Home based & small business ideas provide genuine opportunities to create a sustainable, profitable income for entrepreneurs looking to work from home or make money online.
Marketing or selling through an eCommerce store, online shopping cart, blog or website brings great opportunity, as you'll see in my list of inspirational business successes later in the article.
Startups are also far easier to establish now than just a few years ago. And now more than ever, entrepreneurs (working out of the home, garage, dorm room, etc) are needed to help boost the economy.
And while our top 10 list is meant to give you some inspiration, it's definitely worthwhile checking out our latest article entitled, How to come up with good business ideas, so that you can find the perfect idea for your own unique skills, knowledge and and community.
At any rate, I hope you'll find something to inspire you to startup today. There's no time like the present (and don't forget about me when you're sipping pina-coladas off the deck of your yacht ;)
1. Specialist consulting
If you have experience or skills then one of the best ways to make money is by providing niche industry wisdom and expert advice. It doesn't matter what industry you are in.
Start blogging about what you know. Offer to help people by providing knowledge. Answer questions on other sites, blogs and forums.
Once people recognize you as an expert they will trust you, and you can start leveraging that trust to make money by offering services and consulting in your niche. What's nice about this idea is that there's nothing stopping you providing consulting facilities online - via Skype or a Google+ hangout.
Depending what industry you're in, you might be able to operate completely from home without having to make expensive trips out to clients. For example, a technology consultant for small businesses run by baby-boomers could be a fantastic moneyspinner.
2. Boutique online store
Do you have a passion for designing cushions? Do you love making gourmet cupcakes? If there is something you love doing, then do it online.
Blog about what you do. Creating fantastic content that interests people gives you a powerful platform to encourage more customers to visit, and more visitors to purchase.
Make your content exciting and visual so that your passion transfers to visitors who then just have to buy.
3. eLearning content
If there is a subject you are knowledgeable in, or know plenty of people who are knowledgeable about something, then use that to make money.
Set up a subscription based service to train people. Offer them courses, complete with exercises and marked online quizzes. Award them with certificates upon completion.
Grow the business by finding other knowledgeable who can put together new courses on a wide range of subjects for kids and adults alike and expand your reach into new markets. More and more learning is shifting to the online world, making this the right time to establish yourself and capture some market share.
4. Specialty reviews
Do you love fine dining? How about wine tasting? Does staying in luxury hotels appeal to you?
Start up a blog and begin reviewing local products and services. Do a good job and local merchants and retailers will quickly catch on to the value of being reviewed by you. Leverage that demand to make money, as well as using ads and affiliate links to generate additional cash from readers.
Another advantage of working in the reviews industry is that it can be very visually appealing. Sharing photos of your amazing meals is a great way to get people to read reviews, work up an appetite and start visiting more places.
5. Innovative local services
There are a million and one things that get in people's way each day. If you have a smart idea about how to help, then set it up.
idea: If you have a pickup you could offer to pick up people's old furniture for free. It saves them time and money taking it to the dump. You can then resell it via your website.
idea: People hate queuing at local grocery stores after work. Why not let them pre-order from your website and have it waiting for them. They don't have to pay for parking, fight with crowds or wait in queues. Well worth the small amount you charge for the service.
With limited resources, you'll have to start local. But franchising to different towns and cities is a great option for growth later down the line.
6. Online real-time tutorials and lessons
Google+ offers incredible resources for video conferencing and online hangouts. Why not offer one hour lessons by video online? People can sign up on your website and access live tutorials and lesson, possibly followed by some Q and A for added interactivity.
You don't have to charge much, and as the word spreads you could end up with thousands of students attending each lesson.
If you're already a teacher, a good way to start would be to offer an additional, free online lesson in addition to the classes you take. Use this to discover what works best and what learners find useful. Once you're established, start charging and grow your classes into profitable sizes
7. Niche blogging
Blogging is a great way to make a residual income. It's definitely a medium term investment though, so it's only viable if you are passionate about your niche topic.
Remember that, depending on how well you present content to the audience, it is possible to make virtually any weird and wonderful topic fun, interesting and engaging. The weirder and wackier you get, in a way that is still understandable, useful, or entertaining in some way, the more likely you are to be noticed and build a following.
It is far better to dominate a single, obscure niche than to be unremarkable in a common one.
Use social media, SEO and Internet marketing to build up traffic volumes, engage with readers and earn their trust. Make money from advertising and affiliate links.
8. Remote PA
If you're planning on working from home full-time, then why not offer to help people who can't find enough hours in the day to do everything they need.
Preferably offer services that you can perform online such as research, administration, writing, editing, and so on. Otherwise, focus on the local market... especially if you need to run errands.
The more you can work online, the more scope there is to hire low maintenance virtual office workers to expand your business.
9. Discounts & deals
Times are tough. People appreciate finding high quality services and products at low prices. Scour the web for the top deals and pass them on to your readers.
Make sure you do it in an exciting, interesting and unique way - there is a lot of competition in this industry.
Alternatively, start local. Approach local merchants and retailers and get them to run specials which you promote. As you build up a following, the tables will turn and it will be merchants who approach you to write about their specials. Leverage that demand to make money.
Do you know how to build mobile apps? How about games? Are you a guru in a forgotten programming language? Are you an incredible graphic designer?
Hardcore IT and technical skills are well suited to online home based business. All the coolest companies were started in garages, bedrooms or dorm rooms by IT geeks.
Use a website to show off your abilities. Convincing clients to take you on is difficult at first, but, providing you do a good job, referrals will keep new clients coming in.
Want more ideas?
Ten ideas is great and all, but we've got hundreds of ideas that are either completely original or have taken existing ideas and given them a cheeky twist that just might mean the difference between success and failure.
What's more, you can share your own ideas and have them promoted and spread around the world via social media. By coming together around the shared goal of exchanging and inspiring each other with new ideas, the possibilities for new challenges and success multiply exponentially.
Click the screenshot below to go check it out:
Here are just some of the inspirational ideas you'll come across in our list:
- Hip, stylish shoe accessories: Design and sell a range of hip accessories that can change the look and feel of a single pair of shoes. This will mean people can dress up or down but only spend big bucks on a single pair of nice shoes.
- 'Twisted' store for millenials: There are stacks and stacks of traditional products that could be "twisted" to appeal to a quirky new generation. Don't believe me? Check out this Zombie apocalypse garden gnome.
- Kidpreneur classes: Start afternoon or early evening classes in your neighborhood that caters to kids/teens and teaches them about running their own business. Offer them a fun and useful learning experience and parents will love it (not least because you are taking the kids off their hands for a while).
- Sheepdog drones: Check out this clip of a farmer herding his sheep with Shep, the world's first sheepdog drone. 100% certain people would actually pay to do the job for him it looks like so much fun.
There are literally hundreds more ideas just as unique and original as these for you to explore. Who knows, perhaps you'll see something that sparks an idea in your own mind that will ultimately lead you to your successful venture.
Like these folks...
Inspirational business successes
To inspire you to get started with your new home based business, I thought I would finish off with a few stories of how the Internet, a bit of determination and creativity, helped some people to achieve success.
If they can do it, so can you:
What other business ideas would you include on this list? Have you started a home based online business? Had any success? Share your hopes, fears, and experiences in the comments, or join the conversation on LinkedIn.