Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ideas for Generating Income from Home

It's the new year! What are your financial goals? Save up for a car or house? Pay off a personal loan? Prepare for a big life event coming your way?

What paths are you considering to reach these goals? You already know about selling or donating things you no longer need or love. And you've probably thought about accepting a part-time job, such as delivering pizzas, serving at a restaurant, or substitute teaching at a school or gym. Have you considered creating an income from home?

For women raising small children or who have limited transportation resources, working from home is sometimes the only option left for bringing in an income. This is where I currently find myself.

I've worked based from home most of my adult life, but I have always mixed it with generous helpings of networking and training that occurred outside of home. Now, with two kids age 2 and under, I find that I want to stay AT home for this phase, and I am finding it a challenge to reprogram my habits to work mostly, if not completely, at home. Also in play, I am finding a desire to shift gears from what I have done in the past to doing something with a different result in mind. (Vague much, Adhis?)

So... ... I've been brainstorming. Maybe my little storm may inspire in you an idea to run with toward your goals. Here are some ideas for generating an extra income, big or small, from home:

* Auction business from home - I did this in the early years of my marriage, mainly dealing in electronics I bought by the pallet off the same auction site I then sold the items on individually. I have a neighbor who mainly deals with name-brand children's clothes she buys off clearance racks from nearby malls.

* Affiliate marketing - A lot of companies have affiliate programs that will pay you a small percentage of any purchases a customer makes through a link you post on a website, forum, or blog.

* Virtual service - Examples of virtual services you might consider are proofreading, writing articles, web designing, graphic design, online tutoring, being a virtual assistant, or providing an answering service for a small business or independent contractor. If you like teaching, you can teach via video conferences or online forums.

* Product-selling business -
You could create your own product from scratch, create one through a private label company, or choose an existing product provided by a reliable drop-ship company. The last one frees you from dealing with inventory!

* Telecommuting - Many companies today hire reliable employees to work from home and provide telephone customer service or take reservations. Most of these companies do require that you go through training at their facility for a few weeks before allowing you to work from home. If you can get help from family or friends regarding your small kids or providing transportation for the duration of the training, this might be a good option for you.

* Direct sales/network marketing - I did this for several years and made tens of thousands of dollars on a less-than-part-time basis. The industry is profitable for those who enter it with realistic expectations.

* Blog - Google AdSense or BlogHer Network are just two companies that compensate you for allowing ads on your blog.

* Create an information product -
What do you know that others want to know? Create an eBook or tutorial video series.

* In-home service -
Massage, hair styling, pet boarding, and babysitting are some services that can be provided in-home if you have the know-how and the proper equipment.

* Invent something or a better way of doing something - If you don't have the resources or desire to manufacture an invention, you can sell the idea for someone else to create.

* Sales and marketing -
Do you like communicating by phone and email? Are you good at getting the word out? You may be able to assist an event planner or schedule appointments or speakers for an organization.

Some words of warning... When looking to work from home, tread carefully. People who are looking for "work from home" opportunities sometimes let emotion (usually excitement or desperation) keep them from doing proper research and noticing red flags. Researching on- and off-line (calling around and asking people about ideas you are considering), will help you avoid scams.
  • If you are applying for a job, do not pay money. You should not pay anyone money to give you a job!
  • If you are starting a business, research the industry and the demand for your service or product. Ask questions of people who work in your line of desired work; read books, sites, and articles about your business model.
  • If you are applying to become an affiliate or distributor, make sure the company is stable and reputable. Read the contract and understand exactly how the program works and what is expected of you. Check the Better Business Bureau for complaints.

There is an infinite supply of ideas for those who need or would like to create an income from home. Let your mind wander to discover what meshes with your interests and your strengths. What are you good at? What do you enjoy? What do you have an interest in? Research your interests online and with people who already do what you are interested in to figure out the next step for you in your specific situation. Your mind with your experiences and your interests can come up with ideas that I would never think up on my own.

Working outside of home is not always possible, whether it's due to a stage of life or a unique challenge. However, there are so many different ways to generate income from home that each person is likely to find something that fits their unique scenario and personality.

What ideas do you have for creating a cash flow based at home?


  1. I do medical transcription from home. You see all these ads saying how much you can earn and such, but what most people don't know (myself included when I first started my training) is that most companies will not hire you unless you have 2+ years experience. They go through all this training and pay money to not get a job.

    So to those I would say make sure you are doing your training through an accredited training program (unlike me, spent way more money for training that was not accredited and was without a job for almost 2 years)

    Ask around. You just might know someone who knows someone! Worked for me and 3 years later I have a job I love!!

  2. Erin, that's interesting. Thanks for the input!

  3. I've started doing auctions for other people. I create the auctions and ship the items and they pay me a flat rate for the block of time that I was at their home with the proceeds from what they sold. It works great for people that don't have the time to do it themselves, or those who don't have the technical skills.

    People usually have hundreds of dollars worth of stuff that they didn't even know was worth anything. I didn't need to buy anything to start, so that was helpful.

  4. I would love to work from home, but have had no luck finding a credible source. If anyone finds a typing job that I can do from home, please share!

    Erin-- I'd like to try medical transcriptioning. Which company is good to go through?