- Great home-based business ideas include communication-based roles, like freelance writing, and some that may require specialized or advanced degrees, like accounting.
- Certain home-based business ideas are accessible for any level of experience or education.
- Working from home can be great for your productivity, stress levels and safety.
- This article is for aspiring entrepreneurs who are interested in starting home-based businesses.
Whether you work for yourself or for a company that allows telecommuting, working from home can totally revamp the way you look at your professional life. The benefits are even likely to spill over into your personal life as well, by giving you more time and energy for the things that matter most to you. The best work-from-home jobs and businesses allow you to turn your home into your office, and there are more than a dozen opportunities ready for the taking.
Ready to strike out on your own and start working from home? Here are 18 great home-based business ideas to consider.
1. Freelance writer
Do you have a way with words? Freelance copywriting is a good way to make money working from home. Companies large and small will pay someone handsomely to take basic information and add a bit of flair. If a smooth turn of phrase has been known to come forth from your pen, freelance copywriting might just be for you.
It takes a lot of networking to get started, but once you have a portfolio to show your worth, you’ll be able to prove to clients that you’re exactly the writer they need. And, as a bonus, if you’re naturally inquisitive and love storytelling, you might be able to spin your copywriting gig into a career as a freelance journalist.
In most countries, freelancers earn more than average workers. See how much freelancers really make.
If you’re a fast typist with an ear for dictation, then transcription might be right for you. A lot of businesses require transcription, including medical practices and law firms, and they pay quite well for quality work. All you need to start is a computer, an internet connection, and the will to build a network of professionals and gain their referrals. To learn more about this field, check out the best medical transcription services.
3. Business planning service
If you already have business expertise, you can help other entrepreneurs launch and maintain companies by offering your services as a business plan consultant and writer. Help your clients figure out their ideas, goals and finances for their businesses and put them all in one organized business road map. You can also help conduct market research for clients, such as a conjoint analysis and a competitive analysis, to determine how successful their businesses can really be or whether they need to make changes or go in another direction.
4. Massage therapist
Becoming a massage therapist requires proper training and licensing, but if you’re looking for a great career that you can also turn into a home-based business, massage therapy might be the right choice for you. Plus, you have flexible options with a massage therapy business: You can either invite clients into your home for appointments or make house calls.
5. Interior designer
If you understand design and have a passion for decor, a career in interior design could be an excellent path for you. While you may not technically need a formal education to be an interior designer, having a bachelor’s degree in interior design will definitely give you a huge leg up in the field. Not to mention, if working for a design firm doesn’t feel right to you, you can run your own interior design business from the comfort of your home.
6. Handmade craft seller
Do you have a knack for knitting, making jewelry or creating other small crafts? If you can produce a large quantity of items in a short amount of time, consider selling your goods to the public. In just minutes, you can set up an online store and start promoting your business. Etsy has long been a great platform to begin with, but as its fees have risen, many handmade sellers have flocked to several popular Etsy alternatives for online sales.
7. Music teacher
For the musically gifted, offering lessons to others who want to learn an instrument can be a great source of extra income. Unless you’re teaching piano, students can bring their own instruments to your home for hourlong lessons. Stock up on sheet music or songbooks in different genres and aimed at various skill levels so you can offer a wide selection for clients. Voice lessons can also bring in a lot of money if you market yourself to local high school and community theater groups.
8. Website and graphic designer
Have you ever been turned off by a business’s generic-looking website layout or logo? If you have a good eye for design, you could launch a service to create attractive, easy-to-use websites for small businesses. You can put your creative skills to good use for business owners who want to take their online presence to the next level. Build up a portfolio of work with smaller freelance jobs; then create your own website to show it off and bring in a steady stream of clients. [Related article: 9 Things Every Potential Freelancer Should Know]
9. Pet care and dog walking services
Are you good with animals? Spread the word to friends and neighbors that you’re available to watch their pets while the owners go on a vacation or weekend trip. Pet owners often feel more comfortable leaving their furry friends in the care of an individual than placing their pets in a boarding facility, so getting referrals shouldn’t be too difficult. If you can’t commit to lodging animals in your home, consider starting a dog walking or waste cleanup business instead.
10. Digital marketing consultant
Small businesses know they have to get online, but finding the time to figure out how can be a real challenge for small business owners of every stripe. If you’re internet-savvy and know how local businesses can harness the power of local searches, coupon pages and social media, you could work from home by helping small business owners promote their companies online.
11. App designer
Research shows that mobile apps and mobile web browsers are imperative for businesses of all kinds. But most companies don’t have the in-house teams to create these web-based tools. Smaller organizations also usually don’t have the budget to hire an expensive firm to create their apps. A freelance mobile app developer who works from home could specialize in creating apps for one or two industries and build a strong following.
12. Day care and babysitting
Ever tried to find child care on a Saturday afternoon? Unless you have a standing relationship with a babysitter (and even then, it can be hard to book them), there are few places you can count on for weekend or evening child care. But you can come to the rescue for parents in your area. Most states allow individuals to operate a home child care business, and you can take advantage of little competition and the great need for off-hours care to build a steady clientele. Licensing requirements differ by state, but many don’t require a license as long as you limit the number of kids you’re watching.
13. Billing service
Many small companies simply don’t have the time or staff to run their billing operations properly. That’s where entrepreneurs who want to offer invoicing, bookkeeping, human resources and other clerical services to business owners on a contractual or part-time basis come in. With just a laptop and a few clients, you can get the ball rolling from home. Learn more about what bookkeeping is, and consider these billing tips for B2B businesses so you can provide knowledgeable services.
14. Business security consultant
Just about every company has a website with the potential to collect data from its customers. Furthermore, many businesses store their customers’ data, personal information and even credit card numbers on their company computers. But how many smaller firms can honestly say they know that their sensitive data is safe from identity thieves and hackers? Most small companies can’t afford to hire a full-time data security specialist.
That’s when your home-based security consulting business would be needed. If you have a background in IT, you could work as a consultant helping small businesses shore up their data security.
15. Party planner
Whether it’s a child’s birthday party or a wedding reception, behind every good celebration is a great planner. People will pay big bucks for quality planners to create experiences they’ll never forget. Armed with little more than a budget and knowledge of what makes a party really “pop,” you can make party planning a lucrative home-based business for any party animal. You could even help businesses plan corporate events.
Two things in life are certain: death and taxes. While your home-based business probably shouldn’t involve the former, it can easily focus on the latter. After all, small business taxation can be a thorny web to untangle. If you’re one of the talented few who fully understand it, you can help other business owners navigate it. (Just make sure to follow GAAP accounting standards.) Plus, you can funnel anything new you learn on the job into your own business tax payments and use the top accounting software for simplified processes.
17. Resume writing service
Depending on which surveys you look at, between 10% and 78% of Americans have lied on their resumes. That’s generally not a good thing, and as a resume writer, you can help job applicants find work honestly. You might be a great resume writer if you’re an excellent written and verbal communicator who understands what hiring managers seek in job applicants. These resume-writing tips will surely come in handy.
Beyond writing tools, video conferencing software is important for resume writing, letting you discuss resumes face to face with your clients right from home. See our picks for the best video conferencing services.
18. Sustainability consultant
As a sustainability consultant, you can lead by example. You’re working from home and cutting your carbon footprint, and you can help other business owners do the same. You can guide clients through questions such as these: How can I increase how often my team works from home? How can I lower my company’s energy usage? Think outside the box, and you might earn a reputation as a thought leader whom other business owners seek out time and again.
Why you should work from home
There’s no place like home, especially when you work there. Research shows that remote workers are more productive and less stressed, making it a highly attractive arrangement for any employee. And, of course, it’s been the safer option throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are some more reasons why working from home is ideal in today’s world:
- Set your own schedule. If you start your own home business or work as a home-based freelancer, nobody can tell you when (and when not) to work. As long as you show up to client meetings and hit all your promised deadlines, you can start and end your workdays at any time. That’s not usually the case if you’re heading to an office and working for a company.
- Eliminate your commute. There’s no end to what people would give to eliminate their commutes. Working from home is the easiest way to make that shift for yourself. You’ll get back the time and money you used to spend on your commute, not to mention the sleep lost from waking up early.
- Remove co-worker interruptions. There are times when you just need to focus without interruption or distraction. That’s much harder if you’re in an office where a colleague can turn to you for help, questions or chitchat at any time. Working from home lets you create your own private, quiet space, and you can choose how, when and where to interact with people.
- Work with anyone. In-office work means you can only choose employers in your area. Depending on the type of home-based business you choose, you can work with anyone anywhere on the planet. All you both need is an internet connection – and, for you, the ability to meet the client’s needs.
- Reduce your carbon footprint. If you’re looking to make sustainability part of your business model, there’s no better place to start than at home. Eliminating your commute means your daily activities will emit significantly less carbon dioxide. Couple that with other eco-friendly initiatives, such as going completely paperless, and you’re off to a great start.
In short, working from home leads to more productivity, less stress and better sustainability. That’s because it eliminates your commute and gives you an isolated space to work without interruption, in addition to full control of your schedule.
Max Freedman and Jeanette Mulvey contributed to the writing and research in this article.