September 08, 2010, 10:41 AM — You're out of work. The job listings are thin. You have no money to start your own business. Maybe you don't even have a computer to assist in conducting a proper job search.
Rest easy, we're here to help. We've scoured the earth for ten solid business ideas--endeavors that you can mostly start up with little more than a smartphone and a Gmail address, and that you could get under way tomorrow if you absolutely had to.
Sure, a computer--or at least a netbook--would help with just about any of these suggestions, but for most of your day-to-day activities in these ten enterprises, you won't need anything more than your phone and a big dose of old-fashioned gumption. Now get out there--the economy is waiting!
1. Car Service
Provided you have a car with a spacious back seat--and you're good at keeping it clean and tidy--you can start a car service without much effort, particularly if you live in a smaller town without major taxi regulations. The biggest hurdle is getting the appropriate driver's license for your state and/or city (check with your state's DMV for details). Once that's out of the way, you can put up a simple Website and offer a phone number for customers to schedule pickups. Your phone can double as a calendar and address book to keep track of appointments, and it can work as a GPS device to ensure you're going the right way. Check out UberCab, which lets passengers book travel on private cars directly from their iPhone.
2. Travel/Tour Guide
What better way to turn a lifetime of living in the same town into pocket money than to become a tour guide around said town? Get the word out by building a Website and offering commentary on Yelp to promote yourself as a local expert. Services such as Genbook can help you manage appointments and scheduling, and any Android phone can download a multi-waypoint map from Google Maps to help you plan your tour route. During your downtime, write a tour guidebook and sell it as a print-on-demand book as well as an e-book and smartphone app.