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.

Take time out for good behavior. It's not uncommon to find yourself working 60- to 70-hour weeks. But the good thing is, if you want to sneak out and see a movie at two in the afternoon, nobody's going to tell you not to do it. You have that freedom and flexibility as a home business owner. It can be tempting to work all the time when you start seeing how successful your business has become, but know when to relax. You've already established a smooth-running business. Take a break every now and then so you don't get burned out.


Yes, even the PowerPoint presentation requires outside consulting every now and then—especially if it's not your forte. I know I would happily outsource the visual layout of my presentation decks for work meetings, investor pitches and lectures. Tobias Schelle of 24Slides is living proof that you can turn your skills at slideshow presentation design into a legit side business idea—and potentially earn up to $20 a slide for your time and talents.
The articles on this site should not be taken as financial advice. Please contact a financial professional for specific advice regarding your situation. Any references to interest rates, giveaways, deals, products, and websites are subject to change without notice. We try our best to keep the information current, but things are always changing so it may be different now than when it was first published. Also, all the pages on SeedTime help us pay the bills by using affiliate relationships with Amazon, Google, eBay and others but our opinions are NEVER for sale. Find out more here.

One evening, I decided to list a couple of the spare parts on eBay to see if anyone would buy them. I would like to say the parts went like hotcakes and it was an overnight success, but sadly they didn't. Thankfully, I decided to try again with slightly different listing text and managed to sell one of the spare parts for the grand sum of £100. One down and only 200 to go. At this rate, I would be able to see my desk in three years.
If you don't already have work experience with importing and/or exporting, you will have a longer learning curve. You can start by learning the basics and hosting educational sessions to teach others what they need to know to get started in import/export. That alone would probably gain you your first couple of clients. If you keep going with educational seminars and expand your reach to outside your immediate region, you could probably develop a sufficient and ongoing customer base very quickly, but be careful not to outpace your learning curve!

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.
Techies can hedge their bets by doing some trouble-shooting work, too. On the service side, "the margins can be high because you're not competing with global operators," says Avron Barr, principal at Aldo Ventures, a software technology consulting firm in Aptos, Calif. Taken together, the "software publishing" bucket--which the IRS takes to mean both coders and help-desk types--boasts an average 14% pretax margin.
Point number 1 is extremely true. You can convince yourself there will always be a better time to launch. The one caveat I would add to part 1 is that you spend at least a little time making sure there is an audience before you spend lots of time building something. You need honest real opinions from people as to whether they would pay for your product or service if it existed. Ideally you are getting paying customers before you have even launched to validate your offering or service. Wasted time can eat you alive. Once you have validation though, Corbett is right. Just launch there is no better time than now. You can fix all the problems later.
I think the biggest killer of new ventures is good ideas. A good idea sparks the imagination, causes the founder to invest heavily in a dream, and much of that investment goes into building filters to bad news, which ensures you will be way too overconfident and prevents you from transforming a good idea into an idea that works. The end result can get pretty ugly, and usually involves uncontrollable crying. (That’s right. Real men cry.) As an idea man, I have learned the hard way to distrust my ideas. Better to start with some problems worth solving that I am uniquely able to address and build a simple MVP prototype with no expectation that it will work. Then find out what is wrong with it, fix it, repeat.
If you’re selling products, either hire a freelancer to do the job right or invest in the equipment that you’ll need to take and edit high-quality photos. If you’re not sure you can afford professional images, check with local colleges to see if there are students looking to learn and build their portfolios that cost less than well-established professionals.
We certainly can help you with your aquaculture consulting needs. Here are several things we can do for you. First, we are going to make you a FREE member of our site where we teach courses and have live webinars about all kinds of aquaculture and agriculture. That site is called http://www.eatcommunity.com and you will get an email with login instructions.
Start with a very good checkout flow / payment gateway right from the start. I’ve spent too much time thinking I could whack some checkout together with PayPal and a (typical Dutch) bank payment system, but ended up with a lot of coding and hacking into WordPress to make it all happen. Actually, the right checkout still hasn’t been implemented #@!^&*^
The process of gathering information and writing a business plan helps the entrepreneur take an objective, critical look at the business idea and its chances for success. A home-based business may be related to an individual's previous occupation, but may also be based upon a hobby or the discovery of a unique business opportunity. In any case, the idea should be evaluated with an eye toward market potential and competition. Once the business is up and running, the business plan sets forth goals and standards for management and serves as an operational tool to measure progress. Although there are many ways to start a home-based business—including "moonlighting" while employed full-time, working part-time for an employer and part-time at home, and just taking the plunge—planning is important to all of them.

Pay-per-click advertising is the easiest way to get traffic to a brand-new site. It has two advantages over waiting for the traffic to come to you organically. First, PPC ads show up on the search pages immediately, and second, PPC ads allow you to test different keywords, as well as headlines, prices and selling approaches. Not only do you get immediate traffic, but you can also use PPC ads to discover your best, highest-converting keywords. Then you can distribute the keywords throughout your site in your copy and code, which will help your rankings in the organic search results.

I have almost 80 email subscribers, between 350-600 unique visitors per day, and I have talked myself into believing that my site is so new that it would be ridiculous to offer anything but affiliated links…that I need to build a reputation and trust first. These folks don’t know who I am yet. They don’t know that I’m not trying to bamboozle them, yet help them along in the journey, so why would they buy from me?!
New entrepreneurs often find it difficult in determining what to charge. Factors that will influence your pricing include the value your customers place in your products and services and what they are willing to pay for them; your industry’s pricing guidelines; and your own pricing strategy and “formula.” Your accountant can guide you in determining how to charge enough for each “billable” hour or product to cover your expenses and to ensure you will be making a profit.
Have a talent for crafting or creating other handmade goods? From bracelets to phone cases, rings, furniture, and more, Etsy is one of the world's largest independent marketplaces that’s perfect for anyone who is creative and willing to sell their handmade creations. As long as you have the space, this can make for one of the best home business ideas that can be started as a side hustle with a very limited investment. Consider these 5 steps to starting an Etsy store, from Handmadeology. Then, after you're able to build your brand and grow your own audience, you can start an eCommerce site of your own and retain a larger portion of the revenue from your product sales—making this a very lucrative potential business idea if you're able to find an audience that loves your products.
The basic idea behind an online drop shipping business is that, as a small business owner, you don’t have to maintain a large inventory of products or handle any delivery to your customers. That eliminates the financial cost and risk of having a warehouse full of stuff you might not sell, and the hassle of arranging to send orders all over the country or the world. In fact, you don't have to manufacture or store any products at all.
It takes a very thick skin to go into this business, but debt collectors only need a telephone and a computer to work, making it a great work-at-home business. It’s also a recession-proof (or even recession-loving) business. Licensing requirements vary from state to state, so make sure you do your homework before setting up shop. Median salary: $31,300.
For a small business on a modest budget, advertising must be cost effective, as the price can be prohibitive. ‘Businesses looking to take on advertising must weigh up their ROI,’ says James Blackman of CocoonFX Media. ‘If, for example, you’re considering an advert for £1,000 in a magazine with 12,000 readers, ensure that magazine is very much your target audience.’
3) Earnings potential – With an online, home-based business, your income potential is unlimited. You can reach a very large market, directly, quickly and affordably, no matter the size or location of your business. For example, Kelly Lester, a stay-at-home mom, built a very successful million dollar online business that came straight from her kitchen table. She’s built her brand by working closely with bento bloggers and other diehard fans of her product, EasyLunchboxes.

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.


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.
From $0 to $120,000 in monthly sales, Beardbrand.com is as incredible a story as they come. This is a company that lives and breathes the brand they’ve created, selling beard care products, beard grooming kits and other beard related propaganda. The owner of Beardbrand.com says it’s his growth of such a unique, strong brand that’s made him so successful.
Try to avoid some of these common start-up mistakes: not writing a business plan; not conducting adequate market research to see if a profitable market exists; inadequate marketing; poor customer service; and poor money management and attention to your cash flow. Business mistakes are inevitable, but if you concentrate on each aspect of your home business and follow the advice of your experts, your home business will survive where others’ might fail.
It helps to have right the aptitude and characteristics to own and operate a business. Many successful entrepreneurs are creative problem-solvers who do not give up when faced with challenges. They are risk-takers who are not afraid of failing and learn from their mistakes. They continually ask questions and persist until they find the answers or the right people to help them. Entrepreneurs are also self-starters with sometimes seemingly boundless energy. Though few entrepreneurs possess all of these characteristics, you are more likely to succeed if have several of them.
I joined the family company, Northern Industrial, in 2007. The company had been trading for almost 30 years and had been successful at providing an industrial electronic repair service to local textile manufacturers. The extent of our trade across borders was a weaving company in Dundee. At first it was difficult to see the way forward with many textile manufacturers moving production abroad. It wasn't realistic to expect people to send faulty circuit boards halfway around the world for repair.
To locate sites that might be interested in your content, e-mail other website owners in your industry–be sure to choose sites that receive attention and visits from your target market–and invite them to use your article on their site or in their newsletter at absolutely no cost. Many site owners need fresh content, so they’ll be more than happy to post your articles–and it won’t be long before those articles start driving traffic back to your site.
Most people, even those many won’t admit it, love moving their bodies. It's also a great workout. If at some point in your life, you had to hang your dancing shoes for a more sensible office job, there's nothing stopping you from earning money with this side business idea as a passion project around your day job. Part-time dance instructors get a fraction of the pie that their full-time peers enjoy, but it can add up to hundreds each week if you're consistent—making for a great side business idea to those with the skills and drive.
At some point, you might be ready to hire employees. Fortunately, that won’t necessarily require you to expand into a commercial office space because your employees can work remotely from their own homes. Not only is it becoming more common to have a remote workforce, apps and other tools make it fairly easy to manage others from afar, so long as the job can be done remotely and you use the right tools.
You can also use PR techniques to position your brand for media attention. There are several techniques for getting other people to share your work. Of course, blogging is very effective, if you’re consistent. But, I’ve found press releases can also work well. If your press release gets picked up by media experts, you can expect other authority sites to link back to you.
Then I worked my way through the Defining Audience and Differentiation courses in Fizzle and finally buckled down, stopped being lazy, and did the work. And it *was* work — I spent a good 2-3 months getting uber-clear on my points of differentiation/USP/positioning and creating a clear plan for how I could best articulate that in my biz. Afterwards, everything got easier: what to write about, what services to offer, who I (very happily) serve, and the whole 9.
Define your product or service. Starting an online business gives you the benefit of having access to millions of customers, but you also have a lot more competition. No matter what you're trying to sell, you can bet that hundreds more online retailers have a similar idea. What differentiates your product from other similar products? To help your product stand apart from the rest, you'll need to find a niche.[1]
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.
If you want to broaden your services and earn more, you can opt to make the entire house look neat and clean with this side business idea. House cleaning services cover carpets, floors, lawns, garages, windows, walls, and roofs, requiring a whole range of cleaning tools. You can hire maids and janitors to do the actual cleaning while you handle sales, administrative and customer service tasks. Or, you can start small by actually getting your hands dirty as a contractor, learning on the job before launching your own cleaning operations with the help of cleaning business management tools like Swept. Beyond that, I'd recommend checking out Cleaning Zoom's ultimate guide to starting a cleaning business if you plan on taking this business idea seriously.

It turns out, he thought the process of starting a business was really complicated. "I don't want to go through all that stuff," he said, "unless I'm absolutely sure my idea is perfect." Like a lot of would-be entrepreneurs, he was stalling because he was intimidated by the apparent complexity of the administrative and legal tasks involved in starting a business.
On top of just the skill and experience components to being a successful online coach, this side business idea is all about building a community around the help you're offering and fostering trust with members. Plus, your community members will learn from each other along the way. Creating the space for that community can be as simple as setting up a private Facebook group or choosing a community-building platform like Ning.com that has even more capabilities like using your own custom URL, having internal forums, customized designs, and more.
Everyone knows that the quickest way to learn a new language is to mingle with native speakers. If you were lucky enough to be born in an English, French, Spanish (insert any of the world’s main languages) speaking country, then missing out on the opportunity to cash in on the skills you take for granted is exactly that – missing out! Use online communication tools, such as Skype or Google Hangouts, to connect with learners and leverage your privileges. Time is money, so package your hours into teaching sessions and you’re good to go. 
A lot of people with middle-class income would like to create a robust investment portfolio to secure a financially stable future but simply have no clue where to start. If you have professional experience as an investment analyst or do a lot of investment yourself, then offering investment advice for middle-class investors is a natural move for you.
If you own a camera, starting a freelance portrait photography business could be a very natural way to turn your skills and passions into a profitable business idea. Start with doing free shoots for friends and family to build up a strong online portfolio, get familiar with your gear and the editing process, then you'll be able to get paid for photographing professional head shots and celebratory family moments as your side business idea. Get started by checking out this men's portrait photography class that regularly broadcasts for free on CreativeLive. Plus, once you have all the photography gear, you can earn a little extra side income by renting it out when you're not using it through online marketplaces like Fat Lama.
Formal planning can help ease the transition for a person starting a home-based business. By being aware of the potential pitfalls and creating a plan to overcome them, a home-based business owner can significantly increase his or her chances for success. The main planning tool recommended by experts is a business plan. A formal business plan, which is generally created in anticipation of starting a new business venture, includes a description of the business; a statement of purpose; information about the business's structure, organization, and management; a marketing plan; and a financial plan.
Yet another common problem encountered by home-based business people is frequent distractions that reduce productivity. In fact, distractions are everywhere for people who work from home. When faced with a difficult work task, it sometimes seems far preferable to run the vacuum, clean out a closet, walk the dog, have a snack, take a nap, raid the refrigerator, pull some weeds in the garden, or do any of the myriad other things that need doing around a normal household. In addition, people who work from home lack the motivation that peer pressure can provide in a regular office. They also face spouses and children who demand time and attention, as well as friends and neighbors who call to chat or stop by to ask favors.
×