low cost endeavour. With printing costs at an all-time low & DIY design softwares now available it’s never been easier to see your brand come to life. The keys to growing a clothing company quickly is to be highly specific, don’t simply create “branded t-shirts” instead find a niche you can target, preferably one you care about or have knowledge in. Another key is to create a brand with your products, all products should be branded, this utilises the see & search model (and of course word of mouth too.)

Marketing tips:

  • Social – Social media marketing is a term I hate with a passion, but this is an industry that is highly responsive on social platforms. Your aim should be to create multiple social platforms (Twitter & Instagram convert the best for this industry) and grow your following. To do this you will need to either advertise or be extremely active (multiple posts a day.) If you can get the mix between marketing and social, this is the only marketing method you need.
  • Sponsor – Sponsored tweets, sponsoring youtubers or if the budget is available sponsoring sports teams. This lets you reach a more targeted audience, and hence your advertising money will go further for you.

Biggest cost:

  • Materials & Printing – Obviously one of the biggest start up costs is going to be t-shirt printing. Depending on the market you are targeting (High end or affordable) will depend on the style and quality (and hence price) you develop. High end markets require the highest quality products and printing. Whereas lower-end markets look at price before quality.

#4. Specialist Blogger

Myth: You can start blogging and make money straight away.

Unless you are already an established presence you will not make money by simply “writing on a blog.” Your blog must provide an awesome amount of value or information to the consumer, if it doesn’t you will fall into the 2 Million blog posts that are written everyday…. What makes yours special? Probably nothing. Unless you can provide a huge amount of value to your target audience.

Marketing tips:

  • Have a very specific target market. Do not try and target an entire niche, industry or country. Have a very specific aim and become the authority in that niche. For example don’t write about “Sport”, don’t even write about “hockey” what you could write about is “Ice Hockey Goal tenders”. Be highly specific, being too broad will lead to your blog falling into the mass of content online.
  • Connect: Both with the readers on your blog; by responding to all comments, saying thanks to people that re-tweet / favourite your posts and even allowing guest posts in certain situations. Also connect with other experts in your industry, have you ever noticed how famous people seem to know other famous people? And experts in a niche know other experts? “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

Biggest cost:

  • Domain/hosting – Probably the lowest start up costs of any business ever. What I would recommend is starting on your own domain and private hosting. Don’t create a blog, this looks unprofessional, it’s $10 a year for a domain and $5 a month for hosting, don’t be tight!
  • Advertising – If you want to give your blog a kick-start you can always promote on the social platforms or Google, but ensure you have ensure content to keep people around as well as a strong call to action. For example an “enter your email to subscribe option.”

#5. Removals / Man and a Van

Although generally seen as a very un-inventive way to make some additional money, the removal business is thriving! The first step in this business is to purchase a van / truck, sure this might be a bit odd to some people, but there is good money to be made here. Market yourself to a specific industry or target demographic. Winter coming? Why not have a un-freeze your drive upsell? If you’re also confident with manual labour then the possibilities are endless.

Marketing tips:

  • Flyer distribution – Once you’ve got your transport & target market sorted you can go into flyer distribution. 1000 flyers printed and distributed to your local area / businesses will cost around £100.
  • Pay Per Click – One of the easiest and quickest ways to kickstart this type of business. CPC (Cost per clicks) for these type of local keywords “man and van Local area” are relatively low. If you are looking to target the local removal keywords straight away these prices increase drastically.

Biggest cost:

  • Transport and Maintence – The obvious costs in this business are also the most expensive ones. Although if you already have relevant transport you can utilise, this is a great way to get some additional cash, which you can then scale into a successful business.
  • Online Marketing – Pay per click is a relatively cheap way of marketing, but this is likely to be your next biggest cost. Ensure you write your ads very clearly and focus on generating a positive ROI per click. If you can do this, the PPC becomes an extremely effective marketing method.

#6. Homemade Products

Create your own products and sell them. This is probably the oldest business model ever but still incredibly effective and profitable. The 2 keys to get right in this business model are: distribution; how are you going to get your product to the consumer? If you are selling homemade jam then hand delivery is probably not your best option, whereas if you are selling high end custom made jewellery, you can add to the value with guaranteed delivery options. The second key is understanding if there is a target market, are you targeting local? National? Global? Is there really a market for what you are making and does it make sense for people to buy it or not?

Marketing tips:

  • Local relevant advertising – Taking jewellery as an example, create a flyer (or preferably a sample) and display this in cafes/art centres and other relevant local places your target market will be!
  • Freebies / Gifts – Offer freebies or give your product as gifts to friends and family. If they go on to wear / use your product this is instantly an extra marketing person for your business. This is the key to word of mouth, it also helps grow your brand. (Make sure you have a way for a potential customer to find you – websites are the easiest way.)

Biggest cost:

  • Materials – The bulk materials you need to create your product. If you are creating jewellery then you need to know how much it costs you (in both money and time) to make a unit. If it costs you $5 and 1 hour to create 1 piece and you sell it for $10, is that really a feasible business?
  • Distribution – How you deliver your products to their consumers is an overlooked cost to many mini start-ups. Ensure you know your distribution costs before even sending a single item.

#7. Become a Tutor

Why not turn a hobby or passion into a business and teach others to do it. Whether this is something people NEED – For example a maths tutor will teach someone how to pass their maths exam. Or if it’s a skill people simply want to learn: For example learning to play the guitar.

Marketing tips:

  • Pricing – Offer discounts for 6-10 lessons paid up front. This is great for the individual as they will be more committed to learning the skill, but it’s also great for you as you get the cash flow injected into your business and you have a guaranteed client!
  • SEO – Rank in Google! People are now searching in Google for local tutors and industries. If you appear top of the search engines for this, you will have a steady stream of highly targeted prospects!

Biggest cost:

  • Educate Yourself – You need to be with go-to person in your local area or industry. You might be good at something already, but do you know EVERYTHING there is to know? Probably not. Educate yourself and become the best! This technical can also be used alongside number 4 if you blog about this subject as well.

#8. Create an App

Probably one of the most difficult start-up idea on this list. Creating an app is extremely time consuming and sometimes expensive but the rewards are huge. Simple apps such as candy crush have close to $800,000 in earnings, which is nothing compared to the advertising and add-ons earnings the app makes. Other apps have reportedly made $100,000 a day in earnings in popular times.

Marketing tips:

  • Addictive – The best marketing tip I could give you when it comes to app development is to create something addictive. The alternative is to create something so useful that people use it on a daily or weekly basis. One of the most successful in this category is Uber.

Biggest cost:

  • Development – Depending on your technical knowledge, the development process will either be the most time consuming or expensive process of creating an app. Although you can utilise freelance designers to create simple apps for lower prices.
  • Marketing – Once created you will need a “launch” to kick start your app. For this process you may want to generate funding, highly successful apps usually have strong, well-funded marketing campaigns behind them.

#9. Pop-up Stalls

A business model that can be used with number 6 (creating your own product.) Pop up stalls usually in the form of food and drink are extremely sometimes unbelievably profitable when used correctly. For example utilising big sporting or media events, you can take advantage of thousands or people heading to a particular area. If you set up a small, well run stall you can make hundreds of sales an hour in some cases!

Marketing tips:

  • Events – Utilise pre-marketed events. This is almost “launch jacking” another event or festival. Simply “pop-up” in a popular area and sell your goods to the massive amount of people. There are some technicalities to this, so check your business laws before “popping up”
  • Efficient – Be able to deliver your goods or service quickly (usually under 1 minute) this is why food and drink are the most popular pop-up stalls. But other more creative ideas are: water proof equipment, a pop-up band or even a pop-up clothing store (just make sure you don’t breach any trademarks or copyrights.)

Biggest cost:

  • The stall – Depending on what it is your selling, will depend on the size and quality of stall you need. Ensure you go for quality over size with your stall, a smaller modern trailer is better than a large shack.
  • Transport – To utilise these large events you will likely have to travel to multiple places. Including overseas in some places, but do not fear travelling and the investment as some stalls can make over $10,000 in sales in a single day!

Final Note: Be Creative!

There is nothing more boring and generic than a business owner that starts a traditional business and has no flare. Even if they are very good at what they do, they will rarely be successful without some sort of flare or creativity about what they do.

Remember to be creative both with your business and more importantly with your marketing. Don’t be scared to rub shoulders with the big brands, you may be surprised at the publicity it generates for your business.

Thanks for reading.


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Tom Buckland

Tom Buckland

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