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.
How can you make a living as a real social-media expert? Practice. Build an audience for yourself before offering your services to others. Determine your target sector, build your own online presence in that community and start making contact with the social-media elite. Twitter is a great place to start. Keep cranking out content and getting it to the right users, and you’ll find a way to get yourself hired even in an ever-expanding universe.
For Song, starting a home business was about seeing a gap and finding a way to fill it. This is the secret to success for many top subscription box businesses. Birchbox, for example, saw that there was no way for consumers to test multiple beauty products without spending a fortune. So it filled that gap with affordable curated boxes of smaller sample-sized products.
How can you make a living as a real social-media expert? Practice. Build an audience for yourself before offering your services to others. Determine your target sector, build your own online presence in that community and start making contact with the social-media elite. Twitter is a great place to start. Keep cranking out content and getting it to the right users, and you’ll find a way to get yourself hired even in an ever-expanding universe.

Basically, you pick a profitable niche for your online business, and then you find an affiliate partner who has products available in that niche. Some of the most popular affiliate sites are Clickbank.com, Amazon.com, and CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction). Between them, they offer just about any digital information product (like ebooks, audio files, video files) or physical product you can think of. Many big name companies and brands like Wal-Mart and Home Depot run their own affiliate programs.


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Or, if you’re particularly attracted to the brewing process but don’t want to get involved in all of the other areas involved in selling beer, you might look into contract brewing—where you help beer companies make and package their beer. Either way, this can be a great hands-on home based business idea, especially if you like experimenting and figuring out how the best beer is made.
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.
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.
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.
One way to stand out from the competition with a drop shipping business is to private label your products. This simply means you put your own label/brand on the products that the manufacturer is creating. That way you're not selling the same product brand and just competing on price; rather you can use your own brand and face less competition. Think about when you're looking at medicine at the pharmacy; the brand names sell for higher prices and people think they are different from the generic brands even though the ingredients are exactly the same. Consider these important factors when looking for a good drop shipping product.
“It is critical that a business remains lean. We took out sequential small SBA loans as needed. Define the minimal viable product or service you need to begin bringing in revenue and fund that. Through that initial influx of cash, you will learn what is most important to seek funding for and what can be pushed down the line while organic cash flow develops.”
Sure, there are a lot of graphic designers out there, but there are far more Websites, companies and organizations in need of design work than there are designers. That’s the good news. The more difficult news is that graphic design does require a certain level of expertise and possibly some pricey software, although designers can often get by without necessarily having the most expensive applications on the market.
Consider the space required for your business. If you're planning on doing any sort of manufacturing, product storage, or shipping, you will likely need more than a desk to work on. Think about how much space you have in your home for these activities. Will you be displacing other family members with your business activities? Consider your space requirements and your home's ability to meet those requirements before moving forward.
Becoming a freelance coder is an especially great home-based business idea since it’s already a very commonplace gig. Whether you want the flexibility of being your own boss, enjoy taking on a wide diversity of projects rather than working with a single company, or prefer to travel instead of staying in one place, you’ve got many reasons to pursue freelance software development—even though technology companies and startups offer their own perks as well.

Consider some of the more common ideas. If no business ideas are coming to mind, think about some of the tried and trued home business types. Some highly lucrative home business ideas include tutoring, tax preparation, business coaching, counseling, marketing consulting, accounting, web designing, interior designing, dance instructing, newsletter service, proofreading service, and resume writing service. These home based business ideas just require your personal skills rather than large investments.


This article was co-authored by Michael R. Lewis. Michael R. Lewis is a retired corporate executive, entrepreneur, and investment advisor in Texas. He has over 40 years of experience in business and finance, including as a Vice President for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas. He has a BBA in Industrial Management from the University of Texas at Austin. This article has been viewed 267,253 times.
Using the knowledge, tools, and resources you already have, you can start a home business today. History is littered with successful businesses that were started with little or nothing, except a giant desire and the commitment to make it work, no matter what. In fact, commitment and tenacity are two of the most important assets to have in ensuring home business success. If you want the freedom and flexibility to work at home as your own boss, here are five ideas you can start now for nothing.
While managing a blog in and of itself won’t net you any money—in fact, it’ll cost you to purchase a domain, upgrade the appearance, and run marketing campaigns—there are a few ways for you to monetize your blog. You could offer up advertising space, which is a useful but typically minor revenue stream, but a lot more money is often found in sponsorships and affiliate marketing.
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.
Expertise is another matter, but remember that writing can take many forms—from resumes to news articles to marketing materials and even thank-you notes. (You can even write for businesstown.com, although that gig doesn’t pay … yet.) There’s probably some form of writing you’re qualified to do. Plus, if you’re good enough with grammar and punctuation, companies will pay you to be a freelance editor. One friend made good money editing posts on a popular travel site.
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.
While managing a blog in and of itself won’t net you any money—in fact, it’ll cost you to purchase a domain, upgrade the appearance, and run marketing campaigns—there are a few ways for you to monetize your blog. You could offer up advertising space, which is a useful but typically minor revenue stream, but a lot more money is often found in sponsorships and affiliate marketing.
Used-car salesmen unfortunately have some nasty stereotypes to live down, but you don’t need a tacky blazer or a fast-talking sales pitch to make money buying and reselling cars. People throw away perfectly good (or certainly good enough) cars all the time for all sorts of trivial issues. If you know a little something about servicing a car and can make one shine for a Craigslist ad, you could take advantage of massive opportunities to buy used cars and resell them for major profit.
Starting a freelance writing business online involves choosing a niche (or two), becoming an expert in that topic, and creating an online portfolio for future clients to see. Freelancers have to prove their worth before landing reliable and high-paying clients. One way to jump-start your freelance writing career without any clients is by establishing your own blog.
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.
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