Today I’m going to talk to you about five different online home business ideas that you can start selling from home. Let’s first dive into dropshipping. Dropshipping is an appealing business model to start with because it’s relatively accessible to anyone. Now, I’m sure you’ve seen all of the ads and videos about how you can make millions of dollars selling a spatula or something else, and I’m not going to talk to you about any of that. The only thing that I want to talk about is the concept of dropshipping.
1. Dropshipping Business
If you’re new to dropshipping, dropshipping is a business model. And it’s a model where you, the entrepreneur you don’t pay for or carry inventory. Instead, you find products, and you import them virtually to your online Shopify store so that your Shopify store shows the product information, photos, and price. And you, the entrepreneur, do the work of marketing that product.
When a customer finds it and clicks buy, you go to the supplier, you order the product from them, and the supplier ships that product directly to your customer. So you never see the inventory, but the customer gets the product they ordered from your site.
Now, if this seems too good to be true, it isn’t. The wholesaler may supply your customer’s product, but you’re still responsible for creating the positioning, branding, online storefront, marketing, and customer service. A lot of new dropshippers want to know how they can find winning products. My advice is to think deeply about your customer’s problems and then look for products that creatively solve those problems.
Another thing to keep in mind is you want to sell products that are fairly inexpensive because you’re selling these products to customers who are going to buy them on impulse. Customers go to Amazon or other big box stores to find products that they already know they need, but when customers are scrolling through Facebook, they’re not in shopping mode. That’s when they see the drop shippers ad, and they go, “oh my gosh, I didn’t even know this existed. This pet hair vacuum is perfect. I want to get it”. They’re not going to look for that anywhere else cause they’ve never seen it before.
Dropshipping is worth considering if you’ve got very little space to operate in or start with a tight budget. For those of us that are still trying to figure out their business, dropshipping can also quickly help you test and validate different home business ideas with minimal downside. This then frees you up to learn more about choosing and marketing in-demand products.
2. Print-on-Demand Business
Now, for all of my passionate designer friends out there who want to do dropshipping and want to flex print on demand creatively, it could be for you. Print on demand is another dropshipping service that puts inventory, shipping, and fulfillment in a third-party supplier’s hands. But unlike dropshipping, the focus here is on customizing these products with your designs to create something original.
These days, you can print it on almost anything. Tee-shirts, hats, phone cases, hoodies, skirts, tote bags, and more. This method can also work for those of us who are not blessed with design skills. All you need is a good idea, and you can find a designer to work with using freelance sites like Fiverr, Upwork, Dribble, or 99designs. Like with anything, there are many considerations to keep in mind when weighing whether this model will work for you.
With many print-on-demand services, you’re paying per-product, so the base price per unit will likely be higher than if you were to order these in bulk. The upside to this is if certain t-shirt designs don’t sell, you haven’t paid for those items yet.
Now, even though shipping and fulfillment is out of your hands, shipping costs can get quite complicated as it often varies for different products. You’ll have to weigh base costs, customization options, printing techniques, and available sizes, as those will all depend on the vendor you’re choosing to move forward with.
To find more inspiration, you should check our How to Start T-shirt Business Online article.
3. Selling Homemade Products
If you make your products, know someone who does, or have aspirations to, you can also consider turning your hobby into a business. With the ability to control nearly every aspect of the product you sell, you can make them more cost-effective, improve their quality, or customize them for a specific audience.
Some examples of products you could consider making from home include candles, jewelry, art, or even apparel. Food and cosmetics could also be made from home, but please be aware of regulations concerning products that someone might ingest light or put on their skin. Each country has its own rules and regulations about creating and selling products, so do your homework before you start producing and selling.
There is nothing more empowering than being able to sell a service or your expertise. This business model is essentially crafted around who you are and what you know; creative professionals like designers or marketers might freelance or consult with other companies, juggling multiple clients often remotely.
Others might operate based on appointments and bookings to offer their service to individuals directly. Services are even simpler than products to start selling from home, but the challenge here will be how you’re allocating your time. Time is money has never been truer than when you’re running your service-based business.
An important thing to look out for with service-based businesses is that they often require a lot of networking and word of mouth to find suitable clients. You’ll need to develop a solid marketing strategy to help get your name out there when you’re first getting started. Additionally, it would help if you were incredibly attentive to customer service initiatives and best practices to ensure that you foster loyal customers. They will return time and time for your home business.
Suppose you’re able to build a small, loyal group of people. In that case, you don’t necessarily need to have many customers to do well because, depending on the service you’re offering, a handful of high-quality clients can be enough to support yourself full time while working from home. As I mentioned earlier, one of the biggest downsides of running a service-based business is that you’re being paid strictly for your skills, time, and effort.
Now to help alleviate some of these potential time issues, you can also productize their service. This means that you create physical or digital products that package up your expertise and streamline or complement your offer.
Some ideas for adding products to your service-based business include courses, designs, digital assets, downloadable reports, digital templates, merchandise, or ebooks. There will be no physical products to trip over at home as a bonus for this business type.
5. Monetizing Audience
In today’s connected world, the ability to build an audience by capturing and keeping them is an asset. And access to that audience is something that businesses are willing to pay for. Whether you choose to grow your following on YouTube, Instagram, or a blog, you have many different ways to monetize your audience. You can do sponsored posts on behalf of brands, become an affiliate, sell physical or digital products, or create a Patreon page.
One thing I do want to highlight is that taking an audience-first approach to starting a business means that you’re playing the long game. So it might be months before you figure all of this out. There you have it.
If this article has inspired you to start a home business today, let us know what idea you are going within the comments below.