Today's fast paced, technologically savvy world allows for countless at-home career opportunities. From a creative calling like painting, writing or illustrating to business-related vocations such as affiliate marketing or product branding, there's no shortage of possibilities. For those with a strong case of entrepreneurialism, consider where your strengths and passions meet and go from there. Hilary Rushford, who founded her personal styling company in early 2011, also suggests talking to your friends to see which of your skills they admire most. "If people are already encouraging you in this area, they'll be excited you're taking it to the next level," she explains. "Their support will help and they'll be your best advertising."
For some, maintaining an organised home is as natural as walking. For others, it's a daily struggle. If you fit into the former category, you may be able to help the latter group. Inspired by myriad TV shows featuring professional organizers, Nettie Owens and her husband realised that their ability to de-clutter and organise made for a potentially lucrative business. "I read books, did research online and found that there were other organisers already in my area, so I decided to try it," she says. Owens set up a stall at a local home and garden show and has slowly grown her business.
Academic or music tutor
Academic or musical types with a fondness for sharing their knowledge may enjoy an at-home tutoring business. "Whatever a woman excels at can be taught to others with very little start-up cost," noted Jodi Teti, who started her home tutoring company in 2005.
If you consider yourself an aspiring Nigella Lawson, perhaps your calling is an at-home business in baking. That was the case for Kathy Miller, who started her business, the Incredibly Edible Cookie Company, in 2008. Miller works out of her licensed home kitchen and sells her tasty confections online. "Being at home helps you build a customer base without the worry of making a certain number of sales to pay for rent, employees and more major improvements in opening a shop front," she says of her at-home business.
Illustrator or author
As a former secondary school teacher and literacy specialist, Kathryn Starke found that her school's textbooks and materials were inadequate. Frustrated but inspired, Starke wrote a children's educational book on geography, complete with lesson plans for teachers and parents. If you're passionate about writing or illustrating a certain topic, find your niche market. "Be persistent," she advises. "I send out at least two emails a day to connect and share my work with others. People don't know who you are if you don't tell them."
Anyone with a penchant for fashion should consider a career in helping others look chic. That's exactly what Hilary Rushford did in early 2011 when she founded Dean Street Society, a personal styling business for "real people with real budgets." "If you have the entrepreneurial bug, start noticing what other people compliment you on, thank you for or ask you for help with," suggested Rushford. "For me, it was my style. I monetised that by creating one-on-one sessions for in-home wardrobe edits, personal shopping or wedding styling."
Many small companies and creative types love what they do, but have an aversion to the technical aspect of their businesses. That's where marketing consultants come into play. Roughly 11 years ago, Cynthia Nevels realised the importance of marketing and began an at-home business that offered marketing services to small businesses. "Because small business owner are sometimes allergic to technology and paper 'stuff,' my business flourished," she said. Her business helps clients identify what business they're in and how to reach their target audience through branding.
Sell your products
From bath and beauty goods to handcrafted jewellery to your own clothing line, there's no limit to what you can sell -- or what people will buy. Determine where your passion and skills collide and then begin making and selling. You can use online platforms like Etsy, eBay, Artfire and Big Cartel, or create your own website and go from there.