If you're looking around for a business you can run from home with very little overhead or investment, you might want to consider a laser engraving business. If you're crafty at all, mechanically inclined as they say and/or computer savvy it just may be the right business for you. If you enjoy graphics, you may enjoy it even more.
Laser engraving has been around for a few years. laser cutter However, the quality of the laser engraving machines today makes it much simpler to learn and run than in the past. Also very little equipment is needed. You can work full-time or part-time while you're holding down another job, whichever you choose. You can get your family involved. Most laser business owners love their work.
You can laser engrave wood, glass, stone, acrylic, metal, rubber, stone, fabric and many other materials.
You can specialize in making custom plaques, trophies for schools, corporations or businesses. You can laser engrave key chains, pens and pencils and other specialty items and specialize in promotional items.
You can also laser engrave jewelry, laptops, wedding items, golf clubs or birthday or anniversary gifts. Or you can do all of the above. You can engrave a wide variety of items.
Generally, most small laser engraving businesses invest in a laser machine or laser system. There are more expensive industrial laser machines but for a home business, you can buy a small laser machine for about $11,000. You can lease these machines also which helps cut down your costs and give you a chance to try out the business and see if it's a good fit for you. Make sure you shop around to get the best deal on a laser machine.
You'll need a small workspace, which is another good thing about this business. It doesn't take up a lot of space if you're using a smaller engraving machine. Leasing a machine can cost about $250 per month. I assume you probably have a computer already and all the later versions of Windows will work with an epilog laser.
You'll also need some programs like CorelDraw, AutoCAD and Adobe. Because the system uses an Epilog system, you can get some nice images from any of these software programs. You may have one or more of them already.
Once you start up your laser engraving business you'll find there is very little competition and getting customers is easy once you get the word out. Or you can approach business and schools and offer your services.