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30 Ideas for How To Start a Small Business at Home in 2023

home business ideas

If you’re planning to own and operate a business, you might start thinking about things like renting commercial real estate, commuting to an office, or managing employees. This guide will show you step by step 30 ideas for  how to start a small business at home .

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What are the pros and cons for starting a business at home

A home based business is a venture—whether full time or run as a side hustle —that you can start and operate using your own home as your base of operations. A few home based businesses, especially those that sell online and don’t buy and hold lots of inventory, can even be run on the go, without the need to be bound to your home.

Naturally, there are pros and cons to consider when deciding whether a home based business is right for you.

While there are plenty of ways to go about starting a home based business, the following are some of the most approachable paths to creating a profitable business for yourself.

30 profitable home based business ideas

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1. buy products in bulk and sell them online.

Many businesses center on the simple concept of importing products in bulk and selling them individually for a profit.

Maybe you recently traveled abroad and came across unique products that aren’t readily available in your market but that you sense an appetite for. Or maybe you’ve zeroed in on a niche market and know the perfect way to serve it.

Either way, if these products are relatively easy to store and ship, you may have some solid home-based business ideas on your hands. 

You can even initially use your home as a showroom to sell locally, giving you the option to expand with additional storage space and employees as you validate your idea and sales start to ramp up. This is how Artemis Design Co. got its start.

I was living in the south end of Boston, and I had my living room just full of these products. I would have people come over if they wanted to look at something or try something on, and that’s how I made my first sale. Milicent Armstrong, Artemis Design Co.

2. Sell homemade products 

If you’re a maker yourself (or know someone who is), consider turning that hobby into a business . Even if you have to create your products elsewhere—in a studio, commercial kitchen, or workshop—you may be able to store and sell them in your own home.

When you have the ability to control nearly every aspect of the products you sell, you can make them more cost effective, improve their quality, or cater them to a certain audience by targeting demand in the market.

Josh Pigford already had a thriving home business in a business analytics startup, but wanted to find a way to flex his creative muscles. He started printing succulent planters at home with his 3D printer—and a new business was born. Cedar & Sail now carries planters, coasters, and other small desk tchotchkes. 

example of product business from home

Whether you choose to start on a marketplace like Etsy or build your own branded storefront , selling your creations is a great way to share your passion with others and make money too. Just be wary of regulations concerning products that customers ingest or put on their skin.

Check out these resources for launching a home-based business selling handmade products: 

Best of all, producing your own products doesn’t have to be overwhelming. When you’re ready to scale, you can establish a process and onboard new employees to help with production. 

Template Icon

Shopify Academy Course: Sell Your Homemade Goods Online

Have a product you’re ready to sell? The Kular family shares their experience building a business around Mom’s recipe book, from selling one-on-one to reaching the aisles of Whole Foods.

3. Start a dropshipping store

So far, we’ve covered business ideas that require you to hold inventory in your home. But there are a variety of online businesses ideas to pursue that don’t involve worrying about inventory and shipping.

These businesses employ a dropshipping model , where a third party produces, stores, and ships your products on your behalf, leaving marketing and customer service as your chief responsibilities. Retailer Subtle Asian Treats is an example of a home-based business that uses a dropshipper.

dropshipping store example

Your dropshipping supplier can be local or overseas, but you need to ensure you find a supplier you can trust to deliver a consistently great customer experience after the sale. Always do your due diligence or you might put your business’ reputation at risk.

There are even Shopify apps , such as DSers , that can connect you with suppliers to import products into your own store while streamlining order fulfillment.

At its core, dropshipping involves becoming a distributor of a third party’s products, taking on the costs (both financial and time-based) of marketing to be rewarded with the margins when you make a sale.

In many cases, this can make your products a commodity with limited opportunity to brand your customer experience. Luckily, there are a few different ways you can still compete, even when there’s no shortage of your products in the market you’re selling to:

If you’re interested in learning more about starting a dropshipping business, be sure to check out The Ultimate Guide to Dropshipping .

Free Webinar: The Right Way to Start a Profitable Dropshipping Store

Learn how to find high-margin products, import them into your store, and start selling—fast.

4. Start a print-on-demand business

Using a similar dropshipping model, a print-on-demand business doesn’t require you to hold any inventory or ship anything yourself. Print-on-demand even offers you more flexibility to customize white label products with your own creative designs.

Rebecca Lee Funk launched The Outrage , a women’s rights activist apparel brand that sells print-on-demand t-shirt designs, from her home. The business donates a portion of profits to Planned Parenthood in former US president Donald Trump’s name. Her launch campaign went viral, and The Outrage turned into a thriving ecommerce business.

Screen-shot of The Outrage homepage showcasing products.

There are many other print-on-demand products you can sell: books, hats, backpacks, blankets, pillows, mugs, shoes, hoodies, phone cases, watches, and more, depending on the supplier you choose to work with.

Many print-on-demand businesses focus on serving a specific niche or, better yet, a shared identity. What are people passionate about and proud to share? What about yourself?

From pet owners to vegans to gamers, there are plenty of passionate communities you can create products for. If you have the skills, you can create your own designs. But if not, you can always hire the talent you need .

For a full runthrough of how print on demand works and how you can get started, be sure to take our video course inside Shopify Academy .

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Shopify Academy Course: Build a Print-on-Demand Empire

Learn how to create your own custom-branded t-shirt shop in minutes. Expert Shopify merchant Adrian Morrison shares his framework for starting and launching a successful print-on-demand shop.

5. Offer online services

Services are even simpler than products to start selling at home, but the challenge is allocating your limited time. “Time is money” is never truer than when you’re running a service-based business.

Creative professionals, like designers or marketers, might freelance or consult with other companies, juggling multiple clients, often remotely from their own home office, with occasional travel. Others might operate based on appointments and bookings to offer their services to individuals directly.

Service-based home business ideas include:

Service-based businesses often require a lot of networking and word-of-mouth referrals to find suitable clients, but satisfied clients will likely retain your services over time.

For this reason, you don’t necessarily need a large number of customers to do well, as you would with a product-based business. Depending on the service you’re offering, a handful of high-quality clients can be enough to support yourself full time while working from home.

6. Teach online classes

Chris Carey, one of the founders of MAPerformance , started his automotive parts and services business from the comfort of home. He began by teaching car maintenance and repair tips to online users in forums . After establishing expertise and trust, people started heading over to his ecommerce site to buy parts. 

Screenshot of the MAPerformance homepage

If you have a teachable skill, you not only can share that knowledge in forums to get your name out there, you can also turn it into online courses. There’s an audience for just about any desirable skill, whether it’s English as a second language, advanced marketing, or everyday home maintenance hacks. 

If I Made is Emily Newman’s home business teaching classes to creative professionals. When you teach classes online, not only do you have the flexibility to do it from home, you can also choose to offer live or pre-recorded teaching and training. For example, you might offer the live courses at a premium rate, while customers can purchase the recorded sessions at a discounted price.

Screenshot of the If I Made homepage

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.

Screen-shot of the Yegi Beauty homepage

You can also choose the class size and length. If you like small groups or even one-on-one, consider tutoring, mentorship, or masterminds. If you like larger groups, do bigger training sessions and courses. Teach a one-time all-day summit, an hour a week, or somewhere in between. 

Not interested in human interaction? Create a fully downloadable course for purchase. All you need is the content, be it a video walkthrough, templates, articles, or how-tos. Use a screen-recording tool like  ScreenFlow to capture your screen and voice while you walk students through the material. 

Whichever way you slice it, teaching online is a profitable home business idea because it requires low overhead—just an investment in time.

7. Productize your service or expertise

As we just discussed, one of the biggest downsides of running a service-based business is that you’re paid strictly for your time, skills, and effort. Emily Newman of If I Made productized her classes into digital courses, packaging the recordings from her live sessions and selling them at a lower rate.

“Productizing” your service—creating physical or digital products that package up your expertise and streamline or complement the service you offer—can add additional revenue streams to your business. You can cater to your current customer base or even find a new target customer in the same space.

Gabriella and Andrew Morrison started their home-based business by packaging up their expertise around tiny-home living. They sell courses and plans on Tiny House Build and StrawBale —operating everything from the comfort of their cozy, non-traditional house. 

And here are some ideas for adding products to your own business:

As you can see, most of these ideas involve digital media packaged as products, which means no inventory to keep around the house. If you’re running your home business on Shopify, you can sell digital products seamlessly using the Digital Downloads or SendOwl apps.

digital downloads app

In some cases, though, productizing your expertise is more literal. That’s how Bullet Journal came about. Ryder Carroll created his own methodology to journaling that morphed into a home-based business idea. Now, he sells physical journals on his website . 

8. Grow an audience you can monetize

If you’re a content creator, have a sizable online audience already, or have always thought about starting your own blog, YouTube channel, Instagram account, or podcast , then you can potentially grow and monetize your following using any of the previous ideas on this list.

Andrew Finn co-founded Wait But Why , a blog-turned-business. After amassing more than 371,000 subscribers and millions of visits, the brand created digital content products tailored to an already loyal audience. Today, Wait Buy Why is a full-blown ecommerce site with digital and physical goods for sale. 

wait but why

Jordan Ferney, founder of Oh Happy Day Shop! , also built an audience via blogging and later turned it into a full-fledged business from home. She designed her business around her life and being able to spend time with her family and now sells products on her ecommerce site. 

Screenshot from the Oh Happy Day store showcasing its Honeycomb collection, featuring decor made from honeycomb tissue paper.

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 even launched an ecommerce site with branded merchandise (it also sold event tickets there). 

my favorite murder membership

You can also explore becoming an affiliate— selling other products or services for a commission—or accepting payment for sponsored posts to give brands a chance to connect with your audience.

Building a loyal audience requires patience, consistency, and focus. This isn’t the easiest way to start a home-based business, especially not in the short-term, but if you’re able to build a following around something you love it can be one of the most fulfilling, giving you the flexibility to pursue multiple revenue streams at once.

The potential to monetize your audience often depends on the niche you choose to serve. If you’re starting from scratch or are in the midst of growing your own audience, be sure to check out the following guides to learn how to best grow and monetize the most popular channels:

9. Buy an existing ecommerce business

If you’re more interested in investing in a source of income you can maintain while at home or on the go, consider buying an established ecommerce business.

Prices vary greatly based on a variety of factors, including total revenue generated, profit potential, available assets (like an email list or social following), inventory, and more. Some sellers will even onboard you and teach you the ropes of running their store.

Maybe you want to buy a proven business and are willing to invest more money to acquire it. Or perhaps one with untapped potential that you’d like to build on  catches your eye .

If you’d like some more guidance, check out our guide 9 Steps for How to Buy an Existing Business in 2023 .

10. Start a subscription box business

The online subscription box industry is forecasted to grow at 20% each year from 2021 to 2026. That explosive growth has led to the emergence of new direct-to-consumer brands targeting this niche, as well as the adoption by major brands like Sephora and Walmart. 

You can start a subscription business from home. Ashley Reynolds bundled surplus products into subscription boxes to sell via her ecommerce site, Cloth & Paper . If you already run an ecommerce business at home, you could do the same to make use of what would otherwise be dead stock. 

Screen-shot of the Cloth and Paper homepage

Subscription boxes don’t have to necessarily be about selling. Haverdash is a subscription box company that rents clothes. When customers are finished using the items, they send them back—and Haverdash rents them out to another customer to generate even more revenue. 

Screenshot of the Haverdash homepage

11. Turn your pet into an influencer

Pet influencers are all over social media, promoting brands like BarkBox and inspiring thousands of likes with their cuteness. If you’ve got a pet of your own, you could turn them into a social media influencer and work with brands to promote their products online. 

Bodhi the Menswear Dog —a.k.a. the most stylish dog in the world—has made a name for himself on Instagram in particular. Browse his feed and you’ll see collaborations with several brands like, Spotify, and Poly & Bark .


No pets at home? Take care of other people’s pets. Apps like Rover opened up the sharing economy to pet sitting and dog walking. The pet care industry was valued at $232 billion in 2020. If you’re looking to make money from home , offer pet owners a place to drop off their animals when they head out of town.

12. Sell unwanted items

As consumers become more environmentally conscious, they’re also looking for ways to adjust their shopping habits to support sustainability. Resale clothing is a $4 billion industry in the US alone .

COAL N TERRY is one successful home-based business  selling vintage finds . And while the business didn’t exactly start from a home—it was a college dorm room—it has since grown into a brand with a loyal following and celebrity fans. 

Screenshot of the COAL N TERRY homepage

You can start small with your own home-based business—sites like Poshmark and Mercari are great places to sell your unwanted clothing. You can even use Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. 

Unwanted items aren’t limited to previously used clothing. Food waste is an unwanted item that also presents a viable home-based business opportunity . 

13. Play video games

While many may think video games are a waste of time, it’s a hobby that can actually turn a profit. And there’s nothing more home-based than sitting on your couch in front of your TV. 

Esports and video game streaming platforms like Twitch have opened the door for gamers to gain notoriety—and eventually money—from their talents. The esports industry alone is worth more than $1.5 billion, and a Twitch streamer can get up to 100,000 viewers at a time. 

So how do you monetize this? Sponsorships are one of the best ways to start a home-based competitive gaming business. Companies will pay you to play their games and stream it to your audience. 

Video gaming is even known to be a great résumé booster . Note, though, that all of the above requires some level of gaming skill. 

Here’s a unique spin: Twitch isn’t limited to just gaming anymore, and Maxx Burman and Banks Boutté used the platform to launch an online festival where they featured 12 top video game art directors.

They repurposed this content for other digital channels like Instagram and YouTube. After building a loyal audience, the two launched KitBash3D , where they sell 3D assets for video games and movies. 

Screenshot of the KitBash3D homepage

14. Sell NFTs

Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are getting a lot of attention lately as a lucrative creative business you can start from home. If you have artistic skills or know someone that does who you can partner with, creating and selling NFTs can be a great way to generate income from home.

Artists like FEWOCIOUS  have managed to make money selling their art as NFTs to the tune of millions. While that might be an outlier success story, there are plenty of other artists selling NFTs they create at home. Take the story of Blake Jamieson , a Brooklyn-based artist who made $46,000 selling his own art pieces as NFTs. 

To get started, get familiar with the minting process first. You need to have a general idea of how cryptocurrency and blockchain technology work. That way you can confidently create NFTs to sell on marketplaces like OpenSea , SuperRare , and Foundation . 

Screenshot of the SuperRare homepage

To make a living selling NFTs, it’s key to stay active on social platforms where NFT communities gather. As you get your name out there with your own social media presence, making connections with like-minded sellers and collectors is key to ongoing success. 

15. Become a virtual event planner

With the onset of the pandemic and the shift from in-person to virtual events, there was a boost in need for virtual event planning skills, as companies like 6Connex saw a 1,000% increase in demand. 

The best part is that you can start with a smartphone, a laptop, and an internet connection while keeping expenses relatively low as you operate from home and find your niche. Virtual event planning spans many different needs, whether that means planning for: 

Maybe you’re really good with organization and love creating schedules. You might have a natural ability to network, negotiate, and bring people together. If so, these skills are invaluable when you’re trying to market yourself to potential customers.

Getting familiar with virtual event platforms like Hopin , Cvent , or Whova can help arm you with the know-how to successfully win over your first customers. To illustrate the marketing process, businesses like Virtual Events Creator use Instagram to get the word out about what they offer. 

As your virtual planning business grows and your skills grow with it, repackaging your services and selling them as toolkits can add an extra revenue stream for steadier income. 

16. Launch a photography business

Consider selling stock photography by either opening your own storefront or selling photos to established stock photo websites like Adobe Stock , iStock , or Shutterstock . 

Being able to create a good business from your images takes more than simply knowing how to take a good photo. You also need to know how to market yourself, develop your own brand, and pick a photography niche. Our video goes deeper into the process, including how to create a storefront for your images, with plenty of examples. 

For inspiration on how you can turn selling photographs into an at-home business, be sure to check out some of our seller stories . This guide also provides in-depth insight on how you can sell photos online, regardless of your level of expertise. 

17. Start a beauty business 

The pandemic damaged many industries, but the health and beauty industry wasn’t one of them. As an at-home business, you can start selling health and beauty items to customers through dropshipping or white label products .

surviving businesses

As an ecommerce home business, the more shipping options you can offer to accommodate customer demand and the more variety of items you can offer, the better. Some beauty items with the highest demand as of late have been:

As you dive in and think about the best products to list in your storefront, consider convenience as part of your seller strategy. Consumer trend research shows customers are keener to buy from businesses that offer convenience in the form of multiple purchasing and delivering options, like subscriptions. 

Besides a beauty product, what are you providing that makes for an experience that keeps your customers coming back? Keep in mind that customer loyalty , as well as customer retention, are a key part of maintaining recurring revenue. 

18. Start an affiliate marketing business

Affiliate marketing is a profitable and unique business idea  when you have digital marketing skills. Product affiliates can make money on all sorts of platforms that allow partner links. Affiliate portals like ShareASale , RewardsStyle , or LikeToKnowIt are only a few out of many places you can find products to be an affiliate for. 

Deciding on an affiliate strategy is where you’ll want to get creative. For example, some businesses choose to share their affiliates through their Instagram Stories while others choose to create a website with valuable content that contains affiliate links to partner products. 

Your Social Team has a highlight reel on Instagram where it shares its best affiliates with its existing customers. It’s a great way to generate passive income as your target audience visits your profile. 

affiliate marketing example

Affiliate pins on Pinterest are yet another possible route. The more people repin your affiliate pin once you create and pin them to your boards, the higher the chances that you’ll be able to add up commissions.

The affiliate industry does come with its own set of regulations. So if you’re looking to make money through affiliate links it’s important to publicly disclose that you’re a partner with that brand. FTC regulations surrounding affiliates are mandatory. So don’t gloss over those as you begin to establish an affiliate online presence. 

19. Start a day care

Reliable day care will never not be in demand. If you’re good with children, consider opening a day care business. The day care market is currently valued at over $50 billion and is only expected to grow over the coming years.

Opening a day care does take some startup cost, even if you’re starting it from home. There’s equipment to think about and paperwork to file. Yet, consider how extremely expensive child care can be . Offering a more affordable yet quality alternative to local parents can prove to be a steady source of income as you win your first few recurring customers.

It’s important to ask: How do you get started opening a day care that’s compliant with your local regulations? You’ll need to check out child care licensing requirements as well as mandatory background checks and health and safety training.

A quick Google search should fill you in on your local state requirements on offering day care services so you can avoid getting shut down and stay compliant. FreshBooks provides a helpful guide on how to get started opening a day care from home, including legal implications and the startup process.

20. Sell stuff on marketplaces

Amazon , eBay , Etsy , Facebook Marketplace , and Bonanza are all viable platforms where you can turn a profit selling stuff. By “stuff” we mean anything in demand that customers are actively looking for that has the potential to bring in revenue.

As an at-home business, flipping items on online marketplaces is one of the easiest businesses to start. Once you open an account and figure out how to list your prices and upload images, you can be well on your way to selling your first item. No large inventory or costly overhead is necessary. 

Take the story of Dallas Wolford , a med school student who started making money online with platforms like Mercari by listing smaller items she wasn’t using. Anything from shoes to jewelry helped her make her first couple thousand dollars within the first four months.

As you get started, get familiar with seller regulations on each platform so your seller account stays in good standing. As your business grows, you can recruit contractors and send them to scout garage sales and thrift stores to source higher-value items worth listing. 

21. Become a social media manager

Social media platforms gave birth to a completely new job title: the social media manager. The good news is you don’t have to work for an agency to dive into this line of work. 

You can start your own social media management business from home with a laptop, social media management tools like Sprout Social , Hootsuite , or Buffer , an internet connection, and your own social media presence.

Take it from Rachel Pedersen . With a TikTok following of one million and a strong presence on Instagram and YouTube, she was able to quit her job as a hairdresser and run her social media business from home. 

The hardest first step in a service-based business is landing your first customer. Leverage your network to let them know you offer social media services. Use social platforms like YouTube and Instagram to show your expertise and draw in customers. 

The average salary of a social media manager hovers around the $70,000 mark . As your own boss, earning potential can surpass that. 

22. Become a virtual personal trainer

Personal training is estimated to be a $12.9 billion industry that’s seen increasing demand because of rising obesity trends. With an increase in disposable income as the world moves past the pandemic, consider creating a virtual personal training business.

Once connected with knowledge or certification in the industry, you’ll be well equipped to offer virtual personal training classes. There are plenty of ways to get personal trainer certification, like courses offered by established providers. With some certification to back up your services, it’s a matter of marketing your service packages to an audience interested in getting fit from home. 

Take heed from businesses like Loisa Kurang on Instagram or Triumph With Vin to learn about ways to market yourself on social media. Then check out 25 low-cost alternatives to running paid ads to draw out a marketing strategy and promote your virtual services. 

23. Offer bookkeeping services

If you’re good with numbers, an at-home bookkeeping business can be the way to go. There are plenty of free resources, like this YouTube guide from a bookkeeper who successfully started her business from home, that can teach you how to land your first customer. 

The average bookkeeper’s salary is around $45,000 in the US . But as a freelance bookkeeper, you stand to earn more as you increase your rates and build your customer base. To do this though, you first need to file paperwork to establish a limited liability company or LLC.

Be sure to bookmark our in-depth guide on how to start an LLC so you don’t miss any steps along the process. Our small-business accounting guide can shine a light on the creation and maintenance of small business books if you’re just diving into bookkeeping. 

As far as marketing your services, social media can be a great place to start. Businesses like Zeal Bookkeeping is a great example of leveraging platforms like Instagram to reel in a customer base. 

As you win more clients, it’s important not to get too caught up in the creation of a brand or an overly complex website. In the beginning stages of any business, what matters is what revenue you can generate to fuel your growth.

24. Design websites

It’s easier now than ever to create websites if you like graphic design. The problem is, many people don’t want to put in the time to learn how to use website builders like WordPress to do it themselves. If you’re savvy with technology, try operating a web design service from home.

Platforms like Upwork , Fiverr , and Dribbble are solid starting points for getting out there and landing customers to showcase your design skills. As you get traction with testimonials and samples, it becomes easier to land a steady stream of customers over time. 

Courses like Shopify’s How to Design Your Online Store (with Zero Design Experience) can be a good place to start to brush up on design skills. Though the Shopify platform isn’t the only one you can have success with. There’s also demand for creating websites through WordPress or Squarespace.

25. Start a dog-grooming business

Try offering dog-grooming services if you have space in your home to set up a grooming station. It’s an in-demand service with a market size of over $10 billion that busy pet owners will always need.

Now, you can choose to either go the retail route and sell dog grooming items with a store or go the service route and do the grooming yourself. Businesses like Paw La La offer plenty of pet services that go beyond grooming that you can draw inspiration from. The Pupper Club offers an array of spa services worth looking into. 

grooming business example

The beauty of a dog grooming business is that you don’t have to start big. And you can leverage your network to find your first handful of customers. Chances are you know a pet owner or two who could benefit from the services you offer. 

To onboard your first few customers, consider offering your services at a lower rate in exchange for testimonials and word-of-mouth marketing. 

Be sure to check out these in-depth pet resources to learn more and get some inspiration: 

26. Become a pet sitter

Pets are being treated more and more like part of the family. When pet-owners go on vacation, they need reliable and responsible pet sitters. Thankfully, becoming a pet sitter is not difficult. There are low startup costs and very little overhead. 

With apps like Rover and Wag !, you can easily find clients. You can decide your own hours, what sort of pets you want to sit for, and even whether you’ll travel to your clients or your clients will come to you. Depending on where you live and the demand, pet sitters can make anywhere from $18,000 to over $38,000 a year .

One note: If you want to use apps to find clients, many of these sites require that you have insurance in case something happens to you or the pet in your care. And if you want to turn pet sitting into a full-fledged business, you may want to look into getting certifications . 

Remember, the best small-business ideas are centered around something you love. So if you love pets, becoming a pet sitter may be the perfect business for you.

27. Become a freelance writer

Log in to LinkedIn and look through the writing gigs posted on the job board. You’ll see companies are looking for everything including copywriters, authors, and bloggers. Businesses are constantly looking for writers and willing to pay good money for quality writing. 

According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary for a freelance writer is $63,000 a year . In a survey done by Elna Cain , the top three writing niches for 2023 are digital marketing writers, SaaS/ecommerce writers, and health and lifestyle writers.

Now with sites like Fiverr and Upwork , you can find clients by simply typing a few words into a search engine. Using job board sites also allows you to set your own hours, write the content you feel most connected to, and bolster your réumé with certifications you can complete within the sites themselves.

But if you’re hoping to stay in the more creative writing space, there are ample opportunities for that as well. Just take a look at Sadaf Siddique and Gauri Manglik , children’s book authors and founders of the online bookshop KitaabWorld . 

selling books as a home business idea

Using their experiences as avid readers, mothers, and women of color, they made and supported children’s books that tell diverse stories. Now KitaabWorld is not only a place to find diverse literature that highlights different cultures and backgrounds, it’s also a publishing company. 

kitaab world

Your writing can not only make you money, it can enact change and lead to bigger purposes and businesses. If you want to learn more about how your writing can turn into a business, check out these resources:

28. Manage Airbnbs

In 2021, Airbnb had over 300 billion nights and experiences booked worldwide . People are traveling and they need a place to stay. You can rent out your own space or you can be an Airbnb manager for a company or individual with multiple properties.

An Airbnb manager manages property listings and bookings, provides customer service for guests, and organizes cleaning and maintenance tasks. The great thing about being a property manager is you don’t need a lot of collateral to start off, and there’s no qualification or degree you need to have.

If you have an extra room or piece of property to rent out, being an Airbnb host is a great business model to get passive income. If you’re a beginner, you can get some great tips from other Airbnb hosts and even learn from Airbnb success stories . 

If you want to make managing Airbnbs a successful business, make sure to check out what your area requires in terms of permits and regulations, as well as landlord-tenant laws. Airbnb has a great resource that goes over what you should research before starting out. 

29. Start a landscaping business

Interior design is important, but ever since the pandemic, landscaping has become more prevalent. The American Society of Horticulture conducted a study and reported that 42% of respondents increased their gardening activities since the pandemic. Now that people are staying home more, they want the inside and the outside of their homes to be beautiful. 

Just take a look at Nick Bailey’s and Sharon Santoni’s Instagram. People flock to their Instagram pages to get tips and pics of beautiful garden design. 

landscaping business idea

Designing landscaping can mean anything from creating dream backyards with ponds and imported trees to setting up a simple grass cutting business. Wherever you fall on that spectrum, make sure you understand your client’s needs and check out the competition in your area.

If you have a passion for gardening and a great knowledge of plants and design, look into landscape design and tap into the $4.4 billion market . 

30. Start a house cleaning service

According to Jobber’s Home Service Economic Report, in 2021, the cleaning industry revenue grew by 14% . The global market for home cleaning services is projected to increase to $10 billion by 2026 . The cleaning business is only growing.

Now, with COVID concerns, cleanliness is a necessity for all homes. The great thing about this business venture is that you don’t need much expertise to start cleaning, just a willingness to use some elbow grease.

However, you will need to put in a little money. Your costs won’t be as high as starting a brick-and-mortar business, but you’ll still need to buy things like trash bags, vacuums, cleaning solutions, etc. And depending on your state, you may need certain permits, certifications, and insurance.

Once you decide on the services you want to offer and what neighborhoods you’ll serve, check out the competition and set your prices competitively. If you get gratification from making a room sparkle again, a house cleaning service might be right up your alley.

How to start a home business

Once you have a good idea, starting your own home business doesn’t have to be overwhelming. While working with a small business lawyer and accountant can be helpful, we’ve got a five-step guide below to get you started.

1. Come up with your business idea

Diagram on how affiliate marketing works

The first step in launching a home business is coming up with a unique idea that gives you a competitive edge in the market. 

We’ve included 25 home business ideas within this article to help provide you with inspiration. But perhaps you have your own business idea you want to get started with.

For example, you might want to try affiliate marketing to bring in some additional income, as it’s a pretty simple process for your first home business idea.

Or you might offer services or create products to sell. The possibilities are endless. At this point in the process, all you need is an idea.

2. Create a business plan

business plan sample

A business plan helps put you on the road to success with your new home business. You’ll put together information like your company overview and its product/service offerings, your target audience, a competitor analysis, and more.

Easily create your own business plan using a template like the one we’ve created for you below:>

Download a sample business plan.

3. Start the legal process

legal process

Apply for your business license, set up your legal entity, and make sure you have all the proper business paperwork set up. This is the part of the process where you may consider getting the help of a small business lawyer to ensure you’re setting up your business’s legal entity correctly.

There are four main types of business entities: sole proprietorship , LLC, limited liability partnership, or corporation . Speaking to an attorney can help you decide which is best for your new home business as well as make filing the paperwork easier.

4. Open a business bank account


Keeping your business finances separate from your personal finances will make tax time much less stressful. There are a number of institutions you can turn to for opening your business account(s), but it may just make sense to use the same bank you use for personal banking.

Create a business checking account for all money to go through, a savings account to hold the money you have to set aside for taxes, and a business credit card to use for all of your business expenses.

Again, speaking to a professional can be a big help in this step. Consider searching for a local or online accountant who can help you make the most informed decisions when it comes to opening your business accounts.

5. Start providing your products/services

Screenshot of the Shopify homepage

Finally, it’s time to start selling! If you’re creating a retail or ecommerce store where you sell products, Shopify makes it easy to host your online store.

If you’re offering professional services, you can use a platform like Squarespace or WordPress to create your website and share information about your available services.

Find a home-based small business idea that works best

How to start a small business at home really depends on your goals. Do you want a part-time gig as stay-at-home mom   or do you want to become a full-time business owner? How much capital do you have to start up? What skills are already in your arsenal that you can tap into?

A home-based business in today’s world is simply a remote-friendly business where technology can close the gap between you, your suppliers, your employees, and your customers. Altogether, this is a home business opportunity to start small, grow nimbly, and invest conservatively—especially when you can cut out the costs of renting an office.

As you would when starting any type of business, think carefully about your goals and what you enjoy working on to create a new at-home business that works for you.

Illustration by Till Lauer

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10 Profitable Home Business Ideas

10 Profitable Home Business Ideas to Make Money From Home

Looking for work-from-home business ideas? Good idea.

Renting commercial real estate, warehousing, or office space can put massive financial strain on a new business. In contrast, many home business opportunities are quick and easy to start.

But there are so many home-based business ideas out there — which one should you consider?

Some work-from-home business ideas require an upfront investment to get the ball rolling — and some require just $39. Also, some home-based businesses are easier to start if you can turn a spare bedroom into an office or workshop — others are easy to run from your dining table.

So, what's the best work-from-home business idea for you? In this article, we'll explore 10 of the best home business ideas that you can start quickly and easily.

(Disclosure: This website is a part of Shopify inc. media properties. Although we strive to publish objective, accurate, and factual content, this article may contain biased opinions.)

easy business ideas to start from home

Start selling online now with Shopify

easy business ideas to start from home

10 Profitable Home Business Ideas You Can Start Today

While there are countless ways to start a home-based business, here are 10 of the most approachable home business ideas to consider:

1. Sell Handmade Products

Do you love to create things at home? If you love crafts or art, why not sell your handcrafted products online? For example, you could:

Whatever you like to create, selling handmade products is a great way to turn a passion into a work-from-home business opportunity.

There are two main ways to start selling handmade products online:

That said, you could also sell via both channels with Shopify's Etsy integration .

 Small Business Ideas from Home: Shopify Handmade

If this home business idea has caught your eye, start by writing a list of everything you could create. Then, do some online research to see what other people are selling.

2. Start a Dropshipping Business From Home

If you like the idea of running an online store, but you're not sure what to sell, consider starting a dropshipping business from home. Plus, this is a home business idea with low startup costs.

Dropshipping is a type of ecommerce in which sellers don't need to purchase or store the products they sell. Instead, sellers partner with dropshipping suppliers who manage the inventory and ship products directly to customers on the seller's behalf.

Check out the image below to see the dropshipping business model in action:

The Dropshipping Business Model

Pretty cool, right?

The best part is that starting a dropshipping business from home is as easy as 1-2-3 thanks to dropshipping apps like DSers .

Here's why: You can use DSers to start selling dropshipped products online today — just sign up for Shopify , install the Dsers app , and search for products to add to your store.

3. Start a Print-on-Demand Business From Home

Similarly, if you like to create art and eye-catching designs but don't want to make products yourself, you could start a print-on-demand business from home.

Print-on-demand is a type of dropshipping in which you can sell products that are customized with your designs, such as:

Check out some common print-on-demand products in the image below from Printful :

Printful Print-on-Demand Products

To start this work-from-home business idea, sign up for a Shopify account and choose a print-on-demand app to install , such as:

4. Purchase Products in Bulk and Sell Them Online

Another way to sell products online is to buy products in bulk — also known as 'wholesale' — and sell them individually. 

When you purchase products in bulk, you can get a lower cost-per-unit than if you buy them individually. Then, when selling the products one-by-one, you're able to increase the prices to create a profit margin.

So, where can you buy fantastic goods in bulk?

Start by researching products on business-to-business (B2B) ecommerce marketplaces like Alibaba and Handshake .

Buy Products in Bulk on Handshake

You can then create an online store with Shopify to sell your products to consumers.

Plus, instead of selling products individually to consumers, you could also purchase products in bulk and sell them to retailers in smaller quantities — this is called wholesaling.

5. Purchase An Existing Ecommerce Business

If you don't have the time — or the inclination — to set up a home-based business from scratch, you could always buy an existing home business opportunity via the Exchange marketplace .

This website facilitates the sale of ecommerce businesses in a range of niches. Plus, you can buy an established business or a relatively new business.

Buy a Business on the Exchange Marketplace

This may sound pretty complicated at first, but in practice, it's pretty straightforward.

Start by browsing the home business opportunities listed on Exchange. When you find a business you like, consider reaching out to the buyer to find out more information. Then, if you decide to purchase the business, Exchange will facilitate the… well, exchange.

How it Works: Exchange Marketplace

On the other hand, if you want to start businesses but you're not interested in growing them to their full potential, you could create and sell ecommerce businesses on Exchange. 

It's also possible to 'flip' businesses — or to put it another way, buy a business, improve it, and then sell it for a profit.

Small Business Ideas from Home: Website Flipping Process

6. Start a Subscription Box Business From Home

Why sell one product at a time when you can sell a bundle of products every month to the same person? This is what subscription box businesses like Birchbox do. 

Online Business Ideas from Home: Birchbox Subscription Boxes

Plus, Google Trends shows how interest in subscription boxes has boomed in recent years:

Google Trends: Subscription Boxes

This home business idea is a fantastic way to grow a sustainable income, thanks to the recurring revenue generated by ongoing purchases.

You can sell almost anything as a subscription box, too, such as:

What's more, you don't necessarily have to sell products — you could also rent them. For example, Haverdash rents clothes.

Online Business Ideas from Home: Haverdash Clothes Subscription

To get started with this home business idea, sign up for Shopify and use the built-in subscription management tools. 

Starting a Small Business From Home Ideas: Shopify Subscription Management

7. Teach Online

If you have in-demand skills or knowledge and a talent for teaching, consider sharing your knowledge via online video calls

Popular subjects taught online include languages, maths, science, and business. But there are no limits to what you can teach, so you could also teach things like music, sewing, or even DIY!

According to PayScale , most online teachers earn between $10.18 and $39.87 per hour, depending on their level of experience.

Payscale Online Teacher Pay

There are countless online teaching marketplaces that will help you to connect with students and manage your classes, such as:

Plus, there are plenty of feature-rich online teaching platforms to help you create incredible virtual learning experiences, such as:

8. Start a Service-Based Business From Home

The need for digital services is rampant — from designers and developers to digital marketers and doodlers, there's a need for virtually every talent.

If you're wondering what service you can offer, here are 20 service-based home business opportunities to consider:

Some of these home business ideas offer more income potential than others. So, make sure to do your research to choose the right service-based home business idea for you.

To get started, consider signing up to a freelance marketplace like People Per Hour , Upwork , or Fiverr .

At Home Business Ideas: Upwork Freelance Marketplace

You could also create a website and then find clients independently by networking and pitching.

9. Sell Digital Products Online

If you've mastered a particular skill or subject and don't want to teach online or provide a service, you could package your knowledge and experience in a digital product.

Selling digital products is a fantastic home business idea because — like dropshipping — there's no need to source or manage inventory or ship products to customers. Plus, once you've created a digital product, it doesn't cost anything to replicate.

So, what types of digital products can you sell? Here are 20 to consider:

For example, Gabriella and Andrew Morrison sell courses and house plans to help people build tiny houses on their website Tiny House Build .

Sell Digital Products: Tiny House Build Example

10. Build An Online Following That You Can Monetize

If you love creating content, you could build an online following around a particular topic or niche and monetize your audience.

If you're interested in this home business idea, you need to choose a way to build an audience. Now, there are many ways to create a following online — for example, you could:

Once you have a relatively large following or plenty of website traffic, how can you make money? In essence, there are three ways to monetize an online audience:

For example, Adam Enfroy built a blog that reviews many software products. In the image below, you can see his blog post reviewing the Shopify platform:

Home Business Ideas: Adam Enfroy – Shopify Review

This blog post contains Adam's affiliate link to Shopify . As a result, whenever someone reads the post, clicks the affiliate link, and signs up for Shopify, Adam will receive a small sales commission.

FAQs About Home Business Ideas

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

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.

Choose A Home-Based Business Idea and Get Started Today 

There are tons of profitable home business ideas out there to choose from. So, if you're wondering, "What business can I start from home?" Here are 10 of the best home-based businesses to consider:

When deciding which home business opportunity to pursue, try to capitalize on any skills and experience you have — and consider following your interests or passions.

Which home business idea has caught your eye? Let us know in the comments below!

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19 Home Business Ideas To Start In 2023

Reviewed By

Updated: Dec 18, 2022, 8:04pm

19 Home Business Ideas To Start In 2023

Table of Contents

1. virtual assistant business, 2. recruiting agency, 3. doggy daycare, 4. property watch service, 5. airbnb management service, 6. print-on-demand business, 7. sell online classes, 8. sell homemade products, 9. buy wholesale and sell online, 10. start a dropshipping store, 11. web design agency, 12. online dating coach, 13. professional consulting services, 14. start a subscription service, 15. online tutoring business, 16. professional photography, 17. college advisor, 18. professional translation services, 19. cyber security consultant, bottom line, frequently asked questions (faqs).

With businesses increasingly moving online, starting a home-based business is becoming more and more accessible. Whether you are looking to start a business as a side hustle or to replace your full-time job, there are thousands of ways to start a profitable business at-home. So we found the top nineteen home business ideas to give you the inspiration you need to find a great idea for you and your skillset, interests and budget.

Here are 19 home business ideas to start:

A virtual assistant (VA) helps other business owners and executives handle some of the tasks required in day-to-day operations. A virtual assistant business offers certain services to these executives for an hourly or package rate. Services might include blog writing, social media management, travel arrangements and appointment setting. To be an effective VA, you must be organized and have the skills to adequately meet your clients’ needs.

There are no upfront costs to starting a VA business. All you need is your computer and an internet connection. Many VAs get their first clients by joining popular social media small business groups and offering their services or through freelance marketplaces such as Upwork and Fiverr.

A recruiting or staffing agency is responsible for sourcing great candidates for open positions at other companies. Because recruiting and human resources can be a very time-consuming and therefore costly process, many businesses are willing to pay recruiters who manage to find them the perfect candidate for their open roles. For this service, recruiters typically earn a commission anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of the candidate’s salary.

For example, a recruiter who successfully places a candidate into a position that pays $70,000 will earn a $7,000 commission if their rate was 10-percent. Alternatively, recruiters may get paid on a per hour basis, where they are paid for each hour a placed candidate works (typically the case for short-term contracted positions).

While recruiting and staffing agencies were traditionally brick-and-mortar businesses, many agencies are now fully remote meaning that it’s entirely possible to start from the comfort of your home. To get started, you will need to learn the ins and outs of recruiting, and be prepared to spend a lot of time cold calling and setting up email campaigns to recruit businesses as clients and job seekers as applicants.

If you love animals and own a home with ample space, a good home business idea for you might be to start a doggy daycare business. On average, doggy daycares charge anywhere from $20 to $45 per day per dog. So, if you have the right space at home and a love for dogs, you could earn, say $100 per day by taking care of just four dogs at $25 per day.

On top of the daily daycare rates, many doggy daycare businesses earn revenue by offering add-on services, such as training, bathing or grooming. Depending on what you’re looking to do, it may be worth exploring relevant certifications and courses to help give you the credentials clients are looking for. Additionally, while it can be a low-cost home business idea, you may also want to consider potential costs such as fencing and home maintenance.

Like just about any home business, you’ll also want a website so that potential customers and clients can find your business online. Learn more about how to easily make a small business website with no web design experience.

If you live in an area where there are a number of vacation or second homes, and you are well-versed in home services, you may want to consider starting a property watch business. Services vary by provider, however, many property watch businesses manage properties that are vacant, such as summer homes during the winter or while homeowners are away.

Though it is not entirely home-based, as you will need to check on homes to make sure they do not have any issues (e.g., frozen or leaky pipes, a security issue, etc…), it is a business that those with a knack of home maintenance and management can do largely from their home. This is because when an issue is found, the job involves delegating work to the right people (e.g., plumber, electrician), making appointments and ensuring that any issues are resolved.

Similar to the property watch service, an Airbnb management service offers Airbnb owners with a fully-managed service that handles everything from inquiries and bookings to check-in/out, home cleaning and reviews. Vacation rental management services are becoming increasingly popular as it gives others the ability to own and rent out vacation homes without having to deal with the day-to-day operation of them.

Airbnb management services can earn an income in different ways, but the most common revenue model is through a commission on the total booking costs or a set monthly management fee. It’s not entirely home-based, but it does not require a commercial space and much of the work can be done from home–especially if properties offer self check-in and you outsource cleaning to a professional service.

A print-on-demand business usually involves T-shirts, hats, other apparel and home goods. As the business owner, you don’t need to carry inventory because the items are printed when the item is purchased. They are made to order, which saves you the hassle and cost of buying and storing items for sale.

Most successful print-on-demand businesses have a niche that they serve with logos and designs that are attractive to that niche. For example, if you are an avid cyclist, you might create apparel that is designed for the cycling community. Because there is no inventory, your initial costs are getting designs produced if you can’t do that yourself and having a website where people can buy your products.

For more information, check out these step-by-step instructions on how to start a print-on-demand t-shirt business .

If you’re an expert at something, you may be able to create and teach an online course. This might be a marketing class or a yoga class. The course possibilities are endless. Those starting an online course should be an expert in that field with years of experience doing the thing they are teaching. However, you don’t need a special credential to teach an online class.

There are different ways to market the course. You can join online course communities such as Udemy or LinkedIn. Doing so lets you get the publicity and marketing from the platform but share in the revenue generated. Or you can set up a website just for your courses. This, of course, will cost you, but you then get 100% of the revenues generated.

Maybe you love to create unique soaps or have a recipe for a killer barbecue sauce. This might be your next business idea. Many business owners successfully turn a hobby into a business.

Keep in mind that there will be costs associated with your business as you will want to make products and have inventory to sell to consumers. The investment amount will vary depending on the costs of your products and how much inventory you want to keep. You may also want to create a website to market and sell your products.

One of the most popular platforms for those selling homemade products is Etsy. There, you can easily list your products for sale and connect with millions of online shoppers. Learn more about how to start an Etsy shop .

Perhaps you traveled to an exotic location and became a fan of the spices used in local dishes. Or you find a niche of selling small instruments (ukulele) popular in some areas of the world. These are great ideas to buy items at wholesale prices and sell them online.

Keep in mind that when you buy wholesale, you need to have the space to store the inventory, plus you’re laying out a sizable amount of cash to purchase the products in the first place. So be sure to do a market analysis to be certain that consumers want what you are selling. Create an e-commerce website that facilitates the sales.

The great thing about dropshipping is that you can sell just about anything and don’t need to buy the inventory to do so. In a dropshipping model, you find a wholesale distributor that will package and ship the product to your consumers upon sales confirmation. The product comes directly from the distributor; you serve merely as the marketer and service representative in these transactions.

Because there is no inventory, dropshipping businesses are generally considered a low-cost business to start. To start a dropshipping business, you will need to find a dropshipper that offers the products you want to sell at a price you can markup and make a profit off of, as well as a website where you can list your products, such as Shopify.

The leading dropshipping suppliers offer integrations so that when someone places an order from your site, it automatically fulfills your order and sends your customer the product they purchased. For more information, learn how to start a dropshipping business .

If you are creative and skilled in building websites, you may want to look into starting a web design or graphic design agency. Every day businesses look to web designers and graphic designers to help them create marketing materials and to create a professional presence online. It’s a home business idea that can be started with little money. All you need is an optimized website and exposure online (e.g., through Google My Business, Upwork or Fiverr).

Many singles are sick of the online dating game. You can help these people find love by becoming an online dating consultant who gets paid by the hour or a flat fee. Your services might include fine-tuning dating profiles, getting the right pictures to get attention and even matchmaking services outside of online dating.

To be an online dating consultant, you must be a good communicator who loves people and is interested in making connections. While you don’t need a certification, it might help your marketing efforts if you get one. Consider the Hart Coaching Academy’s online dating coach certification as one possible credential.

Those who are experts in their field may want to consider a professional consulting business. There are all sorts of professional consulting services, covering a wide range of topics from restaurant consulting to legal consulting–not just business consulting, which is the most well-known area of consulting. So no matter what your background is, if you have a depth of knowledge, it may be possible to start a home-based business helping others who are new to your field gain an advantage and progress their career or business.

Everything from food to razors has become an opportunity for someone to market a subscription service. You can jump into this growing industry. Choose a subscription box niche and put together some samples to get photos of and market.

Depending on the type of subscription you sell, you’ll likely need to keep some things on hand as inventory. However, if you are creating something such as a food subscription service, then you can buy the ingredients as the subscriptions come in to reduce your overhead. Make sure you have the space to organize and compile the boxes and prepare them for shipment.

If you’re a subject matter expert and have a knack for explaining things to others, consider a career in tutoring. You can make upwards of $80 an hour by helping high school and college students through their coursework. There are sites that you can sign up on, such as BuffTutor, that will help you market your services, or you can set up a website and source your own clients.

Either way, the startup costs are low, though you may want to invest in some textbooks that will help you with explanations and problems to give to your students as well as one of the best video conference software systems to facilitate tutoring online. You may also want to invest in online teaching programs such as Canvas or Blackboard to help you work with students remotely.

If you have an eye for composition and the ability to get the best pictures out of people, you might consider a photography business. You can be a niche photographer, focusing on weddings or special events, corporate headshots, real estate or family photos. It’s up to you and your skill set as to the types of images you capture.

To become a photographer, you’ll need to invest the time into learning professional photography, honing your skills, and building a portfolio to showcase your work. Additionally, you’ll need a quality camera with the right lens attachments, lights and filters. You’ll also need to get a good digital software editing program to help you fine-tune the images once you capture them. You may also want to have a website that shows your portfolio and helps you get new clients.

For more information, check out our article on how to start a photography business .

For some, getting into the right college is the first step to career success. Many parents will spend a lot of money to help their children get into the best schools. As a college consultant, you help assess what the options are for a student, help prepare students for tests, advise on school essays and assist with financial aid.

There is no certification required to become a college consultant, though you should be well versed in navigating the financial aid and scholarship avenues for students. Some certifications will help you market yourself better, such as the College Consultant Certification from Heartland Institute.

More and more businesses need to translate content into other languages to access certain demographics of customers. If you know multiple languages and are fluent in conversational and professional tones, you could start a business as a translator.

You don’t need any certifications or educational experience to become a translator. Instead, you need to be well versed so that you can translate a variety of content subjects.

Cybersecurity is important for all businesses because getting hacked is costly and can bankrupt a small business. A cybersecurity consultant will look at a company’s risk profile and help find solutions to prevent hackers from getting in. The consultant tests programs, conducts software backups and establishes firewalls and encryption services so that companies can rest assured that they are prepared to thwart possible attacks.

You’ll want to have a degree in technology, and certain certifications that are necessary for training as well as providing the credentials clients want. Many colleges and universities have certification programs that specialize in cybersecurity protocols.

If you are ready to start a business at home , this list will help give you some ideas of easy-to-start businesses. Most don’t require a degree or any specialized training. Find something you love to do and turn it into a profitable business.

Do I need to register a home-based business?

If you plan to incorporate your business or establish a limited liability company (LLC), you will need to register the business with the Secretary of State. This is where new business entities get permission to conduct business in the state. Learn how to start an LLC .

How much does it cost to start a home-based business?

The costs of starting a home-based business range from nothing to several thousand dollars. It depends on what you are offering as a product or service. For example, a freelance writer only needs a computer, while someone selling candles needs to have inventory.

Do I need money to start a home-based business?

Many home-based businesses don’t require any startup costs. You can use your existing computer to do the work and market your services. Examples are virtual assistants, writers, bookkeepers and tutors.

What is the most profitable type of business?

There is no one answer to this question because the most profitable type of business will vary depending on a number of factors, such as your industry, location, target market and business model. However, some businesses tend to be more profitable than others, such as luxury goods, high-end services, business-to-business companies and subscription-based businesses. If you’re not sure what type of business to start, consider your strengths and interests, as well as the needs of your target market, to help you choose a profitable business idea.

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Kimberlee Leonard has taken her professional experience as an insurance agency owner and financial advisor and translated that into a finance writing career that helps business owners and professionals succeed. Her work has appeared on, Business News Daily,,, and Kin Insurance.

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Home Business Ideas: 40 Remote Jobs to Explore in 2022

Sally Lauckner

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

Working remotely and starting businesses from home have grown in popularity over the past decade. Currently, in the United States, millions of self-employed individuals have acted upon home business ideas and work regularly from their home.

There are plenty of compelling reasons to want the flexibility that working from home can offer. If a change in lifestyle is what you’re after, then you’ll want to take a close look at your skills and interests to figure out which of the many work-from-home jobs suits you. To help you in your exploration, we’ve gathered this list of 40 of the best home business ideas.

Home business ideas

Any office worker can probably tell you that they've had a daydream about quitting their job and starting their own business. Luckily, in this technological age, this dream can more easily become a reality. If you have a computer and internet connection, there are home business ideas aplenty, including those with low startup costs (if any) and flexibility for stay-at-home parents.

easy business ideas to start from home

Here are 40 of the best home business ideas to consider:

1. Freelance writer

If you’re a great writer, then you could make a great freelance writer. And best of all, freelance writers work from all over the world. Whether you want to sit in your neighborhood cafe all day or country-hop all year, this job could apply to you.

Of course, successful writers need to have a firm grasp on grammar and tone, superb editing chops and the ability to do their own research and synthesize content that they might be unfamiliar with. It could help if you become an expert in a few different fields, like technology or small-business finance, and it’s always important for all freelancers to know how to market themselves and network with potential customers.

You might be asked to write anything from a blog post series to an industry white paper, website copy or email newsletters. The more you’re familiar with, the better off you are.

And finally, don’t forego the possibility of writing your own e-books to sell on Amazon and similar websites. With basically zero publishing costs and low design costs, this is another way your writing can benefit your bank account directly. (You could even write an e-book about freelance writing — the possibilities are endless.)

2. Virtual assistant

If all of your friends know you as “the really, really organized one,” then being a virtual assistant might be the home business idea for you.

When busy executives reach a point in their careers where they can't manage all the calls, emails, appointments and smaller responsibilities on their plates, that’s where you come in. As a virtual assistant, you would use your phone, email, computer skills and any number of online tools and applications to handle their online calendars, schedule appointments and meetings, make reservations, purchase tickets, set up reminders, organize events, file documents and more.

If this kind of work isn’t your thing, then it might sound a bit unglamorous. But if you’re the type of person who color-codes their planners and sends out Google calendar invitations for coffee dates, then being a virtual assistant could be a fun and fulfilling job — that you can do from home.

3. Researcher and fact-checker

From perusing old academic essays or case files to analyzing bibliographies or carrying out some market research, you can establish yourself as a professional researcher and fact-checker. Various types of businesses within several different industries need researchers and fact-checkers. Establishing a niche may help you better market your services.

You need to be organized, meticulous and skilled at communication. If that sounds like you, then add this to your personal list of home business ideas.

4. Social media manager

Today, every business, brand and public figure needs social media to engage with their audience, stay relevant and boost brand awareness.

And as it turns out, many companies pay pretty highly for people to manage their social media accounts well. If you can stay on brand, share content appropriately and reply to customers intelligently — while getting those precious likes, hearts, retweets and upvotes en masse — then you could be a killer social media manager.

5. Blogger and affiliate marketer

While managing a blog in and of itself won’t net you any money — in fact, it’ll cost you to purchase a domain, upgrade the appearance and run marketing campaigns — there are a few ways for you to monetize your blog. You could offer up advertising space, which is a useful but typically minor revenue stream, but a lot more money is often found in sponsorships and affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing, a sort of product placement, will let you receive payment from companies in return for advocating for their goods and services. Although this might sound a bit iffy, if you truly do recommend that your readers try out these products, then it doesn’t need to come across as sales-y or insincere. Readers will understand that you need to make money somehow, and many will appreciate your recommendations if they’re accurate.

6. Freelance designer

If you’re more of a visual person, then the freelance lifestyle can still work wonders. Try your hand at designing posters, flyers, or online advertisements for companies that don’t have the time or talent to do this work themselves.

As a freelance designer, you’ll build an online reputation and eventually have control over the projects and timelines you manage. Try out Behance and other freelance design sites to check out your options.

7. Freelance coder

Becoming a freelance coder is an especially great home-based business idea since it’s already a very commonplace gig. Whether you want the flexibility of being your own boss, enjoy taking on a wide diversity of projects rather than working with a single company, or prefer to travel instead of staying in one place, you've got many reasons to pursue freelance software development — even though technology companies and startups offer their own perks as well.

8. Online thrifter

Have a unique eye and the salesman’s pitch down to a science?

If so, you might want to consider running your own online thrift shop. Whether you focus on fashion specifically, another category of product, or prefer to amass collections of interesting items from all over the internet (but especially eBay), there’s always a strong demand for items with a story .

Give your store a compelling, memorable identity, and it will be seen as much more than a simple consignment store.

9. Data entry guru

It might not be the most lucrative or stimulating job in the universe, but data entry can certainly give you the funds you need to work from home or abroad. Plus, data entry jobs rarely require a lot of time or attention, unlike many on this list of home business ideas. You can listen to your favorite podcasts or audiobooks as you work your own hours.

Moreover, since all you need for data entry is a computer, this is certainly a home business idea with low startup costs — if you already own a laptop and have a reliable WiFi connection, you're pretty much all set.

10. College consultant

If you’re a top-notch editor with a deep understanding of how college admissions works — including standardized test preparation, personal statement requirements, supplemental essay requirements, applicant statistics and even financial aid — then you might be able to snag a rather well-paying job as a college consultant. Some families are willing and able to pay, and pay well, to make sure their kids submit the best possible applications to their dream schools.

This is by no means an easy job, as it requires a lot of knowledge and skillsets, but it can bring in a lot of cash for a home-based business.

11. Online tutor

Whether you’re an expert in a certain subject matter, like calculus or biology, or you’ve secured top scores on standardized tests, like the SATs or MCATs, you may be able to share that knowledge with current students looking to get an edge.

So if you have a passion for teaching, are up to date on the formats and policies of the tests you plan to instruct students on, and feel comfortable handling the content, then it might be time to start an online tutoring business.

And just like with the rest of these online home business ideas, you can easily service customers over the phone or, in this case, a video conferencing program like Skype or Zoom.

12. Translator

If you know multiple languages, then this is the home-based business idea for you. As a translator, you can service businesses and clients in a number of different ways. You can translate articles, press releases, e-books or other written work. You might also translate videos, podcasts or contribute to international closed captions for a variety of visual products. Moreover, you might connect with international businesses to serve as a translator for meetings or phone calls.

With experience in more than one language and access to the internet, you'll be surprised about how far-reaching your home translating business can extend.

13. Cybersecurity consultant

With even the biggest businesses around the world being subject to data breaches, cybersecurity is more important than ever. If you have experience with software and IT, a remote job as a cybersecurity consultant might be one of the best home business ideas for you.

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.

14. Transcriptionist

Can you type extremely quickly while listening to someone talk? If the answer is yes, you might consider transcription services. 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.

15. Travel planner

If you frequent websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp and are well-traveled yourself, you might extend your travel expertise to others as a home-based travel planner. You can use your experience to plan and book trips for your clients — manage hotel reservations, flights, excursions, create itineraries and offer tailored recommendations.

For families looking to go on a two-week vacation or couples planning their honeymoon, hiring someone to handle the details, big and small, of their trip, can be invaluable. Plus, in working with different hotels, resorts and vacation attractions, you'll start to build relationships with the staff — and possibly, receive discounts or perks that will make traveling on your own even easier (you might even start a travel blog while you're at it).

16. Fundraiser

If you have any prior experience managing campaigns and events, or simply have an electric personality, you might consider starting a freelance fundraising business. As a fundraising consultant, you'll have the opportunity to market for a business or cause and talk to prospective donors about how and why they should contribute to your campaign.

This home business idea is great for individuals with a background in nonprofit or government work, as well as former marketers or salespeople. If you have excellent people skills and a drive for meeting goals and getting results, this can easily be the right business for you.

17. Medical billing and coding

Although this job may require some form of medical background or schooling, it can be easily profitable and sustainable. Medical billing and coding connect health care providers, patients and insurance companies. As a medical biller and coder, therefore, you would work with patient records to determine the correct codes that are then verified by doctors and sent to insurance providers.

This career is a great business idea for nurses looking for a change; they can easily utilize their prior experience and relationships to succeed in this kind of self-employed role.

18. Video producing

With the prevalence of video in social media and marketing, the need for video producers and experts has only grown in recent years. Even if you don't have prior experience cutting and editing video, this is an online-based home business idea that you can easily learn and teach yourself with classes, tutorials and general guidance from the online video community.

Moreover, video production can transcend a number of different industries, styles and goals. As a video producer, you'll not only have the flexibility of working from home on a variety of projects, but you'll also have the ability to utilize your creativity on a daily basis.

19. Publicist

Looking for a way to combine your public speaking, communication and writing skills? You might consider serving as a freelance publicist or public relations consultant. You can greatly appeal to smaller businesses or individuals who can't invest in full PR teams or staff, but still need this kind of assistance for their organization.

As a freelance publicist, you may handle press releases, emails, social media — essentially, assisting with all facets of your clients' public-facing presence.

20. Customer service representative

Many companies now outsource their customer service to home-based representatives, so you should have no shortage of potential clients in this field. After all, any service- or product-based organization is more than likely going to have some kind of customer support need.

As a customer service representative, you'll be able to work with individuals online or over the phone and talk them through any issues they're having. If you have a communicative and approachable personality, this could be a great option for you.

21. Pet sitter or dog walker

As a pet sitter or a dog walker, you'll get to spend time with other people’s animals while they’re at work or on a trip. Simply follow your client's instructions, as well as your own experience and expertise, to provide care and comfort to these pets. It’s an easy way to get paid, especially if you’re an organized and trustworthy individual with a reputation for or history of animal care.

22. Arts and crafts master

Consider putting your knack for arts, crafts and design to use as the manager of an online store. So long as you believe your creations can find a market and sell at a profitable price, there’s very little stopping you from signing up as a seller on a site like Etsy and carving out your niche. While it might be a tough business, there’s plenty of wisdom out there to learn from.

23. Accountant

If you’re currently an accountant, transitioning to remote work 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.

24. T-shirt designer

The U.S. apparel industry is a $225 billion dollar market, and as it turns out, the T-shirt business is relatively quick, easy and painless to get into.

So if you’re interested in entering the eclectic and diverse T-shirt business with an idea or brand of your own, rejoice: This is certainly one of the best business ideas for setting your own hours and calling your own shots.

25. Cleaning service

If you love — or just don’t mind — cleaning up after others, then starting a cleaning business could give you the flexibility you want without forcing you to sit at a computer all day long.

However, this is an endeavor that could certainly grow into a much larger company if you’re successful, meaning that, eventually, you’d probably have to get an office and hire staff.

26. Massage therapist and wellness expert

Over the past decade, the massage therapy industry has grown nearly 20% with no indication of stopping. If this statistic interests you, then you might want to consider entering this burgeoning field.

After getting your massage therapy certification, along with the business license and massage equipment needed to work from home, you can turn your house into a local massage parlor for clients to come to, relax and improve their health and wellness. Plus, you could combine your massage therapy with a more holistic wellness practice or a nutritionist practice — but make sure to check your state’s licensing laws before offering dietary advice or supplements to customers.

27. Personal trainer

As a personal trainer, you could make house calls, visit a gym or let clients come to you (if you have the necessary equipment). You need to be very knowledgeable about everything from proper exercises for different body types to how to motivate people who want to get healthy. You should feel comfortable getting close to your clients in order to learn what works best for them.

Although a certification may not absolutely be necessary, it’s not a bad idea to find out if you can get one in your state before starting up, just in case.

28. Interior decorator

If you have an eye for composition, organization and feng shui, think about starting an interior design business . Partner with local furniture stores and design businesses (with your clients’ knowledge) to get good deals, help decorate public spaces and business interiors as well as houses and apartments, and let everyone in and outside your network know that your services are available.

29. Event planner

Everyone plans events — but not everyone lives and breathes it. Do you love coordinating food and drinks, invitations, scheduling conflicts, music, gifts, goody bags and every other aspect of the parties or events you’ve set up?

From birthdays to weddings, corporate get-togethers and local conventions, the world is your oyster when it comes to events to plan. If you’re passionate about logistics, then this could be the home business idea for you.

30. Caterer

If nobody you know can stop talking about your cooking, then maybe it’s time to charge for your services and talent and start a catering business .

While you won’t necessarily be able to do all of your catering work from home — you may need to use a commercial kitchen and will likely have to hire some part-time employees to help during events — much of the organization, planning, marketing and actual business work can be done wherever you like.

31. Bed-and-breakfast manager

This idea is for the folks who live in popular tourist locations, or would like to move to one. With some preparation, planning, tidying, cooking and a dash of advertising (made easier by services like Airbnb), you can convert your home into a bed-and-breakfast for weary travelers to rest in.

Keep in mind that you need spare bedrooms or a guest house for your customers, and you might want to invest in your cooking and decorating skills to leave a lasting positive impression. Good reviews go a long way in booking out your house for the future.

32. Florist

With a green thumb and a knack for crafts, you might consider opening a floral business to sell flowers and floral arrangements. Depending on your location, you could grow your own flowers, sell and arrange them at home; or, you can outsource the flowers, but still manage the whole of your operations from your own house.

33. Day care manager

Provided you have space, you can start a day care business by supervising a few children during the day — and expanding with staff to accommodate more kids as your business expands.

A day care can be an important business in a local community, especially if your town doesn't already have one. Plus, if you have any experience with teaching or kids, getting into this business will be quick, easy and rewarding.

34. Rideshare driver

Although not home-based per se, becoming a rideshare driver, with Uber or Lyft can offer the same flexibility and freedom as a business that's physically based in your home. As a rideshare driver, your business will more or less be based in your car, and you'll be able to choose your own hours and be your own boss. With the popularity of ridesharing apps continuing to grow, there's no shortage of clients looking for rides, especially if you live in a tourist area or near a big city.

35. Photographer

By starting your own home photography business, you can manage the operational side of your endeavor right from home and travel as needed to meet clients. If your home is particularly picturesque, you might even consider bringing clients there to take photographs or set up a home studio for portraits.

If you want to venture into event photography, you can market your services and look for clients who need professional photography for weddings, graduations, engagements or other events.

36. Landlord

If you have an extra room or guest house on your property, you might consider renting the space — or even investing in a separate property that you can market to renters. As a landlord, you'll be responsible for the upkeep of the property and dealing with any issues that arise with your renters, but you'll generally have flexibility in your business and be home-based.

37. Hair stylist or makeup artist

Are you the person that your friends come to for help with hair and makeup? If so, you might decide to start a home-based salon or makeup artistry business. You can set up a small place in your home with good lighting and the tools you'll need to service your clients, as well as create an on-the-go kit to offer hair and makeup in your clients' homes.

You may find that your hair or makeup business is particularly busy during prom and wedding season, which will be the perfect time to continue to market to new customers. If you have downtime during seasons, you might consider starting a hair or makeup blog or YouTube tutorial channel as well.

38. Eldercare

If you're passionate about helping people and have any experience in personal care, you might consider starting an eldercare business. Nursing homes can be expensive and people are often hesitant to put their family members in full-time care facilities. Therefore, you might decide to offer freelance care, traveling to your clients' homes and caring for them as needed. Keep in mind, you'll want to make sure you have any certifications and the proper training you need.

With the growing popularity of craft and local beers, you might consider brewing beer in your own home. Although this home business will require research, training and equipment, it can be sustainable if your properly market and sell your product.

Or, if you're particularly attracted to the brewing process but don't want to get involved in all of the other areas involved in selling beer, you might look into contract brewing, where you help beer companies make and package their beer. Either way, this can be a great hands-on business, especially if you like experimenting and figuring out how the best beer is made.

Even with all of the different brands and clothing stores out there, people are still going to have those moments where they need a piece of clothing fitted or repaired. If you have any skill with a needle or sewing machine, you might want to open up your own home tailor shop. As a tailor, you can perform fittings and alternations for dresses and suits, as well as repair damaged clothes.

Moreover, you might find there's a market for sewing personalization that you could capitalize on as well, especially for sports teams uniforms, wedding gifts, company swag and more.

Tips for starting a home-based business

Owning a home-based business is a dream that many people have. The good news is, the process is much more straightforward than you might think. If you're already working from home, contracting or freelancing, you may be able to turn your marketable skills into your own home business. Consider the following steps:

1. Craft a business plan

All businesses are born from a solid plan. Your home-based business is no different. Decide your company's purpose, figure out what service or products you will offer and set measurable targets and goals. You should also determine business financing options if you need initial capital to get started. Your business plan may adapt as your company evolves, but it's the foundation your company will grow upon.

2. Carve out a dedicated workspace

If you're new to working from home, you may think the kitchen table or couch makes for a perfect workspace. Unfortunately, when you're running your own home-based business, you may need a designated space to manage your business. This space does not have to be large and can always grow with time, but it should be separate from daily distractions in your home. If you don't have a second room to utilize, consider setting up your workspace in a spare bedroom or another less-trafficked room. You'll appreciate the privacy when you're taking work calls.

3. Choose a business entity

When planning home business ideas, you need to decide what type of business you want to form. Each business type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so make sure you do thorough research before deciding on one.

You don't have to form your own business to work from home, but doing so can be beneficial when filing your taxes and separating personal and business expenses.

The bottom line

If you're exploring small-business ideas from home to find the one that will be cost-effective, fit your skills and inspire you—we hope you found the right idea on our list; or, if not, you at least came up with a brilliant home business idea of your own.

The market for working from home (and 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.

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The 49 Best Home Business Ideas for 2023

by Tiffany Connors , Nicole Dow

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The 49 Best Home Business Ideas

Businesses that don’t require you to leave your home.

Home Business Ideas for Selling Stuff

Home-based businesses that let you work outdoors, next steps after choosing a great home-based business idea, frequently asked questions (faqs) about the best home business ideas.

You fantasize about ditching the daily commute and starting a business from the comfort of home.

The only problem with your entrepreneurial daydream? You don’t have any idea what kind of business to start, much less how to make it profitable.

No worries, we’re here to help.

You’re not alone in wanting to go it alone. Of the 31.7 million small businesses operating in the U.S., about 81% were run by individuals with no employees , according to the most recent government numbers.

Whether you’re looking for a little side-hustle income or you dream of quitting your current job and the daily commute for good, here’s your guide to home-based business ideas.

Choosing your business can start with something as simple as picking an activity you enjoy and figuring out how to monetize it.

However, if you don’t already have a passion you want to profit from — or you’d rather keep your hobbies and work separate — you can still start a successful home-based business on your own as a sole proprietor , or one-person business.

A sole proprietorship doesn’t need to register with the state (unlike corporations, partnerships and LLCs ). However, you still must comply with registration, license, tax and permit laws.

Local social media groups like Nextdoor can be a source of ideas. There you’ll find everyday services that are in demand, although it may not be the most glamorous work.

Mundane chores make for good business because they’re tasks that many people are willing to pay someone else to do, whether it’s mowing lawns as a groundskeeper or setting up bounce houses as a kids’ party planner.

We’ve come up with a list of the best business ideas that have relatively low barriers to entry and startup costs but offer real income potential.

Ready to start your journey toward self-employment in the comfort of your own home? Let’s get to work.

Running an online business lets you make money with little need to leave the house. You may need a personal website where potential customers can find you, although you can also find work for your specific skills through sites like Upwork and Fiverr .

1. Freelance Writing

Use your wordsmithing skills to start a freelance writing business. We have advice for how to pitch a story if you’re looking for your first byline.

To make freelance writing your full-time business, you’ll benefit from expanding your repertoire to incorporate multiple types of writing (editing skills also increase your value). Here are a few options:

2. Virtual Assistant

Administrative assistants typically answer to a boss, but start your own business, and you’ll be calling the shots.

A virtual assistant performs similar tasks to an in-person assistant, but you can offer your services to one or multiple companies. You might be doing data entry one day and proofing articles on WordPress another, so be prepared for a variety of tasks.

Here are seven virtual assistant services that pay up to $60 an hour.

3. Travel Planner

Arrange for others to travel the world without having to leave your couch.

A remote travel planner is a great home-based business idea for someone who is well organized, detail oriented and has stellar customer service skills. It helps if you have travel experience and understand trends in the travel and tourism industry.

The demand for travel agents is expected to increase by 20% between 2021 and 2031—so now is a great time to get your feet wet with this lucrative home business.

Stand out from other travel agents by finding a niche, and marketing your services to a targeted audience, like single parents with young children or retirees with limited income. The 2021 median pay for a travel agent was $21.06 an hour .

Here are some tips about launching a home-based business as a remote travel agent from someone who did it.

A man writes down something in his notebook. He is supposed to be a bookkeeper.

4. Bookkeeper

Life makes more sense in spreadsheets. If this statement sounds like something you’d say, a bookkeeping business could be in your future.

Rather than targeting a big business account, start by focusing on smaller businesses that need help managing their finances. You don’t need to be a CPA to start, but strong computer and customer service skills help.

These tips on how to start a work-from-home bookkeeping business can help you earn up to $69 an hour.

5. Tax Preparer

Another home business option for someone skilled in accounting is to become a tax preparer.

While you don’t need formal training to become a tax professional, it can help. You’ll need a Preparer Tax Identification Number and an Electronic Filing Identification Number from the IRS to start, and you may have to register with your state.

While tax preparers generally work on a seasonal basis, you may be able to earn enough during tax season to stretch through the remainder of the year.

Enjoy all the fun of teaching without leaving home.

An online tutoring business lets you offer your expertise, whether it’s teaching math and English to elementary kids or prepping high school students for the SAT.

These 10 online tutoring companies are a good place to start. Promote your expertise in a subject or grade level in your bio — teaching certifications will also add to your credibility (and bottom line).

Most tutoring platforms require instructors to either have or be working toward a bachelor’s degree, and previous teaching experience is preferred. Check the requirements before you apply.

If you’re thinking of starting a tutoring business, you can learn a thing or two from this former Scripps National Spelling Bee participant who earned $100 an hour tutoring kids who want to compete.

7. Teach Online Classes

Turn a topic you know a lot about or a talent you have into an online course as a way to make money from home.

This is one of the best home-business ideas because it allows you to capitalize on what you already know with very little investment. Online classes are also a great way to earn passive income. You can record your online classes once and get paid for months or years to come as people sign up for your courses.

Here’s how to get started on creating an online course.

A man looks at an oversized book with a ladder leading up to it.

8. Write an Ebook

Writing an ebook (or several) is another option to earn passive income from home. Your ebook could be fiction or nonfiction, and you can decide to write about whatever topic you like — as long as there’s an audience for it.

Self-publishing your book removes the barriers to entry built into the traditional publishing business model. You don’t have to have a literary agent and hope it gets seen by the big publishing houses. However, after publishing your ebook, it’s up to you to funnel potential readers to your masterpiece.

9. Affiliate Marketer

If you have your own website or your own blog that already gets traffic, affiliate marketing should be part of your business plan.

The basic concept: You can make money by including affiliate links to products you recommend on your site. When your readers click on the link and buy the product, you receive a commission.

Check out affiliate marketplaces to connect with brands that will pay you to promote their products and services. Among the many marketplaces is ClickBank , which will allow you to earn anywhere from $15 to $50 on a single sale.

10. Social Media Consultant

Got a knack for words and a knowledge of the latest trends in social media? Consider becoming a social media consultant.

Most small businesses don’t have the budget for full-time social media management, but they want a presence on social media to attract and engage customers. That translates to plenty of opportunities for you to pitch your services. Sell your social savvy — and expertise with publishing software — to local businesses by writing blog and social posts.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lumps social media consultants into the general category of public relations, listing a median pay rate of $30.19 an hour in 2021.

Focusing your business on one area, at least early on, can help build your expertise. Research the local online business landscape to discover where the need is, whether it’s helping establish social media accounts for local businesses, contracting for a specific number of posts per week or setting your sights on a specific industry (restaurants, for instance).

11. Start a YouTube Channel

Share your life, interests or skill set with the internet via YouTube, and bank some cash. YouTube is a home business idea that can help you earn residual income. The videos you create now can bring in income months or even years down the road.

One YouTuber told The Penny Hoarder that she started earning revenue on her YouTube channel within six months, despite having no technical experience or equipment beyond a laptop and a smartphone. Check out her advice on how to make money on YouTube .

Some of the platform’s top earners bring in tens of millions of dollars; however, you can aim to make this home-based business idea into a modest side hustle with low startup costs.

Use this guide to make money on YouTube to get started.

Two people dance while someone records them on a phone.

12. Become a TikTok Influencer

TikTok is much more than just trendy dances. It’s also a legitimate way to earn money from home if you have a nice-sized following.

You likely won’t make a bunch of money overnight, but if you create quality content consistently, focus on a niche and follow the trends, you might find success. Depending on how many eyeballs check out your videos, you could earn from $200 to $20,000 for a branded video. You can also make money selling products online or offering consulting services.

This guide to making money on TikTok can help you get started with this home business idea. 

13. Start a Podcast

Launching a podcast is another way to capitalize on your knowledge base or interests.

For example, one journalist told The Penny Hoarder that she quit her TV station job in 2017 to become a full-time podcaster and focus on the news she wanted to share.

You can make money with a podcast through advertising, sponsorships, subscriptions, paid content and donations.

Use these podcasts for entrepreneurs as inspiration to start a business with a podcast.

14. Be a Voiceover Artist

Put your talents from high school drama class to good use earning money as a voiceover artist. Voiceover artists record audio for video games, audiobooks, TV commercials, radio spots, cartoon programs and more.

It’s a fairly flexible job that you can do during nontraditional work hours, making it a perfect home business for someone with a 9-to-5 job or a stay-at-home parent, like this woman .

Jump into the voiceover business with this guide on how to get paid narrating audiobooks.

15. Web Developer

If you can balance aesthetically pleasing and user friendly, your next business could be as a web developer.

Technically, there are differences between web designers and developers, with designers tending toward the visual aspect while developers focusing on the coding. The BLS, which doesn’t differentiate between the two, states the median pay is $37.65 an hour .

Even if businesses in your area don’t have a big budget for complicated websites, they may need a simple landing page. If you have the web design and coding skills, you can start small and expand your business based on referrals and your portfolio.

Learning to code helped this woman quit her job to become a full-time web developer — she earned $137,000 in her first year.

A woman draws on her computer.

16. Graphic Design

Unleash your creativity — and use your art degree — to create a graphic design business.

Whether it’s designing logos or layouts, you’ll need to invest in the proper equipment and programs to give your designs a professional look. But you’ll at least be able to find colleagues to consult — in 2021, about 1 in 5 graphic designers were self-employed, according to the BLS.

Prospective clients will want to see past design work to determine if you’re a good fit, so a portfolio is essential. You can find free places to post your work at sites like Coroflot and Carbonmade .

If you’re just getting started as a graphic designer, add to your portfolio by volunteering to create brochures and programs for nonprofits like your church or kids’ school.

Once you’re established, you’ll be able to set hourly or per-project rates. You could earn between $15 and $47 per hour. These tips will get you started .

Make your business stand out by including your personal story. Share how you got started and why you love what you do to connect with customers looking for a reason to choose you over the competition.

17. Become a Life Coach or Career Coach

If you’ve got excellent motivational skills and you’re passionate about seeing others succeed, you might want to start a business as a life coach or career coach .

You can make money in this line of work through one-on-one sessions with clients, creating webinars or workshops or creating a blog or podcast. The amount of money you can generate with this home business idea will vary based upon your method of monetization and the size of your own audience.

18. Be an Online Dating Consultant

Helping someone craft an online dating profile sounds like something you’d do for a friend over drinks, not a home business idea that generates income.

However, you can legitimately start a business as an online dating consultant , helping people craft their online profiles and connect with potential dates.

Other ways to earn money from providing online dating services include shooting photos for a dating profile and investigating dating fraudsters.

This woman charges up to $2,000 a month for a subscription service where she does all the work short of going on the dates herself.

Work at Home… and Beyond

Sure, you enjoy working from home, but sometimes you miss human interaction . No worries — there are plenty of home-based business ideas that let you run your business from your couch but also allow you to escape the confines of home.

A man gives a tour guide on bikes.

19. Local Tour Guide

Do you love showing off your city? Make it your business by becoming a local tour guide.

And you don’t have to limit yourself to museums and monuments — although that’s an option , too.

One man told The Penny Hoarder he makes $10,000 a year with his side gig leading craft coffee tours around St. Petersburg, Florida, while another earns income leading bike tours to check out the many murals around the city.

If you already have a passion for arts, food or other amenities that make your town special, you can start by offering free tours to friends, then expand your reach by promoting your tours on social media and through your local tourism office.

20. Cleaning

Cleaning other people’s places may not be everyone’s dream job, but that’s what increases its potential as a profitable business.

Housekeeping is one option, but if you’re willing to get your hands a little (or a lot) dirty, your services can be invaluable to clients who want you to clean out decades of accumulated trash in their basements, attics and barns.

This man turned a junk removal gig into a full-time job, making up to $30,000 a month hauling away trash.

21. Professional Organizer

Channel Marie Kondo or Clea and Joanna of The Home Edit and start a home-based business as a professional organizer.

This profession differs from a typical house cleaner. It involves organizing people’s belongings into beautiful systems that discourage clutter. This job requires an eye for detail, good judgment, discretion when dealing with clients’ personal things and, of course, stellar organization skills.

Being that you’re doing work that many people avoid, you can pocket some sweet income with this home business idea.

This woman earned $150 an hour to declutter people’s lives as a professional organizer.

22. Personal Chef

Your dinner parties are always a hit, and people form a line for your bake sale contributions.

Bank on your culinary prowess with a personal chef or catering business.

You don’t need a culinary degree to start plating, but a few referrals could help fire up your business.

Offer to cook for the school fundraiser or church picnic, and be sure to display your business cards at the serving stations.

Posting professional-looking photos of your mouth-watering dishes on your website is another way to attract customers. A personal chef who charges up to $65 per plate hosting dinner parties shared more tips .

23. Photography

Use your photography skills to take a shot at starting a business.

Besides taking photos of babies, parties and weddings , people make money with photography businesses by selling their work to stock photo sites like Shutterstock or iStock .

This guide to making money selling photos lays out several sites you can work with.

24. Real Estate Agent

As a real estate agent, you’ll spend a good amount of time away from your home meeting with clients, touring properties and hosting open houses. But you’ll also spend time in your home office compiling comparable properties, pouring over listings, researching the market and drawing up contracts.

To become a real estate agent, you’ll need to complete coursework and pass an exam to earn your real estate license. You’ll also need to find a brokerage to work with.

As a real estate agent, you earn a percentage of the sales you see through. The median pay for real estate agents in 2021 was just under $49,000.

Read this guide to how to become a real estate agent.

Kristy Anderson, of Dwell Home Staging, organizes a home in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

25. Home Staging

Live out your HGTV dream.

Homeowners hoping to get the highest price need to make their humble abode look its best. And that’s where you, the home stager, come in to rearrange the furniture, hide the million toys in a storage unit and replace all those framed cat photos with tasteful art.

Think you have what it takes?

One woman who started her home staging business with a $3,000 investment built her client base by doing the following:

26. Babysitter

Love kids? Love having kids running around your home?

If your home is prepared for the rough-and-tumble world of children, babysitting in your home is a good way to get around the whole “ nanny tax ” thing (that’s where the parents have to pay you as a domestic employee because you’re working in their home).

Each state has its own regulations about what age and how many kids you can watch at one time before becoming a daycare, so check out your state’s rules before you start. Learning a few basics — like CPR and first aid — can also help you demand a higher rate .

How much you can make varies based on how many kids you watch and your location, among other factors. The calculator suggests the rate for babysitting in New York City is $19.25 per hour.

A rapper records in his studio.

27. Musician

Let’s start with the assumption that you aren’t a rock star musician prepared to tour the world.

That doesn’t mean you can’t be in the music business. In fact, we have 13 ways to make money off your music here .

28. Personal Trainer

Turn your love of fitness into cash by becoming a personal trainer working from your own home studio or traveling to clients’ houses. Increase your credibility (and pay) by getting certified by a nationally accredited organization like the American Council on Exercise (ACE) or National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

Expect the business of personal training to be more of a marathon than a sprint. Accreditation training can take weeks and cost hundreds of dollars, along with liability insurance , and you’ll have to maintain your certification with continuing education.

The BLS says the 2021 median pay for fitness trainers and instructors was $19.57 per hour , but pay can vary widely depending on your location and specialization — IDEA Health and Fitness Association notes the average rate for personal trainers in New York City is $32 an hour.

29. Yoga Instructor

A yoga instructor is another fitness-related, home-based business idea. Getting trained as a Certified Yoga Teacher (CYT) can help you establish yourself as a professional qualified to lead others in their yoga practice.

Working as a yoga instructor allows you to have flexibility (pun intended) about where you work. You can take your home-based business online by recording videos or doing virtual classes. You could also lead yoga instruction at a community center, a park or your client’s home.

30. Massage Therapist

Work with your hands… and arms… and elbows… as you massage clients’ muscles.

Starting a massage therapy business requires more than one of those cool tables and a towel — although you should definitely expect to do a lot of laundry (all the sheets, you know).

Before flexing those fingers, you’ll need schooling and licensure — check here for your state’s massage therapy licensing requirements .

According to the latest numbers from the BLS, employment in massage therapy is projected to grow 20% from 2021 to 2031, with a median pay rate of $22.55 per hour in 2021.

31. Notary Public

There are many occasions that call for a person needing a document notarized — from buying a house or signing a will to filling out school forms or entering into a business contract.

A notary public is the individual who witnesses the signing of legal documents and ensures that the people signing the documents are who they say they are.

Depending on the state you live in, you may have to take a course and pass an exam in order to become a notary public. In many cases, you’re required to purchase a surety bond. You’ll also need to purchase a notary seal or stamp.

Your pay may be regulated by the state, but you can make decent earnings as a notary public.

One notary in Florida told The Penny Hoarder he earns between $75 and $200 per signing.

A man fixes a leaky pipe underneath a person's sink.

32. Handyperson

If you have a knack for fixing things around the house, a good home business idea for you might be to become a handyperson .

There’s a lot of variety in this line of work. You might spend one day fixing a leaky pipe and another day patching a hole in someone’s drywall.

Being that you can set your own hours, you might be able to charge a premium for working nights and weekends when other companies are closed.

No, these aren’t the dreaded cold-calling telephone sales jobs — instead you’re selling your own stuff or other people’s stuff through your own local or online business or a third-party site.

33. Amazon Seller

Considering it seems like you can buy nearly anything on Amazon, it makes sense that you should be able to sell almost anything on Amazon, right? Here are three great options to create and run your own online store on Amazon:

34. eBay Seller

Use your eye for fashion to resell thrift store finds at a profit as an eBay seller.

To get started, check out eBay’s listings for similar items to determine the demand for your product and a pricing strategy. How you price your item affects how it shows up in a search — the lower the price, the more eyes, but setting a higher minimum guarantees a greater return on investment if the item sells.

Good reviews are essential for any online seller. Invest in thank-you cards to include with each order to remind your customers to add their feedback to your site.

Attract more buyers (and higher prices) by using good lighting and a professional presentation in photos of your product.

This woman regularly earned $500 to $800 a month selling on eBay for 10 to 15 hours of work per week.

A person makes jewerly.

35. Etsy Marketer

Crafting a business from your love of, well, crafting, doesn’t mean you need to drag your wares to a table at the farmer’s market every Saturday. Setting up shop with the online marketplace Etsy allows you to sell handmade products like custom jewelry, refinished furniture and custom gift baskets without leaving your home.

As experienced sellers will tell you, a big part of being able to sell online via Etsy is re-creating the experience for a buyer who is used to handling handmade products in person when deciding to make a purchase.

Instead of discovering your handmade jewelry or macrame plant holders through a tactile experience, buyers are looking at your photos and descriptions of your handmade products on your Etsy store to decide whether to buy. High-quality photos and in-depth descriptions are essential for attracting customers, as is sharing your personal story.

36. Print-On-Demand Business

If you have a pulse on what’s trendy, you could develop your own line of graphic T-shirts with a print-on-demand business.

To gain success with this home business idea, it helps to have graphic design skills. However, you could always contract out the design work.

With a print-on-demand business, you don’t have to worry about managing inventory, shipping, returns or customer service. You run your own online store and the rest is handled by the third-party company you work with. Some popular options are Merch by Amazon , Printify and Spreadshirt .

It’s also important to note that your print-on-demand business doesn’t have to revolve around selling T-shirts. You could choose to sell products like tote bags, coffee mugs or wall art — customized with your own design or text.

You could also turn your art into cash by using one of these print-on-demand sites.

Here’s how one man built a successful business printing T-shirts , earning a few hundred dollars a month.

Here’s how one man built a successful business printing T-shirts, earning a few hundred dollars a month.

37. Start a Dropshipping Business

A dropshipping business is a type of e-commerce business where you sell products featured on your online store, but you rely on a third-party business to fulfill the order and ship it to the customer. You pocket a percentage of the sale by getting the products at wholesale prices from your supplier.

You can choose from a variety of products for your dropshipping business. Your dropshipping business could be an online store selling clothing. Or perhaps you want to focus on selling home decor.

Your dropshipping business could play a part in a larger home business operation, like this woman who started a dropshipping business in conjunction with her existing ecommerce business.

38. Vending Machine Owner

Being a vending machine owner gives you the ability to sell products without renting commercial real estate or needing to meet with customers in person. You just have to find the right location for your vending machine and get permission from the local business owners there.

You can sell anything from soda and candy to toys and tech accessories. Startup costs can be around $2,000 but this home business idea is one that can generate passive income with little work required.

This guide to making money with a vending machine can help you launch this home business idea.

39. Subscription Box Business

Another home-based business idea where you’d sell products is a subscription box business— an industry that was valued at $22.7 billion in 2021 .

Subscription box businesses can span many different industries. You could sell clothes, makeup, food, books, pet toys and more.

Depending on what type of products you choose to sell with your online business, you may need a significant amount of capital (and storage space) to start this home business. However, you have the potential to gain customers and sales on a repeat basis with a subscription box business.

You can get some additional subscription box advice about what consumers consider good offers and which ones they might steer away from.

A woman sews in her home.

Sew you want to start a business (sorry, couldn’t help ourselves).

Turning your threads into a profitable business can start with adjusting hems and making alterations for family and friends, but there are plenty of other ways to use your needle and thread to follow your passion.

Here’s how one woman found enough work to make a side gig by sewing cosplay costumes.

41. Home Baker

If your friends and family members can’t stop raving about your chocolate chip cookies or apple pie, perhaps baking is a great business idea for you.

You could create desserts for birthday parties, weddings, business events and more as a sweet source of income. If your treats are easy to ship, you can set up an online store and sell online in addition to fulfilling local orders. We’ve got a complete guide on how to set up your home-baking business .

This woman turned her hobby of baking into a full-fledged business.

42. Furniture Flipper

Successful online furniture flippers say to follow tips such as:

This schoolteacher earned about $2,500 to $3,000 a month upcycling and reselling furniture.

43. Airbnb Host

If you ever dreamed of owning a bed and breakfast, but never quite got your hands on that country estate, you can still channel your inner hostess by transforming a guest room (or your home) into Airbnb accommodations.

Instead of selling physical merchandise, you’ll be selling your space, but you’ll still need those same marketing skills to make your Airbnb attractive to potential guests. Think: inviting photos and a well-organized space that will garner great reviews from previous guests.

Here are nine more tips from an Airbnb superhost.

(Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing.)

There’s no need to limit your home business to the confines of your house. Here are some home business ideas that’ll let you spend time outdoors enjoying some fresh air.

44. Petsitting

Prefer your clients to be the four-legged variety? You could start a petsitting business and cuddle with cats and dogs while their owners are gone all day.

There are more business ideas that can branch off of a petsitting business, like starting a dog walking business. Connect with fur babies and their parents through apps like Rover or Wag to build up a client base. There, you can add your profile and let owners see your experience.

This woman made just under $10,000 in 2018 between her part-time dog walking gig and pet-sitting business.

A farmer feeds his chickens.

45. Small-Scale Farming

Got a backyard with some room to breed?

If a full-size farm is a bit beyond your reach, you could go the (much) smaller animal route and install a beehive. Turn it into a successful business by selling honey at the local farmer’s market.

Yes, there are setup costs and licensing required after you buy the bees to factor in. But considering the high price local honey can demand, one beekeeper nearly broke even his first season raising bees by selling the sweet stuff.

If you have more space, take notes from this couple who started raising four chickens in the backyard of their home and went on to raise 900 chickens and 400 Grimaud Pekin ducks on their six-acre farm .

Regulations vary for raising livestock, which is considered any domesticated animal that’s raised to produce labor and/or commodities. Visit your state’s Department of Agriculture website for details.

46. Seasonal Operator

Maybe you’re more of a fair-weather businessperson.

Seasonal businesses offer you the chance to operate when you prefer to be outdoors — think shoveling snow during the winter or hauling beach gear during the summer.

And if the holiday season offers more free time for a business venture, think festive lights.

Light installers make the majority of their money hanging those twinkling lights during the holiday season.

Read about a Christmas decorator who made $138,000.

47. Garden Consultant

You’ve probably heard of business consultants, who bring their decades of knowledge to advise a company on whatever their issue is. You might not be a CEO, but if you’ve had years of growing gardens, you could turn your planting know-how into a garden consulting business.

Although people may dream of growing their food, most backyard gardens end up a little on the sad side, if alive at all. Your knowledge of soil acidity, fertilizer composition and sunlight needs — plus a willingness to dig around in the dirt — could pay off as a garden consultant.

One woman’s green thumb paid off — she made $1,200 in one year by growing seedlings and selling them out of the garage.

Two people work on a person's yard by mowing it and trimming bush hedges.

48. Landscaping

If you enjoy being out in your yard and are already skilled at maintaining your own lawn, a landscaping business might be a good home business idea to pursue.

Depending on where you live, your business may be at the mercy of the changing seasons, but this business is one where you can easily snag repeat customers year after year.

Local social media groups — like NextDoor or a neighborhood group on Facebook — could be a good way to drum up business. Providing great results is also an excellent way to attract new customers and prompt existing customers to refer you to their friends.

49. Car Detailing

Cleaning a car inside and out is a chore many people would pay someone else to do. It’s also among the home business ideas you can start with little experience, no education requirements and low startup costs.

You can choose to have clients come to your home to get their cars detailed or charge a premium as a mobile car detailer who’ll meet busy clients where they are.

In addition to this being a good home business idea for those who enjoy the outdoors, this line of work is fitted for people who are detail oriented and enjoy physical labor. You can get a nice workout by cleaning cars all day!

Consider these home business ideas a jumping off point or the spark for a related idea that isn’t on this list.

Just know that starting a business requires more than just a good idea, so you’ll first want to check out our step-by-step guide to starting a business .

You’ll need to research the marketplace, create a business plan, gather funding, consider how to legally structure your business, come up with a memorable name and potentially register with the state.

The business world might be tough, but isn’t it easier weathering the ups and downs in the comfort of your own home?

If you’re still figuring out which of these best home business ideas would be right for you, the answers to these frequently asked questions may help provide clarity.

You can find success with any of the home-based business ideas featured on this list, provided you target an audience who could benefit from your product or service and you put in the work to consistently deliver.

There are some home-based businesses that seem to be more profitable than others. Web developers, graphic designers, tax preparers, bookkeepers and real estate agents can develop a lucrative business from home and end up earning more than the median wage for U.S. workers.

A good home business idea is one that you have the skills to do and that there is a demand for. If you’re looking for home business ideas where you can be flexible with your hours, consider business ideas like working as a graphic designer, a voiceover artist, a home baker, a furniture flipper or an Amazon seller.

Great home business ideas you can start if you’re good at making sales include running an online store on Amazon, operating an online store on eBay, having a vending machine business or starting a subscription box company.

If you enjoy spending time outdoors, some home-based business ideas you should consider are working as a garden consultant, starting a landscaping business or detailing cars.

The easiest home-based business ideas to develop are those with low barriers to entry and minor startup costs. It will be easier to start a home business using skills you already have. 

If you have to take courses and earn a certification before you can launch your own business, that may not be the easiest path to pursue.

Having low startup costs is a big factor in deciding whether your home business ideas will be easy to follow through with. However, what you consider to be low costs for your home-based business is subjective. Ideally, you’ll want to be able to get your business up and running without depending on a loan or blowing through all your savings.

Some home business ideas you can start for less than $100 include freelance writing, working as a virtual assistant, tutoring, starting a YouTube channel, being a professional organizer, starting a dropshipping business, starting a print-on-demand business, working as a pet sitter or detailing cars.

Before you start a business, make sure you have a solid emergency fund aside from the savings you plan to use for business expenses.

Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a writer/editor at The Penny Hoarder. Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Freelancer Larissa Runkle contributed to this post.

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60 Small Business Ideas for Anyone Who Wants to Run Their Own Business

Meg Prater

Published: October 21, 2022

A good business idea may seem hard to come by, but with some planning and preparation, you can easily launch a small business to supplement your income — or become your own full-time boss.

Small business ideas symbolically showing the spirit of a small business with lightbulbs, piggy banks, and a person using a drill themselves

Maybe you already have an idea of the business you’d like to start. But while you might feel ready for a new venture and passionate about your idea, you might be looking for some direction.

Download Now: Business Startup Kit [Free Templates]

To help get you started, here's a list of small business ideas separated into a few sections:

Best Small Business Ideas

Best businesses to start with little money, home business ideas, easy businesses to start, how to start a small business at home.

The first step to becoming a successful entrepreneur is finding a business idea that works for you. In this article, you’ll find dozens of small business ideas you can start from home and scale up as your clientele grows. Let’s get started.

Free Business Startup Kit

Fill out this form to build your business plan today., what makes a good small business idea.

Not all small business ideas are made equal: Some require more effort and funding than others, while some can be launched with few resources — or resources you already have. As a potential small business owner, you’ll want to save as much money as possible on training, rent, supplies, and other necessities.

Let’s go over what makes a good business idea:

Airbnb Co-founder, Brian Chesky, said, "If we tried to think of a good idea, we wouldn’t have been able to think of a good idea. You just have to find the solution for a problem in your own life."

If you’re like Brian and you’ve already thought about a solution for a problem you encounter in your life — or you’re on the path to doing so — then starting a small business may be in your future. It may also be for you if you dream of clocking out of your nine-to-five job for the last time and becoming your own boss.

Below, we include the absolute best ideas for you to start your small business — with resources and examples to help you get started.

1. Handyman

small business idea example: handyman

Image Source

Are you always fixing things around the house? Often on-call when friends need small projects completed? Create a website , conduct a competitive analysis to determine what your time and expertise are worth, and turn to the friends you’ve helped before for referrals.

A handyman business is a good idea if you’ve already built a robust set of skills to help others fix up their homes. Consider specializing in what you feel well-prepared to do — for instance, if you know your way underneath a sink and water system, then you might provide sink fixing services to start, then expand your offerings once you earn more skills.

No certifications are needed to become a handyman, and there are no special education requirements. You might need, however, a license if you’re planning to undertake jobs worth more than a certain dollar amount. Some states might not require this license.

To start your handyman business, we recommend the following resources:

2. Woodworker

Similarly, if you have a passion for crafting beautiful furniture or other home goods out of wood, that could be a small business niche for you. Get started by listing a few of your pieces on sites like Etsy . Once you build a following, consider starting a website, accepting custom orders, or expanding to refinishing work and upholstery.

A woodworker small business is ideal if you already have a passion for woodworking, as well as the tools to begin fulfilling orders as they begin to come in. Since delivering a well-made product is key to keeping your customers happy, you don’t want to be “training” as you create a custom shelf or a custom storage box. It’s recommended to have at least one year of experience as a woodworking apprentice.

To start a woodworking business, there are no special education requirements, but there are a wide range of woodworking training certifications online, so we suggest starting with a certification. The Woodwork Institute , YesTomorrow , and The School of Fine Woodworking are potential places to start.

3. Online Dating Consultant

Dating consultants usually charge for their time. They help people create successful online dating profiles, source possible matches from outside the typical online channels, and offer a level of personalization that a site like Tinder can’t. Think you’ve got a knack for the match? This might be the business for you.

Online dating consultants need to have strong communication and interpersonal skills, as well as heightened levels of empathy. The good news is that there are no special education or licensure requirements, though we recommend getting a certification such as IAP College’s relationship coach certification or Hart Academy’s online dating coach certificate .

To start an online dating consultant business, you’ll need a website that shares all about you and offers free dating resources your customers might benefit from. Once they download a resource, you can loop them in for a free consultation.

4. Sewing and Alteration Specialist

small business idea example: sewing and alterations

People will always need clothing hemmed and buttons mended — and you could be the person to do it. If you love sewing and have a sewing machine at home, start by offering simple services like those mentioned above and expand your repertoire to dressmaking and design as you build a customer base and demand.

You don’t need a special license or degree to begin a sewing and alterations business, but it’s essential to build your skills so you can take on more complicated projects. High-value clients will want to customize complicated items of clothing such as suits, pants, gowns, and dresses. That’s where you’ll see the highest potential for profits.

Altering these items require special skills, however. A few courses you might consider include:

You’ll also need to shop for sewing supplies of all colors to accommodate your clients.

5. Freelance Developer

From building websites for other small businesses to providing technical support for certain projects, quality web development is in high demand right now. As a web developer, you'll naturally have a technical skill set. Distill your knowledge and expertise so customers who don't have your experience are able to understand what it is you'll be helping them achieve.

To help with this, test your messaging on friends and family who don’t have a firm understanding of the work you do. If they’re able to summarize what you do, your messaging is likely effective among people outside of your industry. You can start finding your first freelance contracts by visiting different freelance websites .

Unlike a few other options in this list, a freelance developer does need some training to launch a successful business and start taking on projects, but if you’re a beginner, don’t worry. There are plenty of boot camps to get you up to speed with either full-stack or front-end web development. Some of these boot camps are even offered through accredited tech schools.

Some boot camps you might consider include:

These vary in price, so be sure to do extensive research to find one that fits you and your budget.

6. Personal Trainer

Offer in-home consultations, personalized nutrition and exercise regimens, and community boot camps to get the word out. Don’t forget to populate an Instagram feed with inspirational quotes, free exercise videos, and yummy snack ideas as well — it’s a common way for fitness gurus to build their brands in our digital world.

If you choose to go this route, it’s OK to start small at first, then scale up. For instance, MOURfit is a personal training business in Indianapolis that started in a shared gym, then grew to a private gym that offers group fitness, personal training, and nutrition services.

To start a personal training business, you’ll need a certification. If you already earned a degree in an unrelated discipline, we recommend starting with the NASM-CPT certification , which is nationally accredited and only requires a high school diploma or GED. You can also get a Bachelor’s degree in physical and exercise science — here’s one example from Emory & Henry College .

7. Freelance Graphic Designer

Set your own hours, choose your projects, and build a portfolio and business you’re proud of. From website design to blog graphics and more, many companies seek out experienced graphic designers for support on a variety of projects.

The good news? There are no special education requirements for becoming a freelance graphic designer, though we recommend seeking a credential (like SAIC’s graphic design certificate or RISD’s graphic design certificate ) or an Associate’s degree in design so you can confidently present your portfolio and complete your first few projects.

If you’re just starting out with graphic design, try these tips and tricks that are ideal for beginners. If you’re more experienced but need to build your portfolio to attract clients, these prompts will get your creativity flowing in no time. We also recommend reviewing other people’s work on portfolio websites to get a feel for what is “trendy” and receive feedback as you grow your small business.

Free Download: How to Hire and Work with Freelancers

8. Life/ Career Coach

If you have experience navigating career, personal, and social transitions successfully, put it to good use as a life or career coach. Many of us are looking for guidance in our careers — and finding someone with the time to mentor us can be tough.

Life/career coaches don’t come cheap, but they are able to offer clients the intense and hands-on training and advice they need to make serious moves in their personal and professional lives. After all, everyone needs some uplifting advice from time to time.

To start your life/career coaching business with confidence, you can look for a certification program (like the Life Coach School’s or Diane Hudson’s ), then apply your skills as you acquire new clients.

small business idea example: Career Coach Nariah Broadus

A resume writing business is economical, has few overhead costs, and has few educational requirements. We still recommend having an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree and a few resume samples on hand. If you still feel that you need to brush up on your resume writing skills, you can take a course like Coursera’s or LinkedIn Learning’s .

Once you’ve gotten resume writing down, you can expand your business to include cover letter writing, and even offer career coaching services in conjunction with these services.

10. Freelance Writer

If you have writing skills , there’s someone out there willing to pay you for them. Write blog posts, magazine articles, and website copy galore — just make sure you have a body of work built up to share with potential clients. Even if you create a few sample pieces to have on hand, they’ll help exhibit your work and attract new business.

To become a freelance writer, it’s essential to choose a specialty. For instance, you might choose to only write for publications in the healthcare industry (maybe because you were previously a healthcare worker), or focus on lifestyle publications. Whatever the case, specializing will help you find your niche market and gain confidence as a new freelancer writer.

There are no educational requirements to freelance writing, but you do need strong writing skills. It also helps to enjoy writing. While a certification may beneficial, getting practice and writing every day is more important. Try these writing prompts to start.

11. Landscaper

Mowing, tree-trimming, and seasonal decor are all neighborhood needs. If you have or can acquire the equipment, a landscaping business can be a lucrative affair. It’s also a great choice if you enjoy doing it for your own home and have a good eye for landscape design.

The good news is that you can start small. For instance, you could offer your neighbors seasonal planting services and start with a few perennial plants, or simply offer mulching services.

To grow your landscaping business, you should consider taking some formal training. The following organizations offer courses:

After completing a course and getting enough experience, you can apply for a certificate from a landscaping organization. While a certificate isn’t necessary to work in the field, it can build your credentials and help you make industry connections to take your landscaping business to the next level. The Association of Professional Landscape Designers offers one potential certificate you could pursue.

Some states require licensure, especially if you’ll be using pesticides and fertilizers. Be sure to review the requirements for your state.

Learn some of the basics now with this video on landscape design from Lowe’s:

12. Videographer

Video production requires you to have invested in the equipment up front, which can be quite expensive. But that’s also what makes your services so valuable. Make sure you have a reel of your work to share or create a website with several selections of your work available for interested viewers.

There are no educational or licensure requirements for starting a video production business. As with writing and other creative arts, though, it pays to specialize. Real estate videos differ radically from wedding videos, and wedding videos differ radically from in-studio interviews and testimonials. By specializing, you target a highly specific customer who’ll benefit the most from your services, and you can also skill-up more effectively in one shooting style.

While you can find general classes on videography, you should consider taking a class in the type of videography you’d like to do. For instance, you could take The Complete Wedding Videography Course , if that’s the route you’d like to take.

Hot tip: If you’re interested in specializing in video marketing, check out The Ultimate Guide to Video Marketing and download our starter pack below.

→ Access Now: Video Marketing Starter Pack [Free Kit]

13. Photographer

Start by conducting photo shoots for your family and friends. As you build a body of work, ask for referrals and reviews. Photography businesses often grow by word of mouth, so create a Facebook page where you can tag recent clients. Photos where you tag those clients will show up in their friends’ newsfeeds, where they can view your work. You can also ask them to leave reviews on your Facebook business page.

Like with a video production small business, you’ll want to specialize. Will you do product shoots or portraits? How about wedding or fashion photo shoots? Once you specialize, you’ll be able to create a body of work that most accurately represents your strengths.

There are no educational or licensure requirements for starting a small photography business, but we recommend investing in a few photography courses, especially if you haven’t used your camera in a while. Some courses you might start with include:

From there, seek courses that help you build skills in your chosen specialty.

If you’re not sure where to start with freelance photography, take a look at Erica Clayton’s journey into the business below. Her advice? Give yourself a firm deadline to turn a profit.

14. Bed and Breakfast Owner

small business idea example: bed and breakfast

This is another business venture that will require you to research the correct licensure from your state, but it will be well worth it to see your dreams come true. Consider what guests will be traveling to your area and create special packages and themed stays that coincide with their interests in your locale.

To start a bed and breakfast business, you’ll need a physical business location and a small staff for maintenance, customer service, and upkeep. For that reason, we recommend it if you have startup funds to start your business. (Don’t have any? Here’s how to start crowdfunding to launch your new business .)

A successful bed and breakfast business will also need an SEO-optimized website with a hotel booking system. If you create your website on the WordPress platform, you can easily create a B&B website using a hotel booking plugin — so there’s no need to code the booking form from scratch.

With Airbnb and hotels stealing market share, the competition is tough in the bed and breakfast space, so we recommend providing a unique angle to the stay. As mentioned, the stays can be themed — maybe your B&B is a vintage home with all original furniture, or maybe you offer traditional fare from your homeland.

15. Clothing Boutique Owner

If you dream of building your own fashion empire, why not start with a local boutique? Build buzz with impressive clothing styles, inspiring social media accounts, and heavy community involvement. While you can open a physical store, you can easily start online — and if that proves profitable, you can open up a local shop.

There are a few ways you can start a clothing boutique. First, you can make the clothes yourself if you already have experience in fashion design or know how to sew, knit, and curate colors and patterns.

Alternatively, you can design certain aspects of the clothing — such as a graphic or a logo — then send it to be printed on-demand at a local print shop when orders come in.

Lastly, you can dropship the items from a warehouse you’ve partnered with. This method is less reliable because there’s less quality assurance for each item, especially if you never visit the warehouses yourself. Regardless of the method you choose, starting a clothing boutique is highly doable, and you don’t need to have a fashion degree (though it certainly helps).

Take some inspiration from Sleep Ova , a luxury loungewear boutique based in Los Angeles, CA.

small business idea example: sleep ova

16. Specialty Food Store Owner

small business idea example: specialty food store

Gourmet foods, cheeses, sake, wine — you name a food, there’s a specialty food store out there for it. Put your passion for exotic olive oils to good use and open a store like American Provisions where you offer the kind of expertise and selection your audience couldn’t dream of getting from their local grocer.

To start your specialty food store, you’ll want to curate and source the items from makers that you love and trust. Ask around your community to find local makers of the food you want to sell, and the makers will likely be open to a partnership, especially if they get a cut of the profits.

When it’s time to sell, you’ll want to find a physical location, but if that investment is too high, you can start by setting up stalls at food festivals and local markets. Or you can go the ecommerce route and sell the products through your website, taking care to carefully pack perishable items.

17. Food Truck Owner

Always dreamt of owning a restaurant but not quite ready to take the plunge? Test out your concepts with a food truck. It’s a great way to become familiar with food and restaurant licensing in your state, see what people like and don’t like, and build a ravenous following before ever opening or investing in a brick-and-mortar location.

Food trucks will require a larger investment, but thankfully, you can rent the truck itself — the Food Truck Group and Roaming Hunger are two potential leasers you could look at. The cost will be high, so we recommend renting one in preparation for an event such as a food festival or concert. There, you’ll get to test out the popularity of your cuisine and see if the food truck business is right for you.

Taco Nganas , a taco truck in Memphis, TN, started with one food truck and expanded to three, building a loyal customer base along the way.

18. Car-detailing Specialist

small business idea example: car detailing

The devil is in the details, and you can be too. Car-detailing services that travel to the client are convenient for busy people who can’t find the time to run through the car wash. With this business, your clients only have to pay and the service will be done for them before they know it. Just make sure you have the flexibility, transportation, and equipment to take your business on the road.

There are no educational requirements for car detailing, but you should still take a course such as Auto Finesse’s detailing training to learn core concepts and brush up on your skills.

To get your car detailing business off the ground, you’ll need an SEO-optimized website and a way for customers to book online with you. Before you take that step, however, consider listing your services on websites like Angi , Thumbtack , and even so you can get your first local clients.

Don’t have a lot of money to start your business? Check out the ideas below.

1. Translator

Speak a foreign language? Start a translation service. Consider specializing in a specific genre of translation, like medical or financial translation, as you might be able to fill a niche need in your community.

2. Garden Designer

Many people have the willingness to do the dirty work in their backyards, but few have the know-how to complete the first part of this process — designing and planning the backyard space. Draw up the designs for your clients’ outdoor spaces and let them do the actual digging.

3. Ecommerce Store Owner

Do you create, collect, or curate anything special? Consider starting an ecommerce store and turning your hobby into a full-time job. Whether you need somewhere to sell all that pottery you’ve been making, or an excuse to search for the sports memorabilia you love tracking down, an ecommerce store can make it financially viable for you to pursue your passion.

Download Now: Ecommerce Planning Templates + Kit

4. Travel Planner

The time of the travel agent might be passing, but people are still looking for those with a knack for more nontraditional travel coordination. If you always plan the perfect vacations complete with beautiful hotels, the ideal location, and a bevy of delicious restaurants lined up for every evening, consider advertising your services as a more modern approach to travel planning.

5. Home Inspector

Working as a home inspector requires certification and a great deal of expertise, but it can offer a flexible work schedule and stable income. Confirm the licensing requirements in your state before getting started with this type of small business. You’ll want to make sure you’re providing the best service to your clients by having all of your credentials in order.

6. House Cleaner

With a low barrier to entry, house cleaning can be a great way to start doing what you love — soon. Consider advertising to homes in your neighborhood and get more bang for your buck by earning a few small businesses as clients as well. They’ll usually bring in a higher paycheck for a similar amount of work.

Need some inspiration? This small business cleaning service grew virtually overnight on Instagram after their content went viral during the pandemic.

small business idea example: go clean co

7. Personal Chef

We all love to eat, but few of us have the time or energy to cook healthy, delicious meals. Advertise your services to local families and businesses alike. To save on start-up costs, consider scheduling certain groups of clients together — say, vegetarians — so you can cook larger quantities of the same dish.

small business idea example: personal chef

Chef Paul’s mouth-watering dishes are available to clients across the country. His clientele niche consists of athletes, corporate businesses, and local gyms.

8. Property Manager

Many people maintain properties they don’t live in — often based in different cities or states. As a property manager, you can help a property owner ensure their home is being well taken care of, handle small fixes as they arise, and serve as a liaison to renters.

9. Packing Services Facilitator

Moving is always a pain, and many people hire the entire packing process out. Want to have a steady stream of clients? Partner with a local moving service that will refer new clients to you.

10. Massage Therapist

Soothe aching muscles and promote peace for your clients as a massage therapist. Look into training and certification courses in your city and state and invest in a portable bed to take on client visits.

small business idea example: massage therapist

11. Crafter

Creating novelties by hand is a fun and unique way to start a small business. Whether you make jewelry, knitted comfort items, or even custom wigs , there’s probably a market for your products. Tap into your audience with creative marketing on social media and optimize your website for the search engine using keywords that describe the products you make.

12. Interior Designer

Similar to landscape design — there are many people who have the ability to buy the furniture and home decor they need to fill their rooms, but few who know where to start. It might take some time to build a portfolio but documenting your projects and sharing them online can build a fanbase beyond your wildest dreams.

Need inspiration? Check out Sandra Cavallo’s interior design Instagram account.

small business idea example: interior designer

13. Nonprofit Owner

If you dream of devoting your life to a cause you believe in, it might be time to start a nonprofit. You’ll need to incorporate your business and file for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status — and then you’ll be required to meet ongoing standards of compliance, but the payoff is making a meaningful impact on a cause you believe in.

14. Tour Guide

Love the local history of your city or state? Consider becoming a tour guide. Sure, you’ll need to conduct plenty of research to be able to do the job well, but that’s half the fun. Set yourself apart by offering tours that speak to a specific niche of your community’s history.

Some tour guides, like the ones at Freedom Trail in Boston , offer historical walking tours of their town’s most haunted spots while others curate guided foodie tours for guests to get a true taste of the city.

small business idea example: tour guide

Whether you’re a math whiz, piano master, or Shakespeare aficionado, there’s someone out there who needs a little help in your area of expertise and is willing to pay for it. Advertise your services through local schools, community colleges, community centers, and even social media to get the word out and build a customer base.

16. Consultant

If you have significant experience in or knowledge of a specific subject, consider becoming a consultant. Perhaps you’re an expert at hiring practices, have a knack for SEO , or have led multiple sales teams to six-figure success. Identify your expertise and market yourself as a consultant and charge the going rate.

Download Now: Free Consultant's Success Kit

17. Event Planner

You might choose to specialize in a specific type of event — like weddings or company meetings — or set yourself up as an event planner of all trades. If you’re highly organized, are detail-oriented, and have experience planning large events, it might be time others benefit from your skills.

18. Personal Assistant

Again, if you’re an organized, highly-detailed person, the life of a personal assistant might be for you. Don’t want to be tied to one office or person all day, every day? Consider becoming a virtual assistant, which allows you a more flexible work environment.

19. Consignment Shop Owner

If you have an eye for style but don’t want to invest in the inventory of a brand-new boutique, consider going consignment. It will allow you to curate a collection of clothing that matches your goals and aesthetic, without the overhead of a boutique selling entirely new garments.

20. Caterer

If that personal chef gig is too restrictive for your schedule, consider catering instead. Pick your projects, work on fewer but larger events, and hone in on your time management skills.

21. Gym Owner

Kickboxing gyms, yoga studios, CrossFit, oh my! Turn your passion for fitness into a community for others by creating your own gym — start one from the ground up, become an affiliate, or open a franchise location.

22. Boutique Agency Owner

What’s your specialty? Whether it’s marketing, social media, or PR, it might be time to start your own agency. Many other small businesses need this type of help but don’t have the resources or volume to necessitate a full-time position.

Consider building a small team and learn from other entrepreneurs who’ve successfully started their own agencies, like Duane Brown of Take Some Risk .

23. Coffee Shop Owner

Turn your caffeine addiction into something a little more lucrative. Opening a franchise or buying an existing shop are lower-risk entry points to the coffee game but they usually require a little more cash upfront. Starting a shop from scratch requires a little more planning and a lot more work — but it also maximizes your earning potential in the future.

24. Moving Company

A truck, moving equipment, manpower, and the correct permits and insurance are the building blocks of starting your own moving company . Before you buy your first fleet of trucks, however, start small with a moving van and keep your costs low.

Still sound like too much of an initial investment? Consider offering packing services only, which have a much lower financial barrier to entry.

You could even take a niche approach to the industry as Astro International has by offering international moving services.

small business idea example: moving company

25. Home Staging

If you have a flair for interior design, a staging service might serve as your creative outlet and professional calling. You can build a portfolio with little initial investment by staging homes using the owner’s existing furnishings and decor. Most stagers eventually build up an inventory of furniture as they become more established and network with area realtors.

26. Makeup Artist

Many people prefer to have a professional do their makeup because they may lack the proper products or just the skills. It may be for a special occasion, photoshoot, or video shoot, or another event. Being able to do a variety of different looks will make your business more attractive to more customers.

27. Professional Organizer

A lot of people struggle with clutter or disorganization in their homes and offices. It can be a large undertaking to create systems and habits that will create continuous organization. Grab a lot of storage bins and a label maker and get started!

Meg Golightly, founder at Gosimplified has made this small business idea into a successful career.

small business idea example: gosimplified

These home business ideas give you a few more business options that are either based at home or online.

Frontend, backend, and every type of code in between, this skill requires no in-person interaction with your clients. But one skill you’ll want to carry over from the in-person world for this type of business is active listening. It can be easy to zone out while building a product, but developing a connection with the client is just as important as developing the code for their website.

If you keep the client top of mind when you can’t be around physically, you can ensure that you’re meeting their development needs with your coding work.

Download Now: 25 Free HTML & CSS Hacks

2. Vending Machine Owner

Since 2015, the growth rate for vending machine businesses has increased 1.4%. Even as social distancing restrictions are still in place, this business can still be lucrative if you choose the right locations. High-traffic is key — places like hospitals, schools, and community centers are smart places to start placing your machines to generate enough revenue to cover cost and turn a profit.

small business idea example: vending machine owner

3. Social Media Manager

Do you have a knack for social media? As a social media manager, you can use your skills to manage the social media accounts for companies and even individual people. Influencer marketing has become more common and many influencers rely on marketing agencies or employees to help them run their social channels.

→ Free Download: Social Media Calendar Template [Access Now]

4. Data Entry Clerk

Many businesses seek data entry clerks to help them enter information into their computer systems and spreadsheets. If you have strong computer and typing skills, this might be the business for you.

5. Audio or Video Editor

As of March 2021, there are 1.75 million podcasts available to listeners. For this reason, brands are turning to audio and visual content to connect with consumers. The catch is that many don't have the time to invest in the production of this content, or they don't have the skills to do it. Audio and video editors are in demand when it comes to producing quality content for hungry audiences.

6. Voiceover Artist

Speaking of podcasts and videos, many content creators recognize the value and level of professionalism that great voice talent can bring to a project. There are gigs out there for podcast intros/outros, narration for explainer videos, or even voice work for audiobooks. Learn how to get started with no experience from Kat Theo below:

7. Dog Walker, Groomer, or Trainer

Licensing and insurance will be the two most important factors in opening a dog walking, grooming, or training business, but your canine colleagues will surely make up for the initial red tape. To test the waters before jumping in, consider walking dogs through companies like Rover. Ready to run your own show? Consider a franchise like Dogtopia .

8. Candy Seller

If you grew up in a close-knit, southern neighborhood, you're probably familiar with the " Candy Lady ". This home business can be started by anyone who's trustworthy in the community. Aside from selling the most popular snacks, a candy seller can provide the neighborhood with fresh fruit and produce that may be harder to find if you live in a food desert.

9. Online Class Instructor

Tutoring is often done in person and with one client at a time. Remotely teaching an online class offers more flexibility because you can teach multiple students from home. English is a common subject for online classes because of how many people want to learn it. But anything that you have a mastery over could be translated to a virtual class.

10. Small-Batch Goods Seller

Using organic, all-natural ingredients is more expensive, but worth it. There are many products you can learn how to make at home without any preservatives, chemicals, or toxins. Candles, soaps, shampoos, and moisturizers are some examples of goods you can create and tailor with custom scents. Try starting out making soap with this complete beginner’s guide to soapmaking:

Whether you’re looking to start your venture today or you simply don’t want to jump through the normal hoops of launching a small business, the below ideas are extremely easy to start — so easy, all you’ll need to do is sign up on a website or tell your friends about your services.

1. Vacation Host

Have you ever used a home-sharing service instead of a hotel? You could make a living by hosting visitors in your own home or renting out a room. Consider becoming a host with companies like Airbnb .

2. Pet Sitter

Do you have a passion for pets? Consider becoming a pet sitter. While the pet's owners are away on vacation, either host their pet at your home or make visits to their home. Join a pet sitting service like Wag to get started.

small business idea example: pet sitter

3. Daycare Owner

Childcare continues to be in high demand. While nannies and nanny shares are popular right now, a good daycare is hard to find. Fill a need in your neighborhood by opening your own. And, as always, make sure you’re complying with your city and state’s zoning, licensure, insurance, and inspection requirements.

If there’s a topic you have a heavy interest in, then there’s an audience out there with a heavy interest in it too. A blog can be used to build an online community whose engagement can be monetized. Affiliate marketing , sponsored content , and co-marketing are some ways to make money once your blog develops a following.

→ Download Now: 6 Free Blog Post Templates

5. Home-Baked Goods Seller

Warehouse-made, store-bought chocolate chip cookies will never compare to a batch made with love in someone’s home. Simple desserts can be easily baked and packaged to sell at local events or around your neighborhood. Use custom labels and watch the word spread about your goods!

Is your head buzzing with small business ideas yet? After all that brainstorming, you’ll need a practical plan to get started with your new small business.

1. Identify your small business idea.

Whether you choose an option from the list above or have another idea up your sleeve, it’s important to have the experience, training, or skills necessary to be successful. Want to run a daycare but have never even visited a successful daycare center? Spend time conducting research to learn whether this is really the right fit for your experience, interests, and target audience.

2. Start as a side business or hobby.

Can you get your business off the ground as something you do in the evenings or on the weekends (a.k.a. a side job)? This allows you to make some mistakes, test the market, and understand whether your idea has legs before you quit your nine-to-five job and lose your primary income.

3. Decide on your software.

You’ve got a lot of things on your plate when first starting up. But one step that’s critical (and often forgotten by first-time entrepreneurs) is deciding on the software that can help you be more efficient as your business grows.

Every business is different — but almost all companies can use software to help with analytics, project management, accounting, bookkeeping, email marketing, and other basic day-to-day tasks.

One of the most important software tools every small business should utilize is a free all-in-one CRM platform to keep track of important customer information in one central database. It will help align your team and make sure you stay organized as your business grows.

4. Create a business plan.

No business plan? No business. Particularly if your small business idea requires investors, you'll need to draft up a business plan to provide an overview of your market positioning, your financial projections, and your unique competitive advantages. You can download HubSpot's free business plan templates for free to get started.

One-Page Business Plan Template

Download Free Business Plan Templates

Your business plan should include the following elements:

5. Decide whether you’ll be an LLC or sole proprietorship.

Two common legal structures for small businesses are limited liability corporations (LLCs) and sole proprietorships.

An LLC is a more complex business structure than a sole proprietorship and can include individuals, corporations, and other LLCs as members. Additionally, LLCs are not subject to a separate level of tax and offer the business owner liability protection and tax advantages. LLCs are formed on a state-by-state basis.

Sole proprietorships are businesses owned and operated by one person and are not identified as a separate entity from the owner by the government. While a sole proprietorship is the simplest business structure, sole proprietors are personally liable for their business.

Besides an LLC or sole proprietorship, there are a few other options for you to consider.

Sean Flannigan, Sendle's Content Manager, says, "While many small businesses might be best served by choosing an LLC or sole proprietorship, there are a few other options."

"Partnerships are great for businesses operated by several individuals. It hews most closely to a sole proprietorship in that the individuals take on the business liability and pay taxes on a personal level."

He adds, "To completely avoid personal liability, small businesses might choose to incorporate as a corporation, S corporation, or B Corp. S corporations avoid corporate taxation whereas B Corps must meet a threshold for public benefit and accountability."

Additionally, Flannigan says, "There are tons of great reasons to become a B Corp beyond just doing good business. All that said, many small businesses that aren't aimed at super-fast growth choose to go with an LLC to keep things simple while shielding owners from too much liability."

Learn more about choosing the right structure for your business from the Small Business Administration.

6. Create a business bank account.

Once you have a legally formed business and have been issued an Employer Identification Number (EIN), open a bank account specifically for your business. Having a business bank account is essential for keeping your personal and business finances separate which can help you gain an accurate picture of your business’s cash flow and financial health.

Additionally, keeping your personal and business finances separate makes bookkeeping and tax preparation easier.

Many banks offer business checking and savings accounts. Business checking accounts typically do not have a limit on the number of transactions that can take place, and issue a debit card that can be used for making business purchases. However, these checking accounts do not accrue interest.

Business savings accounts typically earn interest over time but have a limited number of transactions that can occur each month. When you’re just starting out, look for a business bank account that does not have a minimum balance requirement so you are not penalized for having low funds as you work to build your business.

7. Determine if your business idea works well from home.

Ask yourself whether your business idea will work well from home. Some businesses simply aren’t suited to be based from home. If you want to run a dog boarding center but live in an apartment without a backyard, you might want to consider a dog walking business instead.

8. Set up an office.

If your business idea is well-suited for being run from home, it’s still important you have a designated workspace. While a home office might not be possible, consider setting aside a corner in your living room or putting a desk in your bedroom for a space that inspires you and creates the conditions for success.

Need a more professional space? If you conduct client-facing work requiring you to be on video calls, no one wants to see your rumpled sheets in the background. Check out local coworking spaces for memberships that earn you access to conference rooms, desk space, and more.

9. Get to work!

You’ve put in the hard work and I’ve got good news — it’s only going to get harder. But most entrepreneurs will agree that the payoff of being your own boss, making your own hours, and working on projects that you’re passionate about will pay dividends for the rest of your life.

Starting a Small Business: FAQ

What are the types of small businesses.

The types of small business structures are sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations.

Which business type is best?

The best business type is a limited liability company (LLC). Operating as an LLC means that your personal assets are separate from your business assets. If your business goes bankrupt, your personal holdings won’t be affected. That said, it’s also one of the costlier types, requiring a fee paid to the state.

The easiest business type to start is a sole proprietorship. The main downside is that there’s no differentiation between you and your business.

How do I create a business idea?

To create a business idea, determine your skill set, work preferences, startup budget, and available resources. It’s important to strike the right balance between what you can feasibly offer and what you can feasibly afford in the short and long term.

We recommend starting with your skill set so that you can easily determine the niche in which you can effectively compete. For instance, if you have ample experience as a writer, you might consider starting a freelance writing business. But if you know you’d prefer to work with clients face-to-face, you might choose to start a ghostwriting business instead. That’s why it’s so important to take your work preferences into account, as well.

After that, take a look at your budget and determine the type of business you can start based on the resources at your disposal. For instance, you might not be able to afford a physical office or location, so a location-based business will likely not be a good fit. In that case, starting an online business is your best option.

What are some of the most successful small businesses?

Every small business has the potential to be successful and profitable, provided it’s backed by a strong product-market fit and a robust business plan . These two elements are essential. Maybe post-natal services are one of the most successful small businesses to launch, but if you live in an area with declining population or a large elderly population, then that small business idea won’t yield a high return on investment.

Think carefully about the market where you’re launching your business, and you’ll be more than likely to see lasting success.

What are the top growing small businesses?

top growing small businesses as reported by the bureau of labor statistics

The top growing industries are healthcare support, technology, personal care, food preparation, and community and social service. As such, launching a small business in any of these fields is bound to yield a high return on investment, but remember to take your target market into account.

Here are some small business ideas for each of those industries:

Healthcare Support

Personal Care

Food Preparation

Community and Social Services

Brainstorm Your Next Small Business Venture

Selecting a small business idea to work on is a personal decision. Money is important, but you’ll need more motivation than that to keep going. Bounce ideas off your friends and family until you reach the perfect idea that works for your schedule, fulfills your life’s passion, and makes financial sense. Don’t be afraid to ask for help throughout this process — and remember to have a little fun while you’re putting in the work.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in August 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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