Home-based businesses make great money: Many people have the misguided idea that home-based businesses aren’t “real” businesses — like you’re somehow “less” of a success if you work from home instead of having a brick and mortar storefront. But according to this survey data, business is booming for home-based entrepreneurs. Home-based companies are generating big bucks — with total annual revenue of $427 billion per year. And 20 percent of home-based businesses make $100K-$500K per year — that’s a very comfortable income for anyone working from home. You have to remember that if you do start a home-based business and build a great income, you are on your own for health care and other benefits, so that is a consideration.
Structure your day. The problem a lot of homebased business owners have is that they no longer have a boss standing over them making sure they get their work done, or a tangible start and end of each workday. It's easy to let time slip by as you head to the refrigerator, catch a few minutes of TV, or dive into a project first thing in the morning, neglecting the other tasks you need to perform to keep your business running smoothly.
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]
If you’re thinking about starting your own home-based business, the available options can seem overwhelming. What type of business is the best fit for your background, skills, and interests? If you don’t have a lot of initial capital to invest, which ones can be started at a low cost? And, most important, which home business has the best chance of succeeding, especially with the U.S. economy still on the rebound?
Not only is Airbnb a great way to make money by renting out your spare bedroom or living room couch as a legitimate home-based business idea, but you also have the benefit of meeting new people and making new friends if that's your kind of thing. You can even rent out an entirely new apartment just to manage as an Airbnb side business idea, but don't make the mistake of thinking this will be a passive source of income—you're on call whenever you have a guest and you'll always need to keep the place clean for incoming visitors. On top of just renting on Airbnb, you can take this business idea to the next level by offering your guests add-on and personalized experiences for an extra charge. Take Lauren Gheysens' Airbnb-based side business idea, Royal Day Out in London, England for example—where she gives visiting tourists a local's only tour of the city, complete with bespoke 18th century costumes.
With the rise of online craft marketplaces like Etsy, people with decent artisanal skills like sewing and woodworking have an always-open market to sell their products as a side business idea. If you’ve always wanted to design and make clothes by hand, then you can start turning those fashion ideas into real, hand-sewn garments and earn a little bit with this side business idea while you sleep and customers from around the world browse your Etsy & Amazon stores.
If you know how to make jewelry, there’s really no reason not to sell it. Handmade jewelry has long held appeal for collectors and admirers alike. The biggest challenge to setting up a jewelry business might be running the business itself—just making beautiful things won’t be enough to sustain the operation. Study up on what it takes to run a jewelry business and then make it happen. A great place to start is online with sites like Etsy and eBay
Taylor works with up-and-coming designers and asks as many as possible to link to her site to help with link building and add her URL to as many posts as possible to help increase SEO visibility. ‘It was also really important for my site to be mobile optimised, so we built the site to appear perfectly on the top 15 mobile operators – I now use analytics to see what the site is being viewed on and optimise accordingly.’
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.
We all wear clothes (at least some of the time). Which, of course, makes the business idea of cleaning soiled laundry an obvious hit. In fact, the self-service laundromat industry in the US is worth more than $3 billion, with many related businesses such as a mobile app laundry service, a real rolling mobile laundry service, and home laundry pickup & delivery services springing up each year. Here’s one way you can cash in on the trend as a side business idea.
In general, a home office deduction is allowed if the home office meets at least one of three criteria: 1) the home office is the principal place of business; 2) the home office is the place where the business owner meets with clients and customers as part of the normal business day; or 3) the place of business is a separate structure on the property, but is not attached to the house or residence. The deduction is figured on the size of the home office as a percentage of the total house or residence. For example, if the total house size is 2,400 square feet and the home office is 240 square feet, 10 percent of the total house is considered used for business. That would allow the business owner to deduct 10 percent of the household's costs for electricity, real estate taxes, mortgage interest, insurance, repairs, etc. as business expenses.
Another starting point is to have an idea that very few people other than the founders can actually build. These technical feats provide a natural defense against competition. Remember, every hard problem you solve drops a massive obstacle in front of anyone who’d want to replicate you. Certain problems haven’t been solved because none of the few people smart enough to do so have made it happen. Look at something like Google, which co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were technically capable of building at a time when not many people were. Back then, there were very few people smart enough to build their own search engine let alone imbue it with software that could crawl and rank the entire World Wide Web.
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.
51. Get quoted. “Use services such as Reporter Connection, PitchRate, and ProfNet to connect with reporters and be quoted in traditional media,” recommends Shel Horowitz, a home-based marketing consultant and copywriter who, in one year, was quoted or cited in 131 stories thanks to such services. HARO, Reporter Connection, and PitchRate are free, while ProfNet is a paid service.
Market your talents to building contractors. People purchasing new homes can often be overwhelmed with the choices and possibilities in home decorating. Design some questionnaires for each major element and each major room in the house. Find out how the homeowner will use the home--are there children? Pets? Does the woman of the house wear high heels? Do the home's residents neglect to remove shoes? How will each room be used? Where might task lighting and ambient lighting be most appropriate?