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Have you been bitten by the entrepreneur bug?
If you’re like me, you may have always had a dream to be an entrepreneur, run your own business, or call yourself boss. A big hinderance to many is the cost. Startup costs can rack up pretty high and can mean the difference between starting a business, and not!
What if you could start a business you were passionate about, without any startup cost?
Yes, that’s right, start a business for free.
Well, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to take a look at this list we put together for you, of 14 home-based business ideas to start for free.
How to Start a Home-Based Business for Free?
Did you know that up to 90% of new businesses fail!
It’s no wonder why, with startup costs soaring up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, without even launching your business yet!
Typical startup costs might include:
- Office supplies
- Packaging and shipping
- And, more!
How can new businesses afford such high costs?
Have you ever seen an episode of ABC’s Shark Tank?
New businesses approach a group of “sharks,” the best of the best in their field and pitch them an ownership interest in their business.
A lot of those new businesses put hundreds of thousands of dollars of their own money into their business.
- Business loan
- Taking out a second mortgage on their home
- Their life savings
- Loans from family and friends
It can be such an overwhelming burden to borrow business expenses from others. Even if you borrow from yourself.
You don’t want to take on the cost of getting a business loan and you don’t want to burden yourself financing the venture yourself, leaving you feeling business-poor or indebted to your family and friends.
So, what do you do?
Take on a home-based business you can start for free! Take a look at these options.
1. Social Media Manager
As a social media manager, you will be working with clients, in charge of managing and maintaining their social media presence.
Typical tasks might include:
- Posting on social networks
- Writing social captions
- Designing social media graphics
- Curating content
- Talking to and engaging with fans
- Growing the social following, and more!
Social media is very important to companies.
A lot of times, it’s their first line of contact with customers.
They get to share their brand and vision with the public, spread their message, grow their traffic, consumer base and sales, all from social media.
In fact, I attribute social media to the success of my business.
I started a number of failing businesses but one finally stuck, allowing me to finally pursue my dream of being a business owner full-time and leaving my 9 to 5 job behind.
I opened an ecommerce store and social media helped me get the vast majority of my customers!
The Pros of Being a Social Media Manager:
- Getting paid to use social media
- No startup costs
- Run your business from home, or wherever you can access the Internet
- You can focus on the one or few social media sites you know best
- The need for social media managers continues to grow as more small businesses are outsourcing this task
The Cons of Working as a Social Media Manager:
- Social media can be a challenge for one person managing their profile
- Not all businesses understand the power of social media, so you may need to sell them on the value
- You represent the company, not yourself when you’re doing social media for others, which means you need to act on its behalf
- You need to stay on top of the ever-changing social climate-changes in policies, algorithms, and other aspects of each social media
- Understanding of how to interact and engage your clients’ target audience
Social media managers may play different roles:
- Digital marketer
- Community manager
- Social media writer
- Content producer
Whatever the title, the goal is usually pretty similar, to help businesses achieve their goals through social media.
If you are a lover of social media, this gig is perfect for you.
No up front costs are required to start your business, gain clients, or do your work. As your business grows, you may choose to invest in paid tools or paid marketing, at your choice, but in the beginning, you’ll love that you can start this home-based business totally free!
Read more to learn about how to start a social media manager business from scratch.
2. Freelance Copywriter
As a freelance copywriter, you’ll be paid to write.
Some of your key clients might include:
- Radio stations
- Small businesses
- And, more!
Becoming a professional writer is a great business for those who love the art of writing.
You’ll carve out a niche for yourself writing white papers, resumes, media kits, product descriptions or any other type of writing you enjoy. All with zero startup costs. And, all you need is a computer to get started, which you can use at your local library if you don’t own a computer.
Many writers work out of their home office. But, for some variety, you can also work in places like:
- The library
- Local cafe or coffee shop
- The beach
- Co-working space
- Friend or family members’ home
Some top advice to help you succeed
Pick a writing niche and stick to it, don’t forget to market yourself and network at every opportunity you can.
3. Virtual Assistant
Be a personal assistant virtually and get paid for it. This is a home-based business that you can take part-time or full-time, based on the number of hours you work. You will help your clients accomplish their goals.
Take a look at this quick list of common tasks, to give you an idea of the work you may be doing:
- Calendar management
- Event planning
- Email management
- Customer service
- Admin and data entry
- Social media management
- Plus, more!
If you have a desire to help others run their business or lives the best way possible, this might be a great opportunity to accomplish that, while running your own home-based business.
VA’s help small business owners and individuals. Busy individuals need help running their lives sometimes. Managing virtual errands like managing email, organizing fundraisers, and making doctor’s appointments are some examples of work that you might do, working for an individual.
This job, like a lot of service-based businesses has the perk of having no out of pocket startup costs. All you need is Internet access on a computer, smartphone or tablet, to do your work and you are set.
4. Digital Course Instructor
A digital course instructor is someone who creates online courses. They teach their knowledge or expertise to the masses and gets paid for it!
Consider this example:
A stay-at-home mom is on maternity leave after having her first child. She is on leave from her job managing a restaurant. She wants to leave that job for a work from home career so she creates a digital course on how to start a restaurant. She helped the owner of her restaurant start that store and has tons of knowledge of the inner workings of a food establishment so with that in tow, she teaches her online course.
The course is priced at $247 and in her 7 day launch she makes 200 sales.
$247 x 200 sales = $49,400
She earned just under $50,000 in 7 days and now she can quit her restaurant job, earning money from her digital course, that continues to receive around 20 sales a month (or $4,940/month) passively, which is much more than her restaurant manager paycheck.
This is a very real example and it happens to new course instructors all the time.
How to Have a Successful Course?
It’s all about solving a problem. There’s a need. Solve it and you’ve got yourself a target market and a niche that you can sell in.
For more on creating and selling courses, check out Femtrepreneur.
5. Social Influencer
As a social influencer, you’ll get paid to influence the masses.
To illustrate, here are some examples of social influencers you may have heard of:
- Kim Kardashian
- Paris Hilton
- Television stars from reality television shows
- Local or national personalities seen on TV, radio, or other media
How it works?
If you want to become a social influencer, it starts by setting up your social media account. As your social account grows, you will begin to develop a fanbase. And, as that fanbase continues, your influence will become more powerful.
How do influencers make money?
The job of an influencer is to influence so, a big part of their income comes from brand collaborations. They will partner with a brand and promote that product to their audience for a fee.
For example, an influencer may promote a line of vegan cookie dough to their 50,000 vegan-loving fans. The influencer will earn a flat fee of $5,000 for that campaign plus 1% of sales.
The promotion results in 5% (or 2,500) of the influencer’s following buying a roll of $20 cookie dough.
- The influencer earned a total of $5,500 ($5,000 flat fee + 1% of sales)
- The brand earned a total of $44,500
You can see why an arrangement like this makes sense for both the brand and the influencer.
Imagine if the influencer booked 10 brand sponsorships like this every month. Ten deals at $5,000 each (not including any revenue share) is $50,000 per month.
This is just one income stream that influencers receive. There are many more.
In order to get to this level, or achieve tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of fans, growth must happen. So, as you are building up your network, keep that in mind and you can cultivate this home-based business into a very lucrative way of living.
6. Ebook Author
This is similar to a digital course instructor but instead, you’ll be paid through the sales of your ebooks.
You should have a passion for writing and share your knowledge and experience through your ebooks.
Free tools to create your content?
Find your audience, solve a problem, publish and make sales.
To learn more about becoming an ebook author, check out this resource for creating an ebook in 5 easy steps.
7. Online Events Promoter
Get paid to generate buzz for new events as an online event promoter. Your goal will be to get as many people as possible to attend your client’s event, which may include a:
- Club event
- Timeshare presentation
This source reveals online event promoters can make $25K to $45K annually.
Learn more about becoming an online events promoter here.
Opening a home-based daycare center is a lucrative home business you can start, for free!
You will be helping parents by watching and caring for their children during the day (or evening).
For example, you could care for 2 babies and 4 toddlers during the day, charging $500/week for babies and $400/week for toddlers. This would earn you $2,600/week or roughly, $10,400/month which is incredible for a brand new home business and more money than a lot of 9 to 5 workers make.
My sister-in-law’s sister actually did this!
She was a stay-at-home mom and soon was caring for other kids in her home, charging $400/week per child. Our family actually knows another good friend that does the exact same thing, watching around 6-7 small children during the day.
Keep in mind, you’ll want to research the daycare requirements for your area to make sure you are adhering to the rules for childcare facilities.
As an online bookkeeper, you will have the skills and knowledge to do bookkeeping for businesses and individuals.
This may include services like:
- Accounts receivables
- Record keeping
- Recording financial transactions
- Preparing financial reports
You can also offer business and planning services as well like, operations analysis, strategy planning, business planning, and more.
Work out of your home and start this business, for free!
All you need is a home computer and you can take work wherever you go. For more on starting a bookkeeping business, take a look at how to start a bookkeeping business in 8 steps.
10. Animal care
For animal lovers, animal care extends to dog walking, feeding and caring for pets, grooming and related activities.
Pet owners can get busy. The daily grind of work life, home life and other things that arise, make it hard to spend time and care for pets, sometimes. That’s where you will come in, helping pet owners by caring for their pets.
Here are some examples:
- Offering pet sitting services to frequent travelers
- Dog walking to pet owners who work regular or odd hours
- Grooming services to families with busy lives
If you’re not quite ready to start your own business in animal care, look at on-demand dog walking and check out our review on Wag to see if it’s right for you.
11. Professional Proofreader
Working as a professional proofreader means that you’ll be paid to make sure documents are error-free, checking for punctuation, spelling, and grammar mistakes.
You’ll help writers, bloggers, and other professionals, with the flexibility of working from home and the luxury of starting this business for free!
You’ll need to be detail-oriented, well organized and have a strong command of your native language.
Find proofreading gigs in these places, earning an average of $39,000/year, according to BLS:
Learn more about proofreading here.
12. Fitness Instructor
Teaching fitness as a fitness instructor can cost nothing, to get started.
You’ll be helping your students be healthier through strengthening their body, improving their flexibility and helping them reach their fitness goals.
Where to Find Clients?
You can get fitness clients from your neighborhood, college campus, church, family, friends, and other places.
A great complement to your business would be through adding digital content, like fitness videos, nutrition and eating plans, etc.
Make sure you check the requirements where you live, as licensing is needed in some places.
13. Online Survey Taker
Get paid for your opinion as an online survey taker.
This home-based gig is free to start and perfect for those who love a side gig that is flexible and can be worked from anywhere:
- In the lobby waiting for your dentist appointment
- Lying in bed when you first wake up, scrolling through your cell phone
- Spare time on breaks or lunch at work
- On the weekends, while you’re bored
How to Get Started
First, register for free to join your favorite survey companies, like:
Next, fill out your profile, take surveys, and then get paid!
Each survey company works a little differently.
Some companies allow you to login and take an unlimited number of surveys, while others will email you offers, as they are available and match your profile. Payment can be direct deposit to your bank account, PayPal cash, Venmo payment, gift cards, and other rewards, as often as daily!
Panels are another kind of survey opportunity where you can get paid for your opinion.
Panels usually take longer to complete and pay higher than your typical survey so expect a time investment of at least 30 minutes and pay starting at near $40 per panel opportunity.
Take a look at these two panels:
Once you join User Interviews for free, you’ll have instant access to their panel opportunities. There are usually several different opportunities to choose from, and they will vary, according to demographics and lifestyle, like:
- Users who use online banking
- Small business owners
- Retail workers in charge of staffing
- Stay-at-home parents who make the buying decisions in their home
- Pet owners
- Parents of babies
- Parents of teenagers
- Empty nesters with kids that have graduated college
Every opportunity may not be a fit for you but you may find one or two that fit.
Once you pick an opportunity, you’ll be taken through a short screener survey to determine if your background and demographics are a fit (or a miss) for the panel. After that process is completed, you will get an email if you are selected to participate in the panel opportunity.
If you are selected, you may do a phone interview, web interview, or in-person interview.
My personal experience?
My first panel was landed within a week of joining the company as a new panelist. I did a phone interview that finished about 10 minutes early (it took 35 minutes but I was quoted 45 minutes). It was easy and I was paid within 30 minutes of completion, $150 via Amazon gift card.
Respondent is another panel company.
Sign up for free, then complete your profile and start applying to panels. The process is almost identical to User Interviews so you’ll enjoy the similarities between the two.
Panels are also targeted toward specific users, based on lifestyle and demographics. After the screener survey, expect an email notifying you that you have been accepted, if you qualify for the panel.
My personal experience?
For my panel with Respondent, there were nearly a dozen available time slots to choose from. I picked the date and time that fit my schedule and when my appointment came, I did a web conference and was paid $150 for my efforts.
For an amazing list of survey companies we recommend, to earn $600/month or more, check out this roundup of survey companies to get you started.
14. Professionally Flipping Products
You can become a professional flipper, making a profit on the goods you flip.
Here’s how it works:
Buy a product at a low price, then, flip it at a high price, keeping the difference as profit.
To get started for free, start by flipping things around the house. I love doing this a few times a year and I coordinate it around the time I do my big Spring and Winter cleanings.
Go through each room in your home and determine what products you’ll keep and what products you’ll get rid of. Then, take those items you’ll be tossing and flip them!
Some examples of products you can flip:
- Home decor
- Small appliances
Where To Flip Products?
You can flip products online or in person.
Online, websites like eBay or other auction sites are a great idea. You can flip in-person through local consignment stores, flea markets and thrift stores.
Once you start making money from your flipping venture, you can take that profit to invest in starting to buy products.
For example, you can purchase steeply discounted department store products and resell on Amazon.
What Else Can Be Flipped?
Just about anything. Flipping isn’t just limited to stuff around the house or products you source at stores.
Check out these ideas:
- Cell phones
- Products from liquidation stores
- And, more!
Learn more about flipping from this resources at The Flea Market Flipper (they earn six figures per year flipping).
This concludes our roundup of 14 home-based business ideas you can start for free.
We hope this gave you some ideas of businesses you can start from home, for free.
Do you know of any free home-based business opportunities?
We’d love to know about it! Comment down below so we can hear from you.