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One of the things I love about working from home and “being your own boss” is that your income isn’t at the mercy of the decisions made by a boss, a committee, the government, or anything else. When you start your own business and work from home, you’re in charge of your own destiny.
Several times per year I get emails from friends and former colleagues who have lost their jobs or who are just completely sick of the corporate world. Since I work from home, their emails always end with a request for the current home-based options available.
While I don’t wish anyone that kind of trauma or unhappiness, what I love about these conversations is that there are so many opportunities available today. I truly believe that anyone who is committed to learning can build a business from home, and that’s what we’re focusing on today.
Here are 40 businesses you can start from home:
- Laundry Business is something that can be started with very little skill or supplies. You will, of course, need to know the basics of fabric care and folding. In most cases, clients bring their laundry to you. Or, you can offer pickup/dropoff service for an additional fee.
- Customer Service is always in-demand by small business owners. Many people can’t afford or don’t need to hire a full-time employee. With today’s technology, it’s easy to forward business calls to an offsite contractor who can assist customers, set appointments and take messages. A quiet work environment is essential for this one. And a quality noise-canceling headset is handy as well. If you don’t have a landline, consider getting a number through Google Voice so you aren’t mixing business with personal calls.
- Transcription is a growing industry as more and more bloggers and business owners take to video and webinars to promote their services. These audio and video files can then be transcribed and repurposed into other marketing materials.
- Web Content Writers are still necessary. Freelance writing is a field that requires almost no extra equipment as long as you have a laptop or desktop and internet access. You can also get started without previous experience.
- Proofreaders need a little more specialized training than web content writers. This field focuses on proofreading and editing content written by those writers. This is a home business idea that can be done almost anywhere with an internet connection making it a great option for those with the travel bug.
- Social Media Managers are finding themselves with more work than they can handle once they have made a name for themselves and know how to provide results. After all, usually, a business owner’s time isn’t best spent tending to Facebook and Twitter profiles. They have more important things to do.
- Virtual Assistants can perform any number of tasks for online business owners. If you have an administrative or marketing background, this may be a great industry for you. Check out some of the most in-demand services here. Being a VA is how I got started with my own at-home business
- Blogging is a big business right now. If you have a topic you are passionate about, it’s definitely something to consider. The startup costs are low and there’s always room for a unique voice. This series will have you on the right path in no time.
- eBay Seller is something that hasn’t lost popularity despite being around for several years. In this post, Sarah Titus tells us to start with what we have and grow from there. You can also read all about my adventures in reselling clothing here.
- Homemade Crafts isn’t something that will appeal to everyone, but if you love DIY and handmade projects it can be a great side gig for you. Consider selling on sites like Etsy.
- Tailoring is something you can thrive at on a local level and still do out of your home. You can add an extra fee for delivery if you’d like.
- Fulfilled by Amazon is an avenue similar to eBay except you send your merchandise to Amazon even before it has sold and they take care of the packing and shipping as sales are made. A lot of sellers have found success on this platform, including The Selling Family who earns a full-time income working only around five hours per week these days.
- Coaching can be a great gig if you have expertise in a particular field. That may be running a business, health and fitness and beyond. This is something that can easily be done online via video platforms like Zoom or Skype.
- Direct Sales is an industry that never goes out of style. We’ve been having Tupperware parties since the 1950s! There is a company for every interest and every budget. Choose a company whose products you love and go at it full force. Stella & Dot is a company I love if you are into jewelry and accessories.
- Personal Concierge is similar to virtual assisting but on a more personal level. And usually “offline” as you may perform errand or home organization services.
- House Sitter is a gig that doesn’t require much explanation. List your services on sites like Care.com or post them in mail kiosks and community boards, which you can find at places like coffee shops and libraries.
- Pet Sitter is a similar opportunity and can easily be combined with housesitting. Get your business listed on sites like Care.com and Rover.
- Day Care does have some regulations and licensing requirements if you are looking to scale your home business. Check with your local government to see what’s needed.
- Create and Sell eBooks or Courses if you have expert knowledge to share. This is something that can be done in your free time and you may see profits for years to come.
- Tutoring can be done online or on a local level. You don’t necessarily need a teaching degree or certificate. You just need to be knowledgeable in a particular subject and be able to communicate and explain things well.
- Photography has come a long way over the past ten years. You no longer need a fancy studio or education. If you have a great eye, you may be able to make some great money taking senior or wedding photos, sports snapshots or capturing special events. You can even sell your photos online for passive income.
- Bookkeeping is something we see more of these days as documents are easily transferred securely across the internet and more software is kept in the cloud. You will need some background or training in the field to succeed.
- Blogging is a great gig for those with a passion for a particular topic. You can make money through advertising or selling your own products or service. Think you can't make money blogging? It's how I've been paying the bills for years!
- Meal Delivery positions are something you can do for a company like Doordash or Grubhub, but you can also set up this business for yourself. Your role basically would be to pick up orders that your clients place, and then deliver them. Instead of working for one restaurant, you work for yourself and cover any restaurants in any territory you want.
- Catering is something that appeals particularly to home cooks. If you love cooking, you love feeding a room full of people with your food, and you get all kinds of compliments on whatever you bring to a potluck, catering might be a good fit for you. Catering doesn’t necessarily mean huge parties — it can be smaller (more manageable) affairs like birthdays and dinner parties.
- Cake Decorator businesses are a lot of fun. As specialty cakes become more and more popular, the opportunities for at-home cake decorating businesses will only grow. Keep up with the popular trends and see what sweet things you can cook up. The most important thing to remember as a cake decorator, though, is to be very realistic about your skills and don’t over-promise. There’s nothing that can ruin a party faster than a disappointing cake.
- Personal Trainers are often found at gyms, but this is also a neat business you can do from home. If you have a good studio space, you can do classes right there at home. Otherwise, you can meet your clients in public spaces like parks (for outdoor training), at studio spaces you can rent, or even in the client’s home. You might even be able to connect with organizations that want to offer wellness incentives for their employees, and do classes at the workplace.
- Candle Making is a fun and interesting creative outlet especially if you’re really into scents. Whether your interest is ornate sculpturing or all-natural ingredients, candles offer a “hot” opportunity to sell at local markets and events as well as online.
- Soap Makers have a lot of fun. The craft of making soap is an enjoyable one, and everyone needs soap! It’s something you can make in your own kitchen, and the great thing about selling soap is that you can even bundle up “scrap bags” and sell those. There aren’t too many products that let you make money even on the goofs and the leftovers!
- Housecleaners are always in demand. Just spend 5 minutes in any kind of locally oriented Facebook group and you’ll probably see a request for housecleaner recommendations. While the work you do isn’t at home, it’s a business you can start and run at home. You’ll also be able to set your own hours, which is a huge perk.
- Event Coordinators can do any kind of event, whether it’s a small birthday party for a child, a wedding, or a large corporate event or conference. You can start a business that specializes in whatever kinds of events you like most, and start getting some business!
- Jewelry Making is a really well-known (and widely enjoyed) hobby that you can monetize. You can sell your jewelry in vendor shows and fairs, find local shops that would be willing to include your designs in their stock, and also take your business online. Etsy is a great starting point for selling handmade jewelry online.
- Interior Decorators can easily do their jobs from home. Having a dedicated office space would be nice, but not necessary as long as you’re able to set up good systems for maintaining your files (and maybe your “stash” of decor items if you decide to keep one). You can advertise your services online or in person, and one of the best ways to build your business is through word of mouth. (Having a blog wouldn’t hurt either, if that’s an interest of yours!)
- Landscaper or Gardener businesses are ideal for working from home. Because so much of your business would take place outdoors at your client properties, you wouldn’t need a big work space at home. If you have a place to keep your tools and equipment, you could do really well. It’s an ideal job for someone who likes being outside, gets satisfaction from physical work, and enjoys cultivating beauty. The seasonal aspect of the business might make it challenging in climates with deep winters, so you’d need to either be positioned to be able to do without as much income in the winter months.
- Sell Produce from Your Own Garden. You know those roadside stands? What’s to stop you from opening your own? I see them a lot on the back roads around where I live. Most people who have a successful garden will find that they have too many crops at one point or another. It takes just a little more effort to grow a garden with lots of surplus produce, so why not try it and make a profit?
- Music Teachers can have a lot of flexibility. Lessons can take place in the teacher’s home, or you can travel to your students’ homes if you’d rather. This gives you a lot of control not only over your schedule, but your “workplace” so to speak.
- Wedding Planners are a specific type of event planner, with a highly specialized (and very lucrative) focus. As a wedding planner, you help brides pull together all the pieces they need for their wedding day. The level of involvement that you have can be determined by you — you might be more of a “sounding board” or “living checklist” for your clients as they make all their decisions and plans, or you might jump all in and have full responsibility for pulling off their dream days from start to finish. It’s up to you! (Just remember to charge accordingly if you’re the one doing all the coordination, setup, etc.!)
- Pet Groomers can set up a business in a separate facility, but pet grooming would also be very easy to do from home. You can have your clients come to your home for grooming, or you can travel to their homes. It’s all about how you want to run your business. Be sure to check with the secretary of your state to see if there’s any special licensure you’d need. It’s especially great if you want to work with animals somehow.
- Antiques Restoration can be a lot of fun for the right person! It’s something that takes time and dedication, but as long as you have a well-ventilated, well-lit workspace, restoration work can be a lot of fun to do at home. It’s something you can work into your schedule (whether you do it all day or as you’re able) and there’s no limit to the number of interesting projects you can get your hands on.
- Virtual Professional Organizers are a real thing, and this might be the perfect opportunity for you. Most people think organizers can only work in person, but — with the right clients — this is a business that can thrive online. As a virtual organizer, your job is to coach your clients through the process of organizing their spaces. You’ll meet with them regularly online for the duration of the project, provide product recommendations and advice for their trouble areas, and offer accountability for them to get their work done.
As you can see, some of these options can be operated entirely out of your home. Others you will need to venture out to earn your living. There is something for everyone, however. Assess your needs, passions and skill set to decide what type of setup is right for you, and go out and make your at-home business dreams a reality!
Once you decide on a home business path, you are likely going to need a little help getting things started. Here are a few of my favorite resources:
- SCORE – This is the largest network of free business mentors. Offices are available across the U.S. They can advise you on every aspect of your business venture.
- FlexJobs – The #1 job board for researched telecommuting job leads. Definitely worth the nominal membership fee!
- LinkedIn Learning – If you are looking for some quality online training, check out Lynda. Their trainers are vetted for expertise in their field. They also offer a free trial.
- Work-at-Home Courses – This is a list of some of my favorite courses to jump-start your work-at-home or home business career.