The desire to escape employment and support oneself at home can become a reality with proper planning, some investment capital, and a realistic idea. If an entrepreneur avoids scams, get-rich-quick schemes, and ideas that are based more on wishful thinking than realism, he or she can make a reasonable living by creating all manner of commodities at home.
For someone with a flair for fashion and some skills in design and sewing, there is a market for unusual custom made clothing. A number of factors are unique to this field. First, while having a well-developed website is a virtual necessity for any business, many people are hesitant to buy clothing over the Internet because of the question of fit. The second issue is closely related to the first: because of the limitation on distance sales, it is very helpful to live in or near a large population centre where many customers can be found nearby. An important step for a clothing business is to land wholesale accounts with retailers who will pay less per unit but represent a steady and dependable source of income.
Some people just can't buy enough things for their pets. Entrepreneurs are aware of this and are taking advantage of the market. Scratch posts, catnip toys, fancy collars, doghouses, winter boots, dog and cat dishes, birdcages, woven or braided leashes, and more can all be created at home and marketed through publications, the Internet, and word of mouth amongst family, friends, and social networks. A creative entrepreneur who dreams up the next “must have” pet product might have a gold mine on their hands. More realistically, building up a business of well-made, reasonably priced pet products can be both profitable and helpful to others.
Items such as solar cookers, small windmills, and water-saving devices are becoming more popular. Beginning a cottage industry that manufactures some of these items could provide both a living and an opportunity for public education about important issues. For someone with a garage, some ability in metalworking, and an interest in sustainable technology, efficient manufacture and distribution of some of these items could be a lucrative and fulfilling business.
A small woodshop outfitted with a lathe, a sanding drum, a bandsaw, and some hand tools is sufficient to make all manner of wooden spoons, spatulas, bowls, cutting boards and decorative wooden items. Made out of attractively grained woods and finished with food-safe finishes such as tung oil, this type of work sells well at craft shows.
Greeting cards are small, inexpensive, easily produced and easily shipped. They can be manufactured using collage methods, silkscreening or photography, or hand produced with paintings and drawings. For an added touch, they can be produced on handmade paper. Greeting cards are ideal for online sales and mail order due to their light weight and ease of shipping.