The term cottage industry once applied to manufacturing that took place in people’s homes, prior to the industrial revolution. For example, farmers might take in extra sewing or make cloth, which was then sold to a larger retailer, in order to earn a few extra dollars during the slow months of winter. Today, the manufacturing of goods is largely done in big manufacturing plants, eliminating the individual textiles or sewing worker at home. A few of these small businesses still exist, like home assembly or stuffing envelopes. Most often, today’s cottage industries involve using advanced technology to work from home, via fax, Internet and telephone.
The desire to stay at home but still make money has fueled the popularity of the many Internet-related home businesses. Many women with young children who do cannot or do not want to work outside the home find work from home jobs in order to make extra money with a less rigid schedule. Such cottage industry jobs can be an economical choice for anyone, since staying at home means less money for gas, work clothing, and other work-related expenses. The workers generally must pay for their own Internet service, power, and work expenses, since workers seldom are employees, but are instead freelancers.
Many people who work from home express their pleasure at the flexibility that this type of job provides them. Some do such work in addition to full time jobs or full time education, while others depend on it as a single source of income, or as income additional to that of a spouse.
A number of people have been successful at starting their own businesses from home. Online auction companies, for example, have a vast number of vendors who sell varied things. Some people hit garage sales and then sell their finds online. Small manufacturers and craftspeople may also use auction or retail sites as a central location for selling their goods. When such businesses function out of a home, they are all considered cottage industries.
People who are considering working for any type of cottage industry should consider compensation. Some freelance work is too low paid to even be commensurate with federal minimum wage. In addition, a number of fraudulent businesses attempt scams in which they request payment from potential employees to give them information regarding work at home opportunities. Most people should be able to find, with good searching, a number of different free sites that offer legitimate work without having to pay for such information.