Working from home has given me so much flexibility I need. I get to be home with my children, work on something I love and earn an income at the same time. No workplace politics, no dreadful traveling to and from work and I skip being stuck in a 9 to 5 routine (I am not the best for routines – I get so bored easily!). Sure, there are other drawbacks like not having that social aspect of colleagues, not having as stable an income but for my personal situation and preference, it’s definitely the best thing I have discovered in the last few years.
I always get asked about how people can work from home or start their own home business as well. I used to get asked by fellow bloggers as well. There are actually so many ideas out there. My general advice is to find the sweet spot between:
- something you love and are passionate about
- something you excel in and can provide value in
- something people need and are willing to pay for
It has to fulfill all 3 criteria. Because if you have something you love, but are actually not that good at (sometimes we need reality checks!), then no you can’t provide value for your customer and it’s probably not something you should go into. Or if it’s something that fulfills the first 2, but yet there is no demand for it, your business won’t take off either. Try to find something that fulfills all 3.
Before we get started, I thought I would quickly point out the difference between a hobby and a business.
According to BusinessDictionary.com, they define a business as requiring “some form of investment and enough customers to whom its output can be sold on a consistent basis in order to make a profit.”
I know ATO (tax office) has its definition of hobby vs business and this does stand in line with that. I just wanted to point out that if you already have a hobby that is receiving some positive attention and potential (eg. you are good at knitting and already get a lot of compliments and requests from friends/neighbours/acquaintances, then you would want to try and turn it into a business where you have “enough customers” to sell to consistently.
Here are just a few quick ideas to get you rolling:
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1. Sell Handmade Items
I know so many mums who have home businesses selling their own crafts or handmade items. Admittedly, I am terrible at doing any craft but I do love shopping handmade items for sure! If you’re good at knitting, making jewellery, why not consider turning it into a small business of your own? Most mums I know who are good at making things are already making some for their friends. It takes only a short while to start an online store on etsy. Then you can start thinking deeper into a business plan and how to market your products.
2. Website Designer
If you have any graphic designing skills, website designing is definitely in demand. 4 years ago, I didn’t know as much as I do now. I can now set up websites, dabble in a bit of html coding – in fact, I absolutely love web design. I love checking out blogs and websites and admiring their designs and layouts. If you’re not formally trained, but you love websites, I encourage you to look into educating yourself and pursuing this. It’s definitely do-able!
3. Freelance Writer
This has a soft spot in my heart because this is where it all began for me. I started off freelancing on websites such as Freelancer.com. If you love writing and can write a good piece, why not make a business out of it. Churning a few articles out in a week would add up to a good bit of income. Of course, the hard bit is always finding clients since it can be quite a populated market. Give yourself a few months to build up your portfolio (I did do a few free gigs just to build up my portfolio first), learn to stand out from the crowd, offer up samples of your writing.
When it comes to freelance writing, don’t be stuck thinking it only refers to articles. I also did some product descriptions for online stores, ebay stores etc. Ok, technically, you can say that’s more copywriting but if you can write well, remember to broaden your scope and not limit yourself.
4. Pet Care
Back in the day, I was hired to go to a lady’s house to feed her dogs and walk them when she was away for weeks at a time. It didn’t become a full fledged home business that I pursued but it was great when I was doing it (I was pregnant, bored at home and was not working at that time). If you love pets, think about pursuing this as your home business. There is demand for pet care, pet boarding, pet grooming (although that might require more expertise) and very often, it’s easy to get started just by placing an ad on your local gumtree.
5. Family Day Care
My little one used to go to family day care and she loved it. Of course, starting a family day care in Australia requires a lot more than just passion and demand in your neighbourhood. You definitely need certain qualifications such as:
- Certificate III in Children’s Services (or you must at least be working towards it)
- Current first aid and CPR certificates
- Training in the emergency management of asthma and anaphylaxis
- Appropriate clearances for working with children
- Maintain current public liability insurance
My daughter’s family day care educator definitely ran hers like a little home business. She printed out shirts and hats with her own family day care logo, had her own system set up of how her day care ran, gave out weekly newsletters etc. She also had 4 school aged children who loved it when their mum was home at the end of the school day. As a mum, I think it’s a great business to have from the comfort of your own home.
6. Start your own baking business
I know a few mums who do quite well selling their yummy baked goods. If you are an excellent baker, and you find yourself basking in compliments all the time or having friends/neighbours asking you for favors for birthday cakes and such – seize the opportunity and turn it into your own business! Very often, I see mums promoting their businesses on their local facebook groups or gumtree. It doesn’t take a lot to print out some flyers and put together a quick facebook page for your business. Photos of your delicious cakes and such is a must!
Stop Searching. Sometimes, It’s Right There
Here are just some super quick ideas off the top of my head of how you can start a home business (I churned this out in 15 minutes). Many times, surprisingly, it’s right there staring you in the face. It’s something you’re good at, and probably something you’re already doing in some form.
As I mentioned at the start, it’s probably already your hobby right now. Your challenge is just to try to scale it up and make it into a business. So before you start pondering about ideas or picking ideas from the air, first look at your current lifestyle and hobbies. You might actually have a potential business idea happening right now!
Perhaps you are not confident in how you can turn it into a business or you can’t get past your own mental obstacles. For a long time, I had a lot of self doubt and kept saying to myself: “But how do I do this? How can this working-from-home thing be possible?” Sometimes, you just need to take the plunge and then keep researching and learning from there. I will get more detailed in teaching how to earn money from home but for today, I hope it helps you see that it’s very possible and there are actually so many ways out there.