Home Business Ideas: How to Start an Online Business

If you want to start working from home, you should start an e-commerce store.

Also known as “remote work” or “telecommuting”, working from home is becoming increasingly popular. This is partially because of the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, so remote work may very well be the future. 

As a result, selling products online is an excellent home business idea. According to research by Statista, global e-commerce sales will reach $6.5 trillion by 2023. Additionally, because of coronavirus, 42% of online shoppers in the US bought groceries online in March 2020 – this is nearly double the 22% in 2018. 

So how can you take advantage of this trend? Remember, it appears that this is apparent both in the short and the long-term. In other words, this recent boom in e-commerce won’t end once the coronavirus pandemic ends – it’ll keep growing. 

You can tap into this growing market by becoming an online retailer and starting an online store. This means you can work from the comfort of your own home. But there are different types of online stores and different ways to be an online entrepreneur. That being said, let’s take a look at the various options you have. 

Work From Home By Becoming An Online Retailer

You could become an independent entrepreneur by working online. This means you could be your own boss and have equity in your business venture. So there is theoretically no cap on how much you can make – the harder you work, the higher the profits. 

E-commerce retail is always a great means of working remotely and it also allows you to be your own boss. Plus, there are some definite benefits:

  1. You get to make your own hours.
  2. You don’t have to deal with the hassle of a long commute. For example, the average commute time in the US is 49.1 minutes, one way. 
  3. As long as you have internet, you can work from anywhere. This will give you more opportunity to travel.
  4. You can spend more time with family or focusing on other things you love to do.
  5. By managing your everyday work, you can feel more in control of your life.
  6. If there is a public health crisis, then you don’t have to be in contact with other people.

As you can see, working from home and being your own boss certainly has its appeal. So how do you go about doing this? What are your options in choosing how to sell these items online?

1. Buy Wholesale Items and Resell Them Online

If you’re looking to work from home, you can buy in bulk from a wholesaler and then resell these items through your online store. You can set up your ecommerce website easily and start to sell online. 

This model is similar to the conventional, brick-and-mortar retail model. A business buys products at high volumes and sells them individually. They usually get a better wholesale price from the manufacturer or distributor because they’re buying in bulk. 

As an online retailer, you’re essentially doing the same thing. This model is potentially very profitable, especially if the products are popular and sell in high-volume. While that’s a strong benefit, there are certain challenges that you need to consider:

  1. You’ll need to pay for storage or warehouse space if you can’t store the inventory in your home . Depending on where you’re located, this can be a tremendous expense, especially in areas where real estate is valuable. 
  2. If you’re selling perishable items with expiration dates, then you need to follow best storage practices so that you don’t sell rancid or spoiled food to your customers. They most certainly won’t appreciate that! 
  3. Most cities are very strict about commercial zoning. This is because commercial areas usually have higher traffic than residential areas, so if you have lots of carriers coming to pick up packages or shipments, then you may run afoul of municipal permits or licenses. 

If you can afford storage space or have the luxury of turning your home into a fulfillment center, then you may be very successful at buying in bulk from wholesalers and then selling from home. 

Luckily, GreenDropShip is a wholesale supplier. You can buy brand name products in bulk from us and then resell them to online shoppers, all while working remotely. 

2. Sell Online with Amazon FBA

If you want to be a successful online entrepreneur working from home, you can also sell products on Amazon. By choosing Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), you’ll be selling items in your online store but having Amazon store, pack, and ship them via their fulfillment centers. 

If you choose the right products and suppliers, and you have a user-friendly online store, then you can turn a handsome profit by using FBA. You’ll likely benefit from the enormous customer trust and recognition for the Amazon brand name as well as access to all their Amazon Prime members. 

With FBA, however, you have to pay both your supplier and Amazon, so profit margins can be pretty thin. Plus, competition can be fierce and it becomes difficult to differentiate yourself from other FBA sellers. However, if you’re looking to work from home, then FBA is always a solid choice. Plus, you can still use GreenDropShip as your supplier while selling via FBA. For instance, you can order wholesale items from us and we then send them to the Amazon warehouse. We even offer our FBA Prep services at no extra charge to our members.

3. Sell Your Own Products

Are you a creative person? Do you have a talent for making things that friends and family have complimented you on? Well, you may consider selling these homemade goods in your online store. This can range anywhere from baked goods to clothing and art. 

Consider turning your intense hobby into a profitable business. Even if you have to create your products elsewhere—in a studio, commercial kitchen, or even a crafts workshop—you may be able to store and sell them in your own home. The benefits are twofold: you not only make income from the comfort of your home, but you also get to monetize a talent or hobby you have. Online retail makes it possible – even easy – to follow these dreams you may have had all this time. 

When you have the ability to control nearly every aspect of the products you sell, you can make them more cost- effective, improve their quality, or cater them to a certain audience by targeting demand in the market.

Much like dropshipping or buying in bulk, you can easily use an e-commerce platform to get your products to the wider market. This includes Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, or even Etsy (which specializes in this type of e-commerce). 

If you want a successful business selling your own goods, you’ll have to pay special attention to your personal brand. This is because it will be virtually inseparable from the products you make and sell – the consumer will essentially see you and the product as one and the same. 

4. Become An Affiliate

This is another home-based business option. Becoming an affiliate (or “affiliate marketing”) consists of promoting other brand’s products on their website and getting a commission for every sale made (link to affiliate marketing post). Of all the ways to work from home that we’ve mentioned in this post, this is the best source of passive income. 

It’s based on revenue sharing. If you have a product and want to sell more, you can offer promoters a financial incentive through an affiliate program. If you have no product and want to make money, then you can promote a product that you feel has value and earn an income from it as an affiliate marketer.

Plus, you can be an Amazon affiliate or join the affiliate program of any brand that offers that possibility. 

To be successful at it, you’ll have to build content on your website, for instance by adding product reviews and then mentioning the promoted products with an affiliate link that points users to the brand’s website. Ideally, the online shopper will purchase the product via your affiliate link and the brand website will know the sale came from the affiliate marketer. As a result, you’ll get a commission on the sale. 

The main benefit is that this is a really passive source of income. Aside from the initial work creating the content, you can literally make money while you sleep. It’s a great work-from-home setup. You can make money if you work hard on it and implement good search engine optimization (SEO), but commissions are usually low so not many affiliates do it as a full time job.

5. Start a Dropshipping Business

Dropshipping is an e-commerce retail fulfillment model in which the online retailer does not actually handle any products or inventory. Instead, a dropshipping supplier oversees the storing, packing, and shipping of your products to the end consumer. Considering that you don’t have to deal with these logistics, customer service and marketing become your primary responsibilities. In many ways, dropshipping is the ultimate e-commerce model for someone looking to start working from home. 

The basic steps to dropshipping are: 

  1. You set up an online store. You can either build your own store or go through an e-commerce platform like Shopify or WooCommerce.  
  2. Choose a niche. By specializing in a narrower part of the online retail market, you can find products and goods with less competition from other sellers. 
  3. Pick a dropshipping supplier. Make sure they have a good inventory of products so that you can have a selection of goods that customers will be interested in purchasing. 
  4. An online shopper buys something from your store. Once this happens, you’ll have to order from your dropshipping supplier (at wholesale prices) and they’ll pack and ship the product to the end customer. 

Your profit is the difference between the wholesale price and the price you sell the product for (the retail price).

GreenDropShip is a supplier and wholesaler that offers dropshipping services, the ability to buy in bulk, and FBA prep services. This means that our members can use three different e-commerce methods to start working from home and making money, including dropshipping name brand products from our extensive selection of over 20,000 natural and organic items.  

What Are The Benefits of Dropshipping? 

Essentially, dropshipping is the least hands-on form of retail e-commerce, making it the perfect option if you’re looking to reduce the amount of time you actually spend on your business. With dropshipping, you simply act as a middleman between the customer and the supplier.

As a result, there are plenty of strong benefits to this e-commerce model, including: 

  1. Your startup and operational costs are much lower. In fact, you can start dropshipping with very little money.
  2. The risk is very low. Because you don’t handle the inventory, there’s no chance of you buying too much in bulk and then ending up with unsold surplus. This risk is much more common in more conventional retail models. 
  3. Dropshipping is an excellent way to make money from home. Once you go through all the steps of setting up the online store and choosing the right dropshipping supplier, then you simply have to work on marketing to promote your store. The more labor and time-intensive parts of retail, like running a fulfillment center, are not necessary for dropshipping. 

GreenDropShip is a dropshipping supplier that’s based in the US and offers competitively-priced memberships for independent entrepreneurs looking to work from home. With our inventory of over 20,000 natural and organic goods, there’s plenty of top-quality products that consumers will be looking for. 

Become An Independent Entrepreneur with GreenDropShip

As a result, you have more options and could theoretically do one or all three major e-commerce retail models: start a dropshipping store, buy products in bulk for resale, or use Amazon FBA. That way you can keep working from home and making sales!

Choosing the right supplier gives you more options. For instance, you can test out the popularity or potential profitability of a new product via dropshipping . This keeps your risk and startup costs low. If it sells well and there seems to be demand amongst consumers, then you can come back to us and buy it in bulk. You just need the storage space.

It’s important to remember that GreenDropShip has over 20,000 natural and organic products, most of them made in the USA. Plus, we’re a domestic dropshipping supplier, meaning all of our operations and fulfillment centers are based in the country. This makes shipping faster and keeps customer satisfaction higher.

Marcin Ossowski
Marcin Ossowski is a writer based in Los Angeles, California. At GreenDropShip, he writes about e-commerce, lending his expertise to online retailers and entrepreneurs on how to best drive sales and market their online stores. In his downtime, Marcin spends a lot of time outdoors and is actively pursuing his passion for writing fiction, creative nonfiction, and satire.