Funding the revolution: 9 Low-cost business ideas for activists

Washington, DC (TFC) – One of the largest problems for activists is finding the funds to carry out their work. Relying on a weekly paycheck to fund trips, websites costs, material, and so on isn’t reliable. If you’re tied to a regular work schedule just finding the time to carry out your activism can seem impossible. So what are some low-cost businesses that activists can use to finance themselves?

Food Delivery: How many times have you said “I wish restaurant X delivered.” Collect menus from local eateries and deliver food from restaurants that don’t deliver.  A nominal delivery fee plus 10% surcharge will make sure you turn a profit. You’ll need a phone line and the ability to accept credit cards on the fly.

Tutor: You’re probably a pretty bright person. Put that to use tutoring. Angie’s List says tutors make anywhere from $15-$85 per hour, and says they average between $30-$40 per hour. Online tutoring is beginning to gain ground and the rates for there are about $20 per hour.  There are no real start up costs outside of marketing. You might even enjoy it.

House Cleaner: It’s not glamorous, but it normally pays about $20 per hour. Most of your clients will be very flexible about your schedule. Some initial cleaning supplies and a little bit of guerrilla marketing puts you in business. Add an advertising feature like, being a “green” cleaning company.

Image Source: John Blyberg, Flickr, Creative Commons Business library @ the Mariott

Image Source: John Blyberg, Flickr, Creative Commons
Business library @ the Mariott

Personal Assistant: In the past, executives had their own assistant. As time marched on, they began sharing assistants. Offering this service to several small business owners gives them the ability to have someone on call to go to Kinkos, Office Depot, the grocery store (for restaurants), pick up dry cleaning, and so on. Your initial start up costs will be a cell phone and some marketing.

Mobile Detailing: Clean people’s cars while they are at work. Costs for this service start at $60 and goes up. The only costs are the phone line and basic car cleaning supplies.

Technology Assistant: Picture it like a freelance Geek Squad. You help resolve minor technical issues and teach people how to make the most of their devices.

Landscaping: Another one of those not-so-glamorous jobs. In neighborhoods with gates and multi-million dollar homes, your services probably won’t be desired. They’ll want a full service landscaper. However, in upper middle-class neighborhoods where the owners are just as beat down as you are (but happen to have a little more disposable income), having somebody to just come over, cut the grass, and edge the sidewalk is exactly what they are looking for.

Social Media Management: How much time do you spend online running Facebook pages and Twitter accounts? That’s your portfolio. Companies, especially local small businesses, would love to have somebody manage their social media accounts. They’d even pay you to do it.

Logo Design: You make memes all day right? Why not put that graphic design talent to work creating logos for start up companies? You can offer your services through one of the many sites connecting microgigs.