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10 ways to make money using your smartphone

Beat the credit crunch by starting a business from your handset

We may be on our way out of the recession but you're probably still looking for ways to earn some extra money. However, starting a businesses can be tough, you need money, for a start.

However, don't panic. We're here to help. We've scoured the earth for 10 solid business ideas - endeavours 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 driving licence and 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. 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.

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.

3. Writer

It may be foolhardy to attempt to start a career as a writer without a computer - and we don't exactly advise it - but it has been done before. Blogging is a good place to start: A variety of iPhone apps exist for the major blog platforms (including WordPress and Tumblr) to expedite mobile posts, and many other platforms (such as TypePad) have mobile services built right in. But there's no need to stop at blogging. In Japan it's becoming popular to write and distribute entire novels via cell phone, specifically text message - in 2007, five of the top ten bestselling novels in Japan were 'cellphone novels' written specifically for the medium. Are we ready for such a thing on our shores? Only one way to find out.

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  1. Starting these businesses using your handset
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