6 Legitimate Home Business Ideas You Can Start This Month (and How to Start)
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No boss. No commute. Work your own hours.
How would it be?
Starting your own business can be very rewarding but it does take hard work and persistence to get going and start making an income.
No business will work if you don’t.
I’m not interested in any get-rich-quick schemes and most network marketing businesses for that matter. I want to know that when I work, I’ll get paid.
If that interests you, I’ve got several great home business ideas that I've had personal experience with or know someone with personal experience.
Before we get too far, there are several things you should consider before venturing into a home-based business.
Investing in your business
Some people will try to coax you into starting a business for less than $100 with big promises of a 6-figure income. While there might be a small initial investment, be weary of anyone who promises a huge payoff with little to no commitment on your part. Sometimes business gurus will claim they’ve made tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars but they conveniently forget to mention the sweat equity and financial commitment they’ve put in to get where they are.
In order to have a business get established there will be a financial commitment. This will vary depending on what business opportunity you decide to pursue, but here are some expenses you might expect to incur:
- Start up costs
- Advertising or marketing to get word out about your business
- General expenses that might include computer, internet, cell phone, office supplies
- Professional services like licensing, insurance, accounting, consultants
- Wages if you hire help. This can be anything from a freelancer who helps set up a logo or website to a virtual assistant. Anyone who does work for you.
- Loan payments if you need to finance your business
- Industry specific equipment
- Travel expenses
You will also need to be able to invest time into your business. The nice thing about your business is you can set your own hours to work on it, but in order for it to flourish and grow you will need to dedicate time to it.
Consider all the tasks that need to be done and how long each will take. Decide how much time you can devote to your business and what the most profitable activities are. If needed you don’t have enough time to devote to everything that needs to be done, you’ll want to seriously consider hiring someone to help you.
Another way to invest in your business is to thoroughly and continually educate yourself in different areas of business and your industry. With all of the ideas listed below I’ve listed some beginning references on getting yourself educated in there specific niche.
Here are some more areas to study:
- Sales and marketing. Every business is in sales. No matter what business you have or want to do, you are in sales and need to learn sales and marketing. If you want to earn money, there’s no getting around this.
- Digital marketing. We live in a world where social media is extremely popular and moving business into the digital world has helped many businesses (brick-and-mortar and online alike) achieve great success.
- Business finances. You’ll want to be able to keep track of what your business expenses are and the revenue you bring in. You can learn some good lessons about how successful your business is by watching what works and what doesn’t.
That said, let’s get into the fun part where some ideas may take shape for you. Here are several opportunities that I’ve personally looked into or know people who have tried these businesses and have been very successful at them.
Become a Bookkeeper
In simplest terms, you would keep track of the financial records of a business. This would include keeping track of bills and sales … or in other words the money coming in and the money going out.
What skills do I need?
It’s important to be open and personable and able to communicate with clients. On the tech side, you would need a working knowledge of computers and accounting software. It helps with credibility and expertise to have accounting software certifications but you do not need a college degree. You must be able to use technology well and communicate through a virtual manner (by phone, email, or video conferencing.)
You do not need to be a CPA to be a bookkeeper, but you do need to be willing to whip out (maybe dust off) your math skills.
What if I don't know the skills yet, can I learn them?
Absolutely! If being a bookkeeper interests you but you're worried you don't have the right credentials, you can learn them. I highly recommend looking into the Learn to Be a Bookkeeper program.
How much can I earn?
This can vary depending on your clients needs and the amount of work you do for them. You could potentially earn upwards of $60/hour.
How do I get started?
Intrigued? Want to know if being a bookkeeper would be the right option for you? You can check out more information from Learn to Be a Bookkeeper. They have a free 3-part video training to teach you what it takes to be a bookkeeper.
If you’ve had prior experience you can contact businesses in your area for virtual position opportunities as a freelancer. This potentially saves them on the cost of retaining a full or part-time employee in the office so it could be a win-win opportunity.
It’s great if you have experience within a niche so you are familiar with internal processes. For example, Ben from Learn to Be a Bookkeeper specifically worked with dental offices and learned all of the nuances of that type of business.
Sell on eBay
It might surprise you to learn that you can earn an excellent income from selling valuable items you’ve found at a thrift store or yard sale. For various reasons, people are willing to part with their valuables for a very low price. You can turn around and resell it for a profit.
Rob and Melissa from FleaMarketFlipper.com have made a successful career selling on eBay.
You’ll want to have some good places to shop in your area like flea markets and thrift stores. You might also be doing a little research to find out what people are willing to pay top dollar for. You’ll spend some time seeking out those great deals, taking pictures and posting them online for a profit. Finally, you’d be shipping it off to whoever made the purchase.
What’s the investment?
You will start by setting a small budget ($100 or less) and purchase one or a few inexpensive items that will make a great profit. The idea is to snowball a percentage of your profit into the next purchase so that your initial investment remains small but continues to grow. You can continue to build your business by reinvesting some of the profits back into items you’ll resell.
Example: Initial investment is $100. You sell your stuff and make $200. You could now take $150 (or amount of your choosing) to go repurchase something new to sell. Now let’s say you turn that $150 into $500. You could take $350 and buy some more things to sell and keep the profits and you’ve more than made back your initial $100 investment. This way you can keep your investment, make a little profit and keep growing your business bigger and bigger.
How much can I make?
There is no guaranteed amount of income because it depends on what you find to sell. If you start working part-time and can roll your initial investment back into other items you can sell, you can work up to making $500-$1000 of extra income per month.
That said, this business has a lot of potential as Rob and Melissa made $42,000 of income in 2015 selling items on a very part-time basis. They also grew their business to earn over $100,000 in 2016!
If you have technical skills, they can easily translate into finding clients and working for businesses as a freelance contractor.
Hiring a contractor can save a business money because they don’t have to employ you full time and pay for benefits. It’s profitable for you because you usually have low overhead so you can keep most of the money you bring in.
What type of work can I find as a freelancer?
Common freelance gigs include graphic design, programming, web development, video animation, marketing and copywriting.
These are all great because they can be done in a virtual environment from the comfort of your home.
Where do I find freelance work?
Fivver is a great place to list a low price product or offering (something quick and easy for you to do for $5 … thus the name fivver) but then scale to offer higher priced services and upgrades that generate more income for you.
Other places to try:
How do I get work?
There can be a lot of competition on these sites. Just listing your profile won’t suffice and bring you in consistent work. You’ll need to actively seek out clients and show them your portfolio to prove that you are able to complete the job they need done. Persistence is key, but with some leg work you should be able to find clients that need work on an ongoing basis.
Start a Blog
We live in a day and age where being social online can turn into a lucrative home-based business. Everyone is online looking for answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. A well written blog isn’t just a journal anymore. It can provide invaluable information and provide a community of support from like-minded individuals.
What’s involved with blogging?
Starting a profitable blog is a little more complicated than writing an online journal entry. If you want to blog for business, you need to treat it like a business.
You’d be a great candidate for blogging if you enjoy writing and have a specific topic that you are very knowledgeable about and love to help others solve problems. Think of a topic that people often ask you about that you could talk about all day/every day! (You need to love the topic that much because you’ll hopefully be keeping your blog going for years!)
What do I need to do to start a blog?
The very basic needs for a blog are hosting, a domain name, and a WordPress theme to create your blog.
However, there are many moving parts going on behind the scenes of a successful blog. Blogging is mostly self-taught, but there are some great resources to get you through the hurdles and get your blog up and running and profitable.
I recommend checking out YourBloggingMentor.com by Crystal Paine. She’s a very successful blogger from MoneySavingMom.com who now helps others who want to break into the blogging world. She can teach you what it takes to be a successful blogger.
How do I make money from blogging?
Once you have your blog up and running, you can implement strategies to get money coming in. There are three main ways to make money from a blog:
- Advertisements placed within your blog
- Affiliate marketing (more on this below)
- Your own products
If you aren’t familiar with affiliate marketing, this is where you as a blogger would make a recommendation to others and you’d receive a commission pay out for referring them.
For example: If I have a book I love and tell you about it and you decide to buy it though a link I provide then I’d earn a portion of the sale as a commission.
Affiliate marketing is a great option if you don’t have your own products to sell. I learned about affiliate marketing from Michelle at MakingSenseofCents.com. She has been extremely successful with affiliate marketing earning over $50K per month (you read that right … per month).
If you have a blog and are looking for a great way to bring in money I highly recommend her course that teaches everything you need to know about affiliate marketing.
How long will it take to make money?
It’s not likely that you will make full time money in a month or even six months (although there are exceptions to this rule). If you have a great blog it may take six months to a year to get some good income coming in.
Don’t let this discourage you! You can still make great money from blogging, it’ll just take some time to get your blog established and a solid reader base to support your blog.
If you’re truly interested in blogging for full time income and quitting your job, be willing to start part-time at first. Learn everything you can and grow your business. With a great blog, you absolutely can grow enough to make it your only job. I’d also love to eat my words and see you succeed in less time!
(PS. Don’t fall for gimmicks with blogging like “you can start a blog in 20 minutes.” There’s definitely hard work involved!)
Teach Sewing Classes to Kids
Do you have basic sewing knowledge, a knack for fashion, and love kids? If you know how to sew, you can teach sewing classes to children.
Sewing has almost become a long-lost art. Teaching kids to sew can turn into a valuable lifelong skill for aspiring fashion designers and crafters.
How do I set up sewing classes?
There are a few things you’d want to do before you set up a class.
First, you’d want to check your local area for interest in the classes. You could post a survey on your Facebook page or pass out flyers in your neighborhood and nearby area to see how many parents would be interested in the classes. If you feel confident that there’s a genuine interest in sewing classes then you could move forward setting up the classes.
For in depth information on starting sewing classes, I highly recommend KidsCanSew.com. My own mother taught sewing classes to children and used Kids Can Sew for all of her resources. Not only do they provide a great, kid friendly curriculum, they provide you with everything you need to start your own business.
What do I need to start classes?
There is an investment to get classes going. This will depend on the equipment you already own.
- Of course you would need at least one sewing machine, but preferably a few so that you could take multiple students in the same class and maximize your time and income. You may also want a sewing machine with speed control so young children can have a slower setting.
- Tables and chairs for your students to sit at.
- Projects to teach to the kids (again, Kids Can Sew has a great curriculum for kids through teens).
- A room for your students. (Preferably without carpet for safety reasons. You wouldn’t want to drop a pin in the carpet, not find it and step on it! Youch!)
- Your students would be required to bring their own fabric for their projects. (This is not included in your fee for lessons.) You may also ask them to have their own sewing notions kit unless you are planning to provide this.
What age kids can I teach?
Kids Can Sew curriculum is designed for boys and girls from age 6 through teen years. Kids start learning how to use a sewing machine and different sewing techniques on paper first, then advance to making their own simple projects.
How much money can I make?
This will depend on how many students you can take at a time and how many classes you would like to do per week.
Just for an example, let’s say you charge $15 a lesson per student. With four students at a time you could potentially earn $60/hour. (You would set the rate for your classes and charge per month.)
Give People Rides
This is something you can do and make money right away. There are drivers who make this their living and others who do this part-time as an easy way to make extra money.
There are two services you can sign up for that very popular for people to request a ride:
How do Lyft and Uber work?
Each of these companies provide apps that anyone can download to their phone. When logged into the app they can request and pay for a ride.
If you became a driver, you would have the driver version of the app and would be notified if someone near you needs a ride. You pick them up and are paid through the app. No money exchanges hands directly between passenger and driver, unless the passenger offers a cash tip.
What’s the difference between Uber and Lyft?
There really isn’t a significant difference. There may be a small difference in the fees they charge riders.
From a driver perspective, there may be a couple of differences:
- Which app is more popular in your area? If one is more popular than the other you’d get to give more rides with the more popular app.
- Each company will run different promotions and incentives for their drivers. These will vary so you’d have to be a current driver and check the app for promotions.
What are the requirements to become a driver?
For the most current information, check with Uber and Lyft individually. Generally speaking, you must have a valid driver’s license and a good working car. You will do better if you are a cautious driver with a clean car. Your riders can rate you and you must keep a high rating in order to continue to be a driver.
How can I sign up?
My husband is a driver for both companies. (There are pros and cons to this. See below.) You can check his referral links for both Uber and Lyft and check the current promotion and incentive to joining with them.
Can I sign up for both?
There aren’t any rules that say you can’t!
That said, the companies do have measures in place to encourage you to only drive for them. For instance, you might get a better rate if you stay logged into a single app for an extended period of time. (Again, it depends on the promotion the company is running for their driver.)
I’d recommend trying both to see which app can get you the most rides in your area. Just don’t try both at the same time!
A few more home business ideas to get your wheels turning
Become a nanny – Care.com
Offer senior care – Care.com
House cleaning – Care.com
Turtor – Tutor.com
Music Teacher – How I made $100,000 My First Year as a Piano Teacher
So there you have it. There are several ways you can start your own business this month and some great resources that I trust to get you started. I hope you find what you are looking for and get your dream of owning your own home business!