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.
Of course, photography can take many forms, from photojournalism to portrait photography to general-interest stock photography. You’ll most likely go for either setting up a studio in your home or taking pictures for use as stock photos, as true photojournalism requires years of experience and almost never involves actually working from home. Keep in mind that stock-photo sites work on a revenue-sharing model, so simply selling pictures to one is unusual.
When one of your customers makes a purchase, you purchase the product from a third-party company (the drop shipper, usually a manufacturer or wholesaler) for a lower price. This process is as simple as forwarding the order from your customer, a process that can actually be completely automated. (Remember you don't have any risk here of buying inventory because the sale has already been made).
This is not an enterprise for the lazy. eBay sellers need to respond to customers quickly and politely, and ship items promptly. A seller’s success is in eBay users’ hands after all; a negative seller rating can sink an eBay business before it even gets started. Sellers also need to familiarize themselves with eBay’s return policies, which tend to focus on making the overall experience better for buyers but not necessarily for sellers.
Of course, I believe that you should start a blog for all the right reasons. My reasons are not to own material possessions or to show off. I don’t need a big house or expensive car. And definitely don’t want expensive clothes. I’d like to buy more time to spend with family and loved ones. To enjoy life’s best experiences with them, and be financially secure to take care of them during rough times. People come before money, and maybe one day I can take a year off like you did.
After all, you’re the only one who can decide if any of these home business ideas are plausible based on your specific situation and it will be up to you to follow through on any idea that strikes you. Luckily, the market for working from home—and therefore—home-based businesses, continues to grow, especially in small communities and niche markets. If you’re intent on shifting to a home-based career, then, the opportunity is out there to start, sustain, and even grow your own business.
For Song, starting a home business was about seeing a gap and finding a way to fill it. This is the secret to success for many top subscription box businesses. Birchbox, for example, saw that there was no way for consumers to test multiple beauty products without spending a fortune. So it filled that gap with affordable curated boxes of smaller sample-sized products.
“It is critical that a business remains lean. We took out sequential small SBA loans as needed. Define the minimal viable product or service you need to begin bringing in revenue and fund that. Through that initial influx of cash, you will learn what is most important to seek funding for and what can be pushed down the line while organic cash flow develops.”
If you’re thinking of starting a small business from home, you must first determine your idea before you build its foundation, launch your business, and grow your customer base. After starting your at-home business, make wise financial decisions. Start small and think big. Once you have built up sufficient income, consider a move to a larger location.
I overheard my wife talking to a homeschool mom that raises and sells a certain type of dog (a registered breed of some kind) ranging from $1,000 to $1,800. I also know a couple teens that started a bread business where they sell the product at the local famer’s market and local stores. The product(s) have been so successful, most of the family has been involved in it.
I like these ideas! Besides being good ideas in themselves, they stimulate MORE ideas! Some of them reminded me of something I was reading about called Craigslist arbitrage – buying low and selling high on craigslist, kind of like the first part of the old Oregon Trail game, but with washers and dryers and bicycles instead of cases of crackers and horses. Sounds like fun! Anyway, that one about the pooper-scooper business, that works, I know because I was quite successful in the pooper-scooper service I started back in 1988! I’ve been in the industry for 25 years now, though I don’t go out and scoop any more.
One way to stand out from the competition with a drop shipping business is to private label your products. This simply means you put your own label/brand on the products that the manufacturer is creating. That way you're not selling the same product brand and just competing on price; rather you can use your own brand and face less competition. Think about when you're looking at medicine at the pharmacy; the brand names sell for higher prices and people think they are different from the generic brands even though the ingredients are exactly the same. Consider these important factors when looking for a good drop shipping product.
Even the portrait and general-interest options, though, aren’t really for beginners. Photography businesses can be complex operations, with lots of equipment required and years of portfolio and relationship building necessary to really get steady income flowing. Still, if you’re a hobbyist already, starting a photography business as a side operation is a great way to make some extra money and possibly begin a career change.
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Over the last decade, high-speed internet, a proliferation of devices and applications, and changing attitudes about the nature of work have made working at home a reality for millions of people around the world. One study, in fact, concluded that nearly half of all American employees work at home. And the trend isn’t limited to the United States; 79 percent of knowledge workers globally now do at least some work outside the office.
Successful home business ideas give contractors, freelancers, and entrepreneurs the freedom to control their work, time, and personal growth. Maybe you’d prefer to wake up late and take long lunches, confident in your ability to finish your work on time. Or, maybe you prefer to be your own boss, setting up best practices and ditching those quarterly reviews. Or perhaps, you want to travel or be at home for your family, and you view commuting as a pain.
Market your business. To bring in more customers, you'll have to market your business. This includes advertising, establishing a strong social media presence, and other activities designed to draw in customers. Your type of advertising should vary based on the type of customer you are trying to attract. If you're working locally, advertise on local radio stations or in the newspaper. If you work online, sign up for Google AdWords or advertise your business on relevant websites.
That’s what Yegi Saryan, founder of Yegi Beauty, does with her business. After establishing a successful online beauty brand, she turned her talents into passive income. Now, aspiring entrepreneurs can purchase lash classes to kickstart their skills and add it as a service offering in their business. Classes are available both online and in-person.
Fiverr is an online platform where you can sell mini freelance services like designing a logo, writing an advertisement, editing a photo or video, image creation, voice-overs, and so much more. With Fiverr, most gigs are priced at $5.00, which means you'll earn $4.00 after the platform takes their cut. While you may think this is a waste of time, some Fiverr freelancers have been known to rake in six-figures a year! If you're interested in Fiverr, check out the book, The Fiverr Master Class: The Fiverr Secrets Of Six Power Sellers.
Mild spoiler alert: Viewers of the TV drama Orange Is the New Black might remember that the show’s main character made amends with one of her fellow prison inmates by making her a soothing lotion. Hopefully you won’t find yourself in prison, but if you find yourself wanting to start a home-based business, consider hand-making soaps and lotions yourself.
If you’re currently an accountant, this might be as simple as letting your clients know that you work remotely now for reasons of convenience or perhaps hanging your own shingle out to start your own firm. On the other hand, if you’re looking to enter the industry (virtually or not), you should be aware of the training and certifications necessary.
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.
Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark used Facebook groups to develop and nurture a community around their podcast, My Favorite Murder. This group of Murderinos, armchair investigators who are true crime fans, grew to more than 200,000 members before the podcast sunset in 2018. My Favorite Murder then created its own paid community, the Fan Cult forum, charging members an annual fee. Capitalizing even more on its fandom, My Favorite Murder also launched an ecommerce site with branded merchandise (it also sold event tickets there).
From the comfort of your home, you can work with different companies to test their programs, software, backups, firewalls, encryption, and generally assess potential threats to their network and advise them on the best cybersecurity practices. Although this may be one of the home-based business ideas on our list that requires the most training and education, it can be a highly lucrative position if you already have the knowledge, or are willing to work to obtain it.
How can you make a living as a real social-media expert? Practice. Build an audience for yourself before offering your services to others. Determine your target sector, build your own online presence in that community and start making contact with the social-media elite. Twitter is a great place to start. Keep cranking out content and getting it to the right users, and you’ll find a way to get yourself hired even in an ever-expanding universe.
A great way to test your business idea without spending a lot of money is to run a crowdfunding campaign. This is preselling a product before you’re ready to deliver it so you can raise money to create it. Crowdfunding is a great way to determine if there is a market for your product. Typically, a crowdfunding platform charges a 5% fee of the total amount raised plus a 3% transaction fee.