Here’s a list of 10 low-cost business ideas to get you on your way.
Equipment: computer, design software
For highly creative and visual introverts, freelance graphic design can be a great way to make a living. With digital businesses on the rise, demand is higher than ever.
Jacob Cass is a graphic designer who started design business Just Creative in 2012. Solving clients’ business problems through visual communication such as creating logos, websites, stationery and marketing materials are only some of the many projects he undertakes on a daily basis.
“Web design can be self-taught -- that’s how I learned,” Cass says. “You need to know software to do this, but most importantly you need to understand the principles of design as well as understand clients needs, not wants.”
It’s simple to get started. Cass registered his company with the government as a sole proprietorship, then began reaching out to clients. Both tasks that can be done from your computer. Other than acquiring certain software such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, startup costs were minimal, he says.
Equipment: computer, training courses
Detail-oriented and meticulous, introverts make excellent coders. The combination of patience and focus makes coding a great option for an introvert seeking self-employment. Because coding is such a niche skillset, there is high demand for freelance coders, and much of the work can be done from the comfort of your home.
It gets better. There is an abundance of free resources online such as Code Academy and Udemy where you can educate yourself. Also General Assembly offers one-shot classes and intensive six to 12 week training sessions online.
To the contrary, back-end development refers to the “server-side” -- basically everything you can’t see on a website. It operates the site with updates and changes made on the front-end. If it’s back-end developing you’re looking for, Java, Scala and Python are the primary languages. And don’t let those technical words scare you off.
“If you are a functional human being, you will be able to learn to code,” Mei says.
Online retail consigner
Equipment: digital camera, computer
Passion for fashion? Or just own way too many clothes you don’t need anymore? Rather than hoarding those unused belongings in your closet -- or trashing them -- sell them online. Online consignment offers introverts a great opportunity to make money through a completely virtual process. Today there are a number of online platforms -- such as The RealReal, Tradesy and ThredUp -- specific for selling your unwanted clothing, jewelry and accessories.
Linda Lightman, an eBay seller of 15 years, built an e-consignment empire, Linda’s Stuff, which currently brings in $25 million a year. She began her online career by simply selling her son’s old video games, eventually moving to items in her closet and later selling items for friends.
It only took passion and a can-do attitude for Lightman to start her business, now operated out of a 93,000-square-foot office space in Hatboro, Pennsylvania. “I was always so passionate about fashion and for me it was a no-brainer,” she tells Daily Mail.
Startup materials? You will need a computer and a camera to take photos of your clothing. The rest is easy. Do your research, pick a great user ID or name for your shop, using quality images and vivid descriptions of what you’re selling and providing online customer service. And once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to start selling for others too!
Equipment: smartphone with a good digital camera
Social media doesn’t necessarily mean “social.” Many businesses today have abandoned traditional marketing methods and taken to social media networks such as the ever-popular Instagram to promote their products and services. A majority of companies may not be well-versed in this new marketing technique, which is why outsourcing an Instagram consultant is often a great option.
Instagram consultant Emelina Spinelli helps firms grow a sustainable Instagram following and influence. She’s passionate about the photo app and providing resources for others to learn about this unique and extremely popular social channel, which has over 1 billion users worldwide.
Like Spinelli, if you have a love of Instagram, knowledge of basic marketing and simply, motivation, Instagram consulting can be a great path for you. You’ll be able to monetize these skills by charging a flat rate per project or by the hour. Market and promote your services online, blog on other related sites providing free tips (don’t give all the secrets away) and, ironically, using social media channels, build a following and reach out to businesses or individuals. All of which will come with little to no startup costs.
You don’t need to be a best-selling author to craft a compelling narrative. If you’ve got the drive, copywriting is a great option for many introverts. Megan Hill has been a freelance copywriter for 13 years. She’s written for a number of publications, from Upscale Living Magazine to Forbes Travel Guide.
Although freelance writing doesn’t require a formal education, it does require a certain level of motivation. Networking and marketing are key to get your name out there and pick up projects, which Hill was able to do mostly online by creating a website and social media accounts.
“[Being] driven, focused, organized and able to go with the flow,” are what it takes to become a good copywriter, Hill explains. For a writing career that exists almost entirely online, costs are minimal, she adds.
Have a specific interest but don’t know how to make money from it? Blog about it!
Many successful entrepreneurs have found success in blogging. As a marketing blogger and owner of Fluxe Digital Marketing, Joel Widmer says that writing, editing, copywriting and marketing are requirements for a successful blogger. It helps to have good content marketing skills, such as knowing how to create content that will engage readers and meet your client’s goal and knowing how much content to give away -- and Google analytic skills too -- if you want to be a marketing blogger like Widmer.
All you really need is a computer and good internet connection to start. Today, there are plenty of platforms (mostly free too) that will basically build your blog for you -- all you have to do is add information about who you are and what your blog is about and start writing.
To build a strong client list, Widmer recommends blogging for other people and companies for free. Once you’ve developed deep personal connections with these people and/or brands -- which introverts are naturally inclined to do -- you’ll grow your network and can begin charging as a contributing blogger for others’ sites.
As naturally deep thinkers with the tendency to connect things in their minds, introverts who have a good understanding of technology make great technical writers. Amy Winkler, a technical writer for more than 18 years, in 1999 helped launch Alva Consulting, Inc., a firm for technical and business communications. Winkler says that a day for her can consist of writing content for software user guides, online help, FAQ’s, job aids and instructional designs.
If you can write, interview subject matter experts, be organized and have flexibility, then you have the potential to be a great technical writer, Winkler says. There’s no specific academic route to develop skills as a technical writer except writing and the ability to pick up technology software quickly.
Winkler, who’s had much success as a technical writer, went to business school. Freelance technical writers are highly sought after in a variety of company, from Fortune 500 companies to smaller technology startups, most are willing to pay big bucks.
Equipment: high-quality digital camera
Landscape photography takes focus and observation, qualities many introverts naturally embody. Opportunities for a landscape photographer can be enormous, and there’s immense room for learning. There are a number of ways to generate income from being a photographer: shooting for websites or publications, selling prints or usage rights of your images or, if you’re skilled enough, offering classes to other aspiring photographers.
Today, the internet makes it easy as ever to market your services. Jason Benjamin has been a fashion and wedding photographer for six years and has run his own company, Wedding Headline, for four. He markets his services on social media, a great way for introverts to build a client list.
“Anyone can be a photographer, depending on your level of creativity. … I am completely self taught," Benjamin says. "I went to school for software engineering to write code. I taught myself everything I know about photography using YouTube.”
The steps to create his business were simple: coming up with a name and purchasing an LLC. Although equipment can be expensive, there are alternative ways to keep down costs -- renting equipment and studio space is a viable way to save money in the beginning.
Equipment: musical instrument, sheet music
Stick to something you know and love. You’ve spent years -- maybe decades -- of your life developing your skills as a musician. So why not make money while doing it?
That’s what musician-turned-music teacher Kaila McIntyre-Bader did. After getting her bachelor’s degree in music, this music lover took her fine-tuned talents to the classroom, where she taught private lessons as well as voice and flute classes at Red House Studios, a music school, concert venue and recording studio based out of Walnut Creek, California.
Teaching and creativity are the main components of being an excellent music teacher. As an introvert, using personal knowledge to help others and developing deep one-on-one relationships with students and peers is a major strength. By creating individualized curricula for each student and asking them about their goals, McIntyre-Bader helps students “achieve the level of musicianship they desire.”
As a musician, it’s likely you already have the instruments and gear you need to jumpstart your teaching career. Startup costs are limited, according to McIntyre-Bader. For the most part, all you would be paying for is gas driving to and from students’ homes, or you can simply teach out of your own home.
Business and life counselor
Equipment: life coach certification (not required)
Introverts are great at listening to and empathizing with people. Author of The Successful Introvert: How to Enhance Your Job Search and Advance Your Career Wendy Gelberg says introverts tend to have a calm demeanor, they think before they act and speak and they use analysis and thought to add an important dimension to any situation. Their ability to internalize events and closely listen to others make them great for a career in consulting.
Business and life coach Val Nelson began her self-employment journey in 2009 by coaching people to thrive in business as well improve their lives. As an introvert herself, her listening and empathy skills drove her decision to help others. Nelson chose to get life-coach training, which took her six months and cost her around $5,000 -- something she recommends -- although you are not required by law to get certification to call yourself a “life coach.”
“Good coaching training combined with strong business experience” is what it takes to excel as a successful life coach, explains Nelson, who adds that the “overhead for a coaching business can be fairly low.”
Another plus: most coaches work solely through the phone or online with their clients -- a setting that most introverts thrive in.
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