So, you want to take the leap and start something for yourself – perhaps the beginnings of a tech or sales empire of the future, or maybe you’ve just decided to monetize your spare time and connections to help pay your way in college.
Either way, you’re likely to be fitting what you’re doing around other commitments for study, activities, perhaps part-time shift work. That can be tricky, and sometimes you’re bound to feel pulled in several different directions.
Luckily for you, starting a business from your iPhone (or Android) is now not only possible, it can be one of the fastest routes to some extra cash. Developing a side hustle or even a credible portfolio career is a thousand times easier if you can run it from the palm of your hand. Even business functions like payroll, recruitment, and marketing can now be easily created or outsourced via apps, making the idea of creating a business from your phone more viable than ever. And you thought it was just for wasting time on Facebook!
Here’s how to stop your cell phone being a time waster and turn it into something that’s making you money.
Set Up Shop
Gone are the days when getting started in retail meant having a physical presence – most shopping for clothes is now done online, and that means that you can become a retailer online with very little outlay. In fact, that’s how some profitable brands like NastyGal got started, and you can now easily set up an e-commerce platform wherever you are with your smartphone. Not only will you be keeping it simple, but as most web browsing is now done on a phone or tablet, you’ll be able to see how your shop ‘front’ appears to customers directly. Once you have your shop, your stock and your listings, you’ll need to drive traffic – and this can be done either through AdWords if you have some investment money or even for free through social media. Plenty of cutting edge brands such as makeup tools retailer Spectrum have shunned spending thousands on traditional ads – instead, they’ve invested time in developing their social media channels and work with key influencer’s on platforms like Instagram, which in many cases is all the sales referrals they need. If you don’t fancy setting up on your own yet, sites like eBay, Etsy and Mercari are still good low-commitment selling. Learn how to become an eBay reseller and you could find your hobby turning into a full time occupation.
Need some Assistance?
There are plenty of opportunities to pick up outsourced work on your phone and turn it into a business. Virtual assistant companies operate by providing a ‘PA’ to organize diary appointments and travel etc from a distance – you could offer these skills remotely. All you need is a strong sense of organization and a decent Wi-Fi connection. You can take on as many clients as you can fit around other commitments, either by charging an hourly rate and mileage or by creating a monthly deal with a set number of tasks for a fixed fee. Similarly, you could set up an events management company easily, offering planning services for everything from weddings to conventions, all using scheduling apps right on your phone, and email, text and calls to speak to clients and vendors. If you get enough business to start employing others, you can access a range of useful apps to help you with that too – from apps like Sling that help you to schedule shifts and communicate easily with employees to functions like FreshBooks who make all your accounting easy. And all of these programs have specially designed mobile apps that mean using them on the go is easy.
Influence the crowds
It may be getting harder to get started in these times of Insta-celebrities and YouTube stars, , but there are still opportunities for those who are savvy on social media to have a career as an influencer – but you will need thousands of followers in order to make it pay! Start by finding a specific niche where it will be easier for your voice to be heard – and make sure it’s something you’re passionate about. You’re going to be spending a lot of time talking about your chosen subject, and if it’s not authentic you will struggle to gain followers. Then research popular hashtags within that niche to start getting your content seen. Spend time joining in Twitter chats and engaging with others to build your accounts up. If you don’t want to set up on your own, then you can offer social media marketing services for hire. There are plenty of small businesses out there that don’t have the time and resource to build their social media offering up as much as they need. You could offer these skills and help run a company’s Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat for them.
Someone call tech support…
If you’re someone who is everyone’s go-to person when their laptop starts acting up, it should be easy for you to turn this skill into a profitable business, selling remote tech support to companies or even to your fellow students. Everyone is completely reliant on their computers and tablets now, but not many people understand even the basics when things go wrong- so it’s your opportunity to profit from your knowledge! Customers can be helped via email, phone or even on a Skype call via video conference. Set up a mobile site that’s optimized to show up in the search listing for your local area and make your pricing structure clear. You could even use an app like TaskRabbit to advertise your service. And if you are especially good at the SEO side of things, consider selling this as a service as well. There aren’t many companies out there who don’t want a top-ranking web page, so you won’t be short of customers. Again, target smaller businesses with competitive rates who will then become bigger clients as they grow.
If you’ve got wheels and a clean license, you can start a business or earn some extra money a couple of different ways. The first is by setting up as a taxi as long as you register with the state for a permit. Or if that’s too much hassle of course you can sign yourself up with a ride-hailing app as a provider instead. You could also consider offering out tours, especially if you live in a scenic college town. Use Google Maps to plan a route and their Calendar function to keep track of bookings and appointments, then research interesting local history and facts to tell your tour party. If you like working with people, this could be a great little business to set up.
Write your way to success
You may have a passion for writing, especially if you’re an English major, so it’s good to know that you can monetize a love for words in many different ways. Apps such as Upwork will let you bid for freelance copywriting work, or send emails to local marketing agencies and see if they have any projects they want to outsource for a fee. You can also set up a blog from your cell phone, using a platform like WordPress with a great mobile app, and if you’re successful you may be able to accept paid posts. You can even use a listing app like Craiglist to advertising copywriting services to small business and individuals that may need some wordsmithing.
Shoot to the top
Videography used to be something that was only possible with a whole heap of expensive equipment, but again, the smartphone in your pocket has democratized all that. If you have a HD camera on your phone, the quality is good for basic videography work, and if you want to up your capability, you can purchase DSLR lenses that Bluetooth to your phone for ultimate on-the-go filming. Editing apps are also available right on your smartphone, so if you are good with video editing you could offer those services to individuals or small businesses. Video content is such a key marketing tool right now for all walks of business that there is definitely money to be made in providing this service.
Coaching on call
Consider yourself an expert on relationships? Able to provide some cutting-edge styling advice? Then you may be able to set up a coaching business with the phone in your pocket as well. You will be working with a client base to provide advice either face to face, on the phone, via email or on video calls. Find new business by using social media as your platform, and provide value-added content – like free guides – to drive people to your page. Use client success stories and testimonials on your YouTube channel as the best form of advertising for your fledgling business.
There are so many options available, from becoming a sole contractor picking up occasional work to truly starting your own independent business available just at your fingertips. And with software that automates and outsources functions such as payroll, marketing and HR support, even growing and expanding a business is all possible just using your phone.