The concept of home-based business, as opposed to the previous terminology of "cottage industry", first appeared in 1978. The phrase was coined by Marion Behr, the originator of a study to find out what businesses women throughout America were carrying on in their homes. The preview edition of Enterprising Women[3] wrote about the search to gather information pertaining to home workers throughout the nation. Numerous magazines[4][5] and organizations helped to disseminate information regarding the study. Ultimately 40,000 letters were received, many indicating the problems the respondents experienced while carrying on businesses from their homes.
Businesses that serve a niche market tend to be unique, such as a cleaning company that uses all natural cleaning products, a gluten-free bakery, or landscaper that creates interesting mowing patterns. Businesses with a unique product or service tend to stand out, and often get featured in media outlets such as talk shows, radio stations, or newspapers.
Whether it’s an important consumer application, a specialist app to solve a particular niche problem, or even a time-wasting game you can play on your phone, you can create a massively successful business if you build software that helps people. (Look at the rise of Slack—the team communication software that went from side project to billion-dollar company in just 2 years.)

Keep in mind there are no absolutes. You may be primarily based out of your home but lease space in a shared office environment a few days out of the month. You might take commercial space and telecommute one or two days a week. For many, a blend of the two works best. This past April, Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer said, “People are more productive when they’re alone”¦(but) more collaborative and innovative when they’re together. Some of the best ideas come from pulling two different ideas together.” Perhaps this piece of advice applies to where you choose to work, as well.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Most of the software and apps you use on a regular basis are made by massive companies or established development studios. Well, yes. But many successful apps, particularly those in the Apple and Google stores, are created and marketed by individuals and small businesses. In fact, independent developers made $20 billion in the App Store in 2016 alone.
Open an Etsy store. If you have a creative talent or skill – whether it’s creating art, sewing clothes, or making keepsakes – you can open an online store on Etsy.com and sell your wares for some quick cash. With your own Etsy store, you’re left in charge of pricing and, ultimately, how much you make. See our detailed primer, “How to Make Money on Etsy.”

Also, make sure you’re up-to-date on CPR, first aid and other emergency procedures. Then make sure your own kids are OK with sharing their home every day. Once all of that is wrapped up, go to your friends and neighbors, your kids’ teachers, your place of worship and anywhere else busy parents are looking for day-care services, and get your word out.

In 2017, there were almost 90 million pet dogs in the US. Which has opened up a huge opportunity to make money online as a dog watcher or sitter. Specialized sites like Rover or Care.com connect pet owners with pet walkers, sitters, and boarding houses to help look after their best friends when they’re at work or on a trip. If you’re an animal lover, you can make extra money and get to spend some quality time with a furry friend.

An important part of the home buying process is having a professional home inspector go through the house to determine the condition of the building and point out any potential problems. A home inspector needs to meet the state regulations for the profession, which varies from state to state, although anyone who has worked in the construction or housing industry will have a leg up. Median salary: $52,000.


Like starting a home bakery, developing a catering service comes with a unique set of food-oriented challenges. Right off the bat, you need to make sure that it’s legal in your state or municipality to use your home kitchen for commercial food production. If it is, you’ll still need to make sure that you’re following food-safety regulations and other relevant laws.
When was the last time you went to a new restaurant without looking it up online beforehand? Or bought a product that didn’t have at least a few 5-star reviews? It seems like more and more our world is run on reviews. And you can make money online by writing them. Get started by creating accounts on sites like Vindale research, Software Judge, FameBit, CrowdTap, Influence Central, and Modern Mom. However, before you run off and start writing, be sure to check the small print on each of these sites. Writing reviews isn’t a huge source of guaranteed income and you want to make sure that it’s worth your time before you get going.

From grad school to kindergarten, the opportunities to teach from the comfort of your home are endless. One warning, though: online or in class, the pay for teachers is abysmal at best. K-12 online teachers average about $40K per year; online college professors average around $60k (18), (19). But remember, that’s for only three-quarters of the year. Summers off? That’s hard to beat.
DID YOU KNOW? In 1902, the Genesee Food Company branded the gelatin dish Jell-O as “America’s Most Favorite Dessert,” placing ads in the Ladies Home Journal. The results? A big boost in sales. It’s one old school — but powerful — example of niche marketing at its finest. Learn more about the rise of niche marketing in The History of Content Marketing: An Essential Guide.
“Many people talk about ‘finding’ a niche as if it were something under a rock or at the end of the rainbow, ready-made. That's nonsense,” says Lynda Falkenstein, author of Nichecraft: Using Your Specialness to Focus Your Business, Corner Your Market and Make Customers Seek You Out. Good niches don't just fall into your lap; they must be carefully crafted.
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