Health and beauty services have arguably never been more important. More than ever before, in this health and image conscious decade people want to look and feel good.
Physical and mental health is vital: people want to feel better, fitter and live longer. Looking good is a key aspect of everyone's well being - people like to know they look their best - and it can be crucial in relationships and work. We've generated more and better ways of staying healthy and looking good, so there are now many possible products and services you can make or sell that will allow you to make a healthy living.
If you are skilled or have an interest in any area of health and beauty, there are many potential services you can offer. You can even profit from passing on your expertise. Often it is a case of marketing your service in the right way in order to get the customers queuing up.
You don't necessarily need any prior experience or even any interest in health and beauty to make money from it. There are simple products to make that don't require in-depth skill and knowledge, or you could market products on behalf of someone else. Alternatively, there are related business opportunities in marketing and publishing that you can take advantage of.
Here is a guide to 20 low cost, easy to set up, health and beauty services and related businesses.
1. Health and Beauty Business Visits
People stuck at work all week often don't have the time to exercise or get their hair cut. There is a whole range health and beauty services you could provide where instead of waiting for customers to come to you, you could visit their place of work. Keep fit and aerobics classes, for example, could be held before work begins or during lunch breaks. Any hairdresser, manicurist or beautician with transport, could make appointments through businesses and visit clients in their lunch hours. A travelling gym could be set up in the back of a van or lorry, so that people can work out during work. Contact the managing directors and personnel managers of medium to large companies in your area - you may need to send them some literature describing your service. Once you have your first booking be sure to make future appointments with your clients, unless you have a regular booking.
2. Anti-Insomnia Products
Not being able to sleep is a big problem for many. There are various anti-insomnia products you can produce to help. Herbal pillows are easy to make. These should have an attractive design and be filled with foam and sleep inducing herbs. A range of bedtime clothing could be produced, perhaps smelling of the same herbs. CDs designed to help people relax and sleep soundly are another idea, perhaps containing soothing music and/or a relaxation and meditation programme. Special seashells, which when held up to the ear will produce the sound of the sea, could be popular with children. These products could be sold through retailers such as chemists and market stalls or advertised in newspapers and magazines and sold by mail order.
3. Aromatherapy Products and Services
An increasingly popular form of relaxation and mood therapy, aromatherapy, can be used for fun, or alongside more conventional medicines. There is a range of related health and beauty products you can develop and sell, either through retailers or by mail order. The number one health and beauty product is the essential oils. These are used as a bath or massage oil, or to create an aroma, and different oils can be blended to treat different conditions. With some knowledge and skill, you could develop your own range of oils from natural products, create your own branding and sell them in suitable health and gift shops. An easier alternative is to buy the concentrated oils wholesale, blending them together and adding water as you wish, to create your own scented oils. You could develop and/or sell related products such as oil burners, scented candles and handkerchiefs too. If you don't want to actually make the products yourself, you could sell a range of aromatherapy products by mail order. Produce a small catalogue and advertise in newspapers and women's health and lifestyle magazines or from your health and beauty services web site. Writing and selling a postal aromatherapy course is another option.
4. Sunbed and Gym Hire
Through investing in sunbeds and/or gym equipment and hiring them out for people to use at home, you could very quickly get back what you paid. You will also need a phone, somewhere to store the gear and transport. The free delivery and potential for home use will be a big selling point. Charge a daily or weekly fee and ensure that customers pay a deposit. You could advertise your service in local shop windows and newspapers or distribute leaflets door to door. People who use sunbeds and gym equipment are very common these days and you should find that this business is a profitable venture that will not take too much time and effort to run.
5. Herbal Products
Herbal products can be used either as a safe alternative to many modern medicines, or as a way of masking unpleasant household smells. There are a few easy to make low-cost items in the latter category you can make. Your own range of pot pouri (pleasant smelling herbs) can be made very simply by buying herbs and small wicker baskets in bulk and arranging the herbs attractively in each basket. Sell them in suitable shops or at market stalls, car boot sales and craft fairs. Alternatively, try packaging and preparing a mixture of herbs for adding to bath water, or produce small herb bags to hang in the house, car, caravan and so on. As for medicines, a little research in your local library should give you some old fashioned recipes for improving health and curing common ailments and complaints. You could copy these and produce your own range of health and beauty products. Another area to try is the herbal drinks market, which is growing fast. Increasingly being promoted in pubs and night-clubs as a trendy alternative to alcoholic drinks, herbal drinks are full of natural energy and very tasty. Your own blend of natural drinks should go down well with retailers and customers alike.
6. Home Health and Beauty Services
The two most well known forms of health and beauty service where people are visited at their homes are the hairdresser and the Avon lady type of cosmetics seller. These are both potentially lucrative businesses, but there are other businesses that can operate in a similar way - the aromatherapist, manicurist, make up artist, beautician, masseur or masseuse, sun bed operator, chiropodist, wig fitter and cleaner - the list is endless. If you have experience in any of these areas, or can learn it, then consider running a home visit service. Clients will often pay more for a personal service where they don't have to leave their homes, than they would if they had to visit a shop. Such a health and beauty services operation is not necessarily expensive to advertise - local shop windows will usually suffice to begin with. Once you have developed a small client base, word of mouth is usually the best form of advertising, with your satisfied customers telling their friends and generating more custom. Whenever you visit a client at home, encourage them to invite their friends along to watch, take part, and be handed free samples. This will create a good relationship and will advertise your service at the same time.
7. Health and Beauty Schools
If you have a particular kind of expertise in the field of health and beauty, then you can make money from sharing it and educating people at the same time. Setting up a health and beauty school is something that can be started very easily at low cost. What your school teaches depends on your knowledge - it could be hairdressing, make up, dieting or physical fitness - as long as you make sure you are teaching something where you don't need any kind of medical qualification or special licence (you couldn't set up a school of medicine in this way, for example). The subjects listed above are ideal because they are useful to people in developing a career and those looking for a profitable opportunity. All you need to start with is a suitable space - you can rent somewhere if you don't have the space at home - and suitable education and demonstration materials. Write out a syllabus (what the course covers) beforehand and organise what each of the sessions will cover. Ideally, you should provide each person who has completed the course a certificate as proof that they have knowledge of a particular subject. Advertise your service in shop windows, health food shops and in suitable newspapers and magazines.
8. Postal Courses
An alternative to teaching people face to face is to offer a postal course. Sent out in installments (usually monthly), your course can cover each aspect of your subject. The teaching materials you send out could take the form of a printed black and white or photocopied booklet, explaining the lesson with examples and diagrams if necessary, plus a pupil question and answer section. Again, provide those who complete the course with a certificate. This has an advantage in that you can get customers from all over the world.
Consultancy is another business that utilises in depth knowledge. You could become a diet consultant, giving advice on recommended diets and perhaps taking people through established programs such as the F-Plan. Alternatively, you could become a make up consultant, advising people on the most suitable make up for their hair and eye colour, skin tone and facial shape. It is a good idea to visit the homes of clients to give private consultations. Again, advertise in suitable newspapers and magazines and in local shops.
10. 'Stop Smoking' Products and Services
Each year in the UK, millions of people try to give up smoking. Only a small percent are successful. There are a few products that you can make and/or sell to access on this market. 'How to Give Up Smoking' books and CDs are two obvious examples. Humorous smoking penalty/fine boxes and "Bye bye fags" ashtrays are two novelty products you could produce. The former is a box in which some money can be placed every time its owner smokes a cigarette, and the latter is an ashtray which can be decorated with a personalised message for people on a countdown to a quit attempt. Positive messages to people trying to quit could be provided by fridge magnets, coffee mugs, money boxes for savings, and posters.
11. Health and Beauty Services Agent
Even if you do not have any particular expertise in health and beauty services, there is a way of making money from those who do - as an agent. Taking massage as an example, if someone wanted a home massage, instead of ringing around different home massage services in the area, they could contact you first. You would advise on reputable firms offering the service required by the customer and subsequently make the booking. You take a commission on each booking, perhaps charging each masseur an agency membership fee. You could set up an agency concentrating on one particular area or on health and beauty services in general. To be successful it is best if your service is as comprehensive as possible - that is, comprising as many different services as you can sign up with your agency - and cover as wide an area as you can manage. The key to getting services to sign up is the quality of your marketing. If a masseur can see they will get a lot of extra customers through your agency for the cost of a small commission, then they are bound to be interested. Therefore, you should advertise as widely as possible in suitable shops, newspapers and magazines. If beauty services can see that you advertise widely, it will lend your agency a lot of prestige and get more people to join. The advertising won't be cheap, but the extra trade and commissions will make it worthwhile.
12. Health and Stress Kits
These items are small kits filled with products designed to relieve stress, or alleviate the symptoms of a particular ailment such as a cold, flu or stomach ache. Both kits can be assembled from already existing products and medicines, and then packaged and sold by you. A stress kit, for example, might contain a DVD or CD, a hand grip, a selection of herbal relaxation drinks and pills, aromatic oils and so on. This could be an ideal product for business people, so you could market it through the business press and trade magazines.
13. Health Food and Vegetarian Catering
People's tastes are becoming much more health oriented, and the growth in the popularity of vegetarian foods is continually rising, boosted in part by the British beef and other more recent food scares. People now realise that health food does not just mean lettuce and that a vegetarian meal does not consist entirely of birdseed. To take advantage of this demand, you could become a retailer of health food and/or vegetarian products - setting up a market stall is the cheapest option. Alternatively, why not set up a health/vegetarian food catering service. Devise a menu of tasty and imaginative meals and market your service towards organisers of parties, weddings and business functions. You could place menus in the windows of health food shops and distribute them to businesses. You could also develop a lunch time business round - select suitable businesses and take round a selection of healthy snack type foods.
14. Slimming and Exercise Aids and Services
There are many slimming aids and services you can offer to the hundreds of thousands of slimmers in this country, e.g. books, CDs and DVDs containing dietary and exercise programmes. Collect together and market a mail order catalogue of slimming books and other media. Things like dietary drinks, food and pills, plus sports and exercise equipment are suitable complementary products to sell. There is scope for developing your own products too - you could create your own dietary foods, a cookbook, devise a diet and exercise programme or write a slimmers' newsletter. Weight loss holidays are another idea - they could be billed as a fun alternative to visiting a health farm. The best places to advertise is in local shop windows and notice boards, local newspapers, women's magazines, fitness publications, and you could contact slimming clubs too.
15. Mail Order Health and Beauty Products
Most health and beauty products are suitable for mail order selling: cosmetics, toiletries, books, CDs and DVDs, vitamin pills, herbal medicines, self medication kits, dietary aids and foods, and practically anything health and beauty related that is small and hence inexpensive to transport. Produce a catalogue listing your products and prices and leave them in health food shops, sports centres and cafes. Also, consider advertising in suitable publications. To obtain stock, import products or buy them in bulk from a wholesaler and sell them on at a profit. If you can obtain products from your supplier very quickly, you may not need an expensive prior investment - just get it from your supplier following receipt of your customer's order, and send it on.
16. Door to Door Health and Beauty Products
All the products mentioned above are also suitable for selling door to door, like the Avon lady who sells cosmetics. You could sell a whole range of products in this manner. You need transport plus a bag or tray for your products. Try to have examples of each product to hand and demonstrate items if you can. Ideally you should produce a catalogue which can be left with customers so that they can place future orders with you. This service makes an excellent part time venture to run at evenings and weekends, which are the best times to make home visits. Once you have built up a base of regular customers, this can earn a significant regular income.
17. 'How To...' Products
You could produce a range of 'How To...' products - books, CDs, DVDs and newsletters that explain how to deal with various health and beauty problems and issues. Potential subjects could be how to prepare for childbirth, how to improve the way you look, how to treat children's illnesses, how to deal with back pain, how to cope with terminal illness and how to beat depression.
18. Spring Water
This business has the potential to take advantage of the growth in demand for healthy bottled spring water, particularly in times of drought. You could run a home delivery service of bottled water, similar to milkmen. To advertise, drop leaflets through people's doors and contact them when you do your rounds. Alternatively, negotiate an arrangement with the owner of a natural spring that allows you to bottle and sell their water. Its exclusive and healthy nature should ensure that supermarkets and other retailers stock it. Be aware that there are health and safety issues relating to this industry - you cannot just bottle and sell any old water.
19. Selling Cosmetics and Health and Beauty Products
Because they are cheap and light, cosmetics and beauty treatments/products can be bought and sold very easily and are ideal for importing and mail order selling. The profit margin is high too. A mail order business operating from home or selling door to door could make an ideal first business. The sort of products to sell are make up, beauty treatments such as facial and body scrubs and ointments, and toiletries. You should do particularly well if you stock the more well known name brands, although it will be more expensive to buy. You could tailor your stock to certain specialised markets. For example, most make up products are targeted at people with white skin - why not buy and sell make up for non whites? By importing in bulk (or even manufacturing your own products) you could be very successful as there is a big demand and a high profit margin. Baldness products could take advantage of a particular niche market.
20. Health and Beauty Services and Products Directory Pages
A comprehensive directory of health and beauty services and product suppliers in your area - a 'Yellow Pages' of health - could be profitable. The idea is to include every service, and promote the directory, so that it becomes people's main source of information when they wish to order a health and beauty related service. A small attractively produced free booklet or tabloid should suffice, which can then be left in libraries, health food shops, supermarkets, doctors and dentists waiting rooms, sports centres, cafes and bars for the public to pick up. The chief source of revenue for the directory is advertising. Businesses will be eager to advertise if the guide is guaranteed to reach a certain amount of potential customers. Set your advertising rates according to the amount of page space each ad takes up, the position of the ad within the directory, and how many people in total are likely to read it. To get businesses to advertise, send out mailshots to all the health and beauty related businesses in your area, perhaps making a follow up call. Let them know how many people are likely to read your free guide, printing a new updated version as often as necessary. Give each health and beauty services and products directory an interesting and current feel by including articles and interviews with local businesses to ensure that people pick up each new version, rather than just keeping their original one.