I was newly out of grad school and holding a $40,000 piece of paper in my hand. A diploma. But that piece of paper wasn’t making me any money. I had to figure out a way to earn some green paper — cash, and quick. Without any money in the bank, and just a few bucks in my pocket, I began searching Craigslist for gigs that people were hiring for. I could mow lawns, clean houses, run errands, help people move… Then, one night while watching one of my favorite television shows, “Hoarding: Buried Alive,” I realized that I had all the tools and skills necessary to help people with hoarding. I could use my past work experiences as a counselor, my new degree as an adult educator, and my legs and arms to become a person who would help hoarders.
I took my credit card out of my wallet and began to play on Vista print.com, trying to create a business card that would state my purpose. I needed to keep my customers local (if I was going to be able to help someone, they needed to be near me geographically.) I read a couple of online articles about how to come up with a name for your company so that it would likely show up in a Google search without having to pay thousands of dollars. I added my state name to my business, so that anyone in my state could type that into their own Google search looking for a business like mine. I made the name of my company match exactly what I was doing~ I didn’t have time to play around with cool-sounding fancy names that might not get me noticed online. I simply stated the obvious in my business name: Maryland Hoarder Helpers. And so my business cards in hand, I started my own small business. For less than $10 for the business cards and the gallon of gas it took to get to my first customer, I was off and running.
Anyone looking to start their own business can do so with relatively no money down, as long as they are willing to literally roll up their sleeves and get dirty. You have to think of the things you can actually do~ think that other people might not be able to actually do these things, and offer your services to them. And, it is quite amazing to realize that people are willing to pay you for your efforts.