Guest post from Corey Harris, a small business owner who frequently writes about business trends and shares tips for money management and budgeting on MoneyCrashers.
The path to owning a small business is a varied one – there is no "right" way to succeed in the world of entrepreneurship. Some people find their small business passion through proper planning, serious research, and effective marketing, while for others, it simply happens by chance. No matter how you get involved, you shouldn't let cost concerns stand in your way. I was able to start my business with not much more than some Scotch tape, believe it or not. If you're on the fence about a new venture, read on to find out how I did it with no startup costs whatsoever.
How It Started Off
They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and in my case this was true. I started my venture while my wife was in college. The more classes she took, the more the expensive textbooks piled up in our closet, and I decided to do something about it. I knew the books were worth a lot, and so I investigated a variety of college textbook buy-back sites, as well as other online sales engines like Amazon and eBay. After some research, I chose to list the books on Amazon.com. I opened an account there and I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly they sold and how much money I got for them. Because of that success, I decided to list an old GPS device as well as an outdated digital camera. I sold them both in short order.
How I Expanded
Once I felt proficient selling items online, I learned about the discount goods website FatWallet through a friend of mine. To my surprise, I found out that there were plenty of items you can purchase on the cheap including laptops, small electronics, and computer software, and I began flipping them online to make a profit. I started off with a few modest purchases, but eventually ended up investing the majority of my emergency fund in the venture. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. In 2010, I generated close to $40,000 in sales, which resulted in more than $6,000 in profit. There were some tough times along the way, but it turned out to be one of the best risks I ever took.
Where Things Are Today
The landscape has changed in that good deals today are harder to come by. Since the deals aren't as readily available from the channels I was using, I've investigated other options for obtaining inventory. I now look at garage sales, pawn shops, and even things for sale on Craigslist to try to make a buck. It's been a challenge, but I've still opened up a significant revenue stream because of my efforts. This is a good lesson for all aspiring small business owners to understand – flexibility is key.
Entrepreneurship is an exciting way to tap into your passions, and if you approach it intelligently, you may be able to generate some solid side income that might turn into your very own business. If you're willing to take a few risks, it could evolve into a full-time endeavor - just manage your time well, educate yourself, and don't be afraid to make the leap when you feel confident.
What's stopping you from starting your own small business?
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