13 Smart Ways To Make Money From Home

If you need extra income but can’t commit to work in an office or other out-of-home location, you can still bring in regular cash working from your home. Depending on how much you want to earn, how many hours you want to work, and how long you want to run your business, you have a wide variety of options that don’t require a significant monetary investment. Find out how you can make money from home:

1. Setting Up Your Business

If you’re just looking for a little extra cash now and then, you might not need to set up a formal business. If you’d like a steadier and larger income, you will probably need to look into the following:

  • Local business license
  • State business license (e.g., for catering or day care)
  • Liability Insurance
  • Website
  • Brochure and business cards

Visit work-at-home websites for ideas and support from others in your shoes. Be careful of scam sites and business opportunities that ask you to pay a fee upfront to get started. Quite often, local small-business owners know they have many needs, but just can’t seem to find the time to research, interview and hire service providers. Simply by picking up the phone or sending an email, you’ll find a willing buyer who’s eager to hire you.

2. Freelance Writing/Editing

If you’ve got writing skills, local businesses and national publishers need freelancers. As you break in, you might need to start with small gigs that pay $15 for a 500-word article for a website. Magazine and newspaper work is getting harder to find – check out websites like and ProBlogger to see what’s available.

You don’t need to wait for people to post jobs to find work as a freelance writer or editor. Contact local businesses and offer your services editing marketing materials, writing blog posts, ghostwriting speeches and helping with catalogue or website copy. Offer to help one or two business owners you know for free to get some work samples and testimonials.

If you’ve got videography skills or understand social media, many small businesses are desperate to improve their online presence, but don’t know where to start or how to help. Visiting their websites and offering them a critique of what you see might land you a job helping to fix up their marketing efforts.

3. Graphic Designer

Depending on where you live, you might be able to generate all the graphic design work you can handle from local small businesses. One of the best ways to generate work is to visit the websites of local companies, download their marketing materials, create better mockups and contact the company with your samples and fee to upgrade theirs.

4. Pet Sitting/Dog Walking

Approximately 65 percent of U.S. homes now own a pet, according to the American Pet Products Association, and many pet parents want someone to look in on their pooch or kitty while they’re at work. Dog walking is fairly simple, while pet sitting gets more involved. Check out the website of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters to see what’s involved in becoming a full-blown pet sitter. Depending on where you live and how much you want to work, you could be earning six figures within three years.

5. Tutor

Are you expert at a particular subject that students need help with? Consider offering your services as a tutor. Do some online research to see what local tutors are charging, or hook up with a local tutoring company that will find students for you, taking a cut of each engagement.

6. Medical Coder/Transcriptionist/Cancer Registrar

If you’re willing to take a course to learn the ropes of this growing (and lucrative) career, you will find very steady work typing doctor’s charts, notes and other papers into a database. Because of federal and state reporting requirements about cancer, health facilities must enter the records of their cancer patients into a database, creating a big demand for cancer registrars to do this simple, but very important, work.

7. Re-Selling

You can make big bucks from a yard sale if you expand your offerings beyond what you have in your basement, attic or garage. Check out our post on How to Make a Ton of Cash With a Yard Sale. If you like re-selling, consider buying items online from wholesalers who offer goods for re-sellers to vend at weekend flea markets and swap meets. You can set up a niche flea market booth (like women’s clothing or children’s items) by visiting yard sales, cherry picking items for your booth, then marking up and re-selling.

8. Bookkeeping/Tax Preparation

Many local small businesses and nonprofits can’t afford full-time bookkeeping services. If you were a bookkeeper or accountant in a past life, hang out your shingle and start doing accounting work from your home office. You can also cash in on the tax preparation boom each spring by getting training to prepare taxes for a tax services company and preparing simple individual returns. This training might take a month or more, depending on what’s offered in your area.

9. Babysitting/Day Care

Babysitting doesn’t just pay for pizza and soda anymore. Busy parents will pay more per hour for an adult to sit their child than they will a teen who’s going to be texting and talking on the phone the entire time she’s supposed to be watching the kids. Depending on how often and how long you sit kids, you might get into the day care realm, which requires a business license, state certification and your home set up for day care. You can determine in advance what you need to do to offer day care in your state by looking the information up online. Next, look at what other providers are charging in your area and determine (before you invest any money) how soon and how big your payback will be.

10. Business Plan Writing

If you’ve got business management skills, you can write business plans for companies that offer this service to small-business owners and startups. Alternately, you can approach local businesses directly and ask if they’d like a written business plan they can use to analyze their company and make three-year strategic plans. There are many websites that explain how to write business plans, and you will impress stressed-out business owners when you tell them you will interview their key employees and provide a marketplace analysis, target customer evaluation, competitor study, marketing suggestions, annual budget, human resources analysis and other valuable information.

11. Gift Baskets

Gift baskets are an increasingly hot item for gift giving as people search online for presents that don’t make them look cheap, but don’t require travel to find. You buy items to put in the basket, mark the prices up, and deliver (or mail) the gift. You can set up a simple website with photos of the baskets you offer for different occasions and quickly start promoting your business. One key to success is checking out all of your local competition and then getting the message out to as many potential customers as possible.

12. Catering/Party Planning

Full-time catering requires more of an investment in time and money than many other work-from-home businesses, but if you’re a good cook or baker, you might be able to start out as a subcontractor to an established catering company that needs help. Depending on your state, you’ll need a business license, a health department license and liability insurance. Once you’re set up, you can work the hours you want, giving you a feel for whether you want to go all in and start supplying local restaurants and grocery stores, and/or and catering corporate and consumer functions.

Party and event planning requires less investment and setup, but you’ll need to build a network of caterers, DJs, photographers, florists, staffing companies and limo services. Start small, offering to plan one or two friend’s events, and then use these events as work samples and testimonials.

13. Call Agents

Did you know that when you call your bank, credit card company or a corporate customer service line, you might be talking to someone who’s in his or her home? Check out this list of inbound and outbound call agent opportunities provided by the website

This article was written by Sam Ashe-Edmunds, contributor for The Daily Clutch.