There isn’t one way to bootstrap your business—and this can be both a positive and a negative. Bootstrapping can offer entrepreneurs an opportunity to be flexible, creative, and fund their business on their own terms. It often results in cobbling together a variety of revenue streams in order to establish a solid financial platform to get a business going. However, this can also be a risky, unstable endeavor, which is a potential downside to consider.
Selling real flowers is where things can get tough. Many people already have a green thumb, and often they already supply flowers to friends and family. You will need to figure out which flowers will survive the shipping process, and decide how great of a distance you are willing to deliver across. Again, clear, attention-grabbing images will be key for successful selling.
Are you an accomplished instrumentalist or vocalist? Have you played in a band or a symphony? Even if you just play as a hobby, selling music lessons online can be a great way to help people explore their passions and make yourself some money on the side. Parents often seek out professionals to help their children learn how to play a specific instrument, and virtual music coaches are becoming more and more popular.
If you love to travel and find yourself frequently searching for airfare sales or browsing sites like Lonely Planet, why not monetize your knowledge as a private travel consultant? Start with friends and family who know they can already count on you for cheap flights and amazing activity recommendations. Ask for referrals and sign up on a site that connects you with travelers, such as Plansify. As a Plansify Travel Advisor, you can start connecting with a larger audience of people seeking your advice. Most registered advisors charge $12 to $30 to answer up to three traveler questions, and $50 to $75 for a one-hour Skype session.
Entrepreneurs experienced in the restaurant and bar industry who are looking to venture out on their own are best suited for this business endeavor. Mobile bartenders often work nights and weekends. This offers a more flexible work schedule, allowing you more time to focus on building your business during the week, and also spend time with family and friends.
Treat your business finances like your personal finances. You should be creating and sticking to a budget for both, allowing you to make your money work best for you. It's also important during this time to sock away as much extra money in savings as you can, to prepare for the transition from your full-time corporate job, to working for yourself. This is probably the biggest mistake I made, as I quit work in a huffy with only $3k in savings.
Let’s say that your friend has a product. They want to sell a million units on their website but there’s one little problem…They have ZERO idea how to market online. Being the digital marketing guru that you are, you offer to help drive traffic to your friend’s product on the condition that he pays you 2% of each sale that you influence. That is affiliate marketing.
If you can create a regular audience for your podcast on a specific topic, this is a great way to get sponsors and fund this side business idea. My podcast, The Side Hustle Project is actually my current side business idea, and because I had an existing audience here on my blog at the time I launched the show, I was able to broker a $5,000 sponsorship from Freshbooks to place ads on the first ten episodes before I even got started.
Just by owning a DSLR camera or having access to renting one that's affordable, you can charge friends and local professionals for new headshots, which can be a very effective side business. Many successful photographers started out by shooting on the side and building up their portfolio of work, thereby establishing a local reputation enabling a launch of their own photography business.
People love their pets, and many pet owners want to memorialize their non-human friends through artwork. Pet portraits businesses create custom portraits of pets for customers. Many businesses are run by a single artist, but businesses can also have several artists on staff. The mediums these artists create offer a different feel than photographs -- which pet owners can take themselves -- provide.
As for other tips, all I can say is “a penny saved is a penny earned”. If you are running out of ideas to make money, start saving. Some quick “low hanging fruit” tips to save some quick cash include – switch to MetroPCS or Boost for cellphone (I only pay $20/month), switch auto insurance to Insurance Panda ($25/month), and start using GasBuddy (saves me like $100/month at least. I drive a lot).