When people start considering ways to start their own businesses they tend to think in terms of what they know. Retail is something that tends to come up a lot because no matter what our experience of the world we have all shopped at some point. But retail can be tricky for a number of reasons, not least of all because you need to find good premises and you need to hold stock. And usually if you are a small one-person operation you find that the best locations are all unavailable and that holding stock means significant capital outlay and the potential for shrinkage or damage. So short of heading back to college and studying a degree in medicine or law what other creative options are there out there? 

 

Commodities 

Unlike retail, commodity trading simply means buying and selling things like a middleman. Traditionally this could be gold or diamonds, but the truth is it could be absolutely anything. Let’s say you came across an advert offering elevators for sale, or wheelchair lifts Melbourne, those would all constitute commodities and a commodity trader would look to buy them cheap and sell them for more. If you play your cards right you need never even hold any stock. It is more a case of acting as a broker or a facilitator and taking your profit in the middle.     

 

Service 

Pick a service and advertise. Preferably do a bit of market research first to identify gaps in the market. But most importantly, know what your skills are and play to them. It doesn’t have to be fancy either. You could wrap presents at Christmas or de-clutter houses or be a handyman or hang doors. There are so many little niches to explore, the key is simply to let it be known what you can do. Facebook, with its myriad community orientated groups is a great place to advertise your skills as well. And the best part of all is that you don’t need premises or lots of equipment to make it happen.  

 

Consulting 

If you are a bit worldly or have experience in one specific area or another you can always set yourself up as a consultant. It could be in the area in which you once worked or it could be in something completely unrelated. It is a no-brainer for recently retired people looking to earn a bit of extra cash on the side. Obviously at that stage of life you have a wealth of experience, lots of industry contacts and an air of gravitas as well. But consulting can be done in so many areas and ways. It could be on the sports field or as a life coach or in the travel arena. Just know what you are good at and help people. It could be as simple as email management techniques!  

 

eCommerce 

This is probably the way of the future. Pick a product and build a simple site that allows for ecommerce transactions and you are away. If you play it right there is no need to hold stock or anything, you simply set yourself up as a drop shipper. That means that while you are the retailer the stock goes directly from the wholesaler to the purchaser, you just manage the transaction via your website. Easy!  

 

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