As the job market is witnessing corporate downsizing, more enterprises are hopeful that the Internet will make telecommuting more dynamic. The integration of business operations and technology has led to the proliferation of small businesses that develop low-cost, enterprise-quality products and services.
This is a welcome change for home-based businesses that can explore new business opportunities without worrying about capital investment. The number of Americans who operate a home-based business has been increasing since the last few years.
Home-Based Business Opportunities with No Startup Cost
Working from home not only gives you the opportunity to be independent, but it also comes with home-based business tax deduction. Once your business starts generating income, you need to start paying taxes on the commission earned. But, the Internal Revenue Service allows you to avail tax deductions in the form of home office expense, travel expense and health insurance premium.
Here is a list of five home-based business ideas that you can start without incurring any startup costs:
1. Event Planning
This is one of the select professions that requires expertise in creativity, execution and logistics planning. Event planners usually cater to a range of clients by planning, organizing and facilitating events for them. These events can be held for private or corporate clients, and can range from weddings and annual corporate gatherings to large family reunions.
One of the key benefits of being an event planner is that you can work from almost anywhere if you have a laptop, Internet connectivity and a mobile phone.
Starting a home-based event planning business can keep costs low as renting office space can be a huge expense. Also, you can avoid signing a long-term rent contract.
As an event planner, you will need to ensure that your event plan stays within the stipulated budget of your client and that you deliver a successful event. This can be a lucrative career option with the median income of an event planner in the United States being over USD 45,000 per annum.
2. Sell Artwork or Handcrafted Items
Selling items on the Internet may not seem like an actual home-based business idea. However, you can turn it into a business by selling artwork and handcrafted items. You don’t need to be a professional artisan to sell these items.
You can recreate popular crafts and sell them as your own products. If you can identify the preferences of your customers, then all you need to do is just create these items and put them on sale.
A host of websites like Etsy, Artfire and Zazzle offer a great platform to budding artists for selling handmade artifacts, stationery, clothing and even paintings. Craft fairs and art shows can be excellent places to draw inspiration for your artwork. Subscribe to newsletters from websites that list upcoming exhibitions in your area to sell your work at these events.
3. Online Teaching
From providing personalized guitar lessons to aiding test preparation and helping with gourmet cooking, you can put your hidden talents to good use and build a home-based business by setting up an online profile and registering as a teacher on tutoring websites.
You can use your knowledge to tutor students of any age group on a range of topics. In fact, new immigrants in the United States often look for tutors who can teach them English. You can even conduct your sessions over the Internet if you want to avoid incurring costs of renting a tutoring space.
If you wish to hone your current teaching skills, you can enroll into certified programs organized by the National Tutoring Association.
4. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is an interesting marketing technique that involves promoting a link containing your client’s product(s). So, when a customer makes a purchase from that particular link, you will earn a percentage of commission from the sale.
This is a great business solution if you want to start a business without paying for setting up a website. Several popular affiliate companies like Amazon Associate, cj.com, LinkShare and shareasale.com allow users to promote different products on their websites. You can easily sign up for their free affiliate programs and share promotional content about your products.
Although this business is easy on the pocket, you need to do thorough research on the product that you plan to promote. You should know the product category, market demand and percentage commission that is offered by affiliate companies.
For positive responses, select discussion forums where you can find the people who will be interested in your product.
5. Stock Photography
For those who have never used a photograph from the Internet, stock photographs are pictures that artists/photographers have licensed to be redistributed for commercial purposes. These licenses can attract a commission of hundreds of dollars, depending on the popularity of the photographer and the expiry date of the license.
Stock photography can be a quick, cost-effective solution for those who want to use high-quality images. Anyone can retrieve stock photos from their respective websites that license images for one-time use, or sell royalty-free rights for photos that can be used multiple times after payment.
If you think that you can capture unique and interesting images, you are ready to become a stock photographer. Submit your best work to a website or agency and sign a contract.
As a stock photographer, you will have to take photos of popular themes/concepts in order to attract a great number of potential buyers. At the same time, you will also have to distinguish your photos from other uploaded photo submissions.
Go for easily searchable captions and give the images appropriate titles and keywords. Make sure to watermark your photos before posting them online. This will protect the pictures from being used by dishonest people who want to use your photographs without permission.
Learn about the guidelines and criteria of various stock photos websites, like BigStockPhoto, Fotolia, iStockPhoto, and ShutterStock. You may want to limit the number of edits you make to your photo before submitting as this will better your chances of getting selected.
Before you traverse the career path of sole proprietorship or entrepreneurship, you should spend sufficient time weighing your options. Being well-informed can prepare you for several unexpected situations and lay a strong foundation that will keep your business running for years.
Apart from tracking the above-mentioned opportunities, you need to assess your skills, look for a niche market, and then establish your business.