Low-Cost Business Ideas You Can Start from Home(PART 3)

#1. Day Care

Things were easier for working families in the past. Hiring a house-help was cheap, all you had to do was make a phone call, and a relative would send you a young house-help from the rural area. Such was the norm for many families, but things have changed today. If you’ve been following the news, house-helps have become very expensive because of the recently enacted law. Many parents are now shifting to daycare centers because of this. Don’t even get me started with rouge house-helps who abuse and even kidnap kids.

For the business-minded Stay-at-home mommy, this is a potential investment you can’t overlook if you live in an estate where there are many working parents with little ones. Why is it on my list? Well, unlike other business opportunities that require huge capital, starting a child daycare business costs next to nothing. Besides, all you need is a special liking for children and basic knowledge on early childhood development.

So I recently purchased a child daycare business plan prepared by Crack a Business Kenya because I wanted to understand more before I put my first foot forward. I must say there’s a lot to keep in mind before moving forward. Most families within Nairobi and its environs are desperately looking for the best daycare centers to take their children. Don’t trust my word? Go to Google and start typing ‘Daycare Centres.’ Look at the alternative keywords that people use to search the same information, and you’ll be amazed at how people are searching for daycare centers near them.

Starting out

Fortunately, you don’t have to lease a house to start out. You can operate a daycare business from your home, but you need to get legal approval on whether or not your home is suitable for operating as a daycare facility.

Registration

You need to think about getting the necessary licenses and insurance. Important licenses that you need to look for include:

  • Single business permit – from Sh4,000 to Sh15,000
  • Public health license – Sh3,000
  • Individual health certificate – Sh1,500
  • Education license (optional) – Sh9,000

Visit your county office to get all the information on licensing. You also need to think about purchasing a liability insurance cover to protect your house and the children.

Prepare your home and buy the right equipment

Hopefully, you have the phone number of an affordable carpenter and painter who can convert your house into a child-friendly environment. The carpenter can also help you make affordable equipment that you need to have.

Here is a list of commonly-used equipment in daycare facilities. Note that the prices depend on size and quality, so you don’t have to stick to my budget.

  • Mattresses – Sh4,000
  • Tables – Sh1000
  • Chairs – Sh500
  • Toys – from Sh50
  • Potties – Sh200
  • Assorted items like drawing books, charts and stickers
  • TV
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Utensils

You can buy these items from supermarkets or shops along Biashara street. Other places to consider are Kamukunji for plastic items and toys or Second-hand dealers in Gikomba.

Marketing

You need trust from parents so that they can entrust you with their kids. The best way to build a clientele base is through referrals. Network with parents and invest in business cards. Social media is also another great way to market your business, but you can always do this later on as you grow.

Additional staff

Your workload as you begin may not be a lot, but with time, you’ll need to hire additional staff to help you with the growing number of children. Make sure you do thorough background checks on applicants and let them produce relevant identification documents including a certificate of good conduct. The smaller the team, the better for your business, but make sure you compensate them well. You may need to hire:

  • ECD tutors
  • Cooks
  • Security personnel
  • Cleaners

Pricing

There is no clear formula for this. Before setting a price for your business though, check:

  • The competition
  • How much the parents are willing to pay per month
  • The quality of your facility and branding
  • The income level of residents in the area

Lower end daycares charge between Sh50 to Sh200 a day depending on the location. This is because most of these daycares are within low-mid level income estates and they tend to have basic facilities. There is less emphasis on aesthetics as long as the children feed and have someone to keep an eye on them.

Mid-level daycares charge between Sh200 to Sh500 while High-end daycares operating in places like Lavington and Nyari can charge up to a maximum of Sh2000 per day for their services. These daycares tend to provide extra services including insurance covers and on-call vehicles in case children fall sick.

Record keeping

Keep records of transactions and contacts of parents. You also need to have an exclusive business line where parents can call to check on their little ones.

#2. Hair Salon

A hair salon business can be a step in the right direction if you enjoy styling hair and performing manicures. It is the best home-based business to start on a low budget. You can start small with friends and family, build a clientele base and grow slowly as word about your excellent skills spreads.

A salon is a sensitive business venture because you will be dealing with products made from chemicals. You need formal training to be able to understand these products and how they react to different hair types.

Starting out

For a home salon, you need basic equipment like a blow dryer, combs, and styling products which can set you back approximately Sh21,000. If you are working on a tight budget, you may want to invest in services that are not equipment-intensive like plaiting.

Your equipment list can have things like:

  • Water heater – Sh3,000
  • Towels – Sh1,000
  • Flatiron – Sh3,000
  • Blow dryer – Sh2,000
  • Hair Dryer – 12,000

You can shop for these items in Supermarkets or Best Lady shops in town. Alternatively, you can shop online on sites like OLX if you want to reduce costs.

Do a good job and use the first few months to build a name for yourself. With time, you will be able to expand the business, rent a shop and hire more workers whom you can pay on commission.

Profit

A home-based salon can earn you around Sh.16,000 per month. This is enough income to help you budget and expand your business.

#3. Event Planning

Organizing events like weddings or corporate parties can be daunting. Instead of doing everything alone, many people hire event planners to help them. Event planning is a good income opportunity if you have the skills and passion. Event planning requires little capital to start, but you need to be comfortable in dealing with different people.

Start small

Most event planning businesses start from home enabling the mompreneur to save on overhead costs. When you start out, all you need is a laptop, internet connection, a mobile phone and a network of suppliers. With proper research, you can do so much with these tools. Eventually, you will be able to expand your business, but you need to be patient because this takes time.

Marketing

You can either choose to focus on the private market or the corporate market. The private market involves planning small weddings, reunion parties or family events. The Corporate market involves planning stakeholders’ meetings and trade shows.

Locate good suppliers

If you are working on a tight budget, you can negotiate with freelance suppliers who charge affordable prices for their services.

As an event  planner, you need to:

Possess good work ethics

Be flexible

Have great leadership skills

How do you start an event planning business with no clients?

Start using your contacts and email people you know. Your first job, no matter how small, is likely to be someone you know. If you do a good job, your skills will undoubtedly sell themselves, and the word will spread. Ask your contacts to recommend you.

#4. Laundry business

Many Kenyans are busy with their daily hassles that they don’t have enough time to clean dirty clothes at home. As a stay-at-home mom, you can start a laundry business and earn some good cash. This is a very lucrative business that is very profitable especially in mid-class estates and the leafy suburbs of Nairobi.

Starting out

You can wash your clients’ clothes manually or use a washing machine. This depends on whether you have enough capital to start out or not.

To start a laundry service business as a small home-based venture, you need a basic front-loading machine will get the job done. Buying a brand new machine that can handle 7kgs laundry load costs approximately Sh50,000. Aside from this machine, you need:

  • An iron box
  • A dryer
  • An ironing board
  • folding board
  • Detergents

You can buy these items at your local supermarket.

Standing out

As a home-based business, you need to stand out from the competition to penetrate the already growing market. You can offer door-to-door pickups for your busy clients or any other strategy you have up your sleeve to draw in and maintain customers. You can capitalize on social media to market your business or use word of mouth to get the word out.

As you grow, think about renting a room so you can have a small reception office and a large work area. Don’t forget to register as a single business entity.

#5. Cleaning Services

Yes, moms, there is money in this business – good money. Just like laundry, many people barely have enough time to clean their houses. They prefer outsourcing work to professional cleaners who can do an excellent job within the stipulated time. Aside from households, organizations like hotels, offices, and schools are willing to pay for professional work provided the job is done as per expectation. I love the cleaning business because it is very flexible. You can run it right at your home, but once you have a large client base, you may want to set up a commercial office in a suitable and accessible place.

What’s your area of specialization?

You can either choose to specialize in residential cleaning or commercial cleaning. Commercial cleaning is quite lucrative, but if you land a lot of household deals, that’s great!

Services

If you are sure this is the type of business you want to start, here is a list of what your clients expect you to do:

  • Washing floors
  • Cleaning the washrooms
  • Cleaning windows and doors
  • Emptying the trash cans
  • Arranging the office

Depending on the clients’ needs, you can render these services at least twice a week, over the weekend or in the evening.

Here is a list of items you need to have when starting out

  • Carpet cleaner
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Bucket
  • Mop
  • Toilet brush
  • Spray bottle
  • Cleaning agents
  • Squeegees
  • Gloves and masks

Becuase you are starting out, you can rent some of the expensive equipment like the carpet cleaner and vacuum cleaner.

Marketing

There is demand for these basic services, no wonder I put it under the ‘Necessary Services’ category. However, you need to be patient and honest to thrive in the cleaning business. Ask your friends or family members for referrals. Facebook Ads are powerful and very affordable.

Pricing

Pricing depends on several factors including the market prices, the type of service you offer and the nature of the work. Before setting a standard rate, you need to make sure that the price you charge can cover your expenses while still giving you a good profit in the end.

Low-Cost Business Ideas You Can Start from Home(PART 2)

#1. Freelance Writing

If you love writing as I do, there is a way to turn your words into income. Writing is the best job for stay-at-home moms or anyone who wants flexibility. The flexibility coupled with low-startup cost makes freelance writing an excellent option for moms. You only need a good computer, stable internet connection and a word processing software. If you enjoy writing and you want a stay-at-home job, then here are some things you need to know before you begin.

Skills required to be a freelance writer

You don’t need a degree in English to become a successful freelance writing. I advise you start with training first before you begin. You don’t need a lot of experience, but you need to write well and deliver quality work. There is nothing different about working online as a writer except for a few basic writing rules even-more-web-content-writing-tips/ that you need to stick to when writing for clients. Analyze your writing skills to know if you can make money online with writing. A few questions to ask yourself are:

Do I love writing?

How was my composition and literature skills in high school?

Have I received compliments from people about my writing skills?

Do I enjoy putting words on paper?

If you feel that your skills are wanting, check out this free English Grammar and Style course. For online writing, you need to understand Search Engine Optimization and have experience marketing using social media. If you, however, need guidance, you can always signup for online writing courses to polish your skills.

Join freelancing websites

There are numerous freelancing websites today. The list is endless but if you want legitimate freelancing websites that also accept Kenyan writers, here is a list that you should definitely check out. It can be a challenge to get your first writing assignments as a new writer.  

Here are a few tips I can give to help you start out:

  • Define whether you want to create marketing materials or write articles online. The latter is the most common type of writing in Kenya.
  • Work on topics you are familiar with.
  • Check your writing skills and determine your price for each work.
  • Have a few sample pieces related to the topic you want to do.
  • Consider having a website to send potential clients if they want to know more about you.

How much do freelance writers earn?

Well, it’s hard to give you an exact amount when it comes to this. There are a lot of factors that come into play when it comes to what writers take home. Writing is a competitive business, and the market is full. Because of this, payments have dropped for many types of writing especially online writing. Factors like the type of writing and length of the work affect what you get paid. Some clients offer regrettably low pay that is not worth your time at all. According to Payscale however, an entry-level content writer can take home an average of $40k per year in median compensation.

Copywriting is the most lucrative paying job thus the most competitive. If you have a unique skill set, however, you can market yourself well and earn some good amount. You need to determine your rate per hour before you pick writing jobs. As a beginner, it is okay to settle for lower paying jobs, but once you have experience, you can increase your rate or look for higher-paying clients. Sites like iWriter define the amount you get as you start because they categorize their writers according to experience.

#2. Transcription

Transcribing is one of the best and most popular ways to make money online in Kenya. This online job involves typing out audio file – converting audio to written form. Just like freelance writing, it is easy to start transcription work from home. All you need to break into transcription is:

A laptop

If you prefer a desktop, then go for it. I, however, recommend that you get a good laptop because it is flexible. You can move around and work anywhere you want. You don’t need a top-class laptop to start out. Go for a basic computer with great features and buy a better brand as you grow.

Headphones

You need to invest in a good set of headphones. When a say good I mean top-quality. This is a must if you want to start out well in transcription work. The audio needs to be crisp and clear if you want to deliver quality work so your regular earphones will not cut it. A good set of headphones should also be comfortable because you will wear them for long hours.

Software

Transcribing audio is tedious work especially when you have to handle long audio files. As a newbie, you can take longer working on the files. Fortunately, there is a software that can help increase your productivity. Express Scribe is a popular software used for transcription. You can either use the free version or the paid version. Here’s how it works, you upload an audio file and use hotkeys like F4 and F7 to transcribe the file. As opposed to listening via Windows Media Player, Express Scribe lets you transcribe faster and stay productive.

Stable internet connection

Stable internet connection is a must if you want to work online faster. A client can send you large files to transcribe, and this is why I stress on a good internet connection of at least 300Mbps.

Good listening skills

You need to have exceptional listening skills if you want to do transcription work. You need to hear and type every word correctly. Your good listening skills come in handy when you get inaudible audio or when you have to work on audios where there is background noise.

Good typing speed

You may consider starting transcription if you have a comfortable speed of at least 40 words per minute. Anything below may not give you good result in your online work. But don’t worry because the internet is full of resources that can help you test and increase your typing speed like Typing Master

Where to find Transcription Work

There is a market for transcription work for legal, medical or business purposes. The market is large you only need to know where to find the right jobs. Get some training and sign up with freelancing sites. Here is a list of top transcription companies to work for as a Kenyan Work-at-home Mom.

#3. Start a Mom Blog

Starting a mom blog is fun and easy. You don’t have to be a tech guru to know how to start a blog. Blogging is a broad topic, and I can go on and on. Fortunately, there is a lot of content on how to start a mom blog online. Suzi Whitford’s Site, Start a Mom Blog gives you a step-by-step process of building your mom blog. To set you on the right track though, here are a few things you need to know about starting a mom blog.

What are you passionate about?

What do you love doing in your free time or when the kids are asleep? Your passion should drive your decision on a blog topic. The best part is, you don’t have to be an expert on the topic. Start the blog, learn and you’ll become better.

Find a niche

Think about what you plan to write about. This is a very challenging step for a lot of people. Whether you want to talk about parenting or travel, you need to make sure you can monetize. Of course, you can blog for fun but if you truly want to be a Work-at-home mom, make sure you find a way to monetize your niche.

Your domain name should relate to your overall brand. I advise you have your niche somewhere in the blog name but don’t let this take too much of your time. Choosing a domain name is fun and exciting. Make sure the name is short, simple and easy to remember. Have a couple of names in case the first option is already taken. I had a fun time thinking of my blog’s name – The Kenyan Mompreneur. Before I settled on the name though, I had more than 5 options to compare. Some creative mom blog names are:

More Than a Mom

Mommy on a Budget

Tidbits from a WAHM

Frugal Mom

My Kids and I

Kids and Chaos

Mommy Needs a Break

If you need inspiration, here is an article you will love: The Psychology Behind Choosing a Killer Domain Name

#4. Write an Ebook

The internet has changed so many things today. Email replaced snail mail, Skype replaced expensive long-distance phone calls, and Amazon has reduced our hassle of dealing with long queues at the shopping mall. On the bright side, internet entrepreneurs have enjoyed all the benefits of these changes.

One of the disrupted industries that give you a solid make-money-online venture is book publishing. I know there is one thing you are passionate about.I know you have an area of expertise whether it’s writing, nutrition, business coaching or digital art. Some people value your knowledge and are willing to pay for it – you have to know where to look. Aside from starting a mom blog, another simple way to turn your passion into a business is by selling an Ebook.

Make sure your Ebook solves a problem

The good news is, you don’t need a 200-page to make a sweet profit. People will only pay for your Ebook if the pages give them a solution to their problem regardless of the number of pages.

Before you begin to write:

Identify a potentially profitable topic

Discover buyers’ hot-button issues

Understand the problem and how prospects frame it in their mind

An excellent way to find out what your target audience responds to is to look at blog posts or social media updates with the most comments and shares.

Once you are sure that there is demand for your information, it is time to create your Ebook. The best Ebook shares a personal story because it is engaging and builds authority.

Where to sell your Ebook

You have a few great options for selling your Ebook. You can set up a website and sell your book directly online. The process is simple, and the benefit of this is that you can always promote other products directly to your clients in the future. You can also sell your Ebook through third-party sites like Amazon.

#5. Offer an Online Course

When it comes to research, marketing, and selling, the procedure is nearly similar to Ebooks except that this time you are creating interactive lessons with take-away assignments. The market for online courses is big – this is no secret. If you have a special skill, you can share the knowledge to those who are willing to learn. The internet is full of courses about anything you can imagine from copywriting to content creation and dating.

What will you teach?

Maybe you already have an answer to this, but if you don’t make sure that you choose a course idea that you are passionate about and that you can make money teaching it. Here’s how t find a profitable course idea:

Look for things that people ask questions about or want advice on.

If you have a blog, take note of the things your clients ask questions about all the time.

Identify the pain and eliminate it.

Just like Ebooks, people are willing to pay for courses that solve their problem.

Test your course idea

You don’t want to spend a lot of time creating an online course that people will not buy. To test your idea:

Strategy 1: Create a free mini-course and deliver it to readers by Email. The best part about this strategy is, aside from validating your idea, you are also building an email list for your paid course.

Strategy 2: You can put a ‘Coming Soon’ page explaining to readers what the course will cover then track the number of people clicking on the ‘Apply to Buy’ button.

It’s tough creating an online course especially when you’re doing it for the first time. So to make the process smooth and easy:

Have a clear course outline

Start small with a few lessons. You don’t need to create a big in-depth course that covers everything.

Decide what to cover in each lesson.

Don’t pack too much in one lesson. Have bite-sized lessons that will not tune out your students.

Set a Price

Think of the outcome of the course and set the price accordingly. A simple way to do this is by comparing your online course to other courses.

There is a difference though:

A course that tells students what to do would cost less as opposed to a course that shows them how to do it or a course that also offers dedicated support.

A course that solves a big and serious problem would equally cost more than a course prepared to solve a small problem.