How to make money working from home
*Post is sponsored by YouCom Media*
Working from home has become increasingly popular for people in Britain with various surveys showing that 90% of workers in the UK dislike the nine-to-five regime, opting instead for part-time jobs from home. Real work from home jobs can allow you more control over your hours while avoiding the long commute, both of which can improve your work/life balance. And if you’ve just had a baby, The Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999 protects you when you require a career break to look after a newborn. But whether your priorities have changed or you want to take a different career path, there is a way of making money from internet business opportunities. Motherhood Diaries looks into how to make money working from home.
Making extra money online on top of your main job
Having more than one job to supplement your income is becoming increasingly popular in recent times, with one in five workers in the UK – especially within the millennial generation – considering a second or third job. More than 16 million Brits in the UK use their side job to help cover the cost of living, either through earning per hour, per month, or payment in kind (for example, being paid with Amazon gift cards) Either way ‘job loyalty’ appears to be coming to an end as Brits strive to find their dream role to enhance job satisfaction. For most, having an extra income is a necessity with almost a quarter of people in the UK claiming they don’t earn enough monthly income due to inflation rising by three per cent in the last couple of years.
But it’s not always about money. Finding a supplemental job can also be a great way to get your foot into your preferred profession, either by opening doors to a reputable company or by helping you to become your own boss. You can use your secondary role to get into the creative or technical sector as these industries tend to provide you with more freedom to showcase your skills to companies while enhancing your CV as well. Graphic designers, website developers, and writers are prominent in the freelance world, with third party sites like UpWork and Fiverr providing a great platform in which to gain work and reputation. You can also build your clientele in preparation for transitioning to a full-time business while still retaining flexibility in your work schedule. And you can bid on jobs that are interesting to you, while not being committed to a particular style of work or client.
Have you done your research?
These days you can work in pretty much any industry, thanks to technological advances, online tools, and more flexible mentalities. However, it is not as straight forward as picking what you want and getting to work. For specific roles, there are legalities to follow to make your part-time business a success. For any source of regular income, you must get your taxes and insurance in order and your trading allowance, which was initially set up to help eBay sellers, can allow you to turnover up to £1,000 tax-free. Any extra funds earned will be taxable after this tax-free amount.
And don’t forget about insurance. Dog walkers, for example, must take out a dog walking insurance policy to protect themselves if the dog gets hurt on their watch. Childcare is another example of where insurance is a necessity, as well as buying and selling goods, where it is not enough to think about the legal implications of selling the product. You should ensure that the place you store your merchandise is up to standard as well. If you’re storing goods at home, make sure you have taken out the necessary insurance and made HMRC aware that your home is now a place of business. If you’re storing goods at a storage place, are your goods protected by the third party venue? You can find storage places around the UK that have built-in insurance and protection for your products. Some places, like Shurgard Self-Storage Gypsy Corner, even offer extras like a storage calculator and a virtual tour video where you can look inside the different storage units, so it’s worth doing your research in your chosen sector before you embark upon your business opportunity.
Going into self-employment full-time
You may find that your side hustle is doing better than expected or you are not happy in your primary job. Setting up a business can be financially draining at the beginning with eight out of ten new companies ceasing to exist within 18 months. However, with the right idea and strategy, going full-time can be an excellent option for a lucrative work at home position. Some advantages are:
You can dictate your work/life balance
Working for yourself can help you control your work/life balance more effectively, including choosing your own work hours or being able to delegate tasks to a capable colleague so that you can spend more time with the family. You can better prioritise your personal life, which will help you to focus on work-related issues with a clearer mind as you divide your time to suit your unique work/life situation.
Pursuing a business idea of which you’re passionate will encourage a healthy mental attitude both in your personal and work life because it won’t feel like you’re doing work, which is a great place to be in life.
“I do consumer research projects, online focus groups and interviews, through companies like Usertribe, Respondent and Angelfish.”Hayley Muncey, https://missmanypennies.com/money-making-ideas/
You can choose a business that suits your lifestyle
If you travel a lot or you are stuck at home, then an online business can be easily managed from many locations or the comfort of your own home, as opposed to a company that would need you to attend to customers face-to-face. There would also be fewer start-up costs to think about as you wouldn’t have to fork out for a venue to host your business. Think about your daily routine and find a way to fit your business into your lifestyle.
You can earn money from doing something you love
There are lots of small business opportunities out there, but for you to make such a decision to start a business in your field of interest, you must be prepared for this business to take up most of your time. Make a list of what you’re passionate about and find a gap in the market where you can fulfil a need or a desire. Remember that you are competing with a saturated environment of entrepreneurs from all walks of life, so make sure you have a USP (Unique Selling Point), meaning that you need to make sure you are offering a unique benefit that stands you out from your competitors. If you have always wanted to start a cleaning company because there is a shortage of cleaners in your area, research what the current cleaners are doing at the moment and try to offer more flexible hours, cheaper rates, or a higher quality of service. Don’t be afraid to get out there and do your market research. Hearing what your potential customers want from their thoughts and opinions is an invaluable asset as a basis for what your business will become.
You can choose the people to work within your business
When you’re employed, you may not have a say as to who your colleagues are, but when you own your business, you can choose your team and surround yourself with like-minded individuals that not only get you but your business too.
You can give something back to the community
You may enjoy the idea of being able to give back to your community by using charitable donations or even creating work for your local area. Nothing will motivate you more than the pride you feel when you are in a position to give something substantial back to the community you live in and feel like you’re making a difference in this world.
You learn how to manage people
Owning your own business comes with a learning curve and being in this type of position forces you into a place where you learn to govern the actions of your employees should you choose to have any. You may make mistakes along the way, but you will gain valuable experience at the same time.
Starting as a small business and slowly increasing in size will allow you to see how a company and its personnel operate through the growing stages and its transitions from each step.
“I’ve been teaching English online for the last three years. Always paid in USD which is annoying but I get to spend lots of time with my three year old.”Natasha Folkes, https://kiddoadventures.com
Ways to make money from home
Go back to studying
Learning a new skill by going back to school or university may send you on a different career path or help you become more qualified in a job where you already work. Either way, it is a chance to increase your income. With certain degrees, you can improve your earning power with your profession by increasing your qualification, i.e. from bachelors to masters to, ultimately, a doctorate. Not all jobs allow for this same progression, but you need to ensure that you are placing your money into your study that will gain you more return on capital.
If going back to school isn’t a route you wish to take, then consider going back to college to grow your collection of certificates for your chosen field of work. Often, this may be less time consuming, less expensive, and can help you to earn more money. Plus, you can do all of this online.
“I ran a successful eBay business for many years, importing goods from China and selling to the UK.”Nikki Turner-Chaplin, www.familytravelwithellie.com
Invest in real estate
Investing in property can be used to significantly increase your rental income and help to secure your financial future. Some investors boost their income by using houses of multiple occupations (HMOs), which are rental properties that are occupied by three or more unrelated people forming one household. Typically, an HMO property will have a shared kitchen, living and bathroom facilities, and the tenant pays for each bedroom separately using different rents. You can find these types of features often through property investment specialists like RW Invest, and this avenue allows you, as an investor, to increase your rental yields and income.
It makes financial sense to live in an HMO. Therefore young professionals and students are being drawn towards this type of living. Returns on HMO’s across the UK have acted as rivals to traditional buy-to-let properties over the years, although both forms of investment stand as a lucrative cog in the property business.
“Dog walking, babysitting or minding, proofreading, ghostwriting, market research, social media manager to name a few! And of course, blogging.”Jenny Lord, https://parentbloggingsecrets.com
“I’m an ex-journalist so do some freelance writing alongside my blog. I have no childcare so means I fit it in during nap time or late at night, but it keeps me sane amidst the chaos of looking after a four-year-old and two-year-old twins!Helen Copson, www.twinstantrumsandcoldcoffee.com
The writing industry is probably one of the most prominent part-time work from home jobs in the current market and offers excellent financial benefits for those who are good with words. Journalists and PR experts can work in this environment as well, thanks to technological advancements and even work through their maternity leave too. Blogging has exploded in the last ten years, and if you can find a niche that you’re good at or passionate about, you can stand to make some serious cash from home. A lot of bloggers and small business owners earn passive income through affiliate marketing or creating digital products which provide them with the opportunity to earn while they are sleeping or working on the more important parts of their business.
“Transcribing. It usually involves adding subtitles to videos. Not the most exciting but plenty of work available.”Pete Chatfield, www.householdmoneysaving.com
“Social media management and blog writing for others as well as making a bit of money from my own blog.”Sarah Cronshaw, www.digitalmotherhood.com
Graphic designers can work during maternity leave and offer their services to small businesses who can’t afford to hire full-time employees. Sign up to sites like Fiver and UpWork and look for work that you can pick up to build your contact list. You can also write to businesses in your area of expertise and ask if they need help with graphic design for their business.
“Bookkeeping. I worked in accounts in a previous life and considered bookkeeping from home for local self-employed people.”Erica Knight, www.theincidentalparent.com
“I have friends who are brilliantly creative and make children’s clothes and teething necklaces which they sell online. Personally I’m not very talented in that arena, but I make a living blogging and writing content for business websites on a freelance basis. There are loads of websites like peopleperhour and you can use your blog as a portfolio to get you started.”Frances Taylor, www.whingewhingewine.co.uk
Buying a franchise
Buying a franchise may sound like a lot of work, but it may be more beneficial than you think. If you have attended baby classes with your child in the past, then these classes tend to be franchised, and the great news is that you have the flexibility to run as many classes you want while taking your little one to work with you too!
“I do a range of things and make a full-time living from home. These include blogging, website testing, completing surveys and studies online and I also used to have an online shop selling fashion accessories!”Victoria Sully, www.lyliarose.com
“I have a friend that makes money from ironing for other people. She finds it relaxing! If there’s something you enjoy doing that others don’t then there may be money to be made!”Jennie Jordan, www.ricecakesandraisins.co.uk
Online customer service support
Many start-ups and established companies require people to connect with their customers and most of the time outsource this role to a third party. This type of work is ideal as a work-at-home role as you can respond to incoming emails and support requests through online systems and especially social media in your own time or at an agreed schedule.
“I have a number of friends who are VAs (virtual assistant). They do everything from admin to social media scheduling and all from home. Meetings with clients can easily be done through an online conference call.”Claire Winlow, www.redkitedays.co.uk
There are lots of other work from opportunities available, like completing surveys for money, becoming a virtual assistant, data entry, or gaining typing work from home, but the above tend to be popular roles to start your work from home journey quickly. Look on job boards and don’t be afraid to contact businesses directly to find out whether they accept home based flexible jobs. You never know, you may encourage a business to open up a brand new remote position just for you!
“I’ve got a friend who marks exams every year. GCSEs. Hard work each year but a nice little earner I’ve been told!”Sarah Howe, https://www.runjumpscrap.com
“I run baby and children’s nearly new sales, I do all of the marketing from home and just have to spend 5 hours at the venue on sale day.”Josie Cornhill, Businessformums.co.uk
The legalities – how to maximise success within your business
Whether you want to operate as a sole trader or as a limited company, you need to work out the legalities first before setting your business up to run. Below are some things to think about before you start trading.
Create a business plan first
Business plans are necessary to stay on track and help you realise your goals. So, make sure you have your ideas mapped out on paper and use a business plan roadmap to keep you focused on your targets ahead. Don’t be afraid to make changes as you go along, as the business industry is a fickle and ever-changing environment and if you can’t move with the times, you may get stuck with the old and the outdated.
Fail to plan, plan to fail.
Create an audience profile by finding out who would be using your business. Get specific, down to the hair colour so that you can draw up an actual image of a person in your head. Then cater your business for them every time.
Think about your brand identity
How do you want to be identified? Do you have a theme and unique brand colours? What will distinguish your business from other competitors? Have you picked a name? Make sure your business name is unique otherwise you may be looking at a costly settlement taken out by existing businesses of the same name, which include legal fees. To minimise the chances of someone else having the same name, launch an investigation. Use a search engine like Google to find similar names to your business idea. Then check using the following websites:
Once you have found your business name/logo, you should protect it by registering it as a trademark.
What is a trademark?
A trademark is any sign which is capable of distinguishing goods or services of one undertaking from those of others. A trademark can consist of letters, numbers, graphics, 3d shapes, sounds, and even smells.
Investing in registering your business name and logo as a trademark could save your business money and avoid unnecessary costs. Also, you will be able to protect your name from someone else using it too.
The ® mark shows customers and competitors that your name has been trademark registered, which also tells people that you are serious about your business and its intellectual property.
Create your business cards and get out there
Business cards are a great way to get your business out there, especially when you’re out and about.
Include information like your address, phone numbers, email, and website, but also think about adding a logo, and a corporate message or motto to place a unique stamp on your business. Use the reverse side of the business card to offer something different, like perhaps a quote, image or a calendar for appointments. Your business card should reflect your USP and message, so the design is critical. Keep it relevant, catchy and straightforward.
Take hold of opportunities to network and find a way to soft-sell your business without sounding too sales-y – you never know when an opportunity might show itself.
You are never too old to start a business
Starting a business can be daunting at any age, but it can be even more intimidating if you’re considering taking the plunge after a change of career, lifestyle or other unforeseen circumstances. As people are continuously facing the prospect of being forced out of their jobs or the market is not as favourable as it once was, more people are biting the bullet and becoming their own boss. But, that’s not to say you have more obstacles within your path than a budding 20-something-year-old entrepreneur that’s fresh off the back of university and ready to take on the world. Entrepreneurism is better suited to the young-at-heart rather than a particular age group, and there are tons of profitable business ideas out there to get you started.
The older you start, the more experience you have in life. If you’re transitioning from a past job to a new business in the same industry, you may also have built up a good reputation and a contact list. Age should not be a barrier to your business goals – if you are mentally and physically fit, there should be nothing that stands in your way. The list below of small business owners who became highly successful after the age of 35 should be inspiration enough to start at any age – it’s better late than never!
Vera Wang – started her career as a designer at 40
Stan Lee – Created first comic title, “The Fantastic Four” just shy of his 39th birthday
Gary Heavin – Opened first “Curves” fitness centre when he was 40
Samuel L Jackson – Landed the award-winning role “Jungle Fever” at 43
Henry Ford – Created the revolutionary Model T car at 45
Momofuku Ando – Invented instant ramen at 48
Charles Darwin – Created “On the Origin of Species” at 50
Ray Kroc – bought McDonald’s and made it into a franchise at 52
Harland Sanders – Better known as Colonel Sanders, was 62 when he franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken – he sold it for $2 million 12 years later.
Jamie Spencer – Built a website teaching people to create a blog aged 35
Take a look at this guide to see how seniors are starting businesses, and find out how you can begin your business today.
And if you need more inspiration Check out YourParkingSpace’s article on The Best Side Hustles you can Start with No Money and read business owners’ tried and tested tips on how to get started.