This article has been contributed by Evan Fraser.
This is a stressful and uncertain time for all of us. The last few weeks have brought on unprecedented circumstances around the world with the spread of COVID-19 causing nations around the world to close borders, shut down businesses and quarantine millions of people.
These new restrictions leave many of us around the world out of work and struggling to make ends meet. Luckily, the internet provides us with an opportunity we have never had before – starting and operating a business all from our own homes.
There are no limits or restrictions on who can become an entrepreneur. There are plenty of creative ways to make money online. You don’t necessarily need an MBA or a million dollars in start-up funding, or even experience starting your own company. All you need is an idea and the drive to see it through.
Come Up With An Idea
If you have that drive, you want to start asking yourself questions to help you figure out the type of business you should start. Ask yourself what skills you have and where your passions lie. Be brutally honest when you answer these questions. This will create a foundation on which you build your business, it is better to know the truth now rather than later.
If you struggle to settle on an idea take a look at some of the most in-demand businesses you can operate from home.
1. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing consists of promoting other companies’ services and products in return for a percentage of the sale. You can set up your own blog or use a social media profile to promote these affiliate links. The affiliate link will be generated specifically for you so when one of your readers click on the link and make a purchase, the sale is tracked and you get a commission! The best part is that you can help to sell almost any product or service without having to do the heavy lifting.
Here are 5 simple steps to find any affiliate marketing product:
- Choose a product you would like to promote.
- Search for “product name” + affiliate program. (Amazon offers affiliate links for most products but not many services)
- Register and join the affiliate program.
- Access the affiliate link.
- Promote the link on your website and social media to start driving traffic.
Learn more about how to create affiliate content that drives sales.
Also see Jacob’s video on how to create passive income with affiliate marketing below:
Chances are you are good at something – you might even be an expert. Now, there’s a great way to build a business using that skill: teaching others online. With schools closing all around the country, people will be looking to online classes to keep their children busy and learn new skills of their own. There are many web-based platforms that allow people to teach classes through video chats. Online classes have been rising in popularity for a number of years and they have never been more in-demand than now.
To start off, you should consider what you want to teach. It is important that you not only understand the topic well, but that you are passionate about what you’re teaching. Your passion will come across in your lessons and help you build a consistent clientele.
See below for some course ideas or perhaps, learn something new!
Best Course Compilations
- Best Skillshare Courses
- Best Udemy Courses
- Best Coursera Courses
- Best Futur Courses for Design & Business
3. Graphic Design
Graphic design is a great way to make money from home. Design services for logos, websites, and business cards are in constant demand on freelancer platforms like Upwork. You can easily set up a freelancer profile and bid on thousands of projects.
Keep in mind that the beginning will not be easy. In order to establish yourself in a freelance marketplace you need to build your personal brand. You’ll need an impressive portfolio, good reviews and successfully completed projects. But this is the time to do it, so you come out on top after this has all blown over.
There is a difference between making money from this pandemic vs making money during this pandemic.
Many experienced freelancers will encourage you to be picky about the projects that you bid on. Having gone through this process myself, I would offer up the opposite advice. In order to get started you will have to take on a few projects that are less than ideal. Get through them and make sure you do a great job. You can always ditch these clients later if dealing with them is too much of a headache. Once you are more established you can choose projects you enjoy working on and deal with clients that are a pleasure to work with.
- See here for the best graphic design courses
Writers are needed by almost all web-based businesses, and the best part is, almost all of us have the skill and knowledge to write about one topic or another. There is a huge range of writing projects available online, with four particularly popular categories.
1. Website Content
Every site needs content that drives traffic and provides helpful information for visitors. Website content needs to be optimized for search engines, so some degree of SEO understanding is required. And because marketing is usually a component of web content, a marketing degree or marketing experience is helpful as well. Learn more about how you can create better content for SEO.
2. Medical Articles
Pharmaceutical companies are in constant need of technical writers who are well versed in medicine and FDA requirements. This is a field that is more difficult to break into but once you do, you can command a significantly higher price for your services.
3. Technical Writing
Computers and software are two of the most popular categories online. If you have technical knowledge or an engineering background you will have plenty of opportunities on a broad range of topics.
Copywriting involves writing website content, product descriptions, marketing collateral and advertisements. Copywriting is unique in the sense that it requires an understanding of marketing and sales more so than any other form of writing. The goal of copywriting is almost always to get the reader to take action. If you understand the psychology of marketing and can write persuasively, copywriting is perfect for you.
5. Voice-Over Work
With the rise in the number of video ads shown on YouTube, voice narration services have become increasingly popular. As a voice-over service provider, you will need some equipment to get started. You should have a microphone, an audio mixer, and easy to use editing software. Since you will be recording at home, you will need a room that is strictly used for recording. You can soundproof the room with carpets along the walls, ceiling and floors to reduce exterior noise.
Most voice over-work is produced for TV, video and radio. Voice-overs are usually the last part of the production process but can be quite lucrative. With the rise in lower budget ads being produced for YouTube, the demand for commercial voice talent has increased significantly. Lower budget projects are a great way to get your foot in the door.
Narration talents are hired for a wide range of projects but the majority of narration work is specifically for audiobooks.
Another popular category for voice-over artists is education. Large corporations and schools use voice-over talents to narrate their educational material.
6. Sell T-Shirts & Merch
People love t-shirts! And believe it or not, you can design and sell your own t-shirts all without ever leaving your home. Several manufacturers allow you to design t-shirts and sell them online while they handle all the printing and shipping under your company’s name. T-shirt printers like TeeSpring offer full white-label solutions that can be set up within a day.
Once you are set up, you need to ask yourself, who is going to buy my t-shirts? In order to be successful, you need to nail down a niche that you understand and can market to. Find a topic you are passionate about and market to people with the same interests.
Check out these cool t-shirt designs for inspiration.
Set Up Your Online Business
Once you have your concept and service offering nailed down, you will need to register your business, design a logo, create a website and choose a payment processor. The beauty is that in this digital age you can have all of this ready to go in 24 hours.
1. Select a Legal Structure
You have four choices when selecting the legal structure for your new business.
1. Sole Proprietorship
This is the simplest form of business entity. With a sole proprietorship, one person is responsible for all a company’s profits and debts.
This is when an entity is owned by two or more people. It can be a general partnership, where everything is shared equally, or a limited partnership, where only one partner has control of its operation with the other person(s) contributing in return for part of the profits.
3. Limited Liability Company (LLC)
An LLC is a hybrid structure that gives partners and shareholders a limited personal liability while enjoying the tax flexibility of a partnership.
In the eyes of the law, a corporation is an entity completely separate from its owners. It has its own legal rights, unrelated from the owners. This is the best way to protect against personal liability.
2. Visual Identity and Logo Design Options
There are tons of options online for getting your brand’s look designed. If you have the budget for it, I recommend using a professional design agency to create your visual identity and logo. You will typically receive 3-5 concepts based on your project brief with several revisions to ensure your visuals and logo is in line with your vision. This is the preferred approach because a professional designer will be able to guide you through the process and ensure that your logo is easy-to-use, beautiful and unique – check out GraphicSpring. The downfall here is that the process can take anywhere from 3 days to several weeks.
If your budget does not allow for a custom design, then there are other solutions available.
3. Website Design
A website might be the most important marketing tool for your business. It will be the integral piece of all your digital marketing activities for your new business. Potential customers will be looking at your website to gauge what your company is about and make a decision if they want to hire you or buy your product.
If you need a website quickly and inexpensively you can try one of the hundreds of website building tools that will help you create a site in less than one hour. There are countless pre-designed templates to choose from and the customization tools will allow you to upload your logo, change descriptions and add your services/products.
For a more custom approach, you can hire a web designer to create your website from scratch. This approach will give you a website that perfectly fits your goals and your brand.
Now that your business is ready to go, you need to make sure you can accept payments easily and safely. A payment processor is a service that will handle transactions between you and your customers.
Some of the best known payment gateways are Amazon Payments, BrainTree, Stripe, PayPal and Skrill. You can apply for any of these processors through their website, just be sure to compare transaction fees before making your decision.
If you’re thinking of starting a business from home, now is the perfect time to do it. You have the time and the resources and you can follow the steps above to be up and running within a couple of days. And always remember, many of the world’s biggest companies had humble beginnings, so start small and think big.
About the author: Evan Fraser is passionate about entrepreneurship, blogging and graphic design. His expertise is in small businesses branding and marketing.