Many people are attracted to the idea of starting their own business but are deterred by the cost and complexity involved. However, it is actually a lot easier than you think – many businesses can be started from scratch from the comfort of your own home, some for virtually nothing.
Some require little more than an internet connection, whilst others require specific skills and expertise, and may come with licencing requirements.
Here are 50 ideas for starting a business from home.
1. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing involves you earning a commission by promoting other companies’ products and services. Basically, you choose a product you like, promote it, and make a profit on each sale that stems from your marketing efforts. An affiliate marketing business is especially easy to start if:
- You have a blog or website of your own
- You can prove your success through visitor statistics
- You have already successfully undertaken affiliate marketing and can show this to your potential clients.
2. Associate Marketing
If you already have a blog on something that interests you, turn it into a money maker.
3. Become a freelance writer
There is a huge demand for freelance writers, particularly from website owners who need a steady diet of fresh content. Huge and trustworthy sites like Upwork and Freelancer have thousands of employers who want to hire for all kinds of tasks where you can write or edit about anything from technology to business articles. Get paid for every single article. Get a great reputation and you can turn this into a full-time job.
4. Become a virtual assistant
Virtual assistants work for others, doing everything from checking emails and making travel plans to handling internet research or working for a small business.
5. Blogger (or Vlogger)
If you are an expert in a specific field – travel, fashion, cooking, or sports – set up your own blog (or vlog if you intend to appear on YouTube). You can make money by offering advertising space and reviews of products on your platform.
6. Bookkeeping Services
If you are good with numbers, then you can always become a freelance bookkeeper working from home. Some services you could offer include:
- Creating balance sheets
- Providing income statements
- Creating various monthly, quarterly, or annual financial reports
(Note that it would help to have some proficiency with one or more of the best-known accounting packages).
Advertising and marketing companies are always looking for freelance copywriters to help with their creative projects. You can set up a home office and put your creative and marketing skills to good use.
8. Currency Trading
Online currency trading is easier than ever thanks to the number of tutorial videos, online courses, and applications that offer step-by-step guides to becoming a currency trader. All you need is:
- Technical skills
- Fundamental analytical skills
- A small amount of cash flow
- A phone, tablet, or computer.
9. Call Center Representative
More companies are looking to hire call center representatives that are willing to work from home on customer care issues. All you need to get started is a computer and a phone line.
10. Computer Trainer
There are a number of senior citizens and retired people wanting to learn how to use computers and the internet, meaning that if you are proficient in both Mac and PC, you could offer your services in your neighbourhood.
11. CV/Resume writer
No matter how experienced, there are very few people that enjoy or are good at writing their own CV or resume (or related services like cover letters and application forms). Individuals pay very good money to have their personal statements put on paper for them. It will cost you nothing to get set-up and once you get the hang of it, you should be able to average a good hourly or daily pay rate.
12. Dance Instructor
Anyone with a background in dance and access to clients with similar interests can offer dance classes from home. You can either set up the actual studio in your home or rent a space and use your home to do the administrative work.
13. Data entry
Use your accurate and quick typing skills to enter information.
14. Desktop Publisher
Desktop publishers typically use publishing software to create:
- Marketing newsletters
- Other marketing materials
In order to offer a full service, you could also write the content or hire a content writer and create your own small team.
15. Dog Walking
In some places, dog walking alone can be a very profitable business. Those working from 9 to 5 either do not have time to walk their dogs before leaving the house or just prefer it if someone comes in to let them out of the house for some exercise. Also, dog walking businesses that offer additional services are becoming increasingly popular. Consider also offering:
- Dog sitting
16. Domain Name Buyer
As the name suggests, all you need to do is buy domain names you believe people will want and sell them for a profit. You will need to be able to:
- Identify profitable domain names
- Identify domain names that are memorable
- Learn about SEO and keyword optimisation
17. EBay Assistant or Seller
An eBay assistant or seller is similar to being a marketing affiliate. The key difference is that instead of marketing the product, you are selling it directly to the customer. When selling for others on eBbay or any other platform, you will sell the product and keep a commission as compensation.
One of the drawbacks of this job is that scam artists attract eBay sellers and use fake shipping papers to convince them to send payments. Unfortunately, even if you are scammed, you will be held responsible for your customers not receiving their items. Always remember to:
- Get to know the distributor
- Keep all payments in your e-wallet until the customer confirms having received the parcel
- Report any suspicious activity
- Do not share any of your banking details.
18. E-book Author
Whether you are an aspiring novelist or you focus more on non-fiction pieces, it’s now easier than ever to compile an e-book and get it published on a variety of different online platforms.
19. Editorial Services
An editorial services business is easy to start, requires no initial monetary investment, and has a huge potential for expansion. From small and large businesses to authors and students, your client base could be endless. You can offer a variety of services, some of which include:
- Magazine article writing
- Newspaper article writing
- Web content writing
- Book writing.
20. Financial Advisor
Although the number of people wanting to start their own business has grown, many still do not know how to organise themselves financially. If you have already got the financial skills and knowledge, you can start by advising individuals and then expand to larger organisations.
21. Fix Google’s mistakes
Sites like Google, Yahoo, and Bing etc. will pay you a modest fee per hour for fixing their search engine results.
22. Flipping Websites
Flipping a website is the art of buying an already existing website, improving it, and selling it. With the right web development skills, it is a very easy and cheap trade to explore.
23. Hair Stylists
Hair stylists can set up a small room or section of their homes to accept appointments with clients.
24. Homecare Day Care Provider
If you enjoy working with children, you can consider starting a day care where you care for them in your own home. You will need the right paperwork and licences for child protection reasons, however, before you can start such a business.
25. House and Pet Sitting
People who go away on holiday often worry about whether or not they will come back to an intact home, especially if they have pets. This type of business requires little to no monetary investment. Start by approaching:
- Family members
26. Informational Product Creator
Similar to blogging or vlogging, creating informational products is your chance to put your expertise in an e-book or some form of digital format and selling it to the online world. Find a niche that has not been overdone and start writing. You can sell your information piece on platforms such as Amazon Books.
27. Internet Security Consultant
Hacking, scamming, and viruses are just some of the security threats on the web today. If you know your stuff, you could make very good money providing consulting advice to businesses.
28. Life Coaching or Mentoring
If you have a proven track record in a particular field, can prove past success, or have trained in matters of the mind, life coaching or mentorship could be for you. People, especially soon-to-be entrepreneurs, seek guidance through mentorship and life coaches.
29. Massage Therapists
Licenced massage therapists can set up studios in their own homes to meet with clients and offer their services.
30. Music Teacher
For entrepreneurs with musical talent, you might consider opening up your home to clients who want to learn a particular instrument or even take voice lessons from you.
31. New App Developer
New applications are launched on a daily basis and if you believe you have the skills to create your own and a unique enough idea, then it is worth pursuing, because it takes little effort and, if you are successful, can be a great money-spinner.
32. Online focus groups
Participate in an online focus group like ProOpinion and get paid through a cheque, gift card, or PayPal deposit.
33. Online Photo Selling
If you are a professional photographer, or a talented amateur with a passion for it, you can make money from your pictures on photo selling websites. All you need to get started is a camera, preferably a digital SLR with a minimum of 8 megapixels, and a computer. Once you have established yourself on websites such as GettyImages.com and Flickr.com, you can set-up your own website with a list of your watermarked images and their price per unit.
If you have a knack for promotions and working with media, you may be able to work from home as a publicist for various clients.
35. Secretarial Services
Similar to virtual assisting, remote secretarial services require little to no experience. All you need is:
- Strong organisational skills
- Good communication skills
- Good time management
- A high level of autonomy
Your day-to-day tasks as a freelancing secretary will typically include:
- Booking meetings
- Organising calendars
- Replying to emails
- Putting together presentations
- Answering phone calls.
36. Seller of Collectibles
If you have any collection of items or an interest in antiques or collectible items, you can resell those items on eBay or similar sites to build a business around them.
37. Social Media Consultant
Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest have become popular not just for business use, but also for plenty of individuals who simply enjoy using them. You can have the best of both worlds by starting a business where you help businesses shape and carry out their social media strategies on the sites you already use.
38. Survey Taking
Simply answer online surveys or product tests and make money from home. You will not get rich doing surveys online, but you may make a steady income if you sign up to multiple sites. Some of the most popular survey-taking platforms include:
39. Tax Consultant
Companies and individuals are often prepared to pay good money to have their taxes and tax returns paid for them. If you have the appropriate experience, you could set yourself up as a freelancer.
40. Technical freelancing
Freelancing is not just about writing. You can do everything from design, graphics, marketing, and web programming jobs from sites like:
41. Telemarketing Services
More and more companies are outsourcing their marketing efforts, and telemarketing is one of them. As a freelance telemarketer working from home, you will be setting appointments with customers and creating leads for companies. The amount you charge will depend on the size of the company you are working for, and the project they want to allocate you.
42. Test websites
Sites like User Testing will pay you to test a new or existing website and give your feedback on its usability and functionality.
43. Tester or Reviewer
Individuals or start-ups often look for people to review their products to encourage others to buy them. You can either get started with a profile on freelancing websites or approach companies directly, offering them a review in exchange for a monetary reward by becoming an influencer. Even better, if you have your own website or blog, you could write entire posts about their products, thus allowing you to charge more money in the long run.
44. Tour Guide
Many tourists like visiting new places with a guide. It allows them to ask all the questions they want and get a real local feel of the place they are visiting. If you know your city or local area really well and are up to date with its history, why not charge people for tours? You can create packages that include:
- Walking tours
- Taxi services to and from their hotels
- Breakfast, lunch, or dinner at a local restaurant
Translating is one of the easiest and most profitable industries to delve into if you are proficient in more than one language.
46. Travel Planning
With all the booking platforms available online today, anyone can book a holiday from the comforts of their home, using a site such as Expedia. However, with so many different factors to compare such as hotels, flights, tours and activities it can be overwhelming.
If you have strong organisational skills and the knack for finding a good bargain, you could offer these services to others who have less time on their hands. Find the deals for your customers and add your surcharge for your services.
47. Vintage Clothing Reseller
Online platforms like eBay and Etsy have made it simple to start a business selling vintage clothing and similar goods. You can shop for those items online, scour thrift stores, or just sell items you already own.
48. Web Designer
If you have the right skills, there are endless possibilities when it comes to web design. You have the opportunity to work with clients from around the world and add your aesthetic and design expertise to their websites.
49. Wedding Coordinator
Planning a wedding requires a lot of work and organisational skills. So many couples hire a wedding coordinator to help manage all of the various aspects of the event. You can do much of that work from home, if you enjoy organising and working with clients.
50. Work for Amazon
Pick micro tasks from Amazon Mechanical Turk. These are services that require human interaction. You can work from home, enjoy flexible hours and get paid by one of the world’s largest retailers.
Here are some examples of tasks workers have completed:
- Select the correct spelling for these search terms
- Is this website suitable for a general audience?
- Find the item number for the product in this image
- Rate the search results for these keywords
- Are these two products the same?