Have you always thought about running your own business? 2020 might be the year to do it. Becoming your own boss offers a diversity of options beyond the common office or store set-up with employees and products or services.
With the internet as a powerful enabling platform, you can set up a business virtually overnight. If you’re considering operating your own business, it’s well worth exploring a few different options before you commit your time and resources towards turning your idea into reality. Here are five ideas to get you thinking.
- Buy a franchise
You can buy into a franchise in just about any industry, including electrician services to fast food outlets. Instead of starting from scratch, with a franchise, you buy into a proven system and model. This could improve your likelihood of success and give you access to valuable coaching, training, and advice from the franchisor.
Franchising also gives you other benefits from accessing more buying power and leverage for loans, goods and services from suppliers, and terms and conditions for leases. The franchisor takes care of marketing and advertising, and you have the benefit of an established market presence and brand.
Keep in mind you’ll need to adhere to the franchise agreement, which covers things like ongoing fees and product and service quality. Additionally, remember to do your due diligence before committing. Have your accountant or financial advisor check over the franchisor’s financial documents to verify their proposed model is a proven, profitable one.
- Work as a consultant
Consultants provide advice to individuals and businesses, and freelance consulting is a business model that’s easy to establish. If you have expertise in a particular field, you could become a business consultant, sales consultant, or marketing consultant.
Other types of consultants include accounting consultants, legal consultants, recruitment consultants, technology consultants, public relations consultants, energy efficiency consultants, and much more.
Start by identifying your expertise, and honestly assess whether you have enough experience to succeed in the field. Also, consider whether there’s sufficient demand out there. Next, set goals by working out where you want to go with the consulting business in the short and long terms. You might need to get certified before you get started with things like leasing an office, setting your rates, and launching a website.
- Buy an online business
If you enjoy selling online, buying the right online business might be the best way to fulfill your dream of an entrepreneurial lifestyle. Online businesses span a range of industries: you could buy an e-commerce business selling physical merchandise, digital-only products, or software as a service.
Other online business concepts include dropshipping, affiliate-income-based businesses, or advertising-based arrangements. Dropshipping is a solid business model to follow in 2020. When it comes to dropshipping, Shopify is the best ecommerce platform. Interestingly, you can get inspiration from the top shopify dropshipping stores, which will motivate you and help you to take your online store to the next level. Dropshipping tools, such as Alidropship or SaleSource are a must-have if you want to take your online business to the next level. The advantage of online businesses is the digital environment allows you to concentrate on your strengths and interests. For example, with partnerships like Fulfillment by Amazon, you don’t even need to be involved in the storage and dispatch of orders; you can focus on the sourcing and marketing aspects.
- Become a blogger/vlogger
For those who love writing or creating video content, blogging or vlogging could turn out to be a profitable full-time business. The highest-earning blogs can rake in millions of dollars each year, but you’ll usually need to find a valuable niche and work hard to promote your site.
Your chosen niche should have a large audience who buys products or services, and ideally, it won’t have too much competition. Next, make sure you can create exceptional content, have the framework to promote it, and know-how to attract traffic through SEO, social media, email lists, and other means. Finally, consider how you’ll monetize your content, whether it’s advertising revenue, affiliate income, selling a product or service, online courses, speaking events, consulting and coaching, or some other revenue strategy.
Freelancing can give you the advantage of working wherever and whenever you like or picking and choosing only the jobs you want to do. You can do freelance work across a huge variety of areas. Whether you’re a translator, accountant, plumber, or programmer, you can become a freelancer and set your own hours and rates.
One of the keys to succeeding as a freelancer is to connect with a large pool of potential customers online. Sites like AirTasker, TaskRabbit, Upwork, and Freelancer let you set up an online profile and connect with people who might need your skills. Other sites to check out include Guru, PeoplePerHour, and Fiverr. Just make sure you set up the right legal structure for your business so you’re fully compliant with tax and other laws in your area.
Whether you’re aiming to run a microbusiness as a freelancer or buying a franchise, starting your own business comes with its own risks and rewards. You’ll likely be learning a lot along the way, so it’s a good idea to join local business networks and build mutually rewarding relationships with potential mentors and partners.
Learn from their experience, and always focus on solving your target customer’s pain points. Work within your means by overestimating rather than underestimating the potential costs of launching and operating your business. Make sure you have a safety net or emergency plan in case it takes longer than you expect to start generating a profit – or if things don’t work out as you planned.