According to an article published by Forbes magazine, a little over half of all American small businesses are home-based. Moreover, the owners of these businesses earn combined revenues of nearly $1 trillion! The bad news is that becoming one of them isn’t a walk in the park: quite the opposite, it requires a lot of hard work. The good news, however, is that at no point in history has it been easier to start earning money from the comfort of your house!
That’s where “How to Work from Home and Make Money” by Sam Kerns comes in. It goes over the myths and facts of telecommuting and covers “13 proven, realistic ways” to earn a great income while working from home. Get ready to discover them all!
Stop building someone else’s dreams
If you are working for somebody else, you are essentially spending most of your time and effort helping them buy a second home, send their kids to college and take a few European vacations a year. To make matters worse, the bigger the company you are working for, the more money you are making for your boss.
Just for illustration, every Starbucks employee earns the coffeehouse chain about $80,000 per year in additional revenue; an employee working at Google earns the tech giant more than $1 million per year! “You get the picture,” comments Kerns. “All those long hours you put in at the office in order to get a measly raise at the end of the year? The company is cashing in on them.” Shouldn’t you?
Starting a home-based business is within the reach of anyone who wants to take a risk and work hard. However, it is not without its challenges and there is much to consider before making the decision. Especially if you are only prepared for sitting on the beach with a laptop while sipping cocktails in the middle of the day. An office of your choice, better work-life balance, flexibility of working hours, greater productivity, greater job satisfaction – they all come with working remotely or from owning your own home-based business, but they are never a given. On the contrary, they have to be earned.
Unfortunately, most people don’t really know what it means to be in a business for themselves or what will it take them to succeed. So, soon after theatrically quitting their job to work from home, they grow depressed, give up pursuing their dreams and go back to the job market. Their fundamental mistake? They don’t do their research beforehand and don’t have a realistic expectation about what it means to work from home. That’s why, before going over some specific home-based business ideas, it’s essential to put aside a few common myths about self-employment everybody seems to believe in.
The top five lies about working from home
Working from home isn’t as glamorous as it is sometimes made out to be – at least not at the beginning. Sure, not having a boss micromanaging you is great, as is working in your pajamas near a fridge full of snacks. But don’t let that fool you for a bit: wherever you do it from, work is still work and it is rarely easy. Unfortunately, the challenges remote work poses are often ignored or, even worse, obscured by the undeniable promise of self-employment. To avoid this pitfall, let us go over five of the most commonly believed misconceptions about working from home and explain the reality behind them.
- You only have to work when you want to. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average American employee works 33.8 hours a week. According to Inc. magazine, the majority of small business owners work 50 hours per week! When you work for someone else, you usually get paid pretty much the same no matter how many hours you work in a week. When you work for yourself, time is literally money: the more you work, the more you earn. The opposite is also true. In other words, yes working from home can mean that you can work whenever you want to – but only if you don’t want to be a success.
- You don’t have to answer to anybody. When you work for someone, you answer to that someone. Doesn’t that mean that when you work for yourself, you only have to answer to yourself? Not at all. Because the minute you trade your job for a home-based business, you also trade your one boss for countless other bosses: your customers. They don’t say that customer is the king for nothing.
- I can quit my job immediately. Most home-based businesses – yes, even the most successful ones – are started on the side. So, if your finances don’t allow it, don’t make the mistake of quitting your job to work from home before making sure you have enough long-term customers to sustain you. Sure, it might be difficult to work two jobs for some period of time, but that’s much easier than risking going into debt while being jobless.
- I need a college education to start a business. According to a study by the U.S. Census Bureau, only one in two home business owners has a college degree. Somewhat unsurprisingly as today you can become proficient in many areas with a three-month Google course. Some areas don’t require any specific training at all, and still pay quite well.
- Clients won’t take me seriously if I operate my business from home. This might have been true a few decades ago, but times have changed and attitudes have evolved. Even so, you have to be professional in your dealings with customers. In other words, it is still not conventional to hold a Zoom business meeting in your pajamas while eating breakfast and your children are screaming in the background.
Five online home-based business ideas
Some of the most enticing home-based business ideas are the ones that can operate entirely online. Here are the five best according to Kerns:
- Virtual assistant. A virtual assistant is a multifaceted online secretary – an independent contractor who provides various services to clients from a remote location. Unlike full-time assistants, virtual assistants have the ability to service multiple clients at one time. They manage calendars, prepare documents, make travel arrangements, follow up with new customers and sometimes even conduct research for projects. For this, they are paid between $20 and $45 an hour, on average. The best part is that if you have a knack for organization, a computer and a good internet connection – you can start your virtual assistant business today!
- Online retailer. With more and more people shopping online each year, there has never been a better time to start an online store. And you don’t have to be an Amazon or an eBay to consider yourself successful: according to the 2015 Ecommerce Growth Benchmark study, an average website brings in about $40,000 a month. The cheapest way to open an online store is to build a website with an easy-to-use e-commerce platform such as Shopify, BigCommerce, Wix or Weebly. It doesn’t cost much, and it may eventually bring you a fortune!
- Amazon/eBay seller. If opening an online store seems like too big of a trouble, then why not use an already established one to sell your products, whatever they are. If you want to sell recently released items or popular products, then try setting up a seller account on Amazon. If, however, you intend to sell vintage goods, eBay is the best place to set up a virtual shop. There are also other, more specialized alternatives, such as, say, Etsy for crafters and artists or Craigslist for people who want to sell locally and aren’t afraid of spammers. Even so, eBay and Amazon are the most popular marketplaces around for a reason.
- Indie author. According to a recent report, self-publishers earn almost half of the market share of total author earnings. In other words, if you want to write, then this is your age. You can publish a book without spending a single penny,and you can earn a lot from it with some good promotion and a few five-star Amazon reviews! However, choose the genre wisely. After all, Westerns and historical books don’t sell as well as fantasy fiction or self-help manuals!
- Freelance writing manager Interestingly enough, eBook publishing can be a great home-based business even for people who don’t know how to write – or who just don’t want to. It’s not at all difficult to hire a freelance ghostwriter on a topic of your choice using sites such as Upwork. In fact, you can also hire an editor, a proofreader and a designer to prepare your book for publication. All you have to do next is set your price, upload the book and start promoting your book, while writing the next one!
Five off-line home-based business ideas
If you’d rather spend your time dealing with people in person rather than online, than maybe you should try your hand at a more traditional business. Before starting one, however, be sure to have a business plan, a mentor, and a legal adviser. Next, you’ll need to choose a good business name, register for state and local taxes and, if necessary, apply for business licenses and permits. As for the type of business itself, consider the following five ideas:
- Home-based food business. If you have a secret recipe or a knack for organizing meals in a special way, maybe you should start a home-based food business. There are numerous options in the industry. The obvious one is making home-based goods and delivering them to clients. You can sell your homegrown fruits and vegetables at your nearest farmer’s market. Just as well, you can also become a general caterer that specializes in weddings or other special events. If any of these ideas peak your interest, just do some research, study the law, find a bulk supplier and start marketing your business!
- Vending machine business. With vending machines, you can make money in your sleep. Even though it requires some initial investment, it is actually a viable and profitable endeavor. According to a recent report, 18% of existing vending machine owners earn between $1 million and $5 million a year. However, don’t just jump on the first vending machine offer you see: there are as many scammers as there are types of machines, so do your research and choose carefully.
- Professional organizing business. If you are a born planner and facilitator, why don’t you try putting your skills to use and become a professional organizer? You can organize anything from closets to homes to garage sales. Just identify your niche, join the National Association of Professional Organizers to get all the necessary tips and tricks, set up an office and start looking for clients!
- Renting business. Airbnb is not merely an alternative to hotels: it is a billion-dollar business operating in more than 220 countries with more than seven million listings and three million hosts. Unsurprisingly, there are thousands of people around the globe who earn a full-time income on Airbnb by simply renting out their homes or apartments. If you have some extra space and you don’t mind visitors from time to time, then consider becoming a host. In time, you might not even need Airbnb!
- Home cleaning business. In today’s fast-paced world, many people don’t have the time to take care of their apartments and rely on cleaning services instead. Use that to your benefit – especially if you are physically able and have the skills to do it. Neither the equipment nor the cleaning products are expensive, and it shouldn’t take long for you to find a job. And it’s not like it doesn’t pay well: the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that professional cleaners make on average $14 per hour!
Three bonus work-from-home opportunities
To round things off, here are three of the hottest and most exciting ways to earn money from home as of 2020, the year of the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Sell online courses to bring in passive income. Just recently, Google launched a selection of professional courses that can turn a novice into a job-ready candidate in just half a year. Many businesses immediately announced that they would accept a Google Career Certificate pretty much the same way they would a traditional university degree. That’s the ultimate proof that many college programs are becoming a thing of the past and that we’re heading toward a future of increased e-learning. If you are an expert on any topic, this is a great business opportunity. It may require a lot of work initially, but ultimately it can become a source of (almost) passive income.
- Teach your native language online. If you speak just one foreign language well, then you can easily become an online language teacher. Of course, not of the foreign language itself, but – much better – of your own. There are many sites that do not require you be a certified teacher. All you need to do is be able to provide value to your students, and the five-star reviews will do the rest. The best part is that all you need to get started is a high-speed internet connection, a webcam, a headset and a telecommunications application such as Skype. As for the online platform, it’s really your choice. There are many sites where you can set up a profile and begin teaching students in no time.
- Earn recurring income with a box subscription service. A subscription box is a carefully designed package of curated, niche-oriented products customers receive by mail on a recurring basis. Thanks to the unique experience they provide, subscription boxes have been all the rage for a while now. Hence, they can form the basis of a great home-owned business. But don’t get carried away – creating a good box subscription service requires more than just an imaginative idea and a knack for artistic crafting; you’ll also need the right resources, and “a willingness to market like crazy.” An all-in-one site that lets you “set up your subscription, manage payments and customer contacts, and get reviews for customers,” Cratejoy is perhaps the best platform to get things going, but there are a few alternatives as well. None of them are expensive.
“How to Work from Home and Make Money” by Sam Kerns is neither original nor particularly thorough, but it can be useful and inspiring.
If you don’t want to spend your time scouring Google for advice and manuals, this is an okay-ish compilation of 13 home-based business ideas, with pretty elementary step-by-step instructions for each.
But don’t expect anything more than that.
Start your home-based business as a side project. Quit your job once you have enough clients to provide you with some stability.