Low-Cost Business: Home-Based Business Ideas You Can Start Online

Starting a business is a difficult task, but with the number of online businesses soaring and online retail orders experiencing a whopping 146% increase in 2020, you might be thinking about making the transition too. Online businesses have their own unique challenges like needing to create a website, marketing your products on different online platforms, getting customers to click “purchase”.

If you’re willing to put up with these frustrations and take that risk, here are a few low-cost online business ideas you can try without having to drill a hole in your wallet.

Sell Your Masterpieces

Art encompasses many disciplines: music, painting, drawing, photography, videography, and more! If you’re passionate about your craft, want to share it with the world, and make a few dollars, sell your masterpieces online.

If you love to draw or paint, you can start by selling prints or canvasses. If you’re a photographer, you can blow up your photos, have them framed, and sell your framed photos for a good price. Companies like Vistaprint, Moo, and GotPrint can help you help create professional-looking prints of your digital artwork. For musicians, you can upload original music to get your name out there and while doing that, sell some downloadable beats and samples that other musicians can use for their music.

Seeing your work in people’s homes or hearing your sample in another musician’s song can be a gratifying experience. The first step to getting the artwork you’re selling out into the world is to put up a website. Get creative with your website and let it show your art style and aesthetic, as this is going to be where you can showcase your past work, put up a product catalog, and open a line of communication where customers can share their testimonials.

If you’re planning to sell prints, canvasses, or framed photos, don’t forget to look for a good paper packaging supplier to keep your products safe. Depending on your products, you’ll need different kinds of packaging like envelopes, boxes, or bubble mailers. If you want to be more eco-friendly, opt for paper packaging options.

Open a Second-hand Clothing Store

Is your closet about to burst with the number of clothes inside? If you have a lot of clothes you don’t use that you thought you’d fit into eventually, it’s time to get them out of that dark abyss you call your closet.

Separate your clothes into three piles: clothes you often use, clothes you rarely use or wanna sell, and clothes for donation. Once you’ve got them sorted, put back the first pile in your closet. Your second pile now becomes your stock for your second-hand clothing shop! Take photos of those clothes and get creative: curate an outfit and model the clothes you want to sell or create an aesthetically-pleasing flat lay of each item.

Once you have photos of all your items, it’s time to sell. Make an account on your favorite social media or online shopping platform and post your photos. If you’ve created an Instagram account, use hashtags that will help users looking for secondhand clothes find your posts easily. You can also advertise your shop by asking your friends to share your profile on their accounts.

Stream Your Favorite Games

From businesses holding meetings via Zoom to gamers streaming their gameplays, streaming has skyrocketed in the past year due to the global pandemic and succeeding lockdown. If you’re a big fan of video games and are good at interacting with people, streaming might be for you. While on the surface, it may sound easy, streaming requires a lot of effort, dedication, and time.

The first step to becoming a streamer is to choose the game you want to stream and specialize in. It’s best to start with one game to get your career started and build your brand. Unfortunately, games are bound to die out pretty quickly so it’s best to have a backup plan in case things go south. Try incorporating your backup game into your stream schedule once in a while. For instance, if you stream 5 days a week, choose 1 day out of the 5 to play a different game. This will help your viewers adjust and will keep them watching if you choose to fully transition into a new game.

The next step is the hardest: dedication and consistency. Have a fixed stream schedule so that viewers know when to tune in to your stream. Play for the same amount of hours and days every week and try to improve one thing every time you stream. It could be your communication with your viewers, your waiting screen, your game techniques anything. When your viewers see your progress, they’ll want to tune in more and see how far you’ll go.

Also remember to promote your streams as much as you can: share them with your friends, family, and on social media platforms. You can also join game Discord servers that allow you to promote your content. Last but not least, get to know your followers. The best part about streaming is the community, and having fun with your viewers is the best way to keep them coming back.

While not exactly a business, this can be a good way to do what you love and earn money doing. Your only investment here would be your webcam, mic, and computer.

person working at home

Start a Podcast

If you love to talk about different topics and aren’t afraid to talk to a non-existent audience, try starting a podcast. Podcasts allow people to save time, as they can listen to them anywhere and anytime. It’s also a great business idea that allows you to monetize in different ways; think of it as an audio blog.

What you’ll need to start a podcast is a good microphone and audio recording and editing software like Audacity, Logic Pro, or Adobe Audition. 

If you have enough listeners, you’re likely to have brands approach you looking for a sponsor deal. You can share your thoughts with the world, make connections, and earn money at the same time.

Become a Freelancer

If you have talents that you can offer as a service like writing, photo and video editing, web development, or graphic design, you can start a business as a freelancer. Freelancers can provide their services to client projects all around the world. You aren’t bound by working hours and you can choose any project that you’re willing to take.

If you don’t want a project to take up all of your time, you can opt to agree to smaller projects that only take a day or two to finish. Freelancing is hard in the beginning, especially if you don’t have any connections. Utilize the internet and join freelancing communities like UpWork and Fiverr to find people who are looking for freelancers to help with their projects.

If you aren’t keen on adjusting your rates to compete with other freelancers in these communities, you can choose to create your own website or Shopify account where you can offer your services and rates your way.

If you were looking for a sign to start your online business, this is that sign. With most people glued to their phones 24/7, there’s no better time than now to start your online business venture.

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