With virtually all non-essential businesses operating remotely during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, working from home has become the new normal for so many of us. That said, what if you don’t work for a company? Maybe you work in the gig economy, are a freelancer, or simply don’t have a job right now. In this article, we’ve highlighted 15 ways you can generate income from home.
15 Remote Business Ideas to Consider in 2021
If you’re proficient in two or more languages, put those skills to use as a translator. Translators are needed for important roles across multiple industries, including medical, legal, tech, marketing, education, and foreign relations. This means you can select a field of particular interest to you and explore what translator or interpreter jobs may be available within it.
Beyond a strong grasp of the languages you speak, certain roles like a medical interpreter or court translator may require specific training and certification.
Remote business examples of translator jobs include:
- Health or medical translators and interpreters
- Foreign language translators and interpreters
- Federal court interpreters
- Educational interpreters
- Conference interpreters
- Liaison/escort translators
- Literary translators
2. Content Writer
If you are a writer or plan to pursue a career in writing, consider content writing as a means to supplement your income from home. This is another example of a remote business path that offers plenty of variety. Tons of companies across all different areas of specialization seek writers to produce content for them, be it copy for their website, social media channels, marketing materials, or company blog.
You should have a portfolio of writing samples that demonstrate your writing capabilities. If you have clippings of professional work you’ve done (i.e. any ad or marketing copy, blog articles, etc.), those are great resources to show prospective employers.
3. Online Tutor
Tutoring provides students with one-on-one teaching and can easily be done over video conferencing platforms. With so many schools still operating online, it’s especially difficult for teachers to provide their students with the personalized attention they normally would. Tutoring is a great way to give kids a more hands-on learning experience that is tailored to their specific needs.
Simply decide what subject(s) you want to teach and begin marketing yourself to parents in the community.
A transcriptionist creates written versions of audio or video recordings, meetings, or conversations. Similar to a translator, this type of service is needed across many different industries. The beauty of this job is that is requires little to no experience and is quite flexible as you can easily create your own working schedule.
Transcription jobs are typically broken into three categories – legal, medical, and general, with the first two requiring more schooling or experience.
There are a number of transcription companies that hire beginners and, based on the results of a required transcription test, will begin assigning you work. These companies typically pay an hourly rate, so the more work you take on, the more money you can make. Some of these companies include:
- Transcribe Anywhere
5. Social Media Manager
Are you obsessed with scrolling on Instagram and TikTok? Do you know how to post great content and rack up likes and views? Turn this love of social media into a revenue stream by becoming a social media manager.
This job requires proficient knowledge of the various social media channels. This includes their capabilities, functionalities, the demographics using them, and currents trends.
Virtually every business today uses social media to market their company and engage with followers. This means there are a lot of social media manager jobs to be had. Make a list of your favorite brands and reach out to them to ask if they are in the market for a social media manager. Put together a list of ideas you have to build their audience and show them you’re tuned in to their brand voice.
6. Online Thrifter
Do you have a lot of cool clothes lying around? Maybe you’re a collector of unique items? Consider opening an online thrift store to sell items you don’t need for cash (or outsource items).
Platforms like Etsy are a great place to open a store of this nature. Figure out what your brand is. Are you selling vintage clothing? Old records? One-of-a-kind novelty items? Whatever it is, the better you can communicate it to potential shoppers the better you’ll cut through the clutter.
A perk of thrift stores is that they are cheaper than regular retail stores. As a result, they tend to holdfast in any type of economic condition, good or bad. So while the economy is suffering from the effects of the pandemic, there’s a good chance you’ll still find a market for your store.
7. Home-Based Catering
As its name implies, a home-based caterer prepares and cooks food from their home and sells it to customers to serve at events or parties. If you’re an out-of-work chef or just a great cook with a love and passion for food, this could be a great financial avenue for you to explore during this time.
However, this won’t be a cheap endeavor. Starting a catering business or a home-based catering business can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 to get off the ground.
Perhaps you test the waters by cooking dishes for neighbors and people in your local community. If you’re getting really strong feedback and glean that there is an appetite for your food, pun intended, you can look into small business financing options to take that first step in making the business a reality.
If you’re going to sell food manufactured from your home, it will have to be low-risk items.
- Baked goods like breads, cookies, and cakes
- Snack foods like chips, popcorn, or granola
- Coffee and tea
- Jams and preservatives
Test recipes in your kitchen and provide samples of finished concepts to people in your community to gather their thoughts and feedback. Once you’re set on a final product, use tools at your disposal to market it. You can also consider making a website to promote and sell all the different products.
9. Personal Shopper
A personal shopper is someone who shops for someone else. You could specialize in buying particular items based on your expertise, like clothes or furniture. Right now with people avoiding shopping of any kind due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you could even offer to buy things as basic as groceries and household items for customers.
10. Career Coach
A career coach is a person that supports people in making informed decisions about their career development and trajectory. The pandemic has led to a lot of layoffs and furloughs. There is likely a market for people in need of professional guidance right now, including tips and advice on things like interviews, updating resumes, writing cover letters, and marketing oneself on LinkedIn. A career coach must assess client’s professional situations with honesty, curiosity, empathy, and compassion.
11. Greeting Cards
Maybe you’re very artistic and want to put your drawing or painting skills to use. Try designing greeting cards. While you may not expect it, the greeting card business has plenty of opportunities to convert your artistic talents to cash. You don’t even need to sell your cards to a third-party store; you can open your own online store on a platform like Etsy.
All you need to start is a printer, card stock paper, coloring pens, pencils or paint. Or, if you’re going to create your designs digitally, an app like Procreate. Use platforms like Instagram and Pinterest to promote your designs and your business to drum up customers, and link back to your online store in your profiles.
12. Freelance Designer
If you have an affinity for design, a graphic design career can be quite lucrative. Businesses of all sizes will employ graphic designers to help with things like logo creation, product packaging, marketing materials, and presentations.
Graphic designers will need to have a degree in design. If you’re a recent graduate or just starting out on your graphic design career path, freelance work from home could be a great jumping-off point to gain some professional experience as you prepare to take on a larger role, such as:
- Web designer
- Photo editor
- Architecture and engineering drafter
- Video and film editor
- Multimedia artist
13. Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant is an individual contractor who provides administrative assistance to clients – typically entrepreneurs and small business owners. Virtual assistants can be hired on a part-time or full-time basis with duties ranging from calendar management, scheduling appointments, and responding to emails, to more creative endeavors like social media management and presentation design.
If you are an entry-level employee looking to gain general business experience, virtual assisting is a great way to gain exposure to a robust amount of business development tasks.
14. Video Editing
These days content is king and video editors are needed to take footage and turn it into the finished products we see on TV, YouTube, social media channels, etc.
This can be a good gig for someone interested in TV, film, and other visual media. It does require extensive knowledge of popular editing software like FinalCut Pro and Adobe Premiere.
Bigger budget projects will definitely require professional experience. If you have none, start by shooting and editing your own content. You can also ask around and see if any of your friends need editing help for work projects. Sites like Craigslist and Indeed can also be good resources for obtaining work.
15. App Developer
An app developer is primarily responsible for creating, testing, and programming apps for computers, mobile phones, or tablets. They work in teams and brainstorm ideas and concepts that may benefit the general public or based on a specific client’s needs.
To be an app developer, you need to have analytical skills in understanding mobile development and user needs, communication skills, creativity, problem-solving skills, and knowledge of programming languages.
Building an app is not for the faint of heart. It will require a large time commitment and a good amount of money to get started. Consider pitching your idea on a platform like Kickstarter to generate awareness and raise funds, or looking into small business financing options available to you. When it comes to apps, they are costly to develop but they have the potential for high ROIs if executed right.
Starting Your Own Remote Business
None of us expected this pandemic and its long-lasting effects, but we have no choice but to adapt. Just because we’re stuck at home doesn’t mean we can’t start and operate a business. Think about the skills you possess and how you may be able to use them.
We hope this list of 15 remote business ideas helps to get your creative juices flowing. All of these ideas are scalable, meaning they can start as part-time side gigs and grow into full-time endeavors.