Even the portrait and general-interest options, though, aren’t really for beginners. Photography businesses can be complex operations, with lots of equipment required and years of portfolio and relationship building necessary to really get steady income flowing. Still, if you’re a hobbyist already, starting a photography business as a side operation is a great way to make some extra money and possibly begin a career change.
A customer persona is a fictionalized representation of a specific type of customer based on demographics and interests. Typically, a business will have several customer personas if they are selling to multiple customer types. You need to figure out which customer personas fit your business, because it’s important to know the demographics you should target in your market research.

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.

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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.

And don’t forget social media as a home-based business. Many churches, other non profit charities, and business owners NEED to advertise via social media. You can either be hired to do theirs or become a consultant who trains their staff. Many churches don’t know the Internet laws like an avid social media user does. They’ll need someone to teach them how to use social media and protect their organization while doing it. Ask me how I know. 😉 My husband and I have worked with some organizations who refused to listen and they ended up with some scandals. Take a gander at what happened to Pastor Alios Bell’s ministry reputation when someone who knows social media happened upon her indiscretion at Applebee’s. Google it. It went viral.

If you’re thinking of starting a small business from home, you must first determine your idea before you build its foundation, launch your business, and grow your customer base. After starting your at-home business, make wise financial decisions. Start small and think big. Once you have built up sufficient income, consider a move to a larger location.
Any office worker can probably tell you that they’ve had a daydream about quitting their job and starting their own business. In moments of great frustration, they may have even researched “small business ideas from home,” and started to think of all of the other possibilities that are out there. Luckily, in this technological age, this dream can more easily become a reality, especially if you’re interested in creating an online home business. If you have a computer and internet connection, there are home business ideas aplenty, including those with low startup costs (if any) and that are great for stay-at-home moms (aka mompreneurs).
Even the portrait and general-interest options, though, aren’t really for beginners. Photography businesses can be complex operations, with lots of equipment required and years of portfolio and relationship building necessary to really get steady income flowing. Still, if you’re a hobbyist already, starting a photography business as a side operation is a great way to make some extra money and possibly begin a career change.
A Rollover for Business Startups (ROBS) lets you invest retirement funds in a new business without paying taxes or early withdrawal penalties. A ROBS is not a loan or withdrawal; instead, it allows you to tap into your retirement funds early. A ROBS is a great way to use your 401(k) to start a new business, particularly if you have more than $50,000 in qualifying retirement savings. There are no monthly payments and repayment is not required.
If you’re a top-notch editor with a deep understanding of how college admissions works—including standardized test preparation, personal statement requirements, supplemental essay requirements, applicant statistics, and even financial aid—then you might be able to snag a rather well-paying job as a college consultant. Some families are willing and able to pay, and pay well, to make sure their kids submit the best possible applications to their dream schools.

But if you get the green light to do it, starting a catering service is a relatively low-overhead way to create a new business. It’s a lot of work, but if you enjoy cooking, it could turn into a lucrative and fulfilling career. To get started with minimal investment, you could first cook in your customers’ homes and use their dishes. Also, a narrow specialization on a particular type of cuisine or event may help you attract clientele as you work develop a strong customer base.


Here’s a unique spin: Twitch isn’t limited to just gaming anymore, and Maxx Burman and Banks Boutté used the platform to launch an online festival where they featured 12 top video game art directors. They repurposed this content for other digital channels like Instagram and YouTube. After building a loyal audience, the two launched KitBash3d, where they sell 3D assets for video games and movies.
While having a great product or service is require, without buyers, you still don't have a business. Knowing your market, what it wants and needs, and what inspires it to buy, are crucial to your success. This means discovering your target market and determining your unique selling proposition, the thing about your product or service that sets apart from others that are similar. Here are a few things to consider:
But be wary. Food service—even a delivery service, which is the most likely scenario for home bakers, as opposed to setting up a storefront—comes with built-in risks. Prepare yourself, and read up on your local insurance requirements. And don’t be afraid to start out by making just one or two really great treats. Consistency is more important than variety in the baking business.

If you know how to make jewelry, there’s really no reason not to sell it. Handmade jewelry has long held appeal for collectors and admirers alike. The biggest challenge to setting up a jewelry business might be running the business itself—just making beautiful things won’t be enough to sustain the operation. Study up on what it takes to run a jewelry business and then make it happen. A great place to start is online with sites like Etsy and eBay
Affiliate marketing, a sort of product placement, will let you receive payment from companies in return for advocating for their goods and services. Although this might sound a bit iffy, if you truly do recommend that your readers try out these products, then it doesn’t need to come across as sales-y or insincere. Readers will understand that you need to make money somehow, and many will appreciate your recommendations if they’re accurate.
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.

Over the last decade, high-speed internet, a proliferation of devices and applications, and changing attitudes about the nature of work have made working at home a reality for millions of people around the world. One study, in fact, concluded that nearly half of all American employees work at home. And the trend isn’t limited to the United States; 79 percent of knowledge workers globally now do at least some work outside the office.
Invest in your home based business. Before you get started, there are often investments you'll have to make in your business infrastructure. This varies based on the type of business you're running. For example, if you're running a printing business from home, you'll need to buy a professional printer and paper for it. If you're running an online business, it may be wise to upgrade your computer and internet speed. The time spent waiting for pages to load can add up and hurt your productivity.
Lawn, garden and yard care, bathtub reglazing, carpet cleaning, floor installation, green cleaning products distribution, home decorating, remodeling or restoration, house sitting, pet sitting, pool cleaning and maintenance, snow removal, window cleaning, auto repair and maintenance. Many people might grab your services if you're mechanically inclined and willing to go to their location to repair or maintain their vehicles. In many cases, you might be saving them the cost of a tow to a garage.
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.
But be wary. Food service—even a delivery service, which is the most likely scenario for home bakers, as opposed to setting up a storefront—comes with built-in risks. Prepare yourself, and read up on your local insurance requirements. And don’t be afraid to start out by making just one or two really great treats. Consistency is more important than variety in the baking business.
From the comfort of your home, you can work with different companies to test their programs, software, backups, firewalls, encryption, and generally assess potential threats to their network and advise them on the best cybersecurity practices. Although this may be one of the home-based business ideas on our list that requires the most training and education, it can be a highly lucrative position if you already have the knowledge, or are willing to work to obtain it.
If you don’t already have an idea, the first step to coming up with an idea can be the hardest step. Many entrepreneurs know exactly what type of at-home business they’re going to open. For example, someone who has worked in an industry for several decades can leverage their knowledge and network to do consulting. Other entrepreneurs may know they want to create jewelry and sell it on Etsy.
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