Many people considering their home working options instantly think about things they can do on a computer. But while lots of us make money from things like writing and transcription, plenty of others build a business around manual skills and trades.
In today’s free market economy, you can make money doing virtually anything if you can find people willing to pay you for it. As such, you can put any of your preexisting manual skills to use and get a small business or side gig off the ground.
Everybody in this world is different; Perhaps you struggle to find your way around a computer, but can assemble flat-pack furniture like a pro, or know exactly how to turn a brown and mossy patch of grass into a stunning lawn. Whatever your own skills are, there’s probably a market for them out there.
What’s more, technology makes it much easier to connect with people looking for specific help.
Home and building maintenance is an area with massive potential. Properties in constant use will always need professional maintenance.
This can be a tricky area to navigate. Some maintenance tasks, specifically around electrics and plumbing, usually require you to train, certify and gain a license before you can sell your services. However, if you have the aptitude, hiring yourself out as a manual labourer, gardener, or general handyperson is far more straightforward. You could end up breaking into more specialist trades as you go along too.
SItes like TaskRabbit and AirTasker can help you find people looking for services. At any one time there are loads of potential clients searching for anything from “paint my office” to “lay my flooring.”
This is the kind of work that can “snowball” as you gain experience, referrals and satisfied repeat customers.
If you are adept at making things with your hands, you may be able to grow a business around building and selling your creations. Plenty of people see and admire things like garden benches made from pallets and work surfaces crafted from coins, but not many have the aptitude for actually following through and building them.
Building a business around selling things you create is a very different to doing maintenance work. You will be responsible for marketing your own products, for starters. You need to pick the right products and charge the right prices to make a success of this kind of thing. However, if you can build a high-quality product that people can use, whether that’s through carpentry, welding or crafting, you can find success.
Many people have broken onto this scene via websites like Etsy that have sprung up in recent years.
Service skills are easily marketed to others, and it’s similarly easy to find tasks via online platforms. We have a case study on the site of a lady who built a whole business around everything from pet sitting to helping out elderly neighbours.
Essentially, you can offer to do anything that others can’t readily do themselves. Most people who are familiar with DIY projects are comfortable changing a pipe or two. But people who can fix iPhone screens or upgrade laptops are more thin on the ground.
A quick glance at TaskRabbit shows people looking for help with everything from TV mounting to flatpack assembly (see above).
In the end, it all comes down to supply and demand. If you can find people who need or want what you’re selling, you can build a business. Making use of manual skills is honest and profitable, and can sometimes involve work you truly enjoy. (For example, gardening has actually been scientifically proven to make people happier!)
With today’s technology, whether you make use of marketplace sites or “old school” social media, you can reach new customers from the comfort of your own home.
For more on job marketplace sites, check out this article.