Want to be a businesswoman? Learn how to start a small business at home with these 21 pandemic-proof work-from-home business ideas for women in India.
A large number of businesses have had to shut shop as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns. Some, like the international travel business and the real estate business, may never recover completely.
On the other hand, a crisis for some businesses can mean opportunity for others. While some businesses are downing their shutters, many work-from-home businesses are thriving.
With social distancing restrictions, people have found ways to connect online using video and web conferencing and ecommerce is growing every day, providing new opportunities to Indian women at home.
So if you’re wondering how to start a business from home, are willing to open your eyes to new business opportunities, and learn new skills to help you become a successful businesswoman, these home business ideas for women may be just what you need.
21 Pandemic-Proof Work-From-Home Business Ideas For Women
Whether you’re a businesswoman who needs to pivot or a wannabe entrepreneur who wants new business ideas that are pandemic-proof, these upcoming business ideas in India in 2021 can help you start a new business from home.
If you’ve been wondering how to start a small business at home with no money, you’ll love the fact that many of these home business ideas for women include low-cost or zero-investment business ideas.
1. Become an online reseller
If this is your present situation and you’re wondering how to start a business with no money in India, then online reselling is the best business for ladies sitting at home.
The pandemic has accelerated the shift away from physical stores to digital shopping by roughly five years. Ecommerce took off like a rocket in 2020, and today most people prefer to do their shopping online to avoid crowds and contagion.
This has opened up new opportunities for women who want to start a work-at-home business, with reseller apps making it easy for them to start an online business without investment.
While there are many money-earning apps that claim to make you rich as an online seller, the truth is that most of them offer cheap, low-quality, unbranded products.
If you’re willing to learn sales skills and want to sell high-quality, branded products with zero investment, join the SHECO Partner Program and earn from your mobile phone.
You’ll see why SHECO sellers call it the Woman Fortune-Changer Platform once you learn how to make money with your Smartphone with this life-changing business idea for women in India.
2. Start a food business from home
Starting a food business from home is one of the easy business ideas for ladies in India. Many Indian women are excellent cooks, having honed their skills in the kitchen from a young age.
Although the restaurant business has lost a lot of its customers, the food delivery business is going great guns. Apps like Zomato, Swiggy, UberEats, FoodPanda, and Dunzo have made it easy for home cooks to deliver piping hot and delicious homemade tiffins to people in their locality.
All you need is the business savvy to price your food right and market it well on food delivery apps and in local social media groups that let you promote your home tiffin and food preparations.
Learn how to start a Ghar ka khana tiffin service with Shipra Baranwal, founder of a six-figure home-kitchen business in India.
You could also sell wedding cakes or pastries to local clients or sell homemade pickles and speciality foods through online retailers, like the inspiring Rohini Patel.
If you decide to start a food business from home, make sure you complete all the legalities and get the licenses you need to sell food products in India.
3. Become a financial consultant
Did you know that you don’t even need a degree or have any work experience to be a self-employed, work-from-home financial consultant?
All you need is a 10th pass certificate and the willingness to learn new skills, so you can sell insurance policies and products to your clients. A financial consultant helps her clients make wise investment decisions that secure the future of their family and loved ones with insurance products.
In a pandemic, financial consultants will always be in demand, as people understand the need for life and health insurance products. Women, especially, make great financial advisors because of their empathy, social skills, and communication skills, as well as their desire to help others.
The reason why being a financial consultant is one of the best business ideas for housewives is that it can help you earn a passive income.
That means you continue to make money from recurring commissions of insurance policies you sold earlier, even if you stop working for some reason.
4. Start a digital marketing agency
With the growth of digital business during the pandemic, many more businesses have realized the importance of having an online presence.
As a result, the demand for digital marketing services and digital education has skyrocketed and is not likely to decrease anytime soon.
If you’re a digital marketing expert, this is the best time to start your entrepreneurial journey with your own social media marketing agency or digital marketing agency.
There is a growing requirement for competent digital marketing experts who can either train other entrepreneurs to take their business online or do it for them.
5. Become an online counsellor or therapist
Anxiety, depression, social isolation, loneliness, suicide, domestic violence and abuse – all of these mental health issues have reached a crisis point during the pandemic leading to a need for more mental health specialists.
If you’re a mental health professional, becoming an online counsellor or therapist is a natural career transition, as you can grow your business online while helping others deal with their mental health issues.
You can sign up as a counsellor on a number of online counselling websites or apps or start your own counselling practice online with video and web conferencing apps like Zoom.
6. Start a virtual assistant business
A virtual assistant is someone who helps entrepreneurs and small businesses with tasks they would rather outsource. As a virtual assistant, you’ll be hired to work from home and manage tasks that other businesses want to outsource.
Some of these virtual assistant tasks can be purely administrative and include responding to emails or phone calls, or providing customer service and support.
Others, such as Pinterest VA services, social media marketing, writing articles and newsletters, and even bookkeeping or accounting, may require more advanced training.
7. Become a digital content freelancer
During the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns, bloggers and podcasters saw an uptick in their traffic as people began consuming reams of information online.
According to the World Economic Forum, the lockdown led to a spike in new media platforms such as podcasts, with listenership reaching audiences of over 15 million in 2020, creating opportunities for digital content freelancers.
Many people turned to blogs and podcasts to find help or advice on the issues of managing remote work, home organisation, boosting their health and immunity, and finding new recipes to cook for their families.
If you love creating content and have some knowledge or expertise to share on popular topics, you can start a blog and a podcast and monetize them with brand sponsorships and affiliate marketing.
The key to monetizing your blog is to think of it as a real business. Many professional bloggers use freelance content creation as a side hustle to cover their costs and monetize their blogs while growing their audience.
Digital content producers are in high demand in India and freelancers are being employed as Content Coordinators, Bloggers, YouTubers, and Podcasters.
Even though there are millions of blogs and podcasts online and the competition is fierce, there is always an opportunity to make money blogging or podcasting in niches and sub-niches, especially if you have a unique voice or point of view that your readers enjoy.
8. Become a YouTuber
For content creators who prefer creating videos to writing blogs, vlogging, or creating useful and entertaining video content on topics that you’re passionate about, is a great way to make money on YouTube.
Most people don’t realize that YouTube is actually the 2nd most popular search engine after Google and that it’s possible to grow and monetize a YouTube channel much faster than a blog.
Also, with internet speeds increasing the world over, more people are watching video content when they want to learn something new, be inspired, or just be entertained.
As with blogs, niche channels do better than broad topics. So, if you’re planning on starting a YouTube recipe channel, you could target a popular niche such as keto recipes, vegan recipes, or baking recipes.
If you can create useful and engaging tutorials on topics that people are searching for and build an audience of tens of thousands of subscribers, you can actually make a lot of money with the YouTube Partner Program.
But even if you don’t get enough views and subscribers to monetize your channel with YouTube ads, you can work as a freelance video content creator and earn money through brand sponsorships and affiliate marketing.
9. Start an Amazon FBA business
If you want to sell products online and are willing to invest some money in your work-from-home business, you can try Amazon’s Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) business model.
As an online seller, you need to source the products you want to sell on Amazon from a supplier or manufacturer at wholesale rates and purchase the inventory. You can ship your product from a local or international manufacturer and store it in Amazon’s warehouse.
From Amazon’s Fulfillment Centers it is then shipped to the customer when they purchase it on the Amazon store and you receive your payment, minus Amazon’s fees. Again, it’s important to choose a profitable niche and a manufacturer that provides quality products.
You’ll need to do some market research and connect with different suppliers. If you find a manufacturer that offers a private label option (adding your own brand on the products), it can help you establish your own brand.
If you’re wondering about the difference between dropshipping and Amazon FBA, just remember that in drop shipping you don’t actually own the merchandise and are just the middleman between the manufacturers and customers.
With Amazon’s FBA program, you have to actually invest money in your product inventory and store it in Amazon’s warehouse from where it is shipped to the buyer.
10. Start your own online store
According to the World Economic Forum, ecommerce has the potential to level the economic playing field for women in developing countries and can become one of the driving forces in women’s economic empowerment.
Given the cultural barriers in societies like India that require women to stay in the house, ecommerce offers women the liberty to work from home while expanding a business.
If you have something unique and original to sell, you can sell your products through your own ecommerce store instead of paying fees to online retailers like Amazon.
This is another small home business idea that requires a small investment to start and grow, but you can build an online shop without investment in the SHEROES app for women.
To support every woman in her entrepreneurial journey, every micro-entrepreneur on the SHEROES app for women can now start a SHOPonSHEROES to sell her own products in a social setting, with content tools, dashboards and her own community.
SHOPonSHEROES is a way to build an online store for free and showcase your products and services. Customers can check what products you sell or services that you offer. There are absolutely no charges for setting up your shop. It is completely free.
Some products you can sell through your SHOPonSHEROES ecommerce store include eBooks, games, art and paintings, sculpture, home décor, pottery, natural cosmetics, or even food products such as pickles or dry foods.
When you set up your online store, you are responsible for creating the products, setting the prices, marketing and promoting your store, and handling the shipping and fulfilment. However, you also get to keep all of the profit.
So if you’re selling high-ticket items or customized or bespoke items, you may want to start your own store so you can allow your customers to design or customize your products to their personal preferences.
11. Become an eBook publisher
Books and eBook sales benefited in the wake of the pandemic. Book sales surged as people in lockdown began looking for inspiration, education, and entertainment in novels and non-fiction books to help them get through isolation.
Many savvy entrepreneurs and authors jumped on the bandwagon and made a killing by frequently releasing new book titles that were ghostwritten by other writers.
So, you don’t even have to be a writer to take up book publishing as one of your small business ideas at home, since you can hire ghostwriters who enjoy getting paid for what they do best and focus on promoting and marketing the books.
In fact, book publishing can provide you with a very good source of passive income, and fiction genres such as romance and fantasy novels and book series do especially well if you understand the ever-changing principles of book promotion.
12. Start a mask-making business
If you have a talent for tailoring and crafting things from fabric, you could start a customized mask-making business.
In India, many women lost their jobs in the unorganised sectors and making masks at home has provided livelihood opportunities in their time of need.
There are a number of artisanal businesses, like Village, that are empowering rural women in India with the dignity to earn their own livelihood by stitching masks at home.
If you know of disadvantaged women who need help to survive, you can start a home business for ladies by employing them to stitch attractive masks and selling them on online retailers.
If you have your own stitching and embroidery business, you can create beautifully embroidered masks and sell them online or to well-known fashion designers for premium prices.
13. Teach online courses or host virtual summits
Do you have something to teach others? Are you an expert on a popular topic? Did you get paid to conduct in-person training programs before the pandemic?
If you were conducting live training programs, such as POSH training or speaking at conferences, you can now leverage your knowledge and take your programs online by creating an online course or conducting live online group training.
When you create an online course, it becomes a perpetual sales machine that can earn money while you sleep. That’s just one of the reasons why online courses are one of the most popular online business ideas from home.
While doing group coaching or live training is more time-intensive, you can team up with other speakers and experts to launch high-ticket coaching seminars and virtual summits that can bring in massive sales and passive income.
Many former public speakers who got paid to give keynote talks and speak at events are now charging to speak at virtual events that offer more value and are priced higher than online courses.
14. Become a software developer
Did you know that you don’t need a technology background to become a software developer? Read the story of a stay-at-home mom, Suman Humane, who leveraged Trailhead to up-skill and become a Senior Salesforce Professional.
To start a business as a software developer, you can learn coding, or partner with coders, or hire coders who can create a software solution for you.
There’s a great deal of demand for SaaS software products that fulfil a certain need in specific markets and if you have a great idea for an in-demand SaaS product, you can build it yourself or outsource it and earn a steady income from sales and subscriptions.
For example, read the story of Neha Kanodia, who built the GoGaGa dating app for people looking for serious and meaningful relationships.
Some other examples of useful SaaS products are ecommerce website builders, email marketing solutions, online website builders, computer utilities, and online cybersecurity tools.
You could even build mobile apps that help people improve their mental and physical health with meditation or yoga classes or money-earning apps that help women earn cash from their mobile.
When it comes to creating new software and tech solutions, you’re only limited by your imagination.
15. Become a game developer
Millions of people found themselves housebound during the pandemic and lockdowns and turned to online gaming to deal with the boredom of sitting at home.
Paytm First Games reported an almost 200% increase in their user base during the pandemic. Even now, the trend shows no signs of dropping off and game developers are benefiting from public health efforts to enforce effective social distancing during the pandemic.
The online gaming industry was even supported by the World Health Organisation’s #PlayApartTogether campaign encouraging people to stay at home and limit the spread of the virus.
If you want to capitalize on the gaming trend, you can either learn how to become a game developer yourself or start a company with other game developers to build and monetize your games.
16. Start a safe salon-at-home service
Although beauty salons were shut down during the lockdown and are only just beginning to open up, there are a number of salon-at-home apps that offer a safe salon-at-home experience.
Whether you’re a beautician whose business was affected by the lockdown or want to start a new beauty salon business, you can register your beauty services on these salon-at-home apps.
Despite the pandemic, many people are comfortable with getting safe beauty parlour services in the comfort of their homes and these safe salon-at-home apps can help your beauty business survive the pandemic.
17. Start a streaming entertainment channel
People who are housebound are always looking for a source of entertainment. Online movie channels have seen an increase in paid subscriptions during the lockdown with Netflix alone reaching 203 million subscribers.
Many of these streaming channels are also investing heavily in making original shows and films to get an edge over their competition in the streaming film market.
If you enjoy making entertaining videos yourself or are willing to partner with others and invest in getting them made, you can set up your own entertainment website and start earning revenue with brand collaborations, sponsorships and advertising.
There will always be a lot of demand for entertaining content that helps people alleviate their boredom, so this can become a very lucrative online business from home if you’re willing to make the initial investment and put in the work of building collaborations.
18. Start a home-based recruiting business
With the job market in flux during the pandemic, an estimated 12.2 crore people lost their jobs and India’s unemployment rate shot up.
However, there were many organisations that actually increased hiring, especially those whose businesses were unaffected or increased during the lockdowns.
Some of these industries include corporate services, legal services, public safety, software, and IT services.
A lot of these businesses are now looking to recruit for remote positions, especially entry-level positions, and corporate organisations are hiring talent to select roles that require niche skills.
This is the perfect scenario for former HR personnel to start a home-based recruiting business putting new graduates into remote jobs and connecting corporate organisations to the right remote employees.
19. Start an online fitness studio
With most gyms shutting shop during the pandemic, many fitness professionals took their coaching online, providing online yoga classes, and even personal training online, to clients looking to avoid the pull of the sedentary lifestyle.
If you’re a fitness professional or was hoping to become one, you could start a yoga or Pilates studio online. You can create online courses, provide live group sessions, and also personal coaching to your fitness clients.
If you want to add another revenue stream to your fitness business, you can also earn money reviewing and promoting home exercise equipment for sponsors or as an affiliate.
An online fitness studio is a great business for ladies with low investment and all it requires is a camera to record your sessions and a web conferencing solution, like Zoom, to connect with your clients online.
20. Start online tutoring or ed-tech startups
According to the WEF, the coronavirus pandemic has changed how millions of young people around the globe are educated and has seen the rise of e-learning and remote teaching on digital platforms.
When schools shut all across the world, over 1.2 billion children were out of the classroom and it became clear that this pandemic has disrupted an education system that was already losing its relevance.
As online learning has been shown to increase retention of information and take less time, the online tutoring websites that grew due to the coronavirus pandemic might be here to stay.
So, how can you leverage the growth in online learning to start an online tutoring business or ed-tech startup from home? These examples of entrepreneurs who did just that will inspire you to start your own online tutoring or ed-tech business.
The growth of online tutoring has been profitable for Ed-tech entrepreneurs like Vidhu Goyal of WONK online teaching app, India’s largest online and home tutoring booking app providing services in India and across 5 continents.
Michael Black, managing director of NSW-based tutoring franchise Success Tutoring, is another entrepreneur who was able to transition to online tutoring quickly and he’s hoping to jump into franchising as the economy recovers.
Interested in applying for online teaching jobs part-time? Join the Glow & Lovely Careers community on the SHEROES app to know everything about being an online tutor.
21. Start a personal concierge business
When many people were forced to be housebound or were unable to leave the house during the lockdowns, they turned to personal concierge services like Dunzo to help them run errands and do deliveries for them.
Although we usually call them “peons” in India, personal concierges are freelancers who save their clients the time and effort of running errands themselves.
As customers pay personal concierges for helping them save time, the more time you can save for your client, the more you can charge them – within a limit.
If you have good organisational skills, you can run your personal concierge startup as a small business from home by hiring young people to run errands for your clients and paying them accordingly.
With the COVID-19 pandemic not projected to end anytime soon and the vaccine yet to reach billions of people, these work-at-home business ideas will have many takers for years to come.
We wish you great success with your business at home. Get more entrepreneur inspiration from our list below of home businesses for ladies sitting at home.
About the author:
Priya Florence Shah is the Group Editor at SHEROES and author of Devi2Diva, an emotional self-care book for women.
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