We are at a unique place in business history. The recent recession forced many people to get creative about how they make money, and technology has provided the means for many entrepreneurs to start businesses from home. The good news is that today’s online economy is providing plenty of opportunities for almost anyone to work from home — starting businesses in their homes without worry about a dress code. I know this first hand; my first couple of hours of work take place in my pajamas. The only reason I get dressed as early as I do is because I need to leave the house to take my son to school.
If you are interested in starting a business out of your home, here are a few things you can try, no matter how you dress:
This is everyone’s favorite home business. While I am a freelance writer, this isn’t the only type of freelance career available. Graphic designers, web developers, software programmers, translators and editors can all start home businesses. Freelancers are attractive to many companies because it means that they can outsource some of their needs. Companies don’t have to pay me benefits, and they don’t have to worry about the overhead associated with providing me a workspace and equipment. Figure out what you want to charge for your freelancing services, set up a web site, and get started.
You can make money off a web site with the help of affiliate marketing. There are a number of affiliate programs that will pay you based on the number of purchases made as visitors to your web site click through to the company. Of course, you have to spend the time to build traffic to your web site, and that requires work. However, if you provide interesting and worthwhile content (perhaps with the help of a blog), you can build web site traffic, and direct visitors to other companies. You get a kick-back, without actually having to deal with order fulfillment.
Sell Your Stuff
This is another popular business idea that can be accomplished from the comfort of your home. You can sell items you bought in the past, or you can make items. My sister in law creates crochet patterns and sells them (along with some of her handiwork). A good digital camera is a good idea when you plan to make a business out of selling things, and you should have an account at Etsy, eBay or Craigslist, or some other marketplace-type web site. You can also hit yard sales looking for cheap items to re-sell for more. (Of course, the part that involves visiting yard sales and junk shops requires clothes.)
The career “virtual assistant” is becoming more widespread. There are some people who are busy enough that they could use some help, but not so busy that they need a dedicated personal assistant. You can act as a virtual assistant, providing support from the comfort of your home. You might have to make phone calls, contact people via email and perform some other tasks, but you can usually do all this from the comfort of your home — in whatever clothes you decide to wear.
A related online career is social media consultant. You can provide support services for company social media profiles, and help them keep up with the latest trends in online marketing.
Matt (with The Online Budget) says
If you’re (fairly) young and able-bodied, have a pick-up truck, and a cell phone – you have what it takes to start a hauling business. Yes, there are already lots of folks with “hauling businesses” out there already, so here are some tips: show up when someone calls you at the time you say you will, have a professional appearance (all of your teeth in place, a polo shirt, and reasonable looking jeans will work), and know where you’ll legally dump off your hauls. I did this for two years, and was surprised at the need for my services. It’s probably not a long-term thing to do (but then, I could be wrong!). Good luck!
You know, acting and looking professional will get you ahead of many other businesses. It’s amazing how many small businesses don’t get that.
Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager says
You can take online surveys from home for money too.
True. I see that as a way to make extra money, but do you think it can generate enough income to be a home business?
Sustainable PF says
With the high cost of child care (day cares) being a stay at home parent can be financially rewarding on top of watching your children grow – all the while knowing they are getting the best care possible, from you!
Plus, you can do some of Miranda’s ideas too! Win Win.
That’s what we do. I stay home with the kids rather than put them in daycare. It’s a job in itself, but for sure it’s rewarding.
And I’ve done some of the ideas Miranda lists as well (you’re reading one)!
Traditional jobs are definitely changing! Opportunities to earn money from home is encouraged thanks to the Internet. It is so attractive because you have almost no start up costs and no additional overhead. Why not!
If you can try it then it can definitely be worth it. It takes discipline though, to work from home. You have to know you can put your nose to the grindstone when needed and get stuff done.
Financial Samurai says
When I retire from my day job, I’d love to be some sort of consultant. It’d be fun to help people improve their lives. With technology communication so cheap and easy, it’s a no brainer!
I have this in the back of my mind as I continue to work on my resume.
Being a consultant can be a great job to have and stay home. With technology where it is, you can easily communicate and do most computer work from home. And it’s a great way to leverage your knowledge without have a 9-5 job.
Kay Lynn @ Bucksome Boomer says
When I retire to work on my home business full-time, I’ll be working in my yoga pants or pajamas — a step up from underwear!
Funny about Money says
You do have to put your grodies on and leave the house to clean someone else’s house or office. But the pay is surprisingly good if you’re fast, efficient, and know what you’re doing. A lot of the pay is under the table, so though you’re not contributing to Social Security (which the Republicans are going to take away from us, anyway), neither are you parting with a fifth to a third of it in taxes. And if you feel like working that hard and putting up with the aggravation, it offers the possibility of converting a side job into a full-time business, in which you hire minimum-wage workers, collect your fees for their underpaid work, and retire on the proceeds.
One thing about jobs like cleaning house and washing windows: they can’t be offshored.
Greg Miliates says
One of the most profitable ways to earn extra money is by consulting, since a consulting business has:
–>low start-up costs,
–>high hourly pay rate, and
–>you likely already have the expertise to get started.
I’ve found that fear often stops aspiring consultants from starting a consulting business, and on my blog (http://www.StartMyConsultingBusiness.com), I talk about how to overcome those fears. I also talk about practical, concrete things you can do to start and run a successful consulting business, along with tools, tips, tricks, and techniques for automating your business and keeping costs to a minimum.
One of the neat things about becoming a consultant is that you DON’T need a pile of cash to start a consulting business. For example, you can create a professional website for under $100–typically in an evening (I have a free ebook that shows you exactly how to do this, even if you’re not a techie).
I started my consulting business over 4 years ago as a part-time way to make extra cash, and it’s grown into my full-time endeavor, where it’s the sole income for my family of 4 for over 2.5 years. I make several times what I used to make at my day job, and have much more flexibility.