HomeKnow-HowStartup Yourself: 10 simple and low-cost ways to make money from home

Startup Yourself: 10 simple and low-cost ways to make money from home

Not every entrepreneur wants to work on innovative and potentially world changing technologies with the goal to create the next Facebook or Google. For most people it actually makes sense to start small and from home. But also for them, startup costs for training and the right equipment can be a real barrier if you’re starting with low or zero budget.

The good news is that with the help of a laptop or a smart phone, your home office business opportunities are broad. Analyze your interests, skills and aspirations before you invest time and money to start an operation from home, so that you can start it in a savvy and efficient way.

Often times people who want to start a business from home already have an idea about the industry they want to be part of and the service they want to provide. We gathered 10 simple ideas from hundreds of options – and they may serve as inspiration for you to slowly begin a new business besides your main job or activity. These ideas allow you to work from home without the hurdles of highly priced equipment and training.

  1. Write and sell information products

Similar to running a blog, creating information products can also be a lucrative low-cost startup idea. If you have knowledge in a certain area, you can create courses and tutorials that readers can purchase and receive in their e-mail box. The subjects for this business model are limitless. The overhead costs are low because you will be shipping it via e-mail, and you can make a series of products, creating recurrence and keeping the interest of your readers and clients. But this takes time, and you should certainly try to create a loyal following/readership prior to launching your first information product.

  1. Grocery delivery service

While some major grocery store chains already offer online shopping and delivery, not all stores are covered with this service. Usually, local and natural food items shops are the targets to talk to and to try to partner with. Contact local stores and negotiate to deliver groceries to their customers for a fee. Another option is to create your own e-commerce solution, selling the groceries and delivering it yourself. This option allows for you to buy at wholesale price and resell at retail price, not having to hold inventory, so you can make revenue not just on the delivery fees, but also on the products per se.

  1. Business Consultant

You need to have a specific expertise so that you can market yourself as an advisor to others looking to work in a specific area. Perhaps you managed several facilities in your corporate career, sold software or fixed machinery for many years. You can use this experience to help others do similar things without making the same mistakes that you made along the way.

  1. Private language tutor

If you speak another language fluently, there are millions of foreigners looking to practice their English skills – or Spanish, French, Mandarin, German, Italian, Portuguese, etc. – and you can help them simply by engaging in a conversation. Foreigners with years of foreign language lessons are frequently looking to develop their conversational skills. You can offer Skype video communication to all your students and one-on-one meetings to the ones living in the same city as you.

  1. Advertising Management

Most online businesses need to create attractive and useful content for retaining visitors’ attention. Especially e-commerce companies invest a lot of money in online ads (Facebook, Google, etc.) in order to drive traffic to their websites. If you understand or have attended courses larning about Google Adwords, Facebook impulse strategies and content marketing – and the difference impact they have in an online advertising and branding mix, you might be the right person to start an Advertising Management service. The entrepreneur has ideally to keep focus on running his/her business and on sales, product development, human resources hiring and evaluation, and many other things.

  1. Transcription Services

If you have a laptop and a word processor, an attention for detail, fast typing skills and time, you can begin a transcription service company from your home. As a transcriptionist, you need to be a fast and accurate typist, and you also need basic computer skills. Most of the files you will transcript will be videos of presentations and conferences, so you need to know how to download files and have some knowledge of using the computer that goes beyond basic.

  1. Real Estate Flipping and Reforming

Investing in Real Estate has gained popularity after the 2008 crisis due to the number of people not able to pay their properties installments and who had to leave their homes, making the foreclosure market boom, especially in the US, but also in some countries of Europe, Latin America and Asia. Small business entrepreneurs and many individuals without prior experience in real estate flooded the market buying and reselling those properties with a good profit. Also, you could try to reform homes and potentially double or triple the profit margin you would have in just flipping the property as it was. Many of the new real estate investors left their day jobs and have taken to creating small business enterprises that focus on the procurement of cheap properties with flipping potential and also reforming and redecorating homes as additional services.

  1. Virtual Tutoring

Virtual tutoring is a good way to make money from home, using Skype, FaceTime or Google Hangouts. You are able to create your own schedule during the week and support students in their efforts to better understand subjects and to prepare for tests. Another growing opportunity lies in teaching English to students abroad in countries such as China. Some English tutoring companies to research are EnglishuntTopic-Time, and Funbulous, but there are many others in the market. (See item 4). Virtual tutors use Skype, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Whatsapp, WeChat to give their lessons via video to their students.

  1. Customer Service Representative

The need for freelancers as Customer Service Representatives, Customer Success Representatives and Support is increasing in many companies. You could start a company by hiring freelancers that will be Customer Service Representatives on behalf of your clients. The representatives will work remotely and must have access to fast internet, a computer and a smartphone and the activity usually consists of taking inbound calls and helping customers / users according to your client’s procedures and manuals. As they will be interacting with a lot of people over the phone, some who probably are frustrated and angry, always make some psychological tests before hiring them or hire people who were already in this function for at least a year in some other company and who are normally friendly, patient and tech savvy.

  1. Import/Export Consultancy

If you don’t already have work experience with importing and/or exporting, you will have a longer learning curve. You can start by learning the basics and hosting educational sessions to teach others what they need to know to get started in import/export. That alone would probably gain you your first couple of clients. In case you manage to keep your educational seminars and expand your reach to outside your region and country, you may probably develop a sufficient and ongoing customer base considerably fast, and start create your own import/export company or import/export advising consultancy.

By the way: In order to stay up to date regarding startup advice, tech events and funding opportunities, please make sure to also subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

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Bernardo Arnaud
Bernardo Arnaud
Bernardo lives in Vienna and has been consulting and advising companies for 18 years in fintech, commodities trading, telecom assets management, messaging, jobs marketplaces, agribusiness, luxury, e-commerce and SaaS. He founded a few companies throughout his entrepreneurial journey.


  1. All these are very legitimate ways of making money. Too bad many people never stick around long enough to see it works.
    Knowledge and action goes hand in hand.

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