Do you spend your lunch breaks thinking about profitable home business ideas? Fantasizing about ditching your 9 to 5 job and saying goodbye to your commute?
While many people will tell you that this is only a pipedream — and maybe that’s even what you tell yourself — it’s not. You can run a successful business out of your home office.
There are more than 30 million small businesses in the United States and about 50% of them are home-based operations. Whether you’re looking for a few dollars on the side or a full-time job, we’ve got you covered.
Here are four profitable home business ideas that will help you make extra money.
Idea #1: Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways of earning a passive income. It’s the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s services and products. In simple terms, you’ll be promoting brands you like and earning money every time a sale is generated from your referral.
This form of marketing is nothing new. It was originally conceptualized by William J. Tobin more than 30 years ago. However, the idea didn’t really come into its own until the late ’90s, when affiliate programs like Link Share and Amazon Associates came onto the scene.
Why Start Now?
Building a successful affiliate blog is easier than most people think. During the past two decades, companies of all sizes have relied on affiliate marketers to expose their products to new audiences. Don’t believe us? The numbers speak for themselves: today, affiliate sales account for 15% to 30% of overall brand sales.
That’s why more than 80% of brands use affiliate marketing to some capacity. For three decades it has pushed the boundaries of online marketing and made quite a few people rich in the process. The best thing about affiliate marketing is that it’s beneficial to both the marketers and the brands.
How Can You Start?
To become an affiliate of any brand, you need a blog or a website first. Then you need to sign up for an affiliate program that fits into your content.
To get you started, here’s a basic affiliate marketing business plan:
- Create a website with a focus on good content (written, image, or video)
- Include affiliate links to products you recommend in your content
- Motivate your website visitors to click on the links and buy products
- Earn with every click and sale that originates from your website
It’s as simple as that.
If you don’t already have a website, you need to figure out what you’d like your website to be about. Think about your interests, pick a niche, and then check out affiliate marketplaces to connect with a few brands.
Once your business takes off, you will start thinking about more websites, other types of products and brands. Also, you’ll need to start employing writers, social media and marketing experts.
Next step: Use this guide to grow your affiliate marketing business to new heights.
Idea #2: Online Bookkeeping
In 2018, accounting services in the United States reported revenue of $94 billion. As demand grows for skillful, savvy accounting, we can safely assume that this industry will only grow in the coming years.
Although the industry consists mostly of large accounting firms, growing demand has allowed small and micro companies to enter the market. If you’re interested in finances and you’ve managed your own business expenses before, this might be just the right niche for you. Bookkeepers can leverage small business accounting software like Freshbooks and other solutions to streamline the process for their clients and themselves.
Why Start Now?
Now more than ever, you have a chance to start a bookkeeping business from the comfort of your home. The main difference today, compared to let’s say, 20 years ago, is that formal education is not a prerequisite. Around 21% of accounting professionals think that market demands are the number one reason why accounting as a whole has evolved on the question of qualifications.
While formal education is always a plus, other skills can increase your chances of developing a successful bookkeeping business. Data gathered by Finances Online shows us that the top skills needed by bookkeepers and accountants are:
- Tech literacy (according to 57% of accounting professionals)
- Building relationships (according to 46% of accounting professionals)
- Business advisory (according to 44% of accounting professionals)
- Outside experience (according to 43% of accounting professionals)
- Project management (according to 36% of accounting professionals)
Traditional pathways into accounting are giving way to a much greater diversity of backgrounds. You can definitely succeed in today’s landscape if you possess any of the skills listed above.
How Can You Start?
People who have never worked in accounting should familiarize themselves with the industry in 2020, even if they have some formal education. One way to gain familiarity with accounting practices is to join a bookkeeping association and get some support from industry professionals. Another option is to join an online community and learn from its resources.
Facebook groups like the “Bookkeepers Corner group” and LinkedIn communities such as “Bookkeeping Online” are full of experienced industry professionals willing to help those in need. Such online networking lets you hear other people’s experiences, get new contacts, and gain valuable information.
Once you start working as an online bookkeeper, here are some of the services your clients will expect:
- Preparation of basic financial statements
- Payable and receivable account management
- Invoice preparation and payroll-related services
- Tracking of long-term assets like machinery and equipment
Next step: Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to grow your bookkeeping business.
Idea #3: Online Tutoring
The Internet is now one of the main education tools, both in and out of school. Between 2016 and 2020 the online tutoring market grew with a CAGR of 6%, and experts expect this growth to accelerate to a 15% CAGR.
The main reasons for this growth acceleration are the emergence of mobile-based tutoring platforms, the rise of virtual learning, and an increased number of tutoring services. And, with the COVIID-19 pandemic, this gets even bigger. This interest in online education presents a great opportunity to create a business where you and your staff can all work from home.
Why Start Now?
If the stats above weren’t enough to convince you that now is the perfect time to start a tutoring business, consider this: the annual number of online students is expected to double over the next few years.
According to a recent Technavio report, the online tutoring market is projected to make more than $120 billion on a global level by the end of 2021 — and that report was published before the coronavirus outbreak gave online learning an unprecedented boost that could result in permanent changes in the way people learn.
In other words, there’s a huge demand for a business with very low startup and operational costs. You can work as a tutor yourself to cut your teeth on the profession and then gradually recruit other tutors so you can outsource the work and form an agency. Since tutors can work from home, you don’t need to invest in an office space and pay expensive utility bills for your staff.
How Can You Start?
Although an online tutoring business doesn’t require a lot of upfront investment, there are some tools you will need in order to do this kind of work.
- Hardware: you’ll need a computer, a webcam, a microphone, and a decent internet connection so there are no connection issues during your sessions.
- Software: you’ll need an app like Skype or Google Hangouts to communicate with your students, share your screen, and potentially record the sessions. The coronavirus outbreak has spurred a flurry of app development in this sector, so research which app will best suit your needs.
- Finances: you’ll need PayPal, Skrill, or AliPay to accept payments from your students, as well as a bookkeeping software to manage your finances.
- Marketing: you’ll need a website to advertise your team and your services, as well as social media accounts where you can run ads to increase your exposure.
Apart from that, you also need to ensure that any tutors you hire have the proper qualifications and experience.
Next step: Here are all the resources you need to start and grow your online tutoring business.
Idea #4: Footwear/Clothing Reselling
Although this is the most unorthodox business we have on the list, it’s the one that could potentially earn you the most money. The sneaker/clothing resale market has been booming over the past decade and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
You’ve probably heard stories of Supreme resellers standing in front of stores for days, to earn thousands of dollars on a single piece of clothing. That’s a bit extreme for most of us, but the takeaway is that you can make a good return on your investment reselling clothes online.
Why Start Now?
Millennials and are reportedly 2.5 times more interested in pre-owned clothes than their parents or older generations, and the second-hand clothing market is quite stable.
Furthermore, a recent study has revealed that around 60% of luxury purchasing decisions, in both the primary and secondary markets, are affected by sustainability. Luxury brands from the United States, Europe, and Asia are all embracing the resale phenomenon.
How Can You Start?
Before you start working full-time as a reseller, you should test a few markets out, first. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself. Do you want to sell:
- Men’s or women’s clothing?
- Adult or children’s clothing?
- High-end clothes or affordable garments?
- Do you want to sell footwear and accessories too?
You should also consider whether you want to sell through an online marketplace like Klekt or Etsy or create your own website. A custom-made website will make you look more professional and trustworthy; however, it will also cost you a lot more.
Sticking to reselling might be a good long-term idea as well. If you put in the time, you could end up earning more than $100,000 per year like 35-year-old Natalie Gomez, who started selling part-time in 2011.
Next step: Learn how to master the art of reselling to grow your clothing or footwear business.
Which profitable home business idea is yours?
These are all great jumping-off points for a profitable home business.
Needless to say, starting a successful company — even if you’re the only employee — requires much more than a good idea. You need to research the industry, calculate your expenses, and come up with a business plan if you want to succeed.
But, the key ingredient for making your business a success, is to have the passion and self-confidence that you will make it. And most often, those two thingss can make the difference between business failure and success.