Almost any job can be a training-course for starting a business if you treat it that way. But as I explain in “101 Weird Ways to Make Money” (Wiley, 2011), the more unusual occupations have some special advantages. They often have less competition, which can mean higher wages as an employee and higher profit margins as a business owner. Many of these odd enterprises also have few formal requirements in terms of degrees and licensing, making them easier to start.
The 70 or more items on my own resume include repo-man, roulette croupier, bill collector and walking stick carver. These all provide stories for my current business, which is publishing websites likehttp://www.EveryWayToMakeMoney.com, but often a job is more directly translatable into an entrepreneurial venture. Here are 10 examples of strange jobs that can be used as a way to start a business.
- Crime Scene Cleaner: Yes, CTS Decon–crime and trauma scene decontamination–includes mopping up brain matter. Fortunately your wages will be higher than in other cleaning positions. Then, once you work a while as a bio-technician, you will have most of the qualifications necessary to run your own outfit and keep more of the $100 to $600 hourly rate you get to charge.
- Demolition Worker: Tearing down or blowing up buildings is fun work, although not without some risks. Wages top out at about $50,000 annually, but million-dollar demolition companies have been created by former employees in the field, who have sometimes started with minor jobs like deconstructing sheds in backyards.
- Bounty Hunter: Hunting down dangerous criminals? Employees in this field are not paid nearly enough for the danger they face, but it’s all an adventure when you’re young. After you have some experience and an aging tolerance for risk, you can take what you learn to start a successful bail bond agency, and hire others for the chase–or get a television contract like Dog the Bounty H
- Tree Surgeon: Trim, treat and haul around trees for slightly below-average wages. If you don’t like that job description, remember that there is no degree required, you get to work outdoors, and once you parlay your experience into your own outfit you can charge up to $1,000 for a tree removal or $125 per hour for consultations.
- Bicycle Taxi Driver: Although companies in New York City claim their drivers can make $30 to $40 per hour, in most cities you’ll make half of that if you’re lucky. The good news is that you’ll be trained on the job and see the business from the inside. Invest in a few bicycle taxis of your own and soon you’ll be collecting a larger share of that dollar-per-minute average charge paid by passengers.
- Foreclosure Cleaner: Wages are about what you would expect for employees who clean the homes that lenders have foreclosed on. Bad news? Not at all. Low wages make it easier to get these positions, and after a couple months you’ll have all the experience and savings needed to buy supplies and start your own com
- Mobile Windshield Repairer: Some employees of these businesses are paid by the hour, others get a percentage of each job. Either way the time required for each repair limits what you can make, so your mission is to learn the work well so you can soon send out your own employees to fill those chips and replace those windshields.
- Animal Control Specialist: ccoons create a horrible stench in an attic, snakes bite, and alligators don’t leave swimming pools without fight. But you will not need a college degree to get hired in the animal control industry, and licensing requirements are minimal for starting your own business once you have some experience.
- Green Funeral Provider: Funeral directors need a degree in mortuary science, but funeral attendants just need to apply for the job. That’s your easy way into the industry, where you will learn what you need to start marketing those green caskets and biodegradable burial shrouds. This is a quickly-emerging field without much competition.
- Mobile Pet Groomer: Many people no longer want to subject their cats and dogs to traffic and noisy buildings full of people and other animals just for a haircut and nail-clipping. A mobile pet groomer–that’s you if you wish–will come to their homes instead. Whether you get hired to work in a retail location or on the road, aim to eventually make your own company of the mobile variety–it’s a great niche that is growing.