If you’re planning to start a business, you may be looking around to see if there’s any good vacant commercial property out there and thinking about how far you’ll have to travel each day or how many staff you’ll need to hire. But with the increase in the number of home businesses, more and more people are wondering how they too can work from home.
As the whole world is connected and technology offers us more and more possibilities to choose how and where we work, different types of home businesses have emerged.
Some businesses require you to convert your spare room into a mini-warehouse, while others allow you to run entirely online. But in general, the space and money you already have is enough to start the businesses in this article and make money from home.
What is a home business? And what are the pros and cons?
A home business is a business – whether full-time or primarily intended as a side income – that you can start and run from your own home. Some of these businesses, especially if you sell online and need little to no inventory, can even be run on the go, completely independent of any location.
Like everything, a home business has both advantages and disadvantages, and it is good to think about these for a moment and see if this way of doing business really suits you.
Benefits of earning money from home:
- A small business with minimal investment has few overheads (such as storage costs).
- You can choose whether you want to sell your products only in your immediate vicinity or all over the world.
- A flexible work-life balance, which is especially perfect for parents and those retiring
- You can start a family business where your relatives or partner can step in if needed.
Disadvantages of making money from home:
- You sometimes have to sacrifice a place in your house for things like supplies, an office or equipment. It can be difficult to get this done without getting in the way of you and your roommates.
- You still have to abide by the laws and regulations that apply to the industry you will be working in. Think of the Commodities Act if you are going to sell foodstuffs, or the permission you need to store certain products.
- Your company can do so well that it no longer fits in your home, and you still have to find business space and hire staff.
- A home business means a lot of freedom, but it can also be lonely. This becomes even more difficult if you are someone who likes to be around people.
Make money from home: 13 businesses you can start today
1. Make Money Blogging
Throughout this whole website, whenever there is any mention of “making money”, I have always put “Blogging” within the first five listed ways to do so.
2. Purchase a large stock of a product and sell it individually online
Many companies operate around one simple concept: import a large inventory of a product, and sell individual items for a profit.
Perhaps you have recently been abroad and have seen unique products there that you cannot buy in the Netherlands, but that you think people will be interested in. Or maybe you focus entirely on a niche market and you know exactly what your customers are looking for.
If the products you’re looking for are relatively easy to store and ship, you might have a really good home business idea.
Your home as a showroom
You can even use your home as a showroom in the beginning to sell products to people nearby. This gives you the opportunity to test your idea before you start investing in more storage space or staff. For example, Artemis Design Co. also started.
“I lived in Boston, and my entire living room was filled with products. People came to me to look around and try on, and that’s how I sold my first products.” Milicent Armstrong, Artemis Design Co.
3. Selling homemade products
f you are (or know) a creative person, consider making your hobby your profession. Even if you have to make your products elsewhere – in a studio, restaurant kitchen, or workshop – you can still store them at home and sell them from home.
When you have complete control over almost every aspect of your product, you can increase cost-effectiveness, improve quality, or tailor them to a specific audience by responding to a demand in the market.
3D printing plant pots
Josh Pigford already had a thriving home business as a business analyst, but he also wanted to do something with his creativity. That is why he started 3D printing plant pots for cacti at home. His company Cedar & Sail now sells plant pots, coasters, and other small gadgets for your desk.
Whether you start selling through a platform like Etsy, Marktplaats, or immediately build your own webshop, selling your own creations is always a great way to share your passion with the world and also make money from it. Make sure you know the laws and regulations if you want to sell products that people can eat, drink or put on their skin.
The best part is that you never have to grow over your head to make your own products. If the demand increases, you can simply hire (more) staff to help you with production.
4. Starting a Dropshipping Business
So far we have looked at companies where you have to store your stock at home. But there are also a number of webshop ideas where you do not have to take stock and shipping into account.
These are webshops that use a dropship model, where third parties make, store and ship the products for you and only the marketing and customer service is for you.
Dropshipping children’s clothing
Children’s clothing brand Finer & Dandy is an example of a home business that has opted for dropshipping. Courtney White, the founder, started the company because she was looking for work that she could do from home without spending too much time with customers. That’s how she discovered dropshipping. Now she gets up at 4 a.m. every day to work for her dropshipping company before going to her regular job.
Dropshipping suppliers are usually located abroad. When selecting a supplier, pay attention to their behavior after you pay – they must deliver consistently high quality, otherwise their unreliability can damage your company’s reputation.
There are even Shopify apps, like Oberlo, that can connect you directly with suppliers. With this app, you can put products in your store, and it also optimizes the processing of orders for you.
How to compete in dropshipping?
Basically, dropshipping simply means that you become a distributor of the third-party products, and bear the costs (both money and time) of marketing, which you are rewarded for with the profit you make on sales. . In many cases, this means you can’t add a whole lot of branding to your customers’ shopping experience. But luckily, there are a few other ways you can compete, even if you’re selling in an already pretty saturated market.
- Create your own collection of products from different suppliers, and use it to create a webshop that focuses on a very specific niche.
- Set yourself apart through quality content and customer service, so you deliver more than just your product.
- Focus on a place in the world that is less accessible. (This may mean that your shipping costs will increase.)
- Target a new audience with the same product. (For example, you can sell LED shoes to both runners and festival-goers.)
5. Start a print-on-demand business
You also use the dropshipping business model, so you don’t have to have stock or send products yourself. Print-on-demand also gives you the opportunity to brand unbranded products with your own creative designs.
Rebecca Lee Funk started The Outrage, a fashion company that sells print-on-demand T-shirts for women’s rights activists, from home. Her company donates a portion of its profits to Planned Parenthood, the American variant of the Rutgers foundation. Her launch campaign went viral, and The Outrage has become a hugely successful webshop.
Besides T-shirts, there are many other print-on-demand products you can sell: books, caps, backpacks, blankets, pillows, mugs, shoes, hoodies, phone cases, watches, and much more, depending on the supplier where you choose.
Many print-on-demand companies focus on a specific niche or, even better, a shared identity. What are people passionate about and what do they want to convey? What do you stand for? From pet owners to vegans to gamers, there are plenty of groups for you to create products for.
If you have good design skills you can make your own designs. But if that’s not your forte, you can always hire someone.
For a complete overview of how print-on-demand works and how to start a business in it, check out this Shopify Compass video course.
6. Offer your services online
Services are even easier to sell from home than products, but the challenge here is making the best use of your time. “Time is money” applies most of all to people who run a service business.
Creative professionals such as designers or marketers can work freelance for individuals or companies, usually for several clients at the same time, and usually from home, with occasional client meetings. Other service providers visit their clients by appointment.
Examples of service companies:
- Freelance Writers
- Personal trainers
- Virtual assistants
- dog walkers
- Graphic designers
As a service provider, you mainly rely on networking and word-of-mouth advertising to find the right clients. But once a customer is satisfied, you usually keep working for it for a longer period of time.
Therefore, a service company often needs fewer customers than a company that sells products. Depending on the specific service you provide, a small amount of good customers may be enough to support yourself.
7. Online Teaching
Chris Carey, one of the co-founders of MAPerformance, started his auto maintenance and auto parts business from home. It started with an online forum where he taught people how to maintain and repair their cars. After it became clear that he was really knowledgeable, forum members automatically went to his webshop to buy parts there.
If you have a skill that you can teach others, it’s a good idea to not only share your knowledge in forums (and thus build a good reputation), but also turn it into an online course. For every skill you have, there are people somewhere who want to learn it. From English conversation to advanced marketing to handy DIY tips.
If I Made is Emily Newman’s home business, where she teaches creative professionals. Online teaching not only means that you can do it at home, but also that you can give lessons both live and pre-recorded. For example, what you can do is make people pay full price for live lessons, and offer pre-recorded lessons at a discount.
Yegi Saryan, the founder of Yegi Beauty, does too. After setting up a successful online beauty brand, she decided to put her talent to work as a passive income model. Now other entrepreneurs can buy her lessons and offer them through their businesses. People can choose between online lessons or face to face contact.
Not in the mood for interaction? Then create courses that people can download for a fee. All you need is your content, which can be anything: a step-by-step video of a skill, templates, articles, and how-to. Use a tool like ScreenFlow to be able to record your own screen & voice as you step through the material.
Whichever approach you choose, teaching online is a lucrative idea for making money from home because you have almost no overhead costs – all you have to invest is time.
8. Translate your service or expertise into a product
As we mentioned above, one of the biggest drawbacks of running a service business is that you are only paid for your time, skills, and efforts. Emily Newman of If I Made turned her classes into a digital product, selling recordings of her live sessions individually for a lower price than attending them live.
Additional income stream
“ Productizing ” a service—turning it into a physical or digital product that makes or complements the services you offer more efficient—gives your business an additional revenue stream. You can create these products for your current customers, or use them to target a new audience.
Gabriella and Andrew Morrison started a home business, turning their expertise around tiny homes into a product. They sell courses and pre-made designs through Tiny House Build and StrawBale.com – all from their cozy, wacky cottage.
More product ideas:
- Courses (passive income)
- Stock photos and videos, music
- Reports that people can download
- Digital Templates (Passive Income)
- eBooks (passive income)
As you can see, most of these ideas involve digital media packaged as a product, meaning you don’t end up with a stock. If you run your home business on Shopify, you can sell your digital products extra quickly and easily via Digital Downloads or the SendOwl app.
But sometimes productizing is really about a physical product, for example with Bullet Journals. Ryder Carroll developed his own method of keeping track of your calendar and to-do list, and that naturally became a home business. Now he sells physical Bullet Journals on his website.
9. Collect followers on social media and turn it into income
If you’re a content creator, already have a fairly large online following, or have always wanted to start your own blog, YouTube channel, Instagram account, or podcast, then you can grow and monetize your social media following with the ideas above.
Selling digital and physical products
Andrew Finn is the co-founder of Wait But Why a blog turned business. When they had accumulated more than 371,000 subscribers and millions of visitors, they started creating digital content products tailored to their fans. Today Wait But Why is a fully-fledged webshop where digital and physical products are sold.
Jordan Ferny, the founder of Oh Happy Day Shop! , also gathered her fans through blogging, and her blog also became a full-fledged home business. She has set up her business in such a way that she has enough time to spend with her family and sells her products through her webshop.
Webshop with branded merchandise
Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark used Facebook groups to gather and maintain followers around their podcast, My Favorite Murder. These Murderinos, amateur detectives who love true crime, had grown to a group of more than 200,000 members when the podcast closed in 2018. Then My Favorite Murder created its own paid Forum, the Fan Cult forum, for which members have to pay an annual fee. In order to earn even more money from their fans, My Favorite Murder also started a webshop with branded merchandise, where they also sold tickets for events.
What you can also do if you have a large fan base is become an affiliate – sell other people’s products and services for a fee – or get yourself paid for sponsored posts, where brands pay you to show their products to your audience (affiliate marketing ).
Building a loyal fan base takes time, consistency, and focus. It’s not the easiest way to make money from home, especially in the short term, but if you manage to gain followers around something you love to do, it becomes super fun work that you can also sustain for a long time and it gives you the flexibility to have several income streams at the same time.
10. Take over an existing webshop
If you prefer to invest in a source of income that you can manage both at home and on the road, it may be an idea to take over an existing webshop.
Depending on a number of factors (revenue, earning potential, assets such as email list or social media followers, inventory, etc.) the costs can vary greatly. Some sellers are even willing to hire you as a staff member for a while to teach you exactly how to run their online store.
Buying and selling webshops
Exchange is a marketplace of Shopify, where you can buy and sell webshops. You can see which companies fit your budget, your experience, and your needs. Maybe you would like to buy a company that has already proven itself and you are willing to spend extra money for it. Or maybe you see a company that you think has a lot more in it than has been extracted so far and you want to get started with it.
As with everything you buy, you should thoroughly research any company that seems interesting to you before you buy it. What is included and what is not? You can check turnover and other data via Shopify, so those numbers are just right.
11. Starting a subscription box business
The subscription box industry has experienced explosive growth in recent years, which has led to the arrival of new brands that focus entirely on this niche. But it has also led to major brands such as Sephora and Walmart selling subscription boxes.
Popular Korean Beauty Brands
A subscription box is a perfect way to earn money from home, which is exactly what Sylvia Song, co-founder of MISHIBOX did. She imports popular Korean beauty brands and sells them to people all over the world. In the beginning just from her home in the state of Virginia, but after the far-reaching success of her webshop, her head office is now located in New York.
Sylvia says starting a home business is all about seeing a gap in the market and then finding a way to fill it. The well-known subscription service Birchbox , for example, saw that it was difficult for people to test different beauty products without spending a fortune. So they jumped into that hole with their affordable boxes full of product testers.
Earn from less well-selling products
Ashley Reynolds used leftover products in her online store, Cloth & Paper, to set up a subscription box service. If you already have a webshop, that is a good way to earn something from home on less well-selling products.
Earn money from home by renting out clothes
And instead of selling subscription boxes, you can also rent them out. Haverdash is a subscription box company that rents out clothing. When their customers no longer need a piece of clothing, they return it – and then Haverdash rents it out to the next customer and earns even more income.
Social media is full of pet influencers, promoting brands like BarkBox and getting thousands of likes for their adorable pets. If you have a pet, you can turn it into a social media influencer and partner with brands to promote their products online.
Earn money from home by entering into partnerships
Bodhi the Menswear Dog – the most stylish dog in the world – is well known especially on Instagram. If you scroll through his feed you will see that he has collaborated with several brands such as Booking.com, Spotify and Poly & Bark .
Don’t have your own pet? Then offer people to look after their animals. If you would like to earn money from home, you can start your own hotel where you temporarily shelter animals.
13. Selling used items
People are becoming more and more environmentally aware and want to adjust their purchasing behavior accordingly. The Dutch are increasingly buying second-hand clothing and major fashion players themselves are getting into second-hand clothing .
Selling vintage clothes from home
COAL N TERRY is a successful company that sells vintage clothing from home. And they started even smaller, from a dorm room. And now it is a brand with a loyal customer base, including celebrities.
You can start small by selling clothes you no longer wear via sites such as Vinted or simply via Marktplaats or Facebook.
And for this idea, you are not limited to clothes. How about selling old books to marketplaces, or making money from your cooking.
14. Playing Video Games
Although many people think that video games are a waste of time, it is actually a hobby that allows you to earn money from home. And what could be more homely than sitting on the couch playing games?
Esports and video game streaming platforms like Twitch have made it possible for gamers to become famous and monetize their talent.
Earn money with gaming through sponsorship
But how exactly do you earn money from your followers here? The best way to start a gaming business from home is through Sponsorship. Companies pay you to play and stream their games to your audience.
For certain professions, playing video games is even very good on your CV. Mind you, to make money from home with this idea you have to be good at gaming.
And here too you can put your own spin on it: Twitch does more than just gaming these days. Maxx Burman and Banks Boutté used the platform to host an online festival, where 12 famous video game creators performed. They then used this content for other digital channels such as Instagram and YouTube. And once they gathered a huge fan base, they founded KitBash3d, where they sell 3D parts for video games and movies.
Find an idea that suits you
The best home business depends entirely on what your goal is. Do you need a company that adapts to the needs of your family? Or do you want to work hard and have quick success? How much money can you invest in your business? What are the existing skills that you can convert into money?
Today, a home business is just one of the ways you can work from home, with technology connecting you with your suppliers, your employees, and your customers. The advantage of a home business is that you can start small, grow flexibly and invest conservatively – especially if you can save on the cost of renting a workplace.
Whatever business you’re starting, make sure you think carefully about your goals, what motivates you, and what you enjoy doing so that you can start a home-based business that’s truly right for you.
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