The Big List of Home Business Ideas
Some people know exactly what they want their home business to be, letting that idea be their guiding principle in their quest to become an entrepreneur. However, the rest of us may need some help in figuring out what our dream business might be. This list is for the rest of us.
These home business ideas vary widely in skills required, start-up costs and time commitments. The list is meant to get the wheels turning in your brain so that you can get started researching your new home business.
Develop Mobile Apps
While having a degree in a tech-related field (or experience in developing apps) is certainly important in developing mobile apps, there is a lot more to it than just the technical aspects. Developing profitable business plan involves coming up with an idea, choosing a platform, marketing it, setting prices and getting it in the app store. If you don't have all of these skills consider working with a partner.
Start a Consulting Business
Hanging out your own shingle as a consultant in your area of expertise is one of the more common ways to start a home business. Often you may start out with a client with whom you've worked with in another setting, but networking and marketing will be required to bring in new clients.
Offer Cleaning Services
Starting a cleaning service doesn't require a degree or specialized training, but it does require a lot of elbow grease and knowledge of how to run a successful business. There are many types of cleaning services one might offer: house cleaning, laundry, window washing, commercial/business cleaning, pool cleaning, etc.
If you have experience as a teacher, you can start your own in-home tutoring business or work as an online tutor. The former will take some networking to develop a client base, the latter does not. Combining the two is a way to make a little extra cash as you develop that base.
Work in Child Care
A home-based childcare business can be anything from babysitting to opening an in-home daycare.
Direct Selling/Network Marketing
Whatever you call it, multi-level marketing and direct sales companies, like Avon, MaryKay, Tupperware, etc., are a very popular home business that a person can scale the amount of time he or she has to give it--just do it on the side or make it a full-time occupation.
IIt takes more than an artistic streak to start your own business selling your arts and crafts wares. First, you have to be really good at what you make, then you have to figure out how to market it whether online or in-person. If you think this is for you, explore these resources.
This can take a lot of forms, everything from starting your own blog to freelance editing for a publisher to writing your own book. If you have the skills and experience, freelance writing can be a great home business. If you don't yet have that experience, you can get it but it will take some time before you start earning real money.
With the advent of digital cameras, making money at photography became a lot cheaper than in the old days of film. That said, there are so many people that are trying it, often driving down rates that it can be a tough business. That's why it's important to make a plan, and probably to specialize in something like photographing weddings, pets, children, homes, etc.
Do Odd Jobs
It's easier than ever to build a business doing odd jobs or running errands because there are now many short task sites that will hook up sellers of services with buyers online. Probably it's a good idea to network and sell your services in your own community as well, but these online sites can give you a jump start.
If you have a good eye for value and a good sense of commerce, selling items on eBay could be the home business for you. But there are so many questions to answer before starting an eBay business. (What to sell? Where to get your inventory? Should you open an eBay store? How to price your items? How to write your listings?)
Bed and Breakfast
There's still the traditional B&B business option of purchasing an inn or home and opening it up. However, today you can easily start booking guests into your home with services like Airbnb though it is important to know the potential pitfalls.
Flea Market Seller
If you have a talent for sales and prefer to buy and sell stuff in person, then hawking your wares a flea market or in a stall at a consignment or antique shop might be a good choice. Your flea market sales business could be instead of selling online or in addition to.
To start your own home business as an interior decorator, you will likely need a degree in a related field and/or experience as a designer in order to get clients. One easier route is to go into home decor sales via a direct sales company. But if your desire is to become a decorator, start by gaining the credentials you need.
Real Estate Agent
Selling real estate is not a quick-start business. You need to get your license and perhaps work for an established firm first, but it can certainly be lucrative and it may allow some flexibility with your time.
Home Staging Business
For someone with decorating flair and/or knowledge of the real estate world, setting homes up for the market may be the business that you start while you work toward your goal of interior decorator or real estate agent.
Owning properties that you rent is not a passive business where rent checks just appear every month. There is a lot of work to it, finding a tenant, maintaining properties, finding the right rental property, etc. If you have the money to invest in a property, you can make this your home business. However for some, the work involved is more than they want to put in, and those people often hire a property manager. So either landlord or property management is a viable home business.
Drive Your Car
Much like #12 the level of investment required to get into this business has changed dramatically in recent years. No longer do you have to invest in a taxi license and possibly a cab to make money as a driver, though you still can Today people are using their phones and personal cars to become ridesharing drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft in their free time.
Data Entry/Short Tasks
Crowdsourcing sites now allow anyone to use their phone or computer to pick up micro jobs. These pay micro amounts but can be done quickly and in your spare time so the profits can add up to something that makes it worth your while. However, these will never pay enough to make a living. They are a good way to build your nest egg so you can launch your real home business.
Start a Virtual Call Center
Offering your services as a home-based call center agent can actually either be a home business or a telecommuting job. Companies who use work-at-home call center agents either hire them as employees or as independent contractors. If you are working as a contractor, be sure that you are taking all the costs into account versus your income.
Use your typing skills to earn money from home as a transcriptionist. Generally, you'll need experience in transcription (if you're just starting out see #19) and having a specialty such as medical transcription is helpful. Few companies hire home-based transcriptionists as employees but prefer to use contractors, so you may have to get a few clients to really start making some money.
If you are bilingual you can use your language skills in many ways to build a home business: translation, interpretation, voice talent, bilingual call center.
Open a Franchise
Becoming a franchisee is a way to possibly reduce your risk when opening a home business. Many of the decisions that a new business owner has to make are already made, and a plan and policies are laid out. But there can be significant costs, and you'll have decided what kind of franchise you want. Also, most franchises are not home-based; however there are some low-cost home-based franchise businesses.
Travel agents can work from home as call center agents for companies like American Express (though that is usually an employment situation, not a business), or they can start a home-based independent travel agency. Either way, it takes experience in the travel industry.
If you love dogs and can wrangle a bunch of them at once, this could be the business for you. Dog walkers usually need a car and insurance.
A dog training business will take more experience and education than dog walking, but if you have that way with canines, your dog walking business can lead you to a dog training one.
Mobile/Home Pet Grooming
Again, grooming will take skill and experience, but the beauty of a mobile pet grooming business is that you don't have to invest in the infrastructure of a storefront. And many customers
may prefer you come to their home. If you want to do it in your own home, be sure you know all the laws in your community about home businesses.
Pet Sitting/House Sitter
Probably most people who hire house sitters have a pet on the premises that will need care, but there are some who may just want to keep up the appearance that someone his home. House-sitting jobs may be live-in or not.
To build a personal training business, you'll need certification and experience...and, of course, clients. The first two will help you get those clients. A specialty and marketing can help you along the way.
Exercise Class Instructor
This could be as a freelance instructor, likely specializing in yoga, pilates, Zumba, tai chi, etc., that teaches classes for various organizations. You could also start your own franchise (see #24) with a company like Jazzercise or you could open a studio if you want to go beyond the "home business".
Build a Better Mousetrap
Take the idea that you have for an invention, patent it and then build a business around it. It's not so impossible.
If your baked goods are always the talk of the party, consider selling them. Though the rules vary from state to state, you'll need a "cottage food license" to make it a home-based business. Cute cupcakes are very popular, but anything homemade has potential, e.g. cookies, bread, jams, cakes.
Catering is the kind of business one can start from home, but you have to start small, catering intimate affairs and home parties using your own kitchen as well as your client's kitchen for much of the work. Like home baking, you will also need to get the approval of your local authorities.
What are you an expert at? Knitting, piano, tennis, violin? If you have a skill others might want to learn, consider giving private lessons to either children or adults.
Social Media Consultant
Social media is constantly changing, and many small (and large) businesses just don't have the time or inclination to keep up with those changes. This creates a niche that is growing and expanding for those with the skills to exploit it.
It takes more than graphic design skills and/or training to start a desktop publishing business. You'll need a business plan and a portfolio of work to show potential clients.
Sell Stock Art
This can be a way to further monetize your photography or graphic design business or a business all its own. If your work is good, people will buy it. There are numerous online sites where you can upload your work and buyers can download it paying you a fee.