How to Start a Profitable ETR Microbusiness in 30 Days, Part 1

“Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage.” – Niccolo Machiavelli

Two years ago, Dan Domerofski was laid off as a financial analyst. After several weeks of unsuccessfully searching for a replacement job, he created his own auto-service business. Before long, EQ-Oil Changes was providing on-worksite automotive oil- and filter-change services to employees at about a dozen companies in the area.

“It’s been easy getting business,” Domerofski told USA Today. The secret, he says, is to come up with a chore that the average employee doesn’t have time to do during the week, and find a way to do it for him while he is at work.

Some recent examples of this trend in action:

  • Body Techniques offers desk-side massages to employees. Owner Austin Lund has created a network of therapists that service the San Francisco Bay area.
  • Cleaners 2U, a family-owned dry-cleaning business in Reston, VA, transformed itself in 1997 by offering delivery service with next-day turnaround. The service includes a garment bag with the customer’s name on it for pick-up and drop-off.
  • Unique Shoeshines goes to the corporate headquarters of big companies and sets up on-site shoe-shining stands. Carlos Rodrigues’ clients include PepsiCo, MasterCard, and Morgan Stanley. “Women are big customersbecause they have more shoes,” he says. His best marketing technique: “I offer five shines for the price of four.”

I like these little service businesses. For one thing, they can be started on a shoestring — usually less than $1,000. And they require no extensive experience, education, or connections.

Another benefit: You don’t have to do the work yourself. If you are retired or unemployed, you can choose to do it — and, that way, you’ll be both the owner of a microbusiness and its only employee. But you could also get a friend or relative to do it, pay them a good salary, and still have a good second income.

Either way, you earn a good living, enjoy a great deal of independence, and — if you follow the advice we’re going to give you — you can even get rich.

Most people who start microbusinesses do it because they want to give up the routine of commuting to a 9-5 job and take on the fun of managing and growing their own little service enterprises. They can make decent money working on their own — often as much as they’d earn elsewhere as an employee — and they can choose their own hours, customers, work clothes, etc.

But some of them find that there’s also a way to make a microbusiness into a gold mine.

Basically, here’s how you do it . . . After investing a few years as the main employee of your microbusiness, you hire someone to replace you and pay him about 50% to 70% of what you were making. Now, instead of earning, say, $80,000 a year, you’ll earn $30,000 — but you’ll be working only 10 hours a week.

By adding other people to your pool . . . selling franchises, as it were . . . you can double, triple, or even quadruple your take-home without appreciably increasing your workload. I’ve asked my friend Paul Lawrence, who has started a few microbusinesses himself, to become ETR’s resident expert on them. You’ll meet him tomorrow — and find out exactly how to get started on an ETR microbusiness of your own.