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30+ Home-Based Business Ideas You Can Start Today

10+ min read • Jun 02, 2020 • Jesse Sumrak

Starting a successful home-based business is the entrepreneurial dream. Home-based businesses let you earn a living from the comfort of your home and eliminate the need for costly office space and lengthy commutes (fun fact: commuters spend, on average, 408 days of their life driving to and from work). 

Today’s increasingly connected world makes it possible (and relatively easy) to make money without ever stepping outside. The accelerated growth of remote work is a testament to the fact that high-quality performance and strong business results can be achieved without expensive real estate.

Working from home and being your own boss is no longer a pipedream—it’s a realistic future. If you’re on the fence about whether a home-based business is your cup of tea, here are a few pros and cons to consider:

Pros:

  • Fewer overhead costs (office space, transportation, warehouse rentals, etc.)
  • Time saved without a commute
  • Flexible work-life balance
  • Income tax advantages

Cons:

  • Harder to separate your business and personal life
  • Possible  local government regulation of home-based businesses
  • Isolation difficult if you’re more of an extrovert

If you’ve decided the pros outweigh the cons and you’re ready to start your home-based business venture—congratulations! Now, it’s time to figure out what kind of business you’re going to start. 

Fortunately, you have endless options. To help get your creative juices flowing, we’ve created a list of practical (and profitable) home-based business ideas. This list may contain your dream occupation, and if that’s the case, our job is done. If not, use these ideas to inspire your own one-of-a-kind business.

8 Fantastic Home-Based Freelancing Careers

You can start a freelance business as a full-time career or even a side hustle. The limit to its potential is ultimately how much time you can invest in it. Most freelancing jobs you can do anywhere with a computer and a reliable internet connection, so it’s more of an at-home-and-anywhere-else kind of business. 

However, the one downside to a freelance business is that you’re not quite the boss. Yes, you have ownership of your hours and pricing, but you’re ultimately fulfilling independent contract work for other businesses—who, by default, become your temporary bosses.

Finding freelance work has never been easier. Here are a few of your options:

  • Network with friends and family to see who needs help
  • Connect with individuals and businesses on LinkedIn
  • Look for work on gig sites like Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer, and PeoplePerHour
  • Apply for freelance, contract, and part-time job postings on LinkedIn, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter
  • Reach out to businesses in your community

1. Writing

Blog posts, guides, email campaigns, social posts, ads, website copy, presentations—words, words, words, and somebody’s got to write them all. A freelance writing business has unlimited potential, but you’ll need a deep-deep passion for writing to avoid burnout.

2. Virtual Assistant

Entrepreneurs (like yourself) often reach a point when they need a little extra help—and that first hire is often a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants handle all the nitty-gritty details for businesses from a remote location, such as:

  • Manage calendars, appointments, and emails
  • Create and distribute reports
  • Enter and update data
  • Execute simple digital marketing tactics
  • Help with customer support issues
  • Answer and route phone calls

3. Social Media Manager

If you love creating irresistible social media content that generates likes, shares, and comments, then a career as a social media manager may be right for you. As a social media manager, you’ll manage the social profiles for businesses to share messages, gain followers, and interact with the community.

4. Programming

Full-time programmers are hard to find and expensive to hire, making one-off contracts more enticing to small businesses. Programming demand far exceeds the current supply, and it likely always will. If you know how to code, you’ll have no problem finding freelance gigs as a programmer.

5. Graphic Design

Graphic designers create everything from T-shirt designs to UX (user experience) enhancements to advertising illustrations. All you’ll need to snag clients is a few Adobe tools, a decent computer, creative design skills, and a portfolio.

6. Photography

Build a home-based studio to do product shoots, portraits, graduation pictures, engagements, weddings, and more. Once you build your collection, you can start selling prints of your photos on your website or through a marketplace like Society6.

7. Personal Trainer

You can do personal training, yoga instructing, wellness coaching, and nutrition consulting all from the comfort of your home. These businesses will provide you with meaningful work as you help change lives every day.

8. Tutor

People will always need help learning challenging topics, meaning you’ll never be short of clientele. Master a trade or skill, become a pro at teaching it, and voilà—you have a tutoring business. Join popular online tutoring platforms like Chegg and Skooli to get started.

6 Subscription Box Businesses

Subscription boxes are growing in popularity—and they make for a fantastic business model. Instead of fighting for each sale, you earn each customer on a recurring basis, meaning your marketing and advertising ROI shoots through the roof.

Once, subscription plans were limited to magazines, gym memberships, and SaaS (software-as-a-service) services. Now, subscription boxes have expanded this model to include everything from shaving kits to makeup to meals. Regardless of what kind of business you want to start, there’s a good chance you can turn your passion into a subscription box.

9. Crafting

If crafts are your thing, create a subscription service that delivers art supplies, mystery DIY kits, notebooks, or other creative goodies. For inspiration, look at SketchBox, New Hobby Box, and Darby Smart.

10. Wardrobe Stylist

Most people aren’t style savvy, but they’re willing to pay extra for someone to help them shop. Stitch Fix is a great example. You could make your subscription boxes broad (general clothes from head to toe) or niche (glasses, watches, shoes, hats, etc.).

11. Makeup

The beauty and skincare subscription box world is saturated, but that doesn’t mean there’s not room enough for you. To differentiate yourself, you’ll need to dial in a specific aspect of makeup or skincare and become the go-to option for it.

12. Supplements

Athletes, weekend warriors, and even your recreational health enthusiasts all need their supplements, and they need them regularly. Protein powders, vitamins, electrolytes—you name it, they probably take it. And not just once—they need it month after month after month, which makes supplements the perfect subscription box products.

13. Games

Playing games is easy, but finding high-quality games is hard. Those who play board games or video games on a daily basis crave the latest and greatest releases, which is where your subscription box comes in. If you consider yourself a gamer, this niche could be right up your alley.

14. Books

Baby books, romance novels, fiction, and true crime—people need books, and most would rather spend time reading rather than sorting through thousands of endless options. Cater your box to a specific niche to win their trust—and their recurring payments.

4 Home Cooking Business Ideas

Who doesn’t like food? If you enjoy making delectable sweet and savory eats from scratch, then the world is your oyster. To sell food, you’ll need to comply with your state’s licensing and regulations. Once that’s covered, you’re ready to start sharing your love of food and drinks with the masses—right from the comfort of your home.

15. Home Bakery

If baking is your forte, then turn on your oven and start working some magic. You could bake and sell muffins, bread, doughnuts, pastries, cookies, cakes, or other tasty treats. And if you want to find an even more specific niche, create specialized gluten-free or healthy bakes.

You can sell your baked goods direct-to-consumer through a website, at your house, or via your local farmers market. If you want to focus on baking and not selling, consider partnering with a local café or shop to sell the goodies on a recurring plan.

16. Cooking Instructor

Cooking is a skill, and it’s one most Americans don’t have. Fortunately for you, if you have the cooking gene, you can teach others as a career. Choose which models you prefer: online or in-person, one-on-one or group classes, private or public. You could even create a digital home-learning course or start a YouTube channel and grow a healthy following to generate ad revenue (see what we did there?).

17. Specialty Goods

Do you enjoy making specialty items that are harder to come by? You could start a business making and selling jams, preserves, coffee roasts, chocolates, confections, or even honey. These kinds of treats sell well online and at fairs and farmers markets.

18. Catering

If you like making food for the masses (and have the appliances to do so), then catering could be a lucrative business idea. You’ll likely need more than just your own two hands to cater for big events like weddings, funerals, graduations, and other gatherings, but you can hire one-off help or get family members involved.

4 Home-Based Business Ideas for Animal Lovers

An home-based business can be a dream come true for animal lovers. Not only can you focus your life around animals, but you also get to spend more time with your own furry (or not-so-furry) friends. With human fertility rates falling in the US and more of the rising generation choosing to adopt pets into their family, home-based businesses focused on animals will only see growing demand.

19. Pet Bed-and-Breakfast

Everyone loves their pets, but sometimes they need a travel break—which means they’ll need a fun, safe, and reliable place to leave their special friends. A pet bed-and-breakfast lets you score as many clients a night as your home or facility can handle, helping you scale your business quicker than most hands-on pet services permit. Try to partner with local veterinarians, pet stores, and groomers to create mutual referral relationships.

20. Animal Grooming

Grooming a pet is a lot harder than it sounds, and that’s why some people are willing to just defer the task to an expert. Turn a room in your house into an animal salon and start selling doggy transformations.

21. Pet Training

If you’re a talented dog whisperer, pet training may be your gift. You could do group trainings or one-on-ones to transform unruly young pups into well-mannered and obedient canines. At first, you may just provide the basics, like teaching dogs how to sit, listen, stop barking, or shake. As your skills develop, you could also learn the traits necessary to curb aggressive and dangerous behaviors. 

22. Dog Walking

Pet owners are busy, and sometimes they need help making sure their furry friends get the healthy walks they need. As a dog walker, you can take dogs out for a stroll every day of the week. Offer customers a subscription plan so you can reduce the time you spend marketing your business and spend more time walking dogs. You can walk single dogs or a small “pack” from a similar residential area to get more bang for your buck.

8 Backyard Business Ideas

Your home-based business can extend to the backyard, too. If you like spending time outside, consider running a business from your yard rather than your office. Here are a few backyard business ideas to get you started.

23. Backyard Nursery

If you’ve been blessed with a green thumb, put your talent to use and start growing potted plants in your garden (or maybe even build a greenhouse). Some people lack the gift—or the backyard space—so they’re much more likely to buy a plant that already has a head start on life. 

24. Farming

Create the farm (big or small) that you’ve always wanted. You could strictly grow fruits and vegetables, or you could even get a chicken coop or cows, sourcing eggs or milk to local markets or selling them direct-to-consumer. The only limit is your real estate—and your willingness to get your hands a little dirty.

25. Florist

Beyond food, some people just want to buy pretty flowers. Consider what flowers will thrive in your environment and how profitable they are to grow and sell. Flowers might just be a seasonal component of your larger business to supplement income during special holidays like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. 

26. Event Rentals

There are a couple of options you can pursue in the world of events. If you have a pretty piece of real estate in a prime location, you may consider leasing it out for parties, weddings, and other events. If you don’t, you could still purchase tables, chairs, music equipment, and other party essentials to store and rent to events going on elsewhere.

27. Goat Rentals

Yes, you read that right—goat rentals. You could start a business renting out goats to local property owners who need their lawns mowed. It’s business for you, free food for the goats, and a solution for property owners—everybody wins. Plus, with the recent rise in goat yoga (GOGA), you could also train your lovely grass-eating pets to walk, run, hop, and kiss their way around yoga mats during sessions.

28. Beekeeping

Not everyone is fond of bees, but if you can get past their painful stings, beekeeping could become a fantastic backyard business. Start your bee colony and raise bees for honey production, soapmaking, or other wonderful honey purposes.

29. Furniture Upcycling

Shop around at local antique stores, thrift shops, and yard sales to find old furniture that has the potential to be revived. Polish, patch, and upgrade it—then sell the new masterpieces.

30. Car Detailing

Start a car detailing business to clean and detail vehicles. You don’t need to be a pro to get started—just begin with what you know. That could be as simple as scrubbing tires, vacuuming the interior, or cleaning up the dash. As you hone your skills and receive the proper training, you can move on to more advanced detailing and protective services—and this opens doors to new services, clients, and vehicles. 

Big Ideas Take a Little Bit of Cash

And that’s where we can help. Whether you need to finance a computer, photography equipment, home-office renovations, or marketing campaigns, you have options to make it happen.

Find the perfect loan to launch your home-based business with our handy-dandy application. It’s quick, easy, and free—what more could you ask for? Once you submit your application, we’ll help you find the best loan options from our network of 300+ lenders.

Make your home-business dream a reality. Start your 15-minute application now and get access to cash in as little as 24 hours after approval. Your home-based business is waiting. Don’t let a little cash keep your big ideas from launching.

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Jesse Sumrak

Jesse Sumrak is a Social Media Manager for SendGrid, a leading digital communication platform. He's created and managed content for startups, growth-stage companies, and publicly-traded businesses. Jesse has spent almost a decade writing about small business and entrepreneurship topics, having built and sold his own post-apocalyptic fitness bootstrapped startup. When he's not dabbling in digital marketing, you'll find him ultrarunning in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Jesse studied Public Relations at Brigham Young University.