I drove past a school sports field and heard the cheerleaders screaming at the team: “What have we got?” the response was “A lot!” I smiled to myself and thought that this summarised my feelings about the youth of today. Yes, unemployment stats are terrifying; yes there is massive competition for places in university and for jobs; yes climate change is a threat…the list goes on. However, I think your generation has a lot to offer. You are energetic, tech-savvy, woke, innovative and resilient – you have survived the Great Recession and a pandemic in your young lives!
It’s time to harness what makes you different as a generation and to use these characteristics to test and develop business ideas. It doesn’t have to be your lifelong dream, to bring you an income and opportunities for future growth.
The key is to look for pain points – what are people battling with - and see if you can provide a solution. Here are 10 business ideas to get you started. They require limited upfront investment and can easily be scaled if demand grows.
Start a business focused on the delivery and collection of goods and services. Online and delivery go hand in hand, yet courier costs in SA are a barrier to many shoppers. Have a bike? Get fit while delivering on behalf of local restaurants, shops and spazas. No petrol costs means that you can provide your service cheaper than car or scooter-based services.
Become a ‘gofer’
Run errands, collect medications, and stand in queues for the elderly or physically challenged or the plain very busy! Time is the one thing that most people don’t have enough of, which makes them willing to pay for convenience.
Home tech guru
You may not be the next Bill Gates, but chances are that you know a lot more about software and computer set up than the average person born before the tech age! Technology is marvellous until it doesn’t work, which is when many people are left frustrated and helpless. Fill that gap! This has the added advantage of allowing you to offer a lot of your services remotely.
Social media management
Handling social media platforms and knowing what’s in and what’s not… many small business owners do not have the time nor the know-how to manage this and yet they need to connect with their customers. Help them!
Online presence services
Copywriting, podcasts, blogging, social media / YouTube influencer, SEO, basic website setup and maintenance… Small businesses need these services!
Music, video and graphic art
Every business needs a website and an online presence. Use your creative skills to create and source downloadable and affordable music, videos and images that small businesses can use in their promotions. They don’t need to be top quality and top price, just good enough that they can be used effectively.
Someone has to do the dirty work… fetching and dropping off laundry, cleaning sneakers, washing windows, clearing gutters, cleaning dustbins, etc.
Online ordering and delivery, comparative pricing, hobbies, animal care, fitness and health… What are people interested in and what will be useful to them?
Tutoring / Au Pairing
Now you can finally put Pythagoras to use by helping other poor learners pass their exams! Online, WhatsApp, physical… where are learners hanging out? That’s where you should be advertising. Au Pair work generally requires access to a car and a valid driver’s license, but there are many harried parents out there needing a hand.
Dog walking / Pet care / House sitting
These and tutoring or childcare are referral-based businesses, so consider offering your services for free to a few lucky customers in exchange for positive referrals.
It doesn’t matter where, or how you start… what does matter, is that you begin to earn and so open up opportunities to invest in another business, reinvest in the one you started, or invest in further education. Take aim at your own future!
Stop yearning. Start earning. Start learning.
By Janet Askew