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.
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.
This is also one work-at-home job that can be endlessly customized to work for you – you can choose subjects to specialize in, from sports or fashion to European finance or vegan motherhood. You can write articles and blog posts, or ad copy and social posts. You can ghostwrite for your clients, or build your own successful blog. You can find jobs nearly anywhere, too – from job boards or virtual assistant agencies to personal referrals and building your own site. Visit my beginner’s guide to get started freelance writing online.
Choosing a name for your business isn’t always straightforward — the name you want may be taken by a previously registered company in your state. It’s also a common (and smart) practice to name your business and choose your future website’s domain name at the same time to ensure they match, but unfortunately, your desired domain name may be taken as well. To avoid either of these situations sending you back to square one, come up with a list of possible business names rather than becoming too focused on a particular name immediately.
Just be sure to put a lot of care into your product listings. Everything from the titles you use, to how effective the description is at convincing potential buyers your product is better than the rest, and even taking care to shoot high quality product photos can have a dramatic impact on your sales. I recommend using photo editing tools like Fotor, which gives you the ability to edit your images, create captivating graphic designs and more.
I know that in the ecommerce and physical product world, there are a lot of costs up front, which vary depending on the product. Sometimes you’re going to have to spend a significant amount of money up front to pay for a mold, like Bret Miller did with his product Brik Book, which is a physical product with a specific shape that needs to be reproduced on a large scale. The mold itself could cost up to tens of thousands of dollars. In this case, a crowdfunding campaign could be an excellent option to cover those costs. Listen to Bret talk about the story of Brik Book on SPI 217.
If you're looking to address some immediate financial needs, then the app economy is likely right for you. Thanks to the global sharing phenomenon, launched in part by our smartphones and ever-burgeoning global connectivity, you could easily opt for some quick active income by using well-known apps. From ride sharing to deliveries and even quick tasks, there's an app for that today, as the saying goes.
Many work-from-home jobs that you find will require you to sit at your computer for long periods each day. So it’s super important that you have a comfortable space to work! Even if it’s just a comfortable chair pulled up to an old table that’s the right height, or a spot on your couch, put some thoughtfulness for your future self into your home office. Your body will thank you. (Oh, and make sure it’s in a quiet spot!)
Mechanical Turk: Amazon's Mechanical Turk is a resource for doing human-intelligence tasks, or as the site commonly refers to them, HITs. You get paid a very small fee for any given HIT and you'll need a good deal of volume to make a substantial amount of money. But it is a resource you can use in your spare time to generate a small income online.
Great list! I have another to consider that I personally have 35+ years experience providing. Clean up litter outside commercial properties on foot using inexpensive hand tools. It’s almost as easy to do as going for a walk! I started doing this as a side gig in 1981 and soon grew it into a profitable full-time business. I share my experience in my book, Cleanlots.
Using a food delivery service can’t necessarily earn you money, but it can help you save you money if you constantly find yourself throwing out half the food you buy. Food delivery services send a box of food every week with new, sometimes unique vegetables, meat, fruit, and so on. If you don’t have time to shop and want simple meal-prep that leads to a good meal, a food subscription service may be perfect for you.