We talk about what types of businesses you can start without a college degree.
Spoiler Alert: it's any type.
Welcome to Degree Free, where we explain what you can do instead of go to college, and how to teach yourself, get work, and make good money.
On this episode, Ryan shares how he got into buying books for Amazon, and Hannah explains how something Barbara Corcoran said on Sharktank changed her life.
The types of businesses that are most accessible are:
We talk about their experience drop shipping and what it's like to work and run a services business.
Enjoy the episode!
Want to make a huge career change?
Sick of applying to jobs and hearing nothing back?
If that's you, then check out our Career Change Crash Course. We'll teach you how to identify the skills you need to get the work you want, how to craft a story around your past experience, and how to sell your skills to your future employer!
Join the Degree Free! Receive our weekly newsletter and get exclusive tips and tricks to get hired and make money without a degree!
Want to hear what we talked about on last week's episode? It was a pretty good one. We go over the return on investment for a college degree, talk about jobs we self eliminated from due to degree requirements, and go over giant companies that are ditching degree requirements!
Ryan: Aloha guys. And welcome to degree free. We are your hosts, Ryan and Hannah Maruyama. On this podcast, we share fundamentals we've discovered and the mistakes we've made while self-educating getting work, building businesses and making money. We'll tell you how to make it happen. No degree needed!
Hannah: Hey everybody.
If you're new, welcome to the podcast. If you're not new, then hey, good to see you again. If you are looking for directions on how to do the things we've talked about in previous podcasts, or after you listened to this one, you are relistening because you like it so much, and you want some guidance on how to go about getting work, starting a business, or basically just trying to figure out what you can do instead of go to college, you can check out our guide.
It is on degreefreenetwork.com. And if you're not interested in doing that, you can continue to listen along to the podcast. And we do talk over pretty much every principle that's in the guide, and you can feel free to take notes and use Youtube University and Reddit and Google, as you see fit. And without further ado, let's get into today's topic.
Ryan: All right, guys, let's get into today's topic. Today, we're going to be talking about the different types of businesses to start. This is something that we get asked all the time is what are some ideas for businesses to start? A lot of times people come to us and they're thinking about not going to college or they've made the decision not to go.
And they're assessing their options of what different things to do, whether or not that's just getting a job in a field that they want to, or the field that they think they want to get into. Or going to school to do something else going on like a trade school or going to have taken online courses. One of those things is starting businesses.
A lot of people want to start businesses and you don't need to go to college to start a business. And so today we're not really going to be talking about the, how to start a business. That's probably going to be another episode for later. Mostly we're just talking about the ideas of businesses and kind of high level execution and the kind of the mistakes that we've made when we were running, when we were first running ours, when we first, when we were first building our businesses.
Hannah: And man, we have done some dumb stuff.
Ryan: Absolutely. We made a lot of mistakes and we continue to make mistakes. We're still,
Hannah: We just make them faster now.
Ryan: We're still growing. Yeah. Do we make it faster? Yeah, I guess.
Hannah: Yeah. It's not really that we make less, we just make them faster and we stop making them quicker, I think.
Ryan: Yeah. Yeah. I think definitely. I think so. It gets the more, you the longer you do it, the better you get at analyzing whether or not it wasn't a mistake and the faster you can course correct. That's something that took us a long time to learn, and we're still learning it to this day.
We make mistakes all the time. Every day we make mistakes.
Hannah: So a big part of this too, is. What I've noticed is when people have been asking us about this recently, usually they have an idea and they're just not really sure what to do with it, or even where to classify it. And because they're not really sure where to classify it or what sort of category the business ideas in, they don't really know how to move forward.
I find that there's basically two types of people that want to start businesses. And want to be entrepreneurs. There are people that are overwhelmed and scared and don't know where to start. And then there are people who are way ready to bite off a ton more than they can chew. And you and I have been both of those things.
We want to talk to those two groups of people.
Ryan: So I guess there's a jump right into it. A lot of people come to us with the idea of wanting to start a business and the idea of "oh, I have this idea. I have this I'm thinking about doing whatever you name it." You're right, I'm thinking about selling this, or I'm thinking about becoming a massage therapist. I'm thinking about doing eyebrows, thinking about selling vintage clothes, you name it, we've heard it. And a lot of what people think "when they come to us and they're like, oh what am I going to know? If it's time to quit my job?"
Hannah: That's the first question?
Ryan: Or it's or should I quit my, or yeah, probably quit my job. Like I'd probably quit my job and then just work on this full-time and then I can grow it that much faster.
Hannah: And then we both have to quietly go, "that's not a good idea" when what I'd like to do is no, don't do that.
That's a terrible idea. If you're thinking about doing that, don't you dare quit your job to start a business that you have not proven that you've never taken money for. That is not a good idea. It's just not. It's not a good idea because you don't know yet. You need proof before you jump. The reason I say this too, is because Ryan and I have done this, we have done this.
We have made this mistake. It was to this day, one of the absolute dumbest things that we ever did, which is we paid for me to learn a skill. And then we decided that we were going to start a business where I was going to perform the skill, so a service and instead of working and starting to get clients and perform the service as I started to get more clients, and then I could work and then do clients in the meantime, instead of doing that, I quit. I didn't get a job. And I just decided to do that full-time. When you do that, what you do is you back yourself into a corner because you now don't have money coming in and you need money desperately, and now money is going out the door. So all these three things happen at one time because you need money for marketing and supplies and getting a place you.
And then you can't make as clear decisions because you don't have money and you're spending money at the same time. And that creates a sort of desperation that I feel destined a lot of businesses to fail. I think that, I think that has a lot to do with why so many of them fail to be honest as people get. They want, they think that pouring all their time in at the beginning is a good idea when, in fact it's not, you need to dip your toe in the pool before you jump all the way in, because if you're putting all of your time into something, that's not paying you for your time, you're you're wasting your time when you could be earning money and instead growing in a way that you're growing your business.
And then you put in the time when your time is actually worth more to the business. Realize that was a complicated explanation, but.
Ryan: Basically don't quit your job. What we're basically. What you want to do. I think what is one of the best ways to do, especially if you're trying, especially if you're doing a business that you've never done before, as we said, if you're, pre-revenue, you're really pre execution, you're in the idea phase, it's definitely, it seems glamorous.
And it seems like for a lot of people, and we've talked to a lot of people about this. It seems like this is the next step that you have to do in order to realize your dreams, in order to realize your dreams, you have to quit your job. I'm going to make this massive statement to myself and to those around me.
And I'm going to, I'm not going to give myself the life raft. I'm going to jump off this boat and I'm just going to learn how to swim.
Hannah: Like it's proving your commitment to it.
Ryan: And that is one of the toughest things to do. And it's tough because of exactly all the reasons that Hannah said before. So I think a better way of doing it.
And then one of the ways that we do it now even now, we still do that. We still do this. And the things that we tell people to do now is basically just run little baby experiments is basically just start very small, whether or not you're starting a service business, whether or not you're selling stuff online, whether or not you're going to go ahead and get something manufactured and then sell it, at your local swap, meet whatever the business idea is, work on it in your free time.
Keep your day job. Keep your night job, pay the bills. The freedom.
Hannah: The security.
Ryan: The freedom and the security that you get from having that steady income and knowing that your bases are covered is massive because of exactly what you said being able to not have your back against the wall. When we did this,
so we did this, we paid. For those that don't know. We own a paramedical tattoo shop here in Honolulu, Hawaii. When we were first starting out, Hannah, we paid for her to go to get trained. And then at that time she quit her job. I wasn't making enough money to support both of us at the time. And that really backed us into a corner.
Wait, did you quit your job? We got fired?
We got, I got us, a humble story. I got Ryan and I both fired by running my mouth. And we were both working at the same place. And instead, so it wasn't a series of bad decisions. It was that. And then this was a huge period of growth in my life personally, but I got us both fired.
And then after that happened, I got trained and then without. Ryan had just started a new job.
Ryan: I was just starting a new career in sales. I had never sold anything before. I didn't know the sales process. I didn't understand. How to sell anything. How do you even understand the product? How is selling really?
And it was different for me. I was good at it. Luckily I made, because it was sales is all commission. I, because I was okay at it. I made money pretty quickly.
Hannah: He did very good.
Ryan: And yeah, and the first few checks were enough to.
Hannah: Lull us into a false sense of security.
Ryan: To hold us over for a little while. And then I stopped making sales or did it make it sells as many sales as the beginning or they did.
But at that time you had already quit. You had, while you were still, you had been fired and you're still unemployed.
Hannah: And we decided for me, we decided that I was not going to get a job and I was not on unemployment by the way, at this point, they're like, I was not don't know. I was just decided. I was unemployed.
Ryan: You were not employed.
Hannah: But what I'm saying too, is I decided to make zero money and instead I decided to spend money to try to make money in a time when we were probably the most financially exposed we've ever been. And that is the equivalent of a get rich, quick scheme business owning, especially at the beginning is not glamorous.
It is not fast. It is painful. It is long. The hours are exhausting and need money for everything. Cause money fixes all of your small business problems. The easiest way to get money is to get a job. And then the build your business. I remember distinctly too during this time, and Ryan's heard me tell this story quite a few times.
But I remember watching, I was watching shark tank at someone's house and Heard. And I was, I don't remember who she was talking to, but Barbara Corcoran was talking to the owner of one of these businesses. And she pointed out the person that they weren't making any money. And she told them that they needed to get a job because she, at one point when her company, her business needed money, what does she do?
And this lady was running a much more, there is no comparison between me and this lady who's running an extremely successful company. And she looked at it and she goes I need money, which means I need a job. So she went and she got a job. To feed her company, essentially. And that was a real turning point for me personally, because that, that when I saw that I was just so humbled and it just taught me a huge lesson, which is who do I think I am to not work when I have this thing that requires money in order to succeed.
And I had the audacity to say I'm, I can build this without money and I can build this in a way that is not financially responsible. It's not to say that people don't do that. It's obviously that. It's just way harder in my opinion, it's very stressful.
Ryan: Yeah. It's unneeded stress.
Hannah: It's irresponsible to spend money if you're not making money, that is definitely irresponsible to spend money if you're spending money.
Ryan: In many ways is going to be more stressful. You're going to see possibly you're going to see less growth in the beginning because you're not going to have as much time to work on it, on your idea on your business. You're gonna have to work nights. You're gonna have to work weekends.
You're going to have to, one of the things that we realized in this time was just the attitude towards time management. One of the things that you're going to have to master in order to start a business is time management. You're going to have to make time back then. I definitely didn't have any time. I felt like I didn't have any time, but then I looked back on those days.
I was nowhere near as busy or as productive than I am today. And that has all that has everything to do with time management that has everything to do with making time, actually. Those days where I would be working on I'll be working my sales job, come home. And then I would be right to marketing our business online, building our websites, learning, teaching myself how to build websites, either myself out of market, teaching myself, SEO everything that we needed to do in order to get our first clients.
And I think that's, even though it's more difficult, takes more time. And for a lot of people is harder because you've got families, you have jobs, you have obligations, you got to make it happen. It's not easy. It's not easy, but it's simple. Work your full time job, work on your business on the side.
Hannah: A few points, but first a question, which is something I noticed is that when I do have a job and I think part of that too, is that I wasn't I was a much more inexperienced entrepreneur prior when I've been in the situation.
But when I was working a job, there's a distinct difference between the times when I worked a job and worked on the business. And the times when I just worked on the business and I found that I'm actually much more productive when I am working and I have less time probably because there's a limit to the amount of time that I have so I feel like I have less, so I feel like I have to get more done. Do you think that there's something to that.
Ryan: Same example. I feel the same exact way, but in it. So instead of using the same example For me, I saw a massive increase. So for those that don't know, I did go to college. I did get my degree.
I got my degree in economics. I'm a big hypocrite sitting here telling people that, you don't have to get a degree if you don't, if it's not necessary, you're not obligated to go to college. Okay. So all that's being said, I had this moment in my sophomore year of college that we've talked about before, is that we.
I went to college, but I was working full time as a server, busser, bartender. I'm not sure what I was doing at the time, but I was working full time throughout college in the restaurant industry. And I was only taking a few classes my freshman and sophomore year, and I just couldn't hold it together. I couldn't get good grades.
Just couldn't do it. And then summer of sophomore year, I made the decision. Okay. I'm either going to quit school or I'm going to get A's from here on out or get A's and B's I think I got, I think I got, I ended up getting one B or something
Ryan: Or one yeah, one B or one C or something like that.
Hannah: It was, I was, did I react dramatic enough?
Ryan: Afterwards, one B, one C like an F, but it doesn't want to, who cares? I couldn't tell you. And the thing was, I noticed that. So then, because I was slacking off in order to graduate in four years, I needed to add on even more classes. So I added on even more classes, still work full time, and I was able to get more done.
Be more productive. And I felt like I had more time to study. I had more time to be at work. And then I had more time to hang out with my friends, it was the weirdest thing and that was just me getting better at time management. And so it's out of necessity. Similar.
So just to bring it about all basketball businesses, we'll get off our soap box, but we just want it to tell that we wanted to tell those stories just because it's something that we hear all the time. This is something literally. When we say all the time, I just had a conversation. We just had a conversation with somebody literally this week, couple of days ago, thinking about quitting his job to start a business.
Hannah: They always say, I want to quit my job and start a business. No!
Ryan: They've never done it before. They don't know the demographics. They don't know how to, they don't know how to monetize a business.
Hannah: They've never taken a dollar from anyone.
Ryan: What's super interesting is that like in, in five to 10 minutes, in five to 10 minutes, we could think of more ways to bring income into that type of business. Then they're like, oh, I want to start a business. And it was like, okay how are you going to make money? And then you and I, in five to 10 minutes, we just, we were just spouting off ideas of how this person can make revenue, but they hadn't even thought about that.
And I was like, buddy, don't quit your job.
Hannah: Not yet.
Ryan: Not yet.
Hannah: Not until. You've taken it. That's the biggest thing is taking a dollar. You have to take money. You do not quit your job. Do not quit your job to pursue your business if you've never taken a dollar for whatever that business is, you have no proof.
You don't even have $1. You don't even have a George Washington's worth of proof. So you need to do that first, but, okay. So today, really seriously, guys, we're going to talk about the main types of businesses that you can start, and those are going to be paper, restaurants, hotels, railroads. I'm just kidding.
Okay. So we've realized that there's a pattern. There are typically three types of businesses, business ideas that people usually come up with that are low barrier to entry, pretty simple. And you can definitely 100% teach to yourself pretty quickly, and those are going to be services businesses, which is where you're doing something for someone for money.
There are physical sales where you're reselling or you're ordering from from a manufacturer and then you're drop shipping or you're physically selling something on the side of the street, in a stand or at a swap meet or something like that. And then there's digital sales. And that can be a lot of things that could be courses or eBooks or anything like that.
But we tend to feel like these are the three that people tend to come up with. I would say the most rare one is actually the online businesses. I think that is the last one people usually come up with. Usually the first one is a service or re or sell or physical.
Ryan: These are the most common that we hear then.
Absolutely. I think. The information or digital products, definitely online products are definitely one of the things that we hear the least of. And I think it has a lot to do with having the entrepreneurial creativity in order to think of something like that.
Hannah: Well, it's intimidating.
Ryan: But just to think of it, a lot of people don't even know that you can make moneythat way. A lot of people don't know that you can make money through information. That you can sell digital products. That you can do like a SaaS business software as a service. The thing that we normally recommend people do, the easiest thing to do is start a services business that is you're not reinventing the wheel.
Hannah: That literally is the wheel.
Ryan: You're trading time for money. That's not, you do that every day at your job. And that it's very easy for people to get their heads around. I want to say people, your potential clients, the people that are potentially going to pay you to do the job. So if you're thinking about doing a service such as photography or videography that's a business you want to start.
Okay. It's pretty simple to buy a camera or use the cameras that you have. Charge somebody to take photos, charge somebody to take videos, edit it, and then send it to them. That's super simple. That is as basic of a business as it gets. It is also services businesses, also one of the quickest ways in general
to make money to be cashflow positive.
Hannah: I think, I think a lot of people too, when they think of services businesses, though, they think of fairly prohibitive ones. So they think of massage therapist where you have to be certified and go to school. They think of nail techs. They think of photographers where you have to have an amount of technical knowledge.
What we're talking about is as basic as you can be, there are services, businesses that hang photos in elderly people's homes because they can't do it themselves. There are services, businesses, a lot of people wouldn't realize this, but Instacart would be a great example of that. You buy somebody's groceries and you take it to them.
This is cleaning people's homes. Again, you don't need. Any amount of skill to do this. You need skill to market it and grow in and do everything like that. But like physical sales, you don't need a skill to, to really do that. You just need a thing that people want to buy and that's true of services.
You need a service that people want to buy. And that can be anything.
Hannah: You just need hands. Not even that.
Ryan: You just need somebody to pay you for it, whatever it is, whether or not you're hanging elderly. They're not, you're hanging photos for the elderly or whether or not you're going door to wash cars.
I actually remember I met a guy. I was out golfing. There is a local carwash down the road from where we live and they, and I remember him talking to me while we were golfing about how he started his carwash business. Now, four years later, he can golf every day. He's done. That's awesome. But it started with him working a regular job and then on his free time he would go around neighborhoods, literally with a bucket and soap and ask people if they want their cars washed.
Hannah: People think that you need a lot of things. They think you need business cards. I think you need a uniform then. Oh, let's take 'em let's take that or a cleaner, for example. They think, oh, I need a professional vacuum, I need a professional hose. I need a this. No, you don't. You need hands and it, you probably need soap and you probably need a bucket and rag. That's it. I think people tend to, over-complicate what they need to get started. I think it's partially out of fear. And I also think it's partially just cause they just don't, they don't realize that you need so little to start a business.
You need so little to do something that someone will pay you for.
Ryan: And then with the proliferation of it's never been easier to start a bit business because there, there are things a lot of before, it used to be so difficult to get merchant services. Merchant services are like being able to accept credit cards and things like that.
Nowadays, it's so easy to accept credit cards, so easy to accept payment. It's so easy to look legitimate, to be legitimate. You, you don't even have to start an LLC if you don't want to. Maybe you shouldn't, I don't know. It's a business lawyer, right? Exactly. Not a financial advisor, not a tax lawyer.
Many times you can just start walking around, walking across the street, taking money for whatever it is that you're doing, taking photos or video. As I talked about before. With the technology nowadays, you can use something like square. You can use something like PayPal. You can use Stripe if you're going online and it completely allows you to take credit card payments to take debit card payments and legitimize your business.
You don't always have to take cash. You don't always have to take check. And that helps to bolster the brand. It makes it an, a makes the ease of business. That much easier, which is huge. Because in order to get traditional merchant services from banks before it was difficult because you needed a certain amount of revenue in order for it, to, for them to even look at you because they want it to make sure that they're going to make money off.
Hannah: Yeah. They weren't interested in the small transactions, but yeah.
Hannah: The world is your oyster.
Ryan: And so that's it, that's pretty much it for services. It's, you can do anything that you want. You can be as creative as you need to.
Hannah: Or as uncreative.
Hannah: A lot of the services, businesses that are easiest to start are the most boring thing you can think of.
Ryan: That also being said, check your local laws and everything make sure that you're properly licensed. You may, you don't wanna, you don't want to gain some traction. You don't want to gain some traction, then figure out that you're illegal.
Hannah: Right. And get in trouble.
Ryan: And get in trouble.
Hannah: Your research, people.
Ryan: Do your research.
Hannah: Read a book.
Ryan: For the most part, though, I will say about that.
As if, as long as you're still, if you're still experimenting as much, the chances of you getting caught for something like that is probably pretty minimal, not legal advice. That being said, the chances of you getting caught probably pretty minimal. So weigh the weigh, the risks and rewards of whether yeah.
Like a good example. So just as an example in Hawaii, in order to be a general contractor, you have to have a license in other states that's not necessary. That's not necessary. If you don't have that license, you can only charge up to a certain dollar amount. And you're technically not a contractor.
You're a handyman. And then. So that's just a good example. That's just a good example of knowing your local law.
Hannah: And how you can, how you can bill and how much you can bill and to keep yourself above board.
Ryan: Or knowing your licensure, all of that good stuff. But as far as services, the world is your oyster.
It's going to be tough because you're working because you're working a full-time job. Or we hope you're working a full-time job. We hope that you're working. And then on top of it, you have to, you actually have to market your business. And then what's tough about the services businesses. And we know from personal experience, not only do you have to market your business, but then you actually have to do it.
Yep. So you're actually eventually what it turns into is it turns into three jobs. Really. You work your regular job. Then you market your business, that's a full-time job. And then you actually have to do the business and assuming that you, hopefully you get busy enough to where you get clients to pay you to do it is whatever it is that you're charging to do.
And then that's another full-time job. So it's difficult.
Hannah: We do it. Our business now we own, our primary. Our primary business is a services business.
Ryan: Yeah, it's difficult, but it's doable difficult, but doable. And you got to. Just got to work hard.
Just gotta work hard. It's just a lot of work.
Hannah: It's a lot of work, no way around it.
It's good though. It's good. And there is some security in that and eventually if you're good and you do good work, you're going to get, you're going to get word of mouth too, which is powerful for services business. All right. And then the next one is going to be physical sales and I think Ryan, can you tell people about the books.
Ryan: Oh, yeah, sure. Yeah. So when we first started, when we first started, when Hannah and I first started our entrepreneurial journey, we started with, we tried to drop ship things online. It's where, if people don't know what drop shipping is where. I set up a website. You come to my website, you ordered from me, I get your order.
I get your money. And on the backend, I order it from a distributor and the distributor sends it to you. And so I'm basically paying a middleman. We found that was difficult, not easy, actually what we wanted to do. We weren't very good at it. Plus we didn't like the customer experience. We didn't like the customer experience, that we didn't have control over where our products went and how they were handled. We didn't have, they weren't our products. We didn't have product or quality control, and we didn't like that. So back to the drawing board. And so what happened for us is that I started to. Look online about how else, what other products could I sell in order to make it?
Hannah: How did you find this originally, too? I can't remember. Did you see it on, was it on Reddit? Where did you read about it? I forget. Cause it wasn't a CNBC article. Was it?
Ryan: So I'm not sure. So anyway, I figured out either through reading or a video or so, whatever that, the next thing that we were going to try, that I was gonna try.
Was buying and selling used goods specifically what I ended up getting into was buying and selling use books. And at the time we were living in Georgia and we had a number of thrift stores around us that sold books for pretty nominal amounts. It was like, I don't know what it was, but it was 25 cents maybe for a paperback and 50 cents for a hard cover, like 50 cents for a paperback and then a dollar for a hardcover or something.
Hannah: Yeah. And you can get discounts some days a week too.
Ryan: Yeah, so it was relatively cheap. My cost basis was really relatively cheap. And then Amazon had an app that you can basically scan the books, scan the barcode, and it immediately tells you how much it's worth. And I was like that's a no-brainer, I'm just going to do that.
And so before I knew it, I ended up getting deep into it where I was going. I was scouring. I hadn't thought about this in a really long time. Where I was scholarshipping every single local thrift store about two, three times a week. Maybe not every day, single one, but I was definitely going about three to four times a week to different bookstores throughout the counties, the surrounding counties.
Hannah: And yard sales and book sales.
Ryan: Yard sales book sales. And I was just scanning. I was scanning to see what would make us money. Cause it instantly showed us what a what we could sell it for. All right. We'll try that. It ended up being pretty successful.
Hannah: And you got to know your shipping costs too. That's the other thing.
Ryan: Yeah, absolutely.
Hannah: So he would just do the mental math when he sees the number that it.
Ryan: At the beginning, at the beginning, and eventually there's apps that you can there's apps you can get on your phone. And then eventually I got pretty into it. I ended up doing it. It was enough money through more than a few months.
It was enough money for me to stop working and do it full time. I didn't do that, but it was enough money to do it, to do that.
Hannah: You could have.
Ryan: I could have, yeah. We made thousands of dollars a month doing that.
Hannah: That's no joke. It is not a joke.
Ryan: Yeah. Yeah. Now that I think about it now, our house was full of books.
Hannah: That's not the worst thing.
Ryan: And I was, the thing that, yeah. The thing that we ran into the problem with that was the distribution. The distribution was difficult, so we would get an order and then I'd have to ship it out the next day or that day. And then. Or we'd have to ship a bunch of them to Amazon's warehouse so that they could ship it out when an order it's a big, it's a whole big thing. I, it's definitely, that's just a good example though. That's a roundabout good example of selling physical products where you're not reinventing the wheel. I didn't need massive creativity for that. I didn't need to.
Hannah: It was really smart though. When you did find it.
Ryan: It was smart.
There are still people that do it. I'm sure that there are people that still do it now. I'm sure that it's still very profitable. Textbooks are fricking super expensive.
Hannah: Some of the textbooks when you get them, you'd scan it and it would be for sale for a dollar or less. It'd be like $70. What?
Ryan: Yeah. A hundred bucks.
Hannah: Didn't we find one for $140 or something like that?
Ryan: Yeah. I think my best one was a couple of hundred.
Hannah: Oh, that's right. It was that weird collectible paperback, I remember.
Ryan: I'm not sure on it but multiple times I made over a hundred dollars off of it. More than a hundred X, my dollar, my, my $1. That being said it was not super sustainable because in that field, you are your inventory.
It's almost, even though it is a selling business. It's almost like you're providing a service because the inventory is so sporadic and you can't count on it because you're counting. What you're counting on is you're counting on the generosity of other people to give away their books. That's what you're.
And then also. There's such a low barrier to entry in that anybody can go buy at the time, there was like a $200 scanner that scan it, Bluetooth scanner, anybody can buy the $30 a month app on their phone and then do exactly the same thing. Many times while I was thrifting many times that I ran into the competition.
The competition was doing the exact same thing. You knew because we shot.
Hannah: You look out of place.
Ryan: Yeah. You just look different. You look, we, I have a fricking cart. I have a fricking cart. That's full of books and nothing else. And I literally just go.
Hannah: And you have headphones on.
Ryan: I have headphones on too. I literally just go there.
And I scan every single book. Don't miss a single book. And then I leave with a fricking cart full of books.
Hannah: Anytime you go into a thrift store, this is just one of those things. Anytime you go into thrift store. If you see somebody in a thrift store with headphones on, I would say to 90% of the time, that person is a reseller of some kind.
And if you're curious, watch what they're doing because we also buy and sell vintage clothing. And I do the same thing when I'm looking, I put on headphones and I do that so that I can focus on what I'm doing. And so people don't ask me questions. When I am purchasing things that look strange. So if you're ever in a thrift store and you notice that somebody is in there with headphones on and they look like they're doing something, that's a little out of the ordinary, watch what they're doing, because that might give you a good idea.
Ryan: Yeah. So that's just a really, that's just a really long winded way of saying that you don't have to. You don't have to think. When we talk to them, when we talk to people about it, when they're talking about physical goods, a lot of people immediately go to manufacturing. A lot of people immediately go to handmade.
Hannah: Which is terrifying too. And that's cause it's a big deal.
Ryan: Manufacturing is terrifying because so many unknowns, so many unknowns you have to hold inventory. You've got you've, you've got you've got a whole, you have to, usually your manufacturer requires a minimum order. And that mean, that means capital.
Hannah: And of you're drop shipping cheap things, oftentimes there's a language barrier, which is also extremely intimidating.
Ryan: Well, that's just drop shipping and that's not manufacturing, but yeah, that's different. But yeah. One of the things that's very common nowadays, very common thing to do is open up at T stores.
You can sell prints on Etsy. You can sell, there are ways to do. Print on demand. You can start an apparel company without ever having to store any inventory.
Hannah: Which we've done also.
Ryan: It's the same thing. It's basically the same thing. So print on demand is basically the same thing as drop shipping.
It's where you come up with the design. You can tell. So you can you can assign it. You can start an entire apparel company without ever holding inventory. And you don't have to. And that's the difficult part about apparel is holding inventory. And then because you have so many sizes, you have so many sizes, small, medium, large, extra, large, extra, small extra, large.
Hannah: We'll go into this in more depth. I'm sure in it's own episode, cause it's a hilarious story, but at one point we did buy, we did hold inventory for one item. It was the same item. It was all the same size. We bought two different styles, which I think in hindsight was probably a mistake.
But what we thought we were being very reasonable because we thought this was in the beginning of our journey, but we were like, hut. It's just too hard with the sizing. You can't hold t-shirts. In sizing because you can never know which ones are going to sell. So instead we bought hats. The problem with that is that holding inventory is just a crap shoot.
If you don't know what you're doing, we had no numbers. We had no idea of demand. We had never proved the concept before we did it. And I think now if we do it, we would probably try to take pre-orders for that, but we just bought so much inventory of these hats. It was crazy. So it's very scary.
Cause you're outlaying money before you've made any money.
Ryan: That was exactly what I was going to start talking about next, which was what a lot of people do. So if you don't want to start an Etsy store where you're selling prints or you're selling print on demand stuff, or you don't want to start a website where you do where you're doing that print on demand or stickers or patches or things like that, you can start to think about taking pre-orders.
So come up with some marketing material, whatever it is that you want to buy, say. Say or whatever it is that you want to sell. Say you want to start selling custom phone cases, make a couple of custom phone cases, take some good pictures, have your friend that knows some videography and photography help you make some marketing material and then make a website, put it on your Instagram and then put it on a website and say, Hey, look, I am selling I'm pre-selling these items.
Hannah: I think for a lot of people, that's really intimidating. Even if it, even the marketing material. Yes, he's right. Take photos and stuff like that. But if you're, if that sounds intimidating to you, if you hear marketing and your brain just shuts down, cause you don't even know what that means and that overwhelms you, take photos and video and post it on Facebook and Instagram.
And just say to the people that already follow you, does anyone want to, pre-order one of these, I'm making them and they'll, I'm trying to make them in the next, whatever weeks message me for messaged me to get one.
Ryan: And then right there, you would just make sure that you make sure that you take pre-orders.
That your sales price is enough to cover the production costs. And right there, if you get some pre-orders, then you can go ahead and order it. And now you've immediately made money. You're you've made revenue and then you've immediately, then you go buy it, give it to them. You've made money and that's one of the most effective ways to test.
Just run a test. It costs very little money. It just costs some time cost, some knowledge of setting up a website. Of setting up payment system on your website nowadays. It's so easy though. Like I said, Stripe, Facebook, you can pay on Facebook.
Hannah: You don't have to take, you can take Facebook or Instagram.
Ryan: You can take payment through Venmo if you want to do that, really, you're just trying to, you're really just trying to test the waters. Yeah. One, one last thing that we supposed to say about just talking about apparel business, one of the, one of the most common things that we do here, that people want it, they want to start selling shirts,or they want to start selling whatever.
Hannah: Bibe, or baby clothes.
Ryan: Baby clothes, whatever. About apparel, with what Hannah was talking about before is about that's the difficult thing about that is, is the sizing. And so if you can. If you can, one of the easiest things that you could do for yourself, if you haven't thought of an idea, or if you're still looking for an idea and you're going to hold inventory, if you do have a little bit of capital, if you have a little bit of money to throw out this thing, okay.
Instead of buying small, medium, large, extra large of these shirts or of these pants or whatever, maybe. Maybe think about selling one size fits all, maybe think about selling. We had a friend that, that sold patches.
Hannah: That's so smart because they weigh nothing and you can send them in an envelope.
Ryan: Senduing and shipping costs are absolutely nothing.
Hannah: They fit everyone. It goes on anything.
Ryan: So they got them manufactured. At first, he made the design, he could sew it. So he made the design. Oh, he did it and he made it too. Then he computerized it. He sent it to a factory, the factory printed out the factory put out, I don't know, a hundred a thousand however much, but it came in a fricking box.
That was enough. Very small. Very easy to ship. All of those. They shipped it to his house. He held, he held all the inventory, but it didn't matter because it only took up a little shelf in his room. And then when he got orders, he just took one out, put it in an envelope and then sent it on its way. And I was that's super cheap.
You thinking about shipping costs, thinking about one size fits all. Those are the, probably a really good place to get started. If you're thinking about holding inventory.
Hannah: Things that don't type up things that aren't heavy and don't take up a lot of room because that means that when you ship them, they are not going to be heavy and they're not going to take up a lot of room. Jewelry is another good one. Earrings, things like that, small things. If it fits in the palm of your hand, that's a really good rule of, that's literally a rule of thumb right there but try something small first or one size fits all. Okay. The last thing, it it's a little bit like the last one which is online or digital sales.
So with that there's a lot of different forms for this. Now this is more accessible than it's ever been. Even I think about even years ago when we started. And Shopify was around then, but it's way more accessible. Etsy has gotten so much more sophisticated since we started our Etsy store.
There are so many platforms that you can use to create websites and stuff. Digital products or sell things online. You can pay people to make apps again. I know this sounds intimidating, but you can pay people to make apps. You can pay people to make application games. You can pay people to you can pay people to make things informational products that you sell online.
You can design something that Ryan just taught me the other day is low cost. Was it low content product.
Ryan: Low content books.
Hannah: And there we go. So basically that's like a journal or a calendar or a writing prompt the day book.
Ryan: That's more physical goods, but you could do it. You could put, you could do it without, with online stuff.
Hannah: You could sell it as a PDF.
Ryan: Yeah. So one of the things I think with online is going to be like digital things. A lot of what people think about when they come to us, a lot of them are talking about what we talked about already as selling physical goods online, which is still physical sales.
Okay. I think what a lot of people don't know about and what, and what I wanted to touch on here is is selling natively digital products or natively digital things.
Hannah: Can you, define natively digital?
Ryan: The things that are things that when the live online things are born online and they'll live online and things that you sell online.
So these things could be. Guides. They could be courses. They could be just information on other business. That's very popular. It takes a lot of, it takes a lot of learning and takes a lot of know-how just like any other business though. One of those things is like affiliate marketing.
You can do an entire business where you actually don't sell anything. You all, it's your entire business to just route traffic, to the things, to the places where they end up selling and the. Amazon or whoever selling the physical, whoever's selling that product at the end. They're willing to pay you for that because it's because they didn't have to market to get that customer.
There's a lot of ways to skin the cat on the digital stuff. And I think it's just something that is getting more popular now. But when you, for when you're first starting out, you don't have that. You're just not even aware that those things exist.
Hannah: A good example of this is mommy bloggers, who when they do "here are the 10 things that I bought for my baby."
Every single one of those things is getting her paid. If you buy the item or you go to the site where the item is, which is really cool, that's a great example. That's a great example of a digital product. That's a great example of a digital product. Another one would be, as Ryan was just saying about courses and guides and instructional things.
So anything that you know, how to do that somebody else might want to learn how to do. A good example is we know someone who. They had a business. It didn't work out, but they made courses. And so now they sell a course on how to make courses online.
Ryan: That's course inception.
Hannah: So meta.
Hannah: But yeah. So the thing is though, I think that is probably the most successful thing she's ever done because a lot of people now are making online courses. So to make this actionable for you, if you're listening, whatever. A good rule for you to follow. If you're looking for your thing, would be to figure out what other people ask you, how to do.
Do people ask you like how to teach them calligraphy or do you play guitar? I have a friend who is a speech language pathologist, and I told her that she should make a course that teaches adults how to fix, fix some of their verbal tics so they can work better in the workplace.
That's a great example of that, but it's people who wouldn't realize that they have a valuable skill that other people want to, would love to have that knowledge that you have and do those practices. This could be as simple as a course on how to journal everyday.
Ryan: And it could be as simple as that.
It could also be as simple as finding a niche and then just making YouTube videos on it. That ended up itself is a business.
Hannah: You don't have to be an expert.
Ryan: You don't have to make how to videos. You don't have to make courses. You don't have to make guides. You can just create a channel on YouTube, create a following, and then get paid by ads.
Eventually you're going to probably be, you're going to go into the affiliate marketing side of it as well. You're going to reach out into other arms, but just to start, if that's an idea as well, to just start making YouTube content.
Hannah: A good example of that is just to give somebody in inspiration would be there as a YouTuber who I occasionally I can't help, but click on these videos sometimes, but all she does, is she really self-educated about Victorian and Edwardian fashion and she critiques movies where they do costume elaborate costumes. And as a result of that, now she's got sponsors. She's not, she doesn't make them, she's just interested. And so she does a lot of research and then compares and critiques the costumes that these people have made in these movies.
That is her entire YouTube channel. She has millions of subscribers. She's not a professional, anything, but she's very good at going, "Hey, look at this thing. I don't think it matches this thing. Here's why, and th, that there's value in anything if other people are interested in it.
Ryan: Absolutely. And so that is, I think this is a good place to start to wrap up.
I think we've talked your ears off enough, so just go over again, the different types of businesses to start. One of the easiest things that you can do, one of the things you can probably do tomorrow is start a services business. Super simple. You don't have to reinvent the wheel. Think about something that you can do.
Think about something that people have already asked you to do. Think about something that you want to do. And then just go do it. Literally just go take money to do it. All right. Don't quit your job.
Hannah: Please don't quit your job for the love of all. That is good.
Ryan: Don't do it. There's a, there are a bunch of ways that you can figure out if it's time to quit your job when you get to that point, we can talk a little bit more about that later, but for the love of all that is good.
Hannah: For the love of Barbara Corcoran, do not quit your job.
Ryan: And then the second thing that you can do is we can sell physical products, right? That's also not a reinventing the wheel, but it can be something as simple as what I did am I, when I first started out, which is reselling Amazon books. I means a crowded market now, but Hey, I hope that gives you inspiration. Maybe you can go around. Maybe you have a little bit of specific knowledge on use bicycles, Schwinn bicycles, and you go around town and you go to every garage sale. You go to every bike shop and then you go to every junk yard by used, by broken down bicycles, fix them up and then resell them. It could be something as simple as that. You don't have to manufacture goods. If you're thinking about, if you're thinking about manufacturing goods, maybe think about doing pre-sales first, maybe think about getting money before you outlay money.
Okay. So if you're hell bent on doing something where you have to get inventory, if it's apparel maybe think about doing one size fits. Maybe think about doing print on demand first, you can look into there's a bunch of print on demand services out there. Printify, Printful you name it.
Hannah: So many. And they print all the types of things too.
They'll don't just print apparel. Couch pillows, phone covers watches boots. You'd be surprised.
Ryan: Yeah. And so the, and the last thing is going to be online. So yeah, there's the Shopify where you can open up a, you can open up an internet shop and then sell whatever you want. There's Etsy as well that we talked about before, but then also doing things like selling digital products, selling guides, selling courses, or even doing something like starting a YouTube channel and garner garnering a following that way.
And then getting sponsors, getting ads, also affiliate marketing. That's that's the way that's a way to go as well. At one point or another, we've done all of these things at one point or another, we have done all of these things and PR for the rest of our life will probably continue to do all of these things.
The main thing is just go out there and start, just go out there. Don't quit your job. And. After you start it's exhilarating to get your first client. It's exhilarating to make your first sale.
Hannah: It's super cool.
Ryan: I remember when we made our first sale on our drop shipping site.
I remember when you first, when you got your first client. I remember when I got my first client. I remember when we sold our first book.
Hannah: Our first t-shirt.
Ryan: You name it. Yeah, I remember all of our first sales and it's just. You had an idea, you got, you executed and then somebody paid you for it.
Hannah: There is no victory, like something that didn't exist before you made it exist working.
It is one of the most satisfying feelings you can ever experience.
Ryan: It's awesome. And then after that, there's a whole, the rest of it ahead of you. You have to learn how to run the business. You have to learn how to market the business. You have to learn how to improve business processes. You have to learn how to make business processes.
You name it. It's that's only the tip of iceberg, but that's.
Hannah: It takes time and money, which is why we're telling you not to quit your job.
Ryan: That is such an important part of all of this. That is such an important part of all of this is, just get started is just take the first steps.
Hannah: Yep. It doesn't matter if it's ugly. Doesn't matter if it's not cool. Just do it.
All right, guys. Thank you so much for hanging out with us today. We are glad that you came back and we hope you come back again for the next episode. If you want more information on the types of jobs you can have, other degree free options or how to get a job or interview for a job or start a business.
You can get our [email protected]. But we're also big fans of doing the research yourself and you don't have to get it from us. You can just use what we're telling you in this podcast and find it for yourself. But if you do want it all in one place, it is on the website. Thank you so much again for watching.
We were really glad to have you with us today.
Alright you guys, have a good one. Aloha!
Our free weekly newsletter gives you everything you need to know to find work and get paid!