How to Start a Home-Based Business That Will Succeed

How to Start a Home-Based Business That Will Succeed

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52 Home Based Business Ideas

Below is a list of 52 businesses you can run from home for fun and profit.

1. Web Designer

Start a business designing new websites or updating existing websites. Work with clients to add your aesthetic and design expertise to their websites. Some web designers use website builder tools such as WordPress or Wix. Others code from scratch and use graphic design tools. Making a profit from a new business in web design is easy due to the low costs.

2. Facebook Page Designer

You also can use your design expertise to work with clients to improve their Facebook pages. This is yet another opportunity for a graphic designer to be part of a growth industry. It is also a way to earn income while working from home.

3. Home Daycare Business

Do you enjoy working with kids? Start a daycare business where you take care of children in your own home. Be sure to make your home safe.  Caring for children is a big responsibility. A daycare service is a business requiring good communication with parents. You also need credentials to meet any licensing requirements.

4. Vintage Clothing Reseller

Vintage clothing is in vogue. Online platforms like eBay and Etsy make it easy to start a business selling vintage clothing — no experience required. How do you ensure a good inventory of supplies for this business? Simple. Shop for bargains online where consumers sell used items, such as Craigslist. Or scour thrift stores and attend house sales. You can even sell clothing products you already own. Research prices, and buy low and sell higher.

5. Music Teacher

Entrepreneurs with musical talent can start a home based business as a music teacher. Open up your home to clients who want to learn an instrument or take voice lessons. Don’t want people coming to your home? Then use video conferencing technology such as Skype, Google Hangouts or Zoom, and hold online teaching sessions from home to students anywhere. In-person sessions are not required.

6. Party Planner

People often need help planning events, from birthdays to graduations. Do you enjoy making plans and working with people? Party planner may be an ideal job for home, although you may have to meet with clients at event locations occasionally. As a party planner you make sure that the events are memorable. This is a great home based business idea for anyone who is detail oriented.

7. Party Clown

Being a clown for kids’ birthday parties can be a great way to have a fun job if you enjoy working with children. With this business idea you’ll need to leave home for events. But you can do the booking and prep work from home.

8. Dance Instructor

Anyone with a background in dance and access to clients can offer dance classes from home. With this business idea you get started either by setting  up a studio in your home or renting a space. Or you can offer dance instruction virtually through video courses. Do the administrative work in your home.

9. House Cleaning

Are you one of those unusual people who love cleaning? Or perhaps you are just good at it. A house cleaning service is a way to earn a living and over time gain financial independence. This business requires little except basic cleaning products and a service attitude.

10. YouTube Personality

There’s never a guarantee of making it big on YouTube. But becoming a YouTuber is still a great home based business idea. Start by creating a variety of video content for the platform from your home. Run ads on your videos to earn revenue.

11. Jewelry Maker

People love custom jewelry. It meets their need to be different. There are many methods and supplies to create handmade jewelry — including precious metals, gems, beads and stones. Sell jewelry online, at craft shows or wholesale to retailers. Set up an online store to expose your business to even more customers.

12. Personal Trainer

Ideas like becoming a personal trainer are great for fitness-loving entrepreneurs. Offer training sessions to clients out of your home gym or workout room. Or travel to clients’ homes. Some enterprising personal trainers take their business online. They provide training and fitness courses virtually through video conferencing apps like Skype. Get a few happy clients and your home business will grow through word of mouth referrals.

13. Copywriter

Advertising and marketing companies are always looking for freelance copywriters to help with creative projects. Set up a home office with a computer. Then apply your marketing savvy to earn bucks. Freelance writing is a home based business that literally can be global, with clients across the world.

14. Clothing Designer

As home business ideas go, there are plenty of opportunities for designers to create and sell their own clothing from home. Whether you stitch intricate gowns, create hand-painted scarves or design t-shirts, the opportunities for earning from home are almost endless. Many people are willing to pay for unique wearable art. If you have a passion for fashion, and need to earn cash, make this your business.

15. Ebook Writer

Are you an aspiring novelist? Prefer nonfiction writing? Anyone who enjoys freelance writing can turn it into a business as an ebook author. It’s easier than ever to be a self-published ebook author. Amazon is one of the top places to sell an ebook, but there are other platforms also.

16. Hot Air Balloon Operator

Though certainly not a cheap venture, offering balloon rides from your property can be a great way to have fun in a lucrative business. Make sure to read up on local regulations and safety for this business.

See Also: Why Home Based Businesses Need Insurance

17. Massage Therapist

Licensed massage therapists can set up studios in their own homes to meet with clients and offer their services, making it one of the better ideas for qualified individuals.

18. Hair Stylist

Hair stylists can set up a room in their homes to accept appointments with clients. However, read up on state and local licensing requirements to make sure you comply. Take this business online to diversify revenue streams. Display your styling abilities on YouTube or Instagram. As a virtual stylist, you can profit from online classes showing others how to arrange the latest hairstyles, or by recommending sponsored products or becoming a brand ambassador.

19. Interior Designer

Interior designer is one of the best business ideas for anyone with a knack for style and design. Offer decorating services to businesses and homeowners. You do not need a physical location to offer this service. You can do much of the brainstorming and administrative work from home and visit clients on site.

20. Home Staging Business

Home staging is a service where you arrange furniture and other decorative elements for clients who need to sell or rent their homes. Work with real estate professionals who want to close sales, also. Ideas like this don’t require a business office, just expertise.

21. Seller of Collectibles

If you have an interest in antiques or collectibles, become a seller on eBay, Etsy,  or niche communities. Build a home based business around collectibles you love. You probably already collect such items, so you know where to find more products to sell. You also know the market prices to charge. Open an online store to showcase your products to a larger audience.

22. Social Media Consultant

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are popular not just for business use, but also for individuals who simply enjoy using them. Add consultant to the list of ideas you can start to help other businesses shape and carry out their social media strategies. You can do this business on the side while in college.

23. Dog Groomer

Love dogs? The way to start a dog grooming business is to get basic supplies such as clippers and set up shop in your home. You will work with plenty of canine companions. Get a van and outfit the vehicle to offer a mobile dog groomer service. Dog owners often need other services, such as pet sitting and dog walking, so you may be able to increase your income from existing clients.

24. Pet Sitter

A pet sitting or dog walking service indulges your passion for dogs and other pets, but requires hardly any equipment.  Get started for free — or perhaps the cost of pet treats and dog leashes. Dog walking or pet sitting requires you to visit clients’ homes. The positives of this small business are a flexible schedule and a home office. Add technology such as scheduling apps to manage administrative work.

25. Drone Trainer

A few years ago, who would have thought of a business like drone trainer? Yet, today, people want to learn how to use drones. Be the person to teach them. For example, real estate agents use drones to get MLS listing photographs. Offer lessons from your home — just make sure you can fly the drone freely. Also make sure to meet FAA and local requirements.

26. Personal Stylist

Enjoy fashion? Have a great sense of style? Offer your services as a personal stylist. Help clients build their wardrobes and put together outfits. A personal stylist business has low startup costs.

27. Photographer

You can build any number of successful photography businesses from your home. You can be a portrait photographer, wedding photographer or nature photographer. Some photographers choose to teach others how to learn photography.

28. Gift Basket Arranger

People buy all types of gift baskets for home and business purposes. Gift baskets can be so creative! If you enjoy arranging and designing baskets of food, personal care products or similar products, it might be a fun home business idea to consider.

29. Furniture Upcycler

There are many platforms and places where you can sell furniture and home products. Find old pieces at flea markets or second-hand stores. Add your own upgrades and resell furniture for a profit after fixing it.

30. Bicycle Repair Expert

Good and profitable home businesses make use of resources you already have. If you love bikes and enjoy fixing things, you could convert your garage into a workshop. Offer bike repair services. Either have your neighbors drop their bicycles off or you can offer a pick-up delivery service. Just a bit of equipment is all you will need at first.

31. Baker

Baking is fun and rewarding to many people. Bakers, buy some equipment and set up a commercial kitchen at home. Sell baked goods to local shops or businesses. Or set up a storefront  to sell products online. Read up on regulations to be compliant!


How do you start a home based business?

  • 1.  Choose your business idea.
  • 2.  Analyze the competition.
  • 3.  Decide how you will be unique.
  • 4.  Write your business plan.
  • 5.  Line up financing.
  • 6.  Name and register your business.
  • 7.  Plan your marketing.
  • 8.  Start making sales.

To learn more about how to start a business see my course, Start-a-Business 101. You can start watching this course and all the other courses on BusinessTown for free.


Should You Open a Home-Based Business?

Before starting a business, it’s important to look at the big picture and ask a few key questions to determine if a home-based business would be a good fit for you.

First, consider the many advantages — as well as the disadvantages — of owning and operating a home-based business.

On the plus side, starting a business based out of your house allows you to:

  • Minimize the cost of overhead. “The number one thing that will kill any business is overhead,” Wolfe says, noting that high overhead costs often pile stress onto new business owners. It can be costly to rent commercial office space and set up a phone system, internet, and other services in the space. In contrast, with a home-based business, you make use of space for which you were already paying rent or a mortgage, and you can piggyback off some services that are already in your household budget, such as home internet, he says.
  • Enjoy plenty of flexibility. One big pro of running a home-based business is that your home office is just a few steps away. So if you’re a night owl whose prime work hours are from 10 to midnight, you can take advantage of that without having to drive to a commercial office and let yourself in after everyone else is gone for the day. Working from home, without set office space size and costs, also gives you the flexibility to scale up or down as needed. For example, if you grow quickly and need to contract or hire more help, you don’t have to worry about whether more workers will fit in the office space you lease. On the other hand, if business slows and you need to streamline temporarily, you’re not stuck with more space than you need.
  • Squeeze more work into your day. Another plus is that you cut commuting time out of your workday, allowing you to trade minutes or hours of stress and traffic jams for focused, productive work time.“A lot of folks spend a lot of time on the roads commuting,” says Josh Braaten, CEO and cofounder of Brandish Insights, a home-based brand analytics business in St. Paul, Minnesota. “The best commute is from your bed to your desk.”
  • Take advantage of tax breaks. Home-based business owners also have the ability to benefit from a tax break available only to them — the home office deduction. The tax break really helps, says Christina Disbrow, who runs her advocacy, grant writing, and fundraising company, All Write, All Write, All Write, from her home.

On the minus side, working from home can pose challenges, too — for example, having limited space in the home, difficulty separating work from family life, and issues with neighbors. So think about whether your business idea, work style, and family life are a good match for a home-based business. Some businesses and homes are a perfect fit, while others might pose too many challenges.

Here are two questions to ask, keeping in mind that there are workarounds for less-than-ideal situations:

1. Can your business be conducted at home?

Considerations include how much foot traffic you’ll get and whether you’re comfortable having customers, clients, patients, or service providers visiting your home.

Some types of service businesses — such as bookkeeping, consulting, and graphic design — tend to work well as home-based businesses. E-commerce also is a popular home-based business. Other types of businesses, such as retail sales, might need to be moved to a physical space as quickly as possible.

The workaround: Hold meetings at alternative locations, such as co-working spaces, cafes, or restaurants, says Braaten. Or, meet clients at their own offices, suggests Disbrow, who says her nonprofit clients love not having to leave work to meet with her, and she is able to learn more about them by seeing their workspace. “It was something I worried about in the beginning, but it’s actually worked out really well,” she says.

2. Do your home and life fit with a home-based business?

Consider the space you have in your home, and whether you have room for a home office or even a small space you can separate from your living area. Also think about what your family schedule is like and whether comings and goings and noise — kids, a spouse, or a barking dog — could interrupt the flow of your work.

The workaround: “If you have a family like I do, make sure they understand that you have work hours, and not to bother you,” Disbrow says, though she admits this is sometimes easier said than done. She addresses this issue by planning ahead and tailoring her work hours around the times when her seven-year-old son is at school.

So, should you start a home-based business? “If you want to do it, and if you have the drive and are going to put in the work, go for it,” Disbrow says. “For me, it’s one of the greatest decisions I ever made, and I’ve been more successful than I ever thought I would.”

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Car Detailing Business

I have a wealthy friend who is crazy about his cars. He had a six car garage built onto his house. On Saturdays he loves to wash, wax and then take one of his fancy cars for a ride. I did this with him once but at the high speed he took his Ferrari on the back country roads, I don’t need to do it again!

His older son also loves cars and worked at an auto dealership while in high school. He started washing cars, then later learned how to detail them. Next while still in high school he started his own car detailing business, servicing his customers’ cars at their homes on weekends.

My Maserati is typical of the type of car that peo
My Maserati is typical of the type of car that people will hire a detailing service for.

This is a great niche business. Some people pamper their pets. Other people pamper their cars. Owners of high end cars are willing to pay good money to have their cars detailed. But they are a meticulous bunch. They are going to want the work done just so. So you’ve got to try hard to please your customers. But if they like you, they will have you detail their car regularly. And they will recommend you to their friends.

I’ve learned that with this kind of business it’s “OK” to start out with little or no experience. But you don’t want to hide that from your first customers. Give them a discount and keep their expectations realistic when you are getting started.

This is a great business for digital marketing because it’s easy to target your most likely customers – the owners of high end cars. You can also do some “guerilla” marketing such as putting a simple brochure or business card on the windshield of luxury vehicles you see in parking lots.

I love to see a little bit of free guerilla market
I love to see a little bit of free guerilla marketing like this sign. In my course Start-a-Business 101 I include my 50 favorite guerilla marketing tactics.

To find out more about how to start this business – or any other business – see my course Start-a-Business 101. You can try this course and all the other courses on BusinessTown for free.

Look into insurance

There are a number of risks that come with running your own business, including lawsuits, data breaches or business interruption. So you should start by making sure you have the right insurance.

A good place to start is by looking into a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP). This type of insurance includes three different types of coverage:

  • General liability insurance: This insurance covers bodily injury, property damage or personal injury.
  • Commercial property insurance: Commercial property insurance protects the equipment used to run your business.
  • Business income insurance: If you’re unable to run your business for some reason, business income insurance can help pay for necessary expenses like payroll.

It’s a good idea to speak to an insurance agent for recommendations that are specific to your business.

Setting up Your Home Office or Workspace

Whether you plan to set up a spacious home office filled with the latest gadgets or work from a desk in a corner, the main work-at-home essential is a space dedicated just to your business. This is important not only to help you qualify for the home office tax deduction, but also to allow you to focus and be productive.

(DOWNLOAD: 21 Days to Be a More Productive Small Business Owner)

“It’s a gazillion times easier if you can dedicate a room that you can shut the door to that really is your space,” Wolfe says. He recommends decorating your office so that it reflects the personality and achievements of your company, using artwork, awards, products, or anything else that conveys your vision. His home office is filled wall-to-wall with rubber ducks, and the space reflects his company so well that he proudly invites film and TV crews in, even though he works at home. “Film crews come in and say, ‘Wow,’” he says.

Home Office Essentials

Getting beyond the decor of your office, it’s important to fill your workspace with the proper tools. Opinions vary, but generally your home office essentials should include a computer, a second monitor so you can multitask if necessary, backup for your data, a printer, and a scanner. Other home office must-haves: good lighting, virtual or traditional telephone service, a surge protector, a fire safe box, a shredder for sensitive documents, and an uninterruptible power supply. Even if a paperless office is your goal, you might still need a file cabinet to neatly store the inevitable documents that will otherwise pile up in your office.

It’s also key to consider ergonomics, says Braaten, who put an ergonomically correct chair in his workspace when he was creating his setup. He also recommends having a place where you can stand to take a break from sitting. “It doesn’t have to be an expensive stand-up desk,” he says, adding that you could even use your kitchen island.

Other Home Office Considerations

When you work out of your home, pay attention to security and professional appearance. For example, if you live in an apartment or prefer not to circulate your home address on your business materials, consider getting a mail receiving service (or virtual office address) or a post office box.

Work with an accountant

Taxes are confusing to most people, and they get even more complex when you’re running a small business. Plus, you need advice on how to structure your business, how to set up payroll and how to track your expenses. That’s why it’s a good idea to hire an accountant.

An accountant can help you with all of this and ensure that your business is up to date with the most recent tax laws. And in the unlikely event that your business is audited, an accountant can walk you through this process.

[Read more: When and Why You Should Change Business Entities]

Determine Whether Your Ideas Work As Home-Based Businesses

Not all businesses are going to work well as home-based businesses, and some won’t work at all. Starting a business out of your home requires considering a variety of factors, including your location, zoning, legal restrictions, licensing, work style, personality, and your family’s needs.

You are not going to be able to start a manufacturing business in a residential neighborhood, for example, and a business that involves a lot of clients coming and going may not be practical from a home office. Narrow down your list of ideas to businesses that:

  • Are feasible to conduct from a home office, rather than needing separate workspace
  • Allow most of the work to be done from home, rather than on site

This will leave you with a list of business ideas that are practical and possible for you to start from your own home.

3. Know Your Competitors and Market

Most entrepreneurs spend more time on their products than they do getting to know the competition. If you ever apply for outside funding, the potential lender or partner wants to know: what sets you (or your business idea) apart? If market analysis indicates your product or service is saturated in your area, see if you can think of a different approach. Take housekeeping, for example—rather than general cleaning services, you might specialize in homes with pets, or focus on garage clean-ups.

Primary Research

The first stage of any competition study is primary research, which entails obtaining data directly from potential customers rather than basing your conclusions on past data. You can use questionnaires, surveys and interviews to learn what consumers want.

Secondary Research

Utilize existing sources of information, such as census data, to gather information when you do secondary research. The current data may be studied, compiled and analyzed in various ways that are appropriate for your needs, but it may not be as detailed as primary research.

Conduct a SWOT Analysis

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Conducting a SWOT analysis allows you to look at the facts about how your product or idea might perform if taken to market, and it can also help you make decisions about the direction of your idea.

Step #4: Build up a Safety Net

Speaking of broke, unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that your home business will make any money in its starting weeks, months, or sometimes, even years. Therefore, before officially launching your company, you should have a minimum of six months’ worth of living expenses saved up. Having this safety net will allow you to fully focus on your business and grow it as quickly as you possible.

As a general guide, give yourself enough “room” to deliver your product or service and still have enough money left over to pay for business and living expenses.

FAQs About Home Business Ideas

  • How do I start a small home business?

Wondering how to start a small home business? Here are 8 steps to starting an online business:

  • Choose an online business model that suits your business
  • Identify your target market
  • Identify the problem that your business is solving
  • Know your competitors and how you are different from them
  • Choose a sourcing strategy that your customers will love
  • Set up your payment system so you can get paid 
  • Test your business idea in the simplest way possible
  • Create your marketing strategy to start promoting your business
  • How do I make money from home business ideas?

There are many ways that online home business ideas make money. You could charge per product, create subscriptions, build affiliate links, and so much more. Once you have decided your business model you can start brainstorming the exact home business idea for you and get started.

3. The disadvantages of a home-based business

Of course, there are some downsides to operating a home office.


In an office setting, you can chat with people in the break room or go to lunch with a few colleagues. With a home-based business, you’re more isolated, Landry says.

“Networking is very important for home-based businesses not only to try to obtain leads for your business, but to help with moral support,” she says.

Hard work

A home-based business sounds alluring. With a flexible schedule, more control over your work, and the chance to work with handpicked clients, what’s not to like? But home-based business owners like Halberg will tell you it’s a lot of hard work. A home office still has all of the rigors and challenges of any other business.

Fewer checks and balances

If you’re running a home-based business, you won’t have as many eyes checking your work. It’s up to you to make sure everything is done right.

Finding customers

You’ll need to drum up your own customers, clients, or subscribers. To do so will take some marketing skills. You’ll need a plan in place to attract and retain customers.

Unprofessional perception

Some people regard home-based businesses as less professional than brick-and-mortar offices. It’s up to you to project an image of professionalism. Network with other business professionals so they get to know you, rent conference space if you need to host a meeting, and get a PO box if you’re worried about having a residential address, Halberg suggests.

3. Federal Tax Identification Number (EIN)

An EIN (Employer Identification Number) is to a business what a social security number is to an individual. It’s a federal tax ID number used for tax filing and other reporting purposes. Businesses that want to hire employees must have an EIN. Also, partnerships, multi-member LLCs, and corporations must have an EIN. Many banks will not open a business bank account for a company if it doesn’t have an EIN.

An EIN helps draw the line of separation between a business and its owners, which can help keep accountability clear and sustain a business owner’s protection against personal liability. Also, by sharing the EIN rather than a social security number with everyone who works with the company, a business owner can minimize the risk of personal identity theft.

Getting an EIN is easy—and it’s free through the IRS by completing and submitting Form SS-4. Rather than adding the task to your already long list of to-dos, consider asking CorpNet to get it done for you. Just as with your other business filings, you can leave the details to us (for a very affordable rate, I might add!) so that you can tend to other critical aspects of your business.

7. Fund Your Business

There are many different ways to fund your business—some require considerable effort, while others are easier to obtain. Two categories of funding exist: internal and external.

Internal funding includes:

  • Personal savings
  • Credit cards
  • Funds from friends and family

If you finance the business with your own funds or with credit cards, you have to pay the debt on the credit cards and you’ve lost a chunk of your wealth if the business fails. By allowing your family members or friends to invest in your business, you are risking hard feelings and strained relationships if the company goes under. Business owners who want to minimize these risks may consider external funding.

External funding includes:

Small businesses may have to use a combination of several sources of capital. Consider how much money is needed, how long it will take before the company can repay it and how risk-tolerant you are. No matter which source you use, plan for profit. It’s far better to take home six figures than make seven figures and only keep $80,000 of it.

Examine Your Skills

You're born with talents but you develop skills over time.

For instance, a creative person may have excellent skills for writing, artistic, or design skills. A person who is naturally detail-oriented may learn strong accounting or organizing skills.

Running a successful business often requires learning new skills, such as marketing or cold-calling. But when it comes to developing a business idea, start with the skills you already have. They will often indicate where you are best suited to use your natural talents.

Step #2: Evaluate the Competition

New entrepreneurs don’t like competition, and even avoid profitable markets because of it. However, we’re here to tell you that competition is not always a bad thing. In fact, quite the opposite is true: competition means that there’s a lot of money that your enterprise can make from that market – otherwise, there wouldn’t be any existing businesses in the industry.

Is there a lot of competition for the at home business you’re starting? Rather than give up, find a way to do it better. If you’re looking for a profitable market with zero competition, then here’s a newsflash: there aren’t any!

The Bottom Line

If daily commutes, coworkers, and cubicles don’t suit your fancy, why not try one of the home business ideas on the list?

When you work from home, you can call the shots, you set the standards, and you get the chance to pursue your professional passions at your own speed.

If you’re tired of waiting for an employer to create the job you want, then maybe it’s time for you to take control. With a home-based business, you can create the life you want on your own terms. 


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