When most people think of starting a business, it seems overwhelming. They think they have to spend weeks or months planning, invest thousands of dollars into an idea and work 80 hours a week to get it off the ground.
The truth is, starting a home-based business can be much simpler and cheaper than you imagine. Yes, if you want to dive in headfirst to a full-time startup, you can expect it to take considerable time and resources. But many people are looking for a business to start part-time to earn a little extra money on the side. Or they want something that can start small and grow if it’s successful.
If starting small sounds like you, then know that you aren’t alone. According to the Census Bureau, more than half of all businesses are operated from someone’s home, and 57% brought in less than $25,000 in sales.
The best thing about starting small from your own home is that there is no shortage of ideas that can be started quickly. To help you get started we rounded up 24 ideas that you can start in a weekend.
Have more ideas? Share them with the community in the comments below.
1. Wedding planner
According to Bloomberg, the U.S. wedding industry is a $51 billion industry that employs nearly a million people. In recent decades the costs associated with weddings has risen to an average of more than $26,000. That means big business for wedding planners. The good news is that start-up costs and barriers to entry are low. If you really want to stand out, look at the possibility of becoming a certified wedding planner.
2. Self-Published Author
Think you have to have a publishing deal to become an author? Think again. Thanks to Amazon’s self publishing service, anyone can be an author and sell their work on the site. Best of all, Amazon allows you to sell Kindle, print, and audio versions of your book with royalties of up to 80% of the sale price.
3. High-end baker
If you have a talent at specialty baking, you don’t need a big storefront to get started. You can actually begin out of your home (be sure the check the permits needed in your area). A good way to get started — share some of your most unique goodies on social media to build some buzz.
4. Resume writer
The difference between a decent resume and a great resume can mean everything for a job seeker hoping to get their foot in the door. That means not only can you earn some solid cash by critiquing and writing resumes, but you can also help people go after their dream job. Best of all, the only capital you’ll need to get started is your computer.
5. Photo editor
Are you great at Photoshop? It’s a valuable skill that people are willing to pay for. As nearly every photo has shifted to digital, that means people aren’t just satisfied with a “good” photo. They want it to be perfect. Many jobs are one-time gigs, but large events such as weddings can lead to work on dozens or hundreds of photos. Check out Fiverr.com as a place to get started on small touch-up jobs and building a reputation for quality work.
6. Video editor
Similar to photo editing, there is strong demand for people that can help turn raw footage into a polished video. Not all jobs are big productions like movies or commercials. There are tons of opportunities in small editing jobs like vacation videos or marriage ceremonies. If you’re nervous about editing professionally, then offer a no-risk guarantee to get started. If someone doesn’t like your work, then they don’t pay. This reduces the risk of having an unhappy client when first starting out.
7. Life coach
Think of a life coach as a combination friend, mentor and psychologist all wrapped up into one. Coaches help people in all aspects of their life from career to relationships. It can take years to build a thriving practice, but getting started take very little time or overhead. We’d suggest taking the time to learn more about coaching at a site like LifeCoach.com before taking the plunge.
8. Business coach
Know a thing or two about building or growing a business? You could get started as a business coach. People constantly need advice on how to tackle business problems. The best place to get started is with your professional network (being active on LinkedIn is a must). You’ll also want to draft up a background bio to share with clients that highlights your expertise and why someone should seek your advice.
As a transcriptionist, you’ll receive audio/video files and have to type out what’s being said. It’s straightforward work that’s been around for decades, but it still needs to be done — and people are willing to pay!
We’ve used Rev.com before to have files transcribed. The work is top-notch. Transcriptionists are paid between $0.40-$0.65 per audio minute. So transcribing an hour of audio would net you between $24 and $39. If you want more work, there are also sites like Tigerfish and Quicktate.
Are you bilingual? Then you have a skill that’s in demand. As the world goes increasingly global, the need for translation is greater than ever. And thanks to the internet, it allows people like you to make income from home.
To get started, check out sites like Gengo.com, which pays its translators between $0.03-$0.08 per word. You’ll have to take an initial test to get started, so don’t think you can just sneak in by running the text through a translator like Google Translate!
11. Content writer
With the explosion of the web there is more content created than in human history… and it shows no signs of slowing down. That means there is always a need for smart, talented people who can deliver quality pieces on a deadline. If you can write, then getting started is simple. Head over to a site like Upwork.com to search and bid on writing jobs. The more of a reputation you build as a quality contributor, the easier it will be to find work.
12. Party rentals
With an investment of just a few hundred dollars, you can get started in the party rental business. The items you can rent are almost limitless. From sno-cone machines to bounce houses to tables and chairs the ability to scale to new items means there is a high ceiling for you earnings. A truck is a must-have as you will have to haul and set up equipment.
13. Pet sitter
According to USNews, Americans spend more than $60 billion on their pets annually. And if you have pets, then you know that scheduling around them can be a chore. That’s an opportunity for you to make money.
Pet sitters do so much more than feed and check in on pets. They provide peace of mind to owners who don’t want to put their animals in a kennel. The best sitters can set themselves apart by putting a unique spin on the experience such as sending owners pictures of their pooch to let them know that everything is alright. This helps you stand out from the crowd and encourages word-of-mouth referrals.
14. Vacation planner
Are you the sort of person who loves to plan your own trips months in advance? If so, you might have a calling as a vacation planner. While the internet has taken a big bite out of this business, there are still plenty of people who are willing to pay someone else to take care of all the planning for them. Building a niche is a particular region (such as trips to the Caribbean) is a great way to stand apart from the crowd and earn more business.
15. Home tutor
The rise of educational sites like KahnAcademy.com has created a massive shift in how people learn. Now practically any topic that a student doesn’t understand in class can be learned online. But that doesn’t mean everyone can learn from watching a YouTube video. There is still a need for one-on-one instruction. Demand is highest in subject like math and foreign languages where practice is important to learning.
16. Music lessons
Music lessons can be taught out of your home and are a great way to pocket some extra cash. Best of all, lessons typically last only an hour, making the lessons a flexible way to make money. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be Beethoven to provide lessons. As long as you’re capable on an instrument, then you can certainly help beginners get started with the basics.
17. Online store
It’s never been easier to get started with an online store. From eBay to Etsy, if you have a product to sell, then there is a marketplace that can get you started within minutes. Find an idea for a product that’s unique with wide popularity, and then you can have practically have a license to mint money. For example, “The Home T” has taken a simple t-shirt and built a hugely successful business.
18. Computer trainer
No, not everyone knows how to use their computer, tablet or phone. That means there is a need for one-on-one training. If you have basic computing skills and know a few easy tips and tricks to share, then you’re an instant expert that can help others figure out their devices.
19. Virtual Assistant
Booking travel, online research, scheduling service calls — there are hundreds of ways to be an assistant without the need of being in the same city. Virtual assistants likely won’t earn as much as personal assistants who work hand in hand with a client. However, the do have much more flexibility in being able to work from different locations and for multiple clients around the country.
20. Stock photographer
With the boom in the Internet has come a massive need for content and images. Today there are dozens of sites that allow you to upload images to sell online to websites, news organizations and blogs. You upload the images and the site takes care of the selling. In return you get paid every time someone buys your image. The biggest companies in the field are iStockPhoto.com and ShutterStock, but there are dozens of lesser-known sites that generally pay photographers higher rates per download. If you want to learn more, check out this cool page that compares all the stock photo sites.
Yes, the computer has made calligraphy a dying artform. There is, however, still huge demand for authentic hand-written invitations and cards. This isn’t something that anyone can do. You’ll need to have plenty of practice and be skilled before you actually begin making money.
23. House Sitter
House sitters aren’t actually in the business of picking up mail or making sure doors are locked. They are in the business of peace of mind. Knowing that someone is available to take care of things while you’re away from home lets people relax and worry about one less thing. In return, they are willing to pay decent wages for relatively simple work. To get started, check out HouseSittersAmerica.com or Craigslist in your area.
24. Personal Shopper
People strapped for time are willing to pay top dollar for others to run their errands for them. From grocery shopping to picking up a gift for a spouse, if you have a car and time, then you can get started as a personal shopper. Building a client base when starting can be difficult, but networking with friends and family is a good way to get the word out that you’re available for hire.
Have more ideas for home-based businesses? Let us know in the comments below.