Regardless of your age, starting a home-based business can be a great way to achieve your financial and lifestyle goals.
But coming up with good ideas, and knowing where to begin can be difficult. In this article, I’ll show you five real home-based business ideas that are perfect for people over 50 to get your ‘idea engine’ running.
Is Starting a Home Based Business a Good Idea?
Before we dig into this… is starting a home-based biz actually worthwhile?
I guess it depends on who you ask.
Personally, I think it’s the best thing you could possibly do to secure your future in this day and age. With the uncertainty of social security and the unpredictability of the 401K (along with many other factors), it is wise to take control of your financial situation now, rather than leave it to chance.
And this is exactly what millions of people are doing, including many seniors.
Home business is becoming more popular than ever before because people are realizing that in order to become financially secure, they need to take matters into their own hands.
Starting a business may not always be an easy road, but it can be well worth the effort and gives you a lot more control over your future. Thanks to the internet, this is now easier to get started than ever before and the opportunities are practically endless.
Idea #1 | Freelance Websites
Starting a freelancing business is probably one of the easiest paths you could take as a beginner to home business. There are quite a few good freelance websites that make this very easy for you, these sites connect customers with vendors and handle all of the technical stuff so you can focus on providing a service.
The best way to come up with ideas for a service you could offer, is to think about things you are interested in, or passionate about. When you have endless opportunities, it’s best to see if you can do something where you enjoy while making a profit. Chances are you are good at something, perhaps even great!
One of the most important principals to achieve success as a business owner, is to focus on the value you can give to others. When you love doing something, or you are good at it, you are naturally going to give people a lot more value. If you want to do something you are not good at, get good at it! It’s just learning and practice. There are lots of helpful resources online to learn just about anything.
Common freelancing jobs include tutoring, writing, marketing, virtual assistance and all number of tech related fields. Sites like UpWork, Freelancer are common within these fields.
But that’s really just the obvious. Stepping beyond this is where things get exciting. With advancing technology, more and more websites are connecting freelancers with customers which means the opportunities are multiplying rapidly.
For example: You can drive for sites like Uber.com, do odd jobs at people’s homes through AirTasker.com, rent out a room in your home with AirBnB.com, mind people’s pets through Rover.com, or answer questions on JustAnswer.com…
I could go on and on with these examples, but you see what I mean. These are all free and easy to join. There is bound to be something you can offer people, or learn to offer people, that will create a reliable income. The more effort you put into performing a great service, the better your reputation will become and the more money you will make.
This is a very simple way to get started, although the competition can be high.
Idea #2 | Start a Local Business
You may not be interested in the hustle and bustle of a typical local business, but there are many options that allow you to work comfortably from your own home.
Given the ideas are practically endless here, I thought it would be useful to segment business ideas based on different categories as shown below. Different personalities will naturally gravitate towards one idea more than another.
You can make good money in just about any business, so why not choose something you naturally love?
- Create jewellery, pottery, gift baskets, and other craft items to sell at local markets
- Interior design service
- Wedding, Birthday or other event based photography
- Create and/ or restore unique timber furniture
- Buy and sell goods locally
- Bookkeeping service
- Business coaching
- Data analytics for small businesses
- Coffee or food vans
- At home senior care
- Yoga instructor
- Running errands
- House and pet sitting
- Cleaning and maintenance
- Vending machine runs
- Tutoring services
These are just a handful of ideas, but there are many, many more. This is a step up in responsibility and difficulty from freelancing, but potentially more lucrative.
Like any small business though, there will be some legwork involved in setting things up and you will be learning to do pretty much everything on your own. Tasks like marketing, finance, sales, accounting and so on. You can keep this minimal until things grow, but some would rather do without the hassle, which is where other ideas come into play.
Idea #3 | Direct Selling
If you don’t like the idea of setting up a business and dealing with some of the drawbacks I just mentioned, this can be a good option to consider.
It is important to select a legitimate company with real products though. Sounds obvious, but some appear this way when in reality, they are not legitimate.
Direct selling is also known as network marketing, it’s a way to start working within an existing business, kind of like a franchise. Only it’s cheaper. There are many of these companies, some better than others.
A well-known company in this space is called Tupperware which has been around for decades. They allow you to hold “parties” where you invite people you know, and people they know to learn about the companies products. When you make sales at these events, you make money. The link above takes you to a more detailed review of how this company works.
Another company I recently reviewed is called Vasayo. They rely less on “party” style selling and have an entirely different product range, they specialize in health and wellness products.
I point these companies out because I’ve reviewed them in detail, and also because I believe they are among the more legitimate network marketing companies out there. They focus on retail product sales as oppose to mass recruiting, which is absolutely key when choosing a company like this in terms of legitimacy.
In terms of making money, look for a company with a successful track record and one that trains you to build your business beyond just family and friends.
The good thing about this model is it’s much like buying into a franchise, only much cheaper. They have the system in place so your primary role is getting the word out. This is best for extraverted people who love face to face contact, so if being a leader isn’t your thing, this is probably not the way to go.
Idea #4 | Buy and Sell Products Online
If you are someone with an ‘ear to the ground’ so to speak, this is great option.
There are tons of opportunities online to buy low, and sell high. I recently published an article on buying and selling designer handbags which shows just how crazy the potential is in that ONE niche alone. Whether it’s buying items locally and selling online, or taking advantage of currency fluctuations, there is some awesome money to be made doing this.
People also make money flipping cell phones and other electronic items online, along with a whole host of different products. This will require some capital and a lot of research since you need to know your prices and audience, but once you get a routine going this can potentially be very worthwhile.
You could also start a drop shipping business whereby you don’t actually need to buy anything, you sell direct from the wholesaler. The idea is to set up an online store as if you do own the products, and when someone buys through your store, you process the order and have it shipped straight from the source.
This is becoming very popular, and it can be a much better option than stocking your own products, not to mention much cheaper. But it can get messy if you are not careful so it pays to do your homework.
Idea #5 | Affiliate Marketing
This is my personal favourite, and probably the least familiar to the majority reading this.
This is a business model that ticks all the boxes. You can do something you are passionate about, you don’t need to stock any products, it’s very simple, the startup costs are low and the profit potential is huge.
That being said, it takes real work to succeed at this and some time to get into the swing of it.
So, what is affiliate marketing?
The basic idea is to start a simple website about a topic you are interested in, and promote other people’s products as an affiliate on that site. When people visit your website, a percentage of them will click on your ads and if they buy, you earn a commission.
For example: You could have a website in the “golfing niche” and promote golf clubs from Amazon on that site. The Amazon affiliate program is free to join, and is responsible for paying out millions of dollars in commissions to affiliates each year.
The best part about this is, you can choose a topic you are passionate about and actually make money doing it. Really.
Most people think marketing on the internet is difficult or that you need special skills to succeed. This is simply not true.
It is much less about “skills” and much more about attitude and desire. Like anything in life, if you want it bad enough and you are willing to work for it, you can do it.
The biggest challenge is finding the right training, tools and support to get started though. Without these, it is very easy to get lost and end up earning no money at all. One great site that gives you everything you need to get started for free is called Wealthy Affiliate. This is how I learned to make money with affiliate marketing. WA is a beginner friendly platform that doubles as an online community, where like minded folks support and help one another succeed.
There are many different ways to start a home based business. Some options will suit some folks better than others, but all of these are worthwhile options for people over 50.
Either way, it is possible to create an income from home and you CAN do something you enjoy. Hopefully this article has given you some worthwhile ideas to get started!