If you find you’re suddenly unemployed or at home with your children all day or even just looking for some side income, starting your own home-based business can seem like the perfect choice. But it can also be overwhelming. Since grabbing a part-time job more than likely doesn’t fit with your schedule or your needs, is it really possible to start a home business and make money?
The good news is that dozens of small business ideas allow you to find the best one for your schedule, passions, and income needs. Below are 26 ideas for small business from home to give you a little inspiration as you plan.
Personal service businesses are often great for a home-based business because you probably already have many of the tools and supplies you’ll need. Most of the below businesses require a working vehicle, a valid Driver’s license, a personal computer, and an email address. Some will require specialised training or licenses.
This category covers jobs like Personal Trainer, Yoga Instructor or Zumba Instructor. If you have enough room in your home or yard, it’s easy to accommodate clients for training sessions or classes. For information regarding personal trainer certification, check out the American College of Sports Medicine. For details regarding yoga instructor certification, check out the Yoga Alliance. And for information regarding Zumba® instructor certification, check out the Zumba® website.
If you have specialised knowledge of any STEM subject, you’ll more than likely be in high demand as a tutor. Depending on how you performed on standardised tests (i.e., SAT, ACT, GRE), you could offer your services to future test-takers as well. And if writing is your expertise, tutoring students on essay writing or research papers is an in-demand service.
If you love dogs, offering to help out pet owners who are stuck in an office all day or looking to take a vacation is a great option. Rover is the perfect site to advertise your services. Piggyback off of their search engine optimisation ranking and advertising budgets, by listing your pet sitting services there. You can also sign up with Wag! which is a little bit like Uber for your dog.
There’s also a professional organisation, the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters that offers excellent resources like infographics for promoting your services and resource links for their members to get your home-based business up and running.
You can help people reply to email, set appointments or keep track of expenses. With access to the cloud, it’s easier than ever to give someone a digital assist. Various sites allow you to sign up for virtual assistant jobs, including the appropriately need VirtualAssistants.com. Also, be sure to take advantage of any of your social networks and professional networks when looking for clients. While there are many sites out there that can match you as a VA to a client, if you’re looking to build your own home business, you’re going to need your client network.
In general, the elements of planning a party can all be done from home with a good Internet connection and some imagination. You’ll need a few early clients and some good word-of-mouth to get started. Also, be sure that you clearly define the type of parties you’re willing to plan. Kids birthdays, milestone celebrations (i.e. anniversaries or retirement) and once-in-a-lifetime events (i.e. bridal showers or bachelorette parties) are a few categories to consider. Also, be sure to define precisely what your services entail clearly; will you plan the party and then hand over the plan to your client? Or will you do everything from top to bottom, plan, purchase decorations, organise the catering, set-up and tear down?
While everyone needs one to find a job, résumés are still a mystery to many job seekers. Try marketing your services to a particular niche (i.e., engineers, manufacturing salespeople). Also, make sure you’re up-to-date on how applicant tracking systems are currently parsing résumés.
No matter how well-written it is, if it can’t get past the résumés bots, it’ll never get anyone a job.
Business services can range from accounting to bookkeeping to transcription services and are often one of the best home-based business options.
Balancing the books and keeping track of payroll and billing is essential to any company. If you have expertise in this area or, even better, you are a CPA, there are many small and medium-sized business that will find your skills useful.
Maybe you’ve noticed the trend – every time you go to a website that offers a product or service, inevitably a little chat box pops up in the corner and offers to engage with you. If you know anything about how to make chatbots or are willing to learn, this could be a quick source of income done from the comfort of your couch.
Seems strange to say, but this oldie but a goodie is still in vogue. Even with DIY platforms like Squarespace, some companies still want something with a more personal touch or are looking for a higher functionality level. And applications continue to be a go-to business tool that many organisations are still trying to develop.
Hand in hand with website development graphic design is still an in-demand field and a perfect home-based business. Stay up-to-date on the latest in graphic design such as newer presentation tools like Keynote and Prezi to stay relevant.
This category could also include things like business plan writer and business coach. With the number of small businesses launching daily, many entrepreneurs are looking for expertise. This is an excellent choice if you’ve recently left the business field and are looking for ways to apply your experience.
This umbrella term covers a bunch of different areas, including:
You can also simply serve as a consultant, someone to help for extensive campaigns or at critical times of the year for organisations.
While this job might keep you very busy from January to April, the fact is most businesses have questions and need tax advice year-round. Many small business advisers recommend that small businesses have a year-round tax advisor. Meeting once a quarter with small business entrepreneurs is recommended to ensure all tax laws are being followed and any steps for minimising taxes are also in place. After taxes are followed, tax advisors can help organise records in the case of an audit and prepping files for the next fiscal year.
Many various industries use transcription, medical and legal being the most popular. It will typically require you to have a headset or download some free software, but the costs should be nominal. There is also testing that you’ll need to pass before you can be approved for work. If you have a background in medical or legal industries, you’ll probably be able to secure a better rate or at the very least have a more steady stream of work. Check out this article for some details on available transcription service companies.
Everyone loves the beauty of a clean home, but few of us like getting it that way. If you don’t mind dusting or cleaning toilets, this is an excellent opportunity to make some extra money. It’s especially great for stay-at-home parents with school-age children, as most people will want their homes cleaned during the day when they’re at work.
You can use Craiglist or Facebook to advertise your cleaning services; search engine marketing is also an excellent place to start. Also take a look at your social networks – the carpool lane or your kid’s soccer sideline might be a great place to float the idea of cleaning service to busy moms and dads who are already harried with multiple responsibilities.
Fluff and fold are famous for a reason, but the local laundromat can get expensive. Offering them an alternative, and maybe one that’s right next door will bring value to your services.
You could sign up through an app like Instacart, or just offer your services ad hoc. Regardless, grocery shopping is one of the chores people like the least and are often very grateful to mark it off their to-do list. You might be able to promote your business in local grocery stores or markets; you’ll just need to ask for the store’s permission. If you have a school-age child, you can look to advertise in the school’s newsletter or talk to other moms and dads. Facebook is a good option, especially if you’re part of any groups that are focused on working professionals. Just be sure to abide by the group’s rules or clear your post with the group administrator first.
If you love to cook, this might be a no-brainer. Bonus points if you are well-versed in gluten-free, vegetarian/vegan or allergy-free cooking techniques as these are in high demand at the moment. There are licenses and permits you’ll need to make this a full-fledged business. You may also need to get certification from your local health department. An idea for promotion is to set-up a YouTube channel or video subscription service that allows you to demonstrate certain recipes. This will enable you to refer people who may be interested in what you’re cooking and will enable you to gain more exposure to potential clients.
Are you known for your fantastic holiday tablescapes? What about outstanding light displays that delight the kids, but annoy your neighbours? More people are outsourcing the work of holiday decorating due to its time-consuming nature, sometimes less than favourable conditions, and the sheer amount of work. However, if this is something you excel at, it could be a great way to earn extra income, especially at tough times during the year – the holidays. Even if Christmas lights aren’t your jam, interior decorators offer a valuable service to the designer-challenged.
While it may seem that this home-based business opportunity would cost a lot to start, that’s not necessarily true. You don’t have to have your lawnmower – or a truck to haul it – but can instead use your client’s. Also, gardening services are precious for homeowners who love the look of fresh flowers, but can’t maintain them.
Are you a licensed electrician or plumber? What about a woodworker or tile layer? Whatever your home repair expertise is, there’s good chance folk around you could use it. Bicycle and car repair fall into this category as well.
Moving away from offering folks a service, let’s focus on offering a product. Here are some online business ideas that fall into the realm of e-commerce.
eBay is a little over 20 years old, but it hasn’t lost any of its momenta. The best resource to learn more about selling on eBay is eBay itself. Check out their extensive seller’s guide for more information.
Some seller’s swear by flipping items on eBay. This means you purchase an item for cheap and then sell it for more money on the site. This typically takes a little time and a lot of research, but it can be a viable money-making option, especially if you love garage sales and thrift stores.
If you’re constantly taking pictures or have a passion for photography, you could turn your snapshots into cash. Getty Images and Flickr offer services for amateur photogs to sell their pictures. You will need a high-end digital camera though – unfortunately, smartphone cameras won’t work. You could also look at setting up a small studio for portraits or offer your services for parties and special events.
There are big names in this field: Avon, Tupperware, Pampered Chef, Mary Kay. If you have an interest in any of these products or just like to host parties, consider becoming a rep for one of these companies. Also, with Facebook and Youtube Live, you can host virtual parties every day of the week from your own living room.
If you make any type of personal care product, it could turn into a good side business. You’ll want to be sure you take special care to track all the ingredients you use and how they are sourced. This is especially important if you want to sell at any craft fairs or festivals. Many times the application will include a section regarding how the products are made/sourced. You can also take these items and place them on Etsy or eBay, and create a sideline business by crafting specialty gift baskets or collections.
Whenever you work with food, things can get a little tricky. There are safety regulations to follow; many states have different laws for what has been termed the “Cottage Food Industry.” However, if you make delicious apple pies or decorate gorgeous cakes, don’t let that stop you.
Making extra income or launching a home-based business will require planning and forethought, but it can also lead to wonderful opportunities for you and your family. Explore a passion or pick-up a new skill and reap the benefits of your own home business.
Unlikely as it may seem, small businesses and big challenges go hand in hand. From cash flow to compliance, and from staffing to product-market fit, entrepreneurs lose sleep over so many factors that impact their business’s very survival. No wonder half of their ventures close shop by the fifth year and only a third make it to their 10th anniversary.
Given the high failure rate and intense competition in just about any industry, business success pretty much depends on having the right business tools at the onset. Without the appropriate tools and a comprehensive technology stack, small business owners run their companies at a serious handicap.
That’s because business tools, such as automation and analytics, perform much of the heavy lifting businesses need to thrive, which, in turn, frees entrepreneurs to focus on core strengths and to provide better value to their customers. Bottom line: if customers feel you are not focusing on them, they’ll focus their attention on other vendors/brands instead.
As you might expect, not all tools are created equal. A specific solution might be good for a particular business model, company size, or industry, but might prove inadequate, even in slightly different scenarios. To help you select the best ones for your company, here’s a round-up of the tools we think are the best options for growing and scaling small businesses:
Having the right conversations will always get the ball rolling. Here are some of the most effective solutions small businesses can use to convey their message to customers and drive collaboration between teams:
Poor cash flow is a major cause of business failure, according to Investopedia. Here are some tools that can help you track and optimise your profits, funds, and budget:
Every business depends on its revenue teams’ performance for survival, profitability, and growth. Here are tried and true solutions to help you bolster your sales and marketing efforts:
Every business is a digital economy needs a good website. The following platforms enable individuals and companies to build their real estate in cyberspace, ranging from simple personal websites to heavily branded and sprawling online stores:
You can’t grow a customer base without the proper messaging. High-quality content is your primary means of catching the attention and influence of your target audiences’ buying behaviour. From industry reports and infographics, to contract management and video guides, these tools will help you install yourthosee of your competitors:
Get everyone on the right page with intuitive and capable project management software. Microsoft Project has been the leader in this space for many years. But we think the following are excellent alternatives:
Your buyers are on social media, and so should you. However, just having active accounts on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook won’t be enough to get them on board. You need smart social media tools to optimise your brand presence and sustain deeper engagement with your audience. Here are some of those innovative social media tools:
Even with a great product, you can achieve profitability only if you have the right people behind your brand. That is why a global corporate war for talent is raging, and why you need the best talent management software for your business. Here are two of the best:
Editor’s note: Another option to consider is JobAdder, A fully-featured recruitment software platform used by in-house HR teams and recruitment agencies. Job applicants flow directly into the system and allow you to manage the entire candidate/interview workflow seamlessly with hiring managers. JobAdder also integrates with QuickBooks.
CRMs ensure that you have a powerful system of record that is consistent, organic, integrable, and insightful for all customer-facing and revenue-generating teams. Enterprise-grade Salesforce obviously dominates in this space, but there are excellent alternatives for small businesses. Here are two of the most popular and affordable:
Hustling your way to success sounds okay, but working without taking a break can chip away at your drive, health, and wellbeing. Everybody needs to take a breather once in a while—even passionate entrepreneurs. Reading, family time and hobbies are excellent ways to get refreshed.
You can also spend your downtime by engaging disruptive brands and high performers who have already achieved phenomenal success, such as the following:
Business is tough enough as it is. Don’t make it harder on yourself by going far afield with inadequate tools and outdated technologies. Doing so just gets you on the bumpy road to failure.
The foregoing list of tools barely scratches the surface, but we think having many of the items we cited will improve your chances at success. There are other (perhaps, more powerful and appropriate) tools for your business, and it’s just due diligence that you discover what best fits your market, business model, and workflows.
What we’re giving you is just a head start for the long and gruelling race ahead. Remember, the equation is simple and solid: better tools lead to better business outcomes.
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