Are you thinking about starting a home-based business? Many people are these days.

  • Some got used to working out of their home during the pandemic and don’t want to return to a “real job”.
  • Others are looking for ways to make money while caring for kids.
  • Many have elder care responsibilities that keep them at home and are looking for a part-time work opportunity.
  • Some retirees want to stay busy and work out of their own homes to supplement their income.
  • Others have always dreamed of opening their own business.
  • A few may be looking for a side hustle to earn extra income.
  • Others are serial entrepreneurs that are seeking out the next new online business opportunity.

No matter your reason, you’re probably wondering the best home business to start. The internet has expanded the possibilities and it can be hard to figure out what type of home-based operation could be right for you

Don’t worry. We’ve come up with our ultimate list of small businesses ideas to help you figure out the right type of business for you. We also provide tips on what you need to do to start your business right

eBook writing and publishing

Writing a book and getting it published used to be a long and challenging process. Aspiring authors had to invest their time in writing a book and had to find a publisher to agree to publish, print, and promote it. Most books never saw the light of day because publishers reject most of the manuscripts submitted to them. The typical want-to-be author had nothing more than a stack of rejection letters to show for their efforts.

All that changed when Amazon made it possible for writers to publish books on its platform. The competition among self-published books on Amazon is fierce, but you can get creative and use a blog, podcasts, digital marketing, and local media exposure to promote it. Many authors have succeeded in doing this and become multimedia stars. Once you’ve figured out the formula to success in online publishing, it’s easy to repeat it over time.

Amazon shopkeeper

Who needs another Amazon store? It’s clear that people still do. New businesses arise on the platform every day and many of them achieve success.

What do the successful ones have in common? The founder has an original idea that helps it stand out in the crowded Amazon marketplace. They also have a unique way to promote it online.

So, what is it that you do that’s different or what are you passionate about? Use that differentiator or passion and turn it into an Amazon online store, or open one on Shopify, Etsy, or one of the other popular e-commerce platforms.

Dog walking, sitting, or daycare business

Do you love dogs and other kinds of pets? Why not turn it into a business? With more and more people returning to work and traveling, the demand for pet professionals is very high. Dog walking and pet sitting are unique because of the startup costs. You can use low-tech ways to promote yourself like putting up flyers at pet shops and groomers. Network at dog parks. Or use targeted social media to connect with pet owners in your area. Over time, if you’re a good dog walker or pet sitter, word of mouth referrals will take over and you’ll have all the business you can handle.

Craft business

Are you good at making things? This could be your time to start a craft business. People are tired of all the sameness they see online at the mall and in big box stores. More and more they’re turning to Shopify, Etsy, and other internet retailers to find unique artisan jewelry, clothing, bags, objects, and children’s toys. If you’re good at a particular craft and have an original eye, you may be able to break through and sell products online.

Home bakery

Carbs are out, but that hasn’t stopped people from seeking out great baked goods. Shipping companies like UPS and FedEx have made it possible to transport baked goods from your kitchen to almost any place overnight. If you have special recipes from your grandmother or a talent for bread baking, now could be your time to start a home bakery business. Just check local regulations before you get started to avoid legal hassles.

Subscription box business

This is a business category that didn’t exist just a few short years ago that’s really taken off. People like getting expected yet unexpected little gifts. Maybe you have friends that produce crafts or other unique products. See if it makes sense to band together with them to create a subscription box business. It could be a good way to get new people to check out new offerings while earning a profit from the subscriptions.

Virtual assistant business

Are you a super organized person? Why not use your skills to start a virtual assistant business? The pandemic proved that assistants don’t have to be onsite to be effective. And many business owners don’t need a full-time assistant. You can use a service like Upwork or Fiverr to get gigs. Just make sure you serve your clients well, or you could get dinged in ratings and reviews.

Online personal training and exercise classes

Many people got comfortable with online exercise during the pandemic and aren’t ready to get back to the gym. If you’re an athlete, dancer, yoga practitioner, personal trainer, or fitness buff, offer classes online. Come up with a niche that will make you stand out. You may not be able to charge as much per person as you could for in-person classes, but you could be able to attract a lot of people to each class. Use targeted social media to find people who have an affinity for your form of fitness.

Home or online tutoring or training

Brainiacs and people who are experts at something can always teach what they know how to do to others. Get creative. People offer classes in everything today, from geometry to flower arranging and painting to English lessons. It’s sometimes nice to work one-on-one tutoring a student in your home. However, you may be able to earn more money providing group online courses.

Content, freelance writing, social media marketing, or graphic design business

The need for good content, social media, and graphic services is huge. If you’re a top-notch writer, filmmaker, or podcaster, you’ll find significant demand for your services on Upwork and other similar online employment agencies exclusive to content creators and freelance writers, bloggers, and people who are copywriters. The same is true if you’re able to unlock the secrets of social media for business. Companies everywhere are looking for virtual social media managers. The demand for graphic designers who can keep on top of the latest trends is equally great.

eBay trading business

Do you have an awesome eye for antiques and collectibles? Setting up a trading business on eBay or another similar selling site could be a good move for you. Even though many of these platforms have gotten highly competitive, bargains can still be found on many of them. The idea is to buy low so you can sell high. If you base your business on eBay, you could also earn money selling other people’s used items through your eBay storefront. Many people want to sell their stuff, but don’t want the hassle of getting set up on eBay, communicating with customers, and drop shipping items, so they’re willing to offer a percentage of the sale price to someone who can handle it for them.

Local meal catering business

People love those online food box delivery businesses. They make cooking and serving good food easy. Why not offer a similar service to people in your area? Customers will appreciate that they know where their food is coming from. Plus, you can provide an opportunity to customize meals to the preferences of different clients. You could take things to the next level and include school lunches and snacks as a part of your meal packages. Busy moms and dads will appreciate the added convenience. Make sure you investigate local food service regulations before starting a home catering business, so you don’t get into trouble.

Custom tour planning

Travel-starved Americans are out on the road and filling airports again. After not being able to travel for a while, people are craving unique and interesting experiences. The cookie-cutter recommendations on most travel websites just aren’t good enough. It’s why individuals in many communities are starting custom travel businesses. They create one-of-a-kind itineraries tailored to individual traveler interests. If you know your community well or are an expert in some aspect of it (such as wine and vineyards) this could be a great business opportunity for you.

Counseling and nursing services

People got used to accessing certain healthcare services online during the lockdown. Many now prefer getting them that way. Two of the most common are online counseling and nursing check-ins. If you’re a trained professional in these fields, working online could be a great way to continue practicing if you have responsibilities that keep you at home.

Other small business ideas:

Some other popular ideas for small, home-based businesses include:

  • Opening a consulting business
  • Making soap and other beauty products
  • Starting a cleaning business
  • Turning your home into a bed and breakfast and marketing it on Airbnb
  • Making custom t-shirts and other garments
  • Becoming a massage therapist
  • Starting a photography business
  • Offering house cleaning services
  • Providing in-home childcare
  • Handling bookkeeping and tax preparation services
  • Selling real estate
  • Doing landscaping and gardening work
  • Writing resumes and LinkedIn profiles for new college grads and professionals.

Starting a home-based business

Finally, here are the steps you need to take to launch a home-based business:

  1. Come up with an idea for your business. Use our list to find something you can do that’s a good fit for your interests, talents, and skill set.
  2. Check out the competition. You don’t want to enter a crowded space unless you have an idea that will make your business stand out.
  3. Come up with something that makes your business unique. Find a way to serve someone’s needs that they can’t say no to.
  4. Write a business plan. This is a critical part of working through your business model and ensuring your business will be successful. It’s your guidepost that keeps things on track. There are many good business plan templates available online. Use one to make your planning process easy.
  5. Get financing. Apply for financing through an online lender like Biz2Credit or set up a crowdfunding site if you have a standout idea for your business that will get people to pay attention and empty their pockets. Look into microloans if you’re a member of a minority group that could qualify for one. Don’t make the common mistakes of borrowing money from family or friends, using retirement funds, taking out a second mortgage, or maxing out your credit cards. You could regret these things if your home-based business idea doesn’t take off.
  6. Name and register your business and get licenses. You can find out how to do this in your area by checking with your local chamber of commerce, state economic agency, or the Small Business Administration (SBA).
  7. Speak with a lawyer. This might seem like overkill for a home-based business, but it could help you identify risks you may not have thought of. Maybe you could tap into a family member or friend with a legal background in trade for free products or services from your business.
  8. Get insurance. Your homeowner’s policy won’t cover business assets.
  9. Carve out a home office space. Working at home can eat up your life. It’s a good idea to find an area for a home office to keep things under control.
  10. Set up your website and app. This will be the primary way people will learn about your home company. Creating a website isn’t difficult if you use an industry-appropriate template from WordPress, Shopify, or another platform.
  11. Plan and launch your marketing. Marketing a home-based business doesn’t have to be expensive. Creative use of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social channels could drive a lot of low-cost activity.
  12. Start making sales. Watch this part carefully. You don’t want to make the common mistake of overstretching yourself and disappointing your clients or customers.

Monitor results. In your business plan, you set goals for your operation. Regularly track progress toward them to ensure you build a profitable business that achieves success.

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