The U.S. economy is soaring. The Small Business Optimism Index is at or near an all-time high, and numerous organizations are handing out bonuses, raising their minimum wage, or both since the President signed tax reform into law last month. With the economy taking off, now is a great time to start a business, and one of the most affordable ways to get started is with a business you can operate from a home office. So many entrepreneurs ask “what are some of the best businesses to start in 2018 from home”?
If you’re looking for the best business to start in 2018 from a home office, there are many options to explore. While we cannot tell you about every one of them, we have put together a list of several that have been trending upward and provide a strong opportunity for success in the coming year and beyond. The businesses on the list can all be operated out of a home office with a relatively low investment. If you have more capital to put into it and want a more solid business plan and a company to support you, you may want to consider a franchise business opportunity.
Selling Photography Online
Most photographers work as freelance journalists for news agencies and/or they make their money on wedding/event-based photography. However, there’s an entire niche for photographers who create photos/images that they sell on the internet by licensing them to businesses in need. If you take creative pictures, you own 100% of the copyright, and you can charge a license fee for them online. With millions of websites out there and countless new sites started every day, there will always be a demand for unique images.
Online photography can be started on a fairly low investment because you will only have to purchase the camera equipment. There are many stock photo libraries online that allow you to sign up for free, upload your images and start licensing them. These libraries receive thousands of visitors each day who are on the lookout for specific types of photos that they later upload on their websites or publish in magazines. If you sell just a couple of photos every day, you could make a nice living even with a basic camera. You could also reinvest some of your profits into your own website and sell directly from there as well.
Notice how we don’t call this “artist” because design work is so broad that you can specialize in many sub-niches of the art and graphics industry. For instance, you could specialize in creating ad banners for marketers. If you know how to design creative images, your value as an artist will double or quadruple if you specialize. You can start with web page designs, banners, ads of different kinds, logos, etc. Virtually every website image was developed by a designer, so you can see how vast this market is.
There are many internet marketing forums where you can sell design services to marketers in need and you can also find work on freelance websites. The most important qualifier here is your portfolio – not your education or experience. People want to get the best graphics and they will hire a specialist when they need an image. Specialize in the images that are in high demand, and you will never lack for business.
If you love to write, there are boundless opportunities to provide content for businesses – both for their online and offline marketing materials. Businesses need content for websites, blogs, direct response sales letters, white papers, email sequences, and countless others. You can also ghostwrite books for professionals who don’t have the time or ability to write a book themselves. With the advent of eBooks and the ability to easily self-publish through Amazon Kindle and its sister company CreateSpace (for paperback books), virtually anybody can become a published author these days. Even me. The opportunity here is to help professionals raise their credibility in their field by authoring a book, or you could choose to become an author yourself. It’s not the easiest path to riches, but lots of self-published authors have developed six and seven-figure incomes through the Amazon Kindle platform.
This is actually a sub-section of graphics design, but it’s large enough that it deserves a separate mention. You’ve probably heard of websites such as DeviantArt, but maybe you never explored them. The difference here is that it’s for artists, while stock photo licensing is for photographers. If you draw a lot and you are comfortable with Photoshop or similar software, you could license your art to people on the internet. This is a very creative field and it can be very lucrative if you find the right clients. Websites such as Art.com and Etsy have large audiences that will give your work plenty of exposure and potential revenue.
This is one of the best businesses to start from home in 2018, because online retail has been on the rise in recent years, and the growth has been especially strong on platforms like Shopify that provide fast shipping and can support dropshipping platforms. Amazon is the world’s largest retail platform, and you can sell your products on there too – Amazon is not just for large retailers, this is a common misconception people have because they are so big. eBay might be worth exploring if you know how to source physical products for low prices and then re-sell them to the right people.
To give you an idea of what you can sell online, start by looking at Alibaba (the largest manufacturer website) and check out the top sellers there. You can directly contact them to create your own variation of a physical product, and let them ship for you from the plant so you don’t have to store products in a warehouse yourself. This is called dropshipping, and it’s made easy with platforms such as Shopify. The only downside is to Shopify is they make payments and dropshipping difficult for people outside the U.S. and Canada.
Affiliate Marketing Business
If you’re not interested in creating your own products or dropshipping, there are many ready-made product and service providers who will give you a commission for every sale they make (or in some cases, for every lead you provide) from someone you referred to them. This is called affiliate marketing. There are literally millions of products and services both in the digital and offline worlds that have an affiliate program, so the possibilities here are unlimited.
To get started, check out popular affiliate websites like Clickbank and Maxbounty and apply to become an affiliate. These and similar sites have lots of different merchants whose products or services you can promote. Be sure to do your due diligence before promoting any offer to ensure that it is legitimate. There are a lot of scam offers out there, and you do not want to be associated with any of them, so do your homework, read plenty of reviews, and make sure the product or service is one you will be proud to represent.
Everyone needs help with something, and this is one part of human nature that is never going to change. Increasingly, people are willing to pay someone to help them start a business, overcome a problem, or just generally improve their life (i.e., “life coaching”). If you have a marketable skill and/or some type of life experience that can help others in a significant way, you can charge by the hour as a coach. The only downside to coaching is that you have to invest a lot of time into setting up your business and marketing your services to prospects. You can start by offering this service to family and friends for a highly discounted rate in exchange for an honest review. This will help you build your experience and testimonials faster, so you can market to prospects outside your circle of influence.
Why not earn money by teaching people about something you’re passionate about? This is similar to coaching, except that it is more along the lines of teaching a skill rather than motivating someone to deal with a life challenge. These days, you don’t even have to find students who pay you by the hour, you can simply record tutorials and sell them online through sites like Teachable and Udemy. For instance, if you look at some Apple Swift courses that are offered for app and software developers, you’ll notice most teachers there are regular programmers who record themselves coding with Camtasia studio and charge between $50-$100 for a copy of their course. Some course provides earn in excess of $100K+ per course per year, and all they had to do was spend a few days recording videos. If you can code or have a marketable skill, you can make money not only on your work but also by teaching your skills to others. On-demand tuturing is huge, and it is only going to get bigger in 2018 and beyond.
These are just a few of the best businesses to start in 2018 from home. Many of those mentioned here require some creative skills and the ability to market your services online. There are countless other lucrative business models out there, both online and offline. The best business for you to start will depend largely on your own passion, skills, budget, other specific factors such as how much time you have to put into it. 2018 is going to be a great year for business. Find your niche, get started, and cash in on the booming economy.