Home-based businesses are succeeding in communities – large and small -across the country, and online entrepreneurs are changing the way that the business world works.
Here are just a few of the reasons why:
1. You control your own time. Self-employment means freedom to work where you want, when you want.
2. You can pursue your passion. Being an entrepreneur allows you do what you love every day (from home!).
3. An opportunity to learn. Running your own home business requires you to wear many hats – marketing, sales, technology – and constantly learn new things.
4. Pride and fulfillment. Providing a service or a product that helps others is very rewarding.
5. You can make more money. The amount of money you make working for yourself can far exceed what you would make as a salaried employee.
6. Tax benefits. The percentage of your home devoted to business use and business expenses can be tax deductible.
7. Excitement. Owning your own business is stimulating and different every day.
8. Escape the rat race. No more 9 to 5 and living by someone else’s rules.
A decade ago, working from home wasn’t even a possibility. Now, technology allows professionals in a number of fields and industries to get the same jobs done no matter where they are in the world. Blue Fountain Media director of human resources Samantha Lambert said working from home was rarely connected with a full-time career, but now it’s a more convenient and affordable option. The future of remote working also looks good. As the workforce becomes more progressive, more tools like virtual reality conferencing and AI-powered management will become available. There are plenty of opportunities for anyone who wants to shift to remote working. Here are some of the best home-based jobs and businesses you can try:
If you have a knack for writing and you never run out of ideas, perhaps you ought to give freelance writing a try. Your earnings will often depend on the topics that you cover—The Balance points out that it all depends on your strengths and niche. The average hourly rate for writers is about $50 and the average annual income is around $60,000. It’s still possible to earn more than the average rates by checking out active listings online for freelance projects and writing gigs.
Real estate agent
Moonlighting as a real estate agent from your home will earn you around $50,000 a year. Fit Small Business notes that you need to meet state requirements for licensure and check your financial health before committing to the job. A bulk of your success also depends on the time you spend with clients—20 hours per week is highly recommended. It’s important to keep in mind that the average real estate agent in NYC only does two to three deals per year, which means every hour you spend speaking with potential homebuyers count. ‘How Much Do NYC Real Estate Agents Make?’ by Yoreevo notes that understanding the market is the key to ensure success and a good salary in being a home-based real estate agent. Use social media and data analytics to your advantage as they can help you see what your clientele wants.
For those who love fashion more than anything, a clothing retail business might be a good idea. You can buy the latest in-demand clothes from retail stores and resell them for a profit online. You can also look for hard-to-find items and make them more accessible in your area. When it comes to your platform, you can create your own website or use any of the sales platforms that are already available online. Regardless of the platform you choose, Chron suggests spending $10 per year for your own website domain name so that no one else can claim it if you ever decide to put up your own site.
Baked goods and catering
On Homeowner Referral Network we believe it’s important that you enjoy what you do. The financial and personal rewards will just follow. If whipping up a fresh batch of cookies or cooking delicious meals makes you really happy, why not make some money off your recipes? The retail space and the equipment might cost you some money, so it’s best to begin selling online first, before branching out to a full-blown bakery.
No, I’m not Angie (of Angie’s List) but I must admit that I’m asked that question a lot.
While at first glance, it may appear that my Homeowner Referral Network (HRN) business offers the same type of service as online contractor referral services such as Angie’s List (which was recently acquired by Home Advisor), the truth is that our businesses are quite different.
First and foremost, our revenue models are different. Angie’s List makes money by allowing contractors to advertise and offer promotions to their members. My HRN business earns money from commissions paid by my contractors and they only pay me when they get paid which is far more appealing to them. Contractors can’t pay me a fee to represent them. In my opinion, accepting advertising compromises the unbiased referrals I provide.
Another important distinction between my HRN business and national, online contractor referral businesses like Angie’s List is that my contractor referral business is local and personalized. I meet and screen each contractor in my network. I know his or her work because I’ve actually seen it. Beyond screening my contractors for licensing (which can vary not only by state but by county), insurance, references and more, in most cases I know their employees, family members, and even where they live. How can an online contractor referral service based in Indianapolis adequately vet contractors in 50 different states?
In addition to hand-picking my contractors, I individually match them to every job. And, beyond a contractor’s trade, there are several variables that need to be taken into consideration – time frame, contractors’ schedules, budget and personality types – to name a few.
For example, when a homeowner calls me and says they need a painter to spruce up their home for sale, I’m not going to refer them to the most expensive painter in my network who primarily works with high end decorators and architects. And when another homeowner asked me for a handyman who would take his shoes off when he worked in her home, I knew that would eliminate more than half of the contractors on my list.
And finally, after speaking with hundreds (maybe even thousands) of homeowners over the years, I have heard repeatedly that while they may go online to check out photos and get renovation and design ideas, when it comes to hiring a contractor to work in their home, they want a personal recommendation.
I guess that’s the reason why my HRN business has been so successful. I may not be Angie, but I know the value of providing well-screened, personalized contractor referrals.
If you’re looking for a profitable and rewarding home based business, then starting a referral service is a great option. I should know. I’ve been operating my contractor referral business for 22 years!
Referral businesses can be operated part-time or full time from home and they don’t require a lot of start-up capital or overhead. And, with some careful step-by-step planning, you can be up and running in a matter of weeks:
Step One: Determine who you want to refer.
Take into consideration what interests you and also what would serve the needs of your community. For example, if you’re passionate about decorating or home improvements and you see a lot of new homeowners moving into your area, maybe you’d like to start a contractor referral service like mine. If there a growing number of elderly people in your community, maybe you’d like to start a referral business that helps seniors take care of home-related jobs and errands that may be difficult for them.
Step Two: Research local laws.
Investigate what the state and county business requirements are for the service providers you’re going to refer. Do your service providers need to be licensed or insured? You’ll need that information to screen the providers in your network.
Step Three: Create a screening process.
Each of the contractors in your network must be properly vetted to ensure the highest level of customer satisfaction. You’ll need to create a system and ongoing procedures for checking licensing and insurance credentials, customer service, etc.
Step Four: How will you get paid?
Decide if you want charge the contractors you refer or your clients for your service. Will you charge a flat monthly fee or will your service be commission-based? To help determine which compensation model will work best for your business, speak with professionals to get their feedback on what is fair and/or customary in your industry.
Step Five: Identify your market.
Once you’ve assembled a network of providers to refer, research who your potential customers are. Start by creating a market segmentation study that identifies the key characteristics of your prospective customers. For example, where do your target customers live? How old are they?
Step Six: Create a marketing plan.
To promote your business, you’ll need to create a marketing plan. A well-designed website with concise and informative copy is a must. To help drive traffic to your site and engage our customers, you may want to start a blog or an e-newsletter. Offline promotional campaigns include direct mail, advertising and reaching out to local reporters to generate press attention. And, networking to build word-of-mouth referrals is another great way to generate buzz about your referral business.
If you’re outgoing, enjoy helping people and think you have what it takes to succeed in the referral service business, don’t hesitate! With low overhead and substantial financial rewards, a referral service is an ideal home based business.