7 Great Home-Based Businesses Ideas You Can Start Today!
When it comes to starting a home-based business, there are many options available, some requiring more work and commitment than others.
From freelancing to ecommerce, multi-level marketing, blogging, and beyond, the opportunities for entrepreneurs seem limitless!
But before you take the plunge into this new arena of entrepreneurship, deciding which home-based business model is right for you can be overwhelming.
In this blog post we’ll compare the pros and cons of different home-based business models so that can make an informed decision on where to invest your time and money.
So settle in with your laptop or favorite beverage! We’re about to explore all the possibilities (and pitfalls) that come with choosing a profitable home-based industry.
General Pros and Cons when You’re About to Start a Home-Based Business
We’ve probably all thought about it at some point or another: Not having to commute to an office, having the flexibility to set our own hours, and more.
These are definitely all perks of owning your own business and basing it out of your home, as well as some drawbacks. In general, all home-based business models will share some pros and cons, so we’ll start with those common ones.
The Pros Are That:
- There’s no commute.
- Many businesses can be extremely profitable when done right.
- Your boss isn’t looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re being productive.
- There are no coworkers who come over to chat ever five minutes.
- You can skip the dress code (unless you want one).
- You set your own hours for when you have to work.
- Limitations are nonexistent on when and for how long you can take your breaks.
- There’s no risk of losing your job if you have to take care of a sick kid.
The Cons Are That:
- You have to be very disciplined in order to get things done.
- All the normal distractions at home will still be there.
- People will think you’re crazy for giving up a well-paying corporate job to strike out on your own.
- You have to do everything yourself, at least until you can hire workers or outsource.
- If you have a crafting/product business, you have to find somewhere to house your merchandise.
- You have to do all your marketing and outreach yourself.
- It can take several tries before you hit on a business model that is actually profitable.
- You have to do your own bookkeeping unless you outsource it to someone else.
- Pay is often unsteady, feast-or-famine, or whatever else you want to call it.
- Most home-based businesses don’t have benefits such as retirement plans, company-sponsored health insurance, or paid vacation.
- Unless you’re Tony Robbins, you probably don’t have a marketing team tracking down clients for you, meaning you have to market yourself and find people willing to pay for your services.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of 7 Profitable Home Based Business Ideas
Those are some of the most common benefits and pitfalls of running a business from home.
But before you go and start a business just so you can work from home, you should consider what type of business you want to create, and the best way to make that decision is to explore the pros and cons of some of the most popular home based business models out there today.
Most of the benefits and drawbacks are ones that I listed previously, so the pros and cons I list here will be specific to a particular business model.
Ready? Let’s get started.
A consulting business is just like it sounds: You provide your clients with advice or expertise in a certain field.
Consulting businesses can range from helping people with their taxes to giving business owners advice on how to run their operations without breaking the bank.
- Expertise: You leverage the specialized knowledge you already have to market to individuals or, better yet, organizations that can pay a lot better.
- Earnings: Some consultants can earn thousands of dollars per hour, depending on their expertise and the demand for their skills.
- Professional Isolation: You work alone or in small groups, which can lead to you feeling isolated or disconnected from colleagues and your industry- especially if your extroverted and thrive on teamwork and collaboration.
Consulting isn’t for everybody, but it can be a very lucrative online business to start if you have the expertise necessary.
The biggest challenge may just be finding the people who will pay for your services!
A freelancer is someone who does gig work in a specific field, whether that is in editing, copywriting, ghostwriting, translation, interpretation, videography, bookkeeping, and more.
The possibilities for freelance work are limited only by your own skills. Basically, you trade your time and skills for money, usually on a job-by-job or hourly basis.
- Control over your career: You control which gigs you take, which clients you do repeat work for, and the rates you charge.
- You choose your clients: Most freelancing is gig work, so if you do work for a client who doesn’t treat you well, you can fire that client and find someone else who will treat you better.
- Administrative and legal responsibilities: You’re your own boss, here, so you’re responsible for your own administration- including bookkeeping, taxes, insurance, and more, which can be time-consuming and stressful.
If you start your own home freelancing business, you’ll probably find that it can be one of the best home based business ideas out there, if just to have more control over your own life!
Affiliate Marketing Business
Affiliate marketing is a very flexible business model, because as long as you have an audience (whether through a blog, social media, or through your company), you can market to them.
Affiliate marketing is simple: You market other companies’ products to your audience in exchange for a commission if someone purchases through one of your links.
- Massive (and passive) earning potential: Once you have an audience, you can recommend products to them, and depending on the price of the product and the commission you receive, you have the potential to make tens of thousands of dollars each month- sometimes without even lifting a finger past the initial setup.
- Very hands-off: You’re selling other people’s products for them, so you don’t have to keep inventory, handle returns, or worry about payment processing.
- Platform Flexibility: No matter whether you’re doing social media marketing, blogging, YouTube, or any other form of marketing, you can sell affiliate products anywhere if you have someone who’s willing to buy them.
- It’s a numbers game: You have to have an audience to sell to, and building up that audience takes time, effort, and possibly money to do (depending on which platform you’re using to do your marketing).
- Takes effort: Depending on the model you use to build up your audience, affiliate marketing can take a lot of effort (such as with Facebook or Instagram) or very little effort (such as with blogging or YouTube).
Depending on what you’re trying to do, you could use affiliate marketing to fill in the gaps that your consulting or services don’t cover, or if you have enough monthly traffic to your blog or social media site, this can be one of the best businesses possible to start from home.
Coaching or Tutoring Business
If you have expertise in an area, whether that’s in differential calculus, creative writing, business, or just life in general, there’s always going to be someone out there who is looking for guidance.
If there’s someone looking for guidance, then chances are, there’s someone willing to pay for that guidance. (See Tony Robbins for an excellent example of a life coach.) T
he biggest difficulty in this model is that you have to find your clientele.
- Use your knowledge: You know what you’re talking about, so you can teach that knowledge to someone else.
- Improve someone else’s life: If you have wisdom to share, you can use that wisdom to help someone else improve their life, their writing, their speaking accent, and more.
- Expertise required: Nobody will hire you if you don’t establish yourself as an expert in your field, though this can be done through a credible, established coaching and tutoring firm if you want to go that route.
Tutoring and coaching are something that you probably do on a daily basis for friends and family, without expecting pay.
Why not leverage those teaching skills and get paid for them by individuals and businesses who can afford to pay you for your advice?
Service Based Businesses
Whether it’s starting a home daycare business, a photography business, a virtual assistant business, a catering business, a bookkeeping business, a home-based hair salon business, or starting your own social media marketing business or any other home business idea you can come up with, there’s a long-standing tradition of running service-based businesses from the comfort of your home. Usually an at-home business like this uses skills and knowledge you already have, so there’s very little learning curve. As long as you have the square-footage, clientele, and possible licensing necessary for a small business like this, services can be great business ideas.
- No degree required: If you’re great at performing a task that someone else isn’t good at or doesn’t want to do, then you can sell your services- anything from babysitting to lawncare to professional photography or videography, all of which you can learn on your own.
- In-person or remote: Depending on the skills you choose to sell, your business may require a commute, or you may be able to establish a remote business at home.
- Time for money: You’re exchanging your time for money without benefits, so depending on what you’re making, it may almost be worth more to work for someone else.
- Space in your home: If you create a business that you house in your home, you need to have the square footage you need to start having clients over, rather than having a dedicated office or storefront instead.
Some of the best home business ideas are the ones that come along when you start selling your own skills and services.
A great place to start may be asking around your neighborhood or the local Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce and seeing if there’s a demand for your services, and then use those outlets to put your name out there.
Drop shipping Business.
Drop shipping is where you create a product and then have it manufactured and stored off-site by a fulfillment company such as Shopify, who then handles the packaging, shipping, payments, and returns as necessary without you having to do any of that yourself.
You could sell books, clothing, beauty products, vitamins, whatever you want to sell. The only thing the fulfillment company doesn’t do for you is the marketing and selling!
- Sell your own branded products: If you design a product you love, you can slap your name on it and market it under your own label.
- Use fulfillment companies for less hassle: A fulfillment company takes the headache out of selling your products and everything that comes with that, from returns to customer complaints.
- Same cons as with any retail business: If you don’t use a fulfillment company, you have to manage inventory, returns, customer complaints, marketing, and everything else in-house, which can be a real headache.
If you’re on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, or any other social media platform and you have an audience who loves your work, then drop shipping may be a good social media business you can start at home.
This is one of the best home-based businesses you can start today if you’re creative, a designer, or have a crafting skill to sell.
When you think of a blog, you may think of the old-school, 90s-era web-based journals where people shared tidbits of their daily lives and nothing truly useful.
Well, those days are gone, my friend. Nowadays, blogs are all about information-sharing and teaching, on any topic you can think of.
Blog subjects range from cooking and recipes to software and information technology. It’s also a home-based business model with very, very low-cost to start up, which is perfect if you’re doing it on a shoestring budget.
When combined with affiliate marketing, consulting, freelancing, or any of the other business plans mentioned previously, a blog can become a massively profitable business when you do it right.
- Can start on the side: A blog is very low-maintenance and SEO-friendly, which makes it less effort-intensive than social media marketing or a service-based business, and this means you can start a blog as a side-hustle with minimal pain on your part.
- Low-cost: You can get hosting for as little as a few dollars per month, you can use WordPress.org to set up your website, and there are multiple inexpensive or free tools out there that you can use to make your blogging process easier.
- Many earning possibilities: Blogging can be used to create and promote any other of the business types on this list, from affiliate marketing, to consulting, to coaching and drop shipping- or ALL of them- which makes blogging the perfect business model.
- Start small: You won’t have a big audience at first, but with this model being so low maintenance, it’s easy to start small and build it all up.
- Builds on itself: A blog is permanent, so the more you build on it, the more content you create and the more backlinks you get, the more eyeballs will find your blog, and these efforts compound on each other like the best kind of compound interest.
- Use alongside social media or as standalone project: Blogs can be used to grow your business, build a business as a side hustle, or you can use them alongside a social media management business to go through multiple channels and gain maximum visibility.
- Do it anywhere: Whether you’re actually working from home or you’re in a cafe in Bali, as long as you have a laptop and an internet connection, you can work on your blog from literally anywhere.
- Takes time to get traction: Like any of the best business models, it takes time to build a solid foundation and gain traction so you can build your audience.
- Subject to changes in Google’s algorithm: Any time Google changes their algorithm, there’s always the potential that those changes could have a negative impact on your blog’s ranking, so you have to keep abreast of those changes as they come through.
There are very few cons and very many pros to blogging.
When you’re setting up a home based business and trying to develop a clientele, a blog can be as effective as writing a book would be for adding to your authority.
Just be careful that you don’t anger the Google algorithm, or you may find yourself thrown into Google’s figurative jail.
What Is the Best Small Business to Start from Home?
No matter what type of business you’re looking to start, whether it’s starting a shop from your home or setting up a virtual assistant business or blogging, whichever business you choose may be the perfect business for your energy levels and personality type.
While I would argue that blogging is one of the easiest businesses that you can start building today, you might find that social media is the best place to start selling your products or services.
Whenever you have a new business, you’ll always face things that will challenge you as well as things that you will find easy.
The best way to start is by looking up the best business ideas to consider for yourself, keep your eyes open for business opportunities wherever they may arise, and when you’re ready, jump right in and start a small business online or in your home.
Here’s to your success- may you always find your business is booming!
About the Author:
Amanda Jakle is an entrepreneur, bookkeeper, and travel enthusiast who founded AmandaJakle.com. She writes her own books and does copywriting and SEO optimization on the side.
Her dream is to travel at will while earning a living from her blog and bookkeeping business. She has a bossy Siberian Husky named Sakari who is a big red ball of lovable fluff.
Amanda lives in Montana. She hopes to make it to Scotland in 2023.