If you are like many, the thought of starting a home-based business has probably crossed your mind at some point. With the economy being what it is, layoffs all around us, and an increasing desire for many to escape the rat race and work from home, many are trying to start a home-based business. Working from home not only offers independence and freedom but there are also some great home-based business tax deductions as well.
As I sit and write this, I am reminded of the years I spent in jobs that I didn’t like and am now so thankful that I get to work from home and do something I love. If you are longing for that situation, I encourage you to work to figure out what it is that you would love doing and keep at it until you reach that goal.
This article is part of our FREE 4-week email course to help you save hundreds of dollars, get out of debt, & better organize and manage your finances. Get the rest of the lessons here.
For my business (blogging here at Christian PF) it took a long time before I started making any money blogging, let alone enough to pay the bills each month. I didn’t really know anything when I started and still feel like I do a whole lot more wrong than right, but the one thing I have had going for me is that I have been persistent. Great ideas and business degrees only go so far. It is persistence and determination that, I believe, are the true sources of success for most businesses.
I put together a list of legitimate home-based business opportunities below. But they are just ideas, hopefully they will spark some inspiration, but you have to apply all the diligence and hard work to turn it into something.
Starting a Home-Based Business
Even though I wasn’t making very much at the time, when I got laid off a couple years ago I was very happy that I had started a side business that was another source of income. Even if you don’t have aspirations of working full-time from home, having a little supplemental income would be nice – wouldn’t it?
Below are a bunch of home-based business ideas that you can peruse to see if any would work for you. Oh, and also as an aside, I am defining a home-based business as one that can be run from home, not necessarily a business that you would work from home all the time.
Top Home-Based Business Ideas
1. 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). She just created an online store and sold all of her products via her website. If you aren’t creating your own product you can always find a product to dropship – that way you don’t have to store any inventory in your home.
2. 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.
3. Cleaning out Foreclosed Homes
With there being as many foreclosed homes out there as there are, the bankers (who now own the houses) don’t want to clean them up and they are willing to pay hefty sums for those who will. So it is fairly easy to start a Foreclosure cleanup business and get paid pretty well in the process. If you are interested here is a course you can take to learn more.
4. Freelance writing
Since I started blogging a few years ago, 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.
5. 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 $1 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. Find and sell enough items and you have a fun home business.
I find a lot of people are interested in the idea of blogging as a business. You really can make some money blogging, but it is hard work. Not hard like digging ditches, but hard like it requires so many different skill sets and requires a lot of creativity and mental energy. It also is kind of the opposite of get-rich-quick. I only made $100 my first 6 months of blogging, but now I make a living doing it.
7. Build Websites for Small Businesses
I feel like I have people ask me to build them a website all the time. If this is a business you would like to start you can learn how to make money building websites here.
8. Ebay Business
A few years ago I started an Ebay business kind of as an experiment, just to see if it were something I could do if I needed cash. I wrote step-by-step instructions about starting an Ebay business if you are interested. Ebay is a pretty crowded market, but it still is one of the most popular home-based businesses.
9. Home Inspector
This one will require certification, find out more about getting certified here.
10. Real Estate Agent
This one isn’t technically a home-based business, but with the flexibility it allows you would be able to likely do a lot of work from home. Find out about getting your real estate license.
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
If you aren’t afraid of heights and can handle being out in the cold, this is a pretty great business opp. Some people earn a full-year’s salary just hanging lights for 2 months each year. Here is a course that provides some more info.
13. Car Mechanic
Do you know how difficult it is to find a good and trustworthy 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. Buy and Sell cars for profit
If you love cars and aren’t afraid to haggle, you could start a car flipping biz. We have a friend of the family who has done this for years. He scours the classified listings for deals, lands a good deal and then drives the car while trying to sell it for a couple grand more. Sometimes he sells them quickly, sometimes it takes a little longer, but he gets to drives lots of cars (which he loves) and makes a nice side income as well. Here is an online course to help you get started.
16. 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
This industry is one of the most popular work-from-home businesses. You can find training courses online at places like eLearners.com
18. Start a Daycare
If you love kids and are uniquely gifted with a lot of patience, you could always start a home-based daycare.
19. Handy-man service
If you are handy, there are lots of little old ladies who are willing to pay someone to do odd jobs around the house. There are even franchise opportunities available with certain companies.
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 Assitant
Virtual Assistants are just like a secretary in another part of the world. This industry is growing very quickly. Check this out to find out more about being a virtual assistant. For opportunities, go to this site and search for “virtual assistant”.
23. Window Cleaning Business
A lot of businesses (and homeowners) need windows cleaned. If you are not afraid of heights, cleaning windows could be a decent side or full-time gig.
24. Ink-jet Cartridge Refilling Service
One of the things that annoys me most is having to pay $50 each time my printer runs out of ink. The truth is that you can refill most printer cartridges pretty easily and for a tiny fraction of the cost of the retail cartridge. This provides a good biz opportunity that you can easily do from your home. Here is an online training course for more info.
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.
26. Massage Therapy
“The massage therapy business has been growing by leaps and bounds in the last decade, tripling in volume. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, it should grow by an additional 20% through 2016, meaning this home business has strong potential for growth. And, because all in-home massage services are necessarily local in nature, it’s work that can’t be outsourced to another country.”
27. Clean Business Offices
A lot of small businesses need people to clean their offices and this is a business that you can start with a very small investment. For more information check out this guide.
28. Professional Pooper Scooper
Maybe not the most glamorous work, but in recent years I have seen many dog waste removal companies pop up, so there must be some money to be made.
29. Senior Care Services
More and more seniors are wanting to avoid nursing homes in lieu of staying in their own homes. Offering nonmedical home care by assisting the elderly with regular daily tasks could be rewarding and profitable.
30. House Cleaning
I have known a few women carved out a flexible home-based business by cleaning homes. You probably already have the skills you need, now you just need to get the word out.
31. Teach English (or other Language) Classes Online
Did you know that English speakers are in high demand in Asia? As a result many are turning to freelance English teachers using websites like Italki.com. The site is basically a virtual online classroom for freelance teachers and students. Anyone can offer lessons (and set their own price) and anyone can take lessons.
From a quick scan, it looks like making $15-20/hour is a fair expectation.
Need more home-based business ideas?
Here are a few more articles with even more ideas and opportunities…
- 20 Companies That Will Pay You To Work From Home
- The Top 25 Home-Based Business Ideas
- 23 Ways To Make Money
- Home business ideas
- Home Business Ideas for New Home Based and Small Business Entrepreneurs
- About Home Business