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HomeBusinessBusiness OpportunitiesWays To Make Money From: The Local Community

Ways To Make Money From: The Local Community

The Local Community

IF YOU LOVE getting out and meeting people here’s a selection of business start-up opportunities perfect for you.

Be a benefit to your neighborhood and make money at the same time with these 20 community-oriented money makers:

  1. Freesheet newspaper

Do you have a word processor and strong language skills? Then publish a free local newspaper.

By soliciting advertising form shops and businesses you can cover print, distribution and administrative costs and make a hefty profit. Also include the latest news, gossip, reports from community groups (such as neighborhood watch, round table, local council, parish church, the police, retailers’ groups), and competitions.

Most free papers are little more than hundreds of ads and the odd news article, so by featuring  contributions from local people you can make your newspaper far more readable and widely read. Use this fact to attract more advertisers.

  1. Local guidebook

Anyone moving to a new neighborhood may not know much about the area, so a guide to local services will be exactly what they need.

Gather addresses and information about schools, doctors, dentists, hospitals, shops, pubs, electricians, plumbers, garages, post offices, and any other useful services and addresses you can think of. Store these details on a computer and turn it into an A4- or A5- sized guide. You could include maps and comments / reviews too.

Get a few hundred printed and sell them in nearby shops, pubs, garages, estate agents and so on.

Getting local firms to advertise in the guide will bump up your profit margin, Update the information and publish a new guidebook every six months or so.

  1. Rent-a-granny

Grannies are great. They can do the housework, keep the kids amused, water the plants, feed and exercise the pets, fetch the shopping, keep an eye on the house when you’re away or busy, and they’re excellent company too.

If you’re a granny (or can pretend to be one – ever seen Mrs Doubtfire?) then offer yourself to local households. You can charge upwards of $7 an hour, plus expenses.

This service satisfies a read need and is ‘off-the-wall’ enough to really make a name for itself. If you’re not a granny yourself then find and set up an agency that hires them out. Alternatively, what about rent-a-granddad / wife / husband / auntie…?

Bulletin boards, doctors’ / dentists’ surgeries, shop windows and community centres are all effective places to advertise.

  1. Community cabbie

For many people living in rural areas and on the edges of towns the nearest taxi firm is miles away, and pricey. So anyone with a suitable vehicle could do a decent trade running a competitively-priced local taxi service, transporting customers to and from pubs, restaurants, clubs, bingo, friend’s house work…

Busiest times are evening and weekends, so you could operate this alongside a regular ‘9 to 5’ job. To publicise yourself get a Yellow Pages listing and get some business cards printed – give these to customers and leave them in pubs, phone boxes and shop windows.

  1. Vision-impaired reading

While reading books aloud to vision-impaired and elderly people won’t make you a millionaire, this part-time enterprise offers extensive emotional rewards.

Make contact with staff members at care centres, hospitals and nursing homes and ask them to spread the word, with the aim of organising readings with client. By charging a few pounds per session and developing a regular clientele you can make this profitable as well as enjoyable.

Encourage clients to suggest books to bring. Extra cash could be made selling pre-recorded spoken cassettes.

  1. Travelling hairdresser

To many, a hairdresser is far more than a person who cuts and styles hair. They’re a friend, a shoulder to cry on, and a confidence booster too.

Travelling hairdressers can offer all this plus the convenience of home styling, which is they tend to have a loyal client base booking regular appointments, whether they need a haircut or not. You may end up earning more than you ever could in a salon you can make your charges competitive since you don’t have the overheads.

Other than buying hairstyling equipment, a vehicle and an answerphone for taking booking, your only expenses will be petrol, hair products and advertising. To attract clients use shop window cards / posters. It may be worth taking out newspaper ads initially, although ultimately most of your custom will come from referrals by satisfied customers, so encourage them to pass your business card to friends and neighbors.

  1. Mobile beauty therapy

Depending on your talents and interests you could practice any form of mobile beauty therapy – manicure, pedicure, make up, aromatherapy, and / or stress therapy, to name just a few.

Again, the name of the game is convenience, competitive rates (thanks to your lack of overheads), word-of-mouth referrals, and a service where being a friend is as important as the beauty treatment you give. The marketing procedure is similar to the traveling hairdresser – you could swap business cards with hair dressers to hand to clients.

  1. Local tour guide

A tour of local places of interest is a great way to make money from tourists and visitors. Give it a theme: in London, for example, you can follow in the footsteps of famous writers and artists, or go on ‘heritage walks’ around sites of historical note.

If you’re planning on covering a wider area a coach or minibus tour will be more suitable. Give a running commentary combining factual details with local stories, legends and folklore – get ideas by reading old newspaper and periodicals from your library.

Have some leaflets and posters printed and leave them in tourist information offices and tourist sites. Don’t forget to give the starting time and place, which should be central and easily accessible.

Most areas have something notable about them, even if it isn’t immediately obvious. Thanks to the film The Full Monty, the tour of Sheffield’s run down east end is popular with tourists from all over the world.

  1. Baby-sitting service/agency

Not an original concept, but a solid earner for any trustworthy, punctual and caring person. Referrals are the way to get work, so get neighbors and friends to put the word around and put up postcards in shop windows. The going rate is a modest $2.50-$5 and hour, depending on where you live.

If you want to make some real money, take the agency route. First find a team of reliable sitters, then concentrate on promoting your agency widely so that when people want a baby sitter the going rate, the actual charge to clients is an extra pound per hour, which represents your profit margin. If you’ve gotten sitters out for four hours each on a Saturday night that’s $40 clear profit for you – and you’ve still got your evening free.

  1. Costumed telegrams

If you’re confident and enjoy dressing up and making people laugh, this is ideal.

First you need a costume. It helps if you know someone with a sewing machine, as making your own outfits is far cheaper than hiring or buying them.

Gorilla, chicken, policemen, schoolgirl and fireman outfits are popular. Advertise in the phone book and distribute flyers to offices and homes in your town. You’ll normally be asked to deliver a gift or a birthday kiss to your target, so get a set ‘routine’ ready.

The standard rate for this is $20-$30 per client, so you’ll be ‘quids in’ after a few busy nights. If you hate being centre of attention you could always set up and agency instead.

  1. Party sales

Although Tupperware was the first, perhaps the most notorious party plan product is Ann Summers lingerie (and related items!).

Their party sales work like this. The salesperson approaches clients willing to host parties, usually by knocking on doors, distributing promotional leaflets and making approaches to people in their workplace.

The salesperson then goes to the client’s house to demonstrate / display the items to the assembled guests. Who are encouraged to handle the goods and try things on. This facilitates a happy and fun atmosphere, which in turn encourages partygoers to buy things – possibly items they might feel embarrassed about buying in a shop. So the guests have a good time and the salesperson makes plenty of sales.

All manner of goods can be sold via party plan clothes, plants, cookware, art, and much more. It’s easy to become a party plan agent for another company and you’ll find opportunities advertised in most business publications.

The key to success is: 1) work hard on promotion, making sure you’re booked up most nights; 2) create a fun and relaxed atmosphere, as it encourages sales, and 3) at the end of each party you give, hand out promotional cards / leaflets to the guests to give to friends, and try to make a repeat booking – probably at a different venue.

  1. Weekend garage sales

These are traditionally and effective way of clearing out your garage / cellar / loft and earning some cash while you’re at it. Put up some posters around the neighborhood, hand out a few leaflets or even put an ad in the paper, and you’re guaranteed a few customers.

But what happens once you’ve sold everything off? You simply invite neighbors to give you their unwanted things to sell. Offer to pick up the goods, clean them, price them up and sell them in return for a 30-50 per cent commission. You get new stock and profit, the supplier makes money for no effort, and everybody’s happy. Result: a highly lucrative weekend business.

  1. Camp for kids

Children’s hotels and summer camps are well established in the States, and with a little marketing effort there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be popular here. Parents love them because they can drop their youngsters off knowing they’ll have a good time in a safe relaxed environment, leaving them free to go on holiday or do whatever they want to do.

You’ll need to find a site with beds, a kitchen / dining room, recreation room(s) for games and TC, surrounded by open space for outdoor games and pursuits – a school vacant for the holidays perhaps. Staff equipment / games, entertainment, insurance and marketing are other major considerations.

While a kids’ camp / hotel might require time, efforts and investment to set up, this is an opportunity ripe for exploitation and future growth.

  1. Home care service

Caring for the elderly or sick at home is a rapidly growing business, which may suit someone with one or more spare rooms. Caring for someone in their own home may be impractical, and the nursing home might be too far away or present the wrong atmosphere, so the solution might be to place a sick or elderly friend or relative in your personal care.

Although you may have to have medical back-up, you are essentially providing  personal rather than medical care, ensuring  that residents are clean, healthy  and  well fed, and offering kindness and support. This service is most suited to well-off clients, so organize your charges and marketing accordingly.

Before you begin you’ll need to investigate local authority regulations regarding setting up and operating a nursing home, although by operating a strictly non-medical service (with clients organizing their own medication) you could bypass some or all of these.

  1. Dating agency

With people finding it increasingly hard to meet partners within their own social circle, introduction agencies perform a necessary service.

You can run it from home all you need to start is a personal computer with database for storing  and matching client details  (specially written porogrammes are available from Competec, 01709 876165), a telephone / answerphone , and a PO box number (available from the Post Office).

Get clients by placing classified ads in the personal column of the local paper, or by advertising via the Internet. Interview all new client and take their details – name / age / address / occupation / interests etc. This information is keeps on file and used to match one client with another.

Clients pay you a membership fee when they join, plus a charge for each ‘match’ you supply. Research  the competition  in your area ( if there is any) to decide how much you’re going to charge and what kind of market you’re going to target, such as professionals, the under-40s, over 50s, or general.

If you get a kick out of bringing people together this is the business to be in.

  1. Professional companion

Not everyone wants a partner. Many individuals especially the over 50s, who may have lost their wife or husband – just want someone who can accompany them to social club, cinema, restaurant, theatre, bingo, and other events. Going alone isn’t much fun, so they’ll pay for an escort.

If you’re smart and a lively conversationalist why not join an agency as a professional companion?

Average rates are $10 plus an hour you’ll also benefits from free meals, films, and so on.

If you can’t find an agency (look for classified ads in newspapers and magazines) then set your own up.

  1. Craft sales

Organsing weekend craft fairs is a respectable earner (especially if you‘re also selling your own products) since they’re practically guaranteed to pull in the paying public.

Find a suitable venue that is central and accessible to passers-by. A church hall, community centre or vacant shop will fit the bill. Next, you need to find stallholders. Most areas are well populated with home-based craftsmen, retailers and market traders, so a few well-placed posters and leaflets should draw them out, or you can approach them personally.

To attract the public put up plenty of signs and posters – you could also use handouts and newspaper ads. By charging stallholders a fee of anything from ten pence to $1, you ought to cover the cost of marketing and venue hire and make substantial profit.

If the initial events are successful you’ll have a thriving business on your hands.

  1. Selling secondhand clothes

A shop or stall selling ‘pre-loved’ clothing is the opportunity to suit anyone who’s friendly and fashion conscious.

Begin by knocking on doors in your neighborhood and collecting people’s   unwanted garments. While many will give them to you for free, you may occasionally have to pay a small fee. Jumble sales are another source of stock. Ensure everything you sell is clean and free of wear and tear – it helps to have a sewing machine handy for sewing on buttons and making minor alternations – and aim to sell only good quality, fashionable clothes.

You could find a small, cheap retail space to sell your goods, or keep overheads to a minimum by setting up a market stall. If you can garner a reputation for selling priced, high quality apparel you’ll do well.

  1. Children’s transport

When the school holidays roll around, kids across the country will be saving. “Mum / Dad can you take me to the zoo /park /shops / cinema / swimming pool…?”

Not all the parents can spare the time, so why not offer to take their offspring to these events for them>

The kids will love it, the parents will get a bit of peace and quiet, and you’ll make upwards of $3 an hour per child, plus expenses.

As well as a car, you’ll need an ability to get on with children. You’ll also require good references, to prove you can be trusted. For this reason it’s best to begin by contacting people you already know and take it from there.

  1. Private day nursery

With more and more parents choosing to work there is increasing demand for day nurseries.

Setting one up locally is something you could do if you have free time, a love of children and a supply of games, toys and craft materials. While the person running the nursery must be suitably qualified, that person needn’t be you – there’s nothing to stop you employing someone.

You also need to register with your local council social services department. For further information contact the National Childminding Association (on 0181 464 6164) and your local council (see phone book).

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