To really make money online, you will have to unlearn the pillars of your informal digital education. Use your own knowledge and experience to build a business on your own instead.
There are no limits to business building, and you can sell whatever you want. The more determination you have, the more money you’ll make online. It’s that simple.
Skip the usual website tester gig and become a business owner. Use this article to discover a new online business idea you can turn into an exciting, profitable venture that’ll pay more than one dollar per survey.
Ways to make money from home
- Sell custom products
- Create a print-on-demand business
- Make a subscription box
- Sell on marketplaces
- Sell digital products
- Sell your creative work
- Monetize an audience
- Become a freelancer
- Become a virtual assistant
- Become a reseller
- Create and sell art
- Collect and sell vintage clothing
- Sell photos
- Rent your unused space
- Start a pet business
- Sell coffee
- Build and sell woodworking projects
- Test Computer Numerical Control projects
- Make candles
- Make soap
- Make bath bombs
- Make skincare products
- Start a good business
- Become a tutor
- Offer child care
Free: The Big List of Business Ideas
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Sell custom products
Product development isn’t the easiest route, but it’s often the most rewarding, and it may not be as hard as you expect. Making custom products is popular amongst jewelry brands, fashion brands, and home decor brands, yet it expands through virtually any industry where you make stuff from scratch.
We recently turned to shoppers to ask about their post-pandemic shopping plans: What are they planning to buy once the pandemic is under control? The infographic below shows how they answered. Use these items to inspire your own custom product to sell online and make extra money.
Some evergreen categories you could sell in are:
- Apparel and clothing. Clothing is one of those categories that seems to always be trendy. People look for clothes and accessories that match their style and personality, which can make fashion a fun and profitable space to sell in. The market is expected to rise above $3 trillion by 2030.
- Home decor. Home decor is another popular sales category. People want to add personal touches to their space to make it feel cozy and enjoyable. You can sell home decor online to anyone, anywhere, at any time, while keeping overhead at a minimum. The home decor market is forecasted to reach $202 billion in 2024.
- Health and beauty. The beauty and personal care industry is set to reach $716 billion by 2025. You have many options in this category: you can sell skin care, cosmetics, hair care, fragrances, vegan products, and more. Grand View Research identified growing demand for men’s grooming products and anti-aging products that are expected to drive the market over the coming years.
- Arts and entertainment. While movie box office revenue took a -66% dive last year, some interesting areas show impressive growth in this multitrillion-dollar industry. Digital newspaper revenue saw a 10% increase, video game revenue saw a 6.9% lift in sales, and consumer books saw a 3.8% increase. The esports industry continues to see healthy growth in this segment, forecasted to reach $37 billion by 2024. In short, there are a lot of innovative and exciting products you could sell in the arts and entertainment industry.
- Food and beverages. The food and beverage industry will never die. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the segment is projected to grow at a rate of 8.21% per year, reaching $379 billion by 2025. It’s also poised for an ecommerce breakout, with up to 20% of food and beverage industry sales to be made online by 2025, a 10 times increase from 2016.
Evaluating market demand and following trends is a great place to start when finding popular things to make and sell. Once you have a product, you’ll want to start your business and set up a Shopify store with a free trial. And just like that, you’re ready to start selling!
Create a print-on-demand business
Print on demand refers to working with a supplier to customize white-label products with your own designs, then selling them underneath your own brand. Businesses can create products like hats, t-shirts, tote bags, and more.
The best part? You don’t have to pay for any products until after you make a sale.
When you work with a print-on-demand company, everything from printing the item to shipping is handled by the supplier. Once you set up an online store with your designs, it takes a few minutes to fulfill an order after the customer checks out.
Creating a print-on-demand business is a great way to make money from home because:
- You can create products fast. After you design a product, you can put it up for sale on your website in minutes.
- You don’t have to worry about shipping. Your supplier will handle the fulfillment process. You’re just responsible for providing good customer service after the sale.
- It’s low risk, low investment. It’s easy to add new products to your store and test ideas since you don’t hold any inventory. Your upfront business costs are minimal because you only need an online store to start.
A print-on-demand business also gives creators many opportunities to connect with fans through nice products, especially products sought out for their aesthetic design. Take Boba Love, for example.
For all its products, the retailer focuses on one theme: bubble tea (also referred to as “boba”), a drink that originated in Taiwan in the early 1980s. Bubble tea has become extremely popular around the world and has a dedicated fan base.
Boba Love sells shirts, totes, blankets, hats, and stickers around the idea of the drink. When a shopper orders a product from the store, the supplier creates and ships it to the customer.
Curious what types of products you can create? Read A Canvas For Creativity: Here Are 10 Print on Demand Products You Can Sell (Without Holding Inventory) to learn more.
Make a subscription box
A subscription business provides customers with products on a recurring basis. The subscription ecommerce market is expected to reach $478 billion by 2025, with more customers taking advantage of it each year. Research from McKinsey found that 15% of US consumers have signed up for one or more subscriptions to receive products regularly.
The benefits of creating a subscription box include:
- Predictable revenue. Businesses know how much money is coming in each month and can plan growth initiatives accordingly.
- More cash on hand. Subscription businesses ask for full payment upfront at a discounted price, which creates regular cash flow.
- Lower customer acquisition costs. Customers pay you on a regular basis, so you don’t need to convince them to make additional one-time purchases in your store.
Running a subscription business from home is a proven winner. Our research shows that 63% of founders who sold subscriptions were satisfied with business performance, compared to 55% of founders who did not sell subscriptions.
Two types of subscription businesses we found thrived in the past year were:
- Replenishment model, where subscribers receive the same or similar products each cycle. An example of this would be grooming brand Harry’s. A customer purchases the Harry’s starter set, containing a handle, shaving gel, and razor cartridges. They then receive automatic gel and blade refills monthly, based on their usage and preferences.
- Membership model, where subscribers get access to exclusive products and perks in exchange for a monthly or yearly fee. Freelance writing community Peak Freelance runs on a membership model. Members pay a set fee and receive access to private Slack groups, on-demand tools and content, expert interviews, strategy sessions, and more.
Want to start a subscription box business from home? Read How to Start a Subscription Business: A Brief Guide to learn how, step by step.
Sell on marketplaces
Sell products on online marketplaces—but beware! Selling sites can be a great launchpad for many businesses, but the current marketplaces come with a Faustian bargain: you get access to customers if you build your business on someone else's land. Their land, their rules, and they’ll change them at any time.
Popular marketplaces include:
- Mercado Libre
- Facebook Marketplace
Eventually, you’ll want to diversify your business by building your own site—you don’t have to choose one or the other. The big advantage is that the profit is yours: there are no fees to pay on sales and no rules to abide by but your own.
- Ecommerce Business Blueprint: How to Build, Launch, and Grow a Profitable Online Store
- How to Create an Online Store
Sell digital products
Digital products are intangible assets or pieces of media that can be sold repeatedly online. They come in the form of streamable or downloadable files, such as PDFs, plug-ins, and templates.
Digital assets are becoming more popular because they have high profit margins. Sure, it may take some time and money to develop them, but once the media or software is made, it’s not expensive to store or deliver to customers.
There is no limit to how many products you can sell. Digital products help creators scale themselves by using their expertise to create kits, printables, files, and other assets professionals can benefit from.
Started in 2013, UX Kits sells wireflows, user personas, flowcharts, and other products to assist the design process.
The brand has sold kits to over 10,000 designers, developers, and product managers in more than 100 countries. It’s since expanded to sell three physical products but continues to drive sales from the digital assets created years ago.
Digital products aren’t just for business professionals. Home fitness business Street Parking sells a variety of digital products—from workout plans to online courses—and membership subscriptions for people who need at-home workouts.
Whatever you decide to create, figure out the needs of your target audience and work backward from there. Think about the kinds of assets they need/want and create products that are in demand. This will make it easier to sell and earn more money working from home.
Sell your creative work
It’s easier than ever for creators to sell their work online. Whether it’s music, videos, digital art, photography, magazines, or podcasts, you can set up a digital shop and start selling with little limitation.
While selling creative work sounds similar to digital products, the difference is that your products are more creative ventures. They are a way to express yourself online versus satisfying a buyer’s needs. Creators and artists who don’t have a network or connections with galleries and PR can now make money online doing something they love.
What started as a cartoon on Instagram for Harry Hambley has grown into an international icon and ecommerce brand. As described in an interview with BBC, the Ketnipz creator skipped university to draw cartoons online.
And Hambley’s strategy certainly paid off. The Ketnipz brand has over 2.9 million followers on Instagram, sells clothing and accessories online, and can even be found on murals around the world.
Using a combination of social media and an online store, you can make money online. Start building an active presence and engaging with your audience to establish your brand and find new customers.
- How to Make Money with Music: 6 Reliable Ways for Musicians to Monetize
- How to Sell Photos Online: For Both Amateur and Pro Photographers
- How to Sell Art Online: The Ultimate Guide
Monetize an audience
Monetizing an audience is definitely a challenging endeavor, but the creator-to-commerce business model is becoming more successful in modern times. Bloggers and influencers today don’t need to be internet celebrities to make money from home online. All they have to do is find their people on one or two platforms and they can turn their audience into passive income.
Sonja Detrinidad, founder of Partly Sunny Projects, an online plant shop, turned one of her part-time pre-pandemic hobbies into a full-time business through TikTok marketing. She didn’t set out to become TikTok’s favorite plant mom, but discovered by accident the possibilities of monetizing an audience.
Sonja processed over 1,200 orders in one month at the height of plant-shopping season last summer. She also increased her subscription box customers by more than four times since becoming a TikTok sensation, with over 350,000 followers on the platform.
Some ways you can monetize an audience are:
- Building your own website and selling online
- Through affiliate marketing commissions
- Using Instagram shoppable posts
- Starting a YouTube channel and running ads
- Adding Google AdSense to an active blog
Regardless of how you go about it, monetizing an audience is a legitimate way to make money from home. It may take some time to build a targeted audience, but the investment will be well worth your time in the long run.
Related Content: How to make money with Youtube
Become a freelancer
One home business idea becoming more popular is offering freelance services to clients online. Almost any role a business would hire for is reasonable as a freelance service:
- Graphic design
- Data entry
- Online tutoring
- Shopify store setup
Most of these services are best positioned toward business clients. Why? Because online businesses are the ones who are willing to spend. Freelancers can charge based on the outcome of their work versus the deliverable, which gives them leverage when it comes to pricing their services.
“Every freelancer eventually learns that there are desired business outcomes tied to their work,” explains Elise Dopson, co-founder of Peak Freelance. “Freelance writers, for example, are not just blogging for a company. They are creating content that increases traffic, leads, and customers for a business. The sooner you learn that, and can deliver on it, the more money you’ll make freelancing from home.”
Elise has worked with brands such as ConversionXL, HubSpot, Privy, and other leading B2B software-as-a-service companies to produce incredible content that gets results, which is how she broke the six-figure-income ceiling by the age of 21.
If you have a passion for writing, designing, or organizing stuff, turn it into a freelance service. You won’t be disappointed with the results.
As more companies become completely remote, the opportunities to earn money from home freelancing will only become more abundant. It just takes a little know-how and determination to make it happen.
Become a virtual assistant
With so many businesses moving online, the demand for virtual assistants is growing. Virtual assistants (VAs) are contracted workers who work with businesses and individuals on the jobs that you give them.
Virtual assistants work from home and help with tasks such as:
- Time management and administrative tasks, like responding to emails
- Financial tasks, like bookkeeping and client invoicing
- Team management tasks, like following up on deliverables, organizing training sessions, and creating task templates
- Social media and digital marketing tasks, like publishing and managing content
- Personal tasks, like managing investment properties, paying bills, and planning trips
- Content tasks, like video or podcast editing
Each VA has their own speciality. I myself have worked with VAs for years in my writing business, many of whom make a full-time living as virtual assistants.
Alexandra Froese, a VA specializing in systems and strategizes, works with clients to streamline redundant tasks and work more efficiently in their businesses.
Alexandra helps entrepreneurs by doing the tasks herself or by developing workflows that makes a client’s business run smoother.
You can make good money with a small number of clients, but once you stop working, the cash flow stops coming. VAs can start a blog, sell digital products, or coach other VAs to create new revenue streams and make more money from home.
Become a reseller
Don’t want to worry about creating new products or about minimum purchase quantities? Not a problem. You don’t need a revolutionary product idea to make money from home. Instead, you can become a reseller.
A reseller is a person who buys products from manufacturers, liquidators, and other retailers, then sells them to their own customers. A reseller permit lets your purchase certain products free of sales tax:
- Products to sell at wholesale
- Products to sell at retail
- Components to manufacture products
You can find suppliers to purchase items from through a number of ways:
- A dropshipping supplier like DSers or SaleHoo
- Vintage boutiques
- Consignment shops
- Facebook Marketplace
COAL N TERRY is one retailer that sells a vintage collection in its online store. The brand sells classic clothing alongside its own proprietary brand of hoodies and other apparel, giving shoppers a variety of products to browse and buy.
A reselling business can be profitable if you have niche expertise, like beauty or fashion. You can launch an ecommerce store fast when you don’t have to go through product development or building an audience from scratch.
Create and sell art
Are you an independent artist looking for ways to make money from home? Artists can fund their craft and sell work directly to fans through online channels like an online store and non-fungible-token marketplaces.
There are a number of other options for making sales off of one piece:
- Original art
- Limited or open edition prints
- Digital downloads
- Merchandise like hats or enamel pins
- Repeat prints on fabric
- Licensing work to other brands or publications
To learn more about selling your art, read How to Sell Art Online: The Ultimate Guide.
Collect and sell vintage clothing
Got a passion for second-hand fashion? Love the high of picking up a vintage dress at your local thrift store at a cheap price? You can turn that feeling into a business by selling vintage clothing from home.
A $64 billion market, vintage shoppers depend on store owners to curate the best items around at the best condition. The rise in demand for vintage clothes has led to the success of brands like ThredUp and the increase of vintage clothing sellers on marketplaces like Etsy and eBay. It’s competitive, but that shouldn’t stop you from creating a cool brand and carving a space out for yourself in the vintage community.
Naomi Bergknoff, founder of OMNIA, has been selling vintage clothing online since 2010. Combining her love for vintage clothes and her retail expertise, she’s defined a particular style away from marketplaces and close to home in Brooklyn.
Learn more by reading How to Sell Vintage Clothing Online: The Ultimate Guide.
The ability to make money from home as a photographer is about harnessing your creativity and monetizing it. It can seem challenging at first, but by finding your niche and building an audience, you can create multiple streams of income over time.
Photographers have plenty of options to sell online:
- Stock marketplaces like Alamy, 500px, 123RF, and Stocksy
- Products such as prints, photo books, and physical goods like shirts and hats, using print-on-demand services
- Services covering fashion shoots, product photography, events, or anything else you love to shoot
Sound interesting? Read How to Sell Photos Online: For Both Amateur and Pro Photographers to start selling your photography today.
Rent your unused space
Most people don’t think about using their empty space to make money from home. Yet it’s one of the easiest sources of passive income. From bedrooms to parking areas, you may have some space people will happily pay you to rent.
You have a wide range of options here:
- Bring on a housemate to rent a room in your house
- Rent a room on Airbnb
- Rent out storage space on SpareFoot
- Rent out your parking space
- Host a foreign exchange student
- Offer pet boarding
You don’t need tons of money or time to rent out your space. Rather than let unused space go to waste, offer it has a service to people who need it.
Start a pet business
Pet businesses are a fun way to make money from home (if you love animals, of course). There are many different ways to earn extra cash, like providing walking and grooming services, training, making and selling treats, or reselling products like bowls and chew toys.
You’re not limited to dogs and cats either. You could specialize in reptiles, fish, bunnies, whatever animals you enjoy being around. Pet owners alone spent over $103 billion on their pets in 2020, making this a profitable business opportunity for newcomers.
Are pets your passion? Read How to Start a Pet Business (Plus Ideas and Examples from Top Brands) to turn it into a business today.
Coffee sellers are always in demand as more and more coffee is consumed globally each year, according to the International Coffee Organization. If someone can’t get to their local café in the morning, they’re brewing beans at home while getting ready for the workday.
Selling coffee can be a great way to earn money from home with a strong brand and marketing plan. Coffee is a commodity product, so it’s widely available. Customers tend to look for branding cues like design and bean origin to decide what to buy. By selling coffee, you’ll have a high volume of potential customers and many niching and expansion opportunities to take advantage of.
Read Sell Coffee from Home: What Does it Take to Launch an Online Café to start your new coffee business.
Build and sell woodworking projects
If you’re a woodworker already, or curious about the craft, you can make money from home building and selling woodworking products. There are products to sell for all levels, from beginner to skilled woodworkers. You just need to figure out the best project for you!
Some fun woodworking projects that sell include:
- Wooden signs
- Kitchen products
- Picture frames
If you’re ready to sell your wooden crafts online, read 12 Woodworking Projects and How to Sell Them Online to get started.
Try Computer numerical control (CNC) projects
A CNC router is a computer-operated cutting tool that acts as a combination panel saw, spindle molder, and boring machine. It carves complex shapes out of materials like metal, wood, plastics, and glass. CNC routers use programmable automation, similar to 3D printing, to design complex parts at scale.
Small CNC machines can cost from a few hundred dollars up to thousands, depending on the make and model. With them, you can create handcrafted, one-of-a-kind products for buyers across many markets, including:
- Home decor products
- Kitchen and barbeque tools
- Office supplies
- Custom signage
- Toys and games
There are tons of resources available online to learn about using a CNC router. There’s a very low barrier to entry. And you can test, create, and sell products with minimal upfront costs.
Interested in starting a CNC business? Read Putting the Pieces Together: 26 CNC Projects That Sell to learn more about this up-and-coming tactic.
Looking for a fun way to make money from home? Start making and selling candles to people online. It takes a little know-how and hard work, but the upside is that you can customize candles and sell them anywhere. It’s also a low-cost business to start. Common costs include equipment to make the candles, like a double-boiler, pouring pots, and containers.
A candle business can also be extremely profitable. The candle making industry is set to reach $13.3 billion by 2028, meaning there is no shortage of people buying candles they love. It’s also a good way to express your creativity and build a brand, like candle company Boy Smells, which broke traditional gender norms in fashion, home, and scent with its business in 2016.
Learn to build your candle making startup by reading Turn Scents Into Dollars: How to Start a Candle Business (Plus Examples From Top Brands).
Are you an avid DIYer and eager entrepreneur? You may enjoy making and selling soap from home. While soap doesn’t sound like the best income stream around, it’s an in-demand product customers need.
Soap is a household product that everyone uses in some form, whether it’s to wash dirty hands, dishes, or laundry. The COVID pandemic also stimulated the industry, projected to reach $55.2 billion by 2027, creating huge demand for hygiene products to prevent infection. It’s a great way to get creative with different scents and types, with potential to expand your brand to other products like candles and fragrances.
Want to get your hands dirty with this business idea? Read How to Make Soap: Turn a Household Necessity into a Homemade Business for more information.
Make bath bombs
Bath bombs are all the rage and a great way to make money from home. The US bath bomb market is expected to grow into a $350 million industry by 2025. If you turn to Instagram, you’ll see there are millions of photos showing how these colorful balls explode when dropped in water.
If you love DIY and have a knack for crafts, read How to Start a Bath Bomb Business from Home: A Step-by-Step Guide. You’ll learn how to source ingredients, make your bath bombs, market them, and grow a business people love.
Make skincare products
Indie beauty brands are driving the growth of the $183 billion global skin care market. If you love taking care of your skin and want to turn it into a business, now’s the time. Newcomers are jumping on trends like hybrid beauty (the combination of cosmetic and skin care), cannabis-based products, and clean beauty (products made without harming human health).
The beauty of being a small brand is that you can tackle a specific problem for a specific audience. Find a market that’s underserved by current brands and create skin care products just for them.
You’ll want to learn more about manufacturing and working with suppliers when running a profitable skin care business. Read all about it (and more) in our guide How to Start a Skincare Line: 11 Lessons From a Serial Beauty Entrepreneur.
Start a food business
Everyone’s got to eat, you can’t argue with that. Which is why starting a food business is a great idea if you want to make money from home.
Outside of restaurants, there are endless high-profit-margin businesses you can run with low overhead and startup costs. The trick is cooking food you are passionate and curious about, regardless of your experience level.
Some food business ideas to start include:
- Food truck
- Catering business
- Cooking classes
- Meal kits
- Pre-packaged snacks
- Homemade jams and jellies
- Wine, beer, and spirits
Want to see examples of other food businesses in action? Check out Selling Like Hotcakes: 13 Profitable Food Business Ideas for 2021 on the Shopify blog.
Become a tutor
Are you an expert in math, art, or another subject? You can make money from home doing online tutoring. A prerequisite for most tutoring gigs is a bachelor’s degree in your subject, depending on where you apply for the job. You can find tutoring clients on websites like Skooli and Tutor.com.
Only teach subjects that you have demonstrated expertise in. You’ll want to share skills and practical knowledge to create good learning experiences for your students. You can provide pre-recorded lectures and templates, plus meet students through Zoom. Tutoring is also inexpensive to start (if you already have that degree) and can easily earn you extra money.
Offer child care
If you’re a stay-at-home parent or enjoy taking care of kids, you can easily start a child care business from home. You can offer all-day care (eight hours) for other parents while they are at work, or even just before and after school care (one to four hours). The choice is yours.
Look at other day care businesses in your area and see what they charge. Choose your rates wisely. Don’t undercharge just to get more business. Then you’ll be taking care of too many kids and won’t be able to provide proper care. Start with an income goal for a day, then decide how many kids you can realistically watch throughout the day. Divide those two numbers to see how much to charge per kid, per day.
Home jobs to avoid
Now that you have a good idea of different ways to make money from home, let’s look at some jobs to avoid.
Marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork might be a way to get your start, but quickly can turn into a price race to the bottom. You’re forced to compete on price and don't have a way to differentiate your services or offer something premium. Long term, this isn’t the way to go. You are better off creating a freelancer website and building a business that doesn’t rely on renting digital space in a marketplace.
Online survey sites
The pay is very low from online survey sites, and you accrue no long-term value. You’re not building skills or building an asset, you’re just losing time. Trading time for extra cash is always a reasonable short-term side hustle, but if you can, it's better to think long term.
Online survey sites include:
- Survey Junkie
Building an app
Look at most websites promoting legit ways to make money online and they’ll tell you to build an app. All new ventures are hard and most fail, but consumer apps are hyper-competitive: the average person uses only nine apps on their phone per day, most developed by major companies.
A better option? Grow your skill set by building useful, problem-solving apps for businesses via growing marketplaces like the Shopify App Store or Salesforce Appexchange.
If you want to make a quick buck, then side gig apps like Rover or UserTesting are good options. But similar to online survey sites, you aren’t building anything valuable in the long run.
You are better off learning skills in your spare time, like running Facebook ads or starting a dropshipping store, which can make you money repeatedly, versus a one-off cash gig from Craigslist.
Anything that’s pay-to-earn
Real businesses require investment, but anything that operates in a pay-to-earn model should be treated with extreme caution. For example, sites that promise you can win money by spending money, or multi-level marketing groups that require money not for inventory or product, but just to join.
Most gimmicks are scams in disguise: the simple but hard truth is that you need to sell something people want.
Learning how to make money from home
If you have an internet connection, you can make money from home online. Sure, the lure of fast and easy cash gigs may seem like a great idea, but it will only keep you on a hamster wheel of trading your time for cash—and time is our most valuable asset in life.
Use your time wisely and invest in building a business that’s rewarding and will pay you a bigger salary than any tester or survey site. $100 per day does sound nice, but what if I told you that an online business could net you $500+ per day. Would you still choose finding side gigs on Craigslist?
Ready to create your business? Start your free 14-day trial of Shopify—no credit card required.
Make money from home FAQ
How do I make money from home?
How do I make an extra $1000 a month?
- Sell custom products
- Create a dropshipping business
- Sell on online marketplaces
- Monetize an audience
- Sell digital products
- Become a freelancer
How can I make money from home with no money?
- Become an English tutor
- Sell stuff on eBay or Craigslist
- Become a virtual assistant
- Start a print on demand business
- Sell your creative work
- Build an audience and monetize it
- Start an ecommerce store