Home Business Ideas
Home-based businesses have gained traction in recent years thanks to the flexibility and freedom they offer. Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or you simply want to break free from the 9-5 grind, an increasing number of entrepreneurs are discovering these business ventures perfectly suit their lifestyle and family needs. The key is to find a home-based opportunity you love that can thrive in your home environment.
If you’re already a parent with a small child at home, consider how easy it would be to add a few more to the mix. Home-based childcare services have the staying power most business ventures don’t have because affordable childcare will always be in high demand. Many parents prefer a home environment to a regular daycare because it feels more personal and kids tend to flourish in these situations.
Keep in mind, however, that you can’t just start advertising to babysit kids all day. Operating a daycare out of your home requires a license and you must meet regulations specific to your state and local municipality. For example, there are minimum space requirements for each child, and you can only care for a certain number of children if you’re the sole childcare provider. You will also need liability insurance. Still, going through the trouble of making your small business legitimate can be worth it since you’ll get paid to stay at home and do what you love.
Consider how often you make purchases online through Amazon, Etsy or Ebay. Have you ever thought how easy it would be to sell your own stuff for a profit? With so many online retail spaces available, there’s no reason not to try opening your own online shop.
An effortless way to get started is to source products from estate sales and thrift shops. You can then turn around and resell these treasures online for higher than what you paid. The only drawback is that flipping used merchandise can be risky, especially if you don’t brush up on vintage names and markings.
Another option is to purchase wholesale items or use a drop-shipping model to start your own online boutique. Focus on niche products that are in high demand and not always available from other sources. An even better option is to make your own products, but be sure you offer something different to the countless jewelry and skin care shops on Etsy. The key is to stand out from a saturated online marketplace.
Virtual Assistant Service
Becoming a virtual assistant can be a lucrative career move if you’re outgoing and don’t mind performing a range of tasks for your clients. As a virtual assistant, you may focus on assisting one client or you may juggle multiple client needs. Regardless, you must be highly organized with an administration background.
Tasks you will perform as a virtual assistant vary, but you will likely answer phone calls, complete paperwork, schedule appointments and complete technical “back-office” functions to keep your client’s business running smoothly. For example, as a virtual assistant for a local contractor, you will likely manage his calendar and answer calls while he’s on-site. As your business and client list grow, you may also hire additional virtual assistants to keep up with demand.
One of the easiest home-based careers to break into and operate is freelancing. Whether you’re an expert in marketing, photography, writing, web design or tax advising, freelancing provides an enormous amount of freedom and flexibility you won’t find with other jobs. Best of all, you can start your new career with very little overhead.
Freelancing does require discipline, however, since you don’t have anyone around telling you that you must work a set number of hours. There are no sick days or cash flow coming in during vacations, so it’s important to plan for the peaks and valleys inherent in freelancing’s cash flow. Many freelancers also make the mistake of not getting the proper licenses when required or forgetting to pay their estimated taxes throughout the year.
If you have a computer and the right software, you can start finding clients right away, even if you haven’t left your 9-5 job. The key to freelancing is to build up steady work, which means securing returning clients. Once you’ve built up your client list and solidified your reputation, it will be easier to score additional freelancing gigs to increase your income.
Do you love to bake cakes or serve delicious meals? Have friends ever asked you to bring your special dish to their bridal shower or family reunion? Starting a home-based catering or bakery business can be a rewarding venture with little investment costs involved. As long as you have a kitchen and the right equipment, you can get started catering a friend’s or family member’s event fairly quickly.
There are certain risks involved with operating a home-based food service. You must meet local insurance requirements and get the right licenses to handle and serve food. There are also additional risks involved if you plan to deliver and set up the food at a different venue.
Despite these drawbacks, home-based catering services have staying power because they thrive on word-of-mouth advertising. If you excel at what you do, and you impress your first few clients, they will probably recommend your services to their own friends and family, which generates more interest in your company. As you expand, you may even need to hire additional help to keep up with demand.
Social Media Specialist
Did you know that you can make money by spending your day on social media? It’s true! As a social media specialist, you provide an essential service to business owners who don’t have the time or know-how to interact with their own customer base via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media outlets.
While many companies hire their own in-house social media manager, smaller businesses and start-ups rely on freelance specialists to keep their own costs low. You can take advantage of this need by pitching your services to area businesses. You must have a proven track record of building a strong online presence, enhancing a brand and interacting with consumers through multiple social media platforms.
Before branching out as a social media specialist, be sure to research this career’s income-earning potential and available niches. When starting out, you probably won’t be able to charge as much as a seasoned social media manager, unless you have prior experience.
While not the most lucrative of careers, home-based tutoring provides a certain level of flexibility that many enjoy. If you’re a former teacher, a recent college graduate or you always excelled in a particular subject, tutoring is a great way to earn extra income and help the younger generation succeed.
Thanks to online communication tools like Skype, you can even market your tutoring services in other countries. Countless companies are looking for English as a Second Language (ESL) tutors for children and adults across the world, and there’s very little overhead required to get started. All you really need is a computer, a webcam and a headset.
Keep in mind, however, that some ESL tutoring companies require you to be ESL certified. Most only require a bachelor’s degree for native English speakers, but you should still check the requirements before partnering with an English-teaching website. Most companies pay per hour and you must be available to teach at odd hours to accommodate your students’ local time zones. Despite these drawbacks, online English tutoring is a lucrative opportunity with full-time earning potential.
Doggie Daycare and Boarding
Pet sitting and dog walking have gained traction in recent years as more people want to set their own hours and work with pets, but have you considered the possibility of opening a dog-boarding business? No matter how many kennels are available in your area, pet owners are typically hesitant to leave their pups in a strange environment while they go away on vacation. Having a home-based kennel where the pets feel like family can ease customers’ minds.
You can also advertise daycare services in addition to overnight boarding. Just be sure you offer something unique to make your business stand out. For example, if you have a large fenced yard and dog-friendly play equipment, your services are going to look more attractive to pet owners who prefer not to keep their dogs cooped up in a kennel all day.
Before starting a pet-based home business, brush up on local zoning laws. If your neighbors are close by, they may not appreciate the extra noise coming from your backyard. Once in business, let area pet-shop owners, veterinarians and groomers know you’re in business. You should also advertise your services on websites like Pet Sitters International to draw in more customers.
If you like arranging flowers and can deliver displays, consider opening your own floral service. You don’t even have to be a florist, per se, since you can focus on artificial flower arrangements if you prefer. However you approach the business, a home-based floral service can be a lucrative career if you don’t mind putting in the hours and building your client list.
A good way to get started is to arrange flowers for friends and family. Take photos of each arrangement to build your portfolio, then focus on your online presence. Floral services are all about visuals, so spend plenty of time designing your website and capturing the perfect photos of your work. When you’re ready, contact local funeral homes and wedding planners to let them know you’re in business. You may even consider branching out into gift basket arrangements, just to offer clients that little something extra.
If you’re outgoing with exceptional organizational skills, establishing a party planning business might be the right home-based opportunity for you. There’s more to event planning than weddings, although wedding receptions certainly help bring in the big bucks. In fact, many event planners get started by planning children’s birthday parties and family reunions. These events are less stressful than weddings and provide the perfect opportunity to enhance your skills and explore your creativity.
Before you start your event planning service, conduct market research to see how viable your business will be in your local area. You will also need to network with area venues, caterers, photographers and other service providers. Consider getting an event planning certificate to brush up on the ins and outs of the business and make yourself appear more professional.
Fitness Coaching and Training
Breaking into the fitness world can be a lucrative move, especially if you’re athletic and know how to motivate individuals. Whether you want to become a health coach or personal trainer, the startup costs associated with this niche are relatively low. You will need the appropriate license or certification, and having special equipment not offered by any area gym is a perk, but that’s about it.
You can partner with a local gym to provide personal training services to their members. In some cases, you may need to clock in as a staff member during training sessions or pay a percentage of your earnings to the gym. You may even choose to skip the gym altogether and train clients outdoors, in their homes or in your own home gym. The latter option requires more investment, of course, since completing a home gym is quite the investment. Just start small with some essential equipment and go from there.
Health coaching is another service that focuses on health and nutrition, but there is less physical contact with clients. Instead, you might spend your days emailing motivational messages to clients, chatting with them via Skype sessions or answering calls. Coaching is all about keeping clients motivated to become their best selves while personal trainers help them physically reach those goals. As such, you may want to combine both careers into one service to stand out from competitors.
Starting a home-based business takes persistence, but the payoff is worth it. If you need additional support funding your home business idea, consider a small business loan from an online lender.