Hopefully by now, you’re getting pumped thinking about all the home business ideas that are out there. Or maybe you’re still unsure of which one to choose.
Even if you haven’t seen any ideas yet that stand out to you, you’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of ways to make money from home. Some ways don’t even involve starting an ecommerce business or an online freelancing business.
For example, you might find that you actually do prefer to put on pants for your workday (gasp!), so you can get some fresh air and meet new people. In this case, you can look into some hands-on home business ideas where you service your clients in person – like being a party planner or dog walker.
Whatever you choose, you’ll likely have some questions like: What are the best platforms and methods to connect with clients? What do I need to prepare in advance? What do these ideas actually involve?
We’ll get you set up with all the basics so you can make your first moves.
In this chapter, we’ll go over 18 different home business ideas that you can start right away. From your own blog to online teaching to a dog walking business in your neighborhood, we’ll cover home-based, legit business opportunities you can do online as well hands-on business that get you out into your community.
Some people need the thrill of working outside their home and interacting one-on-one with other people. Others hiss when they see the sun, hiding away in their basement until they need to come out for food or do adulting things like go to the bank.
Chances are, you’re somewhere in the middle. But if you’re the type of person who prefers to work from the comfort of home – without having to communicate in-person with your clients – an online gig is the business for you.
Let’s discuss some booming home-based business opportunities and how you can get off the ground.
Dropshipping is a no brainer if you are looking to set up an online business working from home.
The work from home dropshipping business model is simple – choose products to place on your website, sell products to your customer, then order products from your suppliers delivered straight to your customer’s door.
There is no need to spend money buying bulk products, renting warehouse space, or incurring delivery and packaging costs.
There are tons of ways to make money with work from home dropshipping as there are many different categories of products to sell. The most popular categories of product to sell via dropshipping include:
Who’s a Good Fit?
Dropshipping as a home business idea suits almost every person in the world, as long as you have a working internet connection and an interest in selling products online. The startup costs of a dropshipping store are minimal, and the rewards can be amazing if you put all your energy into it.
Once you have decided what to sell through your online store you can find variations of the product on Oberlo’s App, import them to your Shopify store, and begin marketing the product to your audience. It’s even possible to do all of this with a one product store; you just have to take that first step and implement the right store ideas.
A blog can be great as a stand-alone home-based business idea or as a supplement to your ecommerce store – or virtually any business, really.
It’s predicted that by 2020, there will be more than 31 million bloggers.
That’s a whole lotta blogs.
And a whole lotta helpful, interesting information. (And of course a fair amount of crappy information, but that won’t be yours.)
Statistically, few bloggers make more than $100 a month. But with lots of time, determination, and savvy, you can make thousands per month like the pros!
Your blog can make you money in a lot of ways, including:
Those with a quirky, interesting, and/or thoughtful perspective, as well as a knack for telling stories and keeping people entertained.
I recommend a WordPress blog. A site like StudioPress can guide you through making a beautiful blog on WordPress, including clean and stylish themes.
Other helpful and convenient blog-building sites include:
Just like blogging, YouTube can also be a great way to promote your ecommerce store in addition to acting as one of many stand-alone home business ideas.
It’s important to note that YouTube recently made some policy changes in January 2018 that impact how content creators make money on YouTube.
To join the YouTube Partner Program (YPP), you’ll need two things:
For this reason, you’ll really need to invest into your channel before you see meaningful income.
You can make money from YouTube in several ways, including:
You’ll make a great YouTube personality if you’re spunky and entertaining. Or even if your personality is more low-key, you can do well as long as you’re knowledgeable, interesting, and valuable.
Of course, it’s by no means necessary to be in your own videos.
Either way, you’ll need at least a decent camera and the software and skills to edit your videos well.
Create a YouTube channel by creating a Gmail account or using your existing Gmail account.
Customize, optimize, and you’re ready to go! Once you’ve got some content, get going on monetization options described above.
And check out TubeBuddy for an extra hand with the process.
In recent years, podcasts have become a popular way to get news, entertainment, and insights on-the-go. In fact, Edison Research shows that the number of podcast listeners has doubled in four years. That number is only growing.
And like a blog or YouTube channel, starting a podcast could be an awesome stand-alone home business idea as well as an ecommerce marketing tool.
Similarly to blogging and YouTube, learning how to make money with a podcast will require a lot of effort before you see solid profit.
Here are a few ways a podcast can help you make money from home:
People who are great conversationalists, captivating storytellers, or experts on a certain topic that others are interested in.
Bonus points if you have at least a decent quality microphone, some good editing software, and the skills to edit well.
You’ll need a microphone, some software to record and edit, and a platform to host your podcast on.
Here are a few ideas for each:
For example, uploading onto SoundCloud is simple once you’ve set up an account through Facebook or Gmail.
Finally, we’re here. In a nutshell, affiliate marketing is one of the surefire ways to earn money online, and it can be a hugely profitable home biz idea. It involves an advertiser, publisher, and consumer.
First, you (the publisher) promote the offerings of another party (the advertiser) on your own channels. These usually show up as trackable affiliate links, but can also be done through things like promo codes. Then when other people (consumers) click your links and buy the advertiser’s stuff, you get a piece of that profit.
Affiliate marketing can be massively profitable, but you’ll need to build a steady following before other people will want to have you as an affiliate partner.
The way you receive your commission will vary depending on the partner and the nature of the relationship.
Your earning model can be set up in a few ways, like:
Anyone with a strong follower base on virtually any channel or medium where you can include a link or promo code.
Check out affiliate networks like:
Or start your own affiliate marketing program. For example, these Shopify modules and plugins can help you build your own affiliate tracking system.
Companies are dying for market research so they can make better products and services for their customers. As a result, many of them pay people to take surveys online.
Beware, though: some of these sites aren’t legit. Do your research first. And you should manage your expectations: this will get you a few extra bucks, but likely not a full-time income.
Generally speaking, the price may range from a few cents to a few dollars per survey. But if you’ve got a lot of time, taking surveys could be a low-effort home business idea.
Browse online survey websites for surveys that you qualify for based on certain demographics, characteristics, or behaviors.
Check closely to see how each website will pay you. Some pay cash value for each survey, while others work on a point system where points are exchanged for rewards and money.
When you do surveys for money, payment can include methods like:
This is a good start if you’re not sure what niche you’d like to start a business in, or if you don’t have too many home business ideas yet. Filling out surveys for money is good for quick cash if you’re in a pinch.
If you want to get money for surveys, create an account on websites like:
The signup process will vary for each, including setting up payment by giving a physical address or your PayPal link. When you’re done, browse and apply for the surveys you want to fill out (and qualify for), and get going!
For example, Toluna has a simple 9-step signup.
(It sounds long but it’s super fast… I did the first half in 10 seconds! I’ll even give you my “GIF or it didn’t happen”.)
Once you’re registered, it takes you to the Survey Center where you can see all the surveys you qualify for.
Amazon MTurk is a way for companies to have quick access to online workers who are willing to perform small computer-based tasks. These tasks are called HITs (human intelligence tasks). As you can tell by the name, they need a human touch because computers and artificial intelligence (AI) can’t do them.
Unfortunately, tasks aren’t usually higher than $1 each (usually less), but again – if you have enough time, this could be a great idea for a home business.
Choose from a diverse pool of HITs, like:
You can transfer your earnings to your Amazon Payments account or into an Amazon gift card. From Amazon Payments, you can transfer cash directly to your bank account.
[highlight]Note: When you first sign up, Amazon puts a 10-day hold on your account before you can take out any of your earnings. Just to make sure you’re real and stuff.[/highlight]
If you have a lot of extra time and feel like you don’t yet have the skills for niche-based home business ideas, this can be a good start.
Create a Worker (not a Requester) account by creating an Amazon account or logging in with your existing Amazon account.
Fill out the Worker Registration form, then go to the “HITs” section in the top menu to view and accept tasks.
Clickworker is similar to Amazon MTurk, where you log in and do short tasks for payment. Many users report that this site is more profitable than Amazon MTurk, though, which means it’s a more profitable business idea than MTurk.
Clickworker reports that users average about $9 USD per hour.
You’ll need to take a short assessment to see if you qualify for each task.
Clickworker pays U.S. workers through PayPal, and international workers can have direct deposits to a Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) bank account.
People who don’t want to start a full business or are still cooking up some good niche-based home business ideas.
This site can earn you more money per project than sites like Amazon MTurk, and it also has more diverse types of tasks. It’s better for people who have more specialized skills or experience.
Create an account and fill out as may details as you can for your profile.
It will ask for things like:
These answers will be how Clickworker qualifies you to do tasks. The more skills you fill in, the more you can make money from home.
There’s a huge need for online teachers and tutors, which makes this a particularly great home business idea. You can teach students of virtually all ages, in-school and beyond – and all across the world.
Most online teaching and tutoring jobs are typically done over video.
You can use programs like:
Payment depends on your method. You can have students pay you directly via PayPal or some other payment processor, or get your work through a company that will handle payments for you.
Some of these gigs, like VIPKid, can earn up to $22 an hour.
This home business is ideal for anyone who’s patient, well-spoken, was a good student, and has and a love for learning (and teaching, of course).
Those with previous teaching education or experience will have an easier time finding jobs, especially ones that pay more. But it’s still very possible to start from scratch. You’ll just need to be patient at first.
Check out sites like:
Sign up for an account and fill out your profile to the best of your abilities. As usual, the signup with differ for each site. But generally, the screening process is very thorough when you use a specialized service.
For example, TutorMe asks in-depth questions about experience and skills.
And Tutor.com has a 5-step process that includes a mock teaching session and a background check. Better be prepared!
Data entry means that you will be entering data into some sort of database, from another kind of database. Mostly this work is time consuming and repetitive but it is less stressful than other business ideas on this list. Companies who normally outsource data entry are looking for young workers with very little experience.
Once a company has decided to use your services you can decide your fee based on the size of the database, and the time it will take to complete the task. It can be a good idea to charge by the hour, or per thousand entries to make these tasks worth while.
If you are just out of college or looking to get back into work after a long break, data entry could be the best business idea for you, as you get to start using technology again. Those with little experience in an office setting can start to create a schedule for themselves to understand what type of working hours suit them. Data entry is a job that doesn’t require communication with the client once you have been trained in on their system so you can work whatever hours you prefer to finish the project.
Freelance data entry jobs are advertised on many different job portals, and even on company websites. Even contacting your local job center could result in a data entry job that can start your business off. Build your resume to highlight your experience in different software like Excel, or other popular programmes these types of jobs require. Now you can start applying to roles which offer work from home options or an option that will suit your business.
Apart from online job sites and local job centers you can look for data entry roles in the job section of newspapers, through temp agencies, and on freelancing websites. Once you have two or three projects under your belt, you can start applying for bigger roles and advertising your experience to start earning more money online.
Virtual assistants are people who look after a variety of tasks, like writing, order processing, bookkeeping, social media, customer support, and so much more. For this type of role the tasks vary depending on the company who are looking to hire. Virtual assistants are multi-skilled, with a drive to learn new things everyday. No task is too big or small for them.
Virtual assistants charge per hour normally quoting the amount of time per day or week that they can spend with a client. The more tasks you can complete as a virtual assistant, the more money you can quote to clients so keep an eye on the skills needed in most job postings and work on building your skill portfolio to encompass these.
Being a virtual assistant would suit someone who is very self-motivated, and can work well on their own. As this role revolves around you completing a lot of different tasks regularly you must be organized and able to make well-informed decisions quickly.
Try websites like Virtual Assistant Jobs, Indeed, or Upwork where small businesses post freelance jobs that others can quote for. Creating a profile with your past experience is a good way for hitting the ground running. You could also try reaching out to small businesses and entrepreneurs in your area offering your services.
Make an online course that uses one of your passions or skills to solve people’s problems, then sit back and earn passive income down the road whenever they buy it.
It will take investment of quite a bit of time – and possibly resources – but it will be worth it in the end if it’s a hit.
The online education market is expected to explode to $275 billion by 2022. Some course publishers report making $5,000 or more per month or more in passive income!
As a result, creating online courses could be a very profitable business idea.
You can do it all yourself, or build and/or host it on a specialized platform with convenient features like:
Keep in mind that the platform will collect the customer’s money and send it to you, but they’ll usually take commission as either a percentage or a flat fee.
This home business idea is suited to someone who knows a topic really well, and knows it’s profitable. Bonus points if you have technical skills and equipment to build a professional quality course, whether it’s made of in-person videos, screencasts, or text with photos and illustrations.
You’ll also need a lot of time, and a good eye for making content flow. It may help to work with a writer.
If your course relies on videos of your computer screen, try a screen recorder and editor like Camtasia. If you can swing it, I recommend renting a studio for in-person videos, to ensure top video and audio quality.
Compare the features of different platforms for making and hosting courses, like:
If you’re more of a people-person, you might be interested in one of the more hands-on home-based business ideas. With these opportunities, you service your clients in person instead of through your computer screen.
It’s worth noting that this type of business will make you location-dependent, because you’ll have to be able to travel to where your clients need you. In the end, you won’t have the physical freedom of a strictly-online business.
That said, let’s look at a few.
[highlight]Remember: You might need to get certain licenses and/or permits, depending on your business type and where you live. The Small Business Administration has helpful info for making sure you have all your bases covered legally.[/highlight]
Direct sales, also called network marketing or multi-level marketing (MLM), is booming these days. And the market continues to grow, and this is where you’ll find some of the best home-based business ideas for moms.
Through this model, you sell a company’s products and receive a commission for your sales. You can also recruit your own consultants and build a team (who may go on to build their own teams), which earns more money.
It’s been reported that the average MLM consultant makes $2,400 per year, with earnings going up to more than $100,000 per year.
Many companies give awesome bonuses too, like vacations or even a free car when you reach new sales revenue levels between you and your team.
[highlight]A word of caution: Some companies are disguised as MLM, but they’re really pyramid or Ponzi schemes – which are illegal in the U.S. and many other countries. The one big red flag is that these illegal schemes will typically only pay you to recruit other members, instead of earning money from any real investment or selling real products or services to the public. So beware and do your research before starting a network marketing opportunity![/highlight]
Compensation plans for teams can be set up a few ways:
Frankly, you won’t make big bucks unless you’re social, friendly, motivated, and resourceful. And if you haven’t guessed by the title, it’s crucial to have great sales skills. However, if you have all those characteristics, this could be a viable, profitable home business idea for you.
There are hundreds to choose from in virtually any industry like health and beauty, fashion, nutrition, home goods, and more.
It’s important to note that you’ll typically need to pay startup costs like buying your own products to sell. This can be around $200 to $500 USD.
Here are some more of the most popular direct sales companies:
This can take many forms, like:
You can set your own terms, financial structure, and incentives. Ideas include:
In terms of earnings, say that you charge $15 an hour and work 10 hours a week. That would amount to $150 a week or $7,800 a year. (Of course, you’ll need to calculate taxes in your state.)
Dog lovers. Duh. If you love being around dogs, this home business idea wouldn’t just be profitable – it would be super fun! Bonus points if you have experience in obedience training or an understanding of dogs’ temperament.
If you’re doing pet setting, you’ll need to have a pet-friendly home or space you can do business in. If you live in a tiny apartment in downtown Manhattan, stick with walking or go to your clients’ homes to sit.
You’ll want to look into some legal considerations:
In terms of managing pet-related home business ideas, you might benefit from special types of software like Time to Pet. They offer a free 14-day free trial.
Translators can speak two or more languages fluently enough to be able to write natively for business in both languages. As an underserved niche, especially for languages like Arabic, Russian, and Malay, translation work can be busy and very rewarding. As a business idea, translations can help you build a successful business quickly.
Translators can quote per project. This means that they can decide when to start and finish a project, and what the cost of the project should be. If you are fluent in an underserved niche you can consider to charge more per project.
Those who studied a language in school, or comes from a multilingual background are well suited for these types of roles.
A portfolio is always important for these types of businesses as companies need to know the level of service you can provide. If your language abilities are not technical enough you may not be fit for a job. Be ready to take a translation test for some projects while you are starting out as businesses like to make sure you can do translation services without the use of translation tools.
Sites where you can find freelance translation jobs include:
A proofreader helps businesses or individuals to find mistakes in reports, books, or other soon-to-be published media to ensure a high quality finished product. A proofreader needs to understand the intricate tasks involved in this type of service before taking it on as a business idea. A freelance proofreader is needed in many different industries, but especially in publishing and education.
Proofreaders normally quote on word count and accept a nominal fee for any additional words after the fact. Due to this, it is more lucrative to take jobs that are for larger books, and journals. Once you have two or three reputable projects completed you can start to build a brand for yourself within certain industries to win more business.
This type of business idea is great for those with great attention to detail, and who love to read anything. One week you could be reading the new ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and the next you could be proofing a journal article about ‘The Importance of Childhood Memories on Career Success’. One things for sure — you will be more knowledgeable in many different fields with this business idea.
Proofreaders can get started through outreach to publishing companies or journals to offer your services. You can also reach out to companies who publish lots of research papers in a field that you are knowledgeable in to provide your proofreading services. Reedsy and other similar online platforms can help you to build your portfolio through applying for freelance projects.
Businesses are busier than ever creating new content due to the continuing success of content marketing in getting companies found online. There has never been a better time to be a freelance writer for this reason. As a freelance content writer you need to decide on the niche you wish to write in, start creating content for your portfolio and approach your content from a different perspective than what is already online.
Freelance content writers are either paid per article or per word count. You can choose your price and advertise your services online through having a website, social media, or using third party platforms. Normally if a company likes your writing and wants to continue creating content, they will contract you to create content for a period of time, instead of a once off job. Finding five or six companies that will contract you for long periods of time will provide consistent income while you grow your online brand.
If you have a background in content writing for a specific niche you will hit the ground running with this business idea. Freelance writers must be able to conduct in-depth niche research for their articles without asking too much of their clients so critical thinking and prior experience is needed to really do well in this role. It also helps if you have connections in the industry that you can work for in the early days, in order to build your portfolio up.
Once you have decided on your niche you can start sending out emails, and other communications to potential clients listing your niche content writing samples for their consideration. Don’t include articles that are not of the same niche as clients will not be as interested in these. Keep an eye on platforms like LinkedIn and other job sites that can advertise freelance jobs to apply for.
You can make money online on sites like these:
There’s always a market for food, which means food-related home business ideas can be quite profitable. Catering and meal preparation businesses can operate in several ways, including:
While some businesses can make upwards of thousands per month, it’s important to consider the startup costs. These might include costs like licenses, permits, insurance, cookware, transport vehicles, which can amount to thousands of dollars up-front.
Caterers and meal preparers usually have a menu with pricing. Depending on your business model, you may also want to charge per person or per platter.
Whatever you do, be sure to include a service charge or otherwise make sure you’re covering operation costs.
Depending on where you live, you might need several types of licenses and permits to run legally.
In some states, you may be required to rent out a commercial kitchen instead of cooking in your home. Check your state’s health or occupation licensing department for details.
Research on Google by searching terms like:
So there you have it!
Hopefully, you’re brimming with ideas and motivation to make money from home with one of the dozens of home business ideas we’ve talked about in this ebook.
You have an idea of:
Will you need to spend hours doing your research and freshening up your skills?
Will things change as you learn, forcing you to shift and remodel your plans?
Will you encounter road bumps and challenges that will make you want to quit?
Can you find a way to truly (finally) be happy with your career, actually enjoying your work while you earn money from your couch?
You bet your sweet assets.