You may feel stuck in your current job and worry that there's no good way out. Or maybe you're reasonably happy with what you're doing, but dream of being your own boss, and even better, being your own boss working out of your own home.
The good news is that there are more options out there than you realize, and most of them don't require a lot of startup capital. I'm not talking about building the next rising star clean energy or cybersecurity startup, I'm simply talking about taking the skills you already have and finding a way to monetize them on your own time and with the flexibility you desire.
Entrepreneur.com recently published a book called 55 Surefire Homebased Businesses You Can Start for Under $5,000. Some of them require specific training and licenses, but a lot of them are skills that can be easily learned or skills that you likely already have from your current and past careers.
There is a lot of demand for skilled accountants, because almost every business needs someone to help with the number crunching. It takes a special brain to handle the books, and if you happen to have that kind of brain you can make a lot of money doing it.
2. Business Plan Services
Have you started successful businesses, or at the very least spent some time in business school learning the A-Zs of building a rock solid business plan? Offer your services to some aspiring entrepreneurs.
3. Cleaning Service
I'm not one of them, but some people out there get great joy out of cleaning. If you're one of those people, you can make some cash helping out those who loathe cleaning (and can afford to pay others to do it).
Consultant is such a broad term. Basically, if you have expertise in any area where people are willing to pay to learn from you, you can make money as a consultant.
5. Dog Breeder
While I'm inclined to encourage adopting from shelters, there are always going to be those out there who want specific breeds (especially if they're looking for a hypoallergenic dog). As long as breeding is done humanely and ethically, there's nothing wrong with making some cash doing it.
6. Editorial Services
This can be a great freelance gig if you're a strong writer or editor. You can do copywriting, copy editing, proofreading, ghost writing, or be a web page content provider.
7. Electronics or Computer Repair
If you're the person your friends call up when their dvds get stuck in the player, or they spill coffee on their external hard drive, then maybe you should consider charging for such services.
8. Event Planning
It helps if you are extremely organized and generally love people and helping them plan amazing experiences. It's also helpful to have a strong network of venue marketing folks.
9. Financial Planner
It helps if you're already a certified financial planner, but if you're not, yet have financial planning experience, it's not so hard to get certified.
10. Personal Athletics Coach
Got a knack for golf or tennis? You can sell your expertise via lessons for a fee. People will pay good money for personal lessons, so if you're good at marketing yourself, you can definitely definitely turn it into a full-time gig.
11. Home Inspection
This is another one that usually requires a license. One way to be successful in this market is to stay on top of new materials and techniques that are used in home building and renovation.
12. Household Organizer
There are so many options if you're a master home organizer. You can choose to be in charge of doing the organizing of someone else's house, or simply consult, charge a fee, and leave it to them to do the dirty work.
13. Jewelry Making
If you're a naturally creative person, jewelry making can be fun and lucrative. All it takes is a quick scroll through Etsy to see what people are making and selling, as well as who's the most successful.
14. Personal Concierge
Similar to being a personal assistant, but “concierge” sounds better. Yes, you'll be picking up dry cleaning and making lots of trips to the post office, but these kinds of jobs make GOOD money, since you'll be working for the rich and powerful.
15. Personal Trainer
Usually a good idea to be certified to avoid being sued. A good way to market yourself is to get a couple clients, turn them into success stories, and get them to sell your awesomeness.
Unconventional? Definitely. But there will always be people out there who want to adorn their homes with stuffed animals–the kind that used to be living.
17. Computer Training
Great if you're fluent in Apple and PCs, even better if you're fluent in both. There are still a lot of folks (think senior citizens) out there who are mostly computer illiterate but are realizing how important technology is for things like keeping in touch with family.
18. Graphic Designer
This is probably one of the most popular freelance jobs around. There are tons of sites to show off your talent and lots of opportunity in both web design and print media.
19. Gift Basket Service
Gift baskets are always popular. The trick here is finding your niche and milking it for all its worth. If you're successful, with the business knowledge you already have under your belt, it should be no big challenge to expand your business.
20. Music Lessons
Dust off that trumpet from college marching band. Maybe you haven't played in a while, but that knowledge is akin to learning to ride a bike. It's muscle memory that never really goes away. Start teaching the next generation of band geeks, or the multitude of hipsters who are dying to learn to play the accordian.
21. Website Developer
Obviously this is easier if you already have experience in website development, but even if you don't, there's no shortage of online courses (many of them free) that will teach you how to code in multiple languages.
Love kids? Whether you have your own or are just happy to hang out with other peoples' offspring, this can be a great business. Childcare is ridiculously expensive, so if you have an up to date CPR and first aid certification, maybe some early childhood education training under your belt, you can get paid to play with kids all day.
23. Pet Sitting
Requires less training than childcare (read: none) and can be super fun if you're an animal person. It's perfect for people who love animals and have experience with pets, but maybe for some reason cannot have any of your own. Downside: at some point you'll have to clean up poop.
There are a lot of ways to make money as a photographer. You can do events such as weddings, work out of a studio and photograph family portraits, or take pictures of whatever you love and sell them as art or as stock photos.
25. Moving Service
This is a good way to get paid to exercise. It's helpful if you're already in good shape and can lift heavy furniture for hours on end. Or, you can be the one running the business and hire brawny college kids to do the labor.
Find the entire list of 55 homebased business ideas here.