Beards are still in style, and it doesn’t look they will be going out of style any time soon. One product that most men with beards have is beard oil. It makes the beard look nice and it can help style it so it looks cleaner.
25 Ideas for How to Start a Small Business at Home
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 25 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.
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1. Buy products in bulk and sell them online
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.
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.
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.
3. Start a dropshipping store
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.
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.
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 in:
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.
5. Offer online services
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.
Funeral Event Planner
An event planner is a common idea among the lists about home based business ideas, so I wanted to take a spin on the idea. This company’s niche would be in funerals. Although it is not the most exciting and happy industry like party event planning, this solves a major problem of allowing the grieving people to have their space. The last thing someone who lost a loved one or friend wants to do is plan their funeral.
This consulting service would help other companies’ setup and manage their remote employees. Many employees now are demanding that they want to work from the comfort of their own home. However, some managers and executives are reluctant to give their employees computers to work from home, and often wonder if much work gets done. This is where you can come in and help them set up proper tracking software, server connection programs, and environments in the employees’ home where they can work so they are still working efficiently.
Organization is a growing trend right now that should be here to stay, and if you’re a very organized person when it comes to your home, you could be helping others and start a business too. The professional organizer would consult with others on how they can minimize the amount of clutter they have, systems for organizing and teach their kids to organize, and worksheets to keep them on track for a few months so it becomes a habit.
Although Facebook has had many scandals with their data in 2019, many people are still using their platforms, and will continue to do so until something else comes along. A Facebook and Instagram social media manager would specialize in only those two social channels and help people (influencers) or companies and brands manage their presence there.
If you know about making great content for those platforms, and love social media, this could be a great business for you to start from home. Although it is competitive with other marketing agencies doing similar work, your specialization will stand out for people who only want to use those platforms.
Top Home-Based Business Ideas
1 Turn your blog into a business
I guess we should start with the one that I am MOST familiar with. I have been making a full-time living blogging for almost 10 years now, and it isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, but it can definitely make you some money.
2 Earn $100k/yr cleaning parking lots
3 Sell a product online
A friend of mine had a baby and didn’t like the style/design of any of the baby products at the stores, so she started making her own. After getting some compliments, she realized that she could turn her idea into a business that she could run from home (with the babies).
4List your place on Airbnb when you go out of town
5 Driving for Lyft
If you don’t know what Lyft is, basically it is the 21st-century version of the taxi. You just use your own car and when someone near you wants a ride you get a notification on your phone (assuming you selected that you were available in the app) you go pick them up and drop them off where they want to go and then you automatically get paid.
6 Freelance writing
Since I started blogging, I have seen the freelance market explode. There is a huge demand for content and so there are a lot of ways to make money writing it. Jonathan wrote a great article about a few legitimate work from home jobs – most of which were freelance writing.
7 Goodwill/Garage sale reseller
There are a lot of items that can be purchased very inexpensively at garage sales or thrift stores and sold for higher prices elsewhere. A few years ago I discovered that I could purchase good hardcover books at my local thrift shop for 800 or less. I realized that some of them could be sold on Amazon.com for $15-$20, which turns out to be a pretty decent profit.
8 Ebay Business
9 Home Inspector
10 Real Estate Agent
11 Tutoring Students
What subjects do you have a good working knowledge of? Math, Science, History, Baseball, Soccer? Parents will often pay to see Johnnie or Sally excel at _______. If you can help, then it sounds like a business.
12 Start a Christmas Light Hanging business
13 Car Mechanic
Maybe it is just me, but I feel like I have had way too many experiences with mechanics not be truthful with me that I would gladly pay more and give all my business to an honest one. If you know your way around a car and have a few tools, this could be a great business idea for you.
14 Mobile Oil Changes
Building off the previous idea, what if you offered a service where you came to the customer’s house and changed the oil in the street? I would pay to do that – and would be willing to pay more since I didn’t even have to do anything but make a phone call.
15 Wedding Planning
Isn’t this every girls dream? People will always be getting married, so in theory they will always need wedding planners. If you love all-things-weddings and can handle the pressure from the brides, this might be a fun one.
17 Medical claims billing
18 Start a Daycare
19 Handy-man service
20 Lawn Care
Don’t forget good ‘ol lawncare or landscaping. As we become more and more acquainted to the air-conditioned lifestyle more people are going to want to pay someone to do landscaping. If you like to sweat this one may be for you.
Because I am just a little bit techie, I get asked to video record weddings all the time. If video or photography are up your alley, starting a wedding photography business could be a great idea for you. If doing weddings aren’t your thing, there are other ways you can make money as a photographer as well.
22 Virtual Assistant
23 Window Cleaning Business
24 Start a woodworking business
Do you love woodworking? Even without a huge workshop, you can create some of the more popular crafts and sell them. And like most things, your success in business isn’t necessarily related to how skilled you are as a woodworker. So if you can figure out which products consumers want and just create those, you could have a good business plan. Etsy.com and farmers’ markets are a great place to start selling.
A few years ago I started making my own beeswax candles – because they were so stinking expensive to buy. In the process of learning, I found that there are a lot of people who use candle-making as a home business. You can sell to your products online at places like Etsy.com or Ebay.com.
Good ideas, I like numbers 2, 3, and 6 personally. I think in addition to persistence and determination, creating a successful home-based business also takes courage. It can be a scary proposition to quit your day job to go it alone. I always admire people who make this move, and I think that in general they are all the more happy for it. There is not doubt, though, that you have to go for it 100% in order to make it happen!
Darren the more I learn, the more I realize that I have so much to learn. At the beginning I knew I had a lot to learn, and I have learned a lot, but as I have moved further along my eyes have been opened to things that I couldn’t understand at the beginning. Anyway, it is a good thing that there is always room to grow.
Bob, any ideas on how to become rich instantly, that requires zero effort on my part and something that’s guaranteed. haha, just kidding. thanks for these ideas. I’m going to share them with a few friends who are currently unemployed.
Sure – just buy my “Get Rich Quick” program for 3 easy payments of $99 where I teach you how to sell your own “Get Rich Quick” program without doing any work, zero effort, oh and did I mention it was guaranteed? 😉
We have worked from home for almost 4 years now, it’s the best. No more commuting, the kids are here right after school. This is a very good article for ideas to start your own business, and live your life on your own terms!
Very interested in receiving some honest dialog with anyone who has had success in starting a home-based business. I am now trying to support two families, in my late 40’s, and our financial future needs some drastic help. Thank you and appreciate you in advance. May God bless. Mike [email protected]
I overheard my wife talking to a homeschool mom that raises and sells a certain type of dog (a registered breed of some kind) ranging from 800,000 to 800,800. I also know a couple teens that started a bread business where they sell the product at the local famer’s market and local stores. The product(s) have been so successful, most of the family has been involved in it.
I started my busness in our garage baised off my passion for woodwork. It started off just a hobby went through ups and downs but now has become a rather lucrative career as both a wood shop and on call handyman service.
While I think this post is a good source for IDEAS, I think a lot of them are lucrative because you either haven’t been professionally trained in the field or you’re accepting risks that most businesses insure against and account for in overhead. To pick out a few to explain:
Photography: generally, everyone I know who has a camera thinks they’re now able to shoot professionally, either with micro stock or wedding. Aside from skill issues, wedding photo requires a lot of gear: 2DSLRs, 3-4 pro grade lenses, lights, and photoshop….and you have to know how to use it all under pressure.
Mechanic: A great idea if you’re skilled enough to work on the necessary variety of cars, but most real shops are insured.
Home based daycare: Not a bad idea, but a lot of jurisdictions severely limit the number in care at any one time (Texas is 7, including owner’s children)
Another idea someone could do from home is to start a service or write a software program that scours local ad listings (like craigslist) for a particular used item a person wants to buy. They have services like this for new items, but not used. I know others like me who are keeping their eye out for something used (like a canopy king bed!) but don’t have the time or inclination to search for it every day.
Great! It was really helpful specially to those mom out there wherein they want to earn money but then they need to stay at home. That legitimate home based ideas and opportunities was really great. Thanks for sharing it and I’ll share that ideas with my friends. Thanks again.
You missed a good one I wish I had the skills to pursue – Politics.
Not at the State or Federal level, but local.
I have a friend that is the city manager of a town of about 25,000 where his main task is processing requests for building permits. Actually a volunteer-type job, no salary. But he makes a bunch of contacts every day, and his address book is huge. So he is busy all year except the Holidays. To fill in this time he started a Christmas tree lighting service (houses, lawn ornaments, etc.). In this 3-month period he makes enough to keep him going the rest of the year.
We started and eBay business selling our old stuff when she moved from California, just before we were married. We didn’t intend that it would become a full-time occupation, but it’s been a worthwhile business so far.
I launched my first AdSense supported website a little over three years ago. Today it brings in as much as my full-time job. It didn’t happen overnight, and it didn’t happen without a lot of hard work (about four hours a day for three years), but it did happen.