45 search results for “Lauren Marinigh”

You Can Start One of These Fun Businesses for Less Than $500

You Can Start One of These Fun Businesses for Less Than $500


You probably read the title of this article, and rolled your eyes because it can’t possibly be possible to start a business for under $500, but I’m here to prove you wrong.

Starting a business doesn’t always need to involve you seeking out financial assistance, investors, and draining your personal savings.

Here are eight businesses you can start with a minimal amount of money in the bank. 

1. Freelance business services

With 34% of the workforce in the United States consisting of freelancers, we’ve already seen a steady increase in self-employed individuals taking their skills and experience to start freelance service businesses. The cost to start up a freelance business can be minimal, a good website that advertises your services can be all you need since you have the ability to work from anywhere. 

2. Tutoring

Using your experience and knowledge you have gained throughout years of school, teaching other kids and students can be a cost efficient business option. Likely you can tutor students in their own homes or a local library, and they’ll already have their own school supplies and textbooks. 

3. Photography

Many people are already taking photos, so why not hone in on your skills, build a portfolio and offer your professional photography services to other people. Even if you don’t have the money to buy all the photography equipment you need, many camera shops provide rentals.

4. Nanny services 

Love kids? How about turning that passion into a business by becoming a nanny. Use all that babysitting experience you received growing up and turn it into a career. The best part? The cost to become a nanny to children can be as minimal as just advertising your services. 

5. Dog walking

Who doesn’t love furry friends? To be a dog walker, you don’t need much other than a pair of good walking shoes and a love for dogs. Advertise your services to friends or family that have pets, and begin to ask around to people in your neighbourhood that have busy lifestyles and may benefit from your services.

6. Housecleaning

Unless the cleaning supplies come with the house, all you’ll really need to start your own housecleaning business is some supplies and a house or two to clean. Target your services to busy families, or even small businesses that may need help keeping up with their cleaning each day. 

7. Professional training

A great option if you have experience or an educational background in a particular field that others may be interested in learning more about. Offer to come into businesses to teach and train staff. For example, if you have a background in marketing, maybe you’ll offer your services to small businesses to help improve employees marketing skillset.  

8. Virtual assistant

A virtual assistant usually provides administrative support to other businesses or people through a remote office. This means that you can work anywhere from your bed to a beach in Bali. So many professionals and businesses just don’t have time for those mundane tasks that still need to be done, so offering them the relief can be just what they’re looking for.

When many people think of starting a business, they think of the mountains of money it’s going to take in order to make it happen, but the truth is, there are options out there that won’t drain your personal savings. The best part is, all of these above businesses can be great side hustles too for those with full-time careers looking for an extra income, or to try out something new.   

About the Author

Lauren Marinigh is a Toronto-based online marketing and content development professional, who is completely addicted to traveling, puppies, and GIFs.

Continue reading

3 Benefits of Having a Loyalty Program for Your Business

3 Benefits of Having a Loyalty Program for Your Business

Loyalty programs are popping up in every corner of the retail space, and that’s because businesses understand the importance of retaining existing customers and increasing customer loyalty.

Loyalty programs can differ between businesses but essentially they are a marketing system that offers rewards for the purchasing behavior of your customers. For example, you may offer a points card, and after a customer accumulates a certain amount of points they can use them towards something within your store.

Implementing a loyalty program may require resources you have allocated elsewhere in your marketing, but in the long run it can have several benefits, and here are just some of them.

1. It stewards relationships with existing customers

One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to loyalty programs is that they are expensive, but the truth is, pursuing new customers instead of keeping existing ones can be more expensive. According to Forbes, keeping an existing customer is seven times less expensive than acquiring a new one.

Loyalty programs quite simply build loyal customers, and customers want to save money, that’s why the whole spend-a-dollar, earn-a-point tactic is so popular, especially when customers see the reward after a reasonable amount of like (aka they don’t have to collect for 12 years to get one $5 thing free). But loyalty programs can be much more than this.

Shoppers want recognition that goes beyond monetary benefits. Give those within your loyalty program something exclusive or something more personalized. Let your customers be a part of your brand story and community. Let them collect points through sharing things on social media, inviting their friends, or by participating in contests. Give loyalty members a sneak peek or samples of new products before they’re released, or invite them to exclusive events that are only a perk of being a member.

2. It helps increase sales

Loyalty programs improve customer retention and provide incentives for your customers to buy. If you’re giving your reoccurring customers incentives that are in tune with what they want, you’ll be drawing them in and encouraging them to keep coming back and of course, spending money.

One study showed that customers are only 12-15% loyal to a single retailer but they represent 55-70% of total sales. This means that half of your sales are coming from a small percentage of your customers, so nurturing these relationships are important. Loyalty programs can help do this by increasing that number of repeat customers and also increasing the amount of repeat purchases.

3. It attracts new customers

How much have you spent on attracting new customers? Although traditional marketing tactics aren’t obsolete, it’s important to think about what would happen if you took even a small portion of what you spend on the traditional media and put it towards a loyalty program. Instead of putting all your money on getting new customers, you will reap the rewards of keeping your current ones coming back.

62% of consumers don’t believe that brands are doing enough to reward them for their loyalty, which increases the chances of these consumers to change their buying habits. Give customers a reason to stay and make them feel like you care! As you start to nurture these existing relationships better, it will not only give existing customers a reason to stay but also will give new customers a reason to keep coming back. And with that, we’ll all be happy, right?  

Loyalty programs can be one of your most beneficial marketing tactics, and will not only help increase sales, but also help develop a brand image for yourself that will feel more like a community and less like a corporation who is only after money.

Continue reading

4 Tips for Running a Business That’s On The Move

4 Tips for Running a Business That’s On The Move

Starting a business involves finding the perfect location. One that will be in the heart of where your customers are, and one that has everything you need to be successful. But at the end of the day, choosing a location is always a gamble, and one that is easily avoided by those starting mobile businesses like food trucks.

Mobile businesses allow for you to have the ultimate location because you can change it when something just isn’t working. Think of it like a pop-up shop, but more cost effective because your space is your truck. There’s also the benefit of having an easier to maintain business location, although a mechanic can be expensive, it can be cheaper than repairing a major water issue, or making sure the air conditioner is working for your customers.

Because of these benefits, and of course a few more, mobile businesses are becoming more and more popular. Gone are the days of only seeing ice cream trucks, in 2016 we’ve seen almost every kind of food truck we can imagine, and we’ve even seen businesses like In Pursuit Mobile Boutique which asides from having an online store, also runs a mobile retail establishment.

After spotting her first fashion truck in Boston, In Pursuit owner and operator, Dominique Leger had bells and whistles go off. “When you’re mobile, you’re in control. You get to go where the people are, there’s no waiting around and hoping they come to you,” she explained. But even though starting a mobile business comes with its many benefits, it also comes with its own set of challenges, many of which, Dominique has had to learn the hard way. So here are her tips for those wanting to go mobile to help get you started on the right foot.

Know the rules

As a mobile retailer, rules and regulations will be the number one thing that stand in your way and they’re different everywhere you go. Dominique suggests reaching out to whoever you can that can give you the best understanding of the by-laws and regulations in your community. “This will ultimately make or break you,” she stressed. “You could have the coolest boutique concept in the world, but if you can’t open your doors when you park your truck, no one will be able to share your passion with you.”

Build a community

Dominique calls her customers “truck girls” and treats them like they’re her best friends. Without customers you wouldn’t have a business, so make them your most important piece to your company’s puzzle and let their feedback guide your business. Dominique has a 24/7 policy with In Pursuit which means that even if her truck isn’t open, customers can still find her products online and order them. She even offers emergency roadside service for those that can’t make it to the truck while it’s popped up and want to try something on. In a competitive world, it can be hard to stand out, so offering something unique can be what differentiates you from all the rest.

Don’t be afraid of trial and error

Look at problems as opportunities, as this will force you to think outside the box and come up with interesting solutions on how to make things better the next time. Everything isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Chances are, after a couple years in business, your business isn’t going to look the same as your original plans, and that’s okay. So learn from failures, try new things, and ask for feedback to help you adapt and grow.

Keep it unique

It’s easy to be swayed by what other people are doing, but it’s important to remember to be yourself and stay true to your vision. “Make sure to remind yourself of your why often, especially when you’re feeling like you’re heading off track or need motivation,” Dominique advised. What makes your business unique is what’s going to draw in customers and make you stand out from what everyone else is doing.

For Dominique, it may have taken almost a year and half to finally get an okay from her city to set up shop on the move in her community, but she didn’t let that stop her. With doing her research, staying true to her vision and idea, and being persistent, she made her business into a success on wheels.

Continue reading

6 Tips for Launching a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

6 Tips for Launching a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

Crowdfunding has helped many entrepreneurs, businesses, and people across the globe raise the funds they need to complete particular projects, develop products or even help out a cause or person in need. Crowdfunding can be a great way to get the funding you need without having to go into debt, and it can help develop a buzz and awareness around whatever you’re raising money for. 

In 2014, 16.2 billion (USD) was raised through crowdfunding campaigns globally, with 58% of that being in North America alone. There’s no question that crowdfunding is continuing to grow in popularity, and entrepreneurs like Josie and Ronny of Magnetree Books were just two of those entrepreneurs taking advantage of this platform to help kick start their business.

Josie and Ronny’s goal was to reach $20,000 in 30 days so they could use the funds to place their first order of books and purchase tools and supplies for making the magnets that come with each book purchase. They had debated over starting the campaign for months and ultimately decided to launch their crowdfunding campaign because they wanted to:

A) Get their product ready for the holiday shopping season.

B) Expand their community to test their product.

C) Take advantage of the brand awareness and marketing potential a crowdfunding campaign could offer.

But starting a crowdfunding campaign doesn’t happen overnight, in fact, it involves a ton of work and planning in order to be successful. Here are five things to think about before you launch, according to Magnetree co-founder, Josie.

1) Shape your brand

Before you even launch your campaign, it’s important to shape your brands identity. Naturally we support people who we feel a connection with so it’s important to decide what you stand for as a company and let that be a part of everything you do.

2) Community

Crowdfunding wouldn’t be crowdfunding without the crowd. Your community is a huge part of running a successful campaign. To start, Magnetree started a focus group where they invited 100 people from their target market and offered a free book in exchange for their ideas and feedback. “We weren’t just testing our ideas, we were building a community of supporter’s who would help us expand our reach more than we could imagine,” Josie explained.

3) The video

With every good crowdfunding campaign comes a video, which is a critical part in your campaign. Choose what format you will create your video on, whether it’s through your phone or with a professional, and use this video to tell your story. Humans will connect with your brand because of the story, and your audience wants to know what brought you to where you are today and where you’ll go with their help.

4) Public Relations

Before launching your campaign, don’t forget about public relations. Reach out to bloggers in your space and find a way to stand out to them. For example, Magnetree made a list of 60 influential mommy bloggers and reached out to them with a personalized video about their campaign. Another important thing is to make sure you have is a media kit to distribute to people like bloggers in your outreach. You want to create as much buzz about your campaign as possible prior to launching your campaign, so when it launches that momentum continues.

5) Create your campaign

A few tips that Josie recommends is to:

  • Include the cost of shipping and fulfillment in your reward cost structure
  • Set a realistic fulfillment date
  • Include a lot of pictures in your description and carry the same branding and design throughout

Once you have created your campaign and you’re ready to launch, it may be an idea to host an event inviting people in your network, media and bloggers to get the buzz going.

6) Launch your campaign

Now that you’ve launched, spread the word of your campaign far and wide by contacting everyone you know through personal outreach, Facebook messages, and paid promotions. You want your campaign to reach as many people as possible in your target audience.

Taking the time to plan for your campaign execution will help set yourself up for success before launching your campaign. So follow these steps to get yourself started on the right foot.

Continue reading

7 Reasons Your Business Should Be on Instagram

7 Reasons Your Business Should Be on Instagram

With over 500 million users, and 70 million photos per day being shared, there’s no question on whether or not Instagram is here to stay. And with Instagram just recently launching a self-serve advertising platform, there are even more possibilities for you and your business.  

1. People spend a lot of time on Instagram

In fact, next to Facebook, Instagram is one of the most popular social networks for time spent on the platform. Which means that you have more time and a better chance of getting yourself in front of your audience. Now is that something you just ignore?

2. Instagram drives sales 

Instagram has a higher conversion rate for sales then platforms like Polyvore and Pinterest. Visitors often go on to purchase items after visiting Instagram accounts and on average spend $65.00. Since Instagram is such a visual platform, it cuts through the clutter and lets your products speak for themselves.

3. Visual content dominates

Social media users want visual content. How many times have you scrolled past a million posts on your feeds and stopped at a photo or video? Visual content is said to be one of the most important components when it comes to marketing for business and optimizing their social media presence.

4. The audience on Instagram is always engaged

Although Facebook is still the most popular social media platform, Instagram followers are more likely to engage and share content. Top brands are seeing a 4.21% engagement rate on the platform, which has coined it to be the king of engagement in terms of social media.

5. It allows you to be creative

Instagram has endless possibilities for creativity. It allows you to tell stories, get creative, and create a visual identity for your brand in a more real-time, fun way. Run contests, engage with your fans, and be consistent. Instagram is a fun platform, so don’t be afraid to experiment, and show your brands personality.

6. You can leverage user-generated content

Especially if you are selling a product, your customers can be your key to success on Instagram. Encourage them to share their photos of your product, or seek out those that already are, and repurpose that content. Customers love to see brands interact and acknowledge them, so this is a win-win for the both of you. 

7. Take customers behind-the-scenes

Instagram allows you to get creative with bringing your customers to a side of your brand that they may never see. Give them sneak peeks of new products or menu items; show them what it’s like to work at your company, or what goes into making their favourite products. Even if you are sitting in an office or warehouse all day, there is still tons of content you can create; you just need to be creative.

So with millions of users, millions of photos being shared each day, and the highest engagement of any other platform, do you need any more reasons to get yourself and your business on this platform? I don’t think so.

About the Author

Lauren Marinigh is a Toronto-based online marketing and content development professional, who is completely addicted to traveling, puppies, and GIFs.

Continue reading

Start your free 14-day trial of Shopify