There's an audience for everything, whether it's making dollhouse furniture or creating organic dog food. With a specialty e-commerce store, you can reach those customers who are seeking your specific products. All you need is a web-hosting service with an integrated shopping cart feature or with e-commerce software, and your business will be operational in no time. You can even work with vendors to ship products to customers on your behalf, which means you don't need to own a lot of inventory. [See Related Story: A Small Business Guide to E-Commerce Shipping]

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.
52. Start networking. “Hibernating is fine for bears, but not for people,” says Edwards. “Identify and join social networks and local trade and business associations thatwill advance your business.” Russak of First Time Online recommends creating a Facebook page, Twitter account, and LinkedIn profile as alternatives to your website so you can “be in five places at once from the comfort of your living room.”
Everybody knows that finding (and landing) your dream job can be tough—especially when you've had the same position for a while and your resume is looking a little rusty. Before jumping in and becoming an expert resume writer, you'll have to learn how to write a resume on your own, and then practice by redoing resume's for your friends and co-workers. Next, you're ready to join a resume writers' association, continue establishing your credibility and you can eventually make your way into more hands-on career coaching opportunities.
As long as there is still the written word, there will always be editors. Freelance editing and proofreading not only pays a decent hourly wage, it also gives you the chance to read about potentially interesting topics too. What's more, pursuing freelance writing & editing as a business idea can afford you a lifestyle that lets you travel the world as a digital nomad. You can find lots of job postings from companies and individuals in need of writing, proofreading, and editing services on Upwork, which makes this a high-demand side business idea.
If you have a talent for helping people look their best, and know how to mesmerize with eyeliners and turn heads with lipsticks, consider using your beauty skills to pursue this easily profitable side business idea. For under $2000, you can start your own make-up artist business which can make for the foundation of a potentially lucrative side business idea that turns a profit largely by referrals and word-of-mouth from your happy customers.
Teaching and tutoring English as a second language is a great way to make a solid side business idea work, not to mention opening doors for you to travel the world if you'd like. While full ESL (English as a Second Language) accreditation is recommended, as long as you’re a native speaker, there are people in countries such as Hong Kong or the UAE who are willing to pay upwards of $25/hr for you to teach them English via Skype. Indeed, Learn4Good and Remote.co often have remote english tutoring jobs posted, check back frequently. Then once you land that remote job, you'll need somewhere more professional than your dining room table to meet with students—check out this post about how to find places to work remotely and you'll officially graduate this side business idea into a full-time endeavor for yourself.
Do you have items lurking around your household that you could sell on eBay? Figure out your asking price and decide whether to auction it or put it in your eBay store. Then decide if you want a minimum bid and how long you want the auction to last. You will want to establish a PayPal account to use for transactions. The eBay website provides all the information you need to know to get up and running with an eBay business. Chatbots are offering creative new ways to help businesses with these functions.
Information and links from this article are provided for your convenience only. Neither references to third parties nor the provision of any link imply an endorsement or association between The Hartford and the third party or non-Hartford site, respectively. The Hartford is not responsible for and makes no representation or warranty regarding the contents, completeness or accuracy or security of any material within this article or on such sites. Your use of information and access to such non-Hartford sites is at your own risk. You should always consult a professional.
1) Very little risk – Starting a home-based internet business doesn’t require the high costs of a traditional brick and mortar business. You don’t have to dive into your savings. Get Business Lines Of Credit or borrow from friends and family. You can get started right away without breaking the bank. Whether you decide to operate from a spare bedroom or a garage, your new business can be up and running quickly and with very little risk. According to FranchiseHelp.com, 70% of home-based businesses survive at least three years, compared to just 29% of non-home based ventures.

3. Create a strong team. “Work with experts on parts of your business where you are not an expert,” says Cathi Brese Doebler, a home-based business owner for 10 years and author of Ditch the Joneses, Discover Your Family. “For example, if you are not good with computer hardware, hire someone to help you set up your computer network. Or, if you are not an expert on taxes, find a good tax advisor. Focus your business on your areas of expertise and strength, and hire experts to help you with your areas of weakness.”


Larger companies can hire an agency or full-time staff member to run their Facebook and Twitter accounts, but small businesses often have to handle their own social media marketing. With so many responsibilities, business owners are often too busy, overwhelmed or undereducated about the importance of social media to spend time developing and implementing a great social media strategy. As a consultant, you can help them determine the best tactics, posting schedules and content for their target audience. As their follower count grows, so will your business.
Though certainly not for everyone, recycling the containers from products left strewn around on the ground can become a surprisingly decent side business idea if you put in the time. Attending events like street fairs and outdoor concerts can be a great starting place. Put on a clean shirt, jeans, apply your sunscreen, grab a cheap pick-up tool like this one, sturdy plastic bags, and you can sell them for upwards of $4.00/pound on eBay.

Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission. Know that I only recommend tools and learning resources I've personally used and believe are genuinely helpful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to purchase them. Most of all, I would never advocate for buying something that you can't afford or that you're not yet ready to implement.
Think blogging is no longer a viable source of income? Think again. Tens of thousands of bloggers (including yours truly) are creating profitable content on topics as diverse as scrapbooking, home cooking, travel, film, lifestyle, business, personal finance and more. And we're growing our blogs into six-figure businesses thanks to a combination of email subscribers, affiliate marketing, blog sponsorships, and other revenue streams. Your first step with starting a blog is quickly getting the technical side of things handled (my free master course on blogging will show you how), and then both understanding what your audience craves and learning how to attract those readers online.
One of the most popular ways to start a business is to pursue home based business opportunities, and especially online business opportunities. Whether you’re thinking about forming an LLC so you can work as a work-at-home freelancer, Amazon Seller or another marketplace online retailer, a home-based caterer or other home-based business opportunities, there are many ways to build a successful business out of your own home by selling your own products or your services online. According to survey data, U.S. home-based business opportunities are surprisingly plentiful and prosperous, so now is a great time to take advantage of starting your own business. Many home-based businesses are succeeding at a high level, and online entrepreneurs are changing the way that the business world works.
If you have experience with marketing, SEO or a knack for getting people excited about the products and services you use on a regular basis, think about refining your skills and putting them to work as a small business marketing consultant in your region—especially if you can become a local SEO expert and can help local clients rank higher in their search results as your side business idea. Businesses of all sizes are in constant need of bringing in more customers, which is where you come in with your business idea. Start by pitching some of these small business marketing ideas by Brian Downard and you'll be sure to impress the first set of clients you begin working with in your area.

To be a consultant, you need to have an expertise in something so you can market yourself as an advisor to others looking to work in that area. Perhaps you managed several large warehouses in your career with a drugstore company, you did all the marketing for many years for a large shoe manufacturer or you set up a chain of beauty supply shops or take-out restaurants. You can use this experience to help others do similar things without making the same mistakes that you made along the way.


Businesses always need graphic designers to help them convey information visually, through logos, advertisements, posters, websites, and the like. While it is possible to be an entirely self-taught graphic designer, most have either a certification or a degree. Other than the cost of design software, this business has very little overhead and can be done anywhere with a dedicated computer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, graphic designers have a median salary of $45,000.*
Know someone who rents out property to others? Perhaps they could use a hand managing their property. If so, you can make a decent amount of money on this side business idea with relatively little work on your part (most of the time). It'll take some hustling and the willingness to be flexible with your schedule, as you'll be responsible for collecting rent checks, managing repairs and improvements, and simply being on call for emergencies. But, a property manager is essential for most real estate investors that have a large enough portfolio, so there's definitely merit to this business idea.

Focus on what makes you stand out. If you’re using an ecommerce marketplace, pay particular attention to the quality of the images you use on your page. Good product photography can set your listing apart. But remember, hosting your own ecommerce site isn’t a free pass for using mediocre images either. Either way, customers will rely on images to form an opinion about your product or service’s value.
Taxes become significantly more complicated with a home-based business. Self-employed persons are allowed to deduct business-related expenses—such as wages paid to others, the cost of professional services, shipping and postage charges, advertising costs, the cost of office supplies and equipment, professional dues and publications, insurance premiums, automobile expenses, and some entertainment and travel costs—from their income taxes, but are also required to pay self-employment taxes. People who work from their homes may be eligible for another tax deduction known as a home office deduction. The home office deduction allows individuals who meet certain criteria to deduct a portion of mortgage interest or rent, depreciation of the space used as an office, utility bills, home insurance costs, and cleaning, repairs, and security costs from their federal income taxes. Although the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has set strict regulations about who qualifies for the deduction, about 1.6 million people claim the deduction each year. According to Gloria Gibbs Marullo in an article for Nation's Business, the savings can be considerable: a sole proprietor living in a $150,000 home stands to save about $2,500 in actual taxes annually.

Do you know the ins and outs of search engines and have skills in platforms like Google Analytics? The owners of a lot of smaller companies don't realize how much of an impact search engine optimization (SEO) can have on their business. Educate those business owners on the power of SEO to help transform their websites into a more SEO-friendly property. Use your skills to show business owners how to read and use their analytics data the right way, and how to properly use keywords and structure content to get more traffic.
Excellent information. I will be sharing this article with my list since most of them are beginning online marketers. I really resonated with #1 and #7. I was so hesitant to produce my first product. I think it had to do with not thinking it was anything that people would want to buy. Also, I did a whole lot of thinking and learning before I ever started. I think a lot of people fall into the trap of thinking they need to know everything before they even get started.
Create a flier outlining your services. Before you do that, you need to know what those services will be. Do you want to simply do bookkeeping for a small business? A more involved level of accounting would be do actually work up balance sheets, income statements, and other financial reports on a monthly, quarterly, and/or annual basis, depending on the needs of the business. Other specializations can include tax accounting, a huge area of potential work. Service companies like Due.com assisted freelancers with payments. Many owners don't mind keeping their own day-to-day bookkeeping records but would rather get professional help with their taxes.
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.
Suppose that you, being a creative person, are able to make beautiful quilts. However, because of the time involved, you're only able to make two quilts per month. You discover that people are willing to pay $200 for each quilt you produce. The math says that you would have, therefore, an income of $400 per month. (Actually less, as there will be expenses related to quilt production, such as cloth and thread, to deduct from this amount.)
2) Flexibility – Working out of your home provides much greater flexibility and control than starting a conventional business. With an internet business, you can choose when you want to work and where you want to work. You’re not confined to a single location; you can be on beach or in a plane and still be able to work. “In a way, the Web is like your Hollywood agent: It speaks for you whenever you’re not around to comment,” says Chris Brogan, CEO of Owner Media Group, Inc.
Some firms outsource their customer service operations and many of these companies accept home-based contractors. You can start by signing up on freelancing sites such as Upwork to test the waters with this business idea first. If you’re already a CSR specialist with management skills, then you can form and lead a virtual team online and engage clients as a bona fide customer service company or, provide customer service training to such teams as well as individuals.
Cash, or the lack of it, is one of the key indicators of a company’s success over the long run. If you have cash, you can buy and stock new products for your customers, develop innovative new services for your clients, pay for your day-to-day operations, and expand your operations. If you don’t have cash, your business will certainly suffer, and so will your customers and clients.

I have researched around the internet for the best proven sequence that will guarantee success when you’re starting a small online business and the following list has resonated with every article I had to read. And to affirm you that it works, the Entrepreneur says thousands of small online businesses have used this sequence to romp up their online revenue.
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: no technical experience is needed. You don’t have to know how to build websites—no programming knowledge is required at all. You can also live anywhere you want, set your own schedule, and work as little or as much as you want, depending on how fast or big you want your business to grow. No business or marketing experience is needed either.
Using your skills for profit is a common trend with all of the best side business ideas. If you're an expert at something, there's likely an audience of people online who would be willing to pay to become an expert in your field—just like you. If you want to take your skills and turn them into an online course that teaches others how to get the same results you've achieved in your life, career, or business, start with How to Create an Awesome Online Course on Udemy, where instructor Miguel Hernandez covers how he makes over $90,000/yr teaching online. You'll learn from more than 8 hours of video instruction.
I like these ideas! Besides being good ideas in themselves, they stimulate MORE ideas! Some of them reminded me of something I was reading about called Craigslist arbitrage – buying low and selling high on craigslist, kind of like the first part of the old Oregon Trail game, but with washers and dryers and bicycles instead of cases of crackers and horses. Sounds like fun!  Anyway, that one about the pooper-scooper business, that works, I know because I was quite successful in the pooper-scooper service I started back in 1988! I’ve been in the industry for 25 years now, though I don’t go out and scoop any more.
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.
Schmechel charges $50 an hour to spruce up brochures, business cards, catalogs, case studies and occasionally Web sites. Her tools of the trade include a computer and basic printer. (For high-end printing, she heads to Kinko's.) Additional overhead: a mere $10 per month for a Web site hosting service. Initial marketing amounted to posting an ad on Craigslist. Darling Design's first-year profits: about $50,000, she says.
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.

Sure, there are plenty of businesses offering social media consulting services, but you can stand out from the crowd by focusing primarily on networks that are still gathering steam with businesses. Facebook and Twitter are still the top networks, but businesses tend to struggle the most with more visual platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and Snapchat. All of these platforms have huge audiences, but many businesses don't realize how big they really are, how effective they can be and how to make them work for their niche. Snapchat has more than 158 million users per day, according to Business Insider. Instagram has more than 500 million daily active users, according to Statista, and Pinterest has more than 200 million. 

×