This post was originally posted on and written for Jen Monks – The Life Wise Lady.
I work with women every day who are DYING to get out of their 9 to 5 straight jacket. They frequently say they have always wanted to own their own business, but the time was never right… until now. The “now” is sometimes their asset base is now large enough to give a bit of cushion, but more often it’s a layoff and they feel the universe is giving them a nudge.
Unfortunately for those women, the investment parameter is usually tight. As in the most they could come up with (either out of pocket or with me helping them get a little SBA express loan) is under $200,000. No startup business is so magical that when you open your doors the business cash flows. Having $200K in available capital means that the total cost to open the business should be well under $150,000. And ideally under $100,000 because – surprise, surprise – there are bumps in the road and marketing launch costs to consider.
And at that investment level, you are priced out of cool “brick and mortar” businesses where you envision yourself in a cool store or restaurant being hostess and having fun every day. Plus, that’s a lie anyway. No business is fun every day. LOL
What I’m trying to say is at that price point your options are home based businesses with no inventory – so service businesses. You will be starting out in your home office (eventually wanting to move into an office space as the business grows) offering SOME sort of service to homeowners or business owners. That is what is commonly referred to as “B to B” or “B to C” (business to business or business to consumer). B to B businesses generally require you to get out there and do business development – code for networking your little butt off and /or the dreaded cold call or appointments. B to C means you are dealing with the “public” who can be picky and difficult, but those businesses can be advertising driven – i.e. you throw your money into marketing campaigns and your phone rings with potential customers.
So, without further ado – here are a few businesses that I think are cool and maybe even fun to operate.
1. Pop Up Consignment event businesses. This one gets the award for lowest investment with an “all in” of as little as $25K. You will put on large (and I do mean large – like you need to find temporary space with at least 10,000 Sq Ft ) consignment sales twice or three times a year. You won’t make enough income to replace your salary – but you can bring in some serious spending money with what is essentially 2 months of work a year. Contact me for additional information.
2. Crime clean up. Okay, admittedly this is not for everyone. As an owner of a crime clean up franchise you are offering meth lab cleanup, crime cleanup (mostly suicides) and hoarding cleanup services. Some people think that’s sexy ok? A tremendously profitable business and as a bonus you hire EMT’s and firemen to be your contract workers. Who wouldn’t want to work in close contact with a bunch of hunky guys (and gals) wanting to make extra money? It turns out they don’t work very many days per month (11 on average) and do a lot of side jobs. The skill sets for this are good public speakers, great networkers and EMPATHY. You are often dealing with families on the worst day of their lives. But you are providing a very needed and valuable service to your community. Lots more to share on this one.
3. Senior placement referral businesses. There are a few key players in the industry – if you are interested I can share some of the differentiators. What they all have in common is you’ll be offering a free service to families who have an elder or disabled member and they need more assistance and are no longer capable of staying in their homes. This business is cool in that you are offering a very valuable service and getting paid nice commissions by the network of assisted living places that you refer to. Like a realtor you’ll listen to the client’s needs and wants and budget, and then go into your database and generate a report with 2-3 local places that are good matches. Then you’ll “tour” the facilities – and the client picks one. Once they have signed up the facility pays you a hefty referral fee. One of my blogs was on a successful owner of one of these businesses and she was knocking it out of the park in short order. You can read about her here. Easy business to start if you are outgoing and are a good listener. This business entails lots of networking and calling on the referral sources. Who are, for the most part, happy to learn about your services.
4. Recruiting with a niche. This company is the largest and oldest hospitality recruiting firm. Talk to any restaurant or hotel chain of size chances are they know about and may already be using the services of your company. As an owner of your own recruiting office, you will start from home and hire one recruiter to start who comes with you to training. These businesses can scale easily by simply hiring more recruiters and opening an office. You are recruiting management positions or above and calling on all your local large restaurants, hotels and casinos and trying to get their placement business. You will also interview and maintain resumes of folks wanting to move up. Can be very profitable if you are willing to be on the phone. A lot. As in 8 hours a day. We’re talking headsets on and dialing for dollars. My very first placement as a franchise broker was to a single mom who had been working in catering – long hours for someone else and she just wanted the flexibility of creating her own hours, so she could see her daughter more for the last few remaining years she would be at home. Here’s Norma’s story.
5. Summer camps and after school enrichment programs in STEAM. Many different franchise models offer their own spin on after school enrichment programs (in the schools) that are on the cutting edge of S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art and math). Their popular programming is known to fill in a flash. This is a flexible business where you hire teachers who are looking for extra pay to lead your classes. Many owners do NOT lead a class in the classroom. To provide additional revenue streams you can also do birthday parties, summer camps, monthly “homeschool” events and even girl scouts events. This is a fun business where you can achieve a great return on your investment in short order. The investment is low and the profit margins are high with little to no inventory or overhead.
There are many more options that you can be “all in” under $100,000 to launch – if you’d like to explore the alternatives with me in a low pressure way (I don’t sell you a franchise – I help you identify the right fit for your interests and transferable skill sets – and then help you perform the due diligence), send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or set up a complimentary introduction call here.