Prior to everyone working from home, you might have imagined starting a business at home and forgoing the hassle of the daily commute to work. Many people run into the problem of what kind of business to start at home and how to make a profit off of it. Choosing a business to go into can begin with picking something you enjoy doing.
If you enjoy travel, home-based travel agents are definitely a thing. Cheryl Cavalli, a stay-at-home mom, started a home based travel agent business. If you don’t have a passion that you want to turn a profit on, or if you want to keep work and hobbies separate, you can still start an at-home-one-person business. Turn to social media for ideas. You can find services that are in-demand on sites such as Nextdoor. Tasks that people don’t want to do such as mowing lawns or looking after children can make a good business because they are tasks that people are willing to pay someone else to do. It can start as a side-hustle and eventually turn into a full-time job where you quit your previous day job. With all of this being said, here are some ideas for home-based businesses that have low barriers to entry and startup costs, but have the potential for real income.
1. Freelance Writing
Online businesses such as freelance writing could make you money with little need for you to leave your house. You will probably need a personal website with a portfolio of your work, but there are many sites out there like Wix that make the process easy. Try to expand your business by writing for many different places and adding editing as a potential job as well. If you enjoy creative writing, you can submit your work to literary magazines that pay for short stories and poetry. If you are good at resume writing, you can use this skill to help others get jobs. Sites such as Fiverr lets you work as a freelance writer. You can create resumes and cover letters as well as update client’s LinkedIn profiles. Technical writing is another option. Many places need a well-written instruction manual. Even though this might not be the most inspiring kind of writing, you can earn a lot of money.
Many small businesses need help managing their finances. You don’t need to be a CPA to get into this, but computer skills and customer service skills will help set you apart from other options a company can go with.
3. Virtual Assistant
These people do similar tasks to in-person assistants, but you could offer your services to many companies as a virtual assistant. You could do tasks such as data entry, proofing articles on WordPress, or market research. Now with everything being online because of the pandemic, virtual assistant jobs should be even more abundant than they were previously.
4. Affiliate Marketer
If you already have a website or a blog that has somewhat of a following, affiliate marketing could be the way to go. You can make money by including affiliate links to products you recommend. When your followers click on the link and buy the product, you get a commission of the sales. Commissions can range from anywhere from 1% to 75% depending on the company and depending on how big of a following you have.
Online tutoring is an even bigger market than it used to be as kids are going to school over Zoom. You can teach math and English to elementary and middle school kids or you could tutor high school students for the SAT. When marketing your skills, mention your expertise in a specific subject or a certain grade level(s) that you work well with. If you have any teaching certificates, that will only add to your credibility and likelihood that you will get hired.
6. Web Developer
If you have basic web design and coding skills, you can start small and expand your home business based on word-of-mouth and your portfolio. Even if companies don’t have a big budget for complicated sites, they most likely need a simple landing page. Developers focus mainly on coding while designers tend to lean towards the visual aspect, but both are interconnected.
7. Social Media Consultant
If you are good with words and are up-to-date with the latest social media trends, you might consider becoming a social media consultant. Many small businesses use social media marketing to market to customers, but many don’t have the budget for a full-time consultant. However, they want a presence online to gain customers and engage, so it is up to you to sell yourself and your skills with publishing software by writing blog posts, You can grow your portfolio this way and build your expertise. Make sure to research the local online business market to see where you might be needed. This could be establishing a social media account, contracting for a certain number of posts per week, or advising a specific industry.
8. Local Tour Guide
If you love where you live, you could make it a business by becoming a local tour guide. Yes, travel is very limited right now because of the pandemic. However, with the vaccine being distributed, this summer could look a lot different as more people might be traveling. You could lead coffee tours, bike tours, food tours, etc. You can expand your reach by promoting on social media and through local news sources.
9. Graphic Design
If you are creative and/or if you have a degree in art, you might consider going into the graphic design industry. You will need to have the right equipment and programs in order to design professional layouts. You will also need to find people to consult and then build your portfolio. Potential clients will want to look at your past work to see if they want to hire you. Once you have a business up and running, you can set hourly rates or rates per project.
10. Personal Chef
If you are known for your cooking and/or baking stills, why not make a profit off of it? Think about starting a catering business or becoming a personal chef. You don’t need a culinary degree–just a few referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations. Cook for fundraisers or events and be sure to have business cards available. One way to attract customers is to have professional-looking photos of what you cook on your website.
Cleaning other people’s places may not be a dream job, but there is definitely a market for it. You can consider housekeeping or helping clients clean trash out of basements, attics, or barns. Junk removal is something no one wants to do, hence something they will be willing to pay others to do.
12. Home Staging
People who are looking to sell their house need to make the place look its best if they want to get the highest price. As a home stager, you can come in to do just that. You would do things such as rearrange furniture, decorate, hide toys, etc. In order to advertise online you can use things such as Google Adwords and create a social media presence. Other business will come through word-of-mouth referrals or networking with local homebuilders and realtors.
If you take photos as a hobby and already own a high quality camera, why not consider taking photos for money and start your on home business? You can take photos of babies, parties and weddings, and you can work from home and sell your work to sites such as Shutterstock.
If you play any type of instrument or sing for fun, why not try to make some profit off of it? There are many sites that can help you record from the comfort of your own home. You can also try your hand at busking, or performing live in public places.
Babysitting can help you make some extra money and help you get around the “nanny tax,” where people have you pay you as a domestic employee because you are working in their home. Every state has regulations about what age you have to be and how many kids you can watch at one time, so make sure to look into this before. Also learn skills such as first aid and CPR which many parents look highly upon and can help you get more jobs. How much you make per hour depends on who you are babysitting for, how many kids you are babysitting for, and where you are babysitting.
16. Amazon Seller
There are many options for selling on Amazon if you are looking to get rid of your old stuff. Private-label products, or generic products you can resell with your own packaging and logo can be shown on Amazon. Retail arbitrage or items you have purchased at other places can be sold on Amazon at a higher price. Fulfillment by Amazon, ore items purchased for resale that are shipped directly to Amazon which stores it in their warehouse is another option.
17. Personal Trainer
If you love working out, you can turn this love into profit by becoming a personal trainer. You can work from your own home, especially with the pandemic, and hold sessions over Zoom. You can also increase your credibility and pay by getting certified by a nationally accredited organization like the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). Don’t expect your clients to come all in one night, however. Accreditation training can take weeks and cost hundreds of dollars, along with liability insurance, and you will have to maintain your certification with continuing education.
18. Etsy Marketer
You can set up a shop on Etsy and sell your custom jewelry, furniture, or clothing without leaving your home. A large part of success is recreating the experience for a buyer who is used to handling the product. Instead of discovering your product by looking at it, the buyer will look at photos and descriptions and decide whether or not to purchase the item. High-quality photos and detailed descriptions are essential.
19. eBay Seller
You can resell things you find at say, a thrift store, for profit on eBay. To start, look at listings for similar products to determine how high the demand is for the product you are trying to sell. This will allow you to figure out pricing. If you charge a lower price, it will be viewed by more people, but if you set a higher minimum, you are guaranteed a higher return if the item sells.
20. Airbnb Host
You can turn a guest room in your home, or your entire home, into a potential Airbnb accommodation. You will still need to market in the same way as Etsy or eBay as you will need high quality photos, good reviews, and a good description of the place and area.
21. Pet Sitter
If you are a major fan of dogs or cats, starting a dog walking or cat sitting business can be a good way to make money in your neighborhood. You can connect with potential clients through apps like Rover.