Young Upstarts

All about entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, ideas, innovation, and small business.

9 Small Businesses You Can Start From Home

Everyone wants more money. But not everyone is willing to give up their down time to make it. If you’re one of the ambitious few that wants to diversify your income, there are lots of businesses you can start from the comfort of your home. And succeeding doesn’t have to be rocket science.

If you’ve got a tiny bit of money saved (for a tax number and business insurance), and the business acumen to make the right choices and connections, consider starting one of these nine small business from your home office (or bed):

  1. Personal Assistant.

    If you love helping people, why not make some money doing it? You can become a personal assistant of the virtual office capacity using nothing but your personal computer, or you can try your hand at being a professional shopper and errand runner. Lots of busy professionals (especially in large cities) will pay for such a time-giving service, but they’re likely to entrust their house keys and sensitive shopping demands only to someone they already know or have reason to trust. If you’re the type that has nothing to do from 5 p.m. to 9 a.m., consider (getting out more, or) using current corporate connections and social networks to advertise your discretion and trustworthiness, and get your home-based business off the ground.

  2. Etsy Store.

    If you’re an avid quilter, crafter, or make specialized and gorgeous art or paper products, consider opening a storefront on Etsy.com. It takes little initial investment, and most of the “business stuff” is taken care of on their end. Many a crafter or freelancer has gone on to greatness (or full-time arts and crafting) by beginning their reign on Etsy. Ashley Percival is a freelance illustrator that was able to quit his day job because his Etsy store provided enough of a platform for him to make a good living doing what he loves. And he’s just one of many stories. The online small business portal of pretty things has helped countless home-based entrepreneurs turn their passion projects into their life’s work.

  3. Graphic Design/Desktop Publishing.

    If you’re handy with Photoshop and Illustrator, and you’ve got a sense of sellable style, you can launch a desktop publishing or design business from home with just a little start-up cash and a few prospective clients. Create yourself a great looking and easily accessible portfolio, and carefully network to get your first few clients. Underpromise and overperform, and you’ll be getting calls for help on everything from brochures to invitations. Start with paper-based products if you know them the best, but use your time as a small business owner to enhance your skill set by moving into the ever-growing world of online desktop publishing. A graphic designer with efficient skills and just a bit of insightful vision will always be in high demand.

  4. Day Care Service.

    This one’s a little more complicated, because you’ll be dealing with insurance waivers and screaming children. But if you’ve got the space (and the divine patience) to care for kids that don’t belong to you, it’s possible to start a private day care service right out of your home. Make sure that you cover your bases as far as payment procedures, liability forms, rules and regulations, and any employees you may take on — but if you’re gifted with children and want to enhance young lives while making money (and, potentially, providing free care for your own kids), this home-based service could be profitable to start. Be sure to charge premium rates for premium care, and you’ll be making plenty of extra money from home.

  5. Dog Walking/Pet Sitting.

    If you’re a pet person, and you enjoy being outside, pet sitting and walking is an easy home-based business to start. Whether you’ve ever done a stint as a house-sitter or not, pet sitting (and other home tasks, like plant watering) is a simple way to make a little bit of extra money. And it’s much easier than caring for kids. If you have an animal-friendly, reliable schedule, you could book up your entire day with walking your neighborhood’s dogs, and easily expand to earn some extra money by checking in on your friends’ cats. It starts with word-of-mouth, but once you’re in, you’re in. Those who use pet sitters are often creatures of habit, and if you provide quality services you’ll have a chance to get to know the animals that you’re working with, as return customers are a perk of this enterprise.

  6. Handyperson.

    Do you know the basics of electrical wiring, HVAC, and how to fix a perennially clogged toilet? Do you have the toolbox that everyone envies? You might be primed for a business as a professional tinkerer. If you want to work exclusively from home, set up a space where folks can bring you their broken computers, vacuum cleaners, or whatever your chosen specialty. If you’ve got reliable transportation and you like to see smiles, you can also make house calls. Who knew that the old lady down the street would pay you to set up shelves in her garage? Even if it’s something you’d do for free, if you put a professional face on it — people will expect to pay you, just to help.

  7. Photography Business.

    If you’re a shutterbug and you’ve got anything more advanced than an iPhone, you could easily start a photography business to supplement your income and provide your life with artistic expression. Whether it’s cars, weddings, pets, or pretty people, you can set up a home studio or office for the price of a tax number and a great camera. Create a website and portfolio to spread your name to the masses, but don’t underestimate starting with people that you know. For the true beginner, keep a blog on your site, and chronicle what you’re learning and how your customers enhance the experience for you. When you’re transparent and the product is good, you’ll find yourself getting referrals posthaste.

  8. Home-Based Laundry.

    Sometimes the best business ideas seem like no-brainers. If you’ve already got a washer and dryer at home, and the zoning regulations in your city are favorable, a home-based laundry business is a great place for first-time entrepreneurs to learn the ropes. Do some market research for the wash-and-folds already in existence, and try to find an angle that sets you apart. Do you pick up and deliver? Do you use your customer’s favorite soaps? Do you have a no-shrink guarantee? If you’re already an amateur seamstress, consider including darning and alterations in your fee schedule. It might sound too good to be true, but you could wash and fold your way to a second income, just by doing everyone else’s chores.

  9. Freelancing.

    Whatever you do at your nine-to-five, considering going home and doing it some more. If you’re a software developer, find work creating apps. If you’re a coder, designer, or writer, check out freelance gigs on Elance.com. And if you have an eye for good products because you work retail all day, you could even work to create a vintage resale business through eBay. Who’s to say that you have to stop at a simple salary? Making extra cash by continually practicing your trade will only make you better (and more marketable) at your current job. The lessons that you learn while finding clients for yourself could make you love (or hate) your day gig even more. But be careful what you wish for: if you’re not interested in making your daily grind a lucrative side hobby, consider diversifying and learning a new monetizable trade.

 

This article was first posted in Insurance Quotes.


This is an article contributed to Young Upstarts and published or republished here with permission. All rights of this work belong to the authors named in the article above.

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