The media is awash with successful entrepreneurs. They have bags of experience and lots of confidence as a result. This image is inspiring, but not especially accurate.
There’s no such thing as a ready-made entrepreneur – all the tools you need for a major business take time to acquire, and often involve failing along the way.
Everyone starts somewhere, even the likes of Lord Sugar. To get experience, you have to go out and grab it. So don’t worry if you have none to start off with.
We’ll show you what to do if you have little or no experience, but want to start a business. Here are five options that will set you on the right path…
Something you can do to earn extra money from home, with just an Internet connection and some perseverance, is online selling. Look around you and you’re bound to see something valuable.
Here’s the thing. It could be clothes. Books. DVDs or Blu-Rays. Whatever you pick, the process of selling items gets you into the habit of best business practice.
You deal with customers, select stock, and ensure you make a profit at the end of the day. It’s a great first step into the world of entrepreneurship.
2. Freelance writer
Writing is a skill and you don’t need a qualification to demonstrate that you know your way around a sentence. The proof is in the pudding.
Think about it. Putting your idea across in words can be taught, but it isn’t essential. It’s well worth seeing if you have an in-built talent for writing. If you do, you’re in luck.
Here’s some advice from Gary Lewis, a freelance copywriter who spoke to Informi about getting started:
First and most obvious step, is to goddamn write! Write anything at any time. I wrote unpaid reviews for some blog sites (free gig tickets, occasional meals, etc.). I asked everybody I knew with their own business if I could help (got some work on a travel brochure). I researched and made a list of all local marketing, advertising, and design, digital and creative agencies. Volunteered my services to local charities. I called, mailed, knocked on doors.
Gary Lewis, freelance copywriter
Publishing a blog is another way to showcase your writing flair, something you can start immediately with a minimum of fuss.
Employers are interested in decent writing as much as qualifications, though there’s nothing wrong with expanding your knowledge on specific areas in order to progress.
3. Affiliate Marketing
When you click on a link from a site like TripAdvisor or Money Supermarket or when you use a referral code from a discounter, the referring site (or publisher) gets a percentage fee for each sale made. This is called affiliate marketing and it’s a great way to monetise your website.
Here’s the best part. You can be fairly flexible on how you do this. It could be through a blog, or on social media. The idea is to highlight products and services and attract traffic. To get into that, you join an affiliate network and help them promote things.
If you have a talent for it, you start earning revenue. A bit like being a salesperson, but without having to trudge door to door, or report to an unforgiving boss.
2. Start a YouTube channel
You may have read about YouTubers starting multi-million dollar businesses by simply videoing themselves talking from their bedroom. Sounds crazy but it’s possible.
This is great. But it doesn’t come easy. Having said that, as with any creative skill, it’s something you can do without training, so why not give it a try?
By pitching yourself to the world as an Internet personality, you could be asked to promote products and receive funding to continue your work. Some make videos full time.
For this option, bear in mind the public scrutiny you’ll be under, as it’s not for everyone. Also, if a company does approach you, do your research and make sure they’re reputable!
1. Virtual assistant
If you consider yourself to have sharp organisation skills and excellent attention to detail then you might want to consider becoming a virtual assistant.
The demand is there. Think about all the busy folk who don’t have the time to carry out admin tasks and don’t have the money for a full-time assistant. You can fill that gap.
You’ll be working online from home completing admin tasks for your clients, for example, booking travel, managing a calendar and meetings, and copywriting.
We’ve given you some tips on how to make some money on the side, but don’t be afraid to mix and match. You could sell things online whilst trying to start your own YouTube channel for example.
Many entrepreneurs have more than one income stream; so the further you can spread yourself without burning out, the better…