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Work-From-Home Business Ideas for Eco-Conscious Minds

Work-From-Home Business Ideas for Eco-Conscious Minds, via SustainableBabySteps.com

Any work-from-home business ideas should be two things: sustainable and aligned with your values.

If it's not those two things it's probably not going to work, or at least not going to last.

I created this page because people ask me all the time how it is that we've both created this website, and how I've been able to be a work-from-home mom, supporting my family, allowing my husband to be a full-time dad, and allowing us to travel the US full-time in an RV.

I debated sharing this information here, except that work-from-home business ideas CAN be both green and sustainable:

  • No commute means no emissions
  • No "work clothes" or extra waste created on other work-only resources
  • Self-employment can make business less about money and more about our values
  • Small businesses are more likely to support their local economy
  • They are more apt to be accountable to how their actions affect the environment
  • And there is nothing more sustainable than creating work that allows you to live healthy, prioritize your values and your family, and create something worth sustaining!

I know it can seem like a pipe dream and I'll be the first to admit it's not for everyone. After being an entrepreneur for over a decade, I can say being one is a lot of work, it means making sacrifices (but should only mean sacrificing stupid things, like the dishes, not your family), and NOT everyone will be successful at it.

But despite the countless scams out there, it IS a very real possibility for a lot more people than you'd think to utilize one of these or other work-from-home business ideas to create work you love and a life worth sustaining.

We make our income in several ways, all of which are aligned with our values for our family, our green lifestyle, and our desire to prioritize our values above all else.

This is NOT an exhaustive list of work-from-home business ideas by any means. It's simply what WE do, based on what we love, to show you there ARE possibilities out there.

Took the mister out for Pad Thai to celebrate his newly minted business license and he got this for his #fortunecookie! #synchronicity #hesakeeper #distinctivecarpentryllc

Yup, this is pretty much what our work day looks like. The mid-day lunch date, that is, not the nose picking. Although...

Information-Based Business

That's what this website is: an information-based business. In an information-based business you are offering knowledge to people who are looking for it. This could be something you are already an expert on, or something you are still learning (and you share as your own knowledge grows). It can be on ANY topic - from fly-fishing to traveling your favorite country, it doesn't matter. Because in the day of the internet people want knowledge. They also want to find it all in one place and save themselves a lot of time and work doing the research. So if you've already done the legwork or are willing to, consider something like this.

We've created this website using a program called Site Build It. Site Build It isn't for every business, but it is generally what I'd suggest for information businesses or any other business wanting a static website. It has it's drawbacks: the learning curve can be steep, even for someone familiar with other programs, and unless you're creating your own design, the SBI designs can be lacking for those of us that are visually inclined.

But when you're researching work-from-home business ideas, the advantages to SBI over any other site are tremendous. When I talk about you doing the legwork for your readers/knowledge-seekers for your own information-based business, SBI has done the legwork on how to run a successful website. They've boiled it all down to the meaty bits that actually work and while it's still a lot of information and will still involve a lot of hard work, it won't be work wasted if you follow their guides (which are written or in video). Even though I don't recommend SBI for every type of business, I do recommend it for any work-from-home business ideas that you have that are more information-based/informative, or for any type of website you'd like to create that is static (not a blog).

So, how do you make money by giving information away? Several ways: You can sell some of that information (like we do in our store), you can sell ads to promote you love and believe in, you can promote goods (explained below), you can accept donations, or you can only give information away but place Pay-Per-Click ads (the Google ads you likely see on websites as you browse) and receive a passive income from traffic that goes through those links.

We've personally found it most beneficial to sell our own information and promote products we believe in, which I discuss below.

Check out our affiliate link to learn more about SBI and how it can help you in building and monetizing your own work-from-home business ideas, and you're welcome to email me if you have any questions on our experience with SBI and whether it's a good fit for you (if you do please offer as much info as you can in your first email about the type of business you're running and any questions you have so I can reply back with as much info as I can).

Ask yourself: What do I love? What do I have a lot of knowledge on that someone might be searching for? What would I love learning more about as I offer that knowledge to others?

Product-Based Business

This is one of those work-from-home business ideas that varies depending on the products. For instance, here on SBS we act as an affiliate for many different kinds of products, from books to herbs to organic food. This means we promote the products we believe in by sharing them in our articles and we get a percentage of the commission from any sales that happen through our unique affiliate link. This is a great way to monetize an information-based business in a very passive way, although it can be very slow, especially as your traffic is still growing in the beginning.

Another option is to sell your own products. My husband does this via OddballJuggling.com, where he sells his own juggling balls to families. He took a passion of his, shares his knowledge on his site and sells the juggling balls from Etsy.com. These kind of work-from-home business ideas can be great for anyone interested in crafting, art, homemade beauty products or soaps, etc, but it can be more difficult to market and build a thriving business with. In this case I would either still recommend an SBI website (because of its superior marketing tools), or a Wordpress site (discussed further below) if you want a more recognizable format for connecting and building relationships. Although you can do both with SBI, I tend to find Wordpress is better for what I tend to call "personality-based" or "relationship-based" businesses.

Our personal favorite option for a home-based product-based business has been the marketing of a product we use, love, and believe very much in, essential oils. This is a "direct sales" method, meaning we can share the products retail or wholesale to others who are interested in using the products regularly for their home, health, or emotional wellness.

With the help and training I received from Site Build It, I've been able to share these products with others. Direct sales businesses (sometimes called MLMs) have a bad reputation, but are actually great ways to keep businesses out of the corporate field (in which no one but the CEO's benefit for business growth) and create a network of work-from-home families that all benefit from the company's growth. Direct sales just means you are sharing the product directly with others (often through demos, classes, or person-to-person sharing), instead of through a "business" - it's a much more personal/relational experience. There are a lot of businesses that haven't proven very sustainable at creating these types of business models, but that is usually because the product is crappy. We've found that the essential oils we share are much different. We love and use the products for everything from healthcare and emotional well-being to cleaning. Because we're not into being "sales people" this model has worked well for us; we just share what we love and let other people resonate with it or not.

The downside of direct sales is that it can be slower in the beginning until it begins to snowball, meaning you can be making as little as $10 a month in the beginning up to $30k a month (yes, a month) over time. That snowball effect can start to take place anywhere from 2-3 months to 2-3 years or more, all depending on your personal motivation and dedication, as well as the support you have and how well you work with your team. We've found the answer to that is to bring together a great team that all supports one another, which keeps our motivation up and our ideas flowing (as well as keeps us from getting stuck in our own self-sabotage habits - which, lets' face it, is the #1 killer of great work-from-home business ideas), so if you're considering any sort of network marketing, make sure you research WHO you enroll with to ensure you're getting the best team for support.

If oils are the kind of thing that you're looking for, you can reach out to me here: oils@sustainablebabysteps.com for more info.

Ask yourself: Is there a product I love and believe in? Is there an opportunity to share it as an affiliate or consultant? Is there something I can make myself to sell?

Service-Based Businesses

These kind of work-from-home business ideas may or may not take you away from your home, depending on the type of service you offer. For instance, my entrepreneurial career started as a massage therapist doing in-home massages for locals or tourists. Even though I was technically listed as a "home-based business" (it's where my office was), I never saw clients at home and would travel out to massages anywhere from 10-30 hours a week (including travel).

So depending on the services you can offer - housekeeping, landscaping, handyman, etc - you may need to be on-location. This is still great because it offers you the flexibility of setting your own hours, and depending on the age of your kids and what work you do, you may even be able to have them tag along, meaning less money to a sitter and more time together (especially as they get older and it can turn into a family business).

Alternatively, you can work from home doing "location independent" work.

This is what I did for many years: I'm a life coach, "seeing" clients via phone as we traveled. I offer some information-based products through a Wordpress.org website, again built with the knowledge I gained from Site Build It, and I still promote essential oils over there (for the emotional healing work they do), but the primary source of income through that business was in coaching and consulting women through their own personal growth and struggles in authenticity, family, and even business.

Other examples of location independent work can include building or maintaining websites for others, online bookkeeping or accounting, writing or editing, fine art photography, etc. Check out Elance.com for more ideas. You'd be surprised about what's available for work-from-home business ideas.

The legalities of any service-based work-from-home business ideas will vary state-to-state and service-to-service. This means depending on what you want to do and how, there may be training, certification, and licensing you need to get into place to make it happen. Be sure to research those aspects well.

Ask yourself: What am I great at doing already? Who might need what I do?

Hopefully this has given you some hope that it IS possible with sustainable work-from-home business ideas. This isn't just a list of work-from-home business ideas...this is our tried-and-true experience of what we do that both aligns with our values for eco-friendly and conscious living, creates a sustainable income and lifestyle, and allows us to prioritize our family and our personal life.

If you have any questions, throw them at me by contacting me here. I'm happy to answer what I can.

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