The COVID-19 pandemic had a cataclysmic effect on the work world. Many workers started to work remotely and, even as the pandemic subsided, employees often expressed their preference to continue to work from home. Other workers left the workforce altogether which created a shortage in the labor market that has yet to be resolved.
A sizeable number of workers are deciding to combine the benefits of working from home with the need to keep working. They are starting their own home businesses which allows them the freedom of self-employment as they continue to work. Home businesses range from bitcoin commerce and stock trading to selling scented candles and running daycare services for the elderly.
Why Work From Home?
There are many reasons that you may want to create your own work-from-home business. Such a business gives you flexibility in your home-work life – you can set your own hours, work in your pajamas if you choose, set up your workstation any way that you wish, take your work with you when you’re traveling and combine your work day with breaks to deal with child care, walk the dog, fix yourself meals and snacks, etc.
You have opportunities to be creative as you build your business in a way that you wouldn’t be able to if you were working for someone else. You can involve family members in your business so that they feel a part of what’s going on in their homes. Finally, you’ll save massive amounts of time and money by eliminating the need to commute to work.
Some things to remember about starting a work-from-home business include the possible need to renovate parts of your house as you create a home office, store inventory, etc. If you envision your business growing you need to plan ahead so that you’ll have space to accommodate employees. You should also check to see if your locality has zoning laws or regulations that pertain to your work-from-home plan (health regulations for a food-preparation business; fire regulations for a basement office, etc).
Once you’ve made the decision to start a work-from-home enterprise, you need to consider exactly what you plan to do and how you’re going to do it? Will you be selling something? Providing a service? Working with customers? With clients? How will you advertise your product/service? What will you be charging? How will you invoice? Issue receipts? Will you be working with a partner? All of these details will be part of your business plan that you need to create BEFORE you start operating.
Write up a business plan and ask knowledgeable friends and family members to review the plan to make sure that you haven’t forgotten anything.
Don’t neglect the legal aspects of your business plan. If there’s a need for a partnership or a legal structure, get that taken care of with a lawyer before you start operating. Set up your business bank account and speak to an accountant so that you meet all legal requirements for accounting – either through the services of a professional bookkeeper/accountant or by yourself. As mentioned, review the regulations for operating a business out of your home from your municipality. Don’t forget to get insurance.
Some ideas for home businesses that are good for today’s economy include:
There are a number of ways to sell products from home. Some people import products in bulk and then sell them individually for a profit. You can create your own website or sell on a platform like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Amazon, Esty, etc.
Some ideas for selling from home include selling crafted items that you make or selling unique foreign products that aren’t readily available in your market. Keep in mind that you’re going to need to store the inventory so that you have them ready to ship upon order. That means that you will need to invest in your inventory and take the risk that you won’t sell enough to make the profit that you hope to make.
Dropshipping is another option for selling products – with dropshipping, you have a relationship with the manufacturer so you’re only responsible for advertising and taking orders – the manufacturer does the actual shipping and gets paid when an order comes in which reduces your risk.
Many of the services that employers keep employees on staff to perform can be outsourced so you can work for various businesses or employers from the comfort of your own home office. Such services include web design, content or freelance writing, working as a virtual assistant (virtual secretarial services), SEO consulting, etc. There are websites like Fiverr where people looking for services find those providing those services but there are also trade chats and job boards where businesses who are in need of freelancers who can provide those services can find you.
As in many situations, as you build up a clientele and make a name for yourself as a responsible and capable provider, you’ll get more work.
Other types of services that you can provide include teaching online classes, bookkeeping, working as an online personal trainer, home-care for the elderly or for children, a second-hand shop where you resell items, providing haircutting, nail care, make-up or cosmetology services, etc. Make sure that you have the required licenses and meet all local zoning requirements for these types of work.
You don’t have to be a media star to become an influencer. If you have expertise in a subject (parenting, fashion, gaming, etc) and are a good communicator, you can set up a social media channel and sell items through affiliate marketing or through a sponsor.
The opportunities to work from home have never been better! Give it a try!