Starting any kind of business is daunting. There’s a lot to learn sure, but just as scary is the idea of having to outlay serious money before you see any coin coming in.
If the money factor is a serious concern for you, you may want to think about starting a home business. While they definitely take just as much work as any business, there are lots of options out there which you can set up with little or no cost.
Here’s 6 ideas to get you started.
1. Become a travel consultant
Enjoy travel? Have some solid experience under your belt in interesting and unusual parts of the world? Then becoming a freelance travel consultant may well be for you.
The beauty of this line of work is that operating as an individual rather than as part of a big business can actually seriously count in your favor!
Why? Because the new trend in traveling is authenticity. People don’t want to tread the same weary paths as every other camera-toting, sunscreen wearing tourist out there.
In this new wave of tourism, local flavor is all. If you have the experience to offer a unique taste of the weird, wacky and even the dark underbelly of a destination, then you’re sitting on a goldmine.
So if you know the best little hole in the wall to grab yak curry in Peru or the best kava bars in downtown Kiribati, put your experience to work!
2. Write for money
I know I know. Kind of a boring suggestion. But it works! And provided you can actually … you know … write, you can set yourself up on a shoestring.
The key to this home business is to start humbly. You may be the intellectual lovechild of Hemingway and Rowling, but just like everyone else, the only way to begin is at the ground floor.
The good news: setting yourself up on bog basic freelancing sites like Fiverr or People Per Hour is one hundred percent free. All you need to do is build a good profile on one of these sites and take any writing job you can find.
I won’t lie. Those first few jobs you get will be a little bit soul-withering. You’ll end up writing copy about how elasticated shoelaces have revolutionized power-walking. Or why nanosilver laced catheters are the go to geriatric medical accessory of 2019.
But once you get those first few miserable jobs under your belt, you can start migrating to better gigs.
With (really) hard work and a good nose for making a buck, you stand a pretty gosh darn decent chance of making a viable business for yourself, and your only real indispensable outlay will be coffee—lots and lots of coffee.
3. Sign on as a MLM sales representative
This is absolutely a great option to consider if you’re one of those people with a gift for sales.
If you have that blessed ability to believe in a product and then make other people share that belief to the point of parting with their money, a multi-level marketing (MLM) business may well be for you.
You’ve probably encountered at least one MLM business in your travels. These companies work by conscripting people to sell their product in return for a commission. Mary Kay and Avon are two classic examples.
You will need to spend a little money to get started. There’ll be product to buy and possibly even course materials and marketing resources to acquire, but usually these are quite reasonable.
After all, MLMs have an active interest in making sure you have as few barriers to earning money for them as possible.
There’s an important warning to bear in mind here though. While some MLMs pay incredibly well and sell a great product, others aren’t quite so legit.
So be sure to read lots of fair and impartial network marketing reviews before making any decisions.
A good review will clearly outline the pros and cons of the MLM’s business model and set you up with a solid idea of how much you can expect to earn.
4. Start Teaching Online
Develop one or more online courses is a great sideline which can rapidly bloom into a full-blown home business.
There’s quite an art to this though. There’s lots of competition out there, so it’s important to find something you know a lot about and to develop a compelling set of lessons around it.
Anything and everything can be a teachable product. Just check out the ridiculous variety of courses for sale on Udemy.
This podcast is a free and excellent resource which gives rock solid advice on how to make a successful stab at the teaching biz.
This is a slow-burner opportunity. It takes a fair bit of time to develop your first product. However, if you feel you have valuable knowledge to share, teaching is a very inexpensive way to develop a viable home business.
5. Build Up a Winning YouTube Channel
This is definitely a lower-probability endeavor than a lot of home business ideas, simply because so many folks these days are trying to make money through YouTube.
However, a lot of people are doing it because it can and does work if you have a knack for developing funny and/or interesting content.
It might be that you’re really good at making people laugh. Or it may be that you know everything there is to know about making stylish lego headwear. It doesn’t actually matter what it is, provided you’re good at talking about it and you can build an audience around the subject.
Can you make real money through a YouTube channel overnight? Oh hell no! It takes a lot of time to build up your fanbase.
But there are almost no overheads if you know what you’re doing and there’s a wealth of advice on how to build up and gradually monetize your following.
Check out this guide as a great place to get yourself started.
6. Read a lot? Get into editing
Remember how I talked about starting an online writing biz?
Well, all of those people need editors. In fact, most businesses where selling stuff with words plays a role will have some kind of demand for quality editing at some point.
While formal editing training does help, there are plenty of inexpensive online editing courses. Udemy alone has a dozen or more and they’re all very reasonably priced.
If you have a knack for grammar and a sense of what reads well, selling your services as an editor for hire is a great option. How do you begin? Jump into Fiverr or Upwork and begin plying your wordy wares!
If you like the idea of working from home but don’t have a lot to invest in starting a home business, any of these ideas are a great place to begin. You won’t be paying your bills overnight, but with persistence it can happen faster than you might imagine. Good luck!