Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird, and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.
Before you get excited about starting your home based business idea, you first have to make sure you have the right tools in place. The main tool is a speedy Internet connection. Most home based businesses will require some sort of Internet connection. With a good Internet connection, you can also take care of a phone and fax. Isn’t technology great?
You too can make good money by offering your services as a nanny, babysitter, or elderly caretaker. Gather up some positive referrals from friends and family members and then spread the word that you’re open for business. Places like Facebook, Craigslist, and local bulletin boards are great places to promote your business (plus, they’re free)!
See what buyers are paying, and then offer half of that or less. The big margins are in textbooks, but online buyers accept many types of used books, and often pay for shipping with a printable label.
Because I am just a little bit techie, I get asked to video record weddings all the time. If video or photography are up your alley, starting a wedding photography business could be a great idea for you. If doing weddings aren’t your thing, there are other ways you can make money as a photographer as well.
What about an online business? Many of the principles discussed above apply to a business that operates solely online. For example, an online business with employees will need to register with the workers’ compensation and unemployment departments. While an online-only business is unlikely to run afoul of zoning laws or signage restrictions, the online proprietor must grapple with sales tax on certain transactions. In fact, the sales tax rules for online sales are often more complex, idiosyncratic, and ambiguous than those that apply to in-store or traditional mail order transactions. Therefore, a conversation with your accountant is advised before you start taking orders.
Allen Brouwer, co-founder of Best Self Co. and one of the eight winners of Shopify’s recent Build a Bigger Business contest, did exactly that, winning mentoring from the likes of Tony Robbins, Tim Ferriss, Daymond John and other business luminaries.
If you can craft anything, anything at all, have any sort of design qualities or experience, or just some creativity and a working set of arms and legs, you can create things and sell them. There are so many online market places that you can sell in, eBay, Amazon, Etsy, to name a few… so many product to create, from wearable art (a nicer term for clothing), through craftsmanship of things like pots and jars, through genuine art – painting sculpting etc.
This is a boom or bust business. One relative went into this business out of college and just couldn’t get any momentum going. Whereas a friend of mine who had sold his retail store business has quickly become hugely successful at commercial real estate. My friend is highly charismatic, he could carry on a conversation with a tree, and he is always meeting new people. He also worked for an established broker for a year or so before going on his own, which is a typical path in this business. While it can be difficult to build momentum initially, the potential upside is much higher than selling residential real estate.
While you may first think of wedding planners or reunion organizers, there are many, many types of event planners out there. Some may specialize in parties for young kids, others in large corporate events. Think carefully of a specialty that you could do well in and meet participants in that field, before you open shop.
The types of required permits depend upon a number of factors: type of business, business structure, number of employees, and geographic location of the business. The following licenses are not home-business specific—they are just part of the cost of opening any business. (While few businesses will require each of the permits, each business will require some of them.)
To make delivery affordable for the customer and efficient enough for you to make a decent profit, you may have to service a very limited area. You might start by approaching elderly residents in a housing complex, promising delivery just two days per week in order to process as many orders as you can at once.
Many businesses seek out freelance graphic designers for logos, custom letterheads, infographics, and web design work. With digital visual assets becoming ever more valuable online, graphic designers have plenty of opportunities to make money remotely from home.
I will tell you a secret. You can make a lot of money from a non-profit business. You can pay yourself a good salary and reasonable expenses. And you can even sell the enterprise. Better yet, you can create an organization that will really help others. I strongly suggest you approach running a non-profit with the same discipline that you would a profit-making business, and almost all of the how-to videos on BusinessTown.com apply to non-profits as well.
Believe it or not, this freelance bike messenger makes more money than some people glued to their office desks. You won’t rake in a whopping $50,000 as this guy does by just doing this in your free time as a side business idea only, but you’ll surely get a piece of the action. Even Uber is trying out a blueprint for a delivery service, and companies like WunWun and Amazon are stepping up their efforts to expand same-day delivery, increasing the demand for more to jump in on this business idea. If you have a decent bicycle, those pair of pedals might just earn you a healthy side hustle income.
Believe it or not, eBay is now more than two decades old, but it’s still the most viable platform for setting up a home-based business online. Big success stories have been around for years now, but there is an enormous amount of competition on the site.
Teaching and tutoring English as a second language is a great way to make a solid side business idea work, not to mention opening doors for you to travel the world if you’d like. While full ESL (English as a Second Language) accreditation is recommended, as long as you’re a native speaker, there are people in countries such as Hong Kong or the UAE who are willing to pay upwards of $25/hr for you to teach them English via Skype. Indeed, Learn4Good and Remote.co often have remote english tutoring jobs posted, check back frequently. Then once you land that remote job, you’ll need somewhere more professional than your dining room table to meet with students—check out this post about how to find places to work remotely and you’ll officially graduate this side business idea into a full-time endeavor for yourself.
Since we live in a digital world, it’s expected that you have a website – especially for businesses who need to drive traffic to increase sales. If you have the skills then you can start creating personalized websites for customers. Start small by developing websites on a platforms like WordPress and work your way up. If you don’t have the talent, you can teach yourself through Codeacademy or hire a talented designer.Besides developing websites, offer a service like website management where you keep clients websites properly running and updated. Here is a guide to being a better programmer.
For many people, working from home on the side or full time can be an attractive option, whether they’re trying to make a few extra bucks or start a new career. However, starting a home based business, like starting any other business, requires a large amount of planning and personal commitment. You’ll have to plan out your strategy, work out all the little details, and then put in the work to make it happen. Luckily, by using your home as your business space, you avoid some of the costs and hassles associated with classic businesses, like renting commercial space and meeting certain permit requirements.
There’s something magical about a cupcake that says fun and silliness and makes you feel good! You can cash in on that feeling and make others happy. But if you are specializing in cupcakes, people expect them to be excellent! And if you want to be remembered, they should be world class awesome!
Earning money on GigWalk is similar to working on Task Rabbit—not a bad side business idea if you’ve got the free time. You get to choose from an amusingly diverse range of jobs from taking snapshots of restaurant menus to counting the items arrayed on supermarket racks. It won’t make you rich though, with payouts tending to congregate in the lower half of their $3-to-$100 range. But, if you’re looking for a steady little side business idea, it can’t hurt doing a strange but fun errand and getting a tip at the end. When you’re bored or a little short on cash, you can access GigWalk anytime, anywhere via their mobile app. Meanwhile, all the jobs specifically vetted for you will be within reach (ideally, just a brisk walk away).
This could be a lot of fun, playing store merchant every now and then, when you decide to attend a flea market. There are general flea markets to attend, plus more specialized ones. For example, being a model railroad buff, I notice the many model railroad vendors who travel to model railroad shows around the northeast, selling new or used model railroad supplies. You could make your own items to sell, trade used items, or sell new items that you buy wholesale. The options are endless.
Never underestimate the terror some people feel getting up to speak in front of a live audience. High school and college students, as well as businesspeople, are excellent target markets for entrepreneurs who have some training and expertise in public speaking and presentations.
Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.
The region in which a small business is located also affects the average income of its owners. A report issued by PayScale indicated that entrepreneurs employed on the coasts earn more than their counterparts in the South and Midwest. Entrepreneurs in New York, for example, earned a median yearly salary upwards of $125,185, while those in Georgia top out at $75,500.
It is absurd how much money you can make in liquidation! One of my friends made hundreds of millions of dollars as a partner in a firm primarily specializing in liquidating retailers. Typically, a liquidator comes into a business and buys everything that is unsecured. Then if the company is a retailer, they hire the company’s staff themselves to run a going out of business sale. You could specialize in liquidating certain types of businesses or personal estates.
Driving for one of the two globally expanding app-centric taxi alternative services, Uber or Lyft can still be a fairly lucrative way to earn money as a side business idea on nights and weekends—working only when you want. But before you dive head first into this side business idea, do your homework and calculate the costs of extra gas, mileage, tires, wear & tear and usage on your vehicle—it’s not a guaranteed business idea that’ll turn a huge profit every weekend.
With nearly 100,000 different custom extensions both free and paid available in Google Chrome’s marketplace, there’s a huge opportunity for creating a useful extension for people to use while browsing the web as a low effort business idea. One of my favorite Chrome extensions, Yet Another Mail Merge, which enables you to send bulk customized emails from within Gmail, gives you 50 free credits to send emails and gives you the chance to upgrade to a paid account to unlock more sending—a great upsell for the people who are getting value from the extension. Even free Chrome extensions like SVRF Tabs by SVRF, which replaces your new tab with stunning VR and 360º images, have the potential to bring in new users and eventually drive revenue for the startup’s core business. Another fun example from a friend of mine, Kathleen Garvin, is Hide images with NOPE, a Chrome extension that hides images on the web pages you’re browsing—to help eliminate distractions and keep you from seeing images (like those of certain politicians) that you may want to hide. This side business idea is particularly great because it also allows you to showcase your development skills—which can be put to work as an adjacent side business idea on a freelance basis alongside the Chrome extensions you launch.
There are at least three teenage entrepreneurs who’ve already earned astonishing amounts of money by launching hand-made jewelry business ideas: M3 Girl Designs’ Maddie Bradshaw, Bella Weems of Origami Owl, and the girl behind DesignedByLei. With the industry set to shine in the near term via a brisk annual growth rate of 5-6%, the market is ripe for new entrants to this business idea who can offer sparkling new takes on how to craft appealing handmade goods.
As far as network marketing is concerned, I think it’s very difficult for an average person to get through what it takes to make money. Being told that they have to try to recruit their warm market, have home meetings, prospect strangers and attend hotel meeting every week. I believe these task are so painful and takes the average person too far out of their comfort zone, it feels like a relief to just quit. I personally believe in network marketing and there are some awesome companies and awesome products. But it seems like people have to go through a lot of pain and sacrifice before they can win in traditional network marketing.
The only thing better than the smell of grandma’s chocolate-chip cookie recipe baking in the oven is watching cash roll in as customers order those delectable treats. Home baking is an approachable business idea in that it involves doing what you’re probably doing a lot of, anyway, if you love to bake. You probably have all the equipment and expertise you need to get started.
Everyone wants videos for their website, and corporations and non-profits are willing to pay good money for high quality service. This is a local business because you need to be onsite with your camera.
This last year has been a big increase in the popularity of photo sharing applications such as Snapchat and Instagram. With the popularity of the selfie, these applications are going to be popular for a while longer. However there is still plenty of room for a new unique photo sharing application. If you have a unique idea for a photo sharing app then it could go big.
If you have the background this is another low-cost business idea that can make you millions. After some initial advertising and marketing costs, most of your customers will come through word-of-mouth.You can also sell your training online, like starting a YouTube channel or a subscription-based business.
Like starting a home bakery, developing a catering service comes with a unique set of food-oriented challenges. Right off the bat, you need to make sure that it’s legal in your state or municipality to use your home kitchen for commercial food production. If it is, you’ll still need to make sure that you’re following food-safety regulations and other relevant laws.
This is a specialized niche of the fencing business, but so differentiated that it is basically a totally separate, non-competitive business—and that’s the best kind of niche to find! Your market is dog owners, and probably the owners of some types or dogs, or maybe multiple dogs, are much more likely to be customers than others, which means that you can really target your marketing!
I’ve found that fear often stops aspiring consultants from starting a consulting business–or any business–and on my blog, I talk about how to overcome those fears. I also talk about practical, concrete things you can do to start and run a successful consulting business, along with tools, tips, tricks, and techniques for automating your business and keeping costs to a minimum. The info I give is applicable to most other types of businesses as well.
So happy to see Jam Maker on this list. I recently started my own business making and selling unique jams and jellies online. I never knew I was trendy. Many good ideas on here. I’ve only just started to make the break from traditional work force, but believe it is the best decision I’ve made in a long time – though I still haven’t fully quit my day job.
I recently started working in network marketing with a natural hair care line. It has transformed my life, by giving me my confidence back. I was losing my hair and I didn’t know what to do. I’d been to the Dr and told it wasn’t a thyroid issue, but they couldn’t tell me what WAS causing it. My good friend introduced me to these amazing products, that in a matter of months changed my life. My husband is now using the products for his “gaining face” (not receding hairline) issue. Lol.
How do you make money as a product reviewer? By cashing in on affiliate marketing links from products you review. Even if you give a product a negative review, you could mention a product that you prefer as an alternative and give an affiliate link to that product. Of course, books are an obvious product to review and that has helped propel Amazon into being the largest affiliate marketer on the web, despite their skimpy, circa 4%, commission levels.
There is solid demand for this business—and no wonder installing carpet including stretching it out to fit just right—is harder than it looks! Demand comes not just from homeowners but also from commercial businesses. You can land installation work from carpet retailers, from online business service directories, or from advertising on places like Craigslist.
I’ve looked into this myself when I have had time and still researching when I have time but thought I would share what I’ve learned so far. The requirements for selling food/baked goods vary from state to state, where I live most edible items that are being sold need to be first baked/cooked in a professional kitchen. The key is to search requirements for selling baked goods in (your state).
Weddings, house parties, kids’ parties and funerals present opportunities to makeup consultants, too. Networking is critical, as are a keen sense of organization and, of course, an eye for beauty. It’s also important to keep up with—or stay ahead of—fashion trends.
An important part of the home buying process is having a professional home inspector go through the house to determine the condition of the building and point out any potential problems. A home inspector needs to meet the state regulations for the profession, which varies from state to state, although anyone who has worked in the construction or housing industry will have a leg up. Median salary: $52,000.
This usually entails starting a business from home, and like all great business ideas, it begins by filling a need. Even if you are going to sell something find an underserved segment and provide the best service possible.
In any case, advertise your business on bulletin boards in libraries and schools, particularly high schools and universities. Also consider email marketing. Pharmaceutical companies in particular tend to be in the market for presentation coaches.