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Home-Based Business Opportunities

Home-based businesses in the town, suburbs or on the farm can be just as lucrative as office or factory jobs. Whether you are interested in gardening, crafts, DIY projects or personal service jobs, home based businesses offer the freedom to work from home at your own pace and to be your own boss.

In the articles below are stories of home business successes in many fields — gardening, home repair, office work, teaching, and arts and crafts of all kinds. There are also a few tales of home business failures and bumps in the road to learn from. And the advent of the Internet age has ushered in a whole new niche for online home-based jobs.
With a modest investment in time, energy and money, you can work from home and own your own business.

Garden Green

Earn Cash With your Own Garden-Grown Nursery
Our 3,000-square-foot garden produces about three-quarters of the vegetables we eat in a year — and a bumper crop of nursery stock that brings us up to $1,000 of extra cash annually.

Mother's Mini-Manual: Greenhouse Gardening
Although they're usually considered "luxuries,” greenhouses are, in fact, wonderful, year-round gardens that can be useful for producing vegetables for the kitchen table or the local market.

You Can Make Money Harvesting and Selling Botanicals
Almost every relatively green region on the U.S. and Canada boasts at least one native "medicine plant" which homesteaders can make money harvesting.

The Organic Home Nursery
With no money, no publicity and virtually no plants, Donn and Rachel Tickner started a retail organic nursery. All they really had going for them was a healthy stock of reverence, know-how and determination.

Pick Poke for Profit
Pokeweed (phytolacca americana) is an early wild green. Some folks pick pokeweed and sell it to neighbors.
Read about Rosemary Randolph's experience picking poke.

Hobby Farming and the IRS
The following tips by a specialist in extension farm businesses may give you better understanding this tax season, including records and other considerations.

Crafts for Cash

Toys to Build for the Young and the Young at Heart
Carefully crafted handmade toys can become family heirlooms passed from generation to generation.

Wild and Woody
Twig furniture blends the natural grace of the growing tree with the personality of the builder, including choosing wood, planning and making rustic furniture, alternative tenon, finishing.

I Build Willow Chairs for Pleasure and Profit
How to gather willow, tools needed for the job, chair design and how to market the chairs.
Read about R. Sowards' experience building willow cane chairs.

It Pays To Be An Old Sew-And-Sew
How to work 25 hours a week at your sewing machine as a seamstress, make $300 a month and keep track of the kids at the same time.

Sun-Burned Art
Use a magnifying glass, the sun and a block of wood to make wood-burned designs.
Read about Lance Ollenberger's sun-burned slogan button business.

Fine-Feathered Hatbands
Make a classy hatband from pheasant feathers.
Read about M.S.'s and Lori Ides' hatband making experiences.

How to Paint House Portraits
If you're a struggling artist in need of cash, make ends meet with house portraits!
Read about G.J.'s bartering experience with house portraits and Mary Denney's homescapes..

A Holiday Artist
When the approach of Christmas brings visions of elves, reindeer, holly and an empty bank account, this might be the perfect solution.

Make Wreaths for Winter Dollars
Use cuttings from evergreen trees to make wreaths for your family and friends, and to sell for holiday cash.
Read about Diane Abernathy's wreath making business.

The 19th Century Business You Can Start Today
The old business of tin-typing to make photographs is still economically viable today.

Hand-lettering Makes Sense: Cash in on Old English
Hand-lettering is easy to learn, worth money, and takes us back a little way toward the days when folks took pride in the graphic arts.
Read about Suzanne the Sign Painter.

How to Make $1,000 a Week Making Candles
The venture that keeps Dennis in the business of living is the business of making and selling candles.
Read about how Dennis inspired Janet Ryan's macrame business and David Paulson's candle making experience.

Macramé, or the art of creative knotting, may look difficult but its really about as easy as tying your shoes and as inexpensive as a ball of twine.

Trash to Treasure

Recycled Refunds
There's a surprising number of "checks" and "vouchers" with your name on them just waiting to be picked up.
Read about Sara Sander's refunding experience.

The Fine Art of Trash-Mongering
Conversation about the art of trashmongering and scavenging at Baltimore County Sanitary Landfill.
Read about Dave Bacon's and Tom Mesi's trash hauling experience.

Try a Wood Pallet Project
A couple in Vermont has created potting sheds, a greenhouse and more from repurposed wood pallets

Teachable Moments

How To Teach Almost Anything At Home
From “101 Practical Ways to Make Money at Home.”

How To Teach a Guitar Workshop
If you're a passably-fair guitar player looking for a way to make some extra money, look no further – Suzette Haden Elgin tells us exactly how to earn $40 with your guitar almost anytime you feel like it.

Making Money

10 Surefire Home Businesses for the New Decade
How can I be my own employer and not spend a fortune doing it?

The Lonely Worker
Freelance cartooning: How to break free on a grass roots level.

Underground Moving
If you're stuck in the city, becoming a mover or trucker might help you earn your way out. All it takes is a second-hand truck or bus, a stable telephone number, strong arms and a broad back.
Read about Suzanne Harmon's freelance moving experience and Stanley Callopy's hauling business..

Getting Paid for Living Good
Have you ever dreamed of living the Good Life out in the country far from the city's noise and pollution and still get paid for doing all this while protecting natural areas from the dangers of "civilization"?

The Best Home Typing Business of Them All
Make your own hours and work at your own pace by transcribing notes for court reporters.
Read about Linda Martin's home transcriber experience.

$12,000 a Year Home Typing Business
Here's an article on how to make a ongoing paycheck with a home typing business.

Housesitting as a Way of Life
How to turn housesitting into a business and an acceptable, profitable substitute for home ownership.
Read about Claire Stevens' experience in pet sitting.

I Wash Windows And Live Like A King!
Authors offer different views on the window-washing perspective but agree that it is a fun, profitable field of employment.

How to Start a Home Bakery of Your Own
Baking brings family closer together and brings in extra money, including getting started, how the idea began, cost, simplicity and cleanliness.
Read about Dan Wesolowski's business selling sandwiches.

It's a Hare-Raising Business
Beginner's guide to raising rabbits, including a rabbit barn, pens, feeders and waterers, breeding stock, care and feeding, breeding, butchering and meat sales.
Read about Chuck and Cathy Tate's rabbit raising experience.

Rabbits, Records and Other Matters
Keep good records of the costs of feed and other costs for your rabbit-raising business.

Our Family Upholstery Business
Author and businesswoman shares how her family got started in the furniture recovering business, with advice and tips for potential entrepreneurs, and what it takes to get started and get established.
Read about Tim Hamblen's new upholstery business.

Wood-Burner Restoration
Bill Eckert explains how to restore an antique wood burning stove.

Chimney Sweeps are Cleaning Up!
This chimney sweep home business may be the best start-on-a-shoestring business that Mother has ever featured!
Read about Joel Baldwin & Bill Lannon's chimney sweep business success. And here's a successful business inspired by this article.

“Landlord” Doesn’t Have to be a Dirty Word
Buying, cleaning up, renting out, and selling quality older homes for a profit may be just the "home business" you've been looking for.
Read about Loretta and Dan Dolingg's success at being a landlord.

Profit with Portable Sawmills
Dreaming of a new home or barn you can't quite afford? If you cut your own lumber using a portable sawmill, you could save enough to bring the project within reach. And you can use the mill to develop a business custom-cutting lumber.
Read more successful sawmill businesses from James Fairfield, Dave Boyt and another tip from Dave.

The Treeincarnaters
Mark and Ray salvage logs for lumber from storm damaged trees.

I Drive For Money
How a retired gentleman who lives in the sticks makes money driving other people’s cars.

Saved by the Bell: a Business Solution
If you are in a location where business is slow, install a hose bell to alert you to customer’s arrival.

A Nice Little Concrete Business
Start an enterprise on $5. Here's an alternative way of earning money without getting into the 9-to-5 rat race.

How to Go to Work for Yourself
Start a small business and become economically independent.

On Your Own
Work at home rip-offs and starting a small business.

Post a comment below.


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7/7/2014 4:43:36 PM
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3/20/2014 4:05:31 PM
There's a lot of interesting and even downright quacky business ideas here. The most important thing though, is to make sure there is a market for what you're selling. If there's no demand you're not going to make money. Also you want to make sure you understand how to reach out to your market. In other words, you have to understand about marketing and advertising. Get the skills, commit, and take consistent action and you'll have success. Corrisa

3/17/2014 12:16:07 PM
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2/19/2014 10:56:51 AM
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2/11/2014 6:17:22 PM
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12/29/2013 11:28:56 PM
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12/19/2013 9:11:01 PM
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12/16/2013 6:37:40 PM
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12/5/2013 4:20:44 AM
Some great ideas in there, love it!!! My husband started a lawn mowing business many many years ago and it went well. People still need lawns mowed today so nothing has changed. With the growth of the internet people can communicate and transfer information much easier this has made the opportunity to work from home much more of a reality.

12/2/2013 6:18:21 AM
A lot of choices here have just looked at a few to run alongside my main business ( I believe it is important to have more than one source of income. This list is what I was looking for in an online business: 1. Residual income, not just a one hit wonder but something that could set the family up for life 2. Work from any location, home, the train, on holiday in another country 3. A product or service with longevity to have faith and belief in, not a take your money and move onto the next “big thing” deal. 4. Ethical leaders. 5. Proven track record. 6. Full support and training. I believe some of the ideas on this site will meet my expectations as completely as my main business does( Wishing you all the success you wish for - Dave

11/28/2013 6:39:08 PM
Components Needed in place besides Traffic which I refer as ( Fuel ). 1st You Need a Great Vehicle in place the Vehicle is ( Your Product or Offer ) 2nd You Need an Engine to your Vehicle ( The Engine is "System In Place for Automation" ) 3rd You Need "The Right Fuel" for this Vehicle and Engine (The Fuel is the Right Traffic ) You Can Not Put Diesel Fuel in an Unleaded Engine or Vehicle ( will not go too far ) I Learned this through a Company called Work Online Academy,LLC.  they specialize in getting you inside the Best Vehicle , with the Best Engine, and Best Fuel, in the Industry Bar None period. I believe it will Be of Great Value to anyone Especially Newbies or New Comers that are Overwhelmed in getting the right traffic and are struggling due to being new to the industry, really not your fault, you just need someone to Direct you to the right path. if you want to find out more on these 3 steps you may go here for more advance insight on the subject, I am confident it will be of Great Value to you and yours. Respectfully, Enjoy:

10/10/2013 9:54:33 PM
My home-based business is raising chickens and selling eggs, or giving them to a local charity that gives a box of food out once a month. Sometimes, they don't have much in the way of meat to share and a dozen eggs can provide more protein in someone's diet. Eggs can be boiled, baked, poached, fried, made into egg salad, made into deviled eggs, added to pancakes, added to cornbread, added to cookies, added to milk for extra richness, like in eggnog, or pudding, etc.

9/20/2013 5:34:14 PM
How about some home based business opportunities for 2013....not just the 1970s.

8/30/2013 2:37:23 PM
BEFORE YOU SIGN UP FOR ANY OF THESE!!!!!!!!!!!! Check with the Better Business Bureau first. It will save you money, time and heartache. Anything that guarantees you tons of money for little effort is usually a scam anyway.

7/12/2013 10:58:05 PM

Home based business is definitely complimentary to living a sustainable lifestyle and I have always enjoyed stepping up to the challenge! Some fantastic, very creative ideas shared by Mother Earth News above with great potential for supplementing income.

Personally, I now enjoy treading a middle path of a "combination home career" which enables me the time to spend the practical hours out in the garden pursuing a level of self sufficency, growing and fulfilling some of my families needs; selling some surplus home made and grown; and then investing purposeful "work" hours into sharing knowledge, passion and self empowerment strategies via the internet. Online work can give you the time freedom you need to complement a sustainable lifestyle and the money freedom to support investment in your self-reliant style of living (renewable technologies are not cheap to set up!) But becoming successful online is harder than it at first seems and I hope my own trial and errors(& conclusions) can help anyone who is considering the internet as a launch pad for home business! You might find some other relevant articles of interest on my website too :) 

4/3/2013 4:05:38 PM
Many of these articles are quite old. They should be reviewed for current applicability and improvements over the years. Are there any new types of home businesses out there?

Cynthia Clouser
11/29/2012 7:01:13 PM
These are awesome ideas. l remember doing Macrame when l was younger. Going to find another site for that. Don't really remember how to.

Jen Smith
11/14/2012 5:41:53 PM
The article on home typing was penned in 1974. May not be relevant 38 years later.

Linda Slasberg
11/7/2012 3:34:42 PM
I work from home as a copy editor and typist.

5/5/2012 4:33:41 PM

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