Every week, people write and ask me for a list of the best home business ideas. They want to work from home but don’t know what to do or how to start.
Most people have little or no budget. And in many cases their free time is limited. They need a business they can fit around their full-time job as a parent or employee.
All the time I hear concerns like these…
“I don’t know what to do.”
“I’m no good at anything.”
“Everything I’ve tried so far has failed.”
“I don’t have enough time or money.”
Well I don’t buy it. These are all excuses!
I believe everyone can make money from home doing what they love. Even if they only have a few hours a week to spare.
Of course, some businesses take more effort than others before turning a profit. But there is a home business idea for everyone.
Today I want to share three types of business you can start for free. All of these can be side gigs or full-time careers. I also discuss earning potential and point to some free resources to help you get started today.
1. Freelance Writer
A freelance writer creates written content for other business owners. There are many types of freelance writing, but one of the most popular is writing blog posts.
In today’s online world, there’s plenty of demand for freelance writers. And you don’t need a degree in journalism. If you want to start writing for the web, all you need is an interest in a range of topics and a love of writing.
Your earning potential is anywhere from a few hundred dollars a month up to six figures a year. I landed a $1,500 client in my first month as a freelance writer.
If you want to earn the big bucks, avoid the content mills which pay low rates for website content. It also helps to offer services beyond article writing. Other types of freelance writing include:
- Sales Copy for Websites
- Newspaper and Magazine Articles
- Catalog or Product Descriptions
- Advertising Copy for Brochures
- Grants for Non-profits and Other Organizations
- Business Plans
- Press Releases
- Technical Manuals
- White Papers
- Case Studies
- Email Marketing Campaigns
- Annual Reports
- Trade Magazine Articles
- Video Transcripts
You can get started for free by reaching out to your personal network. You don’t need a website when you start out. Instead, create a Google Doc describing your services and with links to some writing samples. Then contact everyone you know and tell them about your new business.
For more help getting started as a freelance writer, check out these articles:
If you love connecting with people, then this next home business idea might be for you. A coach helps other people reach their goals. Coaching can be one of the most fulfilling jobs.
Successful life coaches specialize in one area. It’s much easier to sell a prospective client on a tangible result. For example, I started coaching by helping people write and publish a best-selling book.
Here are more examples of successful coaching niches. Notice how they target a specific problem and audience.
- Spiritual coaching for people dealing with grief
- Financial management coaching for college graduates
- Stress management coaching for executive level managers
- Public speaking coaching for motivational speakers
- Healthcare coaching for stay-at-home-moms
- Relationship coaching for newly wedded couples
- Work/life balance coaching for working mothers
- Sex coaching for menopausal women
- Health coaching for overweight teens
- Emotional coaching for divorced men
As with freelance writing, you can get started coaching for free. All you need is a phone or a space to meet with clients (if you prefer to do in-person coaching). Then start reaching out to your network and offer to help them.
Coaches charge anywhere from $100/month up to more than $1000/month per client. For more information on how to get started coaching, read these posts:
3. Virtual Assistant
If you don’t love writing and you’re not drawn to coaching, then this last home business idea could be the answer. Virtual assisting covers a huge range of possible services.
According to Zip Recruiter, most virtual assistant salaries range between $28,000 (25th percentile) to $73,000 (75th percentile) across the United States.
Here’s a list of popular VA services:
- Website development.
- Online research.
- Customer service.
- Graphic design.
- Proofreading and editing.
- Data entry.
- Social media management.
- Podcast editing.
- Website support and maintenance.
For a more comprehensive list, check out Gina Horkey’s list of 200+ VA niches. And for help getting started as a Virtual Assistant, read these articles:
Why These Home Business Ideas Work
You may have noticed these three home business ideas have something in common. They are all service-based businesses.
Offering a service is one of the best ways to get started working from home. Depending on the type of service you offer, you only need a few paying clients to earn four figures a month.
Also, you can start a service business with no upfront financial outlay. You can test your home business idea by offering your services to your personal network or within your local community. There’s no need to invest in business cards, a website, or other expenses, straight out of the gate.
Now, you may be thinking you don’t want a service-based business. Perhaps you’re worried that this limits your growth potential. Well, you don’t have to offer services forever. All the above ventures can be stepping stones to a more hands-off business.
For example, you can switch to an agency model, where you hire a team to service your clients’ needs. Or you can package your knowledge into a product such as an online course, eBook, or membership site.
I’ve grown my business by doing the latter. I now have a comfortable passive income from my books and courses which frees me to explore other business opportunities.
I want to finish by addressing a common complaint I hear from people looking to start a home business.
Many people get caught up in concerns like how to name their business, whether they need to incorporate, how to build a website, etc. As a result, they become paralyzed and fail to start their home business.
But here’s the thing – all these tasks can wait until later. Your first home business idea may not work out. You may find you don’t enjoy the work. Or you may struggle to earn enough money.
Landing on the perfect business idea takes time. What works for one person, may not work for you. The key is to start quickly and be willing to experiment.
Which is why I recommend starting a business for free. Once you’re earning some money, you can formalize your business name, website, tax status, etc. All these things are a lot easier to do when you have some cash in the bank.
Too many people waste time and money on things they don’t need. Or allow red tape and other obstacles prevent them from going for it.
Please don’t let that be you. Pick your first business idea and get started today.