If you are interested in Working from Home as your own boss, the secret to having a successful home business or making extra money in your spare time is to choose a project that you will enjoy doing. This is great if you have a hobby or interest that you can build on. Gardening is a good example, but there are lots of others that are suitable as the basis for a Work at Home job or small business. If you enjoy what you're doing, you'll find the job will be far easier to do, you'll be happy to put in the hours and you'll make more money.
If you're practical then you could consider work ideas such as offering a handyman service: putting up shelves, assembling flat-pack furniture, painting, plumbing and decorating.
Do you enjoy socialising with people? There are lots of opportunities ranging from party planning, direct sales, disk jockeying or even learning how to become a toastmaster.
If you're fond of animals, then there's a whole range of earning opportunities, such as: dog grooming, dog walking, looking after horses, pet-sitting, and supplying pet accessories. People with a creative flair could make extra money producing designer clothes for dogs.
Sewing, knitting and clothes alteration services are always in demand. The ideal is to find a choice that is easy to fit around your current lifestyle and preferably without the need for too much financial investment up front.
As always, the secret to success is to carry out research first to determine what kind of market exists for your product or services. Ask around, talk to friends, relatives and potential customers.
Look at who's in the market already, who will your competitors be, can you be better, cheaper, faster, friendlier than them or can you fill a niche market?
If you are not ready to take the big step of starting your own business, there are companies which offer work from home opportunities.
However, beware! Unfortunately, homeworking - due to its popularity - is subject to many scams, rip-offs and dodgy dealers.
If you can cook, you can make extra cash.
Home-made cakes for birthdays and weddings are always popular.
Catering for events such as anniversaries, birthdays, weddings, christenings and other celebrations is another option, if you can cook and be organised.
Cooking for dinner parties, creating bespoke picnic hampers and packed lunches, selling sandwiches around offices, hot dogs and burgers at events, are other catering opportunities.
Buy a burger van and cater for events or at the roadside or perhaps healthy snacks, vegetarian, vegan and wholefood food, smoothies and fresh juices are more your forte.
Run a guerilla restaurant in your home or in a warehouse. Making and delivering diet meals are another Work from Home catering idea.
You will need to register your premises with your local authority's environmental health service and they'll be inspected to make sure that they reach the required standard.
You will need a licence to sell or supply alcohol, sell hot food after 11pm, sell food from a stall or van on the public highway.
Your local Environmental Health Department will be able to help you with this, but a good starting point is to look at the Food Standard Agency's website which has loads of useful information for the budding caterer.
First steps to running a catering business (external site - opens in new window)
If you're not fazed by knocking on doors and trying to sell products or services (known as 'cold calling'), you could try selling door-to-door on a commission-only basis.
Besides the ever-popular home improvements and double glazing options, you could look at selling energy, solar power, phone packages and catalogue goods. Look at wholesale suppliers online for products you could sell door-to-door.
Try selling secuity and safety items door-to-door, such as peephole door viewers, security chains and smoke detectors - all can be good sellers as long as you keep the price low.
Sell low-value items where possible, as this will overcome customers' objections to the lack of come-back in the event of a problem. You need to be fairly thick-skinned as you are likely to get plenty of rejections.
With the costs of printing as low as they are you could consider approaching local businesses and selling advertising space on a calendar, planner or list of useful contacts, which you then distribute door-to-door for free.
Catalogue and Party Plan sales
An Energy Performance Certificate is required whenever a domestic property is built or put up for sale in England and Wales. The energy assessor inspects the property and ascertains the dimensions, type of construction, heating and hot water provision of the premises.
Assessors use a bespoke software program to produce the Energy Performance Certificate, which will inform potential buyers of the energy efficiency (or otherwise) of the property.
Training courses are available, running over two (Domestic Energy Assessors)
to five days (Non-Domestic Energy Assessors). Distance learning is also available
- all the courses should lead to accreditation - the energy assessor needs
to be accredited and be a fit and proper person to hold the post.
Domestic Energy Assessor (external site, opens in new window)
The Financial Services description covers a wide range of jobs, including selling insurance or loans from home. This work is usually carried out in the evenings and weekends, so it can work well as a second income generator on top of your day job.
This sector is strictly regulated and it's essential that you have the requisite licences, training and knowledge before you start work.
If you're working as an agent or introducer for an existing company, they should be able to advise you further and you can find out more about financial products from the FSA and Office of Fair Trading.
Fostering children is not something you should ever consider doing on a purely
financial basis. You genuinely need to love working with kids, many of whom
can have significant problems.
Foster carers usually care for children on a short to medium term basis and are paid for this by their local authority. Types of fostering can vary from short-term, short-notice, emergency fostering for a day or two (such as when a single parent is taken ill), through to periods of weeks, months and sometimes years. Other options are looking after a child for a few hours now and again to give the family a break, or specialising, such as looking after handicapped children or helping young mothers with new babies.
If you like kids and have lots of understanding and patience, you could consider this. You will need to have suitable accommodation and undergo a criminal record check (available from the Disclosure and Barring Service), as well as undergoing a series of in-depth interviews during the application process.
Find out more on fostering (external site, opens in new window)
long as you've got a ladder and a head for heights, you can always make money
with a window cleaning round. This can be great if you enjoy working outside,
meeting lots of different people and have got plenty of 'elbow grease'. There
is the bonus that it will keep you fit as well as earn you money!
You do need to be prepared to build up customers by actively door-to-door calling, placing an advert in the local paper and leaving a contact card in the local PO, or shops.
You also need transport, which is another way you can advertise your business
- put your telephone or web details on the car or van. When you're working
wear a shirt with your details on it, so if a passer-by spots your gleaming
windows then they'll know who to call!
If you are good at your job and reliable, word will soon spread and then you will be off - the best advert is a recommendation from a friend or neighbour.
When you see a house sold in your area pop your details through the door, so the new owners know who to call. Don't just think houses and flats, try smaller shops and businesses which may not have contract cleaners.
If you've had experience in running a business, or have expertise in a specialised area, why not pass the knowledge on? Many businesses have a requirement for expert input on a whole range of issues, from Health and Safety, raising funds or expanding to setting up an E-business.
Small and medium businesses in particular, may be reluctant to take someone on full-time or enter into long-term consultancy contracts, but they are likely to welcome someone with experience or specific knowledge who can give input on an ad-hoc or daily basis.
Many advisors have started successful second careers after redundancy or retirement. Helping to resolve problems, trouble-shooting or improving efficiency in a business is very rewarding on more than just a financial level.
Contact your local authority, development agency or Chamber of Commerce for more information.
More Home Jobs
Get Insurance - we strongly advise that you take out the appproriate insurance to cover your activities. A good independent broker will be able to advise you on what cover you need.