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.
Children’s brand Finer & Dandy is an example of a home-based business that uses a dropshipper. Founder Courtney White started the company in search of a way to make money from home without spending too much time providing services to customers. That’s when she discovered dropshipping. Now, she wakes up at 4 a.m. every morning to run her dropshipping business before going to her day job.
Almost all home businesses should register as a legal business entity, such as a limited liability company (LLC). This would protect a business owner’s personal financial assets if a lawsuit ever occurs against the business. Incfile is an online legal service that assists business owners with registering their company as a legal entity with the state.
After all, you’re the only one who can decide if any of these home business ideas are plausible based on your specific situation and it will be up to you to follow through on any idea that strikes you. Luckily, the market for working from home—and therefore—home-based businesses, continues to grow, especially in small communities and niche markets. If you’re intent on shifting to a home-based career, then, the opportunity is out there to start, sustain, and even grow your own business.
“The massage therapy business has been growing by leaps and bounds in the last decade, tripling in volume. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, it should grow by an additional 20% through 2016, meaning this home business has strong potential for growth. And, because all in-home massage services are necessarily local in nature, it’s work that can’t be outsourced to another country.”
After getting your massage therapy certification, along with the business license and massage equipment needed to work from home, you can turn your house into a local massage parlor for clients to come to, relax, and improve their health and wellness. Massage therapy involves mental and emotional as well as physical health, and is an important service—that you can offer without leaving your front door.
This is not an enterprise for the lazy. eBay sellers need to respond to customers quickly and politely, and ship items promptly. A seller’s success is in eBay users’ hands after all; a negative seller rating can sink an eBay business before it even gets started. Sellers also need to familiarize themselves with eBay’s return policies, which tend to focus on making the overall experience better for buyers but not necessarily for sellers.
Like graphic design, Web design requires skills that can take years to acquire and perfect. But if you have them, the market is there for creating attractive, useful Web sites for all sorts of organizations. Starting a Web-design business does require some up-front investment, particularly in software, although candidates to start Web-design firms might have those applications already.
Exchange is a marketplace powered by Shopify for buying and selling ecommerce stores. You can browse the listings for businesses that suit your budget, level of experience, and needs. Maybe you want to buy a proven business and are willing to invest more money to acquire it. Or perhaps one catches your eye with untapped potential that you’d like to build on.
Of course, photography can take many forms, from photojournalism to portrait photography to general-interest stock photography. You’ll most likely go for either setting up a studio in your home or taking pictures for use as stock photos, as true photojournalism requires years of experience and almost never involves actually working from home. Keep in mind that stock-photo sites work on a revenue-sharing model, so simply selling pictures to one is unusual.
All written content on this site is for information purposes only. Opinions expressed herein are solely those of AWM, unless otherwise specifically cited. Material presented is believed to be from reliable sources and no representations are made by our firm as to another parties’ informational accuracy or completeness. All information or ideas provided should be discussed in detail with an advisor, accountant or legal counsel prior to implementation.
The internet changes so fast that one year online equals about five years in the real world. But the principles of how to start and grow a successful online business haven't changed at all. If you're just starting a small business online, stick to this sequence. If you've been online awhile, do a quick review and see if there's a step you're neglecting, or never got around to doing in the first place. You can't go wrong with the basics.
Holly Reisem Hanna is the publisher and founder of The Work at Home Woman, which has been helping individuals find remote careers and businesses that feed their souls since 2009. Through her unconventional career path of holding over 30 jobs and obtaining two college degrees, she's been able to figure out how to find a career path that you're truly passionate about. Holly's had the pleasure of sharing her expertise on sites like CNN, MSN Money, Huffington Post, Woman's Day Magazine, as well as being recognized by Forbes as one of the “Top 100 Websites for Your Career.” Holly resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband and daughter and enjoys reading, traveling, and yoga.
Mild spoiler alert: Viewers of the TV drama Orange Is the New Black might remember that the show’s main character made amends with one of her fellow prison inmates by making her a soothing lotion. Hopefully you won’t find yourself in prison, but if you find yourself wanting to start a home-based business, consider hand-making soaps and lotions yourself.
Digital Marketing and creating an online presence is necessary for every business. Billions of internet searches are completed every day on major internet search engines such as Yahoo and Google. Buying a .com and setting up a website with an easy service such as WebHosting Squared can cost less than $100 per year and takes you one step closer to finding more customers online. After you have created a website and ranked on google, Consider creating social media pages on Facebook and Twitter to communicate with potential customers and spread the word across your community. Social Media makes it easier for you to collect reviews, talk to customers, and advertise for free.
Know your competition. If you plan on working from home locally, look around town for other businesses offering the same services or products. You'll have to figure out if there is enough business left for you in your area. If you plan to work online, you're dealing with a very crowded market in most cases, so you'll have to find a way to differentiate yourself from the competition.
There are loads of job listings for freelancers on major job boards, and you can always advertise your services (and look for work) on craigslist or LinkedIn. Once the jobs start rolling in, don’t be afraid to go to previous clients and ask for more work. Steady work is the best work for freelancers. If all else fails at first, just write. Start a blog. Build clips. Get writing!
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.
Of course, I believe that you should start a blog for all the right reasons. My reasons are not to own material possessions or to show off. I don’t need a big house or expensive car. And definitely don’t want expensive clothes. I’d like to buy more time to spend with family and loved ones. To enjoy life’s best experiences with them, and be financially secure to take care of them during rough times. People come before money, and maybe one day I can take a year off like you did.