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The internet is the great equalizer. In business specifically, it has leveled the playing field. Anyone can start a money-making online business—anyone with a computer, that is. But here’s the thing: virtually no technical experience is needed. Today there are plenty of tools you can use to build an online business that makes the technical work a lot easier than it was in the past.
Another idea someone could do from home is to start a service or write a software program that scours local ad listings (like craigslist) for a particular used item a person wants to buy. They have services like this for new items, but not used. I know others like me who are keeping their eye out for something used (like a canopy king bed!) but don’t have the time or inclination to search for it every day.
There are a couple different options to start a business if you have no money. The best option is to offer services that don’t require any additional costs for you to provide. What skills, software, or tools do you already have that allow you to offer a service for free? For example, if you already own a dog, maybe you can start an at-home pet sitting business. Or if you already possess design-related skills, maybe you can make graphics for a small business’ social media posts.
There’s more to social media than gaining and engaging followers. It is also an effective platform to advertise your business and expand your market. With paid social media ads, you make the most out of your investment with highly targeted advertisements. You also get to reach those in your audience who are most likely to purchase your products or services at a fraction of TV and radio advertising costs.
To help you in your exploration, we’ve gathered this list of 40 of the best home business ideas. All of these home based business ideas are affordable, engaging, and most importantly, flexible—and we’re confident that if you don’t find the perfect idea for your home business here, you’ll at least have the inspiration you need to continue your search.
I have a friend that is the city manager of a town of about 25,000 where his main task is processing requests for building permits. Actually a volunteer-type job, no salary. But he makes a bunch of contacts every day, and his address book is huge. So he is busy all year except the Holidays. To fill in this time he started a Christmas tree lighting service (houses, lawn ornaments, etc.). In this 3-month period he makes enough to keep him going the rest of the year.
But if you do go the fashion route, be prepared to do quite a bit of networking before you get your business off the ground. Don’t be afraid to do free consultations for contests and giveaways. The more word gets around about your fabulous fashion sense, the larger a clientele you’ll build. If you’re really good, you can start this business with little to no training.
The requirements to start a business depend on the type of business and its location (city, state). You can start some businesses without any limitations. However, we recommend all businesses file as a legal entity with the state in which they will be operating. This protects the business owner’s personal assets if a lawsuit were to occur against the business.
Strictly speaking, this isn’t really an at-home business, as most of the work takes place outside the home. But for dog lovers who don’t want other people’s pets staying overnight, dog walking is a viable business idea with a low barrier to entry. Still, there are considerations including researching the state of your local dog-walking market and addressing licensing and insurance concerns.
Your host is where your website lives — it stores all of your website files and displays them to visitors around the world. Your host has a big impact on your website’s security and speed — a great place to start is the WordPress.com eCommerce hosting plan, which includes everything you need for an online store. For other options and price points, take a look at our full list of recommended hosting solutions.
WooCommerce is an eCommerce platform created specifically for WordPress that gives you all the tools you need to sell online: add products, collect payments, set up shipping, create customer accounts, and more. It’s extendable — choose from hundreds of extensions to expand your store functionality — and can scale with you as your business grows. Plus, it’s also completely free to implement.
If getting money from friends or family is not an option, consider applying for a loan from peer-to-peer (P2P) websites. P2P platforms like the LendingClub match borrowers with investors. They offer small business loans from $5,000 to $300,000 and allow you to pay them back over one to five years with a typical APR of 9.77% to 35.71%. This gives you quick access to funds, while investors enjoy solid returns over time.