Working from home: Top considerations

Mar 6, 2012, 6 a.m.

Hobbies turned profitable can get complicated. Insurance, credits and all measures of deductions lend a hand to the headaches that can accompany home entrepreneurship. For example: Current IRS rules set $400 or more as the mile marker for filing taxes on work-from-home income. This means that the self-employed home worker must begin to set aside certain funds for tax purposes, file quarterly reports, and add extra time to an already demanding startup business.

Work from home opportunities abound, but the methods for keeping up with income and tax percentages vary from job to job and year to year. To ensure accurate records, freelancers, home business owners, and sub-contractors must remain up-to-date on current legal requirements. In fact, before jumping on one of the projects in this list of work from home ideas, consider the value of consulting with a tax professional for that given field.

14.8 million "work from home" opportunities

Ok. That's a bit of an exaggeration. Truth is that about half of the estimated 29.6 million U.S. small businesses are home-based. Many of the job titles are duplicates, of course, yet each of the approximate 14.8 million home businesses evolved from some field of business opportunity. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, seniors between the ages of 55 and 64 account for the second most active group of home entrepreneurs.

Here are four intriguing work from home ideas:

1) Nanny Service

Licensing restrictions can be a pain in the business end of working from home. To avoid the extra hassle, consider taking on nanny projects. The hourly pay is decent, provides consistent work, and opens doors for rapid expansion.

2) Pet Sitting Home Business

Some folks treat pets like family. They don't board them; they hire like-minded professional pet sitters to provide extended one-on-one care for their beloved animal. If you enjoy working with animals, being your own boss, and need to get started in a low cost startup, pet sitting may be a fun and lucrative option for you to consider.

3) Seasonal Services

This can involve anything tied to holidays or seasons. Everything from putting up and taking down holiday decorations to tilling the vegetable garden in the early Spring or uncovering the pool. It just takes a bit of word-of-mouth promotion and fair pricing.

4) Freelance Writing

Writing is a challenging business and it's not for everyone. Gaining a reputation for professional material, on-time delivery and creative content takes time--in addition to perfecting your editorial skills. The starting pay scale is low and the hours are long. But perseverance will pay off in the end.

Caution is the keyword

The list of work from home opportunities is nearly endless, ranging from accountant services to wedding photography. So step in slowly. Examine your own talents and skills. Focus on something that comes naturally to you. Investigate the startup expenses, any special insurance and licensing requirements, and the local marketplace for the given service. Then: Make it happen. Finding work from home ideas that sell is all up to you.

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