In my experience, one of the greatest challenges people face is deciding why they are starting a business, what they hope to accomplish and what they really want to do. Starting a business, particularly from home, sounds glamorous and free but, in reality, it can put a strain on home life if not done right. People I talk to often need help decision-making which is an essential quality in running a business.
Toluna is a survey and product testing site where you can earn points for participation. Most surveys and questionnaires take 15 – 20 minutes and members earn anywhere from 15 – 20,000 points depending on the length. Points can be redeemed for sweepstakes tickets for gadgets or getaways, vouchers for stores like Amazon, even cash. Payments are made via PayPal and check.
From the inside looking out, I want to see the world as clearly as possible. And so do a lot of homeowners and particularly office managers. Now that creates a demand for window cleaners to step into this business idea, especially if you can land a contract cleaning windows for an office building. If you want to try it out as a side business idea, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to start a window-washing business at home.
If you understand design and have a passion for décor, a career in interior design could be a great path for you. While you may not technically need a formal education to be an interior designer, having a bachelor's degree in interior design will definitely give you a huge leg up in the field. But if working for a design firm doesn't feel right to you, try running your own interior design business from your home.
Do you love woodworking? Even without a huge workshop, you can create some of the more popular crafts and sell them. And like most things, your success in business isn’t necessarily related to how skilled you are as a woodworker. So if you can figure out which products consumers want and just create those, you could have a good business plan. Etsy.com and farmers’ markets are a great place to start selling.
It’s a common answer when you ask people why they like to work from home. Most will respond that their flexible work environment relieves the amount of stress in their lives and gives them a healthier work-life balance. Today, our offices are constantly on, it isn't the same as it was decades ago, when you left the office and work actually ended. Today, most of us can work at any hour wherever we are located, so it makes sense that the line is starting to blur between work and life. But it stands to reason that working from home can help redefine—or at the very least, rebalance—that line.
Obviously some of these small business ideas have more earning potential than others, but what they all share in common are relatively low barriers to entry and the flexibility to work at them for a limited amount of time per week. I also tried to focus on side business ideas that have some sort of online component to them, since that's what I love most.
How to Get It: Customer service is the biggest work-at-home field, with companies including Spiegel, Hilton, Best Western, HSN, 1-800-FLOWERS and many others using at-home reps. Fill out an application with staffing companies such as Arise, Alpine Access, VIPdesk, LiveOps, and Convergys, all of which vet the companies who are hiring through them. If you need benefits, search through a staffing company that will hire you as an employee (Alpine Access, VIPdesk and Convergys do this) rather than an independent contractor. If you're a contractor, you may be asked to pay a small fee (between $15 and $35) for a background check. While a fee can be a sign of a scam, independent contractors are responsible for their own expenses.
College counsellors come in all shapes and sizes. Their primary duty is to help guide students through an important period in their lives. Some counselors focus on admissions, career advice, financial aid, athletics, extracurricular activities, and other concerns. There are institutions looking out for part-time college counselors, making this a fantastic side business idea, or you can even start your own practice and charge anywhere from $25-$100+ per hour for your consultative services if you're well-versed on the subject.
What Employees Say: “VIPKID pays between $14-22 an hour, plus more in incentives some months. Most kids are fun and well behaved. You create your own schedule and work as little or much as you want. The materials are already provided, you just have to review them beforehand and plan out how you want to teach the materials and which props you want to use.” —Current ESL Teacher
Some firms outsource their customer service operations and many of these companies accept home-based contractors. You can start by signing up on freelancing sites such as Upwork to test the waters with this business idea first. If you’re already a CSR specialist with management skills, then you can form and lead a virtual team online and engage clients as a bona fide customer service company or, provide customer service training to such teams as well as individuals.
Similar to selling on Amazon, eBay is a place to make money selling just about anything you can think of as a side business idea, with the added excitement of using the auction selling model to sometimes get way more than you expected for that antique baseball card you picked up at a local street fair. To turn your eBay selling into a legitimate business idea, look for opportunities where you can buy in-demand products at a discount—and later sell them for a profit. Eventually, you can even take the lessons learned from your eBay store and build a full on blog or eCommerce business like what the team over at Gear Hungry has done.
While having a formal background in graphic design is absolutely going to be helpful, it’s also relatively easy to learn the foundations of graphic design on your own. An increasingly easy-to-use Adobe Illustrator and even more easily accessible tools like Stencil and Visme are making it so that just about anyone with two opposable thumbs, a bit of creativity, and motivation can earn a side income doing things like designing (and selling) images like these motivational quotes that can be printed onto posters and sold on platforms like Etsy. Or you can find a local startup, small business owner, or photographer who could benefit from some extra help designing or altering images.
It’s true what they say, “it isn’t until you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything”, and I was faced with the daunting task of finding my way into another career when most companies were laying off people in droves. “Hire you now?“, they’d say, “We just let 20 go!” After looking down the barrel of my dwindling savings and unemployment, I realized it was time to take control of my future and fail or succeed on my own merits.
In general, a home office deduction is allowed if the home office meets at least one of three criteria: 1) the home office is the principal place of business; 2) the home office is the place where the business owner meets with clients and customers as part of the normal business day; or 3) the place of business is a separate structure on the property, but is not attached to the house or residence. The deduction is figured on the size of the home office as a percentage of the total house or residence. For example, if the total house size is 2,400 square feet and the home office is 240 square feet, 10 percent of the total house is considered used for business. That would allow the business owner to deduct 10 percent of the household's costs for electricity, real estate taxes, mortgage interest, insurance, repairs, etc. as business expenses.
Once the home-based business gets off the ground, many entrepreneurs tend to go to the opposite extreme and overcommit themselves. In their need to attract clients, they become uncomfortable turning down work. But unlike people who work for a large employer in an outside office, home-based business owners cannot leave their work behind and go home, because home is where their work is. As a result, some entrepreneurs work too many hours and abandon their personal lives, resulting in stress and burnout. Instead, experts recommend that home-based business owners set up realistic work schedules in order to reinforce the boundaries between their personal and business lives. It may be helpful to establish the following day's schedule the previous afternoon and prioritize the activities. The schedule should be realistic and allow for inevitable interruptions. Some experts claim that an important factor in successful time management for home-based business owners is arising early in the morning to get a jump start on work. Others stress the importance of dressing comfortably yet professionally in order to establish a positive psychological state for working. Although these methods do not apply to everyone, it is important for home-based business people to find a pattern that maximizes their productivity and stick with it.
What It Is: What better way to alleviate your travel bug than to work as a remote travel agent or consultant? Whether part- or full-time, spend your working hours dreaming up itineraries, flight plans, hotels, and activities for clients looking to travel far and wide. Then, take advantage of your discounts (hey, perks of the job) and go wherever your heart desires, whenever your heart desires.