Whether you are looking to bring in extra cash, be your own boss, spend more time with your family or keep your skill sets viable after retirement, there are many home-based businesses you can launch with no start-up fees except the cost of a business license. As with any new venture, consider your access to resources and materials, your knowledge of business management and accounting, and how you plan to promote your products and services.
If you excel at solving problems, brainstorming ideas and doing research, a home-based consulting service allows you to generate income by drawing on your unique areas of expertise. Consultations with clients can be held over the phone, via email or in person and may involve activities such as reviewing reports, writing proposals, conducting interviews and evaluating methodologies and projects. Consider putting your talents toward the development of online courses or training workshops offered through community centers and at business offices.
Expert sewing skills provide several options for a home-based enterprise. The first of these is the design of custom couture for clients who want something original, who don't enjoy shopping at department stores or those who find it hard to buy clothes that comfortably and attractively fit. Alterations make up another potential market, especially for clients with children or those whose weight has changed since the time some of their wardrobe purchases were made. Define a unique niche, such as wedding gowns, sportswear for tall women or children's holiday outfits. Consider home improvement sewing projects such as curtains, tablecloths and pillow shams.
Between the demands of full-time employment and taking care of a family, many working parents find it challenging to get to the grocery store, the dry cleaners and the post office during regular business hours. Others may need assistance making appointments and reservations, planning weekly menus, taking pets to the groomers and shopping for presents. Clients are billed on an hourly basis, which includes mileage costs. Incentives such as discounts can be offered for referring new customers.
For many working parents with young children, the quest to find affordable, reliable and nurturing child care is a high priority. If you enjoy children and can provide a safe environment for them to eat, sleep and play while their parents are at work, consider offering home-based day care services. Be aware that every state has its own licensing laws regarding the number of children you can watch at one time and that you may also be subject to health and safety inspections. An additional consideration is whether you are in compliance with your community's zoning, parking and noise abatement regulations. As an alternative, consider establishing a babysitter network in which you interview local babysitters and clients, coordinate their respective schedules, manage contracts and take a percentage of the fees charged.
- "101 Tips for Running a Successful Home Business: Proven Strategies and Sage Advice for the At-Home Entrepreneur"; Maxye Henry, Lou Henry; 2000
- "Craft, Inc.: Turn Your Creative Hobby into a Business"; Meg Mateo Ilasco; 2007
- "Will Work from Home: Earn the Cash -- Without the Commute"; Tory Johnson, Robyn Freedman Spizman; 2008
- "Work at Home Now: The No-nonsense Guide to Finding Your Perfect Home-based Job, Avoiding Scams, and Making a Great Living"; Christine Durst, Michael Haaren; 2009
Ghostwriter and film consultant Christina Hamlett has written professionally since 1970. Her credits include many books, plays, optioned features, articles and interviews. Publishers include HarperCollins, Michael Wiese Productions, "PLAYS," "Writer's Digest" and "The Writer." She holds a B.A. in communications (emphasis on audience analysis and message design) from California State University, Sacramento. She also travels extensively and is a gourmet chef.