5 Home Businesses You Can Start Right Now

Hello! Enjoy this post from a fellow blogger. I’m all about home businesses so you know this caught my attention! I have been working from home since November 2007 when I had to find a way out of the office politics for my own mental and physical health, and I also wanted something more flexible…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: June 4, 2023

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Hello! Enjoy this post from a fellow blogger. I’m all about home businesses so you know this caught my attention!

I have been working from home since November 2007 when I had to find a way out of the office politics for my own mental and physical health, and I also wanted something more flexible to accommodate my husband’s ever-changing work schedule.

It was a lonely and scary little venture back then.

I didn’t personally know anyone working virtually, and it wasn’t a topic well received in those days as many assumed I had just signed up with some scammy MLM I would eventually try to get them to join.

Today, things have changed!

Even in my rural neck of the woods, I know several people freelancing on their own terms and as time allows.

But, starting a home business can still be intimidating. You might imagine that you must have capital, special training, and an advertising or marketing budget to succeed.

The truth is, you don’t need any of that. There are many home businesses you can develop right this minute, with minimal investment, time and education.

Related:

 

Selling on eBay

Most people know how to use eBay, but if you don’t, it’s simple to learn.

The cost of listing items is low; the trick is figuring out what would be a product that people might like to buy, putting up a lot of said products, and providing great customer service.

Deciding what to sell is tricky. Books that aren’t rare, for example, may be a poor choice to sell because they are far too common and others are selling them at a low cost. A good rule to follow is to sell a product you are familiar with and that you also know other people value. Sarah Titus, a single mom earning a full-time income on eBay, found success in selling everything from parts from a broken vacuum to children’s clothing lots to popular toys. Sarah advises start with what you have lying around and grow from there.

Commitment is important with online selling. It may take quite a bit of time for some items to be purchased. You have to mail the item promptly when they do, have a decent return or refund policy, answer customer questions as they arise, and be honest with buyers about shipping costs and times.

Related: If you are wanting to leave your current job to pursue something else, I have the book for you. I highly recommend the book How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Goodbye. It includes 150 pages of information on how to negotiate a severance from a job you no longer like, profiles of people from different demographics and income levels who’ve successfully engineered their layoffs, and how they did it, and more.

Related: 16 Free Work From Home Courses & Resources

 

Virtual Assisting

I found my own work-at-home freedom as a virtual assistant. My first job came as a referral from another home business owner who had learned of my new venture. I also spent a lot of time networking through sites like VANetworking.com and in Facebook Groups.

There is a big demand for social marketing and blogging assistants currently. These are skills that can be learned and honed online and as you go if you can find someone willing to take you under their wing as a subcontractor or a home business owner or blogger looking to teach their assistant from the ground up.

Similar to Facebook Groups, forums are also a great place to find potential virtual assistant clients. Seek out forums your ideal client would frequent. Answer questions and showcase your expertise. Don’t spam. Only advertise your services in the appropriate folders and when requested.

HireMyMom and VANetworking.com’s VAInsider are also great places to find Requests for Proposal (RFPs). These do come with an annual fee. But, you can quickly earn that investment back if you are responding to relevant requests with custom replies.

Related article: How To Become a Virtual Assistant

 

Tutoring

Do you have an advanced degree or specialized knowledge in a subject? If so, you might want to consider tutoring. Tutoring also offers a lot of flexibility.

Vernetta Freeney of Women are Gamechangers teaches English as a Second Language to local corporate employees. She often finds she learns just as much from her students as they learn from her. Tutoring can be an extremely rewarding business!

Place ads in your local paper advertising your services, or put up flyers in colleges, supermarkets, and libraries. Online options exist for marketing your services as well.

Check out sites like InstaEDU, Tutor.com and ISUS. Tutoring can pay slightly more than many work at home options, as much as $100+ an hour if you are an exceptional tutor with specialized knowledge.

Related article: 75+ Ways To Make Extra Money

 

Writing

You don’t need a special degree to get started as a freelance writer. If you enjoy expressing yourself, are good at checking facts, and have basic grammar and spelling skills, you’re already on your way. Gina Horkey was able to go from zero to $4,000 per month in just six months as a new freelance writer.

Start looking for gigs on online job boards like Problogger and JournalismJobs. Send interesting leads a cover letter and pitch them with a story idea. You won’t get paid a lot to start, but you will begin to create a portfolio, which is the most important thing a writer has. The more articles you write, the more they let you write (and for more money).

It’s especially valuable to build up a specialty. Getting known as a parenting writer or health blogger can go a long way toward increasing your bottom line. Eventually, you can expand to writing press releases, doing copy writing or getting into technical writing.

Related article: How To Start A WordPress Blog On Bluehost

 

Errand Runner/Odd Jobs Person

Many people are too busy to run simple daily errands. That’s where you come in — sell yourself as a person who will handle things that others don’t have the time or inclination to do. Offer to go food shopping, do pet sitting, or pick up an item from the post office. Maria Salazar is a mom and grandma who enjoys freelance flexibility as a DoorDash Delivery Driver. She earns a flat fee plus tips for delivering takeout orders on a schedule she chooses.

You can advertise locally or take advantage of one of the many online services that employ task runners such as TaskRabbit, Rover.com or DoorDash. You may also get started by working as a part-time personal assistant for someone. Market yourself to busy professionals. Libraries, corporate offices and community centers are great places to advertise yourself as well.

While all of these are solid business ideas, keep in mind that you may not find instant success at any of them. Businesses often take a while to do well, and you need to keep working on them to keep increasing your income. Work your new business at night or on the weekends until you feel confident enough to quit your day job. That is something you should consider only when you begin making close to as much money as you are making at your day job.

Angie Nelson has been a virtual assistant and serial blogger since 2007 when she took her future into her own hands and found a way to escape the corporate cubicle farm. Today she balances several successful online ventures and still manages to share her passion for making – and saving – money with others on her blog The Work at Home Wife.

Related: 15 Of My Best Working From Home Tips So You Can Succeed

Are you interested in having a home business? Why or why not?


Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. When I decided to start working at home as a virtual assistant, that was the time that I really made a good decision. I really enjoy working as a VA, my younger sister is a VA too.

    1. Me too, Clarisse. It’s a great gig!

    2. Tatiana Ramos

      I am very interested in becoming a VA and leaving my 9-5 behind. Just curious, but are the websites listed in the post a good start or do you have any other recommendations??

  2. Amy @ DebtGal

    With a young child in elementary school, I’m always looking for ways to work around the school schedule. I’m seriously considering getting started as a VA. Thanks for the resources.

  3. These are all great suggestions and ideas! I’ve been hearing so much about virtual assistants lately, I could see why it would be easy to overlook the option of being a personal assistant or helping with errands – two other great job possibilities.

    1. I love local opportunities just as much as the online ones, Penny. It’s good to get out and interact with the community. It’s easy to get away from that when working from home.

  4. Erica {Erica@EricaDHouse.com}

    I’ve loved working as a freelance writer. I’m more focused on my blog as my business now that I’m making 2k+ a month from it and I don’t have to worry about when work will come in like I did while freelancing!

    1. For sure, Erica. I still keep one or two clients on the side, however. Those steady paychecks are nice and it’s always reassuring to know you’ll have some ready referrals should you ever need one.

  5. Sarah

    This is a nice list! I should look into tutoring ESL, that isn’t something I have thought of before. I’ve been on the waiting list at tutor.com for over FOUR years. They have a high demand for science tutors, but for people with degrees in Elementary Education or English Language Arts there’s too many intreasted individuals.

    1. There are so many companies that contract tutors, Sarah. Check out this post http://theworkathomewife.com/make-money-home-online-tutoring-jobs/.

      1. Sarah

        Thanks for the link. I’m checking those out now! πŸ™‚

  6. I have used ProBlogger! πŸ™‚

  7. Sylvia @ Professional Girl on the Go

    I love the idea of working from home! Now that I have my master’s in accounting, I was thinking about becoming a tutor or doing the books for some smaller companies in my area.

    1. There’s always a need for at-home accountants and bookkeepers, Sylvia. Best of luck!

  8. Janet Fazio

    If you’re a people person, direct sales is a good option as well.

    1. I personally love direct sales, Janet. A replicated business model is perfect for many.

  9. Definitely some risk involved, but huge rewards as well! πŸ˜‰

  10. I’m passionate about working from home and on my own terms. I’ve been running my online business (eBay and Etsy) full-time for nearly three years. It’s a lot of hands on work but the flexibility is great.

    Now I’m looking to transition to more ‘virtual’ work for even greater flexibility. It’s a challenge though and is regularly pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone. I’m sure it’ll be worth it though… I just need to take a deep breath and take another step toward my goal.

    Reading articles like these helps keep me inspired and motivated. Thanks!

    1. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, Diane. You’ll get there!

  11. These are all great ideas. Working at home (and being your own boss) is a lot of hard work, but the flexibility and rewards that come along with it make it worth every ounce of effort.

  12. Moderate Muse

    Great ideas! Personally, working from has been a life changer. I now have the flexibility to be able to stay home with my kids and earn money to help pay off our debts. I would recommend starting your own business to anybody who wants more personal freedom to live their life the way they choose.

  13. Can’t disagree about eBay! I think it’s best if you start eBay before you need the money every month. This lets you set the whole process up before you’re dying for the cash. On top of that, you can absorb mistakes and won’t try to cut corners as much.

    1. For sure, Chris. If you need immediate cash, go local.

  14. I like to say traded in my babysitting side hustle for a writing one. The best part is that I’ve learned really good skills as a writer and I can do it on my own time. It’s been more rewarding and challenging that I ever expected.

    1. There is so much diversity and potential in the freelance writing industry, it’s definitely a good side gig to have.

  15. You can totally do that! Check out care.com. πŸ˜‰

    I personally say I’ll fold clothes for money, I just won’t fold them for free. lol

  16. I just wanted to offer up some friendly advice for anyone considering an eBay part time business. It can be very lucrative, however, it is important to take into consideration how much room you have when deciding on what to sell; do you live in an apartment or have a large garage? Things add up quickly, and you need to have a good storage space or it might take hours to find the item you just sold! I know plenty of eBay sellers’ homes that look like they are hoarders, filled with junk like old cabbage patch dolls they are trying to flip for 10 dollars and beanie babies they just refuse to take a loss on. Stay away from common glassware and large items that are difficult to ship. My average eBay flip takes 2-3 weeks, and more expensive items take longer. Clothing is ok, but also takes up a fair amount of space and you can be dealing with annoying returns when the item doesnt fit β€œjust right.” Take your time, start out slow, and buy things for dirt cheap. That way if you don’t end up selling it, you can donate it to your local kitchen trash bin or to a donation center for a small tax write-off.
    Less is more, and time is money. Don’t waste your time and effort taking pictures, writing descriptions, and driving to the post office to make $7.50 after eBay and Paypal fees. Oh, and don’t forget taxes! I make a good supplemental income from eBay but have bought my fair share of dead merchandise, also.

    Hope this helps and best of luck!
    Andrew
    SHM

    1. Thanks for the tips, Andrew.

  17. Writing is indeed one of the best job for folks planning to work from home. Many people quit their job to take up a career as a blogger. This is risky but it can pay off well if we work hard.
    Selling on eBay requires investment. What if we list our product on the ecommerce site and the product is not sold?

    1. I highly recommend starting with what you have rather than making a big investment. A lot of people start off selling their unwanted, gently used items from around the house and then invest their profits into new merchandise to flip.

  18. It has been a long struggle for sure for me to finally make it to where I am comfortable with my income. I have a husband at home who has health issues and one of my primary goals was to be able to make enough money as a virtual assistant and ghostwriter to let him drop down to part time work(the ultimate goal being to retire him in a couple more years). I started out in 2006 as a ghostwriter and while the content mills were great and plentiful, I almost quit after my first six months. When you are only making $5hr writing all day long, it is not long before you burn out. Once I started doing more research, learned better skills for the internet marketing realm, I realized that I could help other small business owners who were not so tech savvy. And, there began the best role for my own situation.

    Sometimes working from home takes trial and error. Sometimes, it requires a second attempt with a different attitude. Most times it takes support via friends or a mentor. And everyone is different. But the two main things that are vital no matter what business you start are: BELIEF(know your WHY and remind yourself of it often), and CONSISTENCY! You can never give up! I love the saying “Success is right around the corner. But you will never find it if you stop moving forward.” and then there is the old Nike saying “Just DO it!!”

    But enough of my blabbing, LOL. I hope you all find a way to make your dreams come true and be able to stay at home with your families and make money to help them through. All the best!

    1. Once you learn where the good clients are and how to approach them, it’s a game changer. I love Facebook as a service provider. Facebook Groups have been a blessing to so many freelance writers.

  19. eBay is a great place to start making some side money. Another great area is Craigslist which one can find great local jobs, services, or freelance work in lots of different areas. Virtual assistants is the hot area right now and I believe it still has substantial room to grow and can be great with the ability to make your owns hours. It can be a fantastic gig for college students who have time between classes and other activities. They are always wired in and have laptops with them, so take advantage of what you are already doing each day.

    1. Great tip! Facebook Groups are another wonderful place to look for freelance work.

  20. Louis

    Really helpful post! I recently made the exciting decision of starting as a freelance writer. I really love it and hope to make a full-time career out of it!

  21. I run my home-based business as well (beside my corporate job) and I find it quite rewarding. It all depends what you love and what you are passionate about. Virtual Assisting has definitely boost my income, and coaching as well. I feel there is an increasing demand for VA-s and online businesses in general. I just love to work based on my own schedule.