Not long ago, there were only so many types of businesses you could start at home. Before the birth of the Internet, an aspiring entrepreneur needed a physical storefront from which to sell their goods and services. Even offering products through a mail-order system required paper catalogs that had to be printed and mailed to each client, at considerable cost to the business. The telephone would have been your most important tool, even though you couldn’t carry it in your pocket and voice calls would have been its only function.
Things have changed considerably, over the past couple of decades. High-speed Internet, portable connected devices, and numerous applications have created a new landscape for business and changed attitudes about the very nature of work. Even prior to Covid-19, up to half of American employees were already working out of their homes with a growing number of others doing some of their work outside the office. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the 10 best home based businesses you can get involved with today.
1. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to start an online business. Affiliate programs exist for virtually any niche you can think of and most are free to join. The way it works is that marketers promote these products online, typically through blog posts, videos, and online articles. When a reader purchases a product through one of their links, the marketer receives a commission. Commission rates can range from 5 to 50 percent, depending on the type of product being promoted.
Every market has products or services associated with it and you’d be hard pressed to find one that isn’t being promoted by affiliate marketers. Thanks to the emergence of free blogging platforms and free Internet marketing strategies, it’s entirely possible to get your business in motion without spending a dime. While it’s ultimately best to get your own hosting and your own domain, it’s not something you need to worry about when you’re getting started. The important thing is to find a niche you’re interested in, a reputable affiliate program for selling products related to that niche and a platform from which to promote it.
Another important consideration is getting some type of training and support to help you along the way. Wealthy Affiliate offers excellent training and support for both new and experienced affiliate marketers. Membership also provides access to a friendly community of fellow affiliate marketers with similar objectives. They even have a free starter membership that you can join, so you can try it out and decide for yourself if this is something you want to continue with.
2. Online Store
If affiliate marketing isn’t for you, you might want to consider selling your own products. There are a number of different platforms from which you can do so, though you may find that eBay is one of the easiest. They’ve been around for a couple of decades are there are numerous success stories associated with eBay businesses. If you’ve ever bought anything for yourself on eBay, you’ll have some familiarity with it, at least from a buyer’s perspective.
Online businesses are much easier to set up than brick-and-mortar operations, but you still can’t afford to be lazy. eBay rates their sellers and their rating system tends to favor the buyer, in the hopes of creating a better experience for them. A negative rating can severely cripple your business, so you’ll have to familiarize yourself with their return policies, respond quickly to your customers and ship their orders as quickly as possible. Remember that you’ll be facing lots of competition.
While there are various ways to acquire products, the easiest way to deal with the competition is to produce your own. This gives you an advantage over the dozens of other eBay stores that are fighting to sell the same popular items. While you can get started by simply selling things you already own, you will eventually run out of stuff to sell, at which point you’ll have to come up with new products.
In the long run, you’ll be far better off specializing in certain products. Successful eBay sellers are familiar with their products and know exactly how to market them to those most likely to want them. Because of the intense competition, research is very important and you must have a solid strategy. Note that eBay offers a number of different tools to help their sellers, including an extensive selling guide that’s particularly helpful to newbies.
Note that it’s not as easy as it used to be to sell things on eBay, but there are still a number of opportunities to do well. If you have unique products, crafts or something highly beneficial, it is possible to make lots of money on eBay. The potential for reaching such a wide audience with something truly unique is almost limitless, depending on what you have to offer. What’s important is that you know who your target market is and be able to provide the value they’re looking for.
Photography can be a fun and lucrative hobby. However, that doesn’t mean that just anyone with a smartphone can call themselves a photographer. Unlike other careers, you need some knowledge and experience to do this successfully. It’s also a very competitive field and clients can be very demanding. But if you have a true passion for it, you may find it to be very rewarding.
Wedding photography, stock photography, portrait photography, and photojournalism are just some of the paths you can explore. Note that photojournalism requires years of experience and in most cases, you won’t be able to do it out of your home. However, portrait photography and stock photography are ideal for a home based business. Just remember that stock photo websites are typically built on a revenue-sharing platform, meaning it’s highly unusual to simply sell your pictures to one of them.
While you won’t need any type of certification to get started with photography at home, it would be a good idea to take some classes at your local community college. You’ll learn how to take better pictures and edit them properly. Don’t forget that camera equipment can be very expensive. You’ll also need a computer and some editing software. So if you’re looking for a low-cost home business, photography might not be the way to go.
Note that running a photography business can be a complex operation. You’ll need lots of equipment and a hefty portfolio before you can expect to attract a large number of clients. For this reason, even portrait photography can be difficult for beginners. However, you should not allow this to deter you if this is a hobby you’ve been doing for some time. Remember that you can always pursue this as a side business until you’re able to do it exclusively.
4. Freelance Writing
Freelance writing is probably the least expensive home based business you can start. The only equipment you’ll need is a computer and fast, reliable Internet service. You’re essentially providing both a product and a service, since you’re hired to create digital products for individual customers, according to their specifications.
Keep in mind that much of what you read on the Internet is created by freelance writers. This includes most of the articles you read on professional sites (like law firms, real estate agencies, dental clinics, etc…) and many of the blog entries. The reason for this is that not everyone who owns a website is a good writer or has time to create web content. Busy professionals hire writers to do this type of work for them.
Note that you can choose from all types of writing work. You can create resumes, news articles, marketing materials or a wide variety of website content, depending on who your customer is. If your grammar and punctuation are really good, you might even be able to get a gig as a freelance editor. Either way, it’s hard to beat a job you can do from virtually anywhere that you can get an Internet connection.
Remember that there’s lots of work out there, but you’re not always going to find it in the same places or get it from the same clients. Therefore, you should always be looking for the next project and working on several different things. Join writing associations, attend workshops and take advantage of every opportunity to network with other writers. They might be able to provide you with valuable leads.
There are a number of different websites for freelance writers. The work you’ll find there isn’t always the most profitable, but it’s a great place to develop your skills while earning some money and discovering other writing opportunities. You can also set up your own site to advertise your services, as well as advertising on sites like LinkedIn and Craigslist. Don’t forget to check back with your previous clients, as they may need your services in the future.
5. Web Design
It can take a number of years to develop and perfect the skills required for a career in web design. But once you have developed them, there’s a large market out there for creating professional looking websites for various types of organizations. While there are some upfront costs involved, particularly concerning software, there’s plenty of money to be made in this type of business.
The key to being successful in this field is to define your target market and offer a unique type of service. Keep in mind that web design is a highly competitive field and you’re not only competing against other web designers, but also against software packages that are used for the same purpose. If you can offer something that no one else is offering, or offer it in a unique sort of way, your business will stand apart from everything else out there.
Blogging is related to freelance writing. You’ll find that when you’re creating freelance content for certain clients, many of them are actually publishing your content in their blogs. So when you set up a blog of your own, what you’re really doing is working the other side of the same business. Instead of creating content for others, you’re creating content that you have a personal interest in for your own websites.
There’s no limit to the number of topics and niches you can blog about and no limit to the amount of money you can make in this business. If you have specific knowledge or intense interest in a subject that others are also interested in, you can earn a great deal of money writing about it for your own websites. With that said, you’ll have to put some time into researching your chosen topics, to ensure that there is enough of a market for it and that you’ll be able to reach them.
You also don’t want to pick a niche with so much competition that you won’t be able to earn any money. Most niches can be whittled down to more specific sub-niches, where there’s less competition. You’ll have to look into this extensively, to get a better idea how far you can break yours down. For this reason, it’s good to have a list of several subjects you’re interested in, so you’ll have more to start with and struggle less with your first site.
There are multiple ways to make money from a blog, but the most popular ones involve selling either ad space or products. When it comes to ad space, you can either sell advertising directly or use Google AdSense and let the world’s biggest search engine take care of it for you, while you focus on creating content. When it comes to products, you can either sell your own or get into affiliate marketing, as mentioned in the first section of this post.
Affiliate marketing isn’t the only business blogging ties into. It can cost lots of money to have someone set up a professional looking website for you. But if you can create one of your own, you could find yourself with a business model that involves more than one of the businesses on this list here. Note that another great thing about Wealthy Affiliate is that you can use their training to learn how to create your own websites and save yourself a ton of money.
Keep in mind that it will take some time to start making money with blogging. It’s definitely not a get-rich-quick type of opportunity. But if you stick with it and keep learning as you go, you might find that you have the potential to become at least as successful as most of the professionals you know who work for other people. All this without the expensive education and stack of mostly useless degrees.
Similar to blogging, podcasting is another way to create content online and potentially make some money from it. It’s not the easiest way to do so, but there are plenty of options for creating revenue through podcasting. It’s worth looking into if you don’t mind speaking into a microphone for an audience.
The key to successful podcasting isn’t as much about generating a large number of listeners, as it is about getting them to engage. It’s better to have a small group of engaged listeners than a larger group that rarely participates. Keep in mind that it’s easy to discuss subjects within your own area of expertise. You’ll have to constantly remind your listeners to participate and get them as worked up as you can, so they will actually want to.
It’s not as easy to make money podcasting and some people make it seem, but it is possible for someone who’s willing to put themselves out there and give it all they’ve got. You don’t need lots of equipment, either. You can actually find free podcasting software online and use the built-in microphone on your laptop when you’re first getting started. This will give you a chance to get your feet wet and decide whether it’s something you want to continue, before spending money on professional podcasting equipment.
Tutoring is another type of business that is almost always in demand, especially given the current health crisis. While it’s needed in most areas, including those with community colleges, it’s particularly popular in areas with top universities. Competition to get into these universities is very tough and you’ll find that many parents will pay handsomely to get their kids tutored.
While people get tutored in all types of subjects, there are certainly some favorites. Math is a particularly important one, especially when it comes to the all-important math preparation tests that colleges require for their students. If you know how to advertise and market yourself to a local audience, you can make a good deal of money tutoring out of your home, at clients’ homes, or even at libraries and coffee shops.
What’s important is that you know your local market so you can set prices that your clients with be comfortable with and know which subjects parents in your area are most interested in finding tutors for. The more experience you have in a particular field, the more money you’ll be able to ask for. Keep in mind that if you make a reputation for yourself, you might find yourself getting calls from other parents who have heard about your services and need them for their own kids.
There are many businesses you can start from your home, but these are some of the most practical ones. Don’t be afraid to try, especially if you don’t mind hustling on the side while holding a regular job. It is risky to start a business, but in doing so, you’re taking your future into your own hands and developing valuable skills. Even if you don’t succeed, you will have learned many lessons that can be applied to other business ventures in the future.