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5 Online Businesses You Can Launch with Little Startup Capital

5 Online Businesses You Can Launch with Little Startup Capital

The entrepreneurial dream is alive and well, yet many would-be entrepreneurs don’t pursue their dreams because they think it takes a lot of money to start a business. Sure, there are some businesses that will require a pile of available capital, but there are also several businesses that can be started with very little funding.

Starting an online business has its advantages: working from home or any remote location in the world, while also having complete control over your schedule and career. Also, there are several online businesses that can be started with very little capital.

Thanks to the internet, it’s actually quite simple to launch an online business, even if you are strapped for cash. Here are five examples of online businesses that you can successfully launch without breaking the bank.

1. Social Media Influencer

Wait, what? Is this a real business?

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The answer is yes and it can also be a very financially rewarding one.

A massive loyal following can translate into a huge payday and lucrative opportunities on social media. Large brands pay influencers to promote products to their followers and many “online celebrities” became relevant simply because of their social following.

Some social media influencers with high engagement are earning thousands of dollars per post, but for good reason — this form of advertising works and works very well. When a product or service is introduced via an influencer, there is a much lower barrier to break through. The audience connects that brand with the individual they follow, creating a much easier path to purchase, with less friction than traditional advertising and marketing.

2. Subscription Box Company

If you take a look at the types of subscription box companies out there, you will see there are options for almost everything you can think of. Why? Because they are incredibly popular and many experts predict that they will only become more popular over time.

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Consumers love to receive packages in the mail, which is one of the reason Amazon is so popular. Subscription boxes give consumers what they crave — something that’s trendy combined with the thrill and joy of opening up more boxes every month.

There are many companies that receive free product or samples from companies to use as box filler, which greatly reduces the cost of operation. The key is to build up a large audience of subscribers and leverage that targeted market in order to secure free or reduced product.

Pick a topic that you are truly passionate about, as it will make the hard work required to launch a successful subscription box company more enjoyable.

3. Graphic Designer or Website Developer

Do you know how to write code or do you have graphic design skills? If so, there is a large market for skilled freelancers. You get to control your hours and pick the clients you work for. You control your pricing, work on projects that interest you and have the opportunity to earn a very comfortable living.

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Put together a portfolio and then get yourself out there on some of the popular freelancer websites, such as Freelancer or Upwork.

4. T-shirt Company

Starting a t-shirt company can be very affordable than it was in the past, thanks to print on demand options. Before, you would have to order inventory in huge quantities, in several colors and sizes.

Many t-shirt companies would quickly go out of business because they were putting out so much money in inventory and then getting stuck with colors and sizes that weren’t popular sellers.

It’s now possible to launch a t-shirt company by using social media to create a buzz and generate sales. The brand Chummy Tees is a perfect example of how you can take creative designs and phrases and turn it into a popular apparel line.

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5. Freelance Writer

The new generation of job seekers can’t write. Blame technology, especially text messages. Everything is shorthand, which has created a huge problem, but a huge opportunity for those that have perfect grammar and writing skills.

Almost every company these days is doing content marketing these days, and they desperately need quality writers to produce their blog and website content. Demand for excellent writers is at an all time high and companies are willing to pay for quality.

Skilled writers have plenty of lucrative opportunities waiting for them.

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Published on November 12, 2020

5 Signs You Work in a Toxic Environment (And What To Do)

5 Signs You Work in a Toxic Environment (And What To Do)

What’s the most draining, miserable job you’ve ever had? Maybe you had a supervisor with unrealistic demands about your work output and schedule. Or perhaps, you worked under a bullying boss who frequently lost his temper with you and your colleagues, creating a toxic work environment.

Chances are, though, your terrible job experience was more all-encompassing than a negative experience with just one person. That’s because, in general, toxicity at work breeds an entire culture. Research shows abusive behavior by leaders can and often quickly spread through an entire organization.[1]

Unfortunately, working in a toxic environment doesn’t just make it miserable to show up to the office (or a Zoom meeting). This type of culture can have lasting negative effects, taking a toll on mental and physical health and even affecting workers’ personal lives and relationships.[2]

While it’s often all-encompassing, toxic culture isn’t always as blatant or clear-cut as abuse. Some of the evidence is more subtle—but it still warrants concern and action.

Have a feeling that your workplace is a toxic environment? Here are 5 surefire signs to look for.

1. People Often Say (or Imply) “That’s Not My Job”

When I first launched my company, I had a very small team. And back then, we all wore a lot of hats, simply because we had to. My colleagues and I worked tirelessly together to build, troubleshoot, and market our product, and nobody complained (at least most of the time).

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Because we were all in it together, with the same shared vision in mind, cooperation mattered so much more than job titles. Unfortunately, it’s not always that way.

In some workplaces, people adhere to their job descriptions to a fault:

  • Need help with an accounting problem? Sorry, that’s not my job.
  • Oh, you spilled your coffee in the break room? Too bad, I’m working.
  • Can’t figure out the new software? Ask IT.

While everyone has their own skillset—and time is often at a premium—cooperation is important in any workplace. An “it’s not my job” attitude is a sign of a toxic environment because it’s inherently selfish. It implies “I only care about me and what I have to get done” and that people aren’t concerned about the collective good or overall vision.[3] That type of perspective is not only bound to drain individual relationships; it also drains overall morale and productivity.

2. There’s a Lack of Diversity

Diversity is a vital part of a healthy work environment. We need the opinions and ideas of people who don’t see the world like us to move ahead. So, when leaders don’t prioritize diversity—or worse, they actively avoid it—I’m always suspicious about their character and values.

Limiting your workforce to one type of person is bound to prevent organizations from growing healthily. But even if your work environment is diverse in general, the management might prevent diverse individuals from rising to leadership positions, which only misses the point of having a diverse work environment in the first place.

Look around you. Who’s in leadership at your company? Who gets promotions and rewards most often? If the same type of people gets ahead while other individuals consistently get left behind, you might be working in a toxic environment.

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However it manifests in your workplace, keep in mind that a lack of diversity is a tell-tale sign that “bias is rampant and the wrong things are valued.”[4]

3. Feedback Isn’t Allowed

Just as individual growth hinges on being open to criticism, an organization’s well-being depends on workers’ ability to air their concerns and ideas. If management actively stifles feedback from employees, you’re probably working in a toxic environment.

But that definitely doesn’t mean nobody will air their feelings. One of the telltale signs of toxic leadership is when employees vent on the sidelines, out of management’s earshot. When I worked in a toxic environment, coworkers would often complain about higher-ups and company policies during work in private chats or after work hours.

It’s normal to get frustrated at work. That’s just a part of having a job. What isn’t normal is when dissent isn’t a part of or discouraged in the workplace. A workplace culture that suppresses constructive feedback will not be successful in the long run. It’s a sign that leadership isn’t open to new ideas, and that they’re more concerned about their own well-being than the health of the organization as a whole.

4. Quantifiable Measures Take Priority

Sales numbers, timelines, bottom lines—these metrics are, of course, important signs of how things are going in any business. But great leaders know that true success isn’t always measurable or quantifiable. More meaningful factors like workplace satisfaction, teamwork, and personal growth all contribute to and sustain these metrics.

Numbers don’t always tell the whole story, and they shouldn’t be the only concern. Measure-taking should always take a backseat to meaning-making—working together to contribute to a vision that improves people’s lives. If your workplace zones in on quantifiable measures of success, it’s probably not prioritizing what truly matters. And it’s probably also instilling a fear of failure among employees, which paralyzes employees instead of motivating them.

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5. The Policies and Rules Are Inconsistent

Every organization has its own set of unique policies and procedures. But often, unhealthy workplaces have inconsistent, unspoken “rules” that apply differently to different people. When one person gets in trouble for the same type of behavior that promotes another person, workers will feel like management plays favorites—which isn’t just unethical but also a quick way to drain morale and fuel tension in the office.[5] It only shows how incompetent the leadership is and indicates a toxic workplace.

For example, maybe there’s no “set” rule about work hours, but your manager expects certain people or departments to show up at 8 am while other individuals tend to roll in at 9 or 10 am with no real consequences. If that’s the case, then it’s likely that your organization’s leadership is more concerned with controlling people and exerting power rather than the overall good of their employees.

How to Deal With a Toxic Work Environment

The first thing to know if you’re stuck in a toxic work environment is that you’re not stuck. While it’s ultimately the company’s responsibility to make positive changes that prevent harmful actions to employees, you also have an opportunity to speak up about your concerns—or, if necessary, depart the role altogether.

If you suspect that you’re working in a toxic environment, think about how you can advocate for yourself. Start by raising your grievances about the culture in an appropriate setting, like a scheduled, one-on-one meeting with your supervisor.

Can’t imagine sitting down with your supervisor to air those problems on your own? Form some solidarity with like-minded colleagues. Approaching management might feel less overwhelming when you have a “team” who shares your views.

It doesn’t have to be an overtly confrontational discussion. Do your best to frame your concerns in a positive way by sharing with your supervisor that you want to be more productive at work, but certain problems sometimes get in the way.

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Final Thoughts

If your supervisor truly cares about the well-being of the organization, they will take your concerns seriously and actively take part in changing the toxic work environment into something more conducive to productivity.

If not, then it might be time to consider the cost of the job on your well-being and personal life. Is it worth staying just for your resume’s sake? Or could you consider a “bridge” job that allows you to exhale for a bit, even if it doesn’t “move you ahead” the way you planned?

It might not be the ideal situation, but your mental health and well-being are too important to ignore. And when you have the opportunity to refuel, you’ll be a far more valuable asset at whatever amazing job you land next.

More Tips on Dealing With a Toxic Work Environment

Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

Reference

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