I am a strong believer in entrepreneurship, and I’ve made it one of my life’s core missions to encourage women to go into business for themselves. Entrepreneurship offers women access to a unique kind of social and economic power as well as a potent kind of self-sustaining financial independence.
While I’ve always been and still am an advocate for women getting into entrepreneurship and making their ideas work for them, I also realize that not everyone is ready or interested in building a business full-time; the truth is, it requires extremely long hours, hard work for many years, and complete dedication. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start learning the ropes, building your skills, and creating real financial independence for yourself (and who knows, maybe you’ll love it so much, you’ll want to make entrepreneurship your full-time gig).
But, critically, many women are reluctant to go into business for themselves. This can be due to unspoken cultural assumptions, fear of failure, a desire or expectation to prioritize family, or a sense of being unqualified. These are all real barriers, and often difficult ones to overcome; women are underrepresented in growth-heavy STEM fields, which represent a massive volume of the startup ecosystem. But, while these barriers aren’t imaginary, they are also relatively manageable once you realize that there’s more than one way to go into business for yourself.
So let’s talk about another kind of entrepreneurial undertaking: remote businesses. Relatively low-risk, requiring relatively little initial investment and demanding relatively low overheard, remote businesses are a great way to develop an outside income source with growth potential, with significantly less in the way of gatekeeping (it’s also an excellent way to take your first steps into entrepreneurism).
Here are a few ideas to kick your idea machine into action.
Airbnb is a fantastic way to monetize a spare room or (less likely) second home, turning it into an income-generating machine. If your space is clean and well-maintained, you can transform it, essentially, into a functioning hotel space with relatively little additional work. This is truly a growth-oriented business; reinvesting that money into an apartment that pays for itself and then some can both get guests out of your house and into a dedicated space (which is also more in-demand than co-occupancy, giving guests more privacy).
Think of running an Airbnb as arbitrage; you’re buying low and renting high on an asset that’s also continually renewable and, in high-demand tourism cities or around significant dates and events like the Super Bowl for example, the value of your asset can skyrocket, turning around profound profit in a relatively short amount of time. And while that’s a dream scenario, the actual day-to-day of running separate apartments as Airbnbs can generally double your investment month to month; a $2000/month apartment can generate $4000/month in income for a few hours a day of cleaning and maintenance – if that.
Digital Content Freelancing
Do you know what the biggest bottleneck in media is right now? There’s more demand for content than ever before – and nowhere near enough being created.
Digital content freelancing doesn’t pay well to start, but it has a few advantages over other jobs: 1) you are your own means of production, 2) you take gigs as needed, and 3) it’s a path with serious potential long-term growth. All you need is a laptop and the ability to create content. And what’s more, this path is infinitely variable depending on your skillset and interests; there will always be a need to develop and publish content, and every aspect of it – writing, illustration, digital design, photography, animation, film, website design – is being farmed out to freelancers. If you dedicate yourself to it, it’s easy to quickly build up a body of quality work and a network of reliable contacts.
Moreover, your experience over time only increases your earning potential, eventually leading to sustainable income in a serious growth market. While not a silver bullet by any means, this kind of freelancing can easily expand beyond simple gig economy levels, especially as you carve out a niche for yourself.
Coding for Web and App Development
This might seem like a hard field to get into, but coding isn’t impossible to learn; there are a wide range of affordable (and even free) resources to learn coding on your own time from home. There is an investment of time in terms of learning the required skills (if you don’t already have them), but coding is profoundly in demand, and freelance coders and developers have access to a wide range of businesses that can’t sustain permanent dev departments but still need coding work done.
Moreover, once you’ve learned and honed your coding skills, you can put them to use by developing your own app idea, creating yet another source of revenue.
Of course, any gig-based business is going to be inherently unstable, but the right time investment can turn a freelancing remote business into something much more profitable and sustainable. That time investment, in education and experience, is 90% of any successful career, but here, the skillset is lucrative and in massive demand; so for example, even if coding isn’t the easiest thing to learn, it’s a highly sought-after, easily transferable skill set that allows you to operate a remote business on your own schedule.
The beauty of all three of these remote businesses is that you can begin them casually, and ramp up your commitment as needed or desired. It’s a low-risk path into self-ownership and self-investment with the potential for lucrative new careers while offering reduced dependence on a single income stream. They’re all also great ways to start building your entrepreneurship skills and know-how.
In other words, they’re a path to your future. So it’s time to get going!
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