Like lots of other micro-entrepreneurs, I started taking pictures in my spare time and a hobby. I ended up taking pictures of events, friends and family and created incredible albums. The problem with photography these days is that you have to be super good, because everyone has a camera! My photography business is built upon my showing up at a formal event or gathering, as a professional photographer, and getting the job done. You would be surprised a how well this works.
When my kids wanted to do a lemonade stand in our neighborhood, I asked them for a more original idea. They decided to sell plants – because we had a number of road-side nurseries in our area. I humored them, and said we would try a plant rental business. I took them to get a business license, made them come to the printer to do brochures, forced them to come to Home Depot to get potting soil and we turned our garage in to a small plant nursery. They licked the stamps and the envelopes. Then we got a real customer – and then we had a dozen. Three years later we still have a small but growing (no pun intended) family business. We water every week and we all do it together!
Medical Transcription Service
I am a nurse and I have been for a long time. I like what I do, but it was getting to be “just a job”, and not a great paying one at that. So I decided to start a medical transcription business on the side. I brushed up on my typing skills and I have a number of doctors that just drop audio files on Dropbox for me almost every day. I type notes from audio files, and I also transcribe (and translate) handwritten notes from doctors as well. I am in the process of training a voice recognition software to understand medical terms.
I started cleaning boats on the docks at my parents marina in high school. In college, I cleaned boats during the summer and after I graduated, I couldn’t get a job, so I just kept cleaning boats. The big step came when I got insurance, and I knew I had to make a real business out of it. It is pretty simple, you just show up when you say you will and do a good job. I am a one-person shop unless I need a helper for large jobs. The work is tough but I am outdoors and I enjoy the people. When I see my buddies from school, they ask me when I am going to get a “real job”. I don’t brag – but I make almost twice what any one of them do – and I take the winters off.
Hard Cider Manufacturer
So I started making hard cider for my friends – and they liked it. I decided to try to make a few extra bucks at the deal – and so now I am in the process of starting a real business making hard cider from a variety of fruits. It is definitely hard work, but I like it – and it is rewarding. I seriously doubt if I will get rich doing it, but if I can just sell enough to live comfortably (which really doesn’t take much), I will be happy with it.
Small Job Construction
I have always been handy and over the years, I found myself helping friends and neighbors with all sorts of projects – always for free! I am a computer guy by education and trade, but building stuff always kept me going. I started my “real business” about 3 years ago part time and began billing for my work. The surprising thing is that once I started charging, I found that more people wanted me to do work for them. Apparently, people were reluctant to call if I was doing them a favor, and everyone has money to spend on a good job – well done. I am strongly considering doing this full time in the future – because I will make more than my regular job. But it is a big leap so we will see what happens.
I bought a very expensive cat about 10 years ago and immediately felt guilty about spending so much money. So I decided to breed her – and a new business was born. A few years into the business I started gaining a reputation for great cats, and now I make a (very nice) living just selling my beautiful ragdoll cats. I moved to a larger house and I actually have kittens living in my home and we have a barn where they live when the weather is good.
I have always been super well organized. A few years ago, one of my friends – who is also a micro-entrepreneur called to ask me to help a wife and mother of three that had some serious clutter (boarderline hoarder) problems. I worked with her for weeks and slowly got her house organized. Her family was thrilled – and it was really a life-changing time for them. I decided to actually open a business doing organizing, and I supplement my income helping people overcome disorganized thinking and living spaces.