Do any of these scenarios hit home as you are thinking about the best times to launch your new start up and generate passive income at the same time?
• A lot of pink slips have been showing up within your company recently. And you’re afraid one of the next ones will land on your desk.
• You’re struggling to make ends meet as you work your way through school (or you’re waking up in cold sweats as you imagine the bills you’ll be getting once your children hit college campuses).
• Your daughter is planning a wedding that you’ll be financing.
• Or finally, after decades on the nine-to-five treadmill, you’re ready to retire—but a little worried about how far your bank account will stretch.
In any of these scenarios, you might find yourself thinking, Gee, it would be nice to start that business I’ve always dreamed about. Then I’d feel like I have more control over not just my finances but my life right now! If you’re like most people, though, that wish is followed by a “but”: But right now, I should save every cent I have instead of investing it in a business that may or may not succeed. But starting a business is really stressful, and I already have enough on my plate. But it’s too risky. But I don’t have enough time. And so on and so forth.
Well, hold up because Sean C. Castrina has another “but” for you.
“All of these justifications for not wanting to become an entrepreneur at an uncertain time in your life are sound, but if you’re smart about it, these milestones can be the perfect time to start your own business,” says Castrina, author of 8 Unbreakable Rules for Business Start-Up Success (Champion Publishing, 2013, ISBN: 978-0-989-10456-2) “When you follow a specific set of rules, there’s less risk involved than you might think.”
Castrina speaks from extensive experience. He has started over 15 companies in industries including direct mail, home services, property management, retail, and more—the first while he was working 9 to 5, and one of the most recent in order to fund his daughter’s college education.
Specifically, Castrina recommends starting a service business (Entrepreneur.com has a great list of service businesses to start you thinking) in order to minimize risk, as well as the amount of time, money, and energy you’ll need to put into your fledgling company. (That way, you can focus on the other major life events you’re facing!)
“Service businesses require minimal money to start. In fact, I’ve never started a service business with more than $10k, and many with less than $3k—including businesses that have made me millions!” Castrina comments. “Plus, many service businesses don’t require a prior work history in the field or particular qualifications, so you can get one off the ground fairly quickly.
“Best of all, since you can hire others to perform the actual work while you handle the key behind-the-scenes management tasks (like hiring, supervising, taking client calls, marketing, etc.), service businesses are a great source of passive income,” he adds.
“For instance, I started a mobile car detailing business in my 20s. I hired an employee to do the work, charged $95 for a full detail inside and out, and gave my worker 50 percent. All I did was make the phone ring and schedule the jobs. I didn’t get rich, but I did make an extra $25k a year—not bad for three to five hours of work a week during my down time!”
In his book, Castrina explains exactly how, with 20 hours a week (or less!) of organized and focused time, you can build a solid foundation for small-business success. And his website, www.newbizcoach.org, offers more resources, including seminars and one-on-one coaching.