How to start a home based business on a shoestring budget



How to start a home based business on the cheap!

Do you want to start a home based business on a shoestring budget?

There are a lot of businesses you can start at home for literally no investment! Most of us already have the main components of a home based business. A home for one (just kidding), a computer/ printer, workspace, closet, corner or whatever, you see where this is going right? You are really half way there. Now to decide what kind of business you should start….

My moment of clarity came when I started selling on eBay over a decade ago…It was what some call an  “ah-ha” moment, it was the moment I got my first paypal payment for a mere $19 dollars and realized, OMG I really can make money online! I actually have been researching work at home opportunities for a long time. Even in high school when I started babysitting for a lady that sold Amway, who did really well I might add. Just taking a babysitting job when I was 15  really opened my eyes to all of the possibilities of starting a business ( and I haven’t stopped obsessing over it since), and not only starting a business, but growing a successful work at home business. If you are looking for a way to either stay home with your kids, earn a little extra for a vacation, or just be able to build up an emergency rainy day fund, look no further. I’m here to help you start a business with either no money or very little money.

Ask yourself these questions. I know right? A test?! Trust me this one will be an eye opener and will lay the foundation for a successful start….


First, think about your skill set. What are you good at? Are you good at sales? Marketing? Are you good with graphic or web design? These are all skills that are valuable when starting a home based business.

What kind of jobs have you had in the past? Did you work in the medical field? Maybe you could get into transcription.Or take inbound medical questions for a call center.Real estate? You could do this at home no problem What about banking? Start a financial consulting business. Try to stick with what you know.

What jobs did you like? If you liked admin. work then a home based virtual assisting business might be your cup of tea, if you liked working at a clothing store then maybe you could get into re-selling designer clothing.

Which jobs did you absolutely dread? You know the ones right? The ones where the count down is on, and you watch the clock every five minutes. Or you absolutely have no motivation to go there everyday and find yourself dragging your butt in every morning.

How much money are you willing to invest? Most of us could find a hundred or two hundred dollars to invest in a business that could make you a full time income. With any business you will eventually have to invest a little money, whether it be on business cards, hosting or shipping supplies, a new computer or software.

How much time do you have to invest?This is a biggie, the less money you have to invest, the more time you are going to have to devote to your new business. Simply because time= money. If you can’t hire anyone for a while then the bulk of the work falls on your lap.

Answering these questions should help you identify the kind of home based business you should start. Here are some ideas…

Zero investment

Ebay. I love ebay for so many reasons. Ebay not only allowed me an extra income when I needed it the most, when I was going to school full time and my husband (now ex) lost his job, it also allowed me to take a vacation to see a long lost relative, but it also gave me the mindset that I could really make a real sustainable income at home. Ebay taught me so many invaluable business skills;  packing, shipping, inventory, postage, dealing with customers and customer service issues, to printing labels and packing slips, finding merchandise to sell and pricing it right. Ebay was the perfect start for me and I think it could be a wonderful first step in learning  the ropes to running a successful home based business. I learned so much, and it was all free training and free to set up. Even if you don’t stick with ebay, set up an account and sell a few items you no longer need to get a real feel for running a business a home. One thing you need to keep in mind is you will need a space to store your ebay and shipping items so if you live in a New York City studio, this might not be the best business for you.

Etsy. If you do any kind of crafting like sewing, crocheting, painting, ceramics or even making soap, you should start a business on Etsy. Etsy is like the ebay of handmade items. It’s really easy to set up a shop. You can set one up in literally minutes. Take some awesome pics, write a great description and your off and running. Link to your PayPal account (like ebay) and you are off and running.

Blog. You can start a blog free. I think if you have a great idea and you love writing why not start a blog? A blog is like a launching pad for many different business ventures. There are so many things you can do with a blog. You can sell items for another company, do product reviews, generate income through affiliate marketing or even create your own products like ebooks and courses. Blogs are more popular than ever, when I first started blogging five years ago, no one knew what the heck a blog was, now everyone has a blog, from authors to stay at home moms. There’s always room for more bloggers. I personally read dozens and I also have other lifestyle blogs. I started my first blog on Google blogger, which is a free platform anyone can use to start a blog. Mine started as a coupon and money saving blog, while I still have this blog my passion is helping other mom’s become successful and self sufficient….at home. You will eventually want to invest a little money if you want to get serious about blogging though and that’s the downside. I tried to do it free and it didn’t work, when I got serious about blogging and put in a little money things started happening. I think starting on a free platform is good though because what if you don’t like it, or have no time for it. No money is lost,…on to the next adventure. You can also start in wordpress too, which is a little more complex, but if you know blogging is for you then by all means start in wordpress. If you have any questions about either if these platforms I would be happy to help (btw this blog uses a free theme right now), I only paid for domain registration for this blog which was around $12, through the always have specials to for .99.. Speaking of that, I paid for a .com but someone else ones it so it’s pending….for now it’s a .org.

Craigslist flipper. Yes, you can start a business using this free website. Millions use this website everyday, why not you? There are several ways you can use this website to start you business. You can buy and sell items or you can sell services. You could get free items like furniture, you can find, re-paint and flip. Put that sucker back on craigslist or drop off at a local consignment store. This is something I’ve been doing for years and its fun! You can also sell services. Are you good at graphic design? Can you write resumes, prepare taxes, are you good with QuickBooks(yuck), can you fix a computer? Or set up a website? If so sell your services.

Free freelancing websites.



Task Rabbit



People per hour



Problogger job board



Direct sales


Linen World

Selling much more than their name implies, Linen World sells linens, toys, home decor, organizational solutions, kitchen products and much more. Absolutely FREE to join. Earn 20% commission on all sales.


Rated the number one direct sales company in the world, with net sales reaching over 11 billion in 2011 alone. Avon sells old time beauty favorite like Skin So Soft and new and exciting skincare products like the ANEW product line. Only $15 to get started.

Jewelry Candles

Sells candles and soaps each with a hidden jewel inside. Startup cost is just $10 and consultants can earn 20% to 25% commission on sales.

Country Gourmet Home

Sells gourmet soup mixes, seasonings, dips and more. The advanced consultant plan is $9.95 plus the cost of your kit (ranges from $6.75 – $69.00). Consultants earn between 20% to 45% commission.

Fuller Brush Company

Sells household and industrial cleaning products, personal care items, and more. Consultants can earn 20% to 46% commission on retail sales. The basic business building kit starts at just $14.95.

Simply Fun

Sells board games, family activities, brainteasers, puzzles, and puppets for all age ranges. Startup cost is just $19 and consultants at this level earn 15% commission on sales.

Bella Branch

Sells personalized photo jewelry. Affiliates can earn 25% commission and the initial startup fee is $19.95. There is also a monthly fee of $12.95 for your website. They currently have a deal where you can earn $5 for joining and an additional $10 for each new affiliate who signs up under you.


Sells handcrafted baskets and other home decor items. Startup costs run between $19 for the Easy Starter Kit, or $49 for the Business Basic Kit. Active military and their spouses can sign up for free.


Sells essential oils, diffusers, and other wellness products. Get started for $35. Consultants earn 25% commission on all retail sales.

JR Watkins

Sells natural home care cleaning supplies, gourmet foods, personal care products, and apothecary products. Startup cost is $39.95 and consultants can earn between 25% to 39% commission on sales.

Team BeachBody

Sells the grueling P90X workout system as well as workout programs, shakes, supplements, nutritional bars, and fitness gear. With a low startup cost of $39.95 and a monthly recurring fee of $15.95 – this could be a great home-based business opportunity for the fitness enthusiast.


Sells jewelry and undercover wear like pajamas, lingerie, and body lotions. Just $39.95 to start and consultants can earn 25% commission on retail sales.

Mia Bella

Sells gourmet candles, melts, soaps, as well as a skincare line. Startup costs are $39.95 per month and are open to both US and Canadian residents.

Gold Canyon Candles

Sells candles, scent pods, warmers, diffusers, home cleaning products, and more. Just $40 to get started with next two payments of $42.50 for a total kit price of $125. Or you can get your Business Builder Kit for free if you sell $600 in your first 45 days. Consultants earn 25% to 36% commission. Available for both US and Canadian residents.

Rodan & Fields Dermatologist

Sells revolutionary skin care products backed by science, business opportunity starts at $45.

Juices Plus

Sells juice powder concentrates from 25 different fruits, vegetables, and grains. Startup starts at $50 and consultants can make 6% to 22% commission on sales. Affiliated with the DSA and the Better Business Bureau.


Sells innovative, quality skincare products. Business opportunity starts at $57.

South Hill Designs

Sells custom lockets and jewelry. Startup kit starts at $59 and consultants can earn up to 40% commission on sales.

Looking for more home-based business opportunities — check out the best products to sell at home.



Direct sales list courtesy of The Work At Home Woman

18 Home Businesses You Can Start For Less Than $59

I highly recommend this website as a great resource for starting a work at home business


There are so many home based businesses you can start for very little money. If you would like a personal skype consult to find out which business opportunity would be best for you contact me directly Sandi@

I’ve tried out and tested a lot of work at home companies, I have done extensive research on this topic and I can tell you what works for me, what doesn’t and even help you set up a blog.

Wishing you home business success!


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