Working from home is a popular choice for many people because of convenience and the ability to save money on expenses such as child care and transportation. If you are considering ways to start your journey toward a home-based business, there are several options available.

Try Drop Shipping

If you want to buy items and sell them for profit, but do not have the space for inventory, drop shipping is an option. As you receive orders from customers, you will order the item from a warehouse that will ship the items directly to the customer. Through this selling method, you can avoid many of the hassles of storage and frequent visits to the post office.

Although drop shipping can be a lucrative business, there are many considerations before beginning the process. You will want to avoid warehouses that have frequent problems with customers not receiving items, damaged or defective products, items that do not match their descriptions and frequent shipping delays. Although you are not the one handling the merchandise, this will reflect negatively on your business.

You will need to decide how you will handle customer problems. If a customer wants a refund or exchange, the customer will return the product directly to you. It is your responsibility to issue a refund or order a new product on their behalf. This will reduce the likelihood of long delays before your customer receives their refund or replacement product.

Sell Handmade Items

If you have a creative interest, consider building a small inventory of items to start. You may want to focus on items that are easily replicated to determine which items are more likely to sell and where to invest your resources. Place a few items in your online store and take feedback from people who visit your store. You will want people to give you suggestions on certain items or colors they would want.

Once your items are selling well, consider growing your business by offering custom items. The approach to selling custom items online should be slightly different. Since you may need to purchase supplies that you do not normally have on hand and will create the item to the specifications of the customer, you will need to ask for a portion of the selling price upfront.

Asking for a percentage upfront can reduce the likelihood that a customer will order a custom item and abandon the purchase. If you have a problem with a customer not paying the remaining balance, you can always add the item to your shop and potentially sell the item to someone else. Although there is no general rule for the right amount for upfront payment, consider asking for the amount that it would cost to purchase supplies specifically for the project.

Offer Consulting Services

Are you the person that everyone goes to for advice on beauty, electronics or relationships? If so, you can turn your advice into a way to generate money. A great way to start is by offering tiers of services. You may give a basic answer to a question through email for free. This is one way potential customers can gauge if they want to pay for in-depth answers to their questions.

If a customer is willing to pay for an in-depth answer, you can set a rate for 15 or 30 minute blocks of time and talk with them through instant messaging or email. Some suggestions for consulting services include:

  • Makeup- by using video chat you can help customers select colors that complement their skin tone and demonstrate makeup applications.
  • Computers- use a combination of video chat and screen sharing to help customers with hardware and software problems. Screen sharing can be used to help guide customers through using a new program.
  • Advice- many people seek out advice for problems with relationships, careers or personal concerns. You can give advice through instant messaging to maintain anonymity or consider using video chat if your customers want a friendly exchange of information.

There are endless business opportunities from home. The best way to find opportunities is to consider your interests, talents or hobbies and find out what markets are available.