Long after our student days, many of us still see the fall season as a time for new beginnings. As the kids head back to school, are you dreading heading back to your 9 to 5 office job? Maybe it’s time to give more than thought to starting your own home-based business.
According to the Small Business Association (SBA), 52 percent of all small businesses are based at home. Some of these companies stay small and manageable, and others end up expanding beyond the kitchen table or the garage doors where they began.
With today’s technology, starting a home business is in reach of almost anyone of any age and experience. If you are ready to take the plunge as a home-based entrepreneur but are unsure of what type of business to start, here are some ideas to get you started.
All of them take very little in the way of start-up funds and overhead expenses. A few require specialized training and/or previous experience. All of them offer a lucrative way to earn of living on your own terms.
What many people today are short on is time. An errand running service helps individuals and small business owners get small time-consuming tasks done. You can launch this business with little overhead. All you really need is a car – or in some cities, a bike or a public transportation pass – and a mobile phone.
Errand runners do everything from picking up orders at the printer to grocery shopping for clients. You may secure regular errands for clients or be “on call” for a variety of tasks as they come up.
Most errand runners set an hourly fee for clients with payment expected after each service. Monthly packages can be set up for regular clients. Rates vary according to your location, so check around to see what competitors charge in your area. When you prove yourself reliable and courteous, your business will grow with word of mouth.
Are you bilingual or even tri-lingual? You may be able to turn your language skills into a successful home-based business. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment for interpreters and translators will grow by a whopping 46 percent through 2022, a rate that is much faster than the growth rate average for all occupations.
Freelance translators are also in demand. Three sites that help match translators with clients who need their work are http://www.transperfect.com, http://www.translatorscafe.com and http://gengo.com . Other freelancing sites, such as https://www.upwork.com (formerly Elance) and https://www.freelancer.com, offer steady work for translators as well
Another small business idea for linguists is to work as a medical interpreter. In the U.S., medical interpreters serve as liaisons between non-English speaking patients and their English-speaking doctors.
Medical interpreters must be fluent in at least one other language and should be familiar with medical terminology. They must have strong communication skills, have a good memory and be aware of the sensitive nature of information relayed between doctor and patient.
While some medical facilities, schools and courtrooms employ interpreters, many work from home. They set their own hours and their own hourly rates.
If you love animals, you may want to consider starting your own pet sitting or pet walking business. Personal referrals are a great way to get new customers, and it is a good idea to take the time and minimal financial investment to become “bonded.”
When you are bonded, your clients are protected in case you decide to walk off with more than just Fido on your way out the door.
People in the business recommend that newbies start out by working with another pet sitter or at a pet boarding or grooming service to gain experience. Not only will you learn the ins and outs of the business in a hands-on way, but you will also be connected with potential customers.
As the Baby Boom generation ages, opportunities are growing for self-employed personal trainers.
Personal trainers can set their own schedules, often meeting with clients in the clients’ homes or in fitness centers or gyms. These centers may charge you a daily or monthly fee to use their facilities.
Personal trainers should gain certification through a national organization such as National Federation of Personal Trainers, the American Council on Exercise or the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. Certification conveys your professionalism and offers you credibility as a trainer.
It’s also a good idea to get insurance coverage, including personal liability, for your business
As you gain experience as a personal trainer, you can expand your business by taking specialized courses in certain fields, such as Pilates, yoga or nutrition to further meet your clients’ needs.
Opportunities for home-based jobs as a tutor have exploded in recent years. Often all you need is a computer, an Internet connection and some excellent credentials to get started.
Some online tutoring positions require a teaching certification and classroom experience, while others positions simply ask you to have a Bachelor’s degree. Still others will hire you based solely on a test on the subject matter.
Online tutoring companies usually pay tutors by the hour. After you have gained some experience, however, you may find it more lucrative to advertise your tutorial service to local residents. Potential customers include K-12 students, adults who want to learn English as a second language and any number of specialized subjects depending on your area of expertise.
You can start by tutoring students in their homes or at public libraries. Other possibilities are to connect with your local YMCA or child-care organizations. Glowing references are the way to grow your tutoring business.
As with other home business start ups, check your local area to see what competitors are charging before you set your hourly rate.
Launching a successful home-based business does take time, organization skills and discipline. However, the benefits that come from the freedom to do what you like, to build your own client base and to set your hours are well worth it.
Maybe this fall is the time for your new beginning.