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:
There’s no need to be an artist, just an expert in some form of art. Visit galleries. Get on their email lists, and go to their parties. Get to know their clients. Gallery owners will love you, even recommend your services, because you’ll be telling people to buy art from them. You don’t have to own any inventory. It’s pure consulting. There is almost no overhead cost for a business like this. It’s really about having a passion for art and a knack for earning people’s trust. And it’s fun!
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.
A friend in Boston made a living doing this. He had lived in the Netherlands and was fluent in Dutch. He contacted companies who sent people to the Netherlands to work and live, and offered to provide not just his language expertise but important information on Dutch culture and living in the country. It worked. If you’re from or have lived in another country, consider channeling not just your language but your cultural expertise into a new career.
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.
As a teen, babysitting was my bread and butter. I would babysit my father’s co-worker’s children, the neighborhood kids, my siblings, as well as children from the church we attended. It was an easy way to make some money, and obviously, I didn’t spend any money on advertising my services. While most of my clients were from word of mouth referrals, I was also able to offer my childcare services on the local bulletin board at our church, and I told everyone I wanted to work.
For families looking to go on a two-week vacation or couples planning their honeymoon, hiring someone to handle the details, big and small, of their trip, can be invaluable. Plus, in working with different hotels, resorts, and vacation attractions, you’ll start to build relationships with the staff—and possibly, receive discounts or perks that will make traveling on your own even easier (you might even start a travel blog while you’re at it).
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.

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.

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