Make Money from Home: How to Start a Profitable Home-Based Business

Would you like to work from the comfort of your home? Ecommerce, blogging, and freelancing are just some of the options you should be aware of. This free ebook teaches you how to choose the best path for you, market your products or services, and enjoy the freedom of a location independent lifestyle.
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Starting a Home-Based Business

Living the dream.

We’ve all heard that saying before.

There’s no set definition for what ‘the dream’ actually is, or how to live it. But most of us can agree that it involves minimal stress and maximum happiness.

Oh, and money. Lots of money.

As we zoom through the 21st century and the internet takes over virtually every aspect of our lives, more and more people are recognizing their dream as the ability to have a fulfilling career without having to deal with the 9-to-5 grind or answering to the needy shrieks of a boss.

And so, more and more people are looking to make money from home. To be their own boss from the comfort of their living room. Pants optional.

The numbers support this theory. From 2005 to 2018, there’s been a 115% increase in the number of people who do at least half their work from home.

Of the people who do freelance and remote work, 90% plan to do it the rest of their career, and a whopping 94% recommend it to others.

how to make money from home


What many may not realize is that there are literally hundreds – even thousands – of opportunities to start an online business from home. What was once a far-away dream is now a very tangible, very reasonable reality.

That’s where I come in. In this ebook, I’ll show you all the basics of how to make money from home.

From a freelance photography business to an ecommerce store to selling your old clothes from your attic, we’ll discuss how to find the right match for your interests and skill sets, where to find the best resources to learn and explore, and how to set up and get rolling.

While I can’t say I know what ‘living the dream’ means to you specifically, I have this crazy feeling that it might involve learning how to make money from home.

So let’s get started!

In this chapter, we’ll cover the basics of how to make money from home online: the different types of home businesses, how to decide if a home-based business is right for you, how to make money online without investment (or very little investment), and how to ensure you’re avoiding scams as you gain your footing.

1.1. What Home-Based Business Can I Start?

First thing’s first: before we address how to make money from home, you need to think about the type of home biz you’d like to start.

To begin, you’ll need a grasp on the different types of home-based businesses that are out there and how they work. You never know, there might be a perfect opportunity right under your nose that you never saw coming.

For example, did you know that you can make money from home online as a translator if you speak more than one language?

Or that you can use your brainy math skills to be a freelance accountant?

Or that you can make your own online courses to teach others your awesome creative talents, like painting or playing piano?

Once you have a business idea you like, it’s critical that you take a good look at your resources, lifestyle, and unique situation to make sure that it’s the right fit for you.

[highlight]In a nutshell, there are two main types of home-based business: product-based and service-based.[/highlight]

  • Product-based: Selling physical items, like clothing, electronics, jewelry, and the like. This also includes digital products, like ebooks or online courses.
  • Service-based: Selling the business owner’s skills, like marketing, consulting, or creative talents like writing or graphic design.

Let’s briefly define and illustrate what these terms mean.

Product-Based Business

Is there a tangible item that’s being sold to your customer? Then you’ve got a product-based business.

In the most common types of product-based online business from home, business owners operate through an ecommerce store via a platform like Shopify. Having a storefront is a streamlined and simplified way to get your items into the hands of customers.

There’s nothing quite like a sexy online store.

home based business


That said, there are plenty of other options to think about when considering how to make money from home.

Business owners might also choose sell their goods using online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy (and many others that we’ll talk about in Chapter 2).

Additionally, you can sell items on popular social media platforms, like Facebook’s Marketplace and Instagram.

These third-party options are better for those who want to start an online business from home but don’t wish to manage a full store – perhaps they don’t have any tech expertise or resources, or they have a limited number of items to sell.

Selling Digital Products

Selling online isn’t limited to tangible items.

You can sell digital goods like:

  • Online courses
  • Software or web-based applications
  • Themes and templates
  • Training courses or webinars
  • Music and audio clips
  • Content like white papers, ebooks, or research
  • Videos and photographs
  • Creative items like recipes or DIY printable craft patterns

how to make money from home

Who Are These Business Owners?

There are plenty of examples of people who’ve found success with a product-based business.

Here are a few personalities you might find. (I think you’ll catch pretty quickly that these are fictional examples.)

 ecommerce guru

The Ecommerce Guru: Zahara has entrepreneurship oozing out of every pore. She’s clever, resourceful, and dedicated to her dream of owning a business while still being able to travel the world. Now she runs her flourishing dropshipping business from anywhere with an internet connection.


The Not-Starving Artist

The Not-Starving Artist: Viktor has been creating things since before he could walk. When he grew up, he was determined to make a living as an artist, and saw that the internet was a perfect pathway to share his gift. Today, he sells his masterpieces on online art marketplaces.


The master chef

The Master Chef: Lucas is often described as a wizard in the kitchen. He bakes so much he always seems to have flour stuck under his fingernails. To keep his vigor alive, he built a website called “For Goodness Cakes” where he sells his treats to hungry customers across the country.

Service-Based Business

If you want to get nit-picky, a service-based business is still technically selling a product. But the important difference is that the ‘product’ isn’t a tangible item that you can hold in your hands.

When choosing how to make money from home, services can range from writing resumes to walking your neighbor’s dog – which brings the important distinction that starting a business from home isn’t always strictly online.

So this will tie into your big decision of weighing out your skills and resources, and whether it’s worth it to start a business that requires you to leave the house to perform your services.

(I know what you’re thinking… yes, this usually means you’ll have to put on pants.)

As you learn how to run a service-based business, you can choose to have your own branded website or operate through a third-party website that connects providers and customers.

Third-party websites for freelancers and other service providers include Upwork, Freelancer, 99designs, and several others that we’ll discuss in Chapter 4.

freelance service upwork

These marketplaces can be helpful, as they connect the right business with the right customer. As you can imagine, they can really streamline the steps for how to start a home business.

Some of these websites also provide protection to make sure that you get paid for your services, which can be harder when you’re doing everything yourself.

Who Are These Business Owners?

You didn’t think we’d move on without giving you some service-based business examples, did you?

stay at home momThe Stay-at-Home Mom: Taylor actually hates the concept of a stay-at-home mom. She doesn’t see the need to choose between a career and nurturing a family. So she took her knack for social media and turned it into an internet marketing business that she runs while running after her kids.

the self made teacherThe Self-Made Teacher: Tomás is incredibly passionate about (not to mention incredibly good at) playing and teaching guitar. He also has a unique, magnetic, and sincere personality. That’s why, when he made a series of online guitar lesson courses, he was an instant success. His course sales earn him passive income even while he sleeps.

The Retired 9-to-5er: Isabella spent many years in the rat race, climbing her way up the Wall Street corporate ladder. But she was exhausted. Now, she uses her expert knowledge and impressive experience to run her own freelance financial consultant and advisor business from her living room.

1.2. Is a Home-Based Business Right for Me?

By now, your gears are probably turning as you consider how to make money from home in a way that suits your lifestyle and skillset.

Some new entrepreneurs are so eager to get started that they completely bypass this step of really examining the details to make sure it’s a good fit.

Don’t be one of those people.

Here are some questions to ask yourself while considering how to start your home business:

  • How many hours per day do I have to give to this business?
  • Do I have any obstacles, challenges, or circumstances that I have to work around?
  • Do I want a hands-on business, or one that can be more autonomous?
  • Can I monetize my favorite hobbies and passions, or my best skills and talents?
  • How much money and resources can I invest in building the business’s infrastructure or buying supplies?
  • Do I have any resources that I can repurpose toward starting this business?
  • Can/should I look for funding to get off the ground as I master how to make money from home?
  • How much risk can I afford to take when it comes to investing my time, money, and resources?
  • Am I looking to make some quick money now, or build a sustainable, long-term company?
  • Am I prepared to take a short-term loss to help build a long-term plan?
  • Do I want to expand in the future and possibly hire employees?
  • Is there something unique or special about my business idea(s)? Can I compete with existing businesses?
  • Do I know the logistics of getting my idea off the ground, or do I need help? Think legal issues, finances, working with other parties like suppliers, etc.

These questions might help you brainstorm ideas for how to make money at home. As you read through them, make notes on how to start a home business that suits your individual needs and abilities.

Different businesses lend themselves to unique needs and requirements.

But in virtually any case, you’ll need to work out logistics like a business plan, finances, services and contracts, assembling a team (if needed), and the like.

home based business checklist


But there are more basic decisions to make when you’re in the initial brainstorming phase.

For example, a service-based business can’t function unless you’re spending your time on providing that service. That means that your income is limited to how much time you have to work.

Whereas if you run a dropshipping ecommerce business, you can make money from home online whenever someone buys something. Even if they buy at 3 a.m. when you’re snoozing away.

This is not the case if you’re a travel planner: your client’s vacation won’t plan itself while you’re sleeping!

(Of course, if your service-based business grows large enough for you to hire employees, this is a different story. But we’re working on the assumption that for now, you’ll be starting out solo as you learn the basics of how to make money from home with your new business.)

1.3. How to Make Money from Home Without Investment?

Most of us don’t have $10,000 dollars laying around to start a new business. So it’s no shocker if you’re wondering if you can make money online without investment.

make money online without investment.

The good news: Yes, it’s totally possible. However, there is a bit of a catch.

While there are plenty of ways to make profits without investing money, you’ll obviously need to devote some time and effort.

This ties into the next section, where we discuss scams that promise a huge payoff with little or no effort. Spoiler alert: This is usually not the case.

[highlight]Generally speaking, the simplest ways to make money online without investment involve providing a service, like the ones we discussed earlier in this chapter. When you move into the product side of how to make money from home, you may need to invest in overhead costs like purchasing items or software. But even in these cases, it can involve relatively little investment.[/highlight]


In the service side of things, it’s made much simpler when you’re going through a third party site that helps connect people and relevant jobs. For example, with freelance sites like Fiverr and PeoplePerHour, all you need to do is sign up for your account, build out a profile, and start applying for jobs.

If you’re flying solo without the help of a third party site, figuring out how to make money from home will play out a bit differently. You might choose to start with friends or family as your first clients, or build a business through word-of-mouth.

On the product side of things, you’ll need items to sell. And you’ll need to make sure they’re getting to customers efficiently.

This means you might need to purchase from a supplier if you’re not making the items yourself. You might also need a tool to help simplify and automate the whole process, from order to delivery.

Consider a dropshipping business. Paul Lee, the 21-year-old maverick entrepreneur from HUSKYBEARD says:

– Paul Lee, Dropshipping Entrepreneur

“Be comfortable with losing at least $500 before you start to become profitable. Opening up an actual retail store involves spending near $10,000 before any revenue comes in, so spending only $500 on an ecommerce business is an extremely small investment that can change your life.”

And this mindset paid off as HUSKYBEARD made more than $100,000 in revenue its first year in business.

Huskybeard earnings

Marketing: The Unexpected Yet Important Cost

A common mistake when learning how to make money from home is the belief that once you’re rolling, the business will build itself.

Don’t make this mistake.

It’s critical that you have a plan in place to help get exposure for your business.

This is where the costs can really rack up. But the good news is that you don’t have to spend thousands on marketing. There are plenty of things you can do by yourself, with no financial cost.

For example, social media has made word-of-mouth marketing easier than ever. And you’ll be surprised how much business you can generate with some top-quality marketing content like blogs, infographics, webinars, and podcasts.


We’ll discuss marketing a bit more in Chapter 2, so stay tuned.

1.4. Avoiding Scams 101

It’s safe to say that scams have been around as long as human interaction. I would imagine that even cavemen fell victim to scams when it came time for hunters and gatherers to trade wild berries for saber-tooth tiger meat.

When starting a business from home, you might encounter scammers. In this section, we’ll discuss how to make money from home without falling for online scams.

Let’s go over some of the warning signs that an online opportunity might be a big fat scam.

Top Signs of an Online Scam

The general rule of thumb is to be very weary of an opportunity that requires you to pay before you can get started. This is one million times truer when they ask you to wire them money through a company like Western Union.

Just. Don’t. Do. It.

There are, of course, some exceptions to this. For example, a website like might ask you to pay for a membership that gives you access to premium job listings or profile options. This in turn opens your options for how to make money from home as a home-based caregiver.

Perfectly legit.

Another top reason to be weary is exaggerated claims or anything that promises an unrealistic profit margin. I hate to break it to you, but you’re probably not going to make $2,000 your first week doing anything.

home based business scams

My favorite part is when obviously scammy websites have names like “”.

Other signs include:

    • Asking you for personal information, like your social security, driver’s license, credit card, or checking account numbers
    • One-time fees that don’t seem to offer any logic or function, or they ask you to pay for training, a credit report, etc.
    • Getting a job immediately after you apply, with barely any interviewing or screening
    • The ‘bait-and-switch’, where they tell you that the job you applied for doesn’t exist, but then they offer you something completely different
    • Vague job requirements, descriptions, and information about how they’ll pay you
    • High-paying jobs that don’t require any experience
    • Flashy, obnoxious, and unprofessional looking websites, emails, and other materials
    • No contact information on the website or company materials
    • Your gut telling you that something isn’t right

 how to start a home business without scam

[highlight]Always do your research online, including trying to look up the company on the Better Business Bureau website. The BBB also has tons of articles and tips on making sure you’re not getting scammed.[/highlight]


Chapter 1 Takeaways

  • Generally speaking, your options for starting a business from home are to choose a product-based business selling physical items, or service-based business selling your skills or talents.
  • Give it a lot of thought during the brainstorming process: Do you have the time, money, resources, and knowledge to do it right? Look closely at all your options and goals. Don’t go after an idea that doesn’t fit with your current or expected life situation.
  • It’s possible to make money online without investment (especially with a service-based business), though you should pad in some funding depending on the type of business you want to start. Also, consider extra for short-term and long-term marketing costs.

If you’re applying for positions or gigs online, keep your guard up. Pay attention to details, do your research on the company, don’t fall for unrealistic offers, and never give them any money or personal info without fully investigating.

Making Money Online

We’ve looked at the two main types of home-based businesses (product-based and service-based). We’ve also planted the seeds to get your hamster wheel turning about which business to choose for making money online.

Now that you’ve got an introduction to how other people make money from home, we can get to the juicy part.

It’s all about you now.

Making money online is easier – and more fun – when you choose the right idea for your business. There are a number of ways to make money online, but which kind of business suits you best?

I can’t stress enough how important it is to think hard about all of your ideas and whether they’re a good fit for you in the long run.

Of course, we can’t all be millionaires from our favorite hobby. But picking an online business is about balance: you have to balance what you’re good at with what you actually enjoy doing. Otherwise it’s just another recipe for a job you dread every morning when your alarm goes off.

So, let’s think about how your talents, skills and interests can help you earn money online with your new business.

Do you have a gorgeous garden? Maybe you can start a gardening blog or how-to YouTube channel.

Are you obsessed with making salt water taffy? Consider a home-based candy business.

Is creative writing one of your top pastimes? Try ghostwriting for book authors.

For some people, going after their hobby or passion will be the easiest way to earn money online. However, it’s not that easy for all of us.

And that’s okay.

In this chapter, we’ll go more in-depth into the different ways to make money online and what it might take for you to try them. We’ll also talk about how to find the perfect business idea that fits with your lifestyle and interests, as well as some strategies to market your new business (because marketing is essential to making money, both online and offline!)

2.1. How to Make Money Online: The Basics

We’ve talked a bit about the two main types of home-based business: product-based and service-based. To find the easiest way to earn money online, you’ll need to choose which one is better for you.

It’s important that you focus on just one opportunity – at least for now. If you try to do too many things at once, it just gets harder. The easiest way to earn money online is to devote your time and resources to one idea, rather than spreading yourself thin.

First, you’ll need to meet the goals you’ve set for the first idea (which we’ll talk more about in this chapter). Then, once you see real success, you can think about expanding into other ways to make money online.

First things first: should you go with product-based or service-based?

Deciding Product-Based vs. Service-Based

For some people, this decision is obvious. For many, it isn’t.

product vs service home based business idea


Here are some basic considerations:

Product-Based Considerations Service-Based Considerations
  • Potential upfront costs like buying and warehousing inventory
  • Must manage your inventory if you’re not doing dropshipping
  • Will need to work closely with third parties like suppliers and logistics companies
  • Need an aesthetic, functional website that must always be maintained
  • Should always be working to refine product offerings based on performance and demand
  • Often more autonomous than service-based businesses, as online stores run on their own
  • Need to consider laws and regulations like taxes in different states and international shipping
  • Potentially no overhead costs, especially for freelancing
  • Online business models can be location-independent, so you can work from anywhere
  • In-person, hands-on services like dog walking or catering are location-dependent
  • Getting paid may be more difficult, as most relationships charge after service is completed (and rely heavily on trust and contracts)
  • Making money online requires you to spend time working, unlike an ecommerce store which generates sales without your attention
  • Need to deal one-on-one with your clients to earn money from home, so you need sales and people skills

Now that you have an idea of what each will be like, let’s talk about setting the stage in terms of your attitude.

An Entrepreneur’s Mindset

I’m probably not the first to introduce this concept, but…

Starting a business is hard.

It’s easy to get sucked into the false promises of making thousands overnight. But the reality is that most new business owners make a lot of sacrifices as they face a lot of obstacles.

In one survey, business owners reported their top challenges as:

  • Lack of capital/cash flow (67%)
  • Marketing and advertising (28%)
  • Time management (24%)

top challenges for small business owners

Constant challenges like these are why an entrepreneur’s mindset is – and must be – a lot different than a consumer’s mindset. In the consumer’s mind, money is traded for stuff. In the entrepreneur’s mind, money (as well as time and other resources) is traded for assets.

And assets are the gift that keep on giving.

the entrepreneur's mindset


These can come as nights spent lying in bed, stressing over your website unexpectedly crashing. Or having to miss your child’s soccer playoff or dance recital. Or asking yourself if the payoff later will really be worth all the work you’re putting in now.

The bottom line is that making money online is hard work. To create a sustainable online business, you must be ready to work your buns off.

You’ll also need to be resourceful. Network. Talk to people. Pick their brains. Scrounge the internet for resources for entrepreneurs. Read books and articles about your ideas. Listen to podcasts and interviews. Take notes from what you see other people doing right or wrong.

Take a look at our article on 13 habits of successful entrepreneurs for more insight.

Having a flexible, creative, and dedicated attitude helps with every aspect of the process. It even helps before you’ve chosen your niche.

Which brings me to my next point.

2.2. Which Products Should I Sell?

Maybe you’re leaning toward a product-based business where you sell items instead of services. If so, you’ll want to do your research to pick good products.

Ones that are popular while still making profit outside of your overhead and operation costs.

Ideally, you find the sweet spot, which is a mix between:

    • Industry growth
    • Product demand and opportunity
    • Customer lifetime value

sweet selling spot ecommerce


Let’s discuss some different product types and how you can choose a good idea as you explore what can earn money online.

Commoditized vs. Niche Products

The first question to ask: will you go for a commoditized or niche product?

Commoditized product: Common, everyday items that we all need or use. These include clothes, food, toys for kids, sports equipment for adults, etc.

Think of the kinds of bulk manufactured stuff you’d find in big retailers and online shops. They might be made by big brands like Nestle, Pfizer, Kraft Foods, and L’Oreal.

Niche product: Specialized, unique products that serve a special set of customers. Niche products include one-of-a-kind products, handmade items like jewelry or desserts, and other items that aren’t usually available in big stores.

The kinds of stuff you’d find at a Sunday farmer’s market or an Etsy store. You know, made with love instead of a manufacturing plant.

[highlight]If you make your own niche products and you want to earn money online by selling them, then this will be an easy decision for you. You can skip ahead to Chapter 3, where we’ll talk about how to sell your products from home.[/highlight]


But if you want to start a dropshipping business or some other kind of ecommerce store, you have more things to consider.

How do you choose products that are hot right now, but will still be strong in the long run?

How to Find Products to Sell

When looking for ways to earn money online via selling products, there are some steps to follow for thorough research.

[highlight]Pro tip: As you’re going through the steps, write your answers and ideas down in a notebook or spreadsheet file. Trust me – you’ll be glad you did.[/highlight]

1. Do Some Brainstorming

When deciding what to sell online, ask yourself brainstorming questions like:

  • What hobbies do I have, and what products are needed to support that hobby?
  • Am I buying for leisure or pleasure?
  • Do I find myself buying utility-based products for a specific function?
  • Which products do I think are cool, but I don’t have the lifestyle to justify supporting them?
  • Do I want to sell items like these, that I’d want to buy myself? Or do I want to sell items that I know people will buy, regardless of my personal preferences?

At the end of the day, these are the most important questions (so the answers should be yes!):

  • Is there a real demand for these products at my needed price point?
  • Can I profit based on the demand?
  • Will I be able to fulfill all these orders, and do marketing, at a reasonable cost?

2. Browse and Observe Online

Take a peek at what the internet has to say about your initial ideas and how they stack up against trending products. Go to other online stores and look closely at their best sellers, promotions, and daily deals.

For example:

When something piques your interest, add it to your list. And check back frequently, as most of these sites update hourly or daily.

ways to make money online with amazon best sellers

These stores have massive amounts of data. Use it to your advantage.

In addition to other online stores, check out social media channels like:

3. Check Google Trends

Google Trends allows you to see how popular a search term is over a specific timeframe you want to look at. This can help you validate your idea.

When choosing products to sell based on trend, you can choose from:

Products that have steadily been on the rise, maybe over several years. This shows increasing demand, but might mean that you have a lot of competition from other entrepreneurs who want to make money off that item too.

Google Trends Rising Demand

Products that have seen a sharp, recent increase in demand. You can capitalize off these new hot trends by being among the first in the market. But be careful: these can go out of style just as fast. If you don’t have a flexible business model, this can mean disaster.

Products that have had a steady line of popularity for a while. These are ‘safer’ products as customer demand seems stable. This might equate to good sales for you. However, the market might already be saturated with sellers and extra competition.

Products that are declining in popularity. It might seem obvious that you shouldn’t try to sell anything that’s declining. But in some cases, you could benefit from being the last seller standing. In this scenario, buyers will turn to you because it’s so difficult to find the product elsewhere. So, capitalizing on a fading trend could ultimately help you earn more money online.

4. Note Products to Avoid

Some entrepreneurs might tell you to stay away from fad items. Some might tell you to stay away from items that are declining in popularity.

The real secret is that there’s no hard-and-fast rule.

It will take some consideration and careful attention to detail when deciding how to make money online with your business. Each option has its special set of pros and cons that must be weighed.

But in general, there are a few things you should really stay away from.

These include items that are:

  • Copyrighted
  • Restricted
  • Banned
  • Highly regulated
  • Blacklisted by your payment processor

Don’t Make a Rush Decision

You’re probably excited to start making money online.

But don’t rush it.

What’s popular today may not be popular tomorrow. You don’t want to set up a business that will just blow over in a few months.

This is what happens to business owners who start their business too soon after they ask the initial question, “How can I make money online?”

If you’re serious about making real money online, put a lot of thought and time into your business idea.Take the time to really explore what’s practical and realistic.

[highlight]For more tips, check out our resource on finding the right products. We’ll also go more in-depth into other tools like Oberlo in Chapter 3, so stay tuned.[/highlight]


2.3. Which Service Should I Offer?

You could say that choosing a service niche is a bit more ‘personal’ than choosing a product niche.

In a product-based business, your brand and reputation is built on your storefront. But in a service-based business, your brand is often you. It’s your identity.

It’s also different because offering a service means that you’re not going to earn money online unless you’re actively performing that service.

So just a warning: if you don’t really enjoy what you’re offering (or you’re not at least comfortable with it), you might find yourself unhappy or frustrated down the road.

With that said, you should be looking for services based on a Venn diagram model of three intersecting traits:

  1. What people will pay for
  2. Things you enjoy doing
  3. Anything you’re good at

service based venn diagram


Ideally, you’ll be able to choose a unique service business idea that fits all three. But you should aim for two at the least.

Let’s look at how to slice and dice these elements.

How to Choose Your Service Niche

Here are some steps you can follow when you’re learning how to choose a service niche to earn money online.

[highlight]Pro tip: As with any brainstorming, research, and critical thinking activity, make sure you’re writing these down so you have a physical list. Make a literal Venn diagram to see where your ideas intersect![/highlight]


1. Brainstorm Your Interests and Talents

To identify your interests, hobbies, and passions, ask yourself questions like:

  • What do I like to do in my free time?
  • Which books, magazines, newsletters, websites, TV shows, podcasts, etc. do I prefer? What’s their typical subject matter?
  • What do I look forward to most during my current work day?
  • Are there any work projects where I go above and beyond, just because I want to?
  • How do I express my creativity at home? At work?
  • What has always seemed fun and interesting, but I never had the time or resources to learn more about it?
  • Do my hobbies align with common hobbies that make money online?

To identify your talents, ask questions like:

  • Which work tasks are easiest to me, which others might struggle with?
  • What skills have I learned quickly without needing to put in too much time or effort?
  • Which skills am I often complimented on?
  • What do people come to me for help with?
  • Going back to my academic days, which subjects was I always good at? Which classes did I enjoy most?
  • Do I have any of the common skills that earn money online?

Now, you can use these as more ammo to answer the question, “How can I make money online?”

2. Look for a Specific Problem to Solve

The best way to catch potential customers’ attention is to tell them exactly how you can help them.

In many cases, clients aren’t necessarily looking for ‘a digital marketer’. Instead, they’re asking, “Who can manage my company’s social media pages?”

Take your skills and interests and apply them to specific, actionable services that clients need. This way, you’re in a much better position to beat your competition and start earning some money online.

Look for problems by doing things like:

  • Having interviews and conversations with people who are in your target market. Do you have a friend or colleague who needs graphic design work done? Learn why and what they’re looking for. (Keep these contacts in your back pocket. Maybe they’ll be some of your first clients!)
  • Searching online forums like Quora for discussions related to your ideas. What questions are people asking and what are the top answers?
  • Searching freelance job post websites like Upwork and Fiverr for related listings.

ways to make money online with fiverr

3. Use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner

The Google AdWords Keyword Planner can help you see two main things:

  • Search volume: How popular a certain search is (which basically means how many potential clients you might have)
  • Competition: How many other service providers are trying to snatch up those clients

Ideally, your service idea will have at least 1,000 monthly searches and low competition. And once you input a keyword idea, Google will also recommend some similar ones for more ideas.

Say you love surfing and want to start an instructional YouTube channel or blog for beginners.

freelance google adwords

You can see that keywords for learning how to surf fit snugly into this range. So this keyword has passed the keyword test for a viable service!

4. Scope out the Existing Niche

See what other service providers are doing in this realm. This will help you get an idea of what it will take if you decide to earn online by providing a service in this niche.

One of the best ways to do this is a good ol’ Google search.

Type in your search term and see what the top-ranking websites are saying.

Take a look at the videos and articles that are coming up, as well as how many search results you see.

research competitors on google

To build off the surfing example, we can see videos discussing things like:

  • 5 things to know when you start surfing
  • Natural surf techniques
  • 6 mistakes every beginner surfer makes
  • The best places to learn to surf around the world
  • 10 easy steps to learn how to surf

This will give you more ideas of what you’d be up against if you tried to join this niche.

Training and Certifications

Say you have a more technical interest or hobby, but you’re not confident that your ability will help you earn any money online. Don’t fret – there are loads of online courses and programs that you can take to build up your skills.

Here are some awesome educational resources to help you improve your skills and earn from them:

online education websites


The cost of these resources depend on what you’re looking for. Some of them are free, and prices go up depending on the website and how in-depth you want to learn.

Some websites allow you to buy individual courses, while some have an all-access membership where you can pay a monthly fee to access all courses.

Earning on the internet with your services is easier when you’ve had some kind of skills training, so take advantage of what’s on offer.

2.4. The Importance of Marketing

In today’s competitive economy, the average store owner or freelancer can’t afford the luxury of sponsored advertising, let alone stand out from established companies that can.

But, in order to earn money online, you need to prioritize marketing. Without a marketing strategy of some kind, it will be incredibly difficult.

The good news is that you have several low-cost marketing techniques available at your disposal. (And you don’t need to hire an agency to start out.)

Post in Relevant Forums & Social Media Groups

You’re probably present in at least one forum and social media group (perhaps a Facebook group), right?

Consider using these channels for marketing a product or service.

Most forums and social media groups are free to join and have a simple process for profile registration.

Of course, you’d want to participate in forums/groups relevant to your business. Here’s how to find them.

Use Social Media Search

From the thousands of groups out there, only a handful are useful to each business owner, so it’s critical to select wisely.

From your home page on Facebook or LinkedIn, type keywords related to your profession or industry into the Search bar. Once the search window opens, be sure to choose the ‘Groups’ tab to filter the results.

For example, you’d get the following results if you search for ‘freelance writing’.

freelance writing

Look for mid-sized to large groups – at least a few thousand people – so that you can introduce your business to a sizable audience.

Use Google

This is easy. Write the name of your niche/industry in Google followed by one of the following keywords:

  • forum
  • forums
  • group
  • groups

The search engine will present you with a list of forums and social media groups specific to the nature of your business. In addition, you might come across curated lists compiled by influencers or authoritative blogs.

For example, if you’re in the business of selling drones, you can search for ‘best drone forums’ or ‘top drone forums’.

ways to make money online sell products

See the activity on the forum or group you wish to join, register a profile using your business name, and start promoting your services and products.

Which Groups & Forums Should I Join?

Ideally, you should take part in:

Market Yourself in Forums & Groups to Earn Money Online

Once you’ve joined the ideal forums and groups, follow these tips to market your business:

  • Check the rules. Make sure you know what is and isn’t kosher.
  • Focus on helping others. Answer questions. Leave links to helpful resources. Do something for free to earn meaningful connections.
  • Be approachable. Tell people they can send you a private message if they’d like to know more. That’s your sweet spot for marketing a product or service to earn money online.

Build a Portfolio or Online Store

This might seem pretty obvious, but an online portfolio or ecommerce site is essential if you want to earn good money on the Internet.

If you lack the resources to pull off a well-designed portfolio, consider signing up for a service like Carbonmade or Behance.

To create an online store, consider using Shopify. It’s packed with a host of features that allow entrepreneurs of all backgrounds to sell products online from home.

Here are some key elements of a strong website:

  • Easy-to-read content
  • Beautiful images
  • Clean design
  • Excellent usability
  • Highlights your best work
  • Makes it easy for prospects to contact you directly

Understand SEO Basics

SEO, or search engine optimization, is a time-tested technique that improves your website’s rank in searches that people make on Google. The aim is to drive organic traffic to your website, i.e. visitors that you get without running paid advertising.

SEO can be categorized into two key elements: on-site SEO and off-site SEO.

On-site SEO includes tasks like internal linking, adding keywords to your title, updating your meta description, using visuals like videos and images, and updating your content for freshness.

SEO basics for ecommerce


Off-site SEO includes activities like link building, social optimization and outreach. A website owner reaches out to other sites of (ideally) a higher authority to link to his/her site.

[highlight] If you’re new to SEO, I recommend giving this chapter from Oberlo’s ‘Dropshipping 101’ ebook a read. It has an individual section on SEO, dedicated to beginners. [/highlight]


If you can get these factors to work together, you can obviously improve your website’s rank in Google. Better rankings mean more people will come across your service or product as they browse the internet. That’s one of the most cost-friendly ways to earn money online.

While SEO is important, remember: it’s not a cure-all, but rather another awesome tool for your toolbox.

Send Cold Emails

As a store owner or freelancer, you can spend some of your free time sending cold emails. To send them, all you need are the email addresses of:

Potential clients: Those interested in hiring freelancers.

Influencers: Authoritative figures or experts with a large number of followers.

But, how do you find those email addresses?

1. Use Google

These days, email addresses of influencers and potential employers can be found on the internet. All you have to do is write an influencer’s or recruiter’s name on Google, followed by one of the following key phrases:

  • ‘contact information’
  • ‘email address’

Test it yourself. Let’s assume you’re a freelance writer and you want a shout out from Carol Tice, who is a pretty big name in the freelance writing industry.

You can search for her email by writing ‘Carol Tice contact information’ or ‘Carol Tice email address’ in Google.

2. Use LinkedIn

Even with the free version of LinkedIn, you can often message prospects without being their connection. If you want to know their email, check out their LinkedIn profile. Most of the time, their profile description will include their email ID.

3. Use Clearbit Connect

Out of all email discovery tools, I recommend using Clearbit Connect to find an individual’s email address. Having tested it a number of times, I find it quite useful.

art of sending cold emails

Chapter 2 Takeaways

  • First things first: choose the kind of business you want to start based on your lifestyle, resources, capabilities, skills, and interests. Make sure your head is on straight and that you’re mentally prepared for all the hard work that comes with earning online.
  • To start a product-based business, search online to see what types of products are making sales these days and whether those align with any of your personal preferences or interests. Don’t jump the gun and choose a niche before you’re sure you can make a profit.
  • To start a service-based business, try to get the magical center spot of the Venn diagram by balancing what you love to do, what you’re good at going, and what people will pay for. Then do your research to see what it takes and what you’re up against.
  • When it comes to making money with your online business, marketing simply can’t be overlooked. Try getting creative with social media, Google searches, web forums, SEO basics, and reaching out to individuals who might be interested in your offerings.





How to Sell Products from Home

If you’re leaning toward selling physical or digital products from home, this is your chapter. Maybe you think that none of your hobbies are worth trying to monetize for a service-based business. Perhaps you want to sell your own belongings or arts and crafts projects. Maybe you decided that by finding products to sell from home, you’ll have more flexibility and freedom in the long run.

In any event, selling products online from home can be a great way to build a steady, profitable business for the future.

Depending on which option you choose, there are some things to consider for each. For example, you’ll want to get familiar with the different mediums and channels that you can use to sell successfully.

Who knows, maybe your social media skills can translate into a killer business that makes most of its sales on platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Or maybe your best option is to go the traditional route, building an online storefront and managing your own inventory.

Let’s go into the possibilities, shall we?

In this chapter, we’ll discuss the basics of how to sell products from home. We’ll go over dropshipping, which is one of the best low investment ecommerce strategies. We’ll also talk about setting up and managing a traditional ecommerce store, as well as other ways to sell online through Amazon and other marketplaces. Then, we’ll give you some ideas of the top things to sell from home.

3.1. Low Investment Strategy: Dropshipping

Many fresh-faced entrepreneurs shy away from selling products online from home due to the initial start-up costs.

But picture if you could have someone handle all your logistics, and pay your inventory invoices upfront on thousands of items.

It wouldn’t burn a hole in your pocket. And you could stop fretting over packaging, stock-outs, and shipping.

This all seems like a distant, implausible dream, doesn’t it?

It isn’t, if you know the art of dropshipping.

Dropshipping is where you find products to sell online from home and take orders. Your supplier then ships the items directly to your customer.

For the business owner, this is a hands-off process. The merchant doesn’t have to purchase inventory or manage shipments. Instead, the third party supplier handles fulfillment itself.

Since dropshipping doesn’t involve many commitments, selling items from home involves minimal hassle. (More playtime with the kids!)

This is what it looks like in practice:

  • You get an order on your website.
  • Dropshipping supplier gets an alert.
  • The merchant pays a part of the total purchase price to the supplier.
  • Your dropshipping supplier finds the item, packages it, and adds an invoice with your name. The product is then shipped to the customer.

This section will show you how to sell products from home through dropshipping. It will lay out all the steps you need to take to get started.

You’ll learn how to create an online store and import products into it. I’ll also guide you through the process of choosing a dropshipping supplier. In addition, you’ll get a clear blueprint detailing how to generate traffic for your store.

Create Your Online Store

[highlight]Though dropshipping is one of the most inexpensive ways to make money online, it requires proper incorporation. This means getting an employer identification number (EIN) and a business license. Read this detailed guide on how to make your business official. If the legalities start to overwhelm you, don’t worry. You can always consult a tax advisor or certified public accountant (CPA) if you’re ever feeling stuck. [/highlight]


In the past, you had to buy a server, install ecommerce software, hire someone to code, and pay for maintenance. It was time-consuming, costly, and the outcome was a clunky and ineffective store.

Today, this isn’t a problem.

With Shopify, you can establish an online storefront in a few clicks. Once you do, you’re only responsible for its appearance and functionality. The server configuration and maintenance is taken care of by the vendor.

Visit Shopify’s website, select ‘Start your free trial’, enter a name for your store, and choose ‘Create your store’.

make money online from home with shopify

[highlight]Struggling to come up with an intriguing name? Try Oberlo’s business name generator.[/highlight]


Your store will always remain a work in progress. You’ll add/change products, install new plugins, change the design, etc. That said, you can build the framework and foundation for your future customers and suppliers from the get-go.

Here’s how to prepare a Shopify store for dropshipping.

Create Standard & Basic Policy Pages

Your store’s pages are the only way to show what you have to offer. So build out standard pages and required policies that indicate you’re ready for business. The following pages should be enough to begin with: About Us, Contact Us and Shipping & Delivery.

To build a page, go to ‘Online Store’ within your Shopify dashboard, select ‘Pages’, and click ‘Add Page.

  • About Us: People visit this page to learn more about a merchant. You can keep it short for the time being.
  • Contact Us: Making it easy for customers to reach you is important. To do this, insert a visible ‘Contact Us’ or ‘Contact Me’ link on your storefront’s homepage.
  • Shipping & Delivery: Includes details such as how many days it takes for an item to be delivered, where you ship your goods from, and with other information about shipping. Your dropshipping supplier will list timeframes and delivery costs which you can copy and paste on this page.

Install Dropshipping App & Add Products

Selling products online from home via dropshipping necessitates the support of dropshipping software. If you’re running on Shopify, choose Oberlo. It’s an app that enables merchants to add dropshipped goods to their store within minutes.

Every time you sell an item, Oberlo buys and ships it directly to your customer. Voilà.

However, you have to set up Oberlo before you start importing items to your store. Go to the app’s settings, configure your Price Multiplier (based on the margin you’d like to keep), and tweak other settings if necessary.

Here’s a walkthrough:

  1. In the Shopify App Store, search Oberlo. Click the ‘Get’ button.

home based business dropshipping

  1. Verify the info on the next screen, and click the ‘Install app’ button.

  1. You’re all set. To add items to your store, go to the left navigation pane and click ‘Search Products’.

Congratulations, your store is ready!

Use Oberlo to Find Products To Sell From Home

Some ecommerce entrepreneurs will spend hours scouring the web for the best things to sell from home.

But Oberlo makes it simple to search for popular items to add to your store.

The Oberlo marketplace connects you with suppliers across the world. You can find a huge variety of products and add them to your dropshipping store in just a few clicks.

add products from oberlo

Find Dropshipping Suppliers

You are entirely dependent on suppliers for order fulfillment. But the problem is, until recently, it was a difficult task to make sure you were finding the right products from suppliers who are guaranteed to be reliable.

But don’t worry. There are several ways to find quality manufacturers and wholesalers who dropship. And with the help of certain tools and resources, you can separate the good from the bad to optimize your dropshipping business.

The best way to go about it is to use various channels to find the right types of products to sell online, then use Oberlo to add them to your store.

Let’s dive in.

1. Use Oberlo Verified Suppliers

If you want an easy way to discover top-performing suppliers, look for suppliers that have been verified by Oberlo.

Oberlo Verified connects merchants with suppliers who have been providing the best quality service over an extended period of time.

Below are some of the key attributes that describe an Oberlo Verified supplier:

  • 95% on-time ship rate
  • Successfully processed 1,000+ orders through Oberlo
  • Offer automated one-click order shipping
  • Faster support due to the direct relationship with the Oberlo team
  • Warehouses, working conditions, and business contacts and addresses checked by Oberlo
  • Product and shipping capacity verified by Oberlo
  • Dedicated staff to ensure on-time delivery
  • Dispute rates lower than 2%
  • 100% dedicated to dropshipping – no promotional content in their packaging

You’ll never have to stress about finding quality suppliers – they’ve already been handpicked for you. The feature is exclusive to Oberlo app users.

This can be your final step in the process: look around online to find the right types of products for your store, then pop into Oberlo and choose verified suppliers who sell those items.

Let’s look at some other searching tools and techniques to bring you to this final step.

2. Search Supplier Directories

Certain directories list suppliers in all types of niches. Directories are a trusted resource because they screen vendors before featuring them. They’re convenient because store owners can look up suppliers by product type or niche.

Most supplier directories will connect you with wholesalers with the capacity to fulfill a large number of orders.

If you want to save time, here are some of the most noteworthy and reputable directories:

  • Wholesale Central – Offers free contact and search filters to merchants. No registration needed.
  • Toptenwholesale – A trade board that lists wholesale importers, distributors, suppliers, and resellers of both new and second-hand items.
  • Worldwide Brands – Provides a massive database of top-level wholesalers. Lifetime membership fee is $299.

supplier directories

[highlight]If you’re serious about making money online with dropshipping, Worldwide Brands is one of the best directories for locating quality suppliers. Top suppliers make it easy to streamline the fulfillment process.[/highlight]


3. Initiate Direct Contact

You might as well contact the source (aka the manufacturer). This strategy is easy to execute and only requires a few calls. By going directly to the source of the product, you might be able to secure the lowest price.

If a manufacturer only sells through well-known distribution platforms, ask them for a list of distributors. This informs you who the most reputable distributors are, so you’re required to make little or no effort to validate them.

Traits of a Reliable Supplier

The supplier discovery process seems fascinating and ripe with opportunity, but how do you know if a supplier is legitimate? Short of buying a ticket and visiting their factory, here are four qualities of a great supplier.

1. Lists Pre-Order Fee

While no legitimate supplier will request a monthly fee for doing business with them, many of them charge pre-order fees. On average, it ranges from $1 to $5 USD, depending on the complexity and size of the products.

2. Accepts Orders Via Email

Top suppliers are open to taking orders via email, which will be a blessing when you’re selling products online from home in large numbers.

3. Is Transparent with Inventory

The ability to adopt transparency of the existing inventory is an indication of a supplier’s commitment to you as a store owner.

4. Shows Competency with Order Fulfillment

Place a couple of test orders to see how a supplier operates under deadlines. The best suppliers send out tracking information within a day or two and maintain consistent delivery times.  

Real Life Dropshipping Success Story for Inspiration

Latvia-based teenage entrepreneur Matīss always wondered how to make money from home without a lot of investment, until he discovered dropshipping.

Dropshipping seemed like a simple business model he could manage out of his bedroom. He also liked that he didn’t need to decide what he wanted to sell right away. Plus, he had the option to test out several items to see what was trending.

Using Oberlo to add products to his store streamlined the process. The app let him import products into his Shopify store. Then, he could write product descriptions, set his own retail price, and promote them to his target market.

Within six months, his ecommerce store Artsy Wall generated $70,000 USD in revenue. From this, he saw an average profit of $3,000 USD per month.

You can read the entire story here.

3.2. Traditional Ecommerce Store

The alternative to owning a dropshipping business is a conventional ecommerce store. This business model is merely a store owner buying, packing, and delivering ordered inventory that they physically hold either in a warehouse or at home.

There are some distinct benefits of having stock on hand.

products to sell from home

For example, holding inventory allows you to fulfill orders as soon as they’re received. Plus, the stock can be monitored in real time.

However, on-hand inventory requires a storage area. This won’t be a problem if you’re planning to sell pencils, makeup, toothbrushes, and other small-sized items.

For larger products like a billiard table or sofa set, the cost of keeping inventory typically includes the cost of a physical location (a warehouse on rent or mortgage).

Here’s how to sell products from home with a traditional ecommerce store.

Set Up Your Online Store

You can use the same ecommerce software – Shopify – to set up a web shop. Because it’s a turn-key platform, it’s great for work-at-home entrepreneurs who don’t have someone with coding knowledge by their side.

That said, there are a few additional things you need to do to get your store up and running.

Add Products

Adding products in your Shopify store is a vital step to getting your business off the ground. After all, the goal of an online store is to sell. Open your Shopify dashboard, select ‘Products’ from the left-hand pane, and click ‘Add product’ to get started.

adding products to online store

Enter the product’s name and come up with a unique description of the product. Choose your words wisely to entice people to buy your items.

Next, upload a stunning image of your product. Great visuals are key to convincing customers to spend, so select them carefully.

You’ll also get the option to enter the price, stock-keeping unit/quantity of the product you have available (SKU), weight, and available variants in terms of size and color.

Generate Necessary Policies

Shopify has a built-in tool for creating terms and conditions, standard return, and privacy policies. You can access it by going to Settings > Checkout and scrolling down to Refund > Privacy > Terms of Service to generate a sample for each policy.

Activate Payments

Add your credit card or PayPal details under Settings > Payment providers. Later, you can add, remove, or change the way you want to take payments. For example, if you want to accept payments from other payment gateways.

Shopify also lets you receive payments outside of your online store. Select from bank transfer, money order, or COD (cash on delivery).

Other Things to Remember

  • Decide the scale of your operations beforehand. You could opt to sell internationally, nationally, or locally, depending on your access to different resources.
  • Test things out. Go to your store and buy a product as any customer would. That’ll allow you to see if everything is in order.
  • Use the marketing strategies from Chapter 2 to drive traffic to your store.
  • Consider buying a .com domain when you’re generating enough sales (by default, you get It helps with branding.

3.3. Other Tactics to Sell Online

Other than having your own online store, there are several online marketplaces and portals where you can sell your products. They’re designed to make the process easy for home-based business owners, as they require minimum technical skills and offer built-in marketing to a large pool of consumers.

But not every marketplace is a good fit for every product.

For instance, if you’ve chosen an original painting as one of the things to sell from home, listing it on Amazon might not be the best course of action. Instead, you might end up having a better chance of making a sale if you list it on Etsy.

Simply put, some marketplaces are better suited for general interest products that fulfill a wide variety of needs, while others are category-specific. To help you identify which online sales platforms are the best choice for you, let’s look at the most used marketplaces and how to sell products from home through each of them.

Amazon & eBay: General Marketplaces

General marketplaces like Amazon or eBay are great places to sell items with mass appeal. Both of these marketplaces have a global presence, a large customer base, and a range of tools to help people sell from home.

Typically Amazon and eBay are good for selling electronics, books, supplements, and other general interest items. Fees will vary depending on the number and volume of products you sell.

Etsy: Arts & Crafts Marketplace

Etsy is one of the leading marketplaces for vintage, crafty, and art-related products. It’s an excellent platform for sellers who make their own paintings, jewelry, etc.

For crafters who don’t have a lot of products to sell from home or want to be able to take time off, Etsy provides an option to set up collective shops. A few sellers come together and combine their goods to make a bigger store than they could set up separately.

In addition, Etsy offers a wholesale feature if you want to expand your business. Like Amazon and eBay, Etsy charges a fee per listing as well as a commission on every sale.

Read more about how to sell on Etsy.

Facebook, Instagram & Pinterest: Social Media Marketplaces

Facebook has a feature called Facebook Marketplace that offers an easy, convenient way to sell products in your area.

It’s similar to a classified listings site where you can reach thousands of people from your local community. You can sell items from washing machines to clothes and even real estate and vehicles.

People can also sell used items, and it’s easy for buyers to find relevant listings within their local area. Besides Facebook Marketplace, you can also use Instagram to sell on Instagram and Pinterest to sell products, both of which offer shopping functionality.

Read more about how to sell on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Pinterest.

Houzz: Home Improvement, Design & Décor Marketplace

Houzz connects buyers with both high-quality product vendors and professional service providers. Pending approval, you can get your merchandise in front of millions of people who often use Houzz to get ideas for a home design update.

And with the Houzz Shopify app, you can process orders from the marketplace and customize product specs in your Shopify store. In addition, it allows you to sync product information between the two automatically to update your listings from Shopify. Sellers pay a 15 percent commission on sales before returns.

Not On the High Street (NOTHS): Unique Products’ Marketplace

It’s a little tricky to define a ‘unique products’ marketplace’ as though it’s one type of thing, since every marketplace is unique. But in general, it’s a marketplace for custom-made, unusual, unique products that are curated for this portal.

NOTHS is popular for handpicked gift items that you won’t find in your typical ‘high street gifts store. This sort of platform is suited to merchants who have a knack for creative, quirky items.

You’ll have to apply as a merchant through their site. NOTHS has a one-time joining fee but no listing costs.

Whichever platform you like best, the same key factors will impact your final choice: product type, brand, and goals. When you decide how to sell products from home, consider those factors when making your decision. That way, you’ll have a better chance of finding the right sales channel for your business.

3.4. Top Products to Sell from Home

Now that I’ve explained how dropshipping and ecommerce stores work as a business model, it’s time to dive into the product selection process. With so many choices out there, this part of selling products online from home can feel overwhelming, to say the least.

The top dropshipping and ecommerce products share similar attributes.

When researching potential things to sell from home, look at products that cover these bases:

  • It’s difficult to guess the product’s price
  • The product is hard to find elsewhere
  • The product is unique and entices the visitor to click
  • People are happy to buy the product without too much research
  • The product’s cost allows for a decent profit

Speaking of what makes a good product, I’ve also compiled a list of top products to sell online from home, just to provide you with that extra boost if you’re still relatively new to online selling.

Folding Mirrors

Compact folding mirrors are perfect for light touchups while out and about. There’s a huge variety of folding mirrorsmany of which feature LED lights that are essential for looking at a cosmetic’s coloration and application from different angles.

Also, folding mirrors can be a great addition to online stores selling travel and beauty products. They’re easy to source and often purchased without much research done beforehand.

Smart Backpacks

With amenities like built-in battery packs, smart backpacks bring the modern-day conveniences of home to the open road. That’s why these backpacks can be useful for professionals – for instance, CEOs – who travel a lot.

Some models even allow users to find WiFi hotspots, enabling them to share Insta-worthy images of their trip more quickly. All of these features make smart backpacks a great product to sell from home.

LED Pet Collars

These unique accessories light up in the dark, keeping dogs/cats/other pets illuminated during nighttime.

That allows pet owners to keep track of their furry friends on long evening walks, as well as enhances their visibility to passing vehicles. If you’re looking to enter the pet accessories niche, give LED pet collars a try.


Shapewear helps people feel their best in all types of attire and all types of situations. It’s available in a variety of different shapes, sizes, and colors, so you can be sure to find some shapewear essentials that are a great fit for your brand.

Get in early and add these dropshipping products to your women’s lingerie or fashion store as your target audience begins to search for slim-fitting springtime fashion.

Flower Hair Accessories

With hotter days on the horizon, these floral accessories are perfect for young, style-loving females. They make a great accessory for bridal showers and during wedding festivities.

Besides that, they’re great for everyday outfits.

Flower hair accessories come in a wide range of sizes, colors, and styles, so you get the opportunity to experiment with your stock. Eventually, you should be able to find something that fits your brand.

Chapter 3 Takeaways

  • Dropshipping a great low investment strategy that allows you to run an ecommerce store without ever touching your inventory. This business model is very flexible, and Shopify and Oberlo make this process simple and streamlined.
  • Selling items from home with a traditional ecommerce store is easy with Shopify. Just follow the steps we discussed above and your store will be ready in minutes.
  • Instead of managing a full storefront, you might wish to sell on marketplaces like Amazon or Etsy. You can also find success by selling on social media channels like Facebook and Pinterest. These channels can be an incredibly easy way to connect with customers.
  • Consider selling trending items like folding mirrors, smart backpacks, LED pet collars, women’s shapewear, and flower hair accessories.

How to Be a Freelancer

Some people are saying that freelancing is the career style of the future. As a result, many people are wondering how to be a freelancer.

And the numbers show that freelancing is a solid idea.

A study from UpWork and Freelancers Union shows that in the next decade, more than half of America’s workforce will do freelance work. And 47% of millennials are already doing it.

Here are some more interesting findings from the study:

  • There are currently 57.3 million people who do some form of freelancing
  • At the current growth rate, experts predict that 86.5 million workers will go freelance
  • Freelancers contribute $1.4 trillion USD to the American economy
  • Freelancers have an average of 4.5 clients each month
  • 71% of those surveyed say that tech has helped them get more work over the past year

freelancers infographic


More and more people are finding that freelancing brings incredible flexibility, freedom, and the ability to earn some extra cash.

It’s also worth noting the downsides, though. Many freelancers say the biggest obstacles are finding work, keeping a steady and predictable income, and dealing with the lack of benefits they used to have when they worked for an employer.

While it’s true that finding clients and making steady income can be tough, it’s far from impossible.

And we’re here to help. I’ll show you an arsenal of tips and tactics to find work in different freelancing fields.

In this chapter, we’ll discuss how to become a freelancer. We’ll look at some key considerations for starting a business, including whether freelance marketplaces are really worth it. We’ll also look at some of the most popular services, including writing, photography, design, web development and marketing.

4.1. How to Be a Freelancer – Checklist

Learning how to be a freelancer is a lot of work.

That’s why we made a handy checklist to make sure you’re prepared.

Equipment & Environment
  • Reliable desktop or laptop computer [  ]
  • Fast, stable internet connection [  ]
  • An organized system to invoice clients and get paid fast [  ]
  • Special software, if needed (Photoshop for freelance graphic design, etc.) [  ]
  • Special equipment, if needed (camera for photography, etc.) [  ]
  • Space to concentrate – whether it’s a quiet library or a busy café [  ]
Client Communication
  • Create a statement of work (SOW) or contract for each client [  ]
  • Be responsive – answer all messages within 24 hours [  ]
  • Be clear about your deliverables and terms for each project [  ]
  • Use email over the phone or Skype so you have everything in writing – especially requests for changes to your original agreement [  ]
  • Avoid excuses and communicate delays as soon as there’s an issue [  ]
Time Management & Productivity
  • Plan your day and stick to the schedule [  ]
  • Don’t keep your email open all day – it’s distracting [  ]
  • Finish the most important tasks first every day [  ]
  • Take small breaks every 30 to 90 minutes to keep your mind fresh [  ]
  • Do a daily review of your performance [  ]

Let’s go over the basics of being a freelancer and unpack a few of these elements.

Are Freelance Marketplaces Worth It?

In short, yes.

At the very least, freelance marketplaces are good stepping stones to help build your client base and experience.

The biggest benefit is that they can help you find clients quicker than if you’re on your own.

They also ensure that you get paid on-time – no hassle, no chasing down clients for money.

That means you don’t have to deal with writing statements of work (SOWs) or contracts. (We’ll  cover these soon). You also don’t need to worry about getting stiffed by clients who don’t want to pay you. This means that freelance marketplaces are great if you’re still learning how to be a freelancer in your field.

Here’s a big list of some top freelance marketplaces:

biggest freelance marketplaces

SOWs and Contracts

This is an important lesson for those who are learning how to freelance:

Never do work without a written agreement that you’ve both approved.

If something happens and you need to change the agreement, write and sign an updated version.

This is critical to protect you in case of any misunderstanding or foul play.

Statements of work (SOWs) and contracts should include:

  • The scope of work
  • The objectives of the project
  • Schedule of deliverables
  • Tasks to be completed
  • What exactly will be completed
  • How and when you’ll get paid
  • What you both expect for final outcomes
  • Specific requirements, terms, and conditions form both sides

Here’s an example of a general SOW:

Read more about how to write them.

Getting Paid

If you’re flying solo to do your work, you’ll want to set up an easy payment system.

Make sure you write an invoice for every single thing you deliver. Every. Single. Thing.

You can set the terms with your client.

Options include:

  • Bill them up-front for a deposit (like for half of the project’s price), then the other half when you deliver the final product
  • Have them pay in full up-front, or in full after completion
  • Bill them monthly, bi-weekly, or on unique timing for each project

Here are some ways to collect payment:



Building Momentum

Landing your first freelance job can be a major struggle. This might continue for a few months until you learn the ropes of how to be an online freelancer and your business gains momentum.

Make sure you take notes, ask questions, listen, and provide references – and even some free work if you need to. Free work can help you build a portfolio and rack up some happy customers fast.

[highlight]Note: Watch out for bad freelancing clients. While you can’t always avoid communication issues, there are obvious warning signs to look out for. You may have a tough time working for them if they micromanage, frequently question your approach, or think they know a better way to complete the task they employed you for.[/highlight]


Now let’s get into how to be a freelancer within certain niches.

4.2. Freelance Writing

If you’ve always had a knack for explaining things and putting ideas into words, writing may be a good option for you. Let’s take a look at how to become a freelance writer.

freelance writing

Freelance writing opportunities are diverse and plentiful, too.

There are three main categories you can cover:

  1. Copywriting: Freelance copywriting would include writing for businesses, including advertising copy, various types of marketing materials, and sometimes research-based pieces.
  2. Journalistic writing: For news publications like print and web newspapers and magazines, etc. You’ll typically need some solid experience to land these jobs.
  3. Creative writing: Ghostwriting a book or personal blog, short stories, work-for-hire jobs like wedding vows. These are for the poet at heart.

Inside these categories, you can write all kinds of things, like:

  • Blogs
  • Short stories or novels
  • Whitepapers
  • Case studies
  • PowerPoint content
  • Essays and thought pieces
  • Magazine articles
  • Newspaper columns
  • Sales pages
  • Outreach emails
  • Social media posts
  • CVs and resumes

Get clear on the bare essentials you need to get started, which include:

  1. An elegant portfolio (you can make one on Behance)
  2. Up-to-date profiles on portals/marketplaces your prospects use
  3. An editing and proofreading tool for error-free writing (I recommend Grammarly)

[highlight]If you’re like me, you’ll also need several spiral notebooks for outlining and drafting. Or maybe it’s a giant whiteboard. Just make sure you have whatever materials you need to let your creativity and critical thinking skills flow.[/highlight]


How to Get Freelance Writing Gigs

Here are a few resources to get momentum.

Browse Writing Job Boards & Directories

If you’re still learning how to be a freelancer in the writing industry, search for gigs at these websites:

Join Social Media Groups & Browse Listings

Join a few ‘content writer’ and ‘freelance writer’ groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. Be an active participant and keep an eye out for any opportunity that might crop up.

freelance writing

Become a Guest Author

This gives you an author byline that helps you get noticed. Say you want to write finance blog posts. Search for these jobs on Google by typing things like:

  • Finance blogs + write for us
  • Financial blogs + guest post guidelines
  • Personal finance + guest writer

Follow Job Board Tweets

Follow Twitter accounts like:

  • @Write_Jobs
  • @WhoPaysWriters
  • @JJobs_tweets
  • @FreelanceWJ


Apply to a Content Agency

This option will have more structure and opportunities, as well as the potential for better pay and training on how to be a freelance writer.

Look for content agencies that are hiring, like:

freelance writing

4.3. Freelance Photography

If you love capturing life’s little moments on camera, you might want to start your own freelance photography business.

To get started as a freelance photographer, you need to have the right equipment, a good understanding of photo editing software, and passion for a specific genre of photography.

Buying the Right Equipment

Here are a few things you’ll need.

A Good Camera

You may be wondering what sort of camera you should buy.

The quick answer is any brand’s DSLR that helps you learn manual mode will work great. A few good options for beginners include Nikon 5600 and Canon EOS Rebel T7i.

freelance photography

High-Quality Lenses

It makes sense to put lenses at the top of your budget list.

That’s because the quality of the lens has the greatest impact on the quality of the photos you take with any DSLR you use.

If you want a high-quality starter lens for the most affordable price, consider prime lenses (those with a fixed focal length).

A lot of people prefer 50 mm 1.8G for Nikon and 50mm f/1.8 STM for Canon.


Perhaps the most important accessory is the tripod. It will provide you with extra stability as you seek the perfect angle.

Tripods come in all sizes, shapes, and prices.

A good value-for-money option is Manfrotto MKBFRA4-BH.

accessories for freelance photography

Reflectors are another camera accessory you may find useful. They offer a quick and affordable way to brighten up your images.

A quality option is Selens 5-in-1 Handle 43 Inch.

Using Photo Editing Software

The two most popular software for editing photos are Photoshop and Lightroom.

If you’ve never edited photos before, start with Lightroom as it’s much easier to use than Photoshop.

Not only does Lightroom allow you to edit your images, it also provides a great system for organizing your images using stars, color coding, and keywords.


In addition, you can spruce up your photo editing skills by taking a course or two.

A couple good ones are:

Choosing a Photography Genre

Finding and choosing a photography genre can be challenging. And with so many people entering the industry, it’s easy to get thrown off course by what others are doing.

In such a scenario, the best thing to do is take a step back from everyone else and be yourself. Follow what inspires you.

Examples of photography genres include:

  • Food
  • Weddings
  • Travel
  • Fashion
  • Sports

Once you pick a genre, you can start honing your style by shooting daily.

How to Get Freelance Photography Work

Here are a few ways to kickstart your freelance business.

Look through Photography Job Websites

These websites might make it easier to make money online from home:

Establish Your Name in Photography-Specific Marketplaces

List your work in marketplaces so that you never depend too much on a single client for livelihood.

The best thing about this approach is that you can establish a loyal clientele if you receive positive reviews on a regular basis.

Here’s a list of marketplaces worth exploring:

freelance photography earn money online

Pitch to Companies That Require Photographers

Try companies that need photographers, such as:

  • Oyster – Visit nearby hotels and photograph them
  • Martha Stewart Living – Break into food & lifestyle photography
  • Obeo – Capture images for virtual real estate tours

4.4. Freelance Designer

If you’ve always had a good eye for design, a career in freelance design may be a worthwhile option to explore.

Depending on your design niche, you might be working on a product image, a company logo, or a storyboard that showcases the key frames of a commercial.

Let’s go over freelance design specialties and what you’ll need to build a successful freelance design business as a way to make money from home.

Choose a Speciality

Design is applied to many areas, so there are several types of design specialities. Before we look at how to be a freelancer in the design industry, consider what your specialty will be.

The most popular ones are:

  • Web design: Email templates, landing pages, mobile apps, website user experience (UX) and user interface (UI)… the World Wide Web is a web designer’s space.
  • Graphic design: If you’ve worked on business cards, posters, and letterheads before, freelance graphic design may be a good option for you.
  • Motion graphics design: Motion graphic designers add life to otherwise static illustrations, pictures, text, and more.
  • Product design: Through iterating, experimentation, and prototyping, product designers bring physical items to life.

Pick a speciality that best resonates with your skills to get started.

Get the Necessary Tools

In general, you should have access to the Adobe Creative Cloud (Illustrator, Photoshop, etc.) to work as a freelance web designer.

freelance graphic design software

Freelance graphic designers should have access to tools such as InDesign and Photoshop to create visual identities and marketing materials.

When it comes to Motion Graphics, it’s important to include After Effects, Final Cut Pro, and Maya in your toolset.

freelance designer

For product designs, clients will expect you to be familiar with CAD (computer-aided design) tools such as SolidWorks and AutoCAD to develop 3D models of different products.

Showcase Your Work

As you learn the basics of how to be a freelancer, it’s important that you build up your portfolio and showcase your work. Your design portfolio should reflect your skills, personality, genre and experience.

Tools like Carbonmade and Dribbble offer an incredibly professional, well-designed canvas on which you can showcase your talent.

If you prefer a dynamic website, I recommend Squarespace. It has its own portfolio website builder.

Alternatively, you could host your design portfolio on a social media website.

Sites like Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn make it easy to upload graphics, illustrations, mockups, etc.

Best Websites for Freelance Design Jobs & Gigs

Hundreds of freelance design job websites exist on the internet, and the quality certainly varies.

To help you get started, here are a few great websites for freelance designers:

In addition, you can sell your designs in general marketplaces like DesignCrowd, as well as in speciality marketplaces like CafePress and Threadless. This is a great option for you if you’re still learning how to be a freelancer and if you haven’t yet found regular clients.

4.5. Freelance Web Developer

If you’re familiar with the basics of coding, you can become a freelance web developer.

The demand for web development specialists today far exceeds the supply.

And it’s not going to sink unless someone takes down the internet.

If you’re fairly new to coding, you can learn a thing or two from these resources:

freelance web developer

[highlight]At a minimum, you should learn CSS and HTML. Learning PHP basics can also be helpful, especially if you’ll be working with platforms like WordPress that are coded in PHP. You don’t need to become a coding expert, but having good knowledge of the basics will help you get by.[/highlight]


As you learn how to be a freelancer in the web development space, it’s important to have someone who can answer your questions about the small, fiddling things about programming.

So look around!

Try finding a mentor who can help you in this process. Their guidance can make all the difference when you’re stuck on a problem and feel like quitting.

Check out tech events near you where you can network with people and learn more about web development.

A site called Meetup helps people host hundreds of coding meetings in cities and regions around the world.

freelance web designer

How to Find Work as a Freelance Web Developer

If you’re starting fresh, maybe you’re wondering where exactly these web development projects get listed.

Maybe you’re stuck checking the same old job listings that haven’t been updated in a month.

Good news is, there are several resources out there that can help you find freelance web development gigs, fast!

Here are some worthy of your attention:  

1. Smashing Jobs

Makes it simple to discover full-time and/or part-time gigs. The majority of the gigs posted to this website are related to design and web development.

how to be a freelancer

2. We Work Remotely

As the name implies, this is a website where you can find web development jobs that you can do from the comfort of your home.

freelance copywriter jobs

3. Women Who Code

A global nonprofit dedicated to helping women succeed in technology careers. It also has a job board, where most listings pertain to web development and/or software engineering.

Besides these resources, you can check out general freelancing websites like Upwork and PeoplePerHour for more opportunities to be a freelance web developer.

4.6. Freelance Marketer

If you have a talent for showcasing brands in a positive light and know how to conduct market research, you may be cut out for a career in freelance marketing. Let’s look at how to be a freelancer in the marketing industry.

The best part of this niche is that businesses all over the world constantly require great freelance marketers.

Some quick facts:

  • Email advertising spending is expected to increase from 270 million USD in 2015 to 350 million USD in 2019. (source)
  • The majority of businesses are spending more than $5000 USD a month on SEO. (source)
  • 80% of retail specialists consider email marketing as their greatest driver of customer retention. (source)

And somebody has to cater to these needs. That’s where you come in.   

Get started by choosing an area (because you need to be more specific than just freelance marketer). Ideally, you’d make money online through:

Internet Marketing Service

Freelance internet marketers engage in various activities in the digital space, including:

Depending on your knowledge and skills, you can pick one or a combination of these activities to offer as a service.

For example, if you’ve experience of promoting an online store, you can place ecommerce marketing at the top of the list of services you offer. Likewise, if you have good relationships with influencers, content marketing could be a good option for you.

Social Media Management

If you’ve had success running a Twitter account or know what it takes to get followers on Instagram, you might want to give a thought to social media management.

A freelance social media manager creates and manages all social network accounts of his/her customers.

Other tasks clients could expect you to perform:

  • Source viral content for sharing
  • Schedule specific social media updates
  • Grow audience through sharing and outreach
  • Create images
  • Address customer service issues

You don’t need to know everything on the list, but you should be able to come up with a good overall strategy.

social media freelancer


And while you’re learning how to be a freelance marketer, consider specializing in a specific platform.

There are several individuals out there who can do social media management, but there aren’t many who can get maximum shares on Facebook, or build up an engaged following on LinkedIn.

Consider the platform you’ve had the most success with, and promote that as your service.

The Best Resources for Freelance Marketers to Find Work

If you want to make money online from home as a freelance marketer, here are the best places to find jobs.

remote jobs freelancer

In addition to these sites, you’d also find good freelance work opportunities on general marketplaces like Upwork,, and PeoplePerHour.  

Chapter 4 Takeaways

  • Check out our freelancer’s checklist to make sure you have all the right equipment, a good work environment, efficient client communication, and good time management/productivity habits.
  • As you learn how to be a freelancer, it’s critical that you always have written agreements with your clients and a solid system to get paid on-time.
  • There are unique online communities and marketplaces for different freelance business niches, including:
    • Writing
    • Photography
    • Design (web, graphic, motion graphics, product)
    • Web development
    • Marketing
  • These resources can help you learn and grow toward your personal goals, while troubleshooting issues as you learn how to be an effective freelancer and start making money from home.



18 Home Business Ideas You Can Start Today

Hopefully by now, you’re getting pumped thinking about all the home business ideas that are out there. Or maybe you’re still unsure of which one to choose.

Even if you haven’t seen any ideas yet that stand out to you, you’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of ways to make money from home. Some ways don’t even involve starting an ecommerce business or an online freelancing business.

For example, you might find that you actually do prefer to put on pants for your workday (gasp!), so you can get some fresh air and meet new people. In this case, you can look into some hands-on home business ideas where you service your clients in person – like being a party planner or dog walker.

Whatever you choose, you’ll likely have some questions like: What are the best platforms and methods to connect with clients? What do I need to prepare in advance? What do these ideas actually involve?

We’ll get you set up with all the basics so you can make your first moves.

In this chapter, we’ll go over 18 different home business ideas that you can start right away. From your own blog to online teaching to a dog walking business in your neighborhood, we’ll cover home-based, legit business opportunitiesyou can do online as well hands-on business that get you out into your community.

5.1. Online Business from Home

Some people need the thrill of working outside their home and interacting one-on-one with other people. Others hiss when they see the sun, hiding away in their basement until they need to come out for food or do adulting things like go to the bank.

Chances are, you’re somewhere in the middle. But if you’re the type of person who prefers to work from the comfort of home – without having to communicate in-person with your clients – an online gig is the business for you.

Let’s discuss some booming home-based business opportunities and how you can get off the ground.

1. Dropshipping

The Lowdown

Dropshipping is a no brainer if you are looking to set up an online business working from home.

The work from home dropshipping business model is simple – choose products to place on your website, sell products to your customer, then order products from your suppliers delivered straight to your customer’s door.

dropship business model

There is no need to spend money buying bulk products, renting warehouse space, or incurring delivery and packaging costs.

How You’ll Make Money from Home

There are tons of ways to make money with work from home dropshipping as there are many different categories of products to sell. The most popular categories of product to sell via dropshipping include:

Who’s a Good Fit?

Dropshipping as a home business idea suits almost every person in the world, as long as you have a working internet connection and an interest in selling products online. The startup costs of a dropshipping store are minimal, and the rewards can be amazing if you put all your energy into it. 

How to Get Started

Getting started with dropshipping is easy. All you need is to sign up to Oberlo for access to thousands of suppliers worldwide and build your online store with Shopify.

Once you have decided what to sell through your online store you can find variations of the product on Oberlo’s App, import them to your Shopify store, and begin marketing the product to your audience. It’s even possible to do all of this with a one product store; you just have to take that first step and implement the right store ideas

More Resources

2. Starting a Blog

The Lowdown

A blog can be great as a stand-alone home-based business idea or as a supplement to your ecommerce store – or virtually any business, really.

It’s predicted that by 2020, there will be more than 31 million bloggers.

That’s a whole lotta blogs.

And a whole lotta helpful, interesting information. (And of course a fair amount of crappy information, but that won’t be yours.)

Statistically, few bloggers make more than $100 a month. But with lots of time, determination, and savvy, you can make thousands per month like the pros!

How You’ll Make Money from Home

Your blog can make you money in a lot of ways, including:

  • Advertising like Google AdSense
  • Charging membership or subscription fees
  • Selling products or services (like anything we’ve discussed in this ebook!)
  • Have others write sponsored posts
  • Affiliate marketing, which we’ll get into shortly

Marketing Channels for Business Ideas

Who’s a Good Fit?

Those with a quirky, interesting, and/or thoughtful perspective, as well as a knack for telling stories and keeping people entertained.

You’ll also need to have stellar writing skills, including spelling and grammar. A tool like Grammarly or ProWritingAid can help with that.

How to Get Started

I recommend a WordPress blog. A site like StudioPress can guide you through making a beautiful blog on WordPress, including clean and stylish themes.

home based business ideas

Other helpful and convenient blog-building sites include:

More Resources

3. Starting a YouTube Channel

The Lowdown

Just like blogging, YouTube can also be a great way to promote your ecommerce store in addition to acting as one of many stand-alone home business ideas.

It’s important to note that YouTube recently made some policy changes in January 2018 that impact how content creators make money on YouTube.

To join the YouTube Partner Program (YPP), you’ll need two things:

  • 4,000 hours of watch time within the past 12 months
  • 1,000 subscribers

For this reason, you’ll really need to invest into your channel before you see meaningful income.

How You’ll Make Money from Home

You can make money from YouTube in several ways, including:

Who’s a Good Fit?

You’ll make a great YouTube personality if you’re spunky and entertaining. Or even if your personality is more low-key, you can do well as long as you’re knowledgeable, interesting, and valuable.

Of course, it’s by no means necessary to be in your own videos.

Either way, you’ll need at least a decent camera and the software and skills to edit your videos well.

How to Get Started

Create a YouTube channel by creating a Gmail account or using your existing Gmail account.

home business ideas

Customize, optimize, and you’re ready to go! Once you’ve got some content, get going on monetization options described above.

And check out TubeBuddy for an extra hand with the process.

More Resources

4. Starting a Podcast

The Lowdown

In recent years, podcasts have become a popular way to get news, entertainment, and insights on-the-go. In fact, Edison Research shows that the number of podcast listeners has doubled in four years. That number is only growing.

And like a blog or YouTube channel, starting a podcast could be an awesome stand-alone home business idea as well as an ecommerce marketing tool.

Podcast Statistics


Similarly to blogging and YouTube, learning how to make money with a podcast will require a lot of effort before you see solid profit.

How You’ll Make Money from Home

Here are a few ways a podcast can help you make money from home:

  • Sponsorships and ads
  • Subscription and memberships
  • Selling your products or services
  • Turning content into books or audiobooks
  • Crowdfunding
  • Affiliate marketing (it’s next, I swear!)

Who’s a Good Fit?

People who are great conversationalists, captivating storytellers, or experts on a certain topic that others are interested in.

Bonus points if you have at least a decent quality microphone, some good editing software, and the skills to edit well.

How to Get Started

You’ll need a microphone, some software to record and edit, and a platform to host your podcast on.

Here are a few ideas for each:

For example, uploading onto SoundCloud is simple once you’ve set up an account through Facebook or Gmail.

Soundcloud home business

More Resources

5. Affiliate Marketing

The Lowdown

Finally, we’re here. In a nutshell, affiliate marketing is one of the surefire ways to earn money online, and it can be a hugely profitable home biz idea. It involves an advertiser, publisher, and consumer.

First, you (the publisher) promote the offerings of another party (the advertiser) on your own channels. These usually show up as trackable affiliate links, but can also be done through things like promo codes. Then when other people (consumers) click your links and buy the advertiser’s stuff, you get a piece of that profit.

affiliate marketing


Affiliate marketing can be massively profitable, but you’ll need to build a steady following before other people will want to have you as an affiliate partner.

How You’ll Make Money from Home

The way you receive your commission will vary depending on the partner and the nature of the relationship.

Your earning model can be set up in a few ways, like:

  • Cost per acquisition: Get paid for each sale
  • Cost per click or cost per lead: Get paid based on how many people click your affiliate link or become a lead for the advertiser
  • Fixed cost (aka tenancy payment): Get paid a flat rate for the promotion

Who’s a Good Fit?

Anyone with a strong follower base on virtually any channel or medium where you can include a link or promo code.

This includes:

  • Website or blog
  • YouTube channel
  • Podcast
  • Social media like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.
  • Even your email signature

How to Get Started

Check out affiliate networks like:

amazon associates make money

Or start your own affiliate marketing program. For example, these Shopify modules and plugins can help you build your own affiliate tracking system.

More Resources

6. Online Surveys

The Lowdown

Companies are dying for market research so they can make better products and services for their customers. As a result, many of them pay people to take surveys online.

Beware, though: some of these sites aren’t legit. Do your research first. And you should manage your expectations: this will get you a few extra bucks, but likely not a full-time income.

Generally speaking, the price may range from a few cents to a few dollars per survey. But if you’ve got a lot of time, taking surveys could be a low-effort home business idea.

How You’ll Make Money from Home

Browse online survey websites for surveys that you qualify for based on certain demographics, characteristics, or behaviors.

Check closely to see how each website will pay you. Some pay cash value for each survey, while others work on a point system where points are exchanged for rewards and money.

When you do surveys for money, payment can include methods like:

  • Checks via snail mail
  • Payment gateways like PayPal
  • Physical and electronic gift cards
  • Amazon vouchers
  • Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies

Who’s a Good Fit?

This is a good start if you’re not sure what niche you’d like to start a business in, or if you don’t have too many home business ideas yet. Filling out surveys for money is good for quick cash if you’re in a pinch.

How to Get Started

If you want to get money for surveys, create an account on websites like:

The signup process will vary for each, including setting up payment by giving a physical address or your PayPal link. When you’re done, browse and apply for the surveys you want to fill out (and qualify for), and get going!

For example, Toluna has a simple 9-step signup.

(It sounds long but it’s super fast… I did the first half in 10 seconds! I’ll even give you my “GIF or it didn’t happen”.)

Toluna Influencers

Once you’re registered, it takes you to the Survey Center where you can see all the surveys you qualify for.

Toluna Influencers Surveys

More Resources

7. Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk)

The Lowdown

Amazon MTurk is a way for companies to have quick access to online workers who are willing to perform small computer-based tasks. These tasks are called HITs (human intelligence tasks). As you can tell by the name, they need a human touch because computers and artificial intelligence (AI) can’t do them.

Unfortunately, tasks aren’t usually higher than $1 each (usually less), but again – if you have enough time, this could be a great idea for a home business.

How You’ll Make Money from Home

Choose from a diverse pool of HITs, like:

  • Watch and transcribe videos
  • Find email addresses or contact information
  • Evaluate web pages
  • Share your opinions on websites, videos, etc.
  • Fill out forms

Amazon MTURK

You can transfer your earnings to your Amazon Payments account or into an Amazon gift card. From Amazon Payments, you can transfer cash directly to your bank account.

[highlight]Note: When you first sign up, Amazon puts a 10-day hold on your account before you can take out any of your earnings. Just to make sure you’re real and stuff.[/highlight]


Who’s a Good Fit?

If you have a lot of extra time and feel like you don’t yet have the skills for niche-based home business ideas, this can be a good start.

How to Get Started

Create a Worker (not a Requester) account by creating an Amazon account or logging in with your existing Amazon account.

Fill out the Worker Registration form, then go to the “HITs” section in the top menu to view and accept tasks.

amazon worker registration

More Resources

8. Clickworker

The Lowdown

Clickworker is similar to Amazon MTurk, where you log in and do short tasks for payment. Many users report that this site is more profitable than Amazon MTurk, though, which means it’s a more profitable business idea than MTurk.

Clickworker reports that users average about $9 USD per hour.

How You’ll Make Money from Home

You’ll need to take a short assessment to see if you qualify for each task.

Tasks include:

  • Writing
  • Researching
  • Translating
  • Data processing

Clickworker pays U.S. workers through PayPal, and international workers can have direct deposits to a Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) bank account.

Who’s a Good Fit?

People who don’t want to start a full business or are still cooking up some good niche-based home business ideas.

This site can earn you more money per project than sites like Amazon MTurk, and it also has more diverse types of tasks. It’s better for people who have more specialized skills or experience.

How to Get Started

Create an account and fill out as may details as you can for your profile.

It will ask for things like:

  • Education and language abilities
  • Writing and translation skillset and experience
  • General interests and skills by category (media, sports, home and garden, tourism, etc.)
  • Samples of previous work and your personal blog (if applicable)

These answers will be how Clickworker qualifies you to do tasks. The more skills you fill in, the more you can make money from home.

Clickworker Profile Settings

More Resources

  • Reddit: How to Get Started and Maximize Efficiency
  • Clickworker: 10 Tips for Generating Leads Online

9. Online Teaching & Tutoring

The Lowdown

There’s a huge need for online teachers and tutors, which makes this a particularly great home business idea. You can teach students of virtually all ages, in-school and beyond – and all across the world.

Subjects include:

  • Core subjects: math, English, science, social studies, foreign languages
  • AP and college-level classes in various studies
  • Test prep (GED, PSAT, SAT, GRE, GMAT)
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
  • ESL (English as a Second Language)

How You’ll Make Money from Home

Most online teaching and tutoring jobs are typically done over video.

You can use programs like:

Payment depends on your method. You can have students pay you directly via PayPal or some other payment processor, or get your work through a company that will handle payments for you.

Some of these gigs, like VIPKid, can earn up to $22 an hour.

Who’s a Good Fit?

This home business is ideal for anyone who’s patient, well-spoken, was a good student, and has and a love for learning (and teaching, of course).

Those with previous teaching education or experience will have an easier time finding jobs, especially ones that pay more. But it’s still very possible to start from scratch. You’ll just need to be patient at first.

How to Get Started

Check out sites like:

Sign up for an account and fill out your profile to the best of your abilities. As usual, the signup with differ for each site. But generally, the screening process is very thorough when you use a specialized service.

For example, TutorMe asks in-depth questions about experience and skills.

Tutor Me Profile Settings

And has a 5-step process that includes a mock teaching session and a background check. Better be prepared!

tutor freelance writing

More Resources

10. Data Entry


Data entry means that you will be entering data into some sort of database, from another kind of database. Mostly this work is time consuming and repetitive but it is less stressful than other business ideas on this list. Companies who normally outsource data entry are looking for young workers with very little experience.

How You’ll Make Money

Once a company has decided to use your services you can decide your fee based on the size of the database, and the time it will take to complete the task. It can be a good idea to charge by the hour, or per thousand entries to make these tasks worth while.

Who’s a Good Fit

If you are just out of college or looking to get back into work after a long break, data entry could be the best business idea for you, as you get to start using technology again. Those with little experience in an office setting can start to create a schedule for themselves to understand what type of working hours suit them. Data entry is a job that doesn’t require communication with the client once you have been trained in on their system so you can work whatever hours you prefer to finish the project.

How to Get Started

Freelance data entry jobs are advertised on many different job portals, and even on company websites. Even contacting your local job center could result in a data entry job that can start your business off. Build your resume to highlight your experience in different software like Excel, or other popular programmes these types of jobs require. Now you can start applying to roles which offer work from home options or an option that will suit your business. 

More Resources

Apart from online job sites and local job centers you can look for data entry roles in the job section of newspapers, through temp agencies, and on freelancing websites. Once you have two or three projects under your belt, you can start applying for bigger roles and advertising your experience to start earning more money online

11. Virtual Assistant


Virtual assistants are people who look after a variety of tasks, like writing, order processing, bookkeeping, social media, customer support, and so much more. For this type of role the tasks vary depending on the company who are looking to hire. Virtual assistants are multi-skilled, with a drive to learn new things everyday. No task is too big or small for them. 

How You’ll Make Money

Virtual assistants charge per hour normally quoting the amount of time per day or week that they can spend with a client. The more tasks you can complete as a virtual assistant, the more money you can quote to clients so keep an eye on the skills needed in most job postings and work on building your skill portfolio to encompass these.

Who’s a Good Fit

Being a virtual assistant would suit someone who is very self-motivated, and can work well on their own. As this role revolves around you completing a lot of different tasks regularly you must be organized and able to make well-informed decisions quickly.

How to Get Started

Try websites like Virtual Assistant Jobs, Indeed, or Upwork where small businesses post freelance jobs that others can quote for. Creating a profile with your past experience is a good way for hitting the ground running. You could also try reaching out to small businesses and entrepreneurs in your area offering your services.

12. Creating Online Courses

The Lowdown

Make an online course that uses one of your passions or skills to solve people’s problems, then sit back and earn passive income down the road whenever they buy it.

It will take investment of quite a bit of time – and possibly resources – but it will be worth it in the end if it’s a hit.

The online education market is expected to explode to $275 billion by 2022. Some course publishers report making $5,000 or more per month or more in passive income!

As a result, creating online courses could be a very profitable business idea.

How You’ll Make Money from Home

You can do it all yourself, or build and/or host it on a specialized platform with convenient features like:

  • Drag-and-drop webpage editors
  • Payment integration
  • Built-in marketing and social functionality
  • Training and support
  • Loads of helpful information

Thinkific Marketing Channel


Keep in mind that the platform will collect the customer’s money and send it to you, but they’ll usually take commission as either a percentage or a flat fee.

Who’s a Good Fit?

This home business idea is suited to someone who knows a topic really well, and knows it’s profitable. Bonus points if you have technical skills and equipment to build a professional quality course, whether it’s made of in-person videos, screencasts, or text with photos and illustrations.

You’ll also need a lot of time, and a good eye for making content flow. It may help to work with a writer.

How to Get Started

If your course relies on videos of your computer screen, try a screen recorder and editor like Camtasia. If you can swing it, I recommend renting a studio for in-person videos, to ensure top video and audio quality.

Compare the features of different platforms for making and hosting courses, like:


More Resources

  • Foundr: Ultimate Guide on How to Successfully Create an Online Course
  • Forbes: How To Create A Money-Making Online Course
  • Neil Patel: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Creating, Selling, and Profiting from an Online Course

5.2. Hands-on Home-Based Business Ideas

If you’re more of a people-person, you might be interested in one of the more hands-on home-based business ideas. With these opportunities, you service your clients in person instead of through your computer screen.

It’s worth noting that this type of business will make you location-dependent, because you’ll have to be able to travel to where your clients need you. In the end, you won’t have the physical freedom of a strictly-online business.

That said, let’s look at a few.

[highlight]Remember: You might need to get certain licenses and/or permits, depending on your business type and where you live. The Small Business Administration has helpful info for making sure you have all your bases covered legally.[/highlight]


13. Direct Sales Consultant

The Lowdown

Direct sales, also called network marketing or multi-level marketing (MLM), is booming these days. And the market continues to grow, and this is where you’ll find some of the best home-based business ideas for moms.

Through this model, you sell a company’s products and receive a commission for your sales. You can also recruit your own consultants and build a team (who may go on to build their own teams), which earns more money.

It’s been reported that the average MLM consultant makes $2,400 per year, with earnings going up to more than $100,000 per year.

Many companies give awesome bonuses too, like vacations or even a free car when you reach new sales revenue levels between you and your team.

[highlight]A word of caution: Some companies are disguised as MLM, but they’re really pyramid or Ponzi schemes – which are illegal in the U.S. and many other countries. The one big red flag is that these illegal schemes will typically only pay you to recruit other members, instead of earning money from any real investment or selling real products or services to the public. So beware and do your research before starting a network marketing opportunity![/highlight]


How You’ll Make Money from Home

Compensation plans for teams can be set up a few ways:

  • Unilevel: Your recruits stay in your team. The easiest plan.

Unilevel Compensation Plans

  • Stairstep/breakaway: Your recruits can break away from your team and start their own whenever they reach a certain level.
  • Binary: You get paid for only two ‘legs’, or essentially two teams.

Binary Compensation Plans

  • Matrix: There’s a pre-set amount of your recruits, as well as their recruits. Like 3×3, or three of your own recruits, who can have three of their own.

Matrix Compensation Plans

Who’s a Good Fit?

Frankly, you won’t make big bucks unless you’re social, friendly, motivated, and resourceful. And if you haven’t guessed by the title, it’s crucial to have great sales skills. However, if you have all those characteristics, this could be a viable, profitable home business idea for you.

How to Get Started

There are hundreds to choose from in virtually any industry like health and beauty, fashion, nutrition, home goods, and more.

It’s important to note that you’ll typically need to pay startup costs like buying your own products to sell. This can be around $200 to $500 USD.

Here are some more of the most popular direct sales companies:

More Resources

14. Pet Sitting & Dog Walking

The Lowdown

This can take many forms, like:

  • Having clients drop their pets off to you or you picking them up
  • Sitting pets in your own home, or going to your clients’ homes
  • Having a daily service, or special service for clients who go on vacation
  • Doing other pet care activities, like giving pets medicine or baths
  • Other tasks when clients are away, like watering plants and bringing in the mail

Try scoping out major competitors to see how they work, like Rover or Dog Vacay.

Pet Care Flyer


How You’ll Make Money from Home

You can set your own terms, financial structure, and incentives. Ideas include:

  • Charging clients per hour or per service
  • Setting a monthly retainer fee, which can be set up automatically
  • Offering discounts or a commission for referrals

In terms of earnings, say that you charge $15 an hour and work 10 hours a week. That would amount to $150 a week or $7,800 a year. (Of course, you’ll need to calculate taxes in your state.)

Who’s a Good Fit?

Dog lovers. Duh. If you love being around dogs, this home business idea wouldn’t just be profitable – it would be super fun! Bonus points if you have experience in obedience training or an understanding of dogs’ temperament.

If you’re doing pet setting, you’ll need to have a pet-friendly home or space you can do business in. If you live in a tiny apartment in downtown Manhattan, stick with walking or go to your clients’ homes to sit.

How to Get Started

You’ll want to look into some legal considerations:

  • Registering a business, like a sole proprietorship or limited liability company (LLC)
  • Insurance options like Pet Sitters Associates or Pet Sitter Insurance
  • Get familiar with local laws and regulations in your area

In terms of managing pet-related home business ideas, you might benefit from special types of software like Time to Pet. They offer a free 14-day free trial.

home based business opportunities

More Resources

  • The Balance Careers: How to Start a Pet Sitting Business
  • Our blog: How to Register a Business in the USA
  • Nolo: Starting a Dog Walking Business (Legal Considerations)

15. Translations


Translators can speak two or more languages fluently enough to be able to write natively for business in both languages. As an underserved niche, especially for languages like Arabic, Russian, and Malay, translation work can be busy and very rewarding. As a business idea, translations can help you build a successful business quickly. 

How You’ll Make Money

Translators can quote per project. This means that they can decide when to start and finish a project, and what the cost of the project should be. If you are fluent in an underserved niche you can consider to charge more per project. 

Who’s a Good Fit

Those who studied a language in school, or comes from a multilingual background are well suited for these types of roles.

How to Get Started

A portfolio is always important for these types of businesses as companies need to know the level of service you can provide. If your language abilities are not technical enough you may not be fit for a job. Be ready to take a translation test for some projects while you are starting out as businesses like to make sure you can do translation services without the use of translation tools. 

More Resources

Sites where you can find freelance translation jobs include:

16. Proofreader


A proofreader helps businesses or individuals to find mistakes in reports, books, or other soon-to-be published media to ensure a high quality finished product. A proofreader needs to understand the intricate tasks involved in this type of service before taking it on as a business idea. A freelance proofreader is needed in many different industries, but especially in publishing and education. 

How You’ll Make Money

Proofreaders normally quote on word count and accept a nominal fee for any additional words after the fact. Due to this, it is more lucrative to take jobs that are for larger books, and journals. Once you have two or three reputable projects completed you can start to build a brand for yourself within certain industries to win more business. 

Who’s a Good Fit

This type of business idea is great for those with great attention to detail, and who love to read anything. One week you could be reading the new ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and the next you could be proofing a journal article about ‘The Importance of Childhood Memories on Career Success’. One things for sure — you will be more knowledgeable in many different fields with this business idea.

How to Get Started

Proofreaders can get started through outreach to publishing companies or journals to offer your services. You can also reach out to companies who publish lots of research papers in a field that you are knowledgeable in to provide your proofreading services. Reedsy and other similar online platforms can help you to build your portfolio through applying for freelance projects.

17. Freelance Writer


Businesses are busier than ever creating new content due to the continuing success of content marketing in getting companies found online. There has never been a better time to be a freelance writer for this reason. As a freelance content writer you need to decide on the niche you wish to write in, start creating content for your portfolio and approach your content from a different perspective than what is already online. 

How You’ll Make Money

Freelance content writers are either paid per article or per word count. You can choose your price and advertise your services online through having a website, social media, or using third party platforms. Normally if a company likes your writing and wants to continue creating content, they will contract you to create content for a period of time, instead of a once off job. Finding five or six companies that will contract you for long periods of time will provide consistent income while you grow your online brand.

Who’s a Good Fit

If you have a background in content writing for a specific niche you will hit the ground running with this business idea. Freelance writers must be able to conduct in-depth niche research for their articles without asking too much of their clients so critical thinking and prior experience is needed to really do well in this role. It also helps if you have connections in the industry that you can work for in the early days, in order to build your portfolio up.

How to Get Started

Once you have decided on your niche you can start sending out emails, and other communications to potential clients listing your niche content writing samples for their consideration. Don’t include articles that are not of the same niche as clients will not be as interested in these. Keep an eye on platforms like LinkedIn and other job sites that can advertise freelance jobs to apply for.

More Resources

You can make money online on sites like these:

18. Catering & Meal Prep

The Lowdown

There’s always a market for food, which means food-related home business ideas can be quite profitable. Catering and meal preparation businesses can operate in several ways, including:

  • Cooking large batches of different foods and serving them at parties, ceremonies, and other special events
  • Specializing in one type of pre-made food like wedding cakes or one type of event like cocktail parties
  • Preparing weekly meal orders for individuals or groups, which they can heat up at home for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner Homepage


While some businesses can make upwards of thousands per month, it’s important to consider the startup costs. These might include costs like licenses, permits, insurance, cookware, transport vehicles, which can amount to thousands of dollars up-front.

How You’ll Make Money from Home

Caterers and meal preparers usually have a menu with pricing. Depending on your business model, you may also want to charge per person or per platter.

Whatever you do, be sure to include a service charge or otherwise make sure you’re covering operation costs.

Who’s a Good Fit?

People who:

  • Have a strong passion for cooking
  • Have experience feeding big groups (it’s not the same as making dinner for your family!)
  • Are prepared for a lot of work and long hours
  • Have great customer service skills, as you’ll be working closely with your clients

How to Get Started

Depending on where you live, you might need several types of licenses and permits to run legally.

In some states, you may be required to rent out a commercial kitchen instead of cooking in your home. Check your state’s health or occupation licensing department for details.

Research on Google by searching terms like:

  • [your state] + catering business legal requirements
  • [your state] + catering license and permits

Google Search Opportunities

More considerations:

  • Choose an event or food niche, like children’s birthdays or vegetarian food
  • Consider renting your equipment and supplies until your business is established
  • For larger events or prep needs, look at temporary and hospitality agencies to hire help

More Resources

Chapter 5 Takeaways

  • If you dream of a career where you can work from wherever you want – be that in a different café or in a different country – you can look into home-based business opportunities like starting a blog, YouTube channel, or podcast.
  • Consider other home business ideas like affiliate marketing, online teaching and tutoring, or creating online courses.
  • If you’re undecided on picking your niche but want some quick income, you can try task-based platforms like Amazon MTurk or Clickworker.
  • If you want to be out and about in your community, you can try your hand at starting a business like direct sales consulting, pet sitting, or catering.
  • With these home business ideas, the ‘home’ part will mostly be promotion and marketing activities.

Go Forth and Prosper… Er, Stay Home and Prosper

So there you have it!

Hopefully, you’re brimming with ideas and motivation to make money from home with one of the dozens of home business ideas we’ve talked about in this ebook.

You have an idea of:

  • The differences between a product-based and service-based business
  • How to choose home-based business ideas that marry your interests and skills
  • An introduction to marketing your business to make sure it stays profitable
  • The basics of ecommerce, dropshipping, and selling other products online
  • The basics of freelancing services like writing, design, and marketing
  • Several home-based business opportunities that you can do online and in-person

Several home-based business opportunities

Will you need to spend hours doing your research and freshening up your skills?


Will things change as you learn, forcing you to shift and remodel your plans?


Will you encounter road bumps and challenges that will make you want to quit?

Almost certainly.

Can you find a way to truly (finally) be happy with your career, actually enjoying your work while you earn money from your couch?

You bet your sweet assets.