Many people dream about their own home-based business, but a few understand where to start and how to do it right. Modern technologies make it possible to make virtually any business idea a reality without leaving our home.
First of all, remember – in this case a business is something that brings money not only by means of your work, but also by means of infrastructure (e.g., marketing) and by the division of labor of thousands and thousands of service (remote) employees. Next you need to calculate the budget, and estimate the amount of time you are going to spend on it.
What is a real home-based business backed by modern technologies?
To start a home-based business you have to decide on its orientation. There are many ways to do business from home in an economically advantageous way – from recording training videos and earning money from people watching ads, to running a specialized online store to sell your own grown orchids.
These days 99% of home-based businesses with minimum investment are divided into the following categories:
It is a very broad segment, mostly related to the real sector of the economy. This includes all kinds of handicrafts, services (tutoring or massage sessions, running a subsistence farm and selling its produce) and online consulting. However, it implies that your self-employment has some sort of representation – a website with Internet promotional marketing.
In order to be able to call all this a full-fledged business, you must have at least one or two employees who do some of the work, such as purchasing materials, running to a post office and sending out finished goods. Certainly you do not have to leave the house, but the downside is that, in addition to an office, your house will also be a workshop, a warehouse, and a store.
Any kind of business like this is very vulnerable, as all the activities are dependent on you. If you get sick or go on vacation, you will have a serious drop in your client base size and the budget.
Let’s look at an example of setting up and launching the production of home-baked products.
Startup costs – $300 or more
Purchasing of food ingredients – $100
Creation of a website with a minimum SEO – $80
Advertising costs – $50
Gas or electricity bills – $30
Transportation costs – $40
In this case, we’re talking about so-called “secondary freelancing.” Here is a typical example — you are a computer design professional. You search for large orders online and channel them to other freelancers that work with you on a regular basis. You receive a share of their fee for an order.
However, you still have to do some of the work (usually the most important and difficult parts) yourself. The pros are that your tools are a mouse, a keyboard, and your own talent. You do not depend on raw material supply, and the result of such joint work is more profitable than of an individual work.
In this case you divide the work among 5-10 employees. The business is more protected from accidents – even if you get sick for a couple of days, nothing is seriously impacted.
Let’s look at an example of setting up a video editing studio at home.
Startup costs – $550 or more
Purchasing of a graphic tablet – $200
Purchasing of a special graphics card – $100
Creation of a site with a good SEO – $150
Advertising costs – $100
It is a higher level of business compared to the aforementioned ones and at this level you might sign contracts. Remote management as a women’s home-based business has now become widespread in Europe and the US.
It is very similar to a traditional business where your role is to run the business, but this time it is without any personal meetings. This category of business is most convenient for such areas as advertising or a design agency, logistics services, and IT product development companies.
In this category you should have your own managers who help you to distribute the work among dozens of employees. Since you would be the top manager, you can afford to have an assistant who will solve all problems for you even if you need to disappear from work for a week or two.
According to the statistics, in the period from 2010 to 2020 the number of outsourced managers of their own businesses has increased from 5% to 20%. This percentage is likely to continue to rise due to further development of technologies in remote communication.
Let’s look at an example of setting up a medium-size cargo logistics service.
(The area of specialty is the transportation of things that can’t be carried in a taxi (for example, a desk), but are still not large enough to order a cargo truck).
Startup costs – $1,500 or more
Arrangement of digital infrastructure (headphones for operators, phone numbers, special software) – $500
Conclusion of preliminary contracts with carriers, organizational costs – $100
Creation of a website with excellent SEO and support service – $400
Advertising costs (including – television and radio) – $500
In the 21st century, technology and support for online commerce have gone so far as to make home-based business easier for beginners than ever. Running a retailing business on Amazon, Yetsi, Ebay, Alibaba, OLX, or similar websites requires minimum knowledge and a very small startup capital of about $2,000-3,000. You need it to buy a minimum order quantity of goods from manufacturers and invest in advertising.
In this category, you will not need any staff at all in the first and second stages. However, you must master basic image processing and have minimum knowledge of the principles of making trade descriptions – all to improve the attractiveness of the goods on the website.
Generally, after the initial setup of the system, retailing – whether digital or physical – can operate without your participation whatsoever. Yours truly personally set up digital book sales in KDP on Amazon. The first time I worked on it was 5 years ago and since then I have spent just one day a month taking care of it, and money for the sold books still trickles into my accounts.
Once the system is up and running, you can relax as the captain in the wheelhouse. It’s easy – you don’t need an office, a warehouse, a team. All you need to do is contact a supplier once or twice and configure your online store settings on the website. Investments are minimal and revenues are constant. You can read more about it in our article: “How to Build Your Own Business on Amazon.”
Do not forget one thing though! The captain’s role is not only to stand on a ship’s bridge, but to keep his hands on the steering wheel as well.
The most important thing about retailing is to know what to sell and when to sell it
Let’s look at an example of dropshipping.
Startup costs – $1,700 or more
Creation of an online store – $1,000
Cost of internal advertising on the website – $500
Reserve of funds – $200
Home-based business ideas for Amazon and similar retail websites
People will buy everything on Amazon.
This idea has been dominating the marketplace for 20 years, and is not going to give up its position yet. The website is breaking annual income records, and even the impending crisis has not reduced its sales.
Etsi is better designated for handmade products, while Alibaba – for small custom goods. Ebay dominates the segment of collectibles, discounts, sales, and promotions, while OLX only operates regionally.
Let’s say you’ve already decided which business to open from your home, next you need to understand how much time and money you are willing to spend on its development. Below are specific recommendations for working with online marketplaces.
- Come to Amazon in such a way that your store would be active between September and December or February and May. Sales are falling in summer, and gifts are sold more often during winter holidays.
- Before you start retailing, think over a backup strategy for the introduction of related products. It’s a fact that if you introduce product A on the marketplace, in a week’s time your competitor will have a similar product A with possibly a lower price. Then you must immediately add products Ab, Ac, and Ad to the listing to retain your buyers. This is especially important if your brand is new on the market. Even if you think your product is unique, you should still use the same principle. There’s nothing unique on Amazon – there’s always a competitor lurking behind the corner.
- Always calculate the time your goods arrive to the Amazon warehouses and add 3-5 more days just in case. 80% of customers do not want to wait for ordinary goods, and will cancel the order in case the chosen products are not available for more than 24 hours.
- Be sure to include 5% of defective products and a 10% return rate in any retailing model.
- Keep an eye on your competitors’ prices on a daily basis, even if yours are lower in the beginning. If a competitor lowers the price, do not do the same under any circumstances. Improve the positioning of your product – for example, bundle a free gift or a spare part with it.
- Strike proactively. Let’s say you’re already selling suede handbags and you have a business idea – to sell women’s transformer-handbags with a zipper and a flap at the bottom that increase the volume of the handbag when unzipped on Amazon. Don’t stop there – offer transformer wallets, men’s transformer handbags, and transformer backpacks. With this you will be able to expand your audience of customers. But stay away from then offering transformer clothing or transformer hats under the same brand. The buyers will think that you are trying to specialize in too many things, which shows that you are not very professional.
- Try to distance and distinguish yourself from your competitors. For example, make your handbags from expensive (environmentally friendly, specially treated, bulletproof, etc.) suede with quality zippers and snaps (premium). And under no circumstances offer cheap handbags under the same brand, no matter how much you want to increase your sales. Competitors will be selling similar handbags in a month too. But the buyers will know that you have the best quality transformer bags on the marketplace.
We hope now you understand better how to start a business from your home and use modern online marketplaces. Remember – all types of home-based income require a start-up capital. Use it wisely – always put at least 15% aside as a reserve and spend at least 20% of your monthly income to represent your business online and on targeted advertising.