Self-employment has always been a goal of people in remote rural areas, homesteaders, and those trying to get off-grid. The freedom of setting your own hours and doing your own thing is very appealing to those with an independent nature.
Recently, due to Covid, more groups of people urgently need employment options beyond working remotely for someone else. Some are being given an ultimatum by their employer, where they will be terminated if they refuse to get a Covid vaccine. Those who are unvaxxed for medical reasons are being excluded from the workplace or forced to wear masks all day. Others have medical issues which make them more likely to experience severe cases of Covid, and they desperately wish to reduce their exposure to others in the workplace.
Some parents want to pull their children from public schools due to vaccine or mask mandates as well as objections to the curriculum. Some parents of medically fragile children wish to homeschool to lessen their children’s potential exposure. How to homeschool while still earning a living? That’s the big question for them.
And as more and more businesses close their doors forever, job loss is rampant. If you suddenly lose your job, you need to be able to start making money right away to keep afloat.
People need flexible self-employment options
What all of these people have in common, no matter which camp they are in, is the need to secure an income with flexible hours while reducing exposure to others. That’s where this list of self-employment ideas comes in. Most of these for-hire tasks can be done outdoors for an additional layer of security. None require going into someone else’s home or business, with the possible exception of teaching home-schooled children. Even then, a good portion of that can be spent outdoors, weather permitting. Self-employment is key here. This allows you to have more control over your income while overseeing your children’s home-schooling and reducing your exposure to the public.
Everyone in this situation brings a wide variety of skills, talents, and financial resources to the table. They reside in different parts of the country (or world), in different climates, with various populations and settings. Most will be rural or suburban, but those in more urban settings can also adapt many of the possibilities listed here. Some items only require a computer and reliable internet, making them perfect for city apartment dwellers. Some may be subject to rules or permits that restrict sales of home-cooked products, meat, etc. As always, check to see what your locale requires.
The best option is to piece together multiple smaller income streams so that you are unlikely to lose all of them at once. (Think traditional job). Some might be seasonal. Others will provide small amounts of income but add up over time. Let’s dive into the list that I’ve put together and see what this sparks in you. I’d expect that even with the 99 possibilities that I’ve put together here, you’ll still manage to think of others that might work for you where you live! I’ve deliberately not grouped them under categories such as trade or age group so that the process of reading through the entire list will help spark ideas for things you might not have ever considered.
99 remote self-employment options
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Online teaching – Languages or other academic areas either for colleges or private or small-group instruction
- Online tutoring – Think math problems, homework help, reading practice buddy, SAT prep.
- Free-lance writing – Think guest blog posts, magazine submissions, newsletters.
- Free-lance editor/copy-editor/proofreader
- Landscaping– Lawns, leaves, mulch, brush removal, hedge-trimming.
- Hauling – Truck required! – Post availability for removal of furniture, appliances, etc. If the items are metal, take them to the recycling plant and get paid twice!
- Garage workspace rental – People with no off-street parking often look for a short-term space to work on their car. Cities are a great place for this side business.
- Parking/storage for boats, cars, RV’s, motorcycles – Even if you only have room for one, it’s a great way to make a few bucks each month.
- Build and sell chicken coops, sheds, gazebos, wood sheds
- Split and sell firewood and kindling – by the bundle or the truck bed
- Arborist – People will pay you to advise them about tree maintenance – If you really are passionate about the subject, consider getting your degree. Online courses make it easier than ever!
- Gardener – Grow and sell fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Consider having customers pre-pay for ‘weekly shares’ of your garden harvest.
- Farming– Either increase your current production or turn an unused lot into a money-maker. Don’t have room to start your own farm? See if a local farmer needs help with planting, weeding, or harvesting. Get your exercise and some fresh air while steering clear of everything but the fields.
- Beekeeper– Sell honey and beeswax from hives you tend on your own property.
- Cidermaker – Use your fermenting skills to take advantage of apple season.
- Snow removal – Shoveling, snow-blowing, or plowing. Shoveling requires the least start-up money but uses the most energy. Consider both factors before deciding on this side-gig.
- Tilling gardens – If you have a tractor or rototiller, you can advertise your services for tilling gardens and/or fields in the spring and fall. Base your fees on total square feet and soil condition.
- Heavy equipment operator – If you own any equipment (front end loader, backhoe, post hole digger, ditch-witch), you can rent both it and yourself out by the job or by the hour. Don’t own it but know how to operate it? Advertise your services for customers who use equipment rentals. You can even offer to do the renting and add a small upcharge for our time and trouble.
- Custom furniture builder – Love woodworking? Now’s the chance to make money doing something you enjoy!
- Furniture refinishing – With a little patience and a lot of hard work, anyone can refinish furniture. Everyone loves giving an old item a fresh breath of life!
- Chair caning – Don’t start a chair caning business if you don’t know what you’re doing! On the bright side, once you know this skill, you can stay relatively busy because you’ll be one of a rare breed of caners.
- Blade sharpening – You keep your own knives sharp. Why not earn some income keeping them sharp for other people, too? Offer to pick up and drop off remotely if you’d rather not have people at your home.
- Dog walking – Lots of people are willing to pay good money to have their four-legged friends walked while they’re at work. Combine pets from the same neighborhood to really maximize your earning potential. Use your yard as a billable space for mid-day “free running and play time”.
- Start a kennel – If you have the time and space for it, offer to board pets for people while they are away. Offer different pricing structures based on the owner’s requirements.
- Sell items on eBay – Find items at yard sales, estate auctions, and close-outs. Research what each item is selling for (if at all!) before designing your ads.
- Yard sales – Organize a yard sale to help clean out your home while making some dough at the same time. If you hear other people talking about yard sales, offer to help them organize for a fee or a percentage of sales. This is also a great way to get ‘first dibs’ on local items for sale.
- Teach homeschooled children for other families
- Clothing repair/alterations – Can you rip out a hem, sew a button, and replace a zipper? Start a mending service!
- Teach yoga or other exercise classes on Zoom
- Write books– publish on Kindle
- Handmade bows and arrows – Are you a hunter who already makes their own bows and/or arrows? That’s a skill not many people have. It may be worth your time to make enough to sell, either locally or online.
- Make dog treats – Sell to small pet stores, neighbors, and online. Great gift idea as well. Money saved is money earned.
- Egg sales- Are your chickens producing more than your family can use? Consider selling your eggs, either by pick-up or delivery, depending on your preference. Don’t have chickens? You can try asking a local farmer if they need any help delivering theirs. Many times, this is a great opportunity to get paid in farm goods, which you should definitely consider to be a source of income.
- Etsy sales – Do you make something by hand? Let the world see it, and better yet, buy it, with an online Etsy store.
- Silk-screening business – This one requires an outlay of money for equipment to get started, but it will be well worth it if you can pick up some loyal customers.
- Online music teacher
- Breeder – Do your dogs have breeding papers? Is there a market for breeding rabbits in your area? Consider mating your animals and selling the offspring. As your reputation grows, so will your business.
- Computer repair
- Small appliance repair – Clients can drop off and pick up their items remotely. As new appliances – large and small – become harder to find, it will become more important to know someone who can repair existing items.
- Farmstand – Sell your garden bounty at a roadside honor-system farmstand. The end of your driveway is a great location for most people. Leave a basket or jar labeled for payments. The stand won’t need constant monitoring, but check often to keep potential losses to a minimum.
- Flower bouquets – Plant more flowers than usual and then bundle the blooms for sale. Advertise locally or add the bouquets to your roadside farmstand.
- Gutter cleaning – People hate cleaning their gutters! If you don’t mind it and have your own ladder, you might be able to drum up some serious repeat business in your neighborhood!
- Rain barrel and rain garden installation – Put your water collection skills to good use by helping others set up on their properties.
- Social media manager – Offer to handle the social media presence for busy, small, local companies.
- Raise poultry– Keep meat chickens as well as egg chickens. Pay yourself in freezer meat and sell any extra. Consider making barter arrangements with another self-made entrepreneur and swap your extra bounty.
- Freelance artist for books, brochures, posters, food products, etc.
- Graphic designer
- Website developer
- Specialty foods – Bread, cakes, pies, pickles, jams… whatever you are great at making, people will be great at eating. (Be sure to follow any local laws or restrictions)
- Jewelry maker– Sell online
- Create herbal salves, tinctures, etc.- Sell online
- Tax preparation – Were you a tax accountant in your office days? Offer to do taxes for friends, neighbors, family. Post signs, where allowable, at local stores and neighborhood gathering places.
- Build and deliver raised beds, compost bins – Most people who want to switch to raised bed gardening cannot make their own raised beds. Start advertising mid-winter for people looking to convert their gardens in the spring.
- Install fencing – Whether it’s a white picket fence or an underground electric dog fence, people need help with installation. Make it known to your neighborhood that you are the person to call for help.
- Painting – Fences, home exteriors, empty rooms. You decide your rate as well as which jobs you are comfortable with. Many times this is flexible enough to do while juggling a busy schedule at home.
- Driveway repairs – Been patching and resealing your own driveway for as long as you can remember? Make some nice money sharing that skill with others.
- Car detailing
- Tool Rental – Rent out any in-demand items such as floor refinishers, brush mower, rototiller, chipper, wood splitter, etc. Even your carpet cleaner can make a few extra dollars.
- Trailer / Camper rental – Lease your trailer, pop-up camper, or RV by the day, week, or month. Be sure to have a written contract with every customer.
- Create a website/blog/substack/you-tube channel etc.– Take donations or subscriptions. You’ll need to build up a following first, but some people make it worth the struggle long-term.
- Power wash decks, houses, pavements
- Compost service – Offer to pick up scraps from local restaurants and establishments. Sell the compost to gardeners in the spring and fall.
- Hand-crafted wood products – Think laundry racks, birdhouses, shelves, etc.
- Transfer old movies, photos, etc. to current storage technology – Have you already bought all of the equipment to turn your own slides, discs, and tapes into digital copies? Make some money back by using the same equipment to do the same for others.
- Build emergency kits and sell them online
- Dog grooming/bathing at your home or in your yard
- Rent out kitchen and seasonal items – Think cider press, apple picker, dehydrator, pressure canner, pasta maker
- Bicycle repair and resale
- Build and sell bike trailers
- Used car/truck sales – Pick up vehicles at a great price from local sellers, online deals, or auctions and sell for profit.
- Car mechanic– This skill can only become handier and handier as time goes on.
- Resume writing – Advertise at local colleges or where large businesses are planning hiring fairs and openings.
- Build and sell tiny houses
- Custom build campers for people out of regular trucks, cars, and vans
- Knit/crochet hats, blankets, or baby items for sale
- Heirloom seed company– Save the seeds from your garden produce and sell them online in small batches.
- Restore old cars or trucks, motorcycles – Take a hobby and turn it into a dream job!
- Sell services on FIVERR – This is a great website for getting hired for small tasks such as writing a blog post or designing inspirational graphics.
- Homemade maple syrup – Put your maple trees to work! Tap and prepare fresh maple syrup.
- Mushrooms – Grow and sell a variety of mushroom varieties. Not for the inexperienced!
- Animal trapping and elimination – Are you the person everyone calls when they have a bat in the house or an opossum in the garage? Make some money doing it!
- Create and sell gift baskets online
- Wreath making – Great for holiday and seasonal sales. Online craft fairs? Here you come!
- Drone operator– Put last year’s Christmas present to good use. Provide overhead pictures to realtors, landowners, FSBO home sellers, etc.
- Garlic sales – Garlic can be grown over and over. Sell the bulbs straight from the ground, or process the garlic and sell your finished product (where allowed by law).
- Fresh fruit sales – Purchase fruit wholesale from farms in a neighboring state or area and sell locally – Deliver at an upcharge to customers (For the time you spent bringing it to them fresh!)
- Archery instructor – Teach your bow hunting skills to those who want to learn. If you have property, set aside some land where people can pay to practice with targets.
- Swimming instructor – People are always looking for one-on-one instructors—especially adults who want to learn to swim. Use your pool or theirs!
- Candymaker – Peanut butter Easter eggs, chocolate-covered pretzels, and lollipops. People can never get enough.
- Clock repair – Use those tinkering skills!
- Stack firewood – Offer to stack firewood or other heavy outdoor tasks for neighbors and community members with less ability.
- Photography– Sell pics online for use by others – take custom assignments.
- Bait sales – Live near a popular lake, stream, or state park? Raise and sell nightcrawlers and other live bait. Create a stand-alone sales location or sell from your property’s driveway farmstand.
- Specialty cakes and cake decorating – Stock up on ingredients and decorating supplies ahead of time. This will be even more valuable if food shortages spring up from supply chain issues.
- Grow and sell houseplants – Do you have a green thumb? Are your aloe and spider plants constantly dividing? Do you have the knack for turning cuttings into thriving plants? Why not make money doing something you love?
- Grant writer – Do you have experience from your previous life in the corporate or academic world? Local business owners, small non-profits, and entrepreneurs would love to have your expertise available for hire!
- Virtual assistant – Perform needed clerical skills remotely for a small business. The best part is, they don’t need to be local!
- Translation services – Put your knowledge of a second or third language to good use!
Do you have any remote self-employment ideas that aren’t on the list?
Have you retired from the corporate world and started a business from home? What tips can you share with people who are just starting out?