I have always loved a bargain and enjoy shopping around for the best deals before committing to a purchase. Over the years, I have negotiated with suppliers for the best prices and services for my clients. Now, I had to do it for my own business. As a small start-up, funds were initially low – and at times non-existent – so committing to long-term contracts was not always practical.


A home business (or "home-based business" or "HBB") is a small business that operates from the business owner's home office. In addition to location, home businesses are usually defined by having a very small number of employees, usually all immediate family of the business owner, in which case it is also a family business. Home businesses generally lack shop frontage, customer parking and street advertising signs. Such businesses are sometimes prohibited by residential zoning regulations.[1]
There are many directions you can take this business. If you want to work during hours when no one else does, you can focus on office clients. You can focus on retail businesses and keep your customers clumped into one or two blocks. Restaurants are in great need of daily thorough cleaning and can be a great source of steady clients. Perhaps you would be more interested in house cleaning. Many times with cleaning services you don't have to spend lots of money on advertising or marketing because your customers will come by word of mouth.
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As a home-based business owner, perhaps even more challenging than time management is successfully balancing your business life with your personal life. Lori Quaranta struggled with this after starting her business, Consetta Web Solutions, in 2006. “When you work from home, you are always at work,” says Quaranta, who is also a mother. “Keeping a work/life balance is harder than you think.” Here are her top five tips for maintaining that balance:
Earning money on GigWalk is similar to working on Task Rabbit—not a bad side business idea if you've got the free time. You get to choose from an amusingly diverse range of jobs from taking snapshots of restaurant menus to counting the items arrayed on supermarket racks. It won’t make you rich though, with payouts tending to congregate in the lower half of their $3-to-$100 range. But, if you're looking for a steady little side business idea, it can't hurt doing a strange but fun errand and getting a tip at the end. When you’re bored or a little short on cash, you can access GigWalk anytime, anywhere via their mobile app. Meanwhile, all the jobs specifically vetted for you will be within reach (ideally, just a brisk walk away).
Another common problem faced by those who work from home is isolation. In a standard business environment, people are dealing with co-workers constantly, as well as the noise of ringing phones and running machines. There are also meetings, breaks, and lunch hours that serve to break up the day and provide opportunities for socializing. This contact with other people provides a built-in system of motivation to at least appear busy at work. In contrast, many people who start a home-based business are faced with nothing but a quiet, empty house. Some find it difficult to motivate themselves and succumb to boredom and loneliness. But such isolation does have a positive side: working at home increases productivity by an average of 20 percent, so home-based business owners can often get more work done in less time. Planning is necessary to overcome the negative effects of isolation, however. Experts recommend that home-based business owners schedule interaction with other people on a regular basis, using such means as business meals, outside meetings and appointments, clubs and associations, and networking.
But it’s also easier for consumers to compare similar products, which makes your ability to differentiate yourself more important. For instance, if you decide to use Etsy to sell handcrafted cutting boards, when a potential customer searches for cutting boards on the site, they’ll wade through potentially hundreds or thousands of relatively similar listings.
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.
You will want to become certified in massage therapy to be able to effectively market your services. Courses that lead to certification include not only information on human anatomy and physiology and the effects that massage has on both, but also on how to make a business out of the field of massage. You could do either a certification program or an associate's degree and stay within the $5,000 scope of this book.
Someone out there is remodeling their kitchen and needs to know which shade of granite will match best with mahogany flooring. That someone will often be happy to pay you for your advice, especially if you’re the kind of person that subscribes to websites like Contemporist and you have the motivation to turn this business idea into a money-making enterprise.

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.


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.


Most tax preparation franchises offer courses, seminars, and training to get you ready to work for them. You will learn a lot about tax preparation while working for them before going out on your own. There is a lot of educational support out there to learn tax preparation and all its complexities. And there are lots of individuals and businesses willing to spend a few hundred dollars a year to have someone else prepare their taxes and keep watch for tax breaks or tax burdens on their behalf.
There’s more to being a coach or personal trainer than just being fit and loving to exercise. Finding a specialization is important, and licenses might be required for certain types of coaching roles. For instance, a friend in Boston obtained US and European soccer-coaching licenses before opening a successful one-on-one soccer-instruction business.
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78. Understand your own work habits and what tools will work best for you. “Get an egg timer or a digital stopwatch with a countdown function,” advises Laurence J. Stybel, founding partner and president of Stybel Peabody Lincolnshire. “Decide on the chunk of time that you are most productive. For example, I can be productive for 45 minutes at a time. After that, the law of diminishing returns starts to apply.”
Over the past five years, Northern Industrial has grown 40% each year and now has customers all over the world and more than £9m worth of stock. We have supplied the Pirelli factory in Argentina, a beverage factory in South Africa, the US Air Force, and an oil rig off the coast of India. Not bad for a small family company starting off with a £19.99 website.
The whole “building an audience” is challenging for me. I’m not much of a blog subscriber myself, and so I’m really not quite sure what makes a blog tasty enough for someone to subscribe to. I solve more of a technical business problem… one of those things that if you need it, you REALLY need it now. And if you don’t need it, then you’re not really interested in getting weekly updates talking about it (I would imagine).

Online and mobile dating are booming. Thousands of people around the world are looking for love online and, unfortunately, many are unsuccessful in their quest. As a dating coach you’d be responsible for helping your clients to organise and prepare for a perfect date, to refine their flirting skills and to advise on the do’s and don’ts of a dating life.
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Then you can move into more actionable online courses like Modern Web Design on CreativeLive and Learn Web Design and Profitable Freelancing on Udemy will teach you everything from foundational web design knowledge to earning your first freelance income as a web designer. On top of that, you can take even more immersive courses and learning experiences with access to direct instructor feedback and personal mentorship with platforms like Treehouse, LinkedIn Learning and General Assembly to get up-to-speed even quicker with this career path and listen to my podcast interview with Ian Paget about how to become a freelance designer as a side business idea.

If your mastery of another language is good enough to have the grammar and spelling down, translating is a great side business idea to set up for yourself and can even be done remotely. Flexjobs has literally hundreds of freelance, remote translator jobs available right now and if you're looking to land more remote work on the side of your other pursuits, check out my guide—how to get a remote job (this weekend).


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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.
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.
One way to get started might be to focus on children’s parities, which can be a bit simpler and less stressful to plan than adult get-togethers. Go further into specialization by following kid trends and offering superhero or Frozen parties. Remember that you’ll be competing not just with other party planners but with local restaurants and facilities, so excellent networking skills and a personal touch to your services will be important.
Minimize the cost of overhead. “The number one thing that will kill any business is overhead,” Wolfe says, noting that high overhead costs often pile stress onto new business owners. It can be costly to rent commercial office space and set up a phone system, internet, and other services in the space. In contrast, with a home-based business, you make use of space for which you were already paying rent or a mortgage, and you can piggyback off some services that are already in your household budget, such as home internet, he says.
On the other hand, Burt’s Bees - one of the most recognized brands in natural care products - sold to Clorox for an estimated $925 million in 2007 and has continued to expand its product line and distribution. But it all started with an artist, Burt Shavitz, making candles from a local beekeeper’s extra beeswax and selling $200 worth of products at a local craft fair.
You don’t need to have a degree in journalism to be a reporter these days (and pursue this business idea). Plus, there are many news websites that can always use a bit of help on getting local coverage. Some of them, such as The Examiner or HuffPost, will compensate contributors based on ad revenue generated per article written—a great incentive to provide compelling content to news organizations as your side business idea.
Consulting is good work, if you can get it. Consultants give guidance to companies looking for help with everything from marketing to environmental remediation--and for that they clock an average 10% operating margin. Many consultants can easily work from home when they're not with clients on site, and most charge on a per-project basis rather than by the hour. Two big challenges: marketing and pricing the service. For more on the first, check out "Twelve Innovative Marketing Techniques"; for more on pricing, try "How To Figure Out Your Daily Rate."
One warning about working from home: The walls may start closing in. "I'm looking to move into a studio space for part of the week," says Schmechel. "It was really great at first to work from home, but each day, I find it harder and harder psychologically to do it." For an unvarnished look at home entrepreneurship, check out "The Highs And Horrors Of Home-Based Businesses."
It’s a well-known fact that America’s small business owners are movers and shakers. They come up with innovative products and services; they employ about 50% of all private sector workers; and they persist even during tough economic times. But what might not be such a well-known fact is that most of them do all of this without even leaving their homes.

Yes, spending time on YouTube can be a legitimate business idea if you take it seriously. If you can create value-driven, entertaining video content and grow your subscriber base to a few thousand subscribers, your videos can start generating pretty substantial income from all the ads being displayed on your videos. Many YouTube users make well into the millions each year, so there's clear potential to take this from side business idea to eventual millionaire with the right combination of content, audience, skills, relationships and timing. If you’re considering starting a YouTube channel it’s important use best practices when making videos. Read the YouTube playbook for tips which will result in faster growth of your channel. Additionally think about investing in a quality camera and microphone since the production quality of videos can often affect your viewership.
Fences are everywhere. And they don't last forever, so they need to be repaired and replaced with a certain amount of frequency. The most common fence material is wood. However, vinyl has become a popular fence choice due to its longevity and relative freedom from maintenance. Wrought iron is another common fencing, especially in urban environments. You can have fun shopping for vintage wrought iron fencing at salvage yards.
If you've got the attitude (and look), there should be a product or service out there on the hunt for the right model to promote their brand as a side business idea. You can sign up with a large agency, find a freelance agent, or look for your own modeling gigs as an independent talent. Since modeling is a complex field, get all the advice you need before jumping right in and find a mentor who can guide you through some of the early challenges it'll take to establish your brand. Depending on your preference, you can specialize in a single media format such as video or still images, to build a compelling portfolio and grow this into a business idea that has the potential to scale.

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45. Smartphones: Just because your business is based from home, doesn’t mean you need to be stuck at home. A smartphone can help you run your business from anywhere. “Smartphones can create flexibility and accessibility while attending to the children’s needs,” says Monica Harris Mondolovich, who has been running a home-based business, MHM Editorial Services, for 10 years while raising two young children.
Short term: Getting things done. This is waking up every day and taking steps towards achieving your goals. One day, it may mean buying business cards for your new business, or applying for a business license or hiring a lawyer to help you incorporate your business. Or it may mean researching your idea on the Internet or calling prospective clients to find out who might be interested in buying the products or services that you intend to offer for sale. You cannot build a business without taking these short-term, but important, steps.
Also, keep in mind that there isn’t really one platform that works for every type of business. Take the time to research the best one for you. If you’re selling art or crafts, look for a platform that is used by other artists. If you’re selling used comic books, look for a platform that attracts lots of shoppers looking to buy used comic books. And read the fine print. Almost every platform has its own list of prohibited items.
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 

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.
But it’s also easier for consumers to compare similar products, which makes your ability to differentiate yourself more important. For instance, if you decide to use Etsy to sell handcrafted cutting boards, when a potential customer searches for cutting boards on the site, they’ll wade through potentially hundreds or thousands of relatively similar listings.
These days, even a home-based business can afford to operate out of another space. Consider renting temporary office space to get benefits such as tech support and conference services, or to hold meetings with clients. Sharing office space with other small businesses can also be a great way to grow your network. A great way to get inexpensive office space is to offer free services to another business in exchange for office space.

5. Work on your business, not in your business. “There’s a big difference between working in your business and working on your business,” says Jeannel King, a visual facilitator and coach, and founder of her own home-based business, Big Picture Solutions. “A home-based business typically translates into being a small operation of one: you! In that situation, it’s easy to focus only on product or service delivery. However, it’s essential to make time to work on our business, and that means focusing on the finances, the marketing plans, the vision and strategy, the systems and processes that provide the infrastructure for our businesses to be not just successful, but thriving and sustainable.”


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Just about every company has a website that has the potential to collect data from its customers. Furthermore, many businesses store their customers' data, personal information – even credit card numbers – in their company computers. But, how many smaller firms can honestly say they know the data is safe from identity thieves and hackers? Most small companies can't afford to hire a full-time data security specialist. That's where your home-based security consulting business comes in. If you've got a background in IT, you could be working as a consultant helping small businesses shore up their data security.

The real estate market is on the rebound (for today) and people are buying and selling properties in many locations across the U.S. That means a lot of opportunities for professionals who know how to navigate the legal, financial, and commercial aspect of real estate to build up a stable of clients as a side business idea, especially if you begin to scale your sales hiring and build a team of reps working to help you close more deals. If you consider yourself an expert in the subject, it won't be a walk in the park (hehe), but you can earn significant additional side income as a home-based real estate consultant—especially if you employ one of the best CRMs for small business and know how to work magic over the phone.
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.
After creating a plan for the home-based business, the entrepreneur is ready to put the plan in action. One of the earliest steps involves preparing family members and enlisting their support. The loss of a reliable source of income may cause some anxiety or resentment among other members of the household. In addition, the creation of a home office will probably necessitate changes in family members' schedules or lifestyle. Dealing with such issues in advance can help avoid problems later. Another important step is to establish an area of the home as a business office. The most important consideration when choosing a location for a home office is that it allow the entrepreneur room to work comfortably and efficiently without too many distractions. The office should be as physically separate from the living area of the home as possible, and should project an air of professionalism to potential visitors as well as to its occupant.
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