Contrary to popular belief, you can actually start a profitable business with little or no cash. This may seem impossible to you because entrepreneurs normally need capital to build a business, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, all you need are your skills—and a lot of determination.

Virtual Assistance

The demand for virtual assistants continues to rise as more businesses move their operations online and realize it’s more efficient and affordable to hire a remote workforce. On average, businesses can save up to 78% every year by hiring VAs instead of an on-site, full-time assistant.

As a VA, you’re considered self-employed. This means you have the freedom to choose your clients and to work with as many clients as you can handle. Your typical tasks might include answering emails, taking phone calls, setting up appointments, and booking travel arrangements on behalf of your clients. But some VAs offer more specialized services such as bookkeeping, social media marketing, and graphic design.

There are no educational requirements to become a VA, but the job generally requires you to have a stable internet connection and a computer, strong verbal and written communication skills, and a working knowledge of data entry, research, customer service, and calendar management.

VA rate varies depending on the type of work you do, the amount of experience you have, where you are based, as well as the complexity and duration of the project. For administrative services, you can charge $10-20+ per hour, executive services $30-40+ per hour, accounting and bookkeeping services $12-25+ per hour, and for miscellaneous services $10-$20+ per hour. The average hourly rate of a VA is $16.04.

Dropshipping

Dropshipping is an order fulfillment method where a store doesn’t keep its products in stock. Instead, when it sells a product, it purchases the product from a third party that ships the product directly to the customer.

What makes dropshipping different from the traditional retail model is you don’t have to own inventory. Instead, you only purchase products as needed from a supplier for you to fulfill orders. You won’t need to worry about the storing, packaging, and shipping of your products. You’ll only be responsible for choosing, marketing, setting prices, and answering customer inquiries. This makes dropshipping a low-cost and low-risk way to start your own online store.

While it doesn’t need a lot of funds to launch a dropshipping business, it will require you to roll up your sleeves and put in the hard work. You need to research on a profitable niche that you’re passionate about, connect with reliable suppliers, build your online store on a free platform like OpenCart or GrooveKart, market it, and continuously optimize operations.

Your revenue will depend on the type of product you sell. If it’s a low-ticket product, like a t-shirt for example, you can only earn around $10 for each sale. But if you sell a high-ticket product, like electronic equipment, you can make somewhere between $200 to $1,000 for each sale. 

Freelance Writing

Now is the best time to get into the writing business. With almost 4.66 billion active Internet users worldwide, companies are using content as an integral part of their marketing strategy. In fact, the content marketing market is expected to grow to $417.85 billion by 2025. That’s 50 times bigger than the market’s estimated growth before the pandemic.

To start a freelance writing business, you’re going to need a computer with a stable internet connection and of course, writing skills. Then, you need to choose your specialization. You can be  a generalist, but according to industry experts, you can earn more by focusing on one area of specialization. Here are different specializations you might want to consider:

Being a freelance writer means you can set your own price. It will depend on a lot of factors such as your experience and skill level, but it means varying rates and that can be quite confusing for both you and your clients.

A great approach in calculating your hourly rate is to base it on how much you want to earn and how often you want to work in a year. For example, if you plan to work only 20 hours a week for 50 weeks in one year and make $30,000, you need to take clients that will pay you $30 an hour ($30,000/50 weeks = $600 per week and $600/20 hours = $30 per hour.)

Website Design

Believe it or not, around 172 new websites are created every minute. That’s a whopping 252,000 new websites daily! With that number, it’s safe to say that as long as the internet is around, website design will remain in demand. 

Considering the complexity of designing a website, this is a more challenging business to start. You are required to learn the essential programming languages and tools in web design such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, WordPress, InVision Studio, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Sketch, and Google Web Designer. You also need to have skills in photo editing, graphic design, and project management, on top of knowing the fundamental principles of web design.

You can charge by the hour or a flat fee. The rate also varies depending on several factors including the number of pages that need to be designed, the complexity of the design, and your skill level.

As an entry-level freelancer, you can earn anywhere from $30 to $45 per hour. If you’re more experienced, you can charge up to $100 per hour. And if you plan to set a flat rate for your web design services, you can make between $500 to $5,500 per website.

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