Which businesses can you start from home?

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When you think about what businesses you can do from home, your mind often turns to “Novelist” or maybe “Blogger,” but we live in the online age, which means the services and products you are buying may have come from massive warehouses, or they may have come from a home worker.

Here Emma Evans in collaboration with Mowers Online explains how easy it can be to set up a business from home and which business ideas would be a good fit for home workers.

The Internet makes working from home easy

Not to labour the point, but the online age works both ways in that you can start a scaled-down business doing mostly anything because you can buy whatever you need to from online stores. Maybe you cannot cast metal fence posts with your portable home furnace, but you can cast concrete ornaments using polymerized vinyl from Europe, using a small cement mixer and even using a vibrating plate (used for people doing exercise) in place of a more expensive industrial vibrating table.

You don't even need tooling equipment if you decide to invent things. Maybe you need parts to create a remote-controlled toy car. You can custom-order ready-tooled parts from the internet, put the car together, and then sell them as your own design. Alternatively, you do not need to buy a loom and shirt printing machinery if you wish to design your own shirts because there are online companies that will do it all for you. There are fewer limits than ever for people who want to work from home.

Graphic designer, photographer, icon designer, photoshop expert, computer animator

The great thing about these professions is that you can not only earn a world of qualifications to become better at them, but you can also operate with no qualifications at all. For example, you could sell your photographs on your own websites, on social media, or on photography marketplaces such as Shutterstock, and you can do it while learning everything you need to know about photography from free website courses and YouTube.

Gardener, landscape gardener, local grass cutter or hedge cutter

Although, with these jobs, you will have to leave the home to do the job. You can easily set it up at home. It also means that you won’t need to hire an office space, you can run the business admin from home and carry out jobs when you need to on a seasonal basis. According to Mowers Online, one of the easiest ways to start as a freelancer in the gardening industry is to do it in your spare time. Since most people are home at weekends, you can work weekends in people's garden for extra cash. Build up a client list to ensure you have a steady stream of work, and remember that much of your work is seasonal, so try to find something to do in the winter months.

Programmer, web designer, web developer, digital security tester

There are some professions where you could earn an array of qualifications, but you may also operate without them if you wish. Employers prefer people who are good over people who are qualified. What’s more, there are plenty of mainstream businesses who will hire you full-time as a contractor/freelancer, and allow you to work from home if you can prove you are reliable and trustworthy.

Accountancy, bookkeeping, data entry, social media marketing

These are services that smaller and medium-sized companies need but cannot afford to spend a lot of money on them. For example, as smaller businesses become larger, they may need their own accountancy department, but the cost is prohibitive, so it may be easier for them to hire a few home-based accountants. Things such as data entry and social media marketing are far cheaper for small and medium companies if the workers work from home because the return on investment for these jobs is often so low that companies make a loss if they set up their own social media marketing or data entry department.

Things you cannot do

Some tasks and jobs will require insurance and certain types of license or qualification. For example, you cannot sell yourself as a local builder without the qualifications and insurance, just like you cannot sell yourself as a local delivery service without a driving license and insurance.

There are things you cannot do for practicality reasons, such as you cannot set up a forge at home but remember you can always scale things down. For example, many people have built cars and vans from home using just a garage, and many forms of metal melting and casting are possible on smaller scales thanks to the equipment and technology you can buy from overseas.

There are also limits on if you are able to allow people into your home for business purposes. It is okay selling your knitted items over the Internet, but local zoning laws may prevent you from turning your living room into a local knitting shop and may also prevent you from hiring people to work with you from your home.

More on five freelance business ideas and the pros and cons of working from home.

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