5 Low-Cost, Work-At-Home Business Opportunities for Women

Image shoes four icons: boxes of goods being sold on ebay. a telephone ringing, a scale, and a first aid kit. Text reads: "Low-cost, work-at-home business opportunities: ebay entrepreneurship; telephone answering service; mediation; first-aid kid supply business"

Image by Ashley Nicole DeLeon © The Balance 2019

The best business opportunities for women who want to work from home need to involve little to no startup capital and minimal risk. Industries that remain strong even during tough time include services that can save other companies money, and child- and pet-care related products and services.

You should also love what you are doing; it is rare to encounter a highly successful entrepreneur who is not passionate about their business. Choosing a path that will make you happy and feel satisfied with your life is important regardless of whether or not your financial goals include "get rich."

Starting and running a business often does require lots of startup cash, but it also always requires a significant time and energy investment.

Here are just a few ideas for business you might want to consider starting up, but never hesitate to think outside the box. You may love cooking but do not want to open a restaurant, so think catering, organization bake sales, and other food-offering fundraisers. You might even want to start your own home delivery service or food products that can be sold in stores or at the local farmer's market.

In other words, focus on something you love to do but put a "you" emphasis on your business idea to make it unique amongst your competition. Or, even better, find a niche market and be the first one to get the jump on things!

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eBay Entrepreneurs

With the right marketing tools, you can sell anything on eBay. The giant of online auction services, eBay continues to be an inexpensive, lucrative selling tool for everything from broken tools to real estate.

Best eBay business tip: search for retail stores going out of business or discontinuing product lines. Buy as many items as you can at a discounted price and sell them on eBay.

Devoting 20-30 hours per week to serious eBay sales, you can easily make about $1,000 to $2,000 a month. That may not sound like a lot of money, but over the course of a year, you could easily earn as much as if you were working full-time at a minimum wage job, only with the perks of running your own business!

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Are You a Peacemaker? Think About Becoming a Mediator

Mediators are neutral, disinterested persons who try to reconcile differences between parties to avoid arbitration or costly litigation. Unlike arbitrators, mediators do not make decisions favoring one party or the other. In most of the U.S., there is no special licensing or certification required to become a mediator, but you will have to be good at networking among lawyers.

Mediators charge $80-$100 per hour for their services, but obviously, rates will be affected by your location and experience. Start by contacting the American Arbitration Association to learn more about the requirements and rewards of becoming a peacemaker!

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Telephone Answering Service

If you have a pleasant speaking voice, excellent communication skills, and are attentive to details, consider starting a home-based telephone answering service.

Depending on the range of services you offer (weekend, weekday, or after-hours) phone services typically charge each client about $200 per month for handling after-hours calls. Startup costs include telephone service, business licensing, and advertising.

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First-Aid Kit Supply Business

It is not one of those “assemble products at home” schemes. In 2003, the USPS awarded a $10 million contract to a one-man business for customized first-aid kits. Medical and first-aid kits are popular among fundraisers because they sell.

Specialized, pre-assembled first-aid kits are in high demand by schools, corporations, and industries that are required by law to have first-aid kits on site. You will need to purchase parts wholesale, assemble customized kits, and find a market. Customized kits can be sold for $5 to $150, depending on your market.

The Most Important Investment is Your Time

Starting and running a business often does require lots of startup cash, but it also always also requires a significant time and energy investment. If you hate what you are doing you are less likely to put in the time and effort to make you business succeed. However, if you love what you do, even the little milestones will bring you far more satisfaction.