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.
Maintenance work from the comfort of your garage or basement is challenging on two fronts: overall set-up (equipment, ventilation) and finding clients. Take shoe repair. Ben Roush, a cobbler in Omaha, Neb., says that used finishing machines (with the proper buffering and sanding devices) go for $10,000; stitchers, $1200; and hydraulic presses for adding glue, $300. Some repair work requires more electrical power, too: 220 volts versus the typical 110 volt capacity in most houses.
But if you choose to bring employees into your home, you may want to set some ground rules to keep lines from blurring. Richard Rabinowitz runs a national, multimillion-dollar photo workshop series, Digital Photo Academy, right from his home. A staff of six works around the dining room table in his New York City apartment keeping track of teachers, students, and workshop spaces. Chaotic though it may seem, the business brings in over $2 million per year. Rabinowitz maintains order by enforcing the following seven rules.
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.
Busy schedules can stress people out. It can also disrupt family life to the point that busy parents and homework-laden kids barely have time to prepare decent dinners and weekend meals. Hence, the surprising demand for part-time family chefs as a business idea. If cooking healthy and delicious meals is your thing, then this lucrative side business idea can supplement your regular income by helping feed busy homes. Hear Gaby Dalkin's story of going from side business idea to full-time blogger while she was a part-time personal chef right here on my podcast.
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?
First you need to secure a domain name for your website. Then find a hosting service. You will want to create content for your website that is easily read and used by potential customers. If you have set prices for your services, it is best to be transparent about them. If your fees are individually based, then state that. Explain your expertise and success in the business on your "About" page. Be sure to have a "Contact" page with your information so clients can get in touch. Once your website is ready, all you have to do is market it.
10. Avoid going into business before you know you have a winning idea. “A good way to vet this is also a method of bootstrapping: Apply for grants. If your idea is good enough to become a successful startup, it’s good enough for someone else to help with development,” advises Amy Baxter, founder of MMJ Labs, which makes reusable, inexpensive products for personal pain control. “Programs such as local university incubators, Huggies MomInspired, Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards, and even Small Business Innovation Research grants can bankroll part of your R&D.”
A doula is a labor coach that can help a birthing mother in any labor environment, from a hospital to a midwife clinic to home. Doulas are non-medical professionals who offer information, emotional support, and physical assistance in the process of giving birth. While licensing for doulas is not required by most states, getting certified by DONA International, the only certifying body for this profession, is a good idea. Doulas do have to deal with unpredictable schedules, but they easily can do this work from home. Doulas generally charge between $500 and $1000 per birth.
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?