Business From Home: How to Start Working for Yourself
The rise of the internet has made it easier than ever to start your own home-based business. While opening a business isn’t easy, it does have a number of advantages over traditional jobs.
You can set your own schedule, spend more time with your family, and do something you’re passionate about. Best of all, you’re your own boss. For these reasons, running your own business from home has become the dream of a lot of people still in the workforce.
But is it really possible? The endless stream of success stories proves it can be done. You just need the right idea.
Table of contents
- How to Get Started
- The 10 Best Home Business Ideas
- Our Pick for the Best At-Home Business
- How to Get Started Selling on Amazon
That’s why we’ve created this guide. Not only will we give you information on how to start up your own business, but we’ll also share 10 profitable ideas to inspire you.
How to Get Started
Building a business can seem daunting when you’re first starting out, so it’s helpful to break it down into a few manageable tasks.
We’ve outlined the first four steps you need to take to launch your business below. If you complete each of these you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful entrepreneur.
1. Decide What Type of Business You Want to Start
There are an endless number of business ideas out there for you to choose from. But most of them fit into a few established categories. So, a good first step is to decide which type of business you’re most interested in. Here are your choices:
eCommerce: With this model, you’ll be selling retail products online. This includes selling on sites like Amazon and eBay, or creating your own eCommerce website.
Publishing: eBooks are extremely popular right now, and the Kindle store has made it easier than ever to self-publish your own fiction and non-fiction books.
Content Creator: This can include written content like blogs, or video content posted on sites like YouTube. If you’re someone who’s creative, or you have a message you’d like to spread, this could be a great choice for you.
Freelancing: If you’ve spent any time in the workforce you’ve likely picked up a few skills that would be valuable to someone. Freelancing lets you sell those skills (writing, graphic design, bookkeeping, etc.) on a contract basis.
Homemade: For those who are crafty, you may be interested in creating your own products to sell. More and more people are interested in these items and if you can build a following you can sell them online or in stores for a nice profit.
Review the categories above and choose the one that suits your skills the best. Once you decide what type of business you’re interested in it will be a lot easier to come up with an idea.
2. Create a Business Plan
The most successful businesses all start with a plan. By creating one, you’ll be able to establish your goals and come up with a strategy to reach your targets. When you’re creating your plan make sure it includes:
Executive Summary: This is essentially your elevator pitch. Boil your business down to a few lines that sum up what your business is and exactly what it does or offers people.
Business Overview: This is where you can go into a bit more detail about your company. Outline your products and services, define your customers, and create some goals.
Sales & Marketing: Once you establish what your business is, create a strategy for marketing and actually selling your products and services.
Operations: How are you going to achieve everything you’ve outlined above? This could include sourcing products, creating content, finding distribution channels, acquiring permits, etc. Create a plan for how you’re actually going to make your business happen.
Finances: Finally, based on your plan so far, create a budget for everything. Leave yourself some extra room, as you’ll likely find some items will end up costing more than you expected.
A solid business plan is the first step to a profitable business, so take your time and get it right.
3. Register Your Business
In most cases, it’s a good idea to formally register your business with your local government. It allows you to take advantage of tax laws and deduct your expenses from your income and any gain derived from your business. So, make sure to do this before filing with your local tax bureau.
The process will differ from country to country. Do your research and find out what the steps are in your area.
You’ll generally have a choice between a few different types of businesses:
Sole Proprietorship: A simple business run by one person under your own legal name.
Partnership: A business run by multiple people.
Corporation: A business that is its own separate entity. Owners of corporations aren’t liable for the actions of their business.
For most people, a sole proprietorship will suffice to start, but review all your options and decide what’s best for your situation.
The 10 Best Home Business Ideas
Wondering how to run your own business from home? If you’re still unsure about what type of business you want to start don’t worry, there are plenty of opportunities.
We’ve put together a list of the 10 best legitimate ideas that will allow you to make money from home. All of these suggestions work in the USA, UK, or anywhere else in the world.
1. Starting a Blog
The great thing about this is anyone can do it. Web hosting is really the only thing you have to pay for, making this a great low-cost option and arguably the cheapest home business to create. Simply choose a topic and start writing. The more blogs you publish the more likely you’ll start to show up in search engines.
The one drawback is that it can take a lot of time to build up a following. This isn’t a make-money-fast scheme. But once you establish yourself you can start selling advertising or even your own products on your site. This is the kind of business that can generate some nice passive income.
2. Publishing eBooks
It used to be that in order to get published you needed an agent and had to get signed by a major publisher. However, thanks to Kindle and other eBook platforms that’s no longer the case. Self-publishing has become extremely popular and lots of authors are making good money from it.
You’ll have the option of choosing either fiction or non-fiction. Fiction has the potential to make you more money, but it can be harder to break into. If you’re just starting out, try non-fiction. The profit potential isn’t quite as good, but if you find the right niche it’s one of the better ways to make money.
3. Affiliate Marketing
If you aren’t interested in creating or finding your own products to sell then affiliate marketing is for you. With this business model, you’ll promote other people’s products and services. Every time you refer someone who buys something you’ll receive a commission.
By simply posting affiliate links on your social media pages or blog you can start making some sales and collecting money. However, to really succeed with this type of business you’ll need to either have a large online following or be adept at internet marketing.
Want to start your own online store but don’t want to have to deal with storing inventory or mail order deliveries? Then dropshipping is for you. When you partner with a dropshipping supplier they’ll store your inventory for you and ship your orders to your customers. This means you don’t have to worry about importing or exporting anything.
There are a couple of downsides to dropshipping though. First, because you’re essentially buying one item at a time you’ll end up paying more for your products. And two, it can take a while to drive traffic to a new online store. Still, there are plenty of people doing this and it’s proven to be one of the best ways to make money.
5. Selling on Amazon
Selling products on Amazon isn’t just for big companies. Lots of small independent sellers do it too. Just find a product with a good resale value, get a supplier, create your listing, and your good to go.
The Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program also makes it easier. This lets you send all your inventory to Amazon to be stored in one of their warehouses. They’ll then pack all your orders and ship them to your customers for you.
6. Selling T-Shirts
Print-on-demand services like Teespring and Merch by Amazon have made it super easy for aspiring fashion designers to start their own side hustle. With this business, all you have to do is design your t-shirt. When someone places an order, these companies will print the shirt and send them to your customers.
The benefit is that you don’t have to pay the money to print a bunch of shirts beforehand. This takes out a lot of the risk. You’ll need a large marketing budget, but if you do it effectively there’s a chance to make some real money.
Not many people have time to be a financial analyst, which means everyone is looking for help with accounting. If you’re good with numbers and know how to prepare taxes then this is one of the best freelance gigs around. Services like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr are full of potential bookkeeping gigs for you.
The work can be slow at first. The key is to acquire a few ongoing clients. Once you have a few people giving you regular work you should be able to make a pretty consistent income. Plus there are virtually no start-up costs, meaning this business won’t require a big investment.
8. At Home Bakery
The rise of farmers markets means you don’t need to be on the shelves of grocery stores to make money creating your own food products. If you love to bake then don’t be afraid to try to make a business out of it.
For those who are good enough and can create some genuinely delicious items, there’s also the possibility to expand your distribution. It’s not uncommon for coffee shops to carry goods from local bakers, which could greatly increase your gross income. That all being said, if you’re working alone this type of business could be tough to scale.
9. Jewelry Making
Homemade items are growing in popularity, especially among women. Everyone is looking for something original and unique to wear, so if you’re able to create jewelry for women that catches their attention then it could be very lucrative for you.
Luckily, sites like Etsy provide a great distribution channel for craftspeople to sell their goods, so it’s definitely gotten easier over the last few years. These sorts of businesses can take time to grow though, and you’ll need to market yourself pretty heavily. Plus, if you don’t come up with an efficient manufacturing process it can be hard to scale.
10. YouTube Videos
If you’re creative and love being in front of the camera then this could be your dream job. All you need is a smartphone and some basic video editing skills to get started.
Like most of the businesses here, it takes time to build it up. You’ll have to get a fair number of subscribers and views before you start making money. But if you’re passionate about it and consistently create quality content then there’s no reason why you can't build a successful YouTube business.
Our Pick for the Best At-Home Business
All of the suggestions above are great ideas for a home-based business. However, if you want our pick for the best one it’s definitely selling on Amazon. There are a few reasons for this:
It Doesn’t Take Long to Make Money: Once you acquire your products you can start selling immediately. And because you’re selling on Amazon, the biggest eCommerce marketplace there is, it’s fairly easy to find new customers.
You Can Get Started on a Small Budget: Using strategies like retail arbitrage allow you to start selling items part-time with very little money upfront. From there you can build your business and eventually start sourcing from wholesalers and manufacturers.
It’s Easy: Amazon’s FBA program means you can do everything from home. After shipping your inventory to Amazon most of your work is done.
It’s Profitable: Selling on Amazon can be very profitable. It’s also easy to scale as long as you can keep adding new products to your catalog.
How to Get Started Selling on Amazon
You’re probably wondering “how can I start selling on Amazon?” It’s actually fairly simple if you use the right tools. Here are some tips:
Search for product ideas using the AMZScout Product Database. This tool has a number of different search filters, such as category, seller type, sales, reviews, weight, and more to help you find products that meet your requirements.
2. Determine whether a product is profitable by analyzing it with the AMZScout Pro Extension. You’ll be able to see its sales, reviews, and history. AMZScout product and niche scores will also judge items based on demand and competition to tell you whether it’s worth selling.
3. Find a supplier that can provide you with the product you want to sell.
For a more detailed description of the steps you need to take, check out our guide on how to get started.
As you can see, starting a business from home isn’t that difficult. You don’t need to build a giant corporation or a franchise. A one-person operation out of a home can be extremely profitable. If you choose the right idea and create a plan then there’s a good chance you’ll be able to become a top entrepreneur.
So what are you waiting for? Start building your business today. And if you think selling on Amazon is right for you, make sure to check out AMZScout’s complete suite of tools and software.