In my last post I talked about ‘it’, that thing that I am going to finally take the plunge on to start satisfying the entrepreneurial urge I have. What I am going to pursue to stop being average, on the way to try and take control of my life.
I also discussed in the previous post about how several things have been considered and now taking action is the most important thing.
Below I go through some of the ideas I have had up until this point. If you are looking for a direction then consider some of the below and leave a comment to let me know what you are thinking. Similarly if you have some experience of one of the below options, or think I am over looking something, then let me know that too. Any help is appreciated.
Now obviously there are limitations on what I can get involved with, so firstly I want to look at the negatives, the problems I foresee, the things holding me back. This might sound like more excuses but at the end of the day these sort of things are reality. The important thing is for me to identify these things, take them into account, and then proceed anyway having accounted for them and making sure they don’t get in the way.
Money is tight. No getting away from that. Any potential ‘path’ has to involve little to no money to get started up.
I have a full time job and family commitments. Also some sleep is nice. I am not in a position to spend 40 plus hours a week on my ‘path’.
My full time job typically involves me being in an office, meaning I have to be tied to that location. This has an impact on anything that involves travel, particularly within office hours.
Limited. I am not being too negative on myself, but I genuinely don’t have a skill or an ability that would be obviously marketable or profitable.
OK, well that’s the negatives out of the way. On the other hand however I definitely have some things available to me and some aspects of my current situation that can be considered positives. Not everything is doom and gloom. So now lets look at some of the advantages I have and some of the things I have going for me.
Thanks to the fact I have a supportive partner there is the opportunity for me to spend time pursuing my something. Also, I do not have a job that requires me to ‘punch a clock’ so to speak. There is some flexibility in the hours I can work and also I don’t have a manager sat over me watching my every move. If needed I could make a phone call or 2, or spend a few minutes here and there throughout my work day.
As mentioned before my partner is very supportive. If I need to bounce ideas off someone, spend some time working on some idea or chuck a few quid at an idea she will most likely support me. Not going through it on your own can be very valuable.
Whilst I mentioned this in the negative list it goes here too because I am not completely devoid of skills. If nothing else I am reasonably computer literate, so there’s that.
I have a driving licence and access to a car.
I am of reasonably sound health so I can move around, lift things (if need be) and carry out a manual task or 2.
I have managed to cultivate a ‘growth’ mindset. The changes I have made recently mean that I am better placed to learn and pursue a goal; and hopefully better deal with knock backs.
Now the negatives and positives are out of the way, here are some ideas that I have had. These have been selected because they seem somewhat feasible based on the above, but also because I have some interest in the area. If, after reading, they sparked some kind of inspiration in you to look into them further, leave a comment below.
Teespring – teespring.com
So this is something I tried half-heartedly and briefly before. For anyone unaware teespring is a website that allows you to design a t-shirt (or other pieces of apparel or gifts) that can then be purchased by people visiting the site. Once you have selected the design you want to sell, teespring tell you the cost of it, and then you set the sale price. The difference between their cost and the sale price is your profit. The cost is established on a per item basis and there is no upfront payment from you or a need to hold stock.
This is definitely an option looking at the positives and negatives above. No upfront cost means a lack of money isn’t a problem. It can all be set up online and I can do it as and when I can fit it around work.
EBay / Gum Tree / Craigslist Arbitrage
Gary Vee (@garyvee) is a big proponent of this approach. Simply put, you search for items on Gum Tree, Craigslist, local papers or any other place trying to get them for a cheap as possible, or ideally, for free. Then those items are placed on eBay or any other marketplace and sold for profit. Again this doesn’t require much in the way of upfront cost. It does probably require transport (to go and pick stuff up) and somewhere to store it (depending on how big the items are), but other than that requirements are pretty minimal.
Marketing through Social Media
My knowledge here is limited to say the least, but building up social media accounts and followings to be able to charge for ‘shout outs’, use affiliate marketing, AdSense and generating traffic doesn’t require upfront cost. Again, it is also something that can be done flexibly to start with, alongside a normal 9-to-5.
These days there are a large number of e-commerce or online shop options available – Amazon, eBay shop, FaceBook Market Place, and Shopify are probably the biggest, but by no means the only options. Ultimately anything (that isn’t illegal or breaks other trading restrictions) can be sold through these channels. What I think is particularly interesting is having a product manufactured in numbers, and as part of a brand of my creating, sold through these channels. This requires some investment upfront, to buy stock to then be sold for profit, but the size of this investment is dependent on the cost of the product and covers a wide range from a few hundred pounds/dollars, all the way up to “how much have you got?”.
The idea of sourcing stock from China and India, having modifications or changes made to it from my design, and then having it transported half way around the world to be sold is certainly daunting, but compared to a couple of options on this list it feels more like a ‘proper’ entrepreneurial pursuit.
I have come across a variety of different sources online that I will be going into more detail about, if and when I pursue this option.
Woah! Where did this one come from? It’s certainly a departure from the other ideas here, if for no other reason that this one needs some money to get rolling. Also the risk; the other ideas here, mainly just involving a lot of time, mean there is no real financial risk. However, any sort of investment involves risk and the potential to lose money, which is definitely not the aim of the game here.
The main reason for including it is because I have a weird obsession with stock charts and graphs in general. I don’t know what it is but I find them weirdly therapeutic. I also have an interest in this area – economics, how the markets work and act, the different strategies that can be employed. There’s other negatives aside from the money too, the markets open and close when they do and there is nothing that can be done about that. How this would fit around work I am not 100% sure.
upwork – online freelancing
Not quite the same as the others, but might come into useful one day. Upwork is a site that puts freelancers in touch with those needing their services. The list of potential areas they offer is pretty huge too. I include this in case it is helpful for some of you guys, but for me it might one day replace my job, if the side hustle becomes the main hustle (fingers crossed eh).
So where does all of this leave me? Well in the short term I think I will be trying the Teespring and eBay arbitrage ideas out. More posts will follow so I can keep you guys updated with how it goes and maybe inspire you to start taking similar steps that you want to take. Longer term I am most interested in the E-commerce idea, and particularly Amazon FBA.
I suppose the plan is to try and use the Teespring/eBay ideas to take a small amount of money and grow it. That can then be used to bank roll the E-commerce idea, easy right! I don’t expect it will be but having a plan can’t hurt.
Until next time guys, keep struggling.
The Struggling Wantrepreneur