working from home


By Annie Qureshi

If you’re fortunate enough to have a job that allows remote work, you know firsthand the perks of working from home.

But what if you’re ready to strike out on your own? Is it really possible to run a small business out of your house?

Yes — and it doesn’t have to be a daycare. Here are six proven small-business ideas that you can absolutely do from the comfort of home.

1. Web Development and Design

Web design is one of the lowest-overhead business ideas around — perfect for creative at-home entrepreneurs with no plans to hire W-2 employees and no spendy equipment to worry about. Compensate for your lack of out-and-about visibility with a stellar business website and a robust, active presence on digital job boards and freelance work platforms, where larger businesses turn for hired web design and development help.

2. Work as a Fundraising Distributor

You don’t have to press the flesh in person to empower schools, churches, and other nonprofit organizations to raise money. In fact, you don’t have to leave the house at all. As a fundraising distributor, you earn commissions when client organizations use the fundraising products you promote. According to the experts at ABC Fundraising, motivated at-home fundraising distributors can earn anywhere from $500 to $5,000 per month, depending on how much their clients raise. With no travel required and no inventory storage required, overhead is low too.

3. Strategic Communications and Public Relations

Plenty of stay-at-home parents earn side income as freelance writers. If you have a facility with words, why not take things one step farther and set up shop as a bona fide communications strategist? Independent professionals, small businesses, and enterprises alike all need smooth talkers and writers to shape the conversation around their brands. Consider sub-specializing in sorely needed competencies like crisis communications, media outreach, or ghostwriting.

4. Legal Services

Don’t listen to those who say the world has too many lawyers. It’s easier than ever to hang out a digital shingle. Whatever your specialty, you’ll find a willing market for it — particularly if you’re admitted to the bar in a state with broad reciprocity. Consider a specialty that doesn’t require lots of hands-on interaction, like patent law.

5. Back Office Medical Services

Medical billing and coding jobs won’t make you rich. Full-time earnings generally range from $35,000 to $45,000 annually, depending on specialty and location. If you’re doing this work part-time, you can expect to add a few thousand bucks to your bottom line each year — not nothing, but not enough to quit your day job over.

If you’re serious about making a lucrative full-time go of this work, you need to scale. Boutique medical billing and coding consultancies help hospitals, clinics and medical groups reduce in-house labor costs — and, as the population ages, demand for their services will only increase.

6. Recruiting and Placement

If you know one particular industry or field exceptionally well, and have the contacts to prove it, consider launching your own boutique recruiting outfit. HR departments pay good money not to deal with the minutia of recruiting and placement on their own.

The Joys of Working from Home

Working from home isn’t totally free from challenges and drawbacks. Home office dwellers frequently complain about the lack of social stimulation inherent in spending most of the workday in isolation, with only one’s kids and pets (if present) as tethers to the outside world. Monotony is an issue, too.

Plenty of folks try working from home for a spell, only to discover that it’s not for them. Others return home after a stint in the great wide open, ready for the familiar comfort of a 15-foot commute. Where you come down on this question is, well, up to you. But these six work-from-home business ideas make it clear that there’s no shortage of opportunity should you choose to make your own way in your own house.

Annie Quereshi is a passionate writer and author for Sustainable Business Forum. She embraces ecommerce opportunities that go beyond profit, giving back to non-profits with a portion of the revenue she generates. She is significantly more productive when she has a cause that reaches beyond her pocketbook. Twitter: @annierqureshi