If you're ready to get out of the regular day job routine, you may be thinking about starting your own business. There are many opportunities available, and a lot of them don't require a huge investment to get started. If you are ready to put in hard work and dedication on your own venture, consider these options.
If you have experience teaching or a background in education, teaching online can be a great way to make money from home. You can teach traditional courses online, create classes for a site like Coursera or Udemy, or become involved with a company that teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) over the internet.
Don't feel limited to the internet, either. You can teach almost anything you have expertise in locally. Some positions will require teaching certifications or advanced degrees, but if you create and offer your own courses, all you need is expertise that others find valuable. Earning money on your own terms through education can be a great business opportunity.
- If you have a community college nearby, see if they offer continuing education and community interest courses and offer to teach one.
- You could also offer a variety of classes in your home, ranging from art to sewing, cooking, music lessons, and more!
- If you want to teach something your home cannot accommodate, look into renting or using spaces elsewhere. Public library meeting rooms, recreation center gyms, and even studio space can be available for rent. You may even find space you can use for free! This could allow you to teach dance, yoga, large classes, and more.
A really unique, stretching, and rewarding option for those who love to teach would be to offer classes at a juvenile detention center. You could help troubled kids get their GED or introduce them to subjects you enjoy. A school in Baltimore taught troubled children meditation instead of giving them detention. They haven't had a single suspension since the program was introduced, and trips to the principal's office have dropped dramatically. Imagine making that kind of difference!
Freelance Writing or Design
Working for companies or clients as a contractor is another way to be in business for yourself. People commonly work as freelancers in areas such as writing, web design, or graphic design.
To be a freelancer, you will need to contact companies that have openings and offer your services.
- Some freelancers start on services like Upwork or Fiverr, but you can get paid more by finding individual clients using job boards.
- Brian Scott's Online Writing Jobs is a great resource for writers because it brings together available work from a variety of online job boards. Design Jobs is a similar resource for designers.,
- Don't think you have to only find clients online. By connecting with your Chamber of Commerce and local businesses, you can find work with clients in your community. Helping local businesses succeed can be even more fulfilling than doing projects for clients a half a world away!
A unique way to use your skills in design would be to help people with scrapbook design. Scrapbooking and rubber stamping is a multi-billion dollar industry. Many folks have memories they want to cherish and save, but they don't have any idea how to get started creating a scrapbook. You could take your design skills and help people in your community save their memories in fun and creative ways!
Love animals? You're not alone. Approximately 44% of all American households have a dog. Unfortunately, these pets are often alone for hours every day while the owners work or travel. By providing an affordable alternative to boarding or doggy day care, you could start a thriving business, such as a dog walking or pet sitting business.
Caring for dogs involves advertising your services and providing high-quality care.
- Rover.com is great place to promote pet sitting and dog walking services, and you can also advertise locally through local classified ads or your own website. You can also build referral relationships with veterinary offices and pet supply stores.
- You'll need to create service contracts, instruction sheets for owners to fill out, and you may need insurance. Be sure to plan for how to handle emergency jobs, late pickups, and how pets will be cared for if you fall ill.
- When walking dogs, be sure to follow proper safety procedures, and when pet-sitting, be careful to respect the homeowner's privacy and property. Remember, this is business isn't just about keeping dogs happy, the owners have to be happy too.
If you love animals but would rather take a different approach to serving pet owners, consider making pet toys and accessories and selling them. In fact, you could combine this approach to a pet business with having your own Etsy shop. You could sell animal beds, toys, and even playhouses online. Other options include pet photography or grooming.
Direct sales can be a great business opportunity for those who love talking to others and sharing great products. From selling skincare products to having home parties, there are many opportunities available. Getting started in direct sales is relatively simple. There's generally a financial investment up front when you buy the startup kit, but from there it's all about sharing the product with potential customers. You can talk to friends and family, advertise online, or share information on social media.
Sometimes you can do really well in direct sales by choosing to work for multiple companies whose products complement each other. Some ideas for combining direct sales businesses include:
- If you work with a company that sells kitchenware, consider adding a line of gourmet food items
- Create a business that combines selling home fragrances with selling home decor items
- Combine selling makeup with offering hair care products
- Represent direct sales companies that offer custom jewelry and purses
With a direct sales business, the more you sell, the more money you make in commissions. You'll also make money by recruiting others to start their own business. It's important to choose a product you truly use, enjoy, and believe in. It's much easier to sell something that's made a real difference in your own life! Different companies have different structures, rewards, and compensation plans, so you may want to consider that as well before starting your direct sales business.
If you're the crafty type, selling your creations on Etsy can be a great business opportunity. Etsy has an entire online handbook dedicated to helping sellers succeed.
The steps to starting an Etsy shop are straightforward:
- Determine what items you plan to sell, including pricing
- Choose a name for your shop
- Set small goals that lead to success
- Find the right keywords to describe your shop and products
- Take great photos
- Offer a variety of products at different price points
Once you've started your shop, you can increase your customer base through marketing online and through word-of-mouth. You'll also need plans to keep up with production if your store takes off. Selling your creations can be a fun and fulfilling business option.
The unique things you can sell on Etsy are endless. From paintings to knitting to woodworking, if you can make it, you can sell it on Etsy. There are even highly unusual shops, such as one focused knitted anatomy and another on flavored toothpicks.
The explosion of ridesharing has brought self-employment through driving into the mainstream.
- Ridesharing: You can choose when you work and where you work by signing up to be a driver with a company like Lyft or Uber. Each company has different pay scales and policies, so be sure to do your research before signing up. Once you're registered as a driver, working is a simple as signing into the mobile app and hitting the road. You'll be assigned passengers and receive ratings from them on your service.
- Delivery driver: Driving locally isn't limited to ridesharing, of course. Shipt allows you to get paid for shopping and delivering groceries to customers' houses. You may also consider setting up your own concierge-style business where you run errands, drop off items to charity shops, make returns to stores, and more. People never have enough time to get done everything they need in a day, and they'd often be happy to pay for help!
If you love to drive, you can even double dip. While you're on the road, sign out of Uber or Lyft and sign in to Shipt or another app. You can switch back whenever you're ready. For those who love the road, ridesharing and delivery are excellent business opportunities!
If you enjoy spending time with older folks and have a passion for making sure they get companionship and care, you can start your own business as a senior home companion or caregiver.
- As a companion, you wouldn't need to have medical training or specific expertise. A love for people, patience, and the ability to enjoy a variety of activities are the key skills of a companion.
- Depending on your state's requirements, if you have medical training and are a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or something similar, you can charge more as a home health aide. In this role, would help someone with personal tasks, safety, light housekeeping, and more. You may need to keep written records and ensure that medication is taken in a timely manner.
- A unique service that you could offer as a companion or caregiver would be to help your clients record their biography. You could use a mp3 recorder, video, or even write a traditional book. Offering the service of helping to save memories and family history would help you stand out and command a higher fee.
Baby Boomers are getting older and many times don't live near their families. Even children nearby are busy with work and raising their own kids. If you have a passion for the elderly and love spending time with older folks, a business in elder care and companionship could be perfect!
On the other end of the age spectrum, there's always a business opportunity for those who love spending time with children. Daycare can be expensive, and when you provide an affordable in-home alternative, it benefits both parents and children.
An in-home daycare can be an especially good opportunity for those who want to stay home to raise their own children. You can be available for your kids while also bringing in good money from your business.
- Many legal rules surround in-home childcare, so it's important to file all appropriate paperwork before you open for business, as well as preparing a detailed start-up budget specific to this type of business.
- You will need state licensing, insurance, and you may need to show that you've received specific training. The state may also require an inspection of your home to demonstrate that you have appropriate facilities for child care.
You can make the opportunity even more creative by offering tutoring alongside childcare for school-age children. You can charge a premium for spending time ensuring homework is complete and answering questions.
Utilize Your Talents and Expertise
Running your own business definitely takes work, but it can be much more satisfying than a traditional day job. You'll be able to define your own schedule, determine which clients you most love to serve, and use your talents and abilities fully. When you enjoy what you do for a living, the sky is the limit!