Successful home business ideas give contractors, freelancers, and entrepreneurs the freedom to control their work, time, and personal growth. Maybe you’d prefer to wake up late and take long lunches, confident in your ability to finish your work on time. Or, maybe you prefer to be your own boss, setting up best practices and ditching those quarterly reviews. Or perhaps, you want to travel or be at home for your family, and you view commuting as a pain.
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.
Assess your financing needs. While starting a business from home can be more affordable than starting a traditional business, you will still need money to get started. As you form your home business idea, think about how much money you will need to buy inventory, buy your production equipment, or cover any other initial costs. If you don't have a lot in savings, you can also get a business loan to get started, but this would mean qualifying for and then subsequently being responsible for a loan, which can be difficult for a new business. Consider your financing options carefully as you set up your home business.
With affiliate marketing, you offer the products for sale, for example, on your blog or e-commerce website. Each product has a unique link that tracks back to your account with your affiliate partner. A prospect who clicks on the link is taken to your partner’s shopping cart for checkout. Once they buy, that purchase is recorded and you receive a commission. Commission amounts vary depending on the affiliate partner, but is generally 5 percent to 25 percent, or 50 percent or more with digital information products. As you can see, there’s little risk on your part and virtually no investment needed either. Just like with drop shipping your only costs will be marketing and advertising to drive traffic and generate the sale.
Communication is key to helping them understand what you're doing. Explain to them your intention and goals. Allow them to be a part of the process, if they're interested. Ask for their support as opposed to expecting or demanding it. If they have concerns, try to understand where they're coming from. Respond to their questions, issues, or objections, discussing them openly and calmly. There is a lot you can do to get your family members on board with your home business goal if they're resistant.
Although not home-based per se, becoming a rideshare driver, like with Uber or Lyft can offer the same flexibility and freedom has a business that’s physically based in your home. As a rideshare driver, your business will more or less be based in your car, and you’ll be able to choose your own hours and be your own boss. With the popularity of ridesharing apps continuing to grow, there’s no shortage of clients looking for rides, especially if you live in a tourist area or near a big city.
Of course, successful writers need to have a firm grasp on grammar and tone, superb editing chops, and the ability to do their own research and synthesize content that they might be unfamiliar with. It could help if you become an expert in a few different fields, like technology or small business finance, and it’s always important for all freelancers to know how to market themselves and network with potential customers.
It’s one of the first ideas people have when they think of starting a business: making and selling crafts. That means there’s lots of competition. The good news, though, is that people just love crafts. But be careful. Don’t just sell anything and everything. Define a product line and choose a distribution channel (online, craft fairs, etc.), and stick with your plan. And, of course, be creative.
Another option to start a business with no money is by running a crowdfunding campaign. Crowdfunding allows you to presell products before making them. For example, if you wanted to start an at-home bakery, but need to raise $3,000 for equipment, you could presell baked goods on a platform, like Kickstarter, to raise funds. Before starting a crowdfunding campaign, it’s important to have a network of potential customers who are interested in buying your products.
While you can start a home business on budget, it's not likely you'll build a profitable one without incurring some expense. Calculate your startup costs — the amount of money you need to open up shop. It's okay if you don't know specific costs, but you want to get as close as possible, perhaps even over-estimate expenses. Here are common start-up expenses:
Are you the person that your friends come to for help with hair and makeup? If so, you might decide to start a home-based hair styling or makeup artistry business. You can set up a small place in your home with good lighting and the tools you’ll need to service your clients, as well as create an on-the-go kit to offer hair and makeup in your clients’ homes.
You love dogs? You’re good at taking care of them? You want to open a dog-boarding business? Just make sure you’re prepared. Sure, it’s a great opportunity, and it’s totally doable—with some planning. Make sure you know your local zoning laws and, perhaps more importantly, make sure your neighbors would be OK with some extra noise and activity around your place.
Perhaps most importantly, though, would-be eBay moguls need to specialize. Just throwing junk online won’t work. Sellers need to know what they want to sell and how they’re going to market it to their audiences. Again, competition is fierce, so research, preparation and strategy are critical. (For reference, eBay itself provides an extensive guide to selling on the site.)
A great way to come up with a business idea is to brainstorm about your existing skills. Focus on identifying the skills that are unique to you or that you particularly excel at. Evaluating your previous professional experiences should give you a hint. Think of instances in which you were able to provide value to the organization for which you worked: do you notice any trends?