5 Best Small Business Ideas to Make Money from Home

Who doesn’t need some extra money, even if it’s just to increase your savings? As the latest economic downturn has shown, no one ever seems to have enough savings, and many of us have none, so having some extra cash to save without having to take an outside job is never a bad idea. There are several things you can do to make extra money from home, especially if you already have a hobby that could be turned into a money maker. Here are the 5 ideas that I like best.


Photo by Jeff Kubina via Flickr

1. Sell Handcrafted Items Online.

Sites like Etsy, Craigslist, and eBay can be used to sell some of those craft items you’ve been making and hoarding for years. You won’t get rich, but a couple of hundred extra dollars a month is well within reason if you work at it.

2. Get Paid to Write Online.

There are many sites where you can earn money just by teaching others what you already know. Some pay per article, some pay upfront for articles plus a bonus for page views every month, and some pay based on ad revenue sharing. It’s not too difficult to make from $100-$400 a month once you get some upfront article and residual income payments going.

3. Sell What You Grow.

Are you a gardener who loves to share plants? Instead of giving them away, sell them on sites like Craigslist and eBay. There are a few online auction sites especially for plant and seed sales. A growing home-based business is the sale of fresh organically grown herbs to local restaurants. Take into consideration that if you live in a colder climate, this may be a seasonal income.

4. Start a blog with affiliate and AdSense ads.

Affiliate ads got a bad name when everyone was trying to sell ebooks about how to get rich online, but now major companies are getting into the act, and affiliate advertising is big business. Affiliate catalog sites have hundreds of retailers to choose from, so you’re bound to find something that will suit your blog content.

Amazon and eBay also have affiliate programs, and sites like Hubpages allow you to use those two affiliates on your articles, as well as giving you a share of AdSense income.

5. Start a Sitting Service.

Babysitting, pet sitting, elder sitting or house sitting are four possibilities. You can limit your available hours as you need, and hourly pay is relatively good. It’s not hard to make $100-$300 a month doing this in your spare time.

These are just five of the more popular options. The possibilities for making money from home are endless, depending on your talents and abilities. Put your mind to it, and you too can grow that savings account, or have extra money to spend on a monthly basis.

To help you get started, I highly recommend you check out SCORE and SBA.gov websites.

Reviewed and updated April 13, 2011.

About the Author

By , on Apr 13, 2011
Deborah Aldridge
Deborah Aldridge blogs on both frugal living and earning residual income online at Simply Deb.

Leave Your Comment (13 Comments)

  1. angelique says:

    The decision to go into business for themselves is a complex decision, which is probably much thought and consideration. Now the decision is to do only what the business opportunity for you. Perhaps the choice seems obvious, or maybe you think it will not matter what kind of business you run as long as you are the boss. But a small business franchise can be a difficult thing, and where the opportunities for small businesses, you can choose from at the end is the decisive factor in your career as a small business owner is a success or a failure.

  2. Mike says:

    Don’t forget the worth of obtaining job related licenses and certifications. They are very valuable when it comes to finding specialized work and can often lead to higher wages since fewer people are available for that specialized work. It is also a great way to qualify for a second career / income or help you start your own part-time business.

    Some examples can range from certified financial planner, barber, personal trainer, massage therapist, or even getting a state license to be a casino table games dealer! There are lots of options!

  3. Bonnie Petterson says:

    need make $400.00 more a month because my husband pass away on pension all can make a month

  4. Keith says:

    Before you commit to starting a part time business, you have to ask yourself “Why are you doing this?” and if the answer is just to make extra money it may be the wrong reason. Running even a small business takes alot of hard work and the results may not be seen for a couple of months or even a few years. Instead of trying to increase income, try to reduce expenses. In our case, our biggest expense is our mortgage payment, and if we can get it reduced, the income we have right now will be sufficient to cover our other expenses. We are thinking about getting our mortgage modified with Wells Fargo, however, from research I have been doing, it looks like a path I shouldn’t go down. So I set up a website where I share information on various topics like marathon running. It is a work in progress (more information will become available as time goes on). If somebody finds the information useful, then they can go to the registration page and contribute amounts as small as .01 to apply to the principal of the mortgage. If I can get 1,000,000 people to contribute only 0.25, the mortgage is just about paid off. The trick will be to advertise it without spending alot of money. If you are interested, the site is called outrunthestagecoach.com. If this works, I might offer to set up a similar site for someone who also needs their mortgage paid off.

  5. Robert says:

    I like these ideas , keep up the good work ! Another good way to make some extra income is to start a part time bonsai business. It is a great niche market that strikes peoples attention and the products sell themselves!

  6. Patrick says:

    I can confirm that growing your own vegetables is an extra income from home.
    I practice this.
    1. Growing and eating your own vegetables is cheaper than buying it (saving).
    2. You can sell a few to friends and others (earning).

    Its also rewarding when you arrived home with your bag full of crop.

    Be aware. You need to do some time and money (seeds, plants) investments. Its not completely a free lunch.

  7. Kenyan, I never said it was easy. Like anything else, it takes work and persistence, but with those two things, everything I mention is possible. I work more hours now than I ever did at my outside job, but I enjoy it much more. It all depends on how much you want to reach your goal.

  8. Stephen says:

    Great tips Deborah! Amazon doesn’t have that great of a payout but their conversion is pretty high in my experience. If you have a website or blog, you can also sign up with commission junction and hunt through their affiliate programs. Depending on your niche, you might find some good companies to work with. Of course, if you are doing this you will need to spend some time on your blog to get some exposure and traffic. That’s not all that easy to do but if you are writing about something you are passionate about you’ll be surprised at how quickly people can gravitate to your blog.

  9. kenyantykoon says:

    is it just me or are you making some of these things seem easier than they really are? this complaint comes from the blogging point. you and i and any other serious blogger knows that it is not easy to make a substantial amount of money from blogging unless you work really hard at it day and night month after month for quite some time. i haven’t monetised my blog but we both know its not as easy as you seen to put it

  10. Thanks for those interesting suggestions.

  11. Kristine says:

    What are some good sites to do content writing for?

  12. Craig says:

    There are ways and you just have to have the patience to do them. You also can do online surveys, if you find a credible one. Writing online can work, just takes time and tough to get study revenue unless you get paid per article. But even a few extra bucks per month can help go towards savings.

  13. Money says:

    Online content writing is a great way to make a tidy income from home. While content writing does require a good grasp of language and grammar, it is a relatively easy job, which is interesting and fun.

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