That is not to say that it will be easy. With the increase in working from home, there is more competition from other home companies. And any new business requires at least serious market research and possibly some rather complex licensing and legal maneuvers.
But don't let that stop you. With the right guidance and serious preparation, you can be a part of the thriving home economy. Here are some business ideas you can start now.
Sell on eBay
Believe it or not, eBay is now over two decades old, but it is still the most viable platform to set up a home business online. Big success stories have been around for years, but there is a lot of competition on the spot.
This is not a business for the lazy. eBay sellers need to respond to customers quickly and politely and ship items quickly. After all, a seller's success is in the hands of eBay users; A negative seller rating can sink an eBay business before it even starts. Sellers should also familiarize themselves with eBay's return policy, which usually focuses on improving the overall experience for buyers, but not necessarily for sellers.
But perhaps most importantly, potential eBay moguls need to be specialized. Just throwing junk online does not work. Salespeople need to know what they want to sell and how to bring it under their audience. Here, too, the competition is fierce, so research, preparation and strategy are critical. (For reference, eBay itself offers a comprehensive guide to selling on the site.)
The popular myth today is that anyone with a smartphone can be a photographer. The truth is, though, that professional photography can be a murderous business with demanding clients and fierce competition. But that does not mean that it is not worth appealing to those who are passionate about it.
Of course, photography can take many forms, from photojournalism to portrait photography to photography of general interest. You will probably choose to set up a studio in your home or take photos for use as stock photos because true photojournalism requires many years of experience and almost never involves working from home. Keep in mind that stock photo pages work on a revenue-sharing model, so it's unusual to sell photos to a website.
Even the possibilities for portrait and general interest are not right for beginners. Photography companies can be complex operations that require a lot of equipment and take many years of portfolio and relationship building to really get a stable income. But if you are already a hobbyist, starting a photography business as an afterthought is a great way to make some extra money and potentially start a career change.
The only thing better than the scent of Grandma's chocolate cookie recipe baked in the oven is to see the cash roll when customers order the delicious treats. Baking at home is an available business idea because it means doing what you probably do a lot, anyway, if you like to bake. You probably have all the equipment and expertise you need to get started.
But be careful. Food service - even a delivery service, which is the most likely scenario for home bakers as opposed to creating a storefront - involves inherent risks. Prepare and read your local insurance needs. And don’t be afraid to start with just one or two good treats. Consistency is more important than variation in the bakery sector.
This is without a doubt the cheapest company to start with in terms of cost. If you read this on a computer, you have what you need to become a freelance writer - at least in terms of equipment.
Expertise is another matter, but keep in mind that writing can take many forms - from resumes to news articles to marketing materials and even thank you notes. (You can even write for businesstown.com, even if that concert is not paying yet ... yet.) There is probably some form of writing you are qualified for. And if you're good at grammar and punctuation, companies will pay you to become a freelance editor. A friend made good money editing posts on a popular travel site.
The key to freelance writing is to never stop selling yourself. Do not be complacent when a project comes in - always look for the following. Networks like crazy online and in person. Request press tickets for events in the selected field. Attend writing workshops and write meetings; they happen everywhere.
There are plenty of job openings for freelancers at major job sites and you can always advertise (and find work) your services on craigslist or LinkedIn. Once the job starts rolling in, don't be afraid to go to previous clients and ask for more work. Permanent work is the best job for freelancers. If all else fails at first, just type. Start a blog. Make clips. Write!
Social media specialist
Everyone is on social media, which is both a blessing and a curse for the socialist media specialist. On the one hand, every organization that sells something needs a presence on social media, so the market for experts is huge. However, there is also no shortage of social media experts - or people who still think they are experts.
How can you make a living as a true social media expert? Practice. Create an audience for yourself before offering your services to others. Determine your target audience, build your own online presence in this community and contact the social media elite. Twitter is a great place to start. Keep bringing content out and bringing it to the right users, and you'll find a way to make yourself work in an ever-expanding universe.
Yes, there are many graphic designers out there, but there are many more websites, companies and organizations that need design work than there are designers. That's the good news. The more difficult news is that graphic design requires a certain level of expertise and potentially expensive software, although designers can often come without necessarily having the most expensive applications on the market.
But for those capable of doing so, starting a graphic design company is a huge opportunity - don't forget to get creative with your business model and do something no one else does.
Personal computer training
Believe it or not, many people still don't know how to use Microsoft Office (especially PowerPoint). You may already know enough of basic software applications to teach other people how to use them and to set up your own computer training.
Still, you need to develop a curriculum and marketing plan for your new business and decide whether students should come to you or them. But it is possible to take what you would like as relatively rudimentary knowledge and turn it into a profitable operation.
Competition for access to top universities is as fierce as ever, so nervous parents are willing to pay nicely for tutoring for their children. You need a field - math and specifically SAT math preparation is always a favorite - but almost any subject works. If you know how to market yourself locally, you can take advantage of your parents' paranoia and earn money by teaching in your own home or at a local library or café. Just be sure to do your homework in your local market to set prices and know which areas of expertise are most desirable with parents in your area.
As with graphic design, web design requires skills that take years to acquire and perfect. But if you have them, the market is there to create attractive, useful websites for all kinds of organizations. Starting a web design company requires some investment in advance, especially in software, although candidates for starting web design companies may already have applications.
The key to web design is to carefully define an audience and, as in the case of graphic design, to offer a service that no one else offers. Also keep in mind that web designers not only compete with each other but also with packaged software that helps with web design, so a unique sales proposition is especially important.
Art Buying Consultant
This is a really wild card, but a friend in Dallas has been doing it successfully for years. He was a self-taught art expert who advised clients on which works of art would make the best long-term investments. If you are an art lover and well educated - also self-taught - in art history, you can also set up a company like this.
You do not have to be an artist, just an expert in some form of art. Visit galleries. Go to their email lists, and go to their parties. Get to know their customers. Gallery owners will love you, even recommend your services because you are asking people to buy art from them. You do not have to own furniture. That's pure advice. There is almost no cost to a company like this. It's really about a passion for art and a talent for winning people's trust. And it's fun!
Being a publicist essentially means that customers in the press are called as positive as possible. Publicity, a subgroup of public relations, works because it gives a sense of credibility that paid advertising cannot.
As you can imagine, publishers need to network strongly, both to reach out to potential customers and to get to know media members. You need a website, a good price structure and a thick skin - journalists may be vague - but advertising is a company with generally low costs that can deliver fast and impressive returns.
Although it requires creativity, patience and expertise, makeup advice is a business idea that requires relatively little formal training. There is a market for clients who just want to spread their personal look, as well as an opportunity to work with theater productions and other organizations that use stage makeup.
Weddings, house parties, children's parties and funerals also provide opportunities for makeup consultants. Networking is essential, as is a sharp sense of organization and a natural eye for beauty. It is also important to keep up with or stay ahead of fashion trends.
Like starting a home bakery, the development of a catering service comes with a unique set of food-focused challenges. You must immediately make sure that it is legal in your state or municipality to use your home kitchen for commercial food production. If so, still be sure to follow the food safety regulations and other relevant laws.
But if you get the green light to do so, it's relatively low to start a catering service to create a new business. It's a lot of work, but if you enjoy cooking, it can be a lucrative and fulfilling career. To get started with minimal investment, you can first cook at your customers' homes and use their dishes. Limited specialization in a particular type of kitchen or event can also help you attract customers while working to build a strong customer base.
Creation of crafts
It's one of the first ideas people have when they think of starting a business: making and selling handicrafts. That means there is a lot of competition. The good news, though, is that people just love to squeeze. But be careful. Do not just sell anything and everything. Define a product line, and choose a distribution channel (online, craft fairs, etc.), and stick to your plan. And of course be creative.
Home day care
If you love children - a lot of children really - it can be a good option to start a home care. Be sure to do your homework regarding regulatory legislation, background checks and other rules.
Also, make sure you are aware of CPR, first aid and other emergency procedures. Then make sure your own children enjoy sharing their home every day. Once that is done, go to your friends and neighbors, your children's teachers, your prayer room and how busy parents are looking for day-care services, and get your word out.
If you know how to make jewelry, there really is no reason not to sell it. Handmade jewelry has long appealed to collectors and admirers alike. The biggest challenge in setting up a jewelry business can be to run the business yourself - just making beautiful things is not enough to keep the business going. Research what it takes to run a jewelry business and then let it happen. A good place to start is online with sites like Etsy and eBay.
Preparation of soap and lotion
Mild spoiler warning: Viewers of the TV drama Orange Is the New Black may remember that the main character of the show was purified from one of her fellow inmates by turning her into a calming lotion. Hopefully you're not in prison, but if you find yourself wanting to start a home business, consider making soap and lotions yourself.
Just remember, efficiency is key to successful soap production as well as artistic - perhaps more. Take down your processes and stay focused on a defined target market and you can run a reassuring and successful home business.
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