For new small business owners, the biggest hurdle to leap over toward success isn’t hard work or innovation, but capital.
Getting the funds to not only cover expenses while the business is starting up, but to cover the costs of the business itself – well, it certainly presents a challenge. Luckily, there are ways you can start an environmentally friendly home business for practically nothing.
This article will provide you with a three step guide to starting your own business for as little as a couple hundred dollars.
Step One: The Idea
Your cost? $150 – $999
The first thing you’ll need is an idea. This idea has to:
- Allow you to work from home.
- Be innovative.
- Be in demand.
- Not require office space that you don’t already have.
- Be low-cost.
There are several of these ideas ready to be grabbed. Here are just a few examples.
An Eco-Consultant. Using direct sales (a la Avon) to win clients, the eco-consultant can help families or businesses reduce their harmful footprint on the environment – and save money. How can you learn how to do this job? It won’t require a college degree. In fact, the Green Irene group offers a $450 startup package.
A “Green Party” Thrower. Following in the footsteps of Tupperware enthusiasts of the past, these representatives sell green products through a leisurely social activity. You can get startup kits for as little as $150.
Choose your own idea. There are plenty of green services, from trash re-purposing to energy auditing to green beauty products and more, that are perfectly viable in today’s market. One example of a company that hit the ground running was TerraCycle, who started with about $1000 and is now an industry leader, serving major companies like Target.
Step Two: The “Office”
Your cost? $40 – $320
Now that you have your idea, you need an office. The greenest way to go about this is certainly the best, since you can setup an eco-friendly office with second-hand goods for under a hundred dollars (a desk, a chair, and office supplies). If you also need a computer, consider getting a refurbished or second-hand item; they usually work perfectly well for business purposes.
You won’t need lots of expensive software, either. Need spreadsheets and word processing? Try Google Docs or Open Office for spreadsheets, presentations, and word processing; the web-based Contact Me platform for lead management; and Google Voice or Skype for phone calls.
Step Three: Marketing
Your cost? Exactly $0
Now that you’re ready to go, you will need to market yourself. Door to door sales is a great way to start, but you should also consider setting up a web service. By using a blog site with a free template, such as Green Stimulus, Outdoorsy or Irresistible, you can present a beautiful business front. Further your online presence by participating in social networks, forums, and events, and collect leads on your blog through WordPress-to-Lead or similar to get your sales moving.
Your journey may not be done, but by following these there steps, you’ve at least gotten started – and with hardly anything out of pocket.
Annie is a green enthusiast and business blogger for Dobovo, the free eco-friendly business that helps you find European accomodation on a budget.