Table of Contents
- Social Media
- Selling and E-Commerce
- Final Thoughts
While the decision to take the plunge is entirely your own, here are some ideas for self-employment that may nudge you in the right direction.
Social media and the internet have opened up a host of new job opportunities. Here are some jobs that pay you to be a social media pro:
If you spend a lot of time on social media, navigating through the world of Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest with ease, then you may be in a good position to help people put their own social media to good use. In today’s digital world, social media managers and consultants are sought-after positions in the job market. Everyone wants to get on the social media bandwagon!
It requires practically zero capital investment to become a social media consultant. To begin with, you’re good to go as long as you have a phone equipped to browse the internet. Gradually, you may have to dabble in some data analytics to assess if your social media activity is facilitating customer engagement, but the software should ideally be billed to the company that hired you.
You have to be really proficient with the internet. You should be able to speak the language of various social media platforms with ease and know what works best for which platform. You may be required to run campaigns on the company’s social media, so it’s good to have a sharp, creative aesthetic and some killer copywriting skills.
Becoming a social media influencer requires almost the skill sets as a social media consultant, but here you’ll be working with brands and companies who approach you to promote their name. For example, if you have a following on Instagram as a fashion aficionado, clothing brands may approach you, ask you to wear their clothes and then tag and publicise them. If people follow the trends you set on the internet, you’re a social media influencer.
Becoming a social media influencer takes little capital, depending on the platform you choose. If your domain is Instagram or Pinterest, you will have to ensure the aesthetic quality of your profile and pictures. You may need a good camera or a professional photographer and whatever raw material is required to put together the look, be it fashion, art and craft or anything else.
Other than that, a phone that is compatible with the internet should suffice to get you started.
The only skills you need are a killer social media presence and confidence. Being a social media influencer means putting yourself out there for people to judge, comment and pass remarks. Of course, it also involves a lot of appreciation and support from the audience, but you must develop a thick skin for when the trolls come out.
There are a lot of avenues in the field of writing. From writing for advertisements to online news portals, there are plenty of options. Here are a few:
The turn of this century brought with it one of the most lucrative ways to make money. Blogging is multifaceted in a way that you can do it for leisure, just to put forth your point of view – like a diary entry for friends and followers. But if you really devote time and thought to your blog, it could become your financial mainstay. There are several profitable niches that have enough room for more bloggers – travel, fitness and fashion to name a few. Find a voice that people can relate to and be enterprising about innovative ways to make money on your blog.
Blogging is a self-employed job that requires minimum capital. If you’re looking to start a profitable blog, it makes better sense to begin with a paid domain. While you can choose WordPress.org – which lets you download the WordPress software for free – there are also several paid hosting programs that are inexpensive and economical, like Bluehost and SiteGround. These are also compatible with WordPress.org.
The skills you need to become a blogger are simply a flair for creating good content and patience. Blogging does not guarantee a profit from the get-go, so you have to wait to ride the wave. In the meantime, work on ways to open channels for income through your blog. You can join an affiliate marketing program, sell your own products on your blog or sell advertisement space. There may be some hit and trial initially, but you will find the sweet spot eventually.
Not too different from writing on your blog, being a freelance writer would mean you get to choose your own timings and topics. You also get to make all editorial calls. You can write for media publications that often approach freelancers for columns and opinion pieces. You can even take reporting assignments from these publications for a stipulated sum. You can also freelance as a content writer, which may require you to craft different kinds of copy for various business clients. Publishing houses are also usually on the lookout for ghostwriters.
Being a freelance writer requires little or no capital. If you want to establish a name and network, you may want to invest in printing some business cards or get a website made. But most importantly, your work should speak for you.
To be a freelance writer, you must have commendable communication skills. Publications and companies should have a reason to hire someone outside of their payroll for a job. Create a portfolio with some of your best writing and circulate them among prospective clients and employers.
There are several job seekers in the market, but not everyone knows how to write an effective résumé. Résumé writing has become a legitimate service you can provide. It is a simple, effective sales pitch to get someone to hire your client. You can get résumé templates online for free; all you have to do is customise the details. You may even be expected to write a cover letter. This niche is created because most people either don’t know how to write a good résumé or simply don’t want to.
Becoming a résumé writer requires no capital. You can work remotely as long as you have a computer and access to the internet.
You need to know how to write an effective résumé for a specific job. These are skills you can pick up easily through online courses which have a quick learning curve. It may not seem like a glamorous job, but you can charge up to $15 for a simple résumé, so you know it pays well.
The field of design is vast and spread across multiple mediums. From decorating people’s homes to enhancing a website visually, designing jobs lie on a wide spectrum. For the sake of convenience, however, they have been clubbed under a larger umbrella of ‘design’:
Websites, magazines and companies all need a good graphic designer. Graphic designers can work for a variety of projects, from creating logos to website banners to illustrations for written content. In an age where all content is being consumed digitally, every publication and news portal is looking for a graphic designer.
Becoming a graphic designer usually does not require much capital, other than the fee spent in acquiring the skill. You may want to enroll in a good course to get started. Portals like Coursera and Udemy even offer online courses.
You may even want to invest in a graphic tablet to practice and hone your skill.
To become a freelance graphic designer you must, of course, know graphic designing. You must have a keen eye for aesthetically pleasing content. Play around with styles and colours to make your work stand out.
Home staging is an interesting and fun way to let your creative juices flow. Home staging experts usually work with real estate agents who hire them to decorate and beautify a house, so potential buyers can envision their own life in it. Homeowners usually lack the objectivity to beautify their own houses in that way. Home staging experts, therefore, step in to ‘stage’ the home by rearranging furniture, decluttering and adding attractive touches here and there.
You may even be asked to add dummy furniture to an empty space to make it seem liveable.
Home staging requires little initial capital. You need to spread the word and build a network, to begin with. You may want to start by printing business cards and making catalogues of interior spaces you have designed and decorated.
Staging a home is a specialised skill that requires you to have a knack for decorating spaces. You must have a vision for how a finished room should look and know the right places to buy furniture and decorations. A course in interior designing would be very useful.
Landscape architects help design outdoor spaces. As a landscape architect, you will be telling people where to put their plants and design their garden space. On a commercial scale, you could be hired to design parks and public gardens.
Becoming a landscape artist requires little capital other than building your name and brand. Find a way to market yourself through business cards, a website or an office space. You will also have to enroll in a certified course.
Becoming a landscape artist requires an educational qualification and a license. There are even online diplomas for garden design and landscaping if attending school is too expensive or time-consuming for you.
You can set up a shop for a wide range of products. Though the minor details may differ depending on what you’re selling and how you’re selling, the skillset remains more or less the same:
Drop shipping is when you don’t own inventory of the product you’re selling. Instead, when a buyer places an order, you forward the order to a third party which stocks the product, who will deliver it directly to the customer. The advantage of this is that you can sell a variety of products on your portal without having to deal with the hassle of keeping the products in stock. This will save you a lot of storage space.
Entering a partnership with a drop shipping company won’t need initial capital. You can pay your suppliers from the money you make by selling your product. But the onus of setting up a payment portal and the site where people can place the order is on you.
It requires no special skill to start a drop shipping business. But of course, you will need to be organised, coordinate well with your suppliers and have good customer engagement skills.
This is quite like having your own pawn shop. If you have a knack for finding good sales and bargains at thrift stores, flea markets, garage sales and even online, you can buy products at a sale price and sell at a profit.
You need to have some initial capital to buy the products at sales. Every time you make a purchase, make a note of the profit you intend to earn.
You have to be ‘thrifty’. Making a profit on sale items is not always easy. You have to have the focused mindset of a pawn shop owner and be able to talk your customers into buying the product at that price.
If you have a product idea in mind, work on developing it into a line and sell it either online or even from your own home. There’s a market for all kinds of products, especially if you package it well. From homemade marmalade to bookmarks, you can sell anything.
You will need initial capital to buy the raw materials for your products and set up your shop. But once you absorb the initial ups and downs and make a profit, you should be able to earn your initial expenditures back. In addition, you have to think of where you will store your products.
You will require whatever skill is needed to create your product line. Other than that, you must be enterprising enough to spread the word about your product.
If you have a knack for languages, that could turn into a career. Here are some suggestions on how you can put your linguistic tongue to use:
There’s a lot of money in translation. Embassies, foreign multinationals and travel agencies are constantly on the lookout for translators. So if you’re proficient in a language, look for opportunities for translation work. You could either work as an interpreter for foreign clients or translate documents and texts for a fee.
It requires little capital to become a translator if you already know the language. To learn a new language, you will have to invest in a good language class and buy the appropriate literature.
If you’re looking to become a translator, choose a language that may be in demand and spoken widely, like French or Spanish. You should be fluent enough to interpret and translate with ease.
If you know a language that is in demand, you can get paid to teach it. You can even travel abroad to teach the language you’re proficient in. For example, countries that don’t speak English as a first language often welcome English teachers. You can get a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate for this.
You will spend initial capital in learning the language and becoming proficient at it. But once you become fluent, the job will literally be as effortless as speaking.
Other than being well-versed in the rules of grammar, you must be good at teaching and breaking down the lessons for non-native speakers. Being a good teacher is as important as knowing your language fluently.
Hospitality is a vast and vibrant industry. But not every hospitality job requires you to get a degree in hotel management. If you have an enterprising bone, you can figure out other options too:
If your cooking skills are to die for, you may want to share that with the world at large. You can start small, perhaps take a few orders a day from your own home. There are various ventures you can enter in the food business – start a cafe, a catering business or some other innovative venture.
Starting a food business requires some capital. You will need to invest in raw material and ingredients for actually cooking the food. If you want to outsource the cooking and only manage the business, you will have to hire the cook and other employees.
If you intend to start a restaurant or a food truck, you will have to invest in a good location. It’s not the easiest to run a business in catering and food but if it works, the returns are worth it.
If you intend to serve food you have cooked yourself, naturally, you will need to be an excellent chef. If not, then you have to have great organisational and coordination skills to run a successful joint.
If you have a beautiful home in a picturesque location, open it up for guests to come and experience it. Homestays are a popular way to maintain your home and also make some extra cash on the side. What’s more, you get to experience cultures from all over the world through your guests!
You may need some initial capital to do up your home if it needs work. Your guests may also expect some services, like a meal a day. If you’re alone, you may need to hire help to run a smooth ship. These logistics depend on how big your home is.
In addition, you need to make yourself public so people know your home is available. Partner with booking companies and websites to make yourself visible.
The only skill you need is to be a good and hospitable host. Getting good reviews and feedback from your guests is the only way to take your business forward.
Here are some other ideas that may strike a chord with you:
Organic farming has recently become a popular urban occupation. But the switch to organic farming is a complete overhaul of lifestyle. You have to commit to living in a secluded farmland and follow an austere, simple regime. If you want to test the waters before diving in, you can volunteer your time at farms too. You may find something suitable on WWOOF, a worldwide forum linking volunteers with organic farmers.
Switching to organic farming will also require some capital. You will have to find land that is fertile; this is not something that can typically happen in polluted cities. You can start by renting the land and then graduate to buying it once you have enough money.
You will also have to come up with a plan to sell your produce. Perhaps invest in a website where you can take orders and publicise what you’re doing.
To take up organic farming full-time, you will need to devote some time to educate yourself about farm practices. You don’t want to find yourself out of depth after you have started.
Becoming a driver for Uber or a similar car aggregator means you earn money as long as you finish a stipulated number of drops or hours of driving. You can sign up to become a driver-partner with Uber here.
Most driver-partner agreements will require you to have your own car with a license allowing it to be used as a commercial vehicle. If you have a nice car, you may even be suited for upgraded services which charge a premium.
The main skill you need as a commercial driver is to be able to drive, of course! Other than that, you will also need to be good at navigating and following the GPS system so you can locate your rider with ease. It’s a bonus if you know the routes in your city well.
While these are only a few ideas for self-employment, there are several other things you can do to get off someone else’s payroll and on your own. The thing to remember is to forge ahead with confidence and conviction. You may not be an expert in whatever field you’re attempting to pursue but if you love the work enough and have patience, the results will speak for themselves.
So what are you waiting for? Put in the work to be your own boss!