How to Start a Small Online Business From Home

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Personal freedom and the ability to make money are just two of many reasons why people choose to start their own online business from home. Since everyone has the opportunity to create a website and sell services and products online, it is easier than ever to go off on your own. If you are thinking about starting your own small business from home, there are so many different paths you can take to start a business that you are passionate about.

Start a Freelance Writing Business

Freelance writing is a popular small business choice for people who love to write and want to work with clients. There are dozens of online websites where you can find freelance writing jobs. This gives you the opportunity to write about a wide variety of topics, or pick what you want to specialize in writing and focus on those subjects or types of writing. You can also advertise your services on a website such as UpWork or Fiverr to build a client base. To help launch your freelance writing business, it is a good idea to start a website and include previous work examples to show potential clients what you have the experience and capabilities to produce. These writing samples give you credibility and help build trust with your clientele. One benefit to starting a freelance writing business is that there are little to no startup or overhead costs to deal with. Another benefit is that there are so many types of writing in high demand, you will never get bored if you keep trying out new projects.

Become a Virtual Assistant

Becoming a virtual assistant is a great job that you can do from home. As a virtual assistant, you will likely manage someone’s scheduling and calendar, as well as field phone calls and take messages. Your responsibilities may also include doing research for a business executive and compiling this research into digestible formats. Virtual assistants need to be organized and have good people skills to succeed. In addition to professional needs, you may also be tasked with managing personal needs. You can find virtual assistant roles online through agencies that staff assistants for people, or offer your services on your own. Depending on what your client needs, your hours may be fixed or variable. The great thing about this path is you don’t need to have a certain degree or specialized training to be successful. Being a virtual assistant is a great role if you like to help people and feel like you are contributing to the success of a business. 

Teach Online Courses

If you have a particular area of expertise or knowledge set to share, consider teaching an online course. Online teaching allows you the flexibility to set your own schedule and only teach what you want to. First, decide what it is that you want to teach. Next, decide how you want to teach online. Do you want to offer live instruction that people need to be at their computers at a certain day and time, or do you want to pre-record your lessons? You will also need to decide how you want to teach. You can use PowerPoint, a whiteboard or chalkboard, or some combination of methods. Write out your lesson plans and create learning materials, including worksheets, quizzes, study guides, and tests. If you are doing pre-recorded videos, get them all completed and ready to post online. Don’t forget to get the word out and advertise your course offerings. 

Start a Dropshipping Business

Dropshipping businesses are great for people who want to sell products without having a house full of inventory. Dropshipping lets customers buy directly from your online store, but the product itself is supplied and shipped from a third-party supplier. A great benefit to running a dropshipping business is that you do not need to purchase or stock inventory at all or manage it. Your primary responsibility is to find products you want to sell through your website and market those products. Once you have set up a website, you’ll need to decide what you want to sell. This will require research into what your competitors are selling, what trends in retail are emerging, and figuring out how you will differentiate yourself and your business. Google Trends is a good place to look to see what products might be profitable. Next, you will need to find a reputable supplier to supply your products. Then you can build your eCommerce site and grow your business. 

Sell DIY Crafts

If you are a crafty person, consider selling your homemade items online. If you like to crochet or knit you can make blankets, sweaters, hats, gloves, and more. Jewelry makers do well with online businesses, especially if they take custom orders or do engraving. Soap making is another popular homemade item that is taking off. More and more consumers are looking for organic alternatives to store soap products. If you can embroider or have an embroidery machine, there is almost no end to what you can embroider, from hats and t-shirts to dog collars and leashes. Homemade greeting cards add a personalized touch to gifts. If you like drawing and painting, consider selling homemade greeting cards or personalized pictures. You can sell your products on a third-party website like Etsy, or set up your own website where you sell directly.

Create Subscription Boxes

Subscription boxes have become extremely popular because of the unique quality of the products they tend to include. Consumers sign up for a subscription box usually on a three, six, or twelve-month plan, and receive a curated box of goods each month. If you want to start a subscription box business, first you need to come up with a great idea. Do some research on existing subscription boxes to figure out what is missing and what you can do to fill that void. You will need to decide how much product you are going to include in your subscription box, which will help you price it. Researching how subscription boxes similar to yours are priced can help you with pricing. You want your price to be something reasonable enough that you can market it, but high enough to have a good profit margin. Some subscription boxes allow customers to upgrade their boxes, which is something you could consider. Before you jump in head first, make a prototype of your box to do a prelaunch where you test it out on a small group. Create a pre launch webpage, and start collecting the email addresses of interested potential customers. Figure out how you are going to source your products, and have a solid shipping plan. Design and launch a website where customers can find your offerings and learn more about your boxes. 

Sell Graphic Design Services

Since so many people and companies are trying to improve their website and social media presence, graphic design services are in high demand. Before you launch your website and work on all of your personal brandings, start by finding clients. Your first clients may be friends, family, or people in your community with whom you share your portfolio. Starting on a freelancing website is a great place to showcase your skills and start building up a client base. In the beginning, take on the work that comes to you and try not to be too particular about what you work on, they are all good experiences. Figure out how you are going to price your services. Look at other people’s profiles for help determining what your prices should be to start, as you can always change them once you become more established. Name your business, and design a logo for yourself once you are ready to launch your own graphic design webpage. Make sure your personality and design style shines through, as this will help you attract clients.

Become a Social Media Marketer

If you enjoy social media and enjoy keeping up with the latest trends, social media marketing may be a business you would enjoy building. As a freelance social media marketer, you can independently contract with clients to work on social media campaigns for their business or personal brand. This role is great for creative people, as it involves coming up with ideas for posts, designing graphics, and editing photographs. Videoing and video editing skills are additional pluses for this type of role. Social media marketers need to be extremely flexible to keep up with changing trends. You will be responsible for coming up with a schedule of posts and engaging with other people on social media. Familiarize yourself with all social media platforms so you understand how they operate. Social media is a key part of companies marketing strategies today, so you will be a part of your client’s success if this is something you excel at. If you have not worked in marketing before or do not know a lot about marketing, start by reading blogs put out by marketing agencies and doing other independent learning. The more knowledge and experience you have, the easier it will be to get ahead in this field. 

Develop Software

If you have worked as a software developer, or have the skills to do it, developing software as an online business is a good option to consider. Being a freelance software developer can be a lucrative plan if you are able to get good clients who keep coming back to you to continue to update their software. To get started, do some networking with entrepreneurs and business owners to get the word out there that you can build software. You may consider starting this online business with a partner because building software can be a labor and time-intensive process, and it is good to have someone to share the workload with. Being a successful software developer requires keeping up with what is new, so do not stop learning and sharpening your skills. Listen to podcasts or read blogs to keep up with industry trends. This is a rapid growth industry, so if you are able to keep up with the demand, you can build a successful online business.

Become a Tutor

If you have ever been a teacher, or enjoy teaching, becoming a virtual tutor may be a good choice for you. Similar to being a teacher, to become an online tutor you may need to pass certain requirements. If you want to tutor math, for instance, you should be able to show what makes you qualified to do so, whether that is a degree in the field or prior teaching or tutoring experience. You always want to do some research on your audience. Who do you want to tutor? Middle school students or college students? Knowing who your audience is will help you cater your message to them. In order to convince a student or a student’s parents that you are the one who would be best to help them, you will want to describe your tutoring methodology. Explain to them why your methods work better than other tutors. Next, you will want to know and be able to market what your tutoring offerings are, including how many weeks your program is and for what length of time. There are dozens of online tutoring platforms where you can sign up to sell your sessions. You can also build your own website and business independently.

If you want to work for yourself and run your own business from home, there are so many options for you to start a small business. Figure out what your skills and passions are and how you can translate that into an online business. Through hard work, ingenuity, and the power of the internet, you can come up with an online business that fits with your lifestyle and can earn you a living. The freedom that comes from making your own schedule and the personal satisfaction of building your own success are just two of the things that will make all of the hard work worth it.

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