According to the Small Business Administration, more than 50% of small businesses are home-based. Home-based businesses offer low overhead, helpful tax incentives, and the opportunity to work in your pajamas, among other benefits. But before you get started, there are some things—101, to be precise—that you should know about running a company from home. Here is our list of top tips, lessons, pitfalls, and more to get you on your way.
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.
Instead of spending hours playing with accounting software, dreaming up potential expense and income categories, and creating fancy reports with no data, spend that time generating revenue. As long as you record everything you do now, creating a more formal system later will be fairly easy. It will also be more fun, because then you'll have real data to enter.
Valentine's day. Birthdays. Weddings. The list goes on and on—throughout the course of a year, there are dozens of occasions when people need to order flowers. What's more is that once you're up to speed with this business idea, your costs can stay relatively low if you know where to source your flowers, and typical margins are in the neighborhood of 300% (or more) on cut flowers which makes this a particularly profitable side business idea in the right geographic area. Check out this amazing interview with floral designer, Sara Tedford of Ladybird Poppy to hear about how her floral design company started out as a side business idea of doing weddings and events for her friends and family.

Set up a merchant account. Service businesses in the past had to generally rely on cash or check—setting up an entire credit card processing system was a thankless, expensive task at best. Using a service such as PayPal makes it possible to accept virtually any form of credit or debit card for your services, and includes dispute resolution should the need arise (and it will arise).

At this point, I was confident that people were searching for these parts and decided that we needed our own website. I contacted a few local web developers who all came back with quotes ranging from £4,000 to £8,000. Being a proud northerner, it was more than I was willing to gamble and I decided to put the whole thing on the backburner. Searching the internet one wet afternoon I discovered a hosted e-commerce solution for just £20 per month.
For the musically gifted, offering lessons to others who want to learn an instrument can be a great source of extra income. Unless you're teaching piano, students can bring their own instruments to your home for hour-long lessons. Stock up on sheet music or songbooks in varying genres and aimed at various skill levels so you can offer a wide selection for your potential clients. Voice lessons can also bring in a lot of money if you market yourself to local high school and community theater groups.
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.
Online sites like Etsy and ArtFire are platforms that make it extremely easy for crafters who can produce a steady supply of quality handmade items, like crocheted blankets or unique painted glassware. Startup costs are extremely low if you purchase your materials in bulk from a craft supplier, and if you can turn around orders quickly, you'll be making a profit in no time at all. It's even possible to turn your store into a full-time gig.
48. Cloud-based scheduling software: StormSource Software is one such option. Some of its features include self-scheduling, which allows individuals to book their own services online; automated email and text message reminders sent prior to scheduled appointment times; online customer payment options; record-keeping and reporting capabilities; and e-marketing functionality. And because it’s cloud-based, it’s accessible from anywhere.
Nothing beats teaching more novice learners about your passion, hobby, or craft as a business idea (that's a common theme here). Explore dozens of DIY portals (such as DIY.org, DIY Network, Instructables and Mahalo) to get business ideas on how to earn a healthy side income just by showing others how to do the things you love. You can also sift through the countless ad-supported YouTube channels that teach just about anything from guitar strumming to 3D printing.
All of these ideas require some background in the area, but they are an ideal way to use your already-acquired skills in a work-from-home business. And even if you do not already have the necessary training, there is nothing keeping you from getting certified in order to start your home-based business. If you do not currently have enough money to get the certification you need I would recommend saving a little each month until you have enough to pay cash. If that is not an option or you are desperate to get out of the grind, then you can check personal and student loan rates from various banks at SimpleTuition.com or learn more about Peer to Peer borrowing in my Lending Club review.
This is a great time for a concierge business or errand business startup. In many areas where there is significant development in the luxury market (residential and commercial), you will find increasing opportunity for concierge service providers. I remember my first job as a residential concierge, which helped me start a concierge business from home. The knowledge I acquired while employed by an established concierge business set the groundwork for my long-term career as a concierge business entrepreneur and author.
Wedding photographers command premium rates. After all, you are capturing one of a couple's most important life moments, making it a very lucrative side business idea. Many professional wedding photographers charge between $2,500 - $10,000 (or more) to shoot a wedding, so it's realistic that this side business idea could quickly blossom into becoming a full-time endeavor with the right happy clientele base that's willing to refer you to their friends and family. Check out the Complete Wedding Photography Experience over on CreativeLive to get up to speed on everything you need to launch a successful wedding photography business.
Darlene – How did you grow your mastermind group? I totally see the value in this but haven’t had much luck trying to get something going myself. I’m currently working on forming a local tribe (geographically speaking) with the idea that meeting in person might be really beneficial to us all although we’re all in different blog categories. How did you form your group? Who gets invited? What are the perks to membership? I would love to know!
Do you spend more time packing and unpacking your luggage than most of the people you know? Then you might be onto something! Travelling is one of the greatest passions of this age – the crazier and more nomadic, the better! If you have a knack for organising memorable, authentic trips and enjoy the process of creating exciting day-to-day plans, why not do it for money? Become a travel consultant to help adventure-seekers plan their unforgettable holidays from A to Z and enjoy every second of your working day.
This is not an enterprise for the lazy. eBay sellers need to respond to customers quickly and politely, and ship items promptly. A seller’s success is in eBay users’ hands after all; a negative seller rating can sink an eBay business before it even gets started. Sellers also need to familiarize themselves with eBay’s return policies, which tend to focus on making the overall experience better for buyers but not necessarily for sellers.

You love dogs? You’re good at taking care of them? You want to open a dog-boarding business? Just make sure you’re prepared. Sure, it’s a great opportunity, and it’s totally doable—with some planning. Make sure you know your local zoning laws and, perhaps more importantly, make sure your neighbors would be OK with some extra noise and activity around your place.


If you have carpentry, plumbing, electrical, or other home improvement expertise and the requisite tools and equipment, home renovation can be an ideal business to operate from home. The best home renovation to focus on for the long-term? Bathroom renovations. My recent bathroom renovation included cabinets that were installed by a local contractor who operates his cabinetry business from his home.
Do you have a way with words? Freelance copywriting is a good way to make money working from home. Companies large and small will pay someone handsomely to take basic information and add a bit of flair. If a smooth turn of phrase has been known to come forth from your pen, freelance copywriting might just be for you. It takes networking, but once you have a portfolio to show your worth, you'll be able to prove to clients that you're exactly the writer they need. And, as a bonus, if you're naturally inquisitive and love storytelling, you might be able to spin your copywriting gig into a career as a freelance journalist.
If you're a fast typer with an ear for dictation, than transcription might be right for you. A lot of different businesses require transcription, from medical practices to attorney's offices, and will pay handsomely for quality work. Why not be the service to meet their needs? All you need to start is a computer, an internet connection, and the will to build a network of professionals and gain their referrals.
If you want to start a business, a great strategy might be to run your business from home first. Some solopreneurs do so with the safety net of a full-time job before they decide to cut the “reliable paycheck” cord. Starting a home-based business is an ideal way to save money and enjoy a more convenient, flexible schedule while you learn how to build a profitable company. After a few years, once your business is more established, you can expand the footprint of your company by renting office space or warehouse space or by creating a retail storefront — but especially in the early days, by using online sales technologies and by keeping your overhead costs low, your home-based business might be your best route to long-term business success.
If you have an eye for quirky stuff, maybe running a mystery object shop could help you combine the thirst for curious things with a steady source of income. TheSomethingStore and Muddy Creatures are nailing the concept of a surprise purchase that taps into the explorer instinct many of us possess. There’s no exact science or skill fueling this business idea – let your imagination go wild…
Once you’ve mastered step 1 and gotten a foothold in the market, you’re ready to expand your offerings. Your customers will appreciate having related products to choose from. What’s really important about branching out into new areas is to continue to provide a high-quality service across the board. Branching out could hurt your reputation if you drop the ball in other areas.
Once you’ve established yourself in any number of freelance verticals online, spending your time focusing just on doing inside sales (booking freelance contracts with high-value clients) and then subcontracting your work out to other freelancers can help significantly grow your client list, and revenue generating possibilities with this business idea.

If you are new to entrepreneurship, you can enroll in business start-up classes offered at area schools, colleges, or government SBDCs, Women’s Business Centers, and local SCORE offices. Consult with a professional organizer, a time management specialist, and/or a computer consultant to set up an efficient workspace, schedule, and an operational system with the best technology and communications for your type of business.
Sometimes it seems like there’s an app for everything. Yet somehow, new ones keep popping up and selling for lots of money, all the time. If you spot a niche that hasn’t been filled to its potential just yet, and you can learn the coding skills (or know someone who already has them), you could be on to something with this side business idea. Today, it's even possible to build an app without any coding skills whatsoever. Just make sure you validate your app idea before jumping too far in. Even if your app business idea doesn't pan out to be a best-seller, you'll still pick up valuable skills.
This site is EXACTLY what I was looking for. I am a fit and frisky 56 y.o. single dad working 2 jobs, with an unquenchable thirst for learning new things. I’ve been surreptitiously studying the New Thought writers (from Atkinson to Proctor right up to some of the really sharp, young people creating YouTube videos). I think I’m getting a grip on the self-motivation and metaphysics of the whole thing, but am too scattered to decide exactly what kind of business to start! many of your 27 ideas I have some familiarity with (one of my old army buddies got me in to Bombardier Transport in early 2011 for 3 months to help meet a deadline on some tech pubs…it was a lot of fun! I was told I’m a natural, but could not find any more jobs in that sector….Oy Gevalt). Anyway, thank you so much for this site! I can give you a progress report every few months or so (including showing you how any websites I may be creating are doing). Happy New Year!
All great ideas! Not sure if you left multi-level marketing off on purpose, but I’ve recently started taking a nutritional supplement called Thrive, and due to the amazing results (tons of energy, great sleep, calming of aches and pains, etc.) I’ve started working as a promoter. There is absolutely no requirement to pay anything to sign up, you don’t even have to stock the product, it is a cloud-based business where the customers order online and receive the product directly from the company. If you get two people to sign up with autoship, you get your product free. Even if you pay for the product it is only about $5 a day, less than a cup of coffee in the U.S. So far I’ve been really impressed.

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.


Do you have a way with words? Freelance copywriting is a good way to make money working from home. Companies large and small will pay someone handsomely to take basic information and add a bit of flair. If a smooth turn of phrase has been known to come forth from your pen, freelance copywriting might just be for you. It takes networking, but once you have a portfolio to show your worth, you'll be able to prove to clients that you're exactly the writer they need. And, as a bonus, if you're naturally inquisitive and love storytelling, you might be able to spin your copywriting gig into a career as a freelance journalist.
Natalie! I feel like you wrote your comment just for me! My list is tiny and I DON’T email them often *facepalm*. I mean having totally manageable numbers means I can engage them in conversation, yet my head’s been firmly in the sand longer than I care to remember. SMH. That’s all changing this week, though! I’m challenging myself to reach out and foster engagement in my tribe. Can I get a witness!? :D
Affiliate marketing. You know this one already. You include links to products you are promoting as an affiliate, and every time somebody buys the product, you get a commission. With a blog you can integrate advertising with content to make it even more likely you’ll get the sale. For example, you could do a product review — which is useful content — and then include a link to buy the product under an affiliate link.
If you have carpentry, plumbing, electrical, or other home improvement expertise and the requisite tools and equipment, home renovation can be an ideal business to operate from home. The best home renovation to focus on for the long-term? Bathroom renovations. My recent bathroom renovation included cabinets that were installed by a local contractor who operates his cabinetry business from his home.

Word of mouth and referrals are crucial to getting new clients. Satisfied customers “spread the good word” and are the secure foundation on which to build your business. Treat all customers with respect and demonstrate that you care by delivering top quality offerings and optimum customers service. Thank loyal customers with cards, exclusive specials, and other expressions of your appreciation. Remember it takes less effort and money to satisfy existing customers than it does to get new ones.
Starting a home based business on the internet has never been easier and the opportunities have never been greater. Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, says, “If you’ve got an idea, start today. There’s no better time than now to get going.” The internet is a store that never closes. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and gives a business with an online presence a global audience.
Facebook continues to expand and grow. Therefore businesses are spending more on Facebook ads. But here’s the problem: a lot of old school businesses don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to Facebook ads. Even newer companies don’t have the time it takes to learn the ins and outs so that they get the most return on their Facebook ads investment.

From the inside looking out, I want to see the world as clearly as possible. And so do a lot of homeowners and particularly office managers. Now that creates a demand for window cleaners to step into this business idea, especially if you can land a contract cleaning windows for an office building. If you want to try it out as a side business idea, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to start a window-washing business at home.
To improve your chances of success in business, it’s essential that you do your homework and research your business idea. Identify your target market and analyze the competition. To find a profitable niche for your home-based internet business, you have to find the crossroads between what people want and what you’re passionate about. John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing said it best: “Bring the best of your authentic self to every opportunity.”
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