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7 Low-Risk Businesses You Can Start Tomorrow "You don't find customers for your products. You find products for your customers," Seth Grodin has written. So, what's your product?

By Sujan Patel Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Say you want to start a business: You're not alone. Many people dream of being their own boss, calling the shots and becoming an entrepreneur. But there are no guarantees in business, and no matter how good your idea is or how hard you work at it, there's still a chance you could fail.

Related: 12 Low-Cost Business Ideas for Introverts

In fact, 50 percent of small businesses fail within their first four years, according to an oft-cited statistic from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are, however, a few things you can do to make the risk a little, well, less risky.

It starts with the type of business you choose. Some businesses are riskier, require more money and labor to get off the ground and thus mean you'll have more to lose.

If you want to ensure the security of your future and the future of your potential business, consider starting one of these seven lower-risk businesses.

1. Consulting

When you're trying to think of a good business idea, start with what you already know. You can take the skills you already have and use them to advise clients, as a consultant.

Plus, you probably already have some industry contacts who could be potential clients. It makes the most sense to start there.

As financial advisor Ramit Sethi wrote on his blog, "When you are coming up with business ideas, silence the inner critic that says you can't teach something unless you are credentialed or the world's greatest expert on the subject. All you have to be is good enough to help people achieve their goals."

Related: 75 Ideas for Businesses You Can Launch for Cheap or Free

Whether your focus is website design, marketing, sales or IT, consulting is an easy business option because you can run it completely out of your own home, with pretty much no startup cost. You can even start your business on the side and continue your full-time job until you earn enough to cover your regular salary.

2. Tutoring

Tutoring is another way to use the skills you already have to help others reach their goals. With tutoring, you'll guide students in an academic subject you already have knowledge in.

It's easy to get started by working out of your own home. You can then market your tutoring services online or through a site like to get the word out. As you grow, you might consider bringing others on board to join you.

3. Virtual assistant

Are you sensing a theme here? The lowest-risk business ideas are the ones you can start from your home. And according to SmallBizTrends, 69 percent of U.S. entrepreneurs start their businesses at home. That way, you can save money and grow your business steadily without worrying about the capital you've invested.

As a virtual assistant, you can offer basic tasks like putting together reports, managing a schedule and coordinating errands. All you need to get started is a phone, computer and an internet connection. As with tutoring, eventually you can hire more employees to grow your business and take on more work.

As motivational speaker Marie Forleo wrote on Twitter, "Starting small doesn't mean thinking small."

4. Direct sales

You've probably been to a Tupperware party before, or at least known someone who has. But did you ever consider hosting one yourself? Direct sales companies like Tupperware, Avon and Mary Kay hire sales representatives to sell their merchandise and market their products.

With this model, as a sales representative, you have the potential to earn as much money as you want, depending on how much effort you put in. This type of business offers a lot of flexibility since you can work on your own time; you can even work part-time.

There is also a low cost to get started. According to The Penny Hoarder, Mary Kay costs $100 to start, Tupperware costs $99, and Avon, just $10 to 20. The company will provide the tools you need to get started; you then need to focus just on building your customer base.

5. Drop-shipping

Think you're a whiz at marketing and sales? You'll need to be to get your business up and running. Consider starting a drop-shipping business. You'll market and manage an ecommerce store, while a third party will be responsible for product development and fulfillment.

With a service like Oberlo, starting a drop-shipping business is simple. You don't have to worry about getting products to your customers. All you have to focus on is spreading the word about your products to your customers.

6. Service business

The businesses with the best chances of success tend to be service-based businesses, not product-based businesses. With a service-based business, such as lawn care service or dog-walking, your focus is generally local instead of national, which means there is less competition.

No matter what industry you're looking to break into, though, it's best to do as much research as you can to understand the market. In a post for The Balance, business writer Susan Ward wrote, "When you're starting a business, you need to become an expert on your industry, products and services if you're not already."

7. Senior care

On his blog, Seth Godin wrote:"You don't find customers for your products. You find products for your customers."

One of the best audiences to target today is seniors. Baby boomers are growing older, and there are 81.3 million of them, according to CNN. And what do they want? Research from AARP finds that 90 percent of seniors want to live independently by staying in their own homes as they age.

Related: The Risk-Averse Entrepreneur's Guide to Startup Success

This presents a huge business opportunity for you. These are potential customers with a need. Now, you just need a product. A senior home care business would be a perfect way to serve this audience. By knowing the customers' needs, you'll be able to provide the service they desire.

Do you have a brilliant business idea ready to launch? Share your ideas in the comments below:

Sujan Patel

Entrepreneur and Marketer, Co-founder of Web Profits

In his 14-plus years as a marketer and entrepreneur, Sujan Patel has helped hundreds of companies boost online traffic and sales and strengthen their online brand reputation. Patel is the co-founder of Web Profits and Mailshake.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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