It seems like everybody wants to work at home these days. From being your own boss to choosing your own hours, entrepreneurship appears to be a smart alternative to the standard 9-to-5.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the top six home-based business ideas you can start this year. We’ll cover the potential difficulty and payoff you might encounter with each option plus a solution that helps you offset some of the risk associated with starting your own business.
What to Look for in Home-Based Business Opportunities
Starting your own business for the first time can be rewarding and offer lots of flexibility at work, but there are pitfalls to avoid. Here’s what to look out for before getting started:
- Profitability: Make sure the venture follows a proven business model that drives results.
- Credentials and training: Some businesses may require specific know-how. Look into the specific expertise needed to launch your company.
- Reliability: The current economy can be unpredictable. Make sure to start a business that can do well even in difficult times.
- Passion: You’ll have to go through hurdles during your journey. This needs to be a business you’ll enjoy building. Otherwise, you’ll burn out.
1. Start Selling on eBay
Difficulty level: 6 out of 10
Potential payoff: A wide range depending on what you sell and how much, anywhere from $12,000-$180,000 per year
EBay is one of the oldest e-commerce platforms on the internet. What’s great about eBay is that it’s easy to get started. With hard work, anyone can start their part-time or full-time online business.
Here are steps you can follow to start selling on the site:
- Set up a business account: When you sign up on eBay, you’re able to choose between a business or personal account. The business option is ideal since it allows you to sell large quantities of products.
- Find a niche: Finding your specialty is crucial to success on eBay. A good tip is to look at the What to Sell section, which shows which products are in high demand.
- Add items: Once you know what you plan to sell, it’s time to add inventory. Learn about eBay’s selling fees, determine which payment method you’ll accept from customers, and make your return policy clear.
- Get familiar with eBay’s rules: Ebay has specific regulations on what you can and cannot sell on the platform. Make sure to check their policies beforehand to avoid trouble.
- Optimize your seller profile: As an eBay business owner, your goal should be to build credibility to gain the trust of buyers. You can do this by building social proof with positive reviews.
2. Rent Your Home on Airbnb
Difficulty level: 7 out of 10
Potential payoff: $924 per month on average
Airbnb has become a popular choice for accommodations among travelers. The reasons for their success include:
- Experience: The platform allows travelers to feel at home and live like a local.
- Cost: Renting lodging on Airbnb can come cheaper than a hotel room.
- Diversity: When it comes to accommodation choice, the sky’s the limit on Airbnb. Users can rent castles, yachts, and more.
What does that mean for you? If you’re in a good location, you could have the opportunity to rent your own home and rake in cash.
Keep in mind, however, that making money on Airbnb isn’t as simple as posting your home on the site. As a landlord, you’ll be in charge of:
- Handling maintenance
- Being available 24/7 for your guests if issues arise
- Building trust online by getting verified on the platform, having good reviews, etc.
- Dealing with difficult guests from time to time
Also, make sure to look into what your local real estate laws say about renting your home on Airbnb. Depending on where you live, you may be required to get specific permits and insurance.
3. Start a Home-Tutoring Business
Difficulty level: 4 out of 10
Potential payoff: $17.51 per hour on average
Do you have any expertise in subjects such as math, science, or language? You may want to become a tutor. People need tutoring for various reasons, from helping their kids in school to preparing for college or certification exams, so if you understand a specific niche, you can specialize in that area.
Starting your home business as a tutor is relatively low-cost. Here’s what you’ll need to get your business up-and-running:
- Transportation to meet up with clients
- Access to an internet connection
- Educational material, such as videos and books
The hardest part about tutoring is finding clients. Places to try networking include:
- Local schools: The easiest way to find clients is to talk to teachers and principals. It’s very likely they know students who could benefit from your help.
- TutorMe: TutorMe is a platform that hires tutors regularly. You'll need to be enrolled or have graduated from a university to be accepted.
4. Become a Freelance Social Media Manager
Difficulty level: 6 out of 10
Potential payoff: $48,825 per year on average
From small shops to Fortune 500 companies, many businesses rely on social media for part of their digital marketing strategy. One roadblock brands often encounter is that they lack time to focus on social media.
That’s where you can help. As a freelance social media manager, your role will be to manage their social pages and find ways to grow their community. You’ll be in charge of:
- Creating various marketing campaigns across different platforms
- Producing engaging content and pushing new ideas
- Measuring and proving the ROI from your social campaigns
Here are specific steps you can follow to become a freelance social media manager:
- Build an online presence: Think about it — if you can’t market yourself, how will you do it for others? Get active on social media and grow your community.
- Find your first clients: The next step will be to network with brands that need help with social media. Look to local businesses or even friends to build your initial portfolio.
- Hone your social media marketing skills: With the ever-changing world of social media, it's essential to keep your skills up-to-date. Learn new ways to optimize content, drive engagement, and more.
5. Become a Dog Walker
Difficulty level: 3 out of 10
Potential payoff: $15.31 per hour on average with peak times during vacation seasons
There are over 89 million dogs owned in the United States, with numbers on the rise.
Dog owners want their pets to be well taken care of while they're not there. As a dog walker, you’ll not only give them peace of mind but turn your love for dogs into a career.
While you won't have to deal with high startup costs, becoming a dog walker has some requirements you should consider:
- Physical fitness: Dog walking can be demanding, so make sure to stay fit. Keep in mind that there will be days you’ll be walking during cold and rain, too.
- Marketing and business skills: You’re still running a company. Beyond dog walking, you’ll be in charge of tasks such as maintaining an online presence, taking payments, and advertising to find new clients.
- Training and qualifications: Training is not necessary to become a dog walker, but having some form of credentials could help build trust with dog owners. Courses can also help you better understand canine behavior and practical knowledge, such as first aid for emergencies.
6. Start a Home Improvement Business
Difficulty level: 8 out of 10
Potential payoff: $1 million in revenue per year and up in a niche such as painting
As a home improvement company owner, you’ll never run out of opportunities to land clients. There’s always going to be somebody needing work done on their building, whether it’s residential or commercial.
Here are a few home improvement small businesses you can start:
- Landscaping business: The landscaping industry has more than 1 million workers and makes $93 billion each year. Launching a landscaping business is especially relevant for those who live in warm climates.
- Renovation and remodeling: Getting into the remodeling industry can let you work with homeowners who want to upgrade their houses or businesses needing building renovations. You may want to network with real estate agents since many agents consider renovations before putting their clients’ homes on the market.
- Painting business: Painting your home can be a time-intensive task, which is why so many homeowners decide to hire someone else to do the job. With low overhead, starting a painting business can be a great opportunity to get into the home services industry.
Start Your Home-Based Business Today
Home-based businesses can be convenient. No buying a storefront. No need for office space beyond your own home. And you can be your own boss. But even so, starting your own company for the first time can be intimidating.
If you’re considering a home-based business, you might be worried about financial stability or wondering where to begin. We understand the struggle. At Main Street, our goal is to give you all the tools you need to launch a successful business as quickly as possible.
How do we do this? Each of our clients goes through our unique training process to take your career to the next level. We provide the business model — you provide the grit and determination. Learn more about how it works to find out how we can help you build a profitable business you’ll love.