Using the data you gather from your research, you can come up with a unique value proposition. Think of this as what separates you from your competition, while at the same time something that your customers want. To come up with a unique value proposition, examine what everyone else is doing and the current market. Then, determine how you can provide a better solution, offer a better price point, or both.
There are a lot of items that can be purchased very inexpensively at garage sales or thrift stores and sold for higher prices elsewhere. A few years ago I discovered that I could purchase good hardcover books at my local thrift shop for $1 or less. I realized that some of them could be sold on Amazon.com for $15-$20, which turns out to be a pretty decent profit.
To help you in your exploration, we’ve gathered this list of 40 of the best home business ideas. All of these home based business ideas are affordable, engaging, and most importantly, flexible—and we’re confident that if you don’t find the perfect idea for your home business here, you’ll at least have the inspiration you need to continue your search.
Using the knowledge, tools, and resources you already have, you can start a home business today. History is littered with successful businesses that were started with little or nothing, except a giant desire and the commitment to make it work, no matter what. In fact, commitment and tenacity are two of the most important assets to have in ensuring home business success. If you want the freedom and flexibility to work at home as your own boss, here are five ideas you can start now for nothing.
I kind of “fell into” my at home business. I was a customer of their website division a few years ago. When my husband got downsized – I closed my business and started working with my current company. It’s been such a blessing to be able to stay at home (2 girls in elementary school) and help contribute to our family. When our company started another division helping non-profits with alternative funding – it was something I was passionate about. I feel very blessed to have found the real deal with my at home businesses and in the two years I’ve been with them – it all keeps getting better.
There’s more to being a coach or personal trainer than just being fit and loving to exercise. Finding a specialization is important, and licenses might be required for certain types of coaching roles. For instance, a friend in Boston obtained US and European soccer-coaching licenses before opening a successful one-on-one soccer-instruction business.

This article was co-authored by Michael R. Lewis. Michael R. Lewis is a retired corporate executive, entrepreneur, and investment advisor in Texas. He has over 40 years of experience in business and finance, including as a Vice President for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas. He has a BBA in Industrial Management from the University of Texas at Austin. This article has been viewed 267,253 times.


Spend some time considering your packaging, too. If you sell breakable items, make sure they’re protected during the shipping process. If you sell perishable items, make sure to pack them with dry ice or ship using refrigerated trucks. Packaging is also an opportunity to delight your customers — consider branded boxes, thank you notes, and fun surprises.

Expertise is another matter, but remember that writing can take many forms—from resumes to news articles to marketing materials and even thank-you notes. (You can even write for businesstown.com, although that gig doesn’t pay … yet.) There’s probably some form of writing you’re qualified to do. Plus, if you’re good enough with grammar and punctuation, companies will pay you to be a freelance editor. One friend made good money editing posts on a popular travel site.
Starting a business in this field will require some experience, but as long as there is anxiety, there will be a market for coaching people to create and deliver presentations. Invest in video equipment or use a smartphone to record students as part of the coaching process. If you have a background in radio or TV or specific experience in high-profile public speaking, all the better.
Strictly speaking, this isn’t really an at-home business, as most of the work takes place outside the home. But for dog lovers who don’t want other people’s pets staying overnight, dog walking is a viable business idea with a low barrier to entry. Still, there are considerations including researching the state of your local dog-walking market and addressing licensing and insurance concerns.
But if you do go the fashion route, be prepared to do quite a bit of networking before you get your business off the ground. Don’t be afraid to do free consultations for contests and giveaways. The more word gets around about your fabulous fashion sense, the larger a clientele you’ll build. If you’re really good, you can start this business with little to no training.
Another idea someone could do from home is to start a service or write a software program that scours local ad listings (like craigslist) for a particular used item a person wants to buy. They have services like this for new items, but not used. I know others like me who are keeping their eye out for something used (like a canopy king bed!) but don’t have the time or inclination to search for it every day.
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Used-car salesmen unfortunately have some nasty stereotypes to live down, but you don’t need a tacky blazer or a fast-talking sales pitch to make money buying and reselling cars. People throw away perfectly good (or certainly good enough) cars all the time for all sorts of trivial issues. If you know a little something about servicing a car and can make one shine for a Craigslist ad, you could take advantage of massive opportunities to buy used cars and resell them for major profit.
Set up a dedicated phone line and internet service. Almost all businesses will require contact with customers over the phone. In order to ensure that your line will be free when customers call, you'll have to get a dedicated phone line for business use. You should also sign up for voicemail rather than using an answering machine. This sounds more professional to customers.[7] You should also add an internet connection that is fast enough for your business purposes while still remaining affordable.
Can you type extremely quickly while listening to someone talk? If the answer is yes, you might consider transcription services for your home business. Like data entry, this might not be the most exciting of our home business ideas but is certainly low-cost, flexible, and you can get started very easily. There are all kinds of companies out there who hire freelance transcriptionists, as well as specific services that employ individuals to transcribe audio for various clients.
Beta is when you’re testing out your product or service with the goal of receiving feedback. Find potential beta customers at trade shows, festivals, farmers markets, and other types of events where you can sell your product or service to a relatively small group of people. Consider offering discounts in exchange for customer feedback. While you can make some money with the beta, don’t let it distract you from your goal of testing and improving your idea.
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