Thinking about starting a new business? These low-risk, high-reward businesses could be a great place to start.
There’s a certain level of risk involved with starting a new business. No matter how sound your business idea or how prepared you are, there’s always some uncertainty as to whether things will go as planned, or your business will be as successful as you hope and plan for it to be.
But while taking on risk is an inevitable part of starting a business, some businesses are riskier than others—and require you to roll the dice with your time, energy and money with a fairly high likelihood that things may not work out.
Luckily, the opposite is also true—and there are plenty of low-risk, high-reward businesses for you to explore.
Low-risk, high-reward businesses are, as the name implies, businesses that have the potential for a high level of reward without a high level of risk. With these businesses, the juice is definitely worth the squeeze.
They don’t require much capital to get off the ground, there are fewer barriers to entry than other business models, and there’s a high profit potential—making them an ideal choice for people who want to start their own business without putting everything on the line.
So, the question is, if you want to start a low-risk, high-reward business, what are your options—and how can you choose the right low-risk, high-reward business for you?
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Businesses With Low-risk and High-reward Potential to Consider
The good news? When it comes to businesses with low-risk and high-reward potential, you’ve got options.
Some of the low-risk, high-reward businesses you may want to explore for your next entrepreneurial venture include:
When you start an affiliate marketing business, you sign up as an affiliate to sell products for other people, brands and companies—and then collect a commission every time you send a sale to that person, brand or company.
With affiliate marketing, all you really need to succeed is an engaged audience, whether that’s through a website, an email list or social media. It definitely takes time and energy to build that audience—but startup costs are pretty bare bones, and it doesn’t cost anything to sign up as an affiliate and start selling products.
Affiliate marketing is a great low-risk, high-reward business for budding entrepreneurs who are interested in building a sustainable business online—without investing the time, energy and money into product development themselves.
Freelance writing is an extremely flexible business model; freelance writers might partner with brands to develop content for their website, do editorial work for magazines or write their own blog.
And while it takes some serious writing chops and the drive to continually pitch to establish yourself as a freelance writer—and make the kind of money you’d typically associate with a “high reward” business—there’s really not a ton of risk involved.
All you need to get started is a few writing samples, an email account to send pitches and the tenacity to seek out opportunities, and pitch yourself and your writing services.
Freelance writing is a great low-risk, high-reward option for people who love to write—and are also ready and willing to approach writing like a business (and not just a creative process).
Whatever skills, background and experience you have, there is a person or a company out there that needs professional insights and guidance that only someone with your unique combination of skills, background and experience can provide—and are willing to pay a hefty consulting fee for those insights and guidance.
For example, let’s say you spend most of your career working in finance. In that case, you might offer consulting to startup companies to help them establish their budgets and set up the financial systems they need to succeed.
Or maybe you specialize in content marketing. As an experienced content marketer, you might consult with businesses on their content strategy, advise them on how to build an editorial calendar and recommend distribution channels to get their content in front of the right audience.
Consulting is a great low-risk, high-reward business because a) you can pitch yourself as a consultant no matter who you are, what you do or what stage you’re at in your career, and b) there’s very little upfront investment to get started with consulting. All you need is a website, some business cards, and the willingness to market yourself to your ideal clients.
A lot of people need help finding the perfect career—and those people often hire career coaches to help them figure things out and find the right job, company or business idea for the next chapter in their professional life.
Career coaching has little overhead; you don’t need an office or any products or equipment to get started, making it low-risk. But there’s definitely potential for high rewards—both from a financial perspective (people are willing to pay for the right career guidance!) and from an emotional perspective (helping people find clarity in their career can be extremely fulfilling).
If you have a background in human resources, leadership development or coaching, or you’ve navigated a major career change yourself—and you want to help others do the same—career coaching might be the perfect low-risk career for you.
Retail is a historically high-risk business. You need inventory to get started in most retail operations, there’s a lot of investment on the front-end—and there’s no way to know if that investment will pay off (or you’ll get stuck with a bunch of products that you can’t sell).
One exception to that rule? Dropshipping. With dropshipping, you can build an e-commerce shop that features as many products as you like. You choose the products, set the prices and market those products to your customers.
But you don’t actually have to invest in purchasing any of those products up-front. Instead, when one of your customers makes a purchase, that order is fulfilled by a third-party dropshipping supplier. The dropshipping supplier keeps the wholesale price of the item, and any difference between the wholesale price and the retail price you set for your customers? That’s all profit for your business.
Don’t have to invest in inventory upfront? That’s low-risk. Set your own prices—and then pocket any retail markups? That’s high reward potential. So, if you’re a digital marketing aficionado looking for a low-risk, high-reward business idea? Dropshipping could be the right fit for you.
Social Media Marketing
One of the cardinal rules of marketing is to connect with people where they already are—and in today’s digital age, people are on social media.
Social media offers tons of opportunities for businesses to connect with their target customers, market their products and services, and drive revenue. But social media marketing is a very specific skill—and many companies, particularly small or new businesses, don’t have the manpower on their team to effectively develop, implement and optimize a social media marketing strategy.
Which is why starting a social media marketing company is a great low-risk, high-reward business. There is no shortage of clients out there looking for social media marketers—and if you’re up to speed on the latest social media marketing strategies, there’s no reason you can’t be the one to provide those services.
Plus, there’s very little risk in getting started. Clients will front the bill for their marketing campaigns, so there’s not much in the way of upfront costs—but if those campaigns prove successful, there’s potential for a big payout for your new social media business.
All you have to do is take a quick scroll through social media—and take a peek at the seemingly endless lists of organization hacks and photos of perfectly organized pantries—to realize that organization is having a serious moment. And that moment presents a serious opportunity for type A, organized personalities to capitalize on the trend and start a new business.
Offering professional organization services—whether that’s organizing someone’s closet, pantry or digital presence (like their Google Drive)—requires virtually no start-up costs. Many professional organizers don’t even start with a website; instead, they showcase their organizational skills on Instagram (which is free!) and find their first clients that way.
But the reward potential is definitely high. Most people want their lives to be organized, but don’t necessarily have the time, energy or skills to organize it themselves—and are more than willing to pay someone else to do it for them.
If the thought of color-coding and categorizing a closet or developing a new file naming structure for a chaotic Dropbox account sounds appealing to you, starting a professional organization business could be the low-risk, high-reward business for you.
How to Decide Which Low-Risk, High-Reward Business Idea Is Right for You
Clearly, there are plenty of businesses with low-risk and high-reward potential to choose from. But how do you choose the right business for you?
Let’s take a look at a few tips to help you choose the right low-risk, high-reward business for your next entrepreneurial venture:
- Evaluate your skills, experience and resources. It doesn’t matter if a business is generally low-risk, high-reward—if you don’t have the skills, experience or resources necessary to build, manage and grow that business, you’re not going to be successful (e.g., if you’re not a tech-savvy person, growing a tech-heavy business probably isn’t the right choice; or if you live in an area that doesn’t have reliable internet, an online business is likely to prove frustrating). Make sure that, when choosing a low-risk, high-reward business, you choose a business type that plays to your strengths and the resources available.
- Research your market… In order for any business to succeed—including a low-risk, high-reward business—there needs to be a demand for that business in the market. Before you invest in starting your new business, make sure that there’s an existing customer base that wants and/or needs the products, and/or services you’re planning to offer.
- …and your competitors. The more competition there is in an industry or niche, the harder it is to gain market share—and the more risk involved as a result. Before you start any business—even if it’s generally considered low-risk, high-reward—make sure to research your competitors. While competition certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start a business, it does mean you’ll need to figure out a way to differentiate yourself, break through the clutter, and grab your ideal customers’ attention.
Get Out There and Start a Business With the Most Reward Potential—and the Least Amount of Risk
When you’re starting a new business, you want to give yourself the highest chance of success—and you want to get that chance at success with the least amount of risk possible. And now that you have this list of low-risk, high-reward businesses as a jumping off point, all that’s left to do? Get out there and start a business with low-risk and high-reward potential—and find that success for yourself.