When it comes to starting a business, you may think directly of things like renting commercial property, commuting to an office, or dealing with employees. But with new technologies and an ever-increasing acceptance of working from home, a successful business can be built in the comfort of your own four walls these days. Earn money from home – what was once just a dream is now within reach. Such home businesses now come in a variety of forms.
In some cases, a spare room must be converted into a mini-warehouse for products, while other models can be operated entirely online. In general, however, you can build such a business completely from home and often even need little start-up capital to do so. Sounds exciting? Then let’s jump right in.
Start your own online store with Shopify!
14-day free trial-no credit card required.
Earning money from home: advantages and disadvantages
A home business is a venture (full-time or part-time) that you run in your own home or office. your own home as a base can start and run. A few businesses, especially those that sell online and don’t hold much inventory, can even be run completely location independent. For those who want to earn money from home, this is probably the supreme discipline. However, before deciding to go this route, there are some pros and cons to consider.
- A business with low capital expenditures has fewer overhead costs (z. B. Storage fees). In addition, there are possible tax deductions that you can claim.
- The ability to sell products or services locally or internationally will.
- A flexible work-life balance that’s ideal if, for example, you’re a stay-at-home parent or you’re already retired.
- You can create a family business where your partner or family members will contribute as needed.
reading tip: Our top 10 online business ideas with low capital requirements and no inventory at all, can be found here.
- You may need to create space in your home to meet the needs of your business (e.g.B. warehousing, setting up a home office or storing equipment). Doing all this without disrupting your home life can be a challenge.
- You still have to comply with all the regulations that relate to your (potential) business (z. B. you may need to rent a commercial kitchen if you want to sell food products, or apply for a license to store them).
- Your business may outgrow your home and require you to rent additional space and hire employees.
- Working from home offers a lot of freedom, but can also be lonely. If you like to deal with people, this could well be a problem.
13 business ideas you can get started with today
If you want to make money from home, you have many options in principle. However, the following 13 ideas are our highlights, all of which can be implemented more or less easily:
Free Webinar: Get your own online store in 30 minutes
You want to see for yourself how quickly you can set up a store?
Shopify expert and passionate store owner Adrian Piegsa shows you how to sign up, link a domain, select products, and of course, implement all the legal requirements.
1. Buy products in bulk and sell them online
Many companies focus on the simple concept of importing products in bulk and selling them one at a time for a profit. Maybe you’ve recently traveled abroad and come across unique products that aren’t readily available in your home market, but for which you believe there is a demand. Or maybe you’ve identified a niche market for yourself and know how to serve it perfectly.
Either way: If these products are relatively easy to store and ship, this may be a solid business idea that will allow you to make money from home. Initially, you can even use your premises as a showroom to sell on the spot. So you can test your idea without large investments, and then expand with additional warehouse space and employees if successful. In the same way Artemis Design Co.
I lived in south Boston, and my living room was packed with products. If people wanted to look at something or try it on, I simply invited them to my place. And that’s how I ended up scoring my first sale.
Free Ebook: 12 products you should sell in 2021
In this ebook, we present 12 products that are absolutely on trend and that you should definitely sell in 2021.
Get the Ebook
12 products you should be selling in 2021. Get started in e-commerce!
Your download is just a click away. Quickly fill out this form and you will receive your document immediately.
We hate spam and will never share your information.
Thanks for signing up. You will receive free tips and resources soon. In the meantime, you can try Shopify for free for 14 days.
2. Sell handmade products
If you like to do things yourself (or know someone who does), consider turning that hobby into a business. Even if you dropship your products to another location (z. B. in a studio, commercial kitchen, or workshop), you may be able to store and sell them in your home or apartment. If you are able to control almost every aspect of the products you sell, you can make them more cost effective, improve their quality, or offer them to a very specific audience according to demand.
Earning money from home – this is already a reality for the young Berlin family around LEORIDO founder Nadin. Under her brand, she and her partner sell well thought-out, sustainable and colorful sports and exercise equipment for the whole family. In their own homes and in collaboration with non-profit workshops, they make their products with attention to detail.
Whether you’re starting out on a marketplace like Etsy or building your own online store, selling your creations is a great way to share your passion with others while also making money from home. Be aware of any regulations for products that customers ingest or apply to their skin. The best part is that making your own products doesn’t have to be overwhelming. If you want to scale, you can set up a process and hire people to help you with production.
Reading Tip: On the Amazon and Ebay marketplaces or through your own Shopify store: where online retailers should sell, read here.
3. Start a dropshipping store
So far, we’ve covered business ideas that require you to keep inventory in your home. However, there are plenty of online business ideas that don’t require you to worry about inventory and shipping. These companies use a dropshipping model, where a third-party vendor produces, stores and ships your products on your behalf. You yourself take on marketing and customer service as your primary responsibilities.
Free Ebook: 12 Dropshipping Apps for Online Shops
In this ebook, we’ll introduce 12 product sourcing apps that will help you find products to sell without having to ship them yourself.
Get the free ebook
The best apps for dropshippers and online retailers. You can now sell online, all without having to own or ship the products.
Your download is just a click away. Quickly fill out this box and you’ll get your document right away.
We hate spam and will never share your information.
Thank you for your application. You’ll soon be receiving free tips and resources. In the meantime, you can try Shopify for free for 14 days.
The children’s brand Finer& Dandy is an example of a home-based business that works with a dropshipping supplier. Founder Courtney White started the company looking for a way through which she would make money from home without having to spend too much time providing services. This is how she finally came across dropshipping. Now she gets up at 4 am every morning to manage her dropshipping business before work.
Your dropshipping supplier can be located locally or abroad. The important thing is to find a supplier you can trust and who will provide a consistently good customer experience after the sale is made. You should always check carefully and conscientiously, otherwise you endanger the reputation of your company.
If you want to learn more about starting a dropshipping business, you should check out our English language guide to dropshipping.
With appropriate Shopify apps like Oberlo, you can connect with suppliers in a few clicks to import products into your store and optimize fulfillment at the same time. At its core, dropshipping is about becoming a provider of a third party’s products. As this one, you’ll take on the costs (both financial and time) of marketing, then be rewarded with the margins when you sell. In many cases, this can make your products a commodity with limited options to customize and brand your customer experience. Fortunately, there are several ways you can still compete – even if there’s no shortage of your products in the market you serve:
- Assemble products from different vendors to create a store that serves a specific niche.
- Compete through quality content and customer service and create value beyond your products.
- Focus your sales activities on a previously neglected region. (Be sure to pay attention to shipping costs.)
- Target a new audience with the same products (z. B. can LED shoes be marketed to visitors of music festivals or runners).
4. Starting a print-on-demand store
A print-on-demand business is very similar to dropshipping in that, again, you don’t have to maintain your own inventory and likewise don’t have to worry about shipping. Print-on-demand even gives you more flexibility to customize white label products with your own creative designs. Rebecca Lee Funk founded The Outrage, a clothing brand focused on women’s rights, and sells T-shirts from her home in a print-on-demand model. The Outrage’s launch campaign went viral, quickly turning the brand into a thriving e-commerce business.
There are many other print-on-demand products you can sell: Books, hats, backpacks, blankets, pillows, mugs, shoes, hoodies, phone cases, watches, and more, depending on which vendor you want to work with. Many print-on-demand stores focus on serving a specific niche or, better yet, a common identity. What are people passionate about and what do they like to share with others? How about yourself? From pet owners to vegans to gamers, there are many passionate communities you can offer products for. If you have design skills, you can create your own designs. And if not, you can always outsource the design process to freelancers.
Your own print-on-demand business in 30 minutes
In this compact tutorial you will learn how to start your own store and sell your designs – without having to buy inventory first! Plus, we tell you how to make your store legally compliant and how to market it.
For a complete overview of how Print on Demand works and how you can get started, you should attend our video course at Shopify Academy (in English!) participate.
5. Offer online services
Earning money from home is even easier if you focus on services instead of physical products. The challenge here, however, is how to manage your limited time. "Time is money" – this adage is especially true when running a service-oriented business. Creative professionals such as designers or marketing experts can freelance or consult for other businesses. Here, they juggle multiple clients from their home office, interrupted only by occasional client visits. Others could operate on an appointment and booking basis to market their services directly to individuals.
Earn money from home with these service based business ideas:
- House cleaning
- Freelance writing
- Personal Training
- Virtual assistance
Service-based businesses often require good networking and effective word-of-mouth to find suitable customers. However, satisfied clients will likely use your services on an ongoing basis over time. For this reason, you also don’t necessarily need a large number of customers, as would be the case in a product-based business, by contrast. Depending on the service you offer, a handful of high profile clients can be enough to work from home full-time.
6. Teach online courses
Chris Carey, one of the founders of MAPerformance, started his car parts and services business from the comfort of his home. He started by giving online users tips on how to maintain and repair their cars in forums. After proving his expertise and building trust, people started going to his e-commerce site to buy parts.
If you have a teachable skill, you can share knowledge not only in forums, but also turn it into mature online courses. There is an audience for pretty much any skill, be it English as a second language, advanced marketing, or everyday hacks around the home.
If I Made is Emily Newman’s home business, teaching valuable knowledge to creatives. When you teach courses online, not only do you have the flexibility to do so from home. You can also choose to offer live classes or recorded classes and trainings. For example, you could offer the live classes at a premium price, while customers can purchase the recorded sessions at a discounted price.
That’s also what Yegi Saryan, founder of Yegi Beauty, does with her business. After building a successful online brand in the beauty segment, she turned her talents into passive income. Professionals in the cosmetic field can now acquire their eyelash courses to develop their skills and thus advance their own small business. Courses are available both online and in person.
You’re not interested in human interaction? Then you could sell a pre-produced and fully downloadable course. All you need is the content – be it a video tutorial, templates, articles or guides. Use a screen recording tool like ScreenFlow to record your screen and voice as you walk your students through the material.
Let’s hold on: For those who want to make money from home, online courses could be the perfect alternative. The fixed costs here are very manageable – all it takes is some time to prepare the content.
7. Offer service or know-how as a product
As we just discussed, one of the biggest drawbacks of a service-based business is that you only get paid for your time, skill and effort. Emily Newman of If I Made offers her courses as digital products. To do this, she used recordings of her live events and then sold them at a lower price. Turning your service into physical or digital products that bundle your expertise and complement the service you provide can bring additional revenue streams to your business. You can serve your current customer base or even find new target customers in the same segment.
Gabriella and Andrew Morrison started their home business by packaging their expertise around Tiny Homes as products. You sell courses and building plans on Tiny House Build and StrawBale.com and operate everything from the comfort of your home.
Here are some ideas how you can add products to your service-oriented business:
- Licensable assets (stock material, photos, music, etc.).)
- Downloadable reports
- Digital templates
As you can see, most of these ideas are digital media packaged as products. And that means you don’t have to store inventory in your home. If you run your online business with Shopify, you can sell digital products seamlessly with the Digital Downloads or SendOwl apps.
In some cases, the transformation of your knowledge into products is much more literal. The Bullet Journal, for example, was also created. Ryder Carroll created his own methodology of journaling, which then morphed into a home-based business. Now he sells physical diaries on his website.
8. Build an audience that can be monetized
If you create content, already have a large online audience, or have always thought about starting your own blog, YouTube channel, Instagram account, or podcast, you could potentially grow your audience and monetize it with one of the ideas on this list.
Andrew Finn is founder of Wait But Why, a blog that turned into a tangible business. After receiving more than 371.After gaining thousands of subscribers and generating millions of visits, Finn created digital content products tailored to his already loyal audience. Today, Wait Buy Why is a full-fledged e-commerce site offering digital and physical goods for sale.
Jordan Ferney, founder of Oh Happy Day Shop, also had this goal in mind: make money from home. Here’s how she also built an audience through her blog and later turned it into a full-fledged business. She designed her business around her life and being able to spend time with her family and now sells products on her e-commerce website.
Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark used Facebook groups to build a community around their podcast, My Favorite Murder. This group of couch investigators and passionate crime fiction fans grew to over 200 by the end of the podcast in 2018.000 members to. My Favorite Murder then created its own paid community, the Fan Cult Forum, and charged an annual membership fee to members. My Favorite Murder took even more advantage of its fan base by launching an e-commerce site with branded merchandise (event tickets were also sold there).
Alternatively, you could become an affiliate and sell other products or services for a commission. Similarly, you could accept sponsored posts to give brands a chance to connect with your audience. Building a loyal audience requires patience, consistency and focus. If you want to make money from home, this is certainly not the easiest way to go. But if you’re able to build an audience around a topic you’re passionate about, this can be a very fulfilling and lasting approach. It can also give you the flexibility to pursue multiple revenue streams at once. The potential to monetize your audience often depends on your chosen niche. If you’re starting from scratch or in the process of growing your own audience, check out these guides.
9. Buying an existing e-commerce business
If making money from home is also your stated goal, but you want to save yourself the often lengthy process of building a business, you should consider buying an established e-commerce store. Prices here vary widely and depend on a variety of factors, including total revenue generated, profit potential, assets available (such as an email list or social media audience), inventory, and more. Some salespeople will even train you and teach you everything you need to know to run the store.
Exchange is a marketplace powered by Shopify for buying and selling online stores. You can browse the listings for businesses that match your budget, experience and needs. You may want to buy a proven business and be willing to spend more money to do so. Or maybe a business with untapped potential catches your eye that you’d like to build on.
Standing Health is an example of an online store that was offered for sale on Exchange. The company currently generates monthly sales of 1.246 USD with a profit margin of 15%.
Just make sure you scrutinize each offer and consider everything that’s included in the sale. Sales and other data are verified by Shopify, so you can be sure these numbers are accurate, too. For more information, read our guide "How to buy a business on Exchange" (so far only in English).
10. Start a subscription box business
The online subscription box industry grew by 100% in just five years. This explosive growth has led to the emergence of new direct-to-consumer brands targeting this niche market. Major brands like Sephora and Walmart have also now embraced the concept.
It’s easy to start a subscription business from home. Sylvia Song, founder of MISHIBOX, did just that. She started importing popular Korean beauty products and selling them to a global customer base – all from the comfort of her Virginia home. Now the thriving e-commerce brand is moving its headquarters to New York.
For Song, starting a home-based business was about seeing a gap and finding a way to fill it. This is the secret to success for many top companies in the subscription box business. For example, the Birchbox brand realized there was little way to test multiple beauty products without spending a small fortune. The company filled that void with affordable packages filled with affordable sample-sized products.
Ashley Reynolds bundled surplus products into subscription boxes to sell through its e-commerce site Cloth& Paper for sale. If you’re already running an e-commerce business, you could do the same to sell your leftover products.
Subscription boxes don’t have to be about sales, though. Haverdash is a subscription box company that rents out clothes. When customers no longer need the items, they send them back. Haverdash then lends them out to other customers to generate even more revenue.
11. Working with pets
Pet influencers are all over social media, promoting brands like BarkBox and engaging thousands of followers with their cute content. If you have a pet of your own, you could turn it into a social media influencer and work with brands to promote their products online.
Bodhi the Menswear Dog – also known as the chicest dog in the world – has made a name for himself especially on Instagram. If you browse Bodhi’s feed, you’ll see collaborations with brands like Booking.com, Spotify, and Poly& See Bark.
Reading Tip: Get 5 cool ideas for starting your own pet business here.
No pets at home? Then why not simply take care of others’ front doors? Apps like Rover let you watch over or walk busy pet owners’ best friends. Dog hotels represented a $6 billion industry in 2016. If you want to make money from home, you could offer pet owners a place to drop off their pets if they ever get too busy.
12. Sell discarded items
As consumers become more environmentally conscious, they are also looking for ways to adjust their shopping habits to be more sustainable. The second-hand clothing industry is worth $4 billion in the U.S. alone (statistics in English).
COAL N TERRY is a successful home-based business that sells vintage finds. And while the business didn’t exactly start from home (it was a college dorm), it has since grown into a brand with a loyal following and celebrity fans.
In this area, you can start small and sell on eBay first, for example. The now well-established Facebook Marketplace could also be an option. Discarded items don’t have to be limited to clothing, though. The bottom line is that you can really sell anything, from furniture to sports equipment to electrical items.
13. Playing video games
How can this now be monetized? Make money from home with gaming – the best way to do this is through sponsorship. So companies pay you to play their games and stream that to your audience. Note, however, that all of this requires a certain level of playfulness.
By the way, Twitch is no longer limited to games. For example, Maxx Burman and Banks Boutte used the platform to launch an online festival showcasing 12 high-profile video game art directors. Then repurposed that content for other digital channels like Instagram and YouTube. After building a loyal audience, the two launched KitBash3d, where they sell 3D items for video games and movies.
Make money from home: Find an idea that works for you
The best home business really depends on your goals. Do you want to work out a good work-life balance as a stay at home parent, or do you strive for the quick and maximum success? How much capital you have at your disposal? What skills do you already have that you can apply to your venture.
A home business in today’s world is simply a location-independent business where technology can bridge the gap between you, your suppliers, your employees and your customers. Overall, this is an opportunity to start small, grow dynamically, and invest conservatively – especially if you can save on the cost of renting an office or warehouse. As with any type of business startup, you should think carefully about your goals, what motivates you, and what you enjoy working on. This is how you will be able to build a business that will make the dream of "earning money from home" a reality.