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Online Home Business Ideas

Updated on June 9, 2012
brsmom68 profile image

Diane began her freelancing career in 2010. Her love of writing and interest in a variety of topics has led to some fun times along the way.

Working at Home

It is the dream of many to work at home. No commute, no separate wardrobe required for the office and no co-workers to put up with. Keep in mind it takes a certain mindset to be able to work at home and maintain some sort of routine, and when operating an online business you must be extra diligent.

There are many online opportunities available, but they do take work and time. Just because they are online and you have the potential to reach billions of people, it doesn't mean it will happen overnight. Some can be started on a shoestring, others take a bit more of an investment; either way persistence and diligence is what will make you successful should you choose to take the online business route.


In my opinion, people who are contemplating an online business automatically think eBay. It is easy to get started, and you can start by liquidating items you already have in your home and no longer want or need.

The first thing you will need to do is set up an account with them. My suggestion is a buyer/seller account as you will have more options when it comes to listing your items. The next thing you will have to do is register your PayPal account and/or a credit card with them. Personally, I go with PayPal only, but that is my preference.

Next, start listing. You will have the option of auction style or "buy now"; try both and see what happens. If you want it sold immediately, go with the "buy now" option, but if you want to gamble a little go with the auction. You may sell your item for much more than you anticipated. Start it out at a reasonable price to attract bids and see if it works.

There are many books on the market for making money with eBay, so if you want to get in depth and find out all of the "secrets" then you may wish to buy one of them. I have personally not listed many things with eBay, but have sold most of what I listed. My main sales were packages of fabric (my stash was getting too big and I had to liquidate; I will be going through it again and will surely list more).


Amazon has a couple of options:

  1. Join their affiliate program and post links to items via your articles, blogs or capsules. This is a good way to promote some items you have personally tried. I have a blog post about the Miniature Greenhouse and have linked to Amazon; it is a product I enjoy so I was happy to blog about it. In addition to blogging about specific items, you can also add their widget to your blog or website and showcase a variety of items. I have chosen a carousel widget showcasing gardening tools/ supplies on my gardening blog.
  2. Sell your books and other items. You will need to open a Merchant Account to go this route, but if you have a variety of items people are looking for then this may be a way to clean out your home and make some money at the same time. My understanding is you box up your items and ship them to Amazon, and they will take care of everything from there. You also have the option of taking care of the shipping and handling yourself, which is the route many people take. Personally I haven't sold anything on Amazon other than the Affiliate sales, but others do have success with it.

There are many resources on the Amazon site regarding both methods listed. I have provided a very brief overview of each, but for more detail and answers to questions you may have I suggest consulting the resources they have available.

Strawberries Anyone?

This is a wall hanging I made a few years ago; it is on display (and still for sale) at a local shop.
This is a wall hanging I made a few years ago; it is on display (and still for sale) at a local shop. | Source


Etsy is a craft-oriented site. It is aimed at helping craftspeople of all types to pursue their hobbies while both earning money and supporting others in the industry. Members may buy and/or sell handmade items or the materials to make items.

I have been a member of Etsy since June 8, 2011; I hadn't realized it was so long. When I joined I was under the impression I couldn't sell my items because I wasn't a US citizen; apparently I was wrong. I will be utilizing my new found information and listing some items I have had made for awhile now and haven't been able to sell locally. I will also be listing my alpaca fiber when it is available (we still have to shear them).

For those needing an outlet for the many crafts made, I think this is a good way to earn some extra money. I believe if you put in the time and are able to purchase the raw materials at a reasonable cost, you should have no trouble making a profit.

Forum Posting

I had often read about posting in forums, but couldn't figure out how the people got paid. About two weeks ago I was reading about ways to earn money online and came across a link for posting on forums. I decided to investigate, and I must say, I have made some money. It is not enough to live on, but it is a legitimate way to earn a few extra dollars a week. I look at it this way; any money I earn by commenting on forums is a bonus for me. Plus, I can join as many as I want and post as often as I want.

Many do have daily limits, so you will only be paid for the posts you make up to those limits. It doesn't mean you can't make any more posts, it just means you won't be paid for anything past the limit. I do belong to a couple that have unlimited posts, so that is nice.

I am sure there are several forum "agencies" if you will, but the one I have been having success with is Postloop. I have transferred money to my PayPal account five times in the past week and a half, and am almost ready to cash out again. I should stress you must follow the instructions carefully when it comes to posting; be sure you are subscribed to the site through Postloop (you will have to register with each site individually, but that only takes a minute or two). I made the mistake of registering then posting; I forgot about the subscribing part so I missed out on some money.


  1. Register with Postloop (you will have to go through a trial posting session, but it filters out people who can't put three words together in a sentence).
  2. When given the go ahead, pick the forums you are interested in. Register with each one and follow the instructions.
  3. Register the forums you have joined through PL, and start posting. Each post is given a point value, and each point is worth about five cents. Like I said, not a huge amount but better than nothing.

You don't have to write volumes; just get your point across in a complete and legible sentence or three and move on. I have found some posts need a paragraph while others are good with a sentence; it all averages out in the end. I look at it this way; many writers spend countless hours working on books or articles that generate very little revenue. If I can make a few cents per post and post on a regular basis, then it is money have earned for a tank of gas or an insurance payment. I get paid within hours of requesting it and I don't have to wait for 1000 people to read my article just to make a few cents.

E-books and Whitepapers

One of the many ways to earn a living online.
One of the many ways to earn a living online. | Source


The ever-increasing popularity of making money online; writing.

Making an honest living by writing online is not as easy as it sounds (many Hubbers can most likely attest to that). It takes determination, perseverance and some plain old pig-headedness (I know, it's not a real word) to succeed in the industry.

There are many avenues you can take, but finding the right one may take some trial and error (believe me, it is often more error). I have listed a few in this section, which I encourage you to try out. It basically boils down to what your goals are and how much time you want to spend reaching them.

  • HubPages - Writing articles and earning ad revenue, as well as the option of monetizing articles with Amazon and/or eBay capsules. The better quality of articles submitted, the better the passive income.
  • Triond - Again, writing articles and earning ad revenue and per view income (neither of which is very high). They do have a 50 cent payment threshold, which is easily attained if you work at getting the views. My personal total earned since I started submitting to them; about $2.00. The article quantity is always high; can't say so much about quality. Very few writers there seem to care about proper English. There are much better options.
  • Knoji - This site pays both an article bonus and revenue shares. I have found them to be quite fussy regarding titles; anything short seems to get tossed. The option to fix the article is not given, nor do they want any first-person submissions. If you can abide by their rules and be sure you haven't made any errors, the pay can become quite good. Just be sure to read EVERYTHING regarding submissions, topics, etc.
  • Helium - Also a combination of per article pay (but only if you pick titles with a dollar value attached to them, and there are no guarantees) and revenue share. I have been there almost as long as I have been on HubPages (which is over two years) and have earned enough to get my payout once. Once again, if you have quality articles and a lot of them, it will earn you a reasonable passive income.
  • iWriter - Write articles of your choice from the list available. The pay isn't the greatest at the entry level, but with quality work and good reviews it will get higher. If you need some quick cash, iWriter is one of the better places to go.
  • Blogging - This is a touchy subject; some make thousands per month while others make pennies. The trick is to monetize your blog with either affiliate programs or advertising revenue; or a combination of the two.
  • Books/E-books - This is a great way to earn some real money, but you have to write about a topic people are interested in. Nonfiction is generally the route to take, although many fiction writers do very well. Personally I have taken the nonfiction route, but must admit I have been lax in my marketing lately so haven't earned very much in royalties. If you can dedicate the time to market your book before, during and after writing/publishing it, you can build your audience. I also understand (according to the experts) you have a better chance of selling more books if you have written more than one. I will see how much truth there is to that statement in the months to come, as I am almost ready to self-publish book number three.
  • Copywriting - This is simply what it says; writing copy. There are many developers of products out there who simply do not have a way with words. They rely on the copywriter to "talk up" their product so consumers will buy it. Some people have the knack, some don't. If you think you can do that, by all means get out there and give it a shot. The money is apparently very good (I have yet to try copywriting, so I cannot endorse nor nay it).
  • Ghostwriting - If you like to write but don't want your "name in lights" than perhaps ghostwriting is for you. The amount you charge per article or other project can be considerably higher, as you retain no rights to the content. You will get paid your fee, and that will be it. If the project is a flop, you have done well as you have already been paid; if it is a huge success and sells millions of copies, you have no rights to the royalties so may be a bit disgruntled. Think about the possibilities before you commit to ghostwriting. Personally, I designed a few patterns awhile back and was paid a set price for each (early in my writing career). I do not have any rights to sell them and if they become popular the bottom line is I'm out of luck, as I will not earn any additional royalties.

I could go on and on I'm sure, but I think I have most likely exceeded my word count in this section alone. Try any or all of the methods and see what works for your writing career. If you strike upon one that pays well, stick with it. It is possible to earn enough to retire within a few years; the trick is finding the right clients and the right mix.

Is There No End?

I have covered a lot of ground, but I have yet to list all of the possibilities out there. The section on writing got me going, and I had to force myself to stop. Perhaps I should take some of my own advice and try a couple of the avenues not taken yet.

When it comes to online opportunities, let me end with this statement: "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." You do not have to pay anyone any amount to earn money online. If they are asking for a fee, then the only ones making any money is them. If you aren't sure about an opportunity, ask questions. Best of luck to you in your online ventures!


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    • brsmom68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Diane Ziomek 

      6 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      I'm glad I could help. I have done decent on Postloop since I joined; it's not the best pay in the world, but much better than nothing. I have learned a lot of cool stuff by joining the different forums. Good luck with it. :)

    • lindacee profile image


      6 years ago from Arizona

      Love your suggestions for making extra money at home! I recently got a part-time job, but still need ways to help make ends meet. As a matter of fact, my husband is looking into Postloop as we speak! I also do online surveys, but the caveat there is to find companies that pay in cash. Great Hub. Greatly appreciated!

    • Joy M profile image

      Joy M 

      6 years ago from Sumner, Washington

      Lots of good info - very useful.

    • brsmom68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Diane Ziomek 

      6 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Thank you for your kind words. I am glad you enjoyed it. :) A lot of insight was gained through trial and error.

    • krsharp05 profile image

      Kristi Sharp 

      6 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      There are so many useful ideas and tips. Words of warning as well! Excellent hub Brsmom. I didn't know anything about paypal accounts and the dangers of posting. Thanks for the info! -K

    • brsmom68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Diane Ziomek 

      6 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Thank you! It never hurts to explore options, especially when one is trying to earn a living from online ventures.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Fabulous overview! You've mentioned some options I've never even heard of before! Thanks for sharing your great advice and insights.

    • brsmom68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Diane Ziomek 

      6 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      I have done two on CreateSpace already; they are also available on Amazon. It doesn't take long at all.

    • createmyeconomy profile image


      6 years ago from USA, Australia

      Chemistry book - great idea on the ebook. Once you have it done, sell it on Amazon. I have uploaded a book in 15 minutes

    • brsmom68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Diane Ziomek 

      6 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      @Chemistry Book - Thank you! Good luck with your e-book; with the self-publishing options available you can earn a passive income from that alone.

    • Chemistry Book profile image

      Chemistry Book 

      6 years ago

      These are all legitimate Online Home Business Ideas! I think I should start making some plans on compiling an E-Book.

    • brsmom68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Diane Ziomek 

      6 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Thank you for your votes. :) You are right; there are many things we can learn from each other. We do have one thing in common, and that is to earn a living with our writing. I am enjoying my time here, but it never hurts to have another income stream or two.

    • Karen Hellier profile image

      Karen Hellier 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Lots of good information in this hub. I have never heard of a lot of these sites, so I am voting it useful and interesting. There's so much we can learn from each other here at Hub Pages!

    • brsmom68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Diane Ziomek 

      6 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Thank you for your comments and your votes. As I was writing this particular Hub I had a couple of revelations about my own situation, an do believe I have inadvertently come up with a plan. :)

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Fantastic advice - thanks so much for sharing. I agree with you, working from home is not everyone, and it's NOT easy. In fact it's 10 x harder working for yourself from home that at a normal 9 - 5 office, and you need to be passionate and dedicated about what you are doing in order to succeed. Voted up, useful and interesting!

    • brsmom68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Diane Ziomek 

      6 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Thank you all for your kind words. I have tried many things online in efforts to earn money, and I have by far done the best with writing. I did the PTC thing in the beginning, but quickly realized I needed to work very hard to make only a few pennies. I knew there had to be a better way, and for me writing is it.

      I am still a long way from my goal income, but each day brings me closer. :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      Great suggestions and ones that will certainly help to bring in extra income over time.

    • spartucusjones profile image

      CJ Baker 

      6 years ago from Parts Unknown

      Very detailed and practical hub! You give the reader many options to consider and a lot to think about. I have pursued a few of these options myself, and so far I've been fortunate with supporting myself. It has been a couple of years since I've had to work a "real job". So for those that are interested in working from home and are willing to put in the effort, your hub is a good starting point. I am also glad that you stressed the warning at the end. If you have to pay, it is generally a scam.

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 

      6 years ago from Western New York

      You have a lot of great ideas for online businesses here, brsmom! I love the wall hanging you made, by the way - how cute! I love your warning above about the "get rich quick" scams - there are a lot of scammers looking to exploit people who want to work from home.

    • CrisSp profile image


      6 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      This is great. I'll definitely explore those writing sites you have mentioned. I'm happy to have come across your hub. Thanks for sharing!

    • brsmom68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Diane Ziomek 

      6 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Thank you @Carrie Terry, @createmyeconomy & @Bishopdown - the main thing to keep in mind is to be wary of anyone "promising quick riches". It is better to make your name online an honest one than to be roped into a scam that can easily be detrimental to your career/business even 10 years into the future.

    • Bishopdown profile image


      6 years ago from Tampa, Florida

      I enjoyed this article and it was very helpful to me. Thanks for posting this on the hubpages

    • createmyeconomy profile image


      6 years ago from USA, Australia

      Excellent article for people who are looking to make money online.

    • Carrie Terry profile image

      Carrie Terry 

      6 years ago from golden, colorado

      Thank you very helpful.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This is an excellent article and very thorough. I really enjoyed reading it. Great advice.


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