Today there are more home-based businesses than ever before. For a multitude of reasons, people are seeking new ways to earn an income at home while pursuing their passions. There are multiple possibilities, ranging from working as an executive assistant to processing insurance claims. However, we’ve gathered 10 less common work-at-home business ideas. Not only do they have great earning potential—they’re fun and they require little in the way of up-front investments.
1. Scrap Metal Recycler
If you’re like many people, you can start a scrap metal business simply by cleaning out your backyard shed or garage. Almost every town has a scrap metal buyer, and anyone can recycle scrap for instant cash payouts. You only need to collect copper and/or aluminum products of all sizes and turn them in to the buyer. Scrap is purchased based on weight, so the more you collect and turn in, the greater your payout. Unconvinced of the viability of a scrap metal business? Check out Starting from Scrap: An Entrepreneurial Success Story, a book about the true story of Stephen Greer’s rags-to-riches scrap metal business. In less than 20 years, Greer built a company worth over $250 million, one piece of metal at a time.
2. Antique Furniture Refurbisher
Have a knack with wood and like hunting through thrift stores and rummage sales? Furniture refurbishment and antique repair is in high demand today. A small investment is needed to purchase your first item. Once you’ve found a piece that is in need of repair, invest some time to clean, sand, and repair the piece, and list it for sale on a local classifieds website. Use the profit from your first project to fund the purchase of another recovery piece.
3. eBay Reseller
Buying and reselling has never been easier since the development of eBay. Capitalizing on the high demand for local products, savvy entrepreneurs buy products in bulk at a discount and then re-sell them on eBay. With a little research and initiative, business owners can establish a resale store online that ships products directly to customers, allowing them to generate income with little effort.
The rise of popular travel services such as Airbnb and Couchsurfing has created a new opportunity for a literal home-based business. Clean out that unused, spare bedroom and rent it out to travelers. Highlight any nearby tourist attractions to draw guests, or offer your accommodations to college exchange students or visiting professors.
Uber and Lyft have completely changed the taxi industry, and have opened the door for entrepreneurs who have their own car and some extra time on their hands. After registering with either service, you’ll only work when you want to. The more often you’re willing to drive, the higher your income potential will be. You can set your own hours, choose your own service area, and generate repeat business for even greater success.
If you’re the type of person who sorts their sock drawer by color, you may have a future as an organizer. As an organizational specialist, you can offer your assistance to households, individuals, or businesses in need of specialized help. You’ll consult with the customer and then design a tailored strategy for cleaning, de-cluttering, and organizing.
7. Pet Sitter
Very low startup costs make pet sitting a great business idea for animal lovers. Taking responsibility for a client’s pets while they are away, or simply spending time with them while their owner is at work may seem like a dream job to some. Your duties may include feeding, watering, and walking pets; cleaning up after them; and ensuring they get enough attention during the day. Serious pet sitting entrepreneurs may wish to become bonded—a form of insurance that lets your potential customers know you’re trustworthy. This may allow you to raise your prices and set you apart from other pet sitting services.
If you have a passion about a particular topic or subject and have a way with words, you may be able to convert that passion into a paid writing position. Blogging on a personal website can generate interest and traffic that advertisers will pay to gain access to. In addition, many companies outsource their blogging needs to freelance writers who are knowledgeable or passionate about the company or industry. Submit writing samples for consideration to a variety of companies, or use a freelance work website to find positions.
9. Jewelry Artist
Craft-minded individuals can make a living creating and selling beautiful jewelry. You can specialize in a particular type of jewelry and then create an online store to sell your products. For additional sales and visibility, set up at local artisan and craft shows or farmers markets to showcase your wares.
10. Cleaning Service
Another business that doesn’t require much in terms of up-front costs, a cleaning service can be a fun and profitable venture. Up-front investments include bonding, promotional materials, and cleaning supplies. For even more cost savings, use the supplies that you already own for cleaning your house, and then use the profits you earn to purchase more specialized products later.
Starting a home-based business can be rewarding and profitable. Many of these business ventures can begin as second-income streams, giving the entrepreneur an opportunity to generate business before leaving their current job situation.