There is little doubt that small businesses have suffered the worst fate during the pandemic. They make up more than 50% of the global workforce, with only 38% well-equipped to handle such environmental crises. While in developed countries, like the US, China, and some European nations, the government took initiatives to help small businesses ride out the storm, the situation has been worse in the developing ones. One in every four businesses were pondering shutdowns, owing to financial crunches. Economists have suggested increasing the resilience in such businesses that risk shutdown and efforts are being made to save the vulnerable micro firms.
But something else has been observed during this phase. Technological innovations and digitization, which were lagging just a few years ago, have spurted suddenly paving the path for innovative small business ideas. Both large and small enterprises have embraced digitization like never before. Be it remote working, online services, telemedicine, or supply-chain renovations, technological integration has almost reached its peak. When the conventional roads to running business were shut mercilessly, many digitized and innovative channels opened up. For example, biopharma and telehealth have surged in the healthcare industry, and eCommerce has taken the front seat in retail.
According to a report by Globe News Wire, the digital transformation industry is set to reach $1,009.8 billion at a CAGR of 16.5% in the next four years. Also, 65% of the global GDP is predicted to be digitized in 2022.
Coming to tech innovations, businesses have started analyzing big data using AI-based systems and Machine Learning technologies to speed up business operations, customize their promotional strategies and shoot up sales even in a volatile market. The absence of in-person interactions had created a roadblock in the way most businesses operate and pitch sales. But AI (Artificial Intelligence) has helped bridge that gap.
Companies have started investing in AI software to track customer behavior and buying preferences. The abundant availability of external data to match the demand and supply. AI-powered systems have also made online transactions safer, thus helping people shop more online. And you know what? It works!
Many businesses have started to rebound from their worst phase through increased digitization and tech integration. Several other small businesses ideas have mushroomed even during a period, which can undoubtedly go down as one of the worst financial crises in the history of mankind. While these advancements have helped existing startups and small businesses to rise on their feet, they have also encouraged millions of jobless people to try something on their own, thus pushing the gig economy to the next level.
So, if you are planning to start a new small business from home, this is the best time to scour the market and find suitable small business ideas that are profitable to start up at home. Remote working is the latest trend and much acceptable too, owing to the current circumstances. You need not leave the comforts (and safety) of your home to earn, and that is exactly what makes this time a golden opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs.
But what small business ideas will work for you? How can you match your skills with your passion? How to find small business ideas that are profitable in the given situation?
In this post, we are going to answer all these questions with proper facts and evidence.
Training and consulting
Like other industries, the education and training sector has also undergone massive digitization in the last one and a half years. Online classes were never this popular and rampant before. Owing to the lockdown that multiple countries ensued to contain the viral outbreak, teaching and training inadvertently went online. And this trend opened new opportunities for all those people who lost their jobs in the pandemic. After a brief phase of disappointment, they opened their own digital channels to impart their knowledge and experience to the eager minds on the web. Soon, they found their ‘elixir’ and clung to it.
From YouTube tutorials to in-person live training, many professionals have resorted to online training and consulting to earn their livelihood. Besides education, people have also started imparting lessons on fitness, dance, acting, cooking, handicrafts, and so on. If you are confident about your skills and knowledge in a particular field, this can be one of the best small business ideas at home.
Take a look at a few such channels that are doing quite well.
If you are intrigued, here’s what you have to do:
- Open your channel on a video/audio streaming platform of your choice, like YouTube, and upload a few free lessons to gain adequate followers.
- Interact with them regularly and reply to their comments
- Understand where their interests lie and create a business strategy accordingly
- Develop paid online lessons on a third-party app or a choice social media platform to start earning
You may also develop your own app or website if you have the resources for it. It may take some time for you to get to the peak, but then again, baby steps; the baby steps towards success will make it all worthwhile in the end.
So, your retail outlet is not performing well or has been closed due to the pandemic? No worries! You can start dropshipping from home any day. It is a retail business strategy, where a seller does not have to keep an inventory of products but ship it to his/her customers on-demand from a wholesaler or supplier. The best thing about drop shipping is you need not do any product research on your own or even store products physically. Just contact a third-party supplier or subscribe to one of the many dropshipping apps out there to kick start and materialize your small business ideas from home.
Due to the COVID scenario, the global dropshipping market is set to grow at a CAGR of 32% in the next five years. And why shouldn’t it? From 2014 all the way to 2020, the number of online buyers has surged throughout the globe. While there were only 1.32 billion online shoppers in 2014, 2.05 billion online buyers have been recorded in 2020. And this number is expected to be 2.14 billion before 2022.
If this is not the best time to start leveraging the surge in online shopping then when? Follow the steps mentioned below to start your dropshipping endeavor:
- Find your supplier – You can either reach out to them directly through phone/email or you can join a platform, like a web or mobile app. For example, Oberlo is a successful platform that helps dropshippers from multiple countries to choose products from its catalogs and sell them. However, make sure that the supplier is also essentially a manufacturer and does not use other third-party providers for the products. It will assure you of quality and affordability.
- Check the legalities – Transporting goods from other countries involves a series of legal steps. You should have a concrete understanding of such formalities to proceed. Even if your supplier is a domestic one, you should check out the legalities involved in the transportation of goods, taxes, and other stuff before you send a green signal.
- Promote like crazy – Of course, it is your business to promote, so do it. Do not be shy. If you do not promote it, how will your potential customers know what you are selling? Give them proper details, like prices and available options. Promote your business on all social media channels and go for paid advertisements for a few days, if you want.
- Create and maintain a robust social media presence – Now, dropshipping is all about connecting with the right audience at the right time. For that, you need to be active on social media. Try to interact with your followers and help them know more about you. You may also hold live sessions occasionally to talk about your newest venture and help them spread the word.
You can either develop a website or you can choose to go without one. In the second case, you can advertise products on various social media channels, like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.
Freelance graphic design
Do you have some knowledge of Photoshop or related software? Or, did you have been working in a graphics design company before the pandemic? If any of it is true, this is one of the best small business ideas from home that can be suitable for you. As a graphic designer, you can earn up to $65,000, depending on the frequency of work and your individual skills.
Graphic designs are required in every business these days. From logo design to animations, the corporate world is full of graphics. Companies even require graphics in promotional activities like social media campaigns, newsletters, flyers, and business card designs.
So, how to start your own freelance graphic design business?
Step 1: You need a network of businesses that will require graphic design services consistently. Join a third-party platform, or develop a website, whichever seems convenient to you. You may also enroll in some logo and graphic design contests to create recognition for your work.
Step 2: Know the rates in the market. As you are not working on salary, you need to be aware of the current market trends, so that you do not charge less or more. Generally, freelance graphic designers work on a pay-per-hour basis. You should find a business model suitable to your requirements.
Step 3: Promote your graphic design business on social media. Design some business flyers and newsletters that can give people an idea about the quality of work you do. Create an email marketing list of business owners who might need your services and send those newsletters to them. You may also advertise your services in your professional circle, like former colleagues, supervisors, or managers.
Step 4: Collaborate with other freelance designers to build a network. Do not be scared that you will lose the project if you start working with others. On the other hand, you will feel a lot less pressured than handling everything on your own.
Step 5: When you are starting, it is best to ask for 40% of the payment in advance. This will keep you relieved that your hard work will not be exploited or stolen. Once you build trust in your clients, you can take 100% of the payment later, after completing the work. But it is always best to stick to the advance payment models for new clients.
You can join numerous platforms to start getting lucrative graphic design projects, like Upwork, Freelancer, Etsy, and more. Soon, you will build a network of your own and start earning from home.
It is one of the most profitable small business ideas for women who have excellent culinary skills. A home-based catering business will require less investment than a fully-fledged one. Also, it depends on the type of set-up, the equipment, and the people you employ.
You can create a website or join hands with the local food outlets to start. You may also create a YouTube channel to promote your culinary expertise and gain some loyal followers.
Here is how to go about it:
- Create a budget – No business can prosper without a proper plan. Research the market, know about the local food rates, private chef service rates, lunch box rates, and so on.
- Set up your space – Do you have enough space to set up your catering business at home? Or, do you need to rent some additional space for your business? Such considerations are crucial before you launch your business in the market.
- Get all permits – Yes, you will need them, even if you are planning to set up a business at home. From vendor registrations to establishment licenses, insurance, and other stuff, everything should be up-to-date.
- Hire people – You may be a wonderful cook, but it is a tad difficult to manage a catering business on your own. Start hiring people who can help you in running the business, like professional chefs, delivery personnel, and even an accountant. If you are unable to understand where to hire these people from, you can join an agency or a platform for the same.
- Market your business – Of course, this is the last but the most important step in starting a small-scale catering business from home. Create flyers, newsletters and use all social media channels to promote your business extensively.
Once you are well set in your catering business, you may even start getting event contracts, organize campaigns, and train people to make some extra income. Start small but take your business to new heights at the slightest chance.
Do you have a keen sense of fashion that everyone appreciates? Do your friends approach you for fashion advice often? Well, you may not be aware of it, but you have a talent, my friend. And a payable one too. You can be the personal paid shopper of people just using this talent of yours. Personal shoppers are professionals who use their amazing sense of fashion and knowledge of trends to choose outfits and shoppable items for their clients. No, there is no reason to go shopping with your clients. You can suggest online stuff for them from the comforts of your home and get paid for it.
Online sales have surged in the last few months, mostly due to the series of lockdowns across the globe. Take a look:
Now, where to start your fashion consultant or personal shopper endeavor? We will tell you:
- Research fashion trends – To advise people about fashion, you need to learn more about the industry and its current trends. Upgrade your knowledge of fashion. Read fashion articles, personal blogs and go through some videos of the latest fashion shows. You can also make some friends in the industry, like fashion photographers, bloggers, and more, to get in-person tips about the latest fashion trends.
- Know more about fits and tailoring – Not only learning about the latest fashion trends will help but also you need to upgrade your knowledge of fits and cuts. While advising your clients, you have to recommend the best fit and size of clothes, hence, this understanding is essential. You also need to know about the various cuts to help choose the best one or tailor a perfect outfit for your clients.
- Try your skills with your friends – Before offering paid services, you should try your skills on your friends and family members to prevent errors. Ask them to evaluate your services and take their suggestions to improve the same. It will also give you the confidence to start a business from your passion.
- Prepare VIP packages – Besides giving fashion advice to your clients, you should also ensure an unmatched shopping experience for them. If they are shopping from brick and mortar, you should talk to the salespeople and store managers in advance to help your clients enjoy their shopping endeavors. They should feel relaxed and at ease while shopping to their heart’s content. But if they are shopping online, you should suggest the best websites to pick their stuff from. Things like shipping policies, return and refund policies and other factors should be considered here.
So, you are not comfortable with the idea of vlogging, and you think you can express more through text? No issues! You have the skills to become a content writer or blogger, that too from home.
A content writer is needed everywhere and by everyone. Be it a large B2B enterprise or a small business owner, everyone will require content to develop and promote their business. If you are into story-writing, you can write brand stories in a catchy manner to earn well from home. Every business owner has a story to tell their audience. They may not be able to express it using the right words or phrases. You can pitch your services to these people and help increase their visibility.
Then again, the business owners also require content for their websites, and you can write it. Thousands of websites are developed each day with different content requirements. From explaining these businesses to promoting, your content can be immensely useful for the owners. And you will get paid handsomely too. Most freelance content writers get paid for each word, so you can imagine how much money you can earn. Not bad, right?
There are a few things you should consider before starting to pitch for projects:
- Check your grammar – Are you a grammar Nazi? To be honest, you are safe then. But if you are likely to make errors while writing, it is best to proofread each work before submitting it. You may use tools like Grammarly and Ginger, which are free sites to check grammar and type errors. It will create a good impression for you if the clients find mistakes in your content.
- Create a portfolio – How will your clients know about the quality of your writing? You should create a portfolio that you can send to them for reference. Most clients looking for content writers still require free/paid assignments to complete before they can give you the job. Others may ask for a portfolio. Just arrange a few works of yours in a synchronized order in a document and send it to the clients who ask for it. Try to include works of different categories and genres in the document to exhibit your varied skills. However, if you excel only in one genre, try to include different types of articles to create as much variation as possible.
- Get some certifications – You can take an online course before you start bidding for content writing assignments on a freelance networking platform. If you are an experienced writer, this certificate may not be necessary, as your resume will do the job right. But if you are a fresher, the certificates will help you catch the eyes of your potential clients. There are umpteen business content development and marketing course online. Browse through those, check the reviews, study models, and see which one suits your needs and budget.
- Promote your services – Without the right promotion of your services, you cannot expect to get the right projects at the right time. Use the various social media channels and email lists to market your content writing services all over the web. Use professional channels, like LinkedIn to seek clients. If you can, create some flyers and newsletters to catch some eyeballs. Visual content is preferred over normal text by most people.
The content writing rates are increasing with each passing day. If you can cement your place in this field, you may get a constant supply of lucrative projects from different sectors. However, do not forget to upgrade your knowledge of SEO, search engine algorithms, and keywords and phrases that help any content rank on the Search Engine Results Pages.
The podcasting industry is witnessing some major upheaval. Several audio streaming platforms have popped up, streaming live and recorded podcasts to people who love to hear them. Audio stories, debates, chat sessions, interviews, and many other types of podcast content are streamed extensively. If you have a knack for such things, you can either set up your own channel or join a third-party channel to start podcasting.
Podcasting is suitable for those people, who have amazing oratory skills but do not feel comfortable in front of the camera. Creating and distributing audio content is also an option to exhibit your skills in the field. You can create audio stories or stream some educational audio content on a podcast channel to get paid for the same. If you want, you can also create a podcast on trendy topics, like a chat session with eminent people in the industry, or a discussion session with your friends, relatives, or colleagues.
All you will need is the right topic, a catchy one, high-quality recording equipment, and the right sponsors. Even if you do not get a sponsor, you can sell your podcast to some reputed channels. Once you get famous, you may be invited for live podcasting sessions from the same channels or others in the industry.
Factors to be considered:
- Length of episodes – If you love to talk, it is easy for you to get along with the flow. But you need to decide the length of each podcast episode, as most channels have time restrictions. However, there is no hard-and-fast rule for the length of a podcast. There are 28 minutes podcasts and even 5/6 minutes. Then there are long discussions of 60 minutes or more that are considered special podcasts. Everything depends on the platform and the topic, of course.
- Style and nature – Use your creative skills to style your podcast uniquely. The more unique it sounds, the more appealing it will be to your target audience. If you are doing interviews, the best idea will be to ask your target audience to send in their questions in advance. Generally, most celebrities have dedicated fandoms and fan clubs. You can contact them and ask for questions that they wish to ask their favorite celebs.
- The right co–host – So, you are planning to bring in a co-host? Choose one who knows your style and matches it perfectly. Also, make sure that his/her oratory abilities match that of yours. For example, if both of you are aggressive speakers, it may not be a good idea to include that person in the podcast. Then again, if you are more of a listener and the person you are planning to invite is an excellent speaker, the podcast will have a higher chance to succeed.
Write down all your points and plan a strategy before recording the podcast or going live with your audience. Describe what the podcast is about and generate some interest with chic words, careful expressions, and humor. Yes, humor is important. Your audience should not feel bored at any cost.
In this digital age, there is no dearth of entrepreneurial, and small business ideas, especially after the pandemic in 2020. Different business sectors offer a variety of small business ideas, like blogging, travel writing, Instagram marketing, affiliate marketing, tax consultant, virtual assistant to software development, social media management, and the list goes on. If you have a proper vision and the right skills, you may not even enter an office or sit at a desk for the rest of your life.
Are you ready to take the plunge?