While the economy is showing signs of improvement, many families are still struggling. They are seeing their incomes and their benefits disappear with no relief in sight. Even families that are not currently struggling are concerned and looking for ways to insure their financial stability as the difficult days draw out.
One way to offset income losses or create an emergency nest egg is through a home business. Cheaper and more flexible than a second job, a home business can be built from the kitchen table without taking time away from a traditional job. And with careful planning, a home business can be started with very little monetary investment. Below are tips to starting a home business with little or no money:
1) Choose a business that doesn’t require a huge investment. Offering services (tutoring, consulting, baby sitting, etc), selling at online auctions, and creating information products are great low-cost home business ideas. These options require time and use of tools and resources you probably already have such as a computer. Even in the auction option, most people start by selling items that are cluttering the home. The result is that you can start today for nearly nothing.
2) Choose a business that you know. The fastest way to make money is to tap into your current knowledge base. There is a learning curve to starting and running a business. Don’t slow yourself down by choosing a business idea that may be fun, but will take too much time for you to learn.
3) Use what you’ve got to build and run your business. Don’t buy a new computer and expensive software. Even if your current computer and software don’t quite meet your needs, use them until you’re making money and can use some of your business profits to invest in the equipment you need. The same goes for any other tools or resources you may need to get your business going; use what you have on hand if possible before investing in something new.
4) Borrow or barter for products and services. There are ways to get the resources you need to build and run your business for nothing or a simple exchange. Barter in particular is growing in the small business sector as people trade their skills or products to get the services they need.
5) Use free resources unless it compromises your professional appearance. There are a host of free tools and services you can get online such as voicemail, fax services, blogs, conference calls, PDF file makers, audio editors and more. However don’t use free resources if it will sacrifice the quality of your products or services or undermine your credibility. For example don’t use a free web host for your business website as it tends to look unprofessional.
6) Choose low-cost marketing tactics such as business cards, blogs, email, social networking online and off, press releases and articles. Several of these options are free and often the results can be better than buying traditional advertising.
7) Don’t spend everything you make. The idea of a part-time home business in a tough economy is to create financial stability. Use only what you need to fill the income gap and save as much of the rest as you can. If you need to invest in products or services to keep your business running, research to find the best lowest cost options.
As the economy continues to struggle to improve, many money gurus are advocating cutting back on spending and learning to live within your means. No doubt that is an important tip. But too many families are struggling to stay afloat even when cutting expenses. The answer is a part-time home based business that can create the extra income needed to pay the bills and store away for an emergency.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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