Publishing is dead; long live the e-reader! Now that anyone can have their work e-published, it is possible for anyone to make a fortune off their writing. The biggest recent example is the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy, but there are many authors taking advantage of the ease of e-publishing. If you love to write and are willing to do your own promotion (and having a blog can really help in that case), writing an e-book is an excellent way to make money at home.
Even large companies and organizations that offer products and services that are widely used and mass marketed often use niche marketing techniques. Most major car companies, for example, now offer energy-efficient hybrid models of their automobiles that appeal to niche segments of the population—environmentalists and urban drivers with long commutes. They hone in on that smaller segment of their market with high visibility on city highways and in the stores, magazines, and online sites frequented by especially “green” consumers. (See also Green Marketing)
Just about every company has a website that has the potential to collect data from its customers. Furthermore, many businesses store their customers' data, personal information – even credit card numbers – in their company computers. But, how many smaller firms can honestly say they know the data is safe from identity thieves and hackers? Most small companies can't afford to hire a full-time data security specialist. That's where your home-based security consulting business comes in. If you've got a background in IT, you could be working as a consultant helping small businesses shore up their data security.
Offer to watch children or pets. If you know anyone who has children or pets, you could easily begin a side gig as a babysitter or pet sitter. To let people know you’re interested, send out a group email describing your services, post an ad on Facebook, or tell friends and acquaintances about your availability in person or over the phone. You can also create a profile on a babysitting referral site like Care.com.
There are tax benefits. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations, but if you qualify, you can deduct part of your home’s expenses against your business income. These may include a portion of your mortgage interest, property taxes, utilities and home maintenance. The Internal Revenue Service is your best source for the rules concerning home office deductions.
Home renovation services are hot, hot, hot — and there's no sign of this trend slowing down. Home improvement and repair expenditures in the U.S. topped 300 billion dollars in 2017 according to Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies. The Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) expects 5.3% growth in the home improvement products market in 2018.
Drive for Uber or Lyft: If you're in a locale where you can find Uber or Lyft (or even one of the many competitors around the world such as China's Didi), you could easily make a respectable income. The hours are flexible and you can work as you see fit, making it perfect even if you currently have full-time employment but are looking to make some money on the side.
Because niche marketing is targeted and specialized, it requires a strong background in consumer research, as well as a deep understanding of marketing principles and strategies. Marketing programs offer general courses in business, economics, and basic marketing principles that provide an overview of how companies work and compete for market share and customers.
Even though one-in-ten people are left-handed, products for the southpaw in your life could still be considered a niche market. Many small businesses claim that PPC doesn’t work for them, or that they can’t compete with the big retailers, but in many cases, that simply isn’t true. Case in point, San Francisco-based left-handed retail specialist Lefty’s.
Mild spoiler alert: Viewers of the TV drama Orange Is the New Black might remember that the show’s main character made amends with one of her fellow prison inmates by making her a soothing lotion. Hopefully you won’t find yourself in prison, but if you find yourself wanting to start a home-based business, consider hand-making soaps and lotions yourself.
Another common problem faced by those who work from home is isolation. In a standard business environment, people are dealing with co-workers constantly, as well as the noise of ringing phones and running machines. There are also meetings, breaks, and lunch hours that serve to break up the day and provide opportunities for socializing. This contact with other people provides a built-in system of motivation to at least appear busy at work. In contrast, many people who start a home-based business are faced with nothing but a quiet, empty house. Some find it difficult to motivate themselves and succumb to boredom and loneliness. But such isolation does have a positive side: working at home increases productivity by an average of 20 percent, so home-based business owners can often get more work done in less time. Planning is necessary to overcome the negative effects of isolation, however. Experts recommend that home-based business owners schedule interaction with other people on a regular basis, using such means as business meals, outside meetings and appointments, clubs and associations, and networking.
Not everything is just a Google search away. Media organizations hire fact checkers to make sure that items in stories are accurate and that sources quoted really exist. Other organizations need people to find statistics and other data for presentations and reports. There are plenty of opportunities online to get started researching at home. Just be prepared to get into some really esoteric topics that will take you way beyond Wikipedia.
The startup cost is lower. Working out of your home significantly cuts the amount of money you will need to get started, even if you don’t plan to keep the business there for long. Without the expense and commitment of signing a lease, buying furniture, and installing a commercial phone system, computers and other office equipment, you can jump right in and get going with your plans. Use your cell phone for a while, visit the library for a copier or printer if you don’t have one, and make do with your home computer for now. If and when the business grows, you can then decide if you’d like to keep it at home or move out.
There are two basic markets you can sell to: consumer and business. These divisions are fairly obvious. For example, if you're selling women’s clothing from a retail store, your target market is consumers; if you're selling office supplies, your target market is businesses (this is referred to as “B2B” sales). In some cases—for example, if you run a printing business—you may be marketing to both businesses and individuals.