Starting a business can be nerve-rocking because of all the unknown possibilities, lack of confidence in ourselves, fear of failing or even the fear of success.
We must remember that it is a journey that could take time. We just need to do our best. On that note, here are three (3) ideas and strategies to help you brainstorm for something you could do as a business:
1. Selling handmade products that you love making
Strategy: Let’s say you enjoy making natural skin products.
a. Do your research on required ingredients and items. You can find lots of affordable items on Ali Express or Ali Baba. If you can’t order in bulk, try getting small batches locally, on eBay or on Amazon. This could be a trial until you make enough to start buying in bulk.
b. Make the product.
c. Take clear and amazing pictures to post them on social media (especially Instagram), Etsy and/or eBay.
d. Marketing vs not marketing – E-commerce sites such as Etsy and eBay are search engines, so marketing isn’t required on your part. You just need to learn how to use the right keywords for better SEO (search engine optimization). That being said, if you want to make more profits and hopefully at a faster rate, you would need to market your products.
e. Post testimonials on your social media. Let potential customers know what your current and past customers think of your product.
2. Selling a service you’re good at (or you could learn it)
Strategy: Let’s say you’re good at doing graphic design.
a. Decide on a niche. Are you good at illustrating? Making banners and flyers? What about making logos? Maybe you’re great at making infographics? Be specific on what you’re offering; at least do that at the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey. It’s easier to be seen as an expert in your field when you focus on a niche. You could always branch out once you’ve established yourself.
b. Think of your target audience. Would you like making flyers and banners for restaurants? Would you like illustrating Muslim children’s books? Maybe you’d rather make banners for digital agencies? You decide.
c. Make research on where to find your target audience. Linkedin is a good one, Google, social media, etc. If you have trouble finding them, you can go on Fiverr to hire a freelancer to give you a list of the type of contacts you’re looking for in a particular area, at a very affordable rate.
d. Start sending a customized email to each contact to offer your service. If it doesn’t work after a while, try offering your service for free for a limited time. Of course, do this in exchange for a testimonial, if they are satisfied.
Here’s an example of a cold email you could send out (plz don’t copy and paste, this is simply an example):
“Title: let’s work on your banners
Body: Hi (name of the person),
I found your company at (fill in the blank), saw some of your banners and wanted to reach out to help you improve them in order to get you more clients.
I’m currently running a promo where I’m offering my service for free to five (mention the type of audience you’re targeting) like you.
If this is something you’d be interested in, reply and let’s discuss on your project.
(Your name and anything extra about you below)“
Make it simple, short and straight to the point. Please don’t write an essay; most people don’t have time to read all that.
e. Record who replies and who doesn’t. This will help you know if the strategies you’re using are working. If one doesn’t work, move on and try another until you get the result you want.
3. Print on demand/merch t-shirt designing
Strategy: You don’t even have to be a designer for this. If you are, awesome, even better!
This is a passive income. It may be called “passive,” but you do have to put in some work in the beginning! It’s like making digital products; I do that at Ihsaan Home Academy with my homeschooling resources. You make one time, and they can be sold multiple times after; even while you sleep (if people buy them). But you will HAVE to be patient before seeing results. T-shirt designing today is basically like drop-shipping, except you’re not selling someone else’s design or shipping anything.
a. Decide on the t-shirt company you’d like to start with. There are many out there, but don’t try to do them all, especially not in the beginning. Choose maybe 2 or maximum 3.
*Here are some examples: Teespring, RedBubble, Merch by Amazon
b. Decide on a niche, just like above. The good thing is, you can open multiple storefronts on Teespring, each being a unique niche. Once you separate them, feel free to do as many niches as you want.
c. Create your design. It could be as simple as writing words on a 4500 x 5400 pixel png. An example could be “Half My Deen” or “All you need is coffee.” Check the resource page for design/image making tools. Make sure the background is transparent. If you want to make something more professional but don’t know how to design, you can easily hire a freelancer on Fiverr to help you, at an affordable rate. Make sure the service includes ‘Commercial Right.’ You wouldn’t want to sell something that you don’t have the commercial right to sell.
d. Upload your design to your chosen t-shirt selling platform. Each platform has instruction on how to upload and sell. For a better success rate, you would need to keep making and uploading designs! Challenge yourself to do maybe one a day or at least a few a week.
e. This one is optional but it seems to have the highest success rate. Market your t-shirt on social media. Teespring for example gives you a unique URL for each storefront. You could use your URL to market it on your Instagram bio. If you want to do t-shirt marketing, I would advise you to focus on one niche to avoid getting overwhelmed. You could display all your related t-shirts using the images on your chosen platform. You have the option to also wear them yourself or find people who could help you with that. Take the pictures (not required to show face or full body), and upload them.
Phew! That ended up being longer than I had expected.
I hope this list was informational and would be of benefit to you.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you enjoy making it. You wouldn’t want to feel miserable every time you made the products because that would be a recipe for disaster. I tried making skin products before and sold them on eBay. I did make some profit, however, I hated shipping items. I didn’t want to leave my home constantly. That’s when I knew digital products or services were better for me.
So decide what you like and could see yourself doing in a long-run.
May Allah make it easy for us all, make us successful at whatever we do and keep us conscious of Him at all time.