In my experience, one of the greatest challenges people face is deciding why they are starting a business, what they hope to accomplish and what they really want to do. Starting a business, particularly from home, sounds glamorous and free but, in reality, it can put a strain on home life if not done right. People I talk to often need help decision-making which is an essential quality in running a business.
If you can create a regular audience for your podcast on a specific topic, this is a great way to get sponsors and fund this side business idea. My podcast, The Side Hustle Project is actually my current side business idea, and because I had an existing audience here on my blog at the time I launched the show, I was able to broker a $5,000 sponsorship from Freshbooks to place ads on the first ten episodes before I even got started.
Be social. Whatever your business, whatever your venue, keeping your name in the air is key to internet success. Have a business account on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If your business is graphically oriented, have accounts on Flickr and Tumblr as well. Whenever there is news of any kind—a new contract, a new page, a new entry, a new photo—cross-post it to all your social media sites. Also make sure those sites link back to your main website, and that your website has links to all of them.
Still, knowing something about how the flower business works is a good idea, and your online presence and photos of your work will be critical to your success. Remember, the business is all about visuals, so make yours as compelling as you can. Get started networking by contacting local wedding planners and funeral homes and letting them know you’re in business. From there, let your business bloom. A friend in Maine turned a flower-arranging business into a successful flower shop she later sold at a profit.
Competition to get into top universities is as tough as it has ever been, so nervous parents are willing to pay handsomely for tutoring for their kids. You need an area of expertise—math, and specifically SAT math preparation, is always a favorite—but almost any subject will work. If you know how to market yourself locally, you can take advantage of parental paranoia and make money by tutoring right in your own home, or at a local library or coffee shop. Just make sure to do your homework on your local market in order to set prices and know which areas of expertise are most desired by parents in your area.
When Disbrow set up her business, she says jumping through the hoops was pretty easy. Her city required her to register her business and fill out a few pages of paperwork. “They just want to make sure you’re not running a dentist office out of your garage,” she says. “But if I hadn’t known about the requirement for registering, I could have gotten in trouble.”

We don’t manufacture as much in America as we used to, but the phrase “American made” still means a lot to some people. Artisanal items are also popular, making now a great time to start a furniture-making business. This might not be the easiest idea to start from scratch, but if you already own the equipment you need, you can start producing pieces to sell at fairs and online on sites such as Etsy.


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?
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.
If you can write copy that gets people excited about purchasing what your client has to sell, you can make good money in this business. Unless you are highly experienced from working in the copywriting field, take a course. There are online courses or classes at community colleges and universities that can give you a leg up in getting savvy at writing copy for brochures, catalogs, advertising and, of course, marketing copy for the web.
If you had a knack for standardized tests and had no trouble acing the SAT, ACT or other college exams, why not start tutoring high schoolers as a side business idea? Parents of all economic backgrounds are more than willing to shell out upwards of $100/hr to the right tutor, if it means their son or daughter will get admitted to the college or university of their choice. See this quick checklist for starting an SAT tutoring business from the Work At Home Mom. Whitney over at Rookiemoms also has a cool story to share about a stay-at-home mom making $40/hr helping kids out with homework and turning it into a profitable side business idea.
We don’t manufacture as much in America as we used to, but the phrase “American made” still means a lot to some people. Artisanal items are also popular, making now a great time to start a furniture-making business. This might not be the easiest idea to start from scratch, but if you already own the equipment you need, you can start producing pieces to sell at fairs and online on sites such as Etsy.
Home based businesses are cheap to start: You might think that you need lots of money to start a business. And it’s true that having some startup capital is often a big advantage — it can give you a safety net to use while you’re figuring out how to become profitable, even if you make some mistakes along the way. But according to this data, 44 percent of home based businesses are started for less than $5,000. This is an optimistic sign that if you have a good idea and are willing to work hard, you can start making money while operating a business from home, even without a lot of startup capital.
One way to make money in this field is by being an expert witness yourself. If you have an expertise that could be useful in legal cases, you can market yourself to attorneys to act as an expert witness. Another way to be active in the expert witness field is to play a sort of matchmaker, matching attorneys up with expert witnesses for their cases--either for the defense or for the prosecution. Expert witnesses for big money cases can be expected to fly anywhere to testify. There's no reason your database of witnesses can't be from all parts of the country.
Create a structure that mimics what you had in the workplace. Structure your day so you have a start and finish time, with certain hours set aside for specific activities. A general rule is to spend the first hour of the day prospecting for new clients. Send your emails, write your letters and make your phone calls first thing so you don't forget to do it later.
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. 
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).
Employed techies planning to earn some extra side income can leverage their software and hardware skills by offering home-based computer repair services as a business idea that engages their passion. If this rings a bell, you can start with a modest one-man tech team before envisioning a scaled-up operation as massive as Geek Squad. Remember, you can provide home service locally as a starting point to this business idea, as well as offer remote support through online messaging and video calling services before making your way into a retail setting.

If you have employees who work remotely, know that your official company address matters for tax purposes. For example, small business expert Gene Marks has a home-based business with 10 employees who all work remotely. He uses a post office box as the official address of the business, so employees get reimbursed for the miles they drive beyond the official address to get to a meeting.
Stay connected. Carry an organizer wherever you go. If you're still using a day planner or similar dinosaur, consider upgrading to a Blackberry or other high-tech gadget. You don't need to go crazy and spend a lot of money, but invest wisely in something that will hold everything you need and allow you to instantly access it on the go. Another good idea is to not keep all of your information in one location, such as the hard drive of your home computer. Keep your data hosted on a virtual exchange server so you can access it anywhere that has an Internet connection. A big misconception about homebased business owners is that they stay at home all day, everyday. And as you know, that's just not always true.
This is a man who on our first envelope job bought us our furnace gas heater by paying us upfront half the money he would have topay when the job was done. He was so concerned we had no heat he paid us before we even started writing out the envelopes…I felt so bad to see when I called him 2 months ago someone answered it but was not him or his family. I fear he lost his home:( If he hasn’t we would still be in the back of his mind for envelope work knowing we are his people to get the job done.
Another idea someone could do from home is to start a service or write a software program that scours local ad listings (like craigslist) for a particular used item a person wants to buy. They have services like this for new items, but not used. I know others like me who are keeping their eye out for something used (like a canopy king bed!) but don’t have the time or inclination to search for it every day.
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.
Without realizing it, I skipped over doing the good work of pinpointing my target market and ideal clients, defining my brand and my offer, figuring out my Why, etc. I studied audience-building and content marketing tactics and put a lot of work into growing a community from the start, but because I wasn’t clear myself on the purpose of my brand, I didn’t have a consistent message to share with that community to build trust and gain their interest in any kind of offers.
×