Going into business for yourself isn’t the easiest it’s ever been, because a core part of the classic entrepreneurial formula is missing: you can’t stroll confidently into a networking event in your finest attire and start shaking hands with potential connections. (When you do go outside for daily exercise or shopping, you definitely shouldn’t be shaking any hands.) For many people stuck at home, though, it is the most appealing it’s ever been.
Maybe you’ve lost your job (or been furloughed with no clear return date) due to the broad consequences of COVID-19. Perhaps you’ve been able to keep working remotely but find yourself with more free time than you know what to do with. Either way, there’s a solid chance that you really want to make money however you can due to the uncertainty in the employment world: who among us can be 100% sure that their job will be safe until the lockdown is lifted?
Starting a home business is an action that you can take with no standard support structure. If you pick the right kind of business, you’ll be able to set it up and run it from your home with no major issues — so what should you pick? Concentrating on ease, let’s take a look at four viable options that are seriously worth considering:
Going into online retail is probably the most common choice for budding solopreneurs. It’s easy and cheap to set up an ecommerce store, the industry is booming with so many people waiting in their homes, and there’s huge scope for experimentation and creativity. Standard ecommerce isn’t always a great choice, though, because it’s hard to get right and fundamentally risky: what if the stock you build up doesn’t sell? You can end up losing a lot of money.
That’s where non-standard ecommerce enters the equation. Dropshipping is the easiest online retail model by far: it allows sellers to skip all the complicated or expensive parts of the sales process by having third-party suppliers handle all the orders. You can set up a dropshipping store in an hour: use a store builder, choose products to list, set the profit margins (Fundera has a good guide on this), tweak the overall presentation, and leave it to run. Any orders that come in will go directly to the suppliers to be dealt with for you. What could be easier than that?
If you don’t want to sell physical products, even through a dropshipping supplier, then another option that’s rising in popularity is selling digital products — or, more specifically, licensing and supporting them through monthly fees. Today’s IT resellers sit between business clients (often small businesses that need comprehensive SaaS solutions) and cloud solution distributors (companies that negotiate rates with software vendors), sourcing licenses through the latter and packaging them with support deals for the former.
Most notably, it’s about as easy to handle as dropshipping. From a practical standpoint, it’s as easy as getting free access to a cloud portal from a suitable cloud solution distributor (e.g. CASCADE from intY) and requesting licenses when you have clients lined up. If you don’t know the first thing about IT or cloud software, then this isn’t the best option for you — but it’s worth thinking about if you do know your way around Azure virtual machines or Symantec security.
There’s no end to the demand for online content. Even if you think only about the articles put live during the same hour as this one, this post is just a drop in an ocean, and every day needs new posts. What’s more, every ambitious brand needs to keep putting out social media posts, marketing emails, and website updates. There’s always more to do.
Those brands can hire in-house copywriters, yes, but spikes in demand will often require third-party support — and then there are the companies or solopreneurs that need occasional pieces of copy for specific purposes (a new product description, for instance, or a press release). There’s no sense in them hiring full-time copywriters, and there’s your chance.
If you are a capable writer, can demonstrate it through a decent online portfolio, and are willing to be flexible about rates and deadlines, you can easily establish a copywriting business. It’s important to remember how bad the average post draft is. Be professional, get your work done on time, and you’ll find a good response.
This might seem like an off-the-wall pick, and it is, but hear me out: there’s a lot of money to be made in the world of streaming, whether it’s on Twitch, YouTube, Mixer, or some combination of them. Through paid subscriptions, influencer deals, and general advertising, streamers can see massive returns on minimal investment (you can stream with a basic laptop with a half-decent webcam and microphone, after all).
What would you stream about? Well, that’s up to you. All you need to do is make it entertaining and/or informative. You could play games, discuss politics, talk about your life, or do all of the above. And the more followers you picked up, the more opportunities you’d have to make money. You could even use affiliate links to profit from product recommendations.
Are the businesses we’ve looked at here easy to succeed with, or even easy to run? No, of course not: no business is easy to succeed with, and there’s no shortcut to success. But they are easy to start. If you have a modern laptop and internet access, you can start any one of these businesses in very little time. Whether you ultimately make any money will depend on your hard work and creativity.
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