eBay: eBay is one of the most popular websites in the world, period. That means it’s a great way to attract lots of eyeballs to your unwanted items, fast. Initially designed as an auction site for DIY sellers, it’s now primarily a venue for fixed-price (though often heavily discounted) sales by professional merchants. Still, as long as you include high-quality photographs and thorough descriptions in your product listings, you can likely break through the noise. eBay’s fee schedule is complex, but as a general rule, expect to lose 10% of your final selling price to the site’s commission.
The internet changes so fast that one year online equals about five years in the real world. But the principles of how to start and grow a successful online business haven't changed at all. If you're just starting a small business online, stick to this sequence. If you've been online awhile, do a quick review and see if there's a step you're neglecting, or never got around to doing in the first place. You can't go wrong with the basics.
Build your audience on a course community: If you’re just getting started building an audience for yourself and want to leverage communities already actively looking for content you can choose to host and sell your online course on a site like Skillshare or Udemy. These are easy, cost-effective ways to build an audience and test your niche to see if there’s demand for it.
Start a bed and breakfast. If you live in a popular resort area or own a historic property, a B&B might be the perfect side hustle. Not only can you work at home with this career, but you’ll also score some tax write-offs in the process — although most innkeepers caution that the profession requires a lot of hard work and is more of an attractive lifestyle than a money-making pursuit.
Manage social media for businesses. If you have a knack for social media, you could potentially get paid to manage various platforms for others. Many businesses are too busy running day-to-day operations to stay on top of their Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts – and will pay someone with the knowledge and time to do it for them. To find these jobs, ask local businesses and check sites like UpWork.com and Problogger.net.
Every accomplishment starts with an idea. If you’re interested in starting a business, you probably already have an idea to work from, but it might still be a bit vague in your mind. Validate your idea through market research, and by looking to expand the knowledge you’ll need to apply when running and growing your business — such as by studying the industry and reflecting on the personal experiences of yourself and others when dealing with businesses in the industry in question. This will help you figure out how you’re going to differentiate your business from others.
Bulk Selling: For all practical purposes, you can sell as many items as you like on Decluttr. If you reach the 500-item-per-order limit, just start a new order. This is a big advantage for folks staring down huge boxes of old DVDs, CDs, and textbooks. And it’s a distinct competitive edge on retail trade-in platforms, which may require users to enter their items one at a time.
With drop shipping, you’re effectively partnering with a manufacturer or wholesaler to sell their products. This way, you don’t pay upfront costs to buy inventory, aren’t sitting on unsold items taking up expensive warehouse space, and don’t have to deal with shipping the products yourself. You simply create your site, fill it with drop shippable products, and drive in customers, with almost everything else done for you.
The larger the company, the more requirements and prerequisites they likely have in place. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Even though you may need a newer computer, they may be offer health insurance and a full-time schedule. There’s always a trade-off. Know that more scheduling freedom and flexibility and less management oversight may mean lesser pay or no benefits.
One of the best places to sell unwanted personal possessions is Decluttr, a website that buys used items directly from consumers. Unlike trade-in marketplaces such as Gazelle and auction websites such as eBay, Decluttr doesn’t act as a middleman between buyers and sellers. Rather, it’s best understood as a bulk buyer: an enterprise with deep pockets and an unsatiable appetite for used consumer products.
Now next, you’ll want to pick a WordPress theme from somewhere like ThemeForest, Elegant Themes or OptimizePress. This is the barebones design of your site, which you can then customize with your own branding, copy, and images. That being said, you don’t want to cheap out. It costs less than $100 to buy a theme that will make your website look professional (and you can upgrade to a completely custom design once you get the business going).
It’s an excellent opportunity to offer technical training courses that teach people how to learn a much-needed skill, or accomplish an important task. It could also prove to be an important testing ground for your educational courses. If you are able to market your course on the site, against direct competition, you may be able to direct marketing to the general public, using a website, videos, or even an affiliate marketing program.
It wasn’t until 2010, two full years after my initial small investments, when I spent a bit more money for one of the best investments you can make in your business: building an email list. The Email Service Provider (ESP) I used at the time was Aweber, which cost me $194 per year to start (that’s only about $16 per month). Once my email list grew though, the costs increased based on the number of subscribers I had: 26,000 subscribers cost me $181 per month. Aside from the costs, which actually are pretty standard, Aweber didn’t have some of the features I wanted, so I moved on.
If you’ve got experience and expertise in a specific area of business, there are hundreds if not thousands of business owners who would love to jump on a phone call and pick your brain. This can be an easy way to make extra money online and to hone your skills to use in your consulting or freelance business. Sites like Clarity.fm let you create a profile where entrepreneurs and business owners can pre-pay to book a phone call with you for a set amount of time. Whether you’re an expert in raising money for startups, building apps, or running a restaurant, you can make extra money selling a few minutes of your time to people in need.
Read product reviews before you buy. Decide whether a desktop or a laptop is best to suit your needs (Ex. You will likely need a desktop to get a customer service position. On the other end of the spectrum, proofreading can be done on a tablet if necessary.) And, while you’re budgeting for new hardware, don’t forget to factor in a good headset – many remote jobs require them. (To increase your marketability, you can also add a decent mic and an all-in-one printer. Or even a foot pedal if you’re going into transcription.)
Some companies like 1-800flowers.com outsource customer-service operations to third-party companies who then hire home-based workers or "agents" to take calls and orders. When you call 1-800-flowers, you may be speaking with Rebecca Dooley, a retired police officer and employee of Alpine Access, a major call-center service. When you dialed the number to 1-800-flowers, your call was automatically routed to Rebecca's spare bedroom in Colorado.
In 2014, Caitlin Pyle made over $43,000 by working as a freelance proofreader…part time. When she wasn’t working, she even had time to go on several fun vacations. After she had a ton of success doing that, she decided she wanted to teach others how to do the same thing, so she started up Proofread Anywhere. Sign up for one of her free workshops to learn more about making money as a proofreader.
Most people think that you need to have a lot money stocked away before getting started with investing in real estate, but that isn’t true. In fact, you can start with with as little as $500 by using a platform like Fundrise. Fundrise allows investors of all types (beginners and experts alike) to invest directly in a real estate portfolio that’s managed by a team of professionals.
Pretty self-explanatory. You can start making money playing with dogs today using Rover. Rover lets you set your prices so you can charge fair rates for your services. In addition to walking, you can also offer doggy daycare, house sitting, and boarding through Rover. If you’d rather start your own thing, check out The Balance’s How to Start a Dog Walking Business.
Advertise! Whether you pay for advertising or you trade advertising with related websites and blogs, or you use free search sites, the important thing to remember is to put in the time and keep track of what works. Search out other websites and blogs with similar content and leave comments with your contact info. There are services that will do all the marketing for you for a fee, but to start out, you can do the marketing yourself. Fiverr.com will advertise your website starting at $5.
Every year more people shop online than ever before. Customers have grown to love the convenience of buying online, and new online stores are constantly opening to meet the demand. If you've ever thought about starting an online store of your own, now is a great time to get started. Don't worry— it’s not as hard as you might think. In fact, with the right eCommerce platform on your side, you can have your whole business up and running in no time.
This can either be done locally or through an online service like Fiverr. Resumes are something that people can be very insecure and self-conscious about, which means there is always a demand for services that will help spruce them up. Holly Hanna from The Work at Home Woman wrote a really useful article on How to Make Money from Home with Resume Writing.
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(The best part is not wearing a suit and tie.) Sales agents make cold calls to businesses or customers, explaining a product or service, and leading the client through purchasing. Nearly every industry has a need for sales agents, so it takes some digging to find your work from home niche. Try adding the search keyword “telecommute” or “work from home” to your sales searches.
Mobile applications are more popular than ever, and people are willing to pay good money for ways to manage their lives from their smartphones. If you have a great idea and happen to know coding, you can run with it and create your app yourself. If you just have an idea and don't know the ins and outs of how to turn it into a reality, there are plenty of software developers looking to collaborate with people on app creation.
If you’re a fitness buff and have the right combination of charisma and business sense, working as a part-time online personal trainer can be both physically and financially rewarding. Once you build up a reputation and client base for yourself, it could easily turn into a full-time endeavor for you. Check out this interview with several fitness blog owners who are making a living online, from MonetizePros. As well, I'd recommend checking out this resource if you want to take this business idea seriously and get started with a business plan for your personal fitness trainer business today.
Social media isn’t just a fun thing you do with your friends. It’s a competitive marketing space where thousands of brands and businesses are competing for, often times, the same audience. If you can help a business get a leg up in that environment, you can carve out a valuable position within a company. However, one of the most important aspects of a good social media manager is someone who understands the tone and voice of the business he or she represents. For example, a social media manager at Wendy’s should use a different tone from at McDonald’s, even though they’re both fast-food burger restaurants.
Want to do more than type words but instead create? Consider a career in writing. There are so many ways to be a writer (think blogging, fiction writing, and children’s books), and most of them can be done from home either as a telecommuter and a freelancer. The great thing about writing is you can start small with very little experience. You won't make a lot at first but as you build your portfolio you can expand into more lucrative types of writing.
What’s the catch? None, really. Cash back apps act as affiliates for many online merchants, which means that whenever you make a purchase through one of the apps, they get a small commission — but then, they give you a portion of that commission as “cash back”. For example, if I buy a pair of Nike shoes through the Ebates app (or website) and spend $75, Ebates may get a $10 commission but then they’ll pass $7 back to me. It’s basically a way to get sale prices on stuff that isn’t on sale!