52 Home Based Business Ideas

Below is a list of 52 businesses you can run from home for fun and profit.

1. Web Designer

Start a business designing new websites or updating existing websites. Work with clients to add your aesthetic and design expertise to their websites. Some web designers use website builder tools such as WordPress or Wix. Others code from scratch and use graphic design tools. Making a profit from a new business in web design is easy due to the low costs.

2. Facebook Page Designer

You also can use your design expertise to work with clients to improve their Facebook pages. This is yet another opportunity for a graphic designer to be part of a growth industry. It is also a way to earn income while working from home.

3. Home Daycare Business

Do you enjoy working with kids? Start a daycare business where you take care of children in your own home. Be sure to make your home safe.  Caring for children is a big responsibility. A daycare service is a business requiring good communication with parents. You also need credentials to meet any licensing requirements.

4. Vintage Clothing Reseller

Vintage clothing is in vogue. Online platforms like eBay and Etsy make it easy to start a business selling vintage clothing — no experience required. How do you ensure a good inventory of supplies for this business? Simple. Shop for bargains online where consumers sell used items, such as Craigslist. Or scour thrift stores and attend house sales. You can even sell clothing products you already own. Research prices, and buy low and sell higher.

5. Music Teacher

Entrepreneurs with musical talent can start a home based business as a music teacher. Open up your home to clients who want to learn an instrument or take voice lessons. Don’t want people coming to your home? Then use video conferencing technology such as Skype, Google Hangouts or Zoom, and hold online teaching sessions from home to students anywhere. In-person sessions are not required.

6. Party Planner

People often need help planning events, from birthdays to graduations. Do you enjoy making plans and working with people? Party planner may be an ideal job for home, although you may have to meet with clients at event locations occasionally. As a party planner you make sure that the events are memorable. This is a great home based business idea for anyone who is detail oriented.

7. Party Clown

Being a clown for kids’ birthday parties can be a great way to have a fun job if you enjoy working with children. With this business idea you’ll need to leave home for events. But you can do the booking and prep work from home.

8. Dance Instructor

Anyone with a background in dance and access to clients can offer dance classes from home. With this business idea you get started either by setting  up a studio in your home or renting a space. Or you can offer dance instruction virtually through video courses. Do the administrative work in your home.

9. House Cleaning

Are you one of those unusual people who love cleaning? Or perhaps you are just good at it. A house cleaning service is a way to earn a living and over time gain financial independence. This business requires little except basic cleaning products and a service attitude.

10. YouTube Personality

There’s never a guarantee of making it big on YouTube. But becoming a YouTuber is still a great home based business idea. Start by creating a variety of video content for the platform from your home. Run ads on your videos to earn revenue.

11. Jewelry Maker

People love custom jewelry. It meets their need to be different. There are many methods and supplies to create handmade jewelry — including precious metals, gems, beads and stones. Sell jewelry online, at craft shows or wholesale to retailers. Set up an online store to expose your business to even more customers.

12. Personal Trainer

Ideas like becoming a personal trainer are great for fitness-loving entrepreneurs. Offer training sessions to clients out of your home gym or workout room. Or travel to clients’ homes. Some enterprising personal trainers take their business online. They provide training and fitness courses virtually through video conferencing apps like Skype. Get a few happy clients and your home business will grow through word of mouth referrals.

13. Copywriter

Advertising and marketing companies are always looking for freelance copywriters to help with creative projects. Set up a home office with a computer. Then apply your marketing savvy to earn bucks. Freelance writing is a home based business that literally can be global, with clients across the world.

14. Clothing Designer

As home business ideas go, there are plenty of opportunities for designers to create and sell their own clothing from home. Whether you stitch intricate gowns, create hand-painted scarves or design t-shirts, the opportunities for earning from home are almost endless. Many people are willing to pay for unique wearable art. If you have a passion for fashion, and need to earn cash, make this your business.

15. Ebook Writer

Are you an aspiring novelist? Prefer nonfiction writing? Anyone who enjoys freelance writing can turn it into a business as an ebook author. It’s easier than ever to be a self-published ebook author. Amazon is one of the top places to sell an ebook, but there are other platforms also.

16. Hot Air Balloon Operator

Though certainly not a cheap venture, offering balloon rides from your property can be a great way to have fun in a lucrative business. Make sure to read up on local regulations and safety for this business.

See Also: 50 Small Business Ideas for the Faith Based Economy

17. Massage Therapist

Licensed massage therapists can set up studios in their own homes to meet with clients and offer their services, making it one of the better ideas for qualified individuals.

18. Hair Stylist

Hair stylists can set up a room in their homes to accept appointments with clients. However, read up on state and local licensing requirements to make sure you comply. Take this business online to diversify revenue streams. Display your styling abilities on YouTube or Instagram. As a virtual stylist, you can profit from online classes showing others how to arrange the latest hairstyles, or by recommending sponsored products or becoming a brand ambassador.

19. Interior Designer

Interior designer is one of the best business ideas for anyone with a knack for style and design. Offer decorating services to businesses and homeowners. You do not need a physical location to offer this service. You can do much of the brainstorming and administrative work from home and visit clients on site.

20. Home Staging Business

Home staging is a service where you arrange furniture and other decorative elements for clients who need to sell or rent their homes. Work with real estate professionals who want to close sales, also. Ideas like this don’t require a business office, just expertise.

21. Seller of Collectibles

If you have an interest in antiques or collectibles, become a seller on eBay, Etsy,  or niche communities. Build a home based business around collectibles you love. You probably already collect such items, so you know where to find more products to sell. You also know the market prices to charge. Open an online store to showcase your products to a larger audience.

22. Social Media Consultant

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are popular not just for business use, but also for individuals who simply enjoy using them. Add consultant to the list of ideas you can start to help other businesses shape and carry out their social media strategies. You can do this business on the side while in college.

23. Dog Groomer

Love dogs? The way to start a dog grooming business is to get basic supplies such as clippers and set up shop in your home. You will work with plenty of canine companions. Get a van and outfit the vehicle to offer a mobile dog groomer service. Dog owners often need other services, such as pet sitting and dog walking, so you may be able to increase your income from existing clients.

24. Pet Sitter

A pet sitting or dog walking service indulges your passion for dogs and other pets, but requires hardly any equipment.  Get started for free — or perhaps the cost of pet treats and dog leashes. Dog walking or pet sitting requires you to visit clients’ homes. The positives of this small business are a flexible schedule and a home office. Add technology such as scheduling apps to manage administrative work.

25. Drone Trainer

A few years ago, who would have thought of a business like drone trainer? Yet, today, people want to learn how to use drones. Be the person to teach them. For example, real estate agents use drones to get MLS listing photographs. Offer lessons from your home — just make sure you can fly the drone freely. Also make sure to meet FAA and local requirements.

26. Personal Stylist

Enjoy fashion? Have a great sense of style? Offer your services as a personal stylist. Help clients build their wardrobes and put together outfits. A personal stylist business has low startup costs.

27. Photographer

You can build any number of successful photography businesses from your home. You can be a portrait photographer, wedding photographer or nature photographer. Some photographers choose to teach others how to learn photography.

28. Gift Basket Arranger

People buy all types of gift baskets for home and business purposes. Gift baskets can be so creative! If you enjoy arranging and designing baskets of food, personal care products or similar products, it might be a fun home business idea to consider.

29. Furniture Upcycler

There are many platforms and places where you can sell furniture and home products. Find old pieces at flea markets or second-hand stores. Add your own upgrades and resell furniture for a profit after fixing it.

30. Bicycle Repair Expert

Good and profitable home businesses make use of resources you already have. If you love bikes and enjoy fixing things, you could convert your garage into a workshop. Offer bike repair services. Either have your neighbors drop their bicycles off or you can offer a pick-up delivery service. Just a bit of equipment is all you will need at first.

31. Baker

Baking is fun and rewarding to many people. Bakers, buy some equipment and set up a commercial kitchen at home. Sell baked goods to local shops or businesses. Or set up a storefront  to sell products online. Read up on regulations to be compliant!

Video

Online Affiliate Marketing Business

So what exactly is this business? As an affiliate marketer you provide links from your website or blog to another company that sells products or services. You then receive reimbursement from the selling company. The reimbursement is usually a percentage of the sale price but sometimes it is a flat fee.

As an affiliate marketer you may directly contract with the selling firm. For example, Amazon is currently the largest user of affiliate marketing. Their commissions are typically in the 4% range but they can vary by product, by region and change over time. Thousands of other companies, large and small, also offer affiliate marketing programs.

Alternatively you can contract with an affiliate marketing service such as ShareASale and ClickBank. These firms offer thousands of products and services to choose from. Commission rates will vary widely but some are as high as 70%.

Websites like ShareASale or ClickBank can connect
Websites like ShareASale or ClickBank can connect you with thousands of affiliate partners.

You can make money selling just about any type of product or service through affiliate marketing. Some particularly popular product categories include clothing, health products, cosmetics, computer accessories, household items and cooking utensils.

It may sound like an easy gold mine but in my experience it takes a lot of traffic on your website and a lot of tinkering to make good money offering affiliate marketing. I have noticed that the websites that are most successful at this business plan out their pages specifically to build traffic for lucrative affiliate marketing links.

To learn more, start streaming the courses on BusinessTown, including The Complete Guide to Digital Marketing. You can try BusinessTown for free.

Home Tutoring/Online Tutoring

You don’t have to be a genius to tutor – you just have to know more than your students. So if your educational skills are a little rusty, you may want to stick to tutoring first and second graders.

If your skills are more advanced you can tutor at higher levels. But even if you can tutor almost any subject or level you will be better off emphasizing a specialty to be more credible and to catch people’s attention.

You can help out students by tutoring in your own home, at their home, at a local library or at a coffee shop. You can also tutor online via a video service such as Zoom. As you are getting started you may want to test marketing different tutoring specialties to see what gets the best response.

You can start your tutoring business small, even w
You can start your tutoring business small, even with just one student. But as this sign in my hometown shows, there are a number of related services that you could consider adding over time.

Home tutoring is another example of a very simple business that you can start. But like any simple business you are going to be much more successful if you start and plan it carefully. You should write up a business plan including what you will specialize in, who is your target market, what will be your marketing message and how you will reach your audience.

You may want to take a look at the courses Start-a-Business 101, Developing Your Marketing Message, and How to Create a Business Plan (which includes a sample one page business plan for a tutoring business). You can try all these courses for free on BusinessTown.

Look into insurance

There are a number of risks that come with running your own business, including lawsuits, data breaches or business interruption. So you should start by making sure you have the right insurance.

A good place to start is by looking into a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP). This type of insurance includes three different types of coverage:

  • General liability insurance: This insurance covers bodily injury, property damage or personal injury.
  • Commercial property insurance: Commercial property insurance protects the equipment used to run your business.
  • Business income insurance: If you’re unable to run your business for some reason, business income insurance can help pay for necessary expenses like payroll.

It’s a good idea to speak to an insurance agent for recommendations that are specific to your business.

Tips for Running a Business Out of Your Home

Running a home-based business is a lot different than heading into an office for a 9 to 5 job. You’ll have to deal with considerably more distractions for starters, but you’ll also need to have a certain level of discipline to make it work. After all, you won’t have a boss looking over your shoulder anymore.

In addition to making sure you’re dedicated to your home-based business idea and ready to put in the hard work, here are some additional tips that can help:

  • Have a dedicated space to work. If your home-based business idea is one that actually runs out of your home, make sure you have some separate space to work. This could be an area of your dining room where you’re able to set up a desk, or perhaps you have a basement where you could set up a dedicated office space. Whatever you have to work with, make sure you have a work area where you can go to focus on the work ahead.
  • Set a schedule. When you don’t have a regular job, it’s easy to keep putting off your work to the point it never gets done. With that in mind, it’s smart to set strict working hours like you would have if you worked for someone else. You don’t have to work 9 to 5, but you should have set working hours that never change. 
  • Protect your work time from family and friends. Don’t let family and friends sabotage your home-based business since they know you’re home. Make sure you tell everyone that you are actually working from home, so you cannot chat on the phone, run errands for them, or keep an eye on their kids. 
  • Keep your business financials separate. Once your business is up and running, we recommend taking steps to separate your business finances. This typically involves setting up a business checking account, signing up for a business credit card, and creating folders for receipts and other paperwork you’ll need to keep track of for business and tax purposes. 
  • Learn how to outsource effectively. This tip is for intermediate home-based businesses, but it is still important. As you grow your operation, you’ll want to figure out what you should outsource so you can spend more time on your business. This may mean paying a bookkeeper to keep track of your expenses, or perhaps even outsourcing cleaning and errands at your home so you have more time to work. 

Handling Home-Based Business Taxes

You have a choice when it comes to taxes: use a home-based business tax program to file your taxes yourself or get a pro. Many home business owners swear that getting a pro pays for itself several times over in reduced stress and increased tax savings.

Jane Olson, owner of Sassy Bibs, a home-based company that sells baby bibs emblazoned with cheeky sayings, says her CPA does her taxes and provides advice on billing, sales tax, refunds, and bad checks — and also advised her on setting up a 401(k) retirement plan. “It’s the best money I spend every year,” she says of her payment to her CPA.

Your tax pro will go over your situation with you in detail, but here are a few important tax considerations for owners of home-based businesses:

The Home Office Deduction

This tax deduction is one of the biggest benefits of working from home, but it’s important to know the ins and outs to understand if you qualify. The main rule is that you must have a space that’s used only for your business.

For example, you can’t work from your dining room table in the morning and then eat dinner there at night and call it your home office, says LuSundra Everett, an enrolled agent — that is, a federally licensed tax professional — who specializes in home business taxes. “It has to be a specific, designated area where nothing goes on but business,” Everett says. “It can be a desk or even just a closet, but it has to be a specific, dedicated space.”

Your home office also must be your principal place of business if you want to claim the deduction. Some small business owners fear that taking the home office deduction will trigger an IRS audit. While even tax pros don’t know exactly how the IRS decides whom to audit, most agree that small business owners should not worry about the home office deduction bringing the IRS to their door.

The Need for Good Recordkeeping

When you’re starting a business, it’s crucial to keep good business records. In fact, being disorganized about recordkeeping is one of the top mistakes home-based business owners make, Everett says.

Home-based business owners must keep receipts, track their home mortgage, insurance and utilities, and meticulously track their mileage when, for example, they go to meetings at the offices of their clients. It’s also necessary to keep track of all of your sales transactions so you have an accurate record of your income.

Managing Virtual Assistants, Employees and Taxes

If you enlist a virtual assistant to help you with your business, make sure that you’re using your V.A. as an independent contractor and not as an employee. If your V.A. functioned as an employee, you could end up being on the hook for payroll tax withholding and complying with a host of federal and state regulations.

If you have employees who work remotely, know that your official company address matters for tax purposes. For example, small business expert Gene Marks has a home-based business with 10 employees who all work remotely. He uses a post office box as the official address of the business, so employees get reimbursed for the miles they drive beyond the official address to get to a meeting.

If they weren’t being reimbursed, they could deduct that expense on their own taxes. If your home is your official HQ, a remote employee’s drive to your home office for a meeting would be considered a commute to work by the IRS, Marks says. The IRS does not allow deduction of commuting expenses.

Overall, owning a home-based business can be every bit as complicated as running any other business, which is all the more reason to use the services of a tax professional. “Build a relationship with a good tax professional to look at the big picture of your business and where you’re going,” Everett says.

Work with an accountant

Taxes are confusing to most people, and they get even more complex when you’re running a small business. Plus, you need advice on how to structure your business, how to set up payroll and how to track your expenses. That’s why it’s a good idea to hire an accountant.

An accountant can help you with all of this and ensure that your business is up to date with the most recent tax laws. And in the unlikely event that your business is audited, an accountant can walk you through this process.

[Read more: When and Why You Should Change Business Entities]

Should You Open a Home-Based Business?

Before starting a business, it’s important to look at the big picture and ask a few key questions to determine if a home-based business would be a good fit for you.

First, consider the many advantages — as well as the disadvantages — of owning and operating a home-based business.

On the plus side, starting a business based out of your house allows you to:

  • Minimize the cost of overhead. “The number one thing that will kill any business is overhead,” Wolfe says, noting that high overhead costs often pile stress onto new business owners. It can be costly to rent commercial office space and set up a phone system, internet, and other services in the space. In contrast, with a home-based business, you make use of space for which you were already paying rent or a mortgage, and you can piggyback off some services that are already in your household budget, such as home internet, he says.
  • Enjoy plenty of flexibility. One big pro of running a home-based business is that your home office is just a few steps away. So if you’re a night owl whose prime work hours are from 10 to midnight, you can take advantage of that without having to drive to a commercial office and let yourself in after everyone else is gone for the day. Working from home, without set office space size and costs, also gives you the flexibility to scale up or down as needed. For example, if you grow quickly and need to contract or hire more help, you don’t have to worry about whether more workers will fit in the office space you lease. On the other hand, if business slows and you need to streamline temporarily, you’re not stuck with more space than you need.
  • Squeeze more work into your day. Another plus is that you cut commuting time out of your workday, allowing you to trade minutes or hours of stress and traffic jams for focused, productive work time.“A lot of folks spend a lot of time on the roads commuting,” says Josh Braaten, CEO and cofounder of Brandish Insights, a home-based brand analytics business in St. Paul, Minnesota. “The best commute is from your bed to your desk.”
  • Take advantage of tax breaks. Home-based business owners also have the ability to benefit from a tax break available only to them — the home office deduction. The tax break really helps, says Christina Disbrow, who runs her advocacy, grant writing, and fundraising company, All Write, All Write, All Write, from her home.

On the minus side, working from home can pose challenges, too — for example, having limited space in the home, difficulty separating work from family life, and issues with neighbors. So think about whether your business idea, work style, and family life are a good match for a home-based business. Some businesses and homes are a perfect fit, while others might pose too many challenges.

Here are two questions to ask, keeping in mind that there are workarounds for less-than-ideal situations:

1. Can your business be conducted at home?

Considerations include how much foot traffic you’ll get and whether you’re comfortable having customers, clients, patients, or service providers visiting your home.

Some types of service businesses — such as bookkeeping, consulting, and graphic design — tend to work well as home-based businesses. E-commerce also is a popular home-based business. Other types of businesses, such as retail sales, might need to be moved to a physical space as quickly as possible.

The workaround: Hold meetings at alternative locations, such as co-working spaces, cafes, or restaurants, says Braaten. Or, meet clients at their own offices, suggests Disbrow, who says her nonprofit clients love not having to leave work to meet with her, and she is able to learn more about them by seeing their workspace. “It was something I worried about in the beginning, but it’s actually worked out really well,” she says.

2. Do your home and life fit with a home-based business?

Consider the space you have in your home, and whether you have room for a home office or even a small space you can separate from your living area. Also think about what your family schedule is like and whether comings and goings and noise — kids, a spouse, or a barking dog — could interrupt the flow of your work.

The workaround: “If you have a family like I do, make sure they understand that you have work hours, and not to bother you,” Disbrow says, though she admits this is sometimes easier said than done. She addresses this issue by planning ahead and tailoring her work hours around the times when her seven-year-old son is at school.

So, should you start a home-based business? “If you want to do it, and if you have the drive and are going to put in the work, go for it,” Disbrow says. “For me, it’s one of the greatest decisions I ever made, and I’ve been more successful than I ever thought I would.”

Step #3: Determine Your Margins

Two questions must be asked when starting a home based business:

  1. “How much will customers pay for my products and/or services?”
  2. “How much does it cost me to deliver these products and/or services?”

Whether big or small, the success of all businesses boils down to something called “margins.” You can’t earn a profit if it’s costing you $100 to deliver $100 worth of products. If you do this, you’re only breaking even, which means you’ll soon go broke.

Examine Your Skills

You're born with talents but you develop skills over time.

For instance, a creative person may have excellent skills for writing, artistic, or design skills. A person who is naturally detail-oriented may learn strong accounting or organizing skills.

Running a successful business often requires learning new skills, such as marketing or cold-calling. But when it comes to developing a business idea, start with the skills you already have. They will often indicate where you are best suited to use your natural talents.

Determine the Likely Profit

To start a successful home-based business, you need to consider its potential profitability. You may have a great talent for something and the skills that enable you to express it, but if people aren’t willing to pay you for the product or service, it won’t work as a business.

For each home-based business idea, you need to know:

  • How much are people willing to pay me for this product or service?
  • Can I make a sufficient income from that?

For instance, suppose that you want to start a creative business using your sewing skills to make homemade quilts. Because of the time involved, you're only able to make two quilts per month. You discover that people are willing to pay $300 for each quilt you produce. That produces revenue of $600 per month, minus the cost of expenses related to quilt production and advertising.

If you are looking for a little extra income each month doing something you enjoy, this may be sufficient. However, if you want to make a living from your business, less than $600 per month will likely not be enough.

Most businesses need time to start generating a profit. Take this into consideration, and give yourself a window of time when you don’t expect your business to be profitable. However, you eventually need to be reliably meeting your income targets in order for your business to be successful.

Determine what your minimum income requirements are per month and only consider business ideas that have a real chance of generating that level of profit.

FAQs About Home Business Ideas

  • How do I start a small home business?

Wondering how to start a small home business? Here are 8 steps to starting an online business:

  • Choose an online business model that suits your business
  • Identify your target market
  • Identify the problem that your business is solving
  • Know your competitors and how you are different from them
  • Choose a sourcing strategy that your customers will love
  • Set up your payment system so you can get paid 
  • Test your business idea in the simplest way possible
  • Create your marketing strategy to start promoting your business
  • How do I make money from home business ideas?

There are many ways that online home business ideas make money. You could charge per product, create subscriptions, build affiliate links, and so much more. Once you have decided your business model you can start brainstorming the exact home business idea for you and get started.

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