In this blog post I’m going to brainstorm a handful of nifty low cost business models that just about anyone can start from their own home.
Before I do that, I want to quickly rant about why this topic is so ridiculously important for me.
As a blogger I’m always trying to research my marketplace. I therefore spend a ton of time reading different internet forums, and websites like Quora to learn what marketers, entrepreneurs and business owners are struggling with these days. The funny thing is that often times marketers get super frustrated when trying to promote their business.
Reading the irksome frustrations of other entrepreneurs makes me have a chuckle sometimes. I’m not laughing out of spite; I’m laughing because I know how infuriating it can be when advertising your business. (Or, trying with the utmost effort and still having zero results).
In fact, it’s really easy to encounter discouraged or arguably depressed entrepreneurs who are trying to make their marketing work, but they just have no clue how to get things going in their favor.
That’s Why Having A Low Cost Business Model Might Be A Great Idea.
When things aren’t going right, as a small business owner, having a high operating cost can seem like a panic attack!
Trying to keep your business lean and mean might take the pressure off.
One of the biggest problems that a lot of startups encounter, according to my own research and observation, is that they simply run out of money.
They don’t have enough money to advertise their business, and also their business simply may be too expensive to run.
I understand this frustration, truly, and I’m inspired enough to create this blog post that will brainstorm specifically about low cost business models.
(This is a huge reason why I love to blog by the way. Did you know that you can setup a blog these days for pocket change? Running MrComputerScience.com only costs about $50 per year. How’s that for a nifty low cost business idea? Blogging rules!)
What The Heck Is A Low Cost Business Model And Why Are Low Cost Business Models Awesome?
Low cost business models rock because they can be much lower risk (and therefore lower stress) compared to other, expensive business models.
Put it this way. If your business costs $500,000 per year to run, then that’s way too much pressure, right? Think of all the work you’d have to accomplish in order to make a profit! That sounds like enough work to make anyone go over the edge lol. (Personally, I’m far too lazy for all of that potential grind).
On the other hand, imagine if your business only cost zero dollars per year to run. That would be much less stressful, right? What if your business only cost $10, 50, or even $1,000 per year to run? That too would be much easier, and less stressful, right?
If Your Operating Cost Is Too High, Then It’s Probably Much Easier To Get Super Stressed Out, Depressed And Apprehensive
I’m tempted to rant about the “get rich quick” gurus who like to say how easy it is to succeed online.
The truth is that, publishing any type of blog, newsletter, course, or book takes a boatload of courage and effort!
I’m the shyest most reclusive nerd on the planet (lol) and it takes an overabundance of motivation and passion for me to publish anything. The point is that, publishing content is difficult. This is probably doubly so if your business costs a ton to run.
I think one of the biggest sources of frustration these days, for entrepreneurs especially, is a combination of social media, and also the “get rich quick” gurus. (I mention social media, because everyone only posts the positive stuff on social media. Very rarely do they post their failures, their mistakes, and other errors that they make in life. You can probably see how this type of stuff can smash one’s self-esteem when they’re trying to figure out why everyone else is living the life, yet their own business isn’t getting off the ground).
Because… Anyone who ever tells you that running a successful business is easy, is really (fascinatingly) suffering from naivete, nescience, or are otherwise not being truthful. In other words, in many cases, someone may happen blindly upon success when many nuanced variables coincidentally align, and then, that same person negligently (or wrongly) believes that they can teach others to reach the same results.
Always beware of any type of “get rich quick” system upon which the guru is flashing piles of cash. There are never any guarantees in life, and all is not what it seems. And, always remember that statistically speaking, most businesses fail. (Pull up this link whenever you’re trapped in the mystifying gaze of the “Get Rich Quick” gurus: Five Reasons 8 Out Of 10 Businesses Fail” https://www.forbes.com/sites/ericwagner/2013/09/12/five-reasons-8-out-of-10-businesses-fail/#1745e8616978).
The reality, is that success in any endeavor requires an abundance of hard work, skills, success, effort, determination, passion, inspiration, and even an adequate supply of luck. (Because, it’s possible for the smartest and wisest people among us do everything right, and then still fail due to unknown changes or marketplace conditions that were impossible to foresee).
The Best Advice I Give To Any Of My Marketing Colleagues, Subscribers, Friends Or Any Small Business Owner…
The best advice I would give to beginners, or to any human living on the planet who wishes to learn more about entrepreneurship, is to consider investigating business models that don’t require much, if any ongoing cost.
Freelance writing, blogging, content marketing, social media marketing, email list building (email newsletter publishing), online teaching and self-publishing are all models that can be run for very low cost, or, potentially (and arguably), no cost.
Most business experts or marketing experts (or even an economics expert) would likely indicate that in order to succeed, you must provide value, and I would add that you also must have a mechanism upon which to connect with (or get in front of) your ideal prospect in a way that’s economically feasible. (Easier said than done in many cases).
As always, this is just my own humble two cents, and I wish everyone the best, truly. I also would like to brainstorm a bunch of awesome business ideas that are relatively low cost, or arguably, no cost at all!
Let’s Talk About 5 Of My Favorite Low Cost Business Models!
I realize that the first part of this blog post was mostly “doom and gloom” (lol). The reason for that, is because I know how dire the economy can be, and I honestly think that automation, artificial intelligence, robotics and advanced software systems are all going to contribute negatively to the economy in the years to come (that is, if you’re the average worker, it may be possible to automate your job away or replace it with some type of new technology: here’s an interesting article on how robotics and a.i. may change the economy in the not too distance future and replace up to 40% of all jobs).
That’s why I’m so passionate about entrepreneurship, and it’s why I love writing on this blog trying to brainstorm with like-minded geeks such as yourself. (you rock).
In any event, and rant aside – as someone who has been teaching online courses for a while now, I’ve had the amazing privilege of interacting with amazing students from every corner of the planet!
Of course, this has resulted in me noticing that a lot of students, and even personal colleagues, readers and subscribers alike are always brainstorming cool ways to minimize their cost, or to otherwise investigate low cost business model structures, side hustles, or ideas.
Let’s face it. The economy is changing. Robotics, artificial intelligence, and advanced software systems really are going to change the economy functions, from top to bottom.
That’s why I’d love to begin brainstorming more about this topic immediately:
Low Cost And Cool Business Model Idea # 1 – Freelance Writing
I honestly think that freelance writing is probably one of the best opportunities at the moment for those who want to start working from home.
There are a few reasons that I love the idea of freelance writing.
First of all, freelance writing doesn’t cost anything, which is probably the single biggest benefit. Freelance writing, and other forms of freelancing, are often times absolutely free for you to perform. (Other than the cost of a laptop, and the power required to run that device, obviously).
In other words, many other business models require you to put forth some type of investment, whether that investment is developing a website, paying for website hosting, paying for software, website builders, website traffic, paying for marketing, paying for SEO, paying for developers, and other staff or outsourcers, and so on.
The cool thing about freelance writing is that the cost is near zero. The only thing you need is a strong desire to learn and write, and also some type of full-sized keyboard.
If you’re looking to learn more about working at home as a freelance writer, I wrote much more detail about this topic and you can check it out: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide For Freelance Writers Ghostwriters And Agencies.
Low Cost And Cool Business Model Idea # 2 – Online Teaching
Online teaching is another really awesome opportunity, and I mean that literally the online learning market is huge. We’re talking utterly gargantuan, and elephantine.
(According to Reuters the online learning market will be worth over 250 billion in 2020: https://www.reuters.com/brandfeatures/venture-capital/article?id=11353).
The cool thing is that there are so many different types of online courses you can create; people want to learn about how to write, how to blog, how to do math, how to cook awesome baked cookies, how to code, how to find an awesome date, and every other topic that you can imagine.
But maybe you’re frustrated because you have no idea what you could possibly teach?
Well, here’s my advice; ask yourself, what’s something that you absolutely love and want to share with the world? What skills do you possess that others ask you about?
When it comes time to actually record your course, you can use relatively free or cheap screen recording apps such as ActivePresenter or Camtasia.
If you want to brainstorm much more about teaching online courses, I wrote a very comprehensive guide that you can check: Everything You Need To Know About Launching Online Courses.
Low Cost And Cool Business Model Idea # 3 – Self Publishing
If you love to write, then self-publishing books can be a tremendously awesome hobby and hustle.
The best part is that these days anyone can publish on Amazon Kindle without paying a single cent, which makes self-publishing a very inexpensive, thrifty and low risk business model.
Of course, this is naturally catered to those who love to write. Personally, I write nearly every single day and would do so even if nobody would ever read my content (lol), so I think that if you love to write anyway, then maybe self-publishing could be a great idea for you.
So, one question that many of my students, colleagues and readers ask is what type of book should they write?
My honest two cents is to keep it simple. What book do you WANT to write?
What topics interest you, and sound interesting to you personally?
The reason why this is so important, is because one of the worst things that can happen if you’re not passionate about your work, is you take the risk of encountering a vicious snag of writer’s block!
So, follow your passions, so that even if nobody ever buys your books, at the very least you had fun writing and publishing your content.
Low Cost And Cool Business Model Idea # 4 – Blogging And Content Marketing
Blogging is personally one of my favorite hobbies, and heck yes I’m a huge fan of blogs!
There are so many blogging platforms these days, though obviously my favorite is WordPress and that’s what I personally use for all of my online blogging efforts.
The best thing about blogging, is that this is an awesome supplement to freelance writing. When you have freelance writing clients, you could take a break from blogging. When you don’t have many clients, you can work hard finding some (lol) and also create content on your own blog.
All of this might lead you to ask how do bloggers earn money? Well, I think that one of the most popular ways is with affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing simply put is when you promote someone else’s products in exchange for a commission.
These days you can earn commission for just about any product you can think of, from video games, books, digital products, software apps, food, even dog and pet food!
That’s because massive organizations such as Amazon, Target and Best Buy have affiliate programs, whereupon you can literally share your affiliate links, and if anyone makes a purchase from your link you can earn a commission.
Here’s are registration links to three of my favorite affiliate programs:
Low Cost And Cool Business Model Idea # 5 – Email Newsletter Publishing And Email Course Publishing
There are a few reasons why email marketing courses are the perfect tool for small businesses who want to keep their cost super low.
That’s because email marketing is dirt cheap, and if you look around you can find decent email marketing apps for free.
But first, ask yourself, what the heck is an email course? It’s simple really, an email course is simply a collection of emails that are designed to teach a skill.
Technically, and logically, an email course might be the same exact content of a comprehensive blog post, a good book, or any other type of content that’s designed to teach.
Email courses are powerful for a few different reasons.
First and foremost, email courses can make the absolutely best lead magnets ever! I honestly enjoy email courses as an end user, because they’re very easy and quick to consume, and they also make the perfect lead magnet for you the email newsletter publisher.
Another huge benefit of email courses, is that this is something that can work in absolutely any niche. So if you love to write and teach about marketing, affiliate marketing, email marketing, health, weight loss, computer science, art, cooking, or just about any other topic, then email courses can be really versatile and evergreen.
If you’re clever, you can also integrate different affiliate promotions throughout your course, so you can try to monetize your email list with affiliate marketing if you wish. Just be sure to make sure that your affiliate offers are appropriate, that they can actually benefit the end user, and also be sure to disclose that you are indeed an affiliate.
Thanks So Much For Reading This! You Rock!
I want to let you know that success at anything requires work, grit, effort, and luck.
That’s why, in this blog post, I tried to emphasize that you should do stuff that you love doing.
That way, even if your endeavors fail, at least your time won’t have been totally wasted.
And, there is some good news at the end of the tunnel.
Because these days, more and more opportunities are popping up left and right for those who wish to start their own home-based business.
In this humble blog post I tried my best to brainstorm some of my favorite methods, and I truly hope that this content finds you well.
Cordially and humbly…
Mike “Low Cost” DeVincent