Free business ideas!

“I just threw some stuff (he used another word:) against the wall until something stuck.”

Neil Phillips, The Rapid Entrepreneur

In the spirit of sharing and helping others, I have just listed some quick-fire business ideas. You can play with the concepts a bit more and see what you come up with. Throw it against the wall to see if it sticks! Hope it will be helpful.

Philanthropy:

Giving. Sharing your excess with others. A good cause to support is Ladles of Love.

https://www.payfast.co.za/donate/go/ladlesoflove?gclid=Cj0KCQjwtLT1BRD9ARIsAMH3BtU0-4_KCy4B6FpPhKf2hcBVP9MNpay6MYTvjbLtA3U8-wRx7U0YyFgaAlPxEALw_wcB

Entrepreneurship:

  • Nutritional products. Join our team and sell high-quality nutritional products and earth friendly home care products. Earn extra money and become healthier. Follow the link to join my team. I provide full sales support:Hi Social sells Neolife
  • Delivery business. More ways to get food and other essential products to people. Larger food retailers are overwhelmed with online orders. There’s scope for independents to gather teams and service restaurants, farmers, pharmaceutical companies etc.
  • Food and essential products distribution. Turn a redundant space into a depot or holding facility for farmers and other food producers. And establish small scale channels for trade.
  • Turn your Food Truck into a mobile tuck shop/spaza
  • Turn restaurant into depot for food distribution.
  • Set up logistics supply chain for above
  • Subsistence farming. Teach people how to grow and take care of their own food. Small scale household farms in whatever form.
  • Create wormeries to help with above
  • Create content: Sell graphic design services or web design or writing skills. Create websites.
  • Monetize your skills. Make videos tutorials and sell them online. Create fun up-skill ‘courses’ people can buy.
  • E-learning: Help create content for teachers, do voice-overs or arts and crafts videos.
  • Recruitment: Entrepreneurs for hire? There is a lot of skilled out of work labour, collaborate and come up with solutions for businesses.
  • Manufacture: Produce masks in high fashion fabrics or recycled, repurposed materials that are safe to use as a mask. Or from donated clothing etc. Help make sanitation easier by coming up with innovative ideas. What about mini snood masks?
  • Make checking temperature easier. Offer services to organizations. Temp teams, so they can focus on their business needs.
  • Create virtual malls, perhaps with videos? For the tech-savvy! Group businesses together on an online platform and allow customers to shop at various stores and pay once. Go figure!
  • Assist with recycling pickups from homes. To reduce waste. Recycling consultants.
  • Online Sales representative: Work as an independent salesperson for businesses wanting to sell products or services online. Make sales call using Skype, Zoom, Whatsapp and other Online marketing tools.
  • Bookkeeping agency: People will always need this service.
  • Inventory trackers: Help people update or digitise their systems.
  • Small Scale Cold storage: consult and partner with restaurants to help rent out their storage facilities for small scale farmers or food producers to use closer to delivery point areas.
  • Start-up consultant: Help people set up their businesses.
  • Crowdfunding consultant. Help people raise capital for businesses and causes.

These are just some of the ideas I thought of. Perhaps add to this list and see what you can come up with.

Desert blooms

“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.” Isaiah 35:1

Dear Diary,

I’m staring at the new face of business. I’m reminded of this excerpt from Charles Dickens’ “A tale of two cities”.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair”

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/A_Tale_of_Two_Cities

Two sides of the same story. On one hand utter poverty and lack, on the other innovation and abundance. This is incredulous, that these two realities live side by side and between them a great divide only crossed for the push pull effect of money.

Chaos Theory

Today in the age of national disaster, we find ourselves in the middle of the trenches, working together trying to dig ourselves out. So are they correct? Does it take chaos theory to bring forth a better future?

Chaos: When the present determines the future, but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future.

Edward Lorenz 

I don’t think one needs chaos at all. Only more chaos comes from chaos and only order begets order, they are not of the same womb. Albeit chaos exists, because we live in a world built on the premise that “my sister’s demise is my brother’s gain”. More than chaos one needs compassion. Caring for your fellow man. I wonder what the mathematical equation for that would look like? If we all shared everything and built a society around this concept, no one would want for anything. This isn’t an approximation, the math checks out if you use the right equation in the first place.

This chaos might’ve unearthed what was already at the surface of our fragile humanity and given face to an even deeper truth: that we need each other. Big business needs their workers on every level, the rich and famous need their grocer for food, the supermarkets need their staff to keep operations going, the people need health care workers to look after the sick ..etc.

Disambiguation

Whether a jittery extrovert or a public shy introvert lockdown has had different meanings to everyone. But we have this in common our need to earn a living and provide for ourselves and our families. With this new attributes emerge: resilience, interdependence, changeable and clarity.

I’m reminded of a poem I wrote, it’s about metamorphosis. It’s about how when Jellyfish sever their tentacles, they absorb the remaining limb back into their bodies, reshape themselves to bring their off-kilter bodies back into equilibrium. And this is inherent. They live in an environment that’s up to their ‘eyeballs’ in predators. They’re always under attack and have been created with this unique defence mechanism to reinvent themselves in a sense and keep living. To keep swimming.

Not to mention their electrified tentacles and large bell-shaped heads serve as a refuge for some of the smaller sea animals that travel with them. For brainless, heartless, spineless, eyeless creatures I think they’re very wise! Jellyfish blooms serve as a reminder that when circumstances bring people together extraordinary things happen, perhaps this is our moment to bring about a desert bloom.

Shapeshifter

When a jelly fish severs a limb
It absorbs what’s left into its body
Contorts and changes
to find symmetry and balance

So here find
Symmetry and balance..
Symmetry and balance.

Remnant of a jellyfish

There’s an opportunity to reinvent ourselves. Yes, the attack was painful and we lost a part of ourselves but we need to assess the losses and find our balance again. To bring our economy to stasis. We must get out of our cocoons find our mission, ready ourselves and flap our wings. This action will cause reverberation and echo our heart’s desire for positive change to those around us. Creating a knock-on effect and inspiring change in others. I like this quote from the Rapid Entrepreneur: “I just threw crap against the wall hoping something will stick”. Brilliant!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect

How will we reinvent?

  • Think like a start-up
  • Be an entrepreneur again
  • Look for gaps and opportunities
  • Start small
  • Let go of the past and start re-imagining the future!
  • Let go of ranking stuff before people
  • Create and build with what is in your hands
  • Everyone has some degree of debt, but surely a compromise can be reached, while you reinvent
  • Let go of stuff: if creditors refuse to compromise, they can take my stuff but my entrepreneurial ability is what will sustain me in any situation.
  • Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.
  • Get up! And fight.
  • Stick your pride

“If you think you can, you are right. If you think you can’t, you are also right.”

Henry Ford

Cause and reason

“but is there not a cause?”

David and Goliath

Is there not a reason why we should get up and do things differently? To help each other and for victory. To overcome and to get through it. No one fights alone there’s always a team effort involved. The war is won through collaborative efforts.

Non profit

These are the people who opened their establishments to feeding the needy. These people get up consistently and look for solutions, not just for themselves but for their community too. Not content to sit and wait but to find and do, to inspire hope and create something out of seemingly nothing. They’re successful because they are resilient and willing to work with what they can find however small. They’re successful because they collaborate with those who have different skillsets and can bring something different to the table to make up the whole. They work in harmony because they recognize one skill set cannot function well if at all without the other and thus they achieve their goals.

There have been beautiful team efforts in our country and there are a few causes we can support. One of my favourites:

Ladles of love: https://www.ladlesoflove.org.za/

Business unusual

The more we become attuned to AI the more we lose the essence of who we are. Connectedness, proximity, touch, looking into someone’s eyes, fellowship.

Dear Diary,

I have officially had my time to freak out about this. Still, I cannot even type out the name of this thing that has befallen me. Because doing so, revives it in my mind, replaying its devastation again and again. Suddenly, I’m surrounded by an enemy I have no knowledge of. It knows my weaknesses and plots to overwhelm me. What do I do?

Mind my mind

My thinking has gone through many stages within a second in time. Fast-paced changes. Things being decided for me and my future leaves me both grateful and angry. I stay indoors because it’s for my own safety, but I’m cut off from the fellowship and touch of other people in whom I found refuge and comfort. Scrambled brains served up for breakfast, lunch and supper I sit with my own thoughts trying to process this. What now?

Mind fog

I take a step back to see what unfolds online and to try to find a gap in which to insert myself. To regain any semblance of control from a system now out of control. I too find myself, scrolling at lightning speed through posts, stopping for a second or two at familiar faces and likened interests. I’m slowly slipping into a mental fog a filter my brain puts on to protect itself from collapse. I enter a state of “too much information”. I then choose to take a break from social media to recoup. How will business take place?

Social media now where everyone is speaking at the same time. Others shout, some watching staying silent. Voices chattering at low volume, incoherent, I try to make sense of it but I can’t. Faces looking at me as I continue to scroll, pleading smilingly for attention. I carry on scrolling, I reach yesterday’s news and log off.

Malaise

To keep from sliding down into a mental malaise, I keep active. I force my way into a fruitful life again. I don’t own a TV, this is still not a problem for me. Computers have always provided entertainment. Now they seem to provide necessary life support too. Will AI be my life support during this time? Will I depend on computers for my business salvation since I’m cut off from support giving humans.

There’s a drive for us to be more dependent on AI rather than each other. Our advice comes from Google search, our marketing and advertising go on social media platforms, our professional profiles can be viewed with ease online, even our hope for a companion can be chosen with the swipe of a finger. This all sounds so future-forward and necessary for now, but what kind of people does this produce?

Google search: humanity

The more we become attuned to AI the more we lose the essence of who we are. Connectedness, proximity, touch, looking into someone’s eyes, fellowship. Yes, life goes on online, we can have conference calls and meetings we can Skype and close deals etc. But my business becomes an android. I’m reduced to plugging into a system that ‘helps’ me to speak through a screen and ‘speak’ through the keyboard.

What will happen to speaking for reals face to face, shaking someone’s hand in agreement to a deal? I’m reminiscing of course. I’m not foolish about how things have changed and how reliant we’ve become on software and computers. It’s a necessity for a business to function today, so we can provide for our families and for our future. In fact in seeing the move towards a more prominent online presence I’ve started this business.

A moral issue

So how do we go about our business? I feel guilty that I’m punting my wares online amidst the bad news of this virus going around, in between people losing their lives and family members, others losing their jobs having to close their businesses and stressing about their next income because if you’re a mechanic you can’t exactly fix cars online!? Why should I succeed alone, I don’t want to. Not off the backs of a struggling market, thinking of getting enough food for their family, dipping into retirement savings to pay for essentials (if you’ve even got savings).

Most people are so over-indebted, now that they’re not working who will service this debt? So trying to cabaret for business to someone who is in this position is a bit difficult. So let’s say they buy into my song and dance and acquire my services, online obviously. Then I fulfil the agreement and deliver the goods and get paid. So my family gets an income and I’m better off right, great for me! I guess I’m using my noodles.

Question is what about the other family that can’t get an income? The baker, the mechanic, the waitress, the restauranteur, the factory workers etc whose work can’t be done online. This makes me ill to think of how my business can thrive in a world that has other people suffering alongside me. Then I’d rather close my business!

A new perspective

Be in business to build up the community. This is my new philosophy. This virus has exposed some things in business too, those who care about their fellow man and those who don’t. What can we do to build up our community, to share business? To take care of each other better. I don’t want to do business unless it helps someone else’s family and business.

I choose to be more giving, whether it be in free marketing consulting online or a promo that’s discounted. I think if you’re skilled in a certain area of trade or business share knowledge online, now is the time. Train others, teach others. We can still be creative and think of ways around this, even though the future seems uncertain there is still hope. What can we do to help each other’s businesses at this time? What would help you? And how can you help others?

What we do:

We do websites for startups and existing businesses, we also help navigate online marketing for better exposure. Our new service is to provide content for your website to make it pop online! So our core business is using the internet and its tools to get you more business. Yes, there are apps that can help you but we can help for a fraction of the price and efforts you’d have to outlay.

A more powerful algorithm

The human spirit. Our entrepreneurial spirit!

Until tomorrow, dear Diary

Love in the time of Corona

As companies cabaret for business online customers are transformed too, into an audience shopping at high speed with a shorter attention span each time.

Dear Diary,

At arm’s length

Love at arm’s length, kind of says it all. Standoffish, judgemental and uber selective. Is this a story of affectation? I’ve been thinking about how this virus has ravaged parts of China, and is now slowly creeping up in other parts of the world on the unsuspecting. Wreaking havoc within bodies as well as economies, also our psychology. What are we to think of it? Is it a story of affectation indeed? Scare tactics dressed up as fake news? What of businesses and global industry?

As the fear of being affected by the virus spreads, it certainly has a ripple effect of driving us inward. Herding us into camps of safety awaiting further instruction. Attuned to radio and TV to eke out specifics of the correct route of existence.

Life online

Are we fearful now? In the throes of the industrial revolution and its inevitable consequences of the rise in robotics and job cuts for the humans, now a revolution of another kind… Life online. As pandemics drive us both further and yet closer to each other, the ebb and flow of a secure future become more apparently online, more web-based.

It’s just you and your computer. Albeit not completely virus-free. Malware, spyware, anti-virus software providing an invisible shield to cacoon us from threat both real and imagined.

#nofilter

As someone who works mainly online, I must ask myself this. Is this driving us online and away from each other physically? How do we feel about this? With news advising us to keep at arm’s length in social situations, what do we make of our businesses in this new cautious environment?

Does your filter become less of a filter online and your raw instinct more watered down to seep through to the point of connection easier for the sake of business? How does this gauge compromise and our willingness to survive ahead of dwindling sales numbers because people are becoming socially anxious?

Business shape-shifts

All the more reason to have a sterling online presence right, the show must go on, as it takes to the web en masse. Competition fiercer and more changeable than before sees businesses shape-shift, to attract customers. But how do you keep such customers? How will this new trend affect the longevity of consumer buy-in?

As companies cabaret for business online customers are transformed too, into an audience shopping at high speed with a shorter attention span each time. It’s neurological, the brain creates pathways known as Heuristics to help with quickfire reasoning. Making it difficult to market to a mind that is skimming channels for something instantly stimulating.

How does one market in a fast-paced environment with multiple competitors employing similar tactics? How does one prevent the mind from dismissing information simply because it’s too much to reason with, takes too long to process, isn’t stimulating enough and treating your marketing as white noise to be tuned out on various online platforms?

To the victor…

Whose business, what sort of business will win this kind of consumer over in such a short amount of time? How would you create visually stimulating content that engages the customer and closes an online sale within a couple of seconds, with millions of competitors vying for the same thing? This is the challenge of online business.

Phantom followers

I foresee, social media theatrics becoming more pronounced as one once-popular “one million-plus followers” user tries to outdo the entertaining newbie. Creating inevitable dilution of likes as more and more users come online and compete on existing and newly launched platforms. Or creating phantom followers, they follow you but they’re not being influenced by you anymore, they’re too spread out on sporadic entertainment across the web.

Embrace knowledge

I think what’s best to do here is to first educate ourselves and take on a logical approach. We have been given lots of information by the Department of Health in South Africa regarding how the virus can be detected, contained and treated. As much as we have to do our own research and draw our own conclusions, we have to be wise still.

We have to protect ourselves and our families, our businesses too. Sweeping fear and logic under the rug will only leave a pile for us to trip over later, wishing we had dealt with it timeously. So with that said, how do we trust each other again? How do we prevent ourselves and our customers from being alienated? Tested information, knowledge and education!

True love

Love and life will find a way, it has this inherent survivalist gene that fights the threat to its existence. And so it must be with business and entrepreneurs. We will always find a way to serve our customers and take care of the home too.

Until tomorrow, dear Diary.

Side Hustle

In your own business, you could probably invoice a client for your whole salary within a day, because they bought so many products from you because you put in the effort this week to work on your business. #justsaying

Dear Diary

I have discovered the importance of an income on the side. Something to fill the gaps while I focus on making my business work.

Sometimes one just needs that extra boost during a dry spell in your business. Something to keep you afloat till the other invoices gets paid. But before I think of a side hustle, I must weigh out the options.

The question to ask is, does it make business sense? For example, if I go and work for someone full time again I will only have time to focus on my business after hours and on weekends. Will I be doing justice to it!? How will it move forward with such little time and attention paid to it? Which of my customers do business in the evenings or on weekends? If a company hires me again what kind of work could I do according to my age and experience. What about the competition? Based on so many candidates looking for work in today’s economic climate how will my CV compare?

Employers are spoiled for choice. Let’s say they could pay me R12000 a month. This means I will have to work a whole month to wait for that kind of money. Money I’ve sacrificed my business time for. So I really need to be careful in selecting a part-time side hustle.

But if we are entrepreneurs, why not start another business? A side hustle to your main hustle. Your time and effort could be better spent because you will still be working on your own ideas. It makes more business sense to try and sell products or services, even resell someone else’s and get the money instantly but still coming to your own pocket in full.

Money that can be made quicker and within a shorter turnaround time than going back to work for someone for a whole month earning less than what you can make in your own business within a day. Depending on your services your bill to a customer can be up to R1000 on a bad day, most businesses make much more than that within a day! This makes business sense.

My side hustle ideas:

  • Independent sales agent
  • Hostessing
  • Modelling
  • Food sales
  • Resell products online
  • Door to door veg basket sales
  • House sitting
  • Dog walking
  • Babysitting
  • Makeup artistry
  • Uber driver
  • Logo design, web design etc.
  • Home bakery
  • Travelling eco car wash

It’s smarter

I think it would be smarter to challenge yourself to think of another way to produce another income for yourself than to go back to a job where you’d be settling for less. If you need to make more money, go sell something. I think it will also be more honest. I’m reminded of a time when I started a business in secret and worked at my job trying to fund my business, a real definition of a side hustle. I felt guilty and dishonest all the time. It felt like I was using someone. Well, that job didn’t work out because there was always a disconnect.

Until I decided that I will be honest about my interests and how it can be of benefit to the right employer. I had a job where I could partner with my employer and sell some of my products through their business, this was an amazing experience, something I wish happened more often in businesses. Eventually, I decided it was time to go out on my own and so here I am.

But is it fair?

A lot of people recommend building a business while still working for an employer, I think it’s best to be open about this to that person, especially if it will affect productivity in their business or keep your mind distracted from it. Showcase how you can enrich their business with your products or services if it relates in some way, or even the skills you’ve acquired. Don’t use others as a springboard, it often backfires. Worse still someone could do it to you in your business one day.

Otherwise, get creative about selling something part-time. When you decide to have downtime in your main business. Or introduce a new product or service to existing offerings to impulse a quicker sale. Start a promo, that is limited time offer etc. These are some ways to get short term income to add to operating capital.

As an entrepreneur, being creative in this way is very important. It’s often when the pressure is on that I get my best ideas. In this way, I’m actually expanding my business instead of going back and forth from employer to self-employed and having to stop-start on my business because of time constraints. What I put in is what I get out when focusing on my business.

In someone else’s business what I put in I only get out much later depending on the job and the pay. Sometimes I must put in much more for very little pay because that’s the state of the economy. So why do this to myself? If I take some time to think creatively, come up with a targeted product or service, put together a clever marketing strategy, I can make some more money part-time, and it’s still my business. I still work for me and I can pay myself (and my bills) much quicker. This makes business sense!

#justsaying

Working for someone is you putting in maximum effort for minimum pay, and you keep chasing that increase plus benefits carrot each time. In your own business, you could probably invoice a client for your whole salary within a day, because they bought so many products from you because you put in the effort this week to work on your business. #justsaying

Until tomorrow, dear Diary.