Whether because you just want to be your own boss or because life has thrust you into it, starting a small business from home is absolutely in the cards.
But, what should you do? You may have that seed already firmly planted in your mind. Your idea for personalized dog caricatures or taxidermied mythical creatures could become reality.
Or, you haven’t thought it through but you’d still like to have a go at starting a new business, any business. Well, here we are with a list of businesses you can start, right from home.
A whole bunch of home business ideas
While you may need to catalog your various skill sets and choose accordingly, I’ll try to be comprehensive and give all skill sets an opportunity to shine.
As with any home-based business, you’ll want to check in with your local and federal laws to make sure your new business is in compliance. Especially for businesses making food, you’ll want to make certain you stay above board.
A social distancing note: Your choice of home business is always dependent on the circumstances of the moment. This particular moment, where we want to keep six feet from others, might not be the best time to start a few of the below businesses. Don’t worry, you can keep it in your back pocket for when hugs are back in fashion.
For those among us who are gifted at turning flour and yeast into magical bready creations, sharing that gift with the world is an obvious choice.
We, as the world, would love it if you did.
Bake up a storm and share your pastries and boules with your community and beyond (those scones can travel, right?).
2. Personal chef
Similarly, if you are adept at whipping up fine cuisine, you can help the non-cooks among us eat more like kings and less like college students (put the cup of noodles down).
You can treat this as a meals-to-go deal or just take on a few clients to focus your talents on.
The hungry will never be in short supply and when the tough times hit (like during a pandemic, for instance), pre-cooked meals can do a lot for frontline workers and the vulnerable in our communities.
Then there’s human grooming. Most of us need the occasional (or oft) expert clipping of hairs.
If you happen to be exceptional at this trade, people will come to you and give you their money to make it happen.
After long periods of abstaining from trims (or subject to amateur self-cuts), your expertise will be needed more than ever.
Forming earth metals and gems into delightful decorations for fingers, necks, lobes, and more could be your hobby.
But, maybe it should be your career.
Get your studio together and start slinging jewelry to all the undecorated people out there!
Clothing doesn’t always have to be newly purchased. Those old favorite trousers or that super cool jacket can be revitalized with some nimble needle-wielding fingers.
Those fingers could be you and you could save those precious trousers or that special jacket.
A good eye is fine for Instagram, but it could be capturing more than just hearts and flirty comments.
Use that talent for taking mesmerizing photos and selling that work for cold, hard cash. These days you don’t even need to deck out a room with black lights.
Where you sell your fine photography is up to you. You can sell digital versions to magazines and online publications. Or you can make prints and sell them to any person who will buy them.
7. Bike repair
Your home could be turned into a mechanic shop for bicycles.
Be the magician that transforms the neglected cycles of the world into someone’s new commute vehicle.
Just pick up some tools, grease, and a bike stand and you are in business!
You might just be a real numbers savant with a dream to be your own boss.
Assuming you are a CPA (there are some prerequisites here), hang up that sign in your window and start working those numbers!
For many of us out here, we’d rather leave tax prep to the experts.
While most of us can handle a hammer and nail (with varying results), not all of us can manage to build a shed or throw together a new wall.
If you have the aptitude to transform a pile of wood into a deck, you’ll have lots of folks throwing cash at you for the expertise.
Are you especially smart in a subject? Like mathematics, art, music, or a particular language?
You could be a tutor. Some students just need that extra personal time to get their studies on track.
These days, tutoring doesn’t have to be done face to face. With video chatting, you can do your teaching from home. Easy!
11. Business consultant
Small businesses need guidance to grow and flourish.
Maybe you’ve been around the block and are the perfect guide for their journey through the adventurous straits of small business ownership!
Great! Set up a desk in your guest room and get your name out there.
If being a personal chef is not exactly your bag but you’ve got the chops, maybe you’d want to be in the business of cooking in bulk (and feeding a wedding party).
This one may require the use of a commissary kitchen, as it could easily stress out your home setup (plus, legal stuff).
13. Web design
There are some ugly websites out there. If you have an eye for design and a brain for front-end development, you could be part of the solution.
Businesses with better-looking websites get more customers. So, go make them look better from the comfort of your couch.
Flowers are great. This is undisputed. But, a gift of flowers should be curated not just haphazardly thrown in a vase.
The combination of flowers is a painting and you could be the artist. Just be prepared for Valentine’s Day.
There are a ton of crafty things one can make, from kitten mittens and dog sweaters to dreamcatchers and potholders.
Do your very particular thing, put it on the internet, and sell it!
There are so many platforms to choose from. Find one to fit your needs and you are in business.
If you choose Etsy, we've got some SEO tips for you.
16. Event planner
Events happen all the time. Behind those weddings, bar (and bat) mitzvahs, conferences, reunions, etc. are expert planners making sure all the details are just so.
If you’ve got a knack for organization and are fine talking to very stressed-out people, this may be the business you are looking for.
You’ve spent so much time not recording your brilliant observations and witty one-liners.
With a set of mics and a simple soundboard, you could be on your way to bringing those clever thoughts to the masses.
Get popular enough and maybe some people will pay you.
18. Social media manager
Staying on top of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok can be difficult for a small business.
That’s where this role comes in.
Manage a portfolio of company socials from the comfort of your home office. Their traffic increases and so does the number in your bank account.
Words in the right order and with the right amount of pathos can affect the way people think about a thing (a brand, a politician, a bumper sticker).
Companies all over need help in this department and will pay for limited engagements.
String enough of these together and you have a career. Or write that amazing novel and sell it.
20. Graphic designer
A logo here, an illustration there, and you’ve got an income stream. Businesses need great visuals for their website and marketing assets.
If they don’t have someone in-house, you could be the artist that makes their stuff look fab.
Video is becoming a more and more important marketing asset for companies.
It gives people something to rest their eyes on when they are commuting home. Animations even more so.
Bring your expertise with moving images to bear in the open market.
Who needs an office when shiny staged homes are where you do your real work?
A computer at home will suffice for the rest. With the right marketing, you could start taking home a sliver of each sale you clinch.
23. Airbnb/VRBO host
If you’ve got extra room in your place (or an extra place), you can make that space make you some cash.
Airbnb and VRBO are great platforms for connecting your unused bedroom/cottage/cabin/mother-in-law into an income stream.
Just keep it clean in between and be nice. The good ratings will pour in, and so will the money.
24. Freelance coder
When working for just one company has become boring, you are free to work for many on a freelance basis.
Set up your coding command center at home and start grabbing all the jobs you can find. It won’t be boring.
25. Freelance SEO
Since so much commerce happens online, it is more important than ever that the smaller sites don’t get lost in the sea of big guys.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the key. The little guys need help and if you are an expert, they’ll pay to get their site properly optimized.
You have thoughts and a computer. If compelling enough, these two ingredients plus a cool enough website can make you a Blogger. There are various avenues to profitability in this realm, which I will leave up to you and your computer.
27. Grant writer
Maybe your writing is of the more technical and persuasive variety. Well, applications and essays await your nimble typing fingers.
Given that this job doesn’t require much face time (if any at all) and it can be done in a freelance capacity, this could be your route to never leaving your house again.
28. Virtual assistant
The ‘virtual’ piece of this may give away its obvious opportunity as a work from home job.
The breadth of tasks that a virtual assistant might undertake varies greatly depending on the employer’s needs and your skills.
29. Customer service
Giving support to a company’s customer base has largely moved online, into live chats, emails, and social direct messages.
If you’ve got the unfailing smile and will to do it, you could easily manage a customer service role from your home.
30. Data entry master
Typing letters is one thing, but proficiency with the ten key and a fascination with entering numbers in cells can land you in data entry. Again, a computer will do just fine.
Do it from your couch or get all professional and sit at a chair.
When you want to sell things—all types of things—but you don’t have any room to store said things. Dropshipping allows for exactly this.
There are many platforms that allow you to simply shop wholesalers for items to sell. You pick out a selection of merchandise—like blankets or sunglasses or Garfield phone cases—and when you sell those items, your supplier will ship it for you.
Finding a popular item to sell can be as simple as looking through Google Trends for common searches.
32. Personal trainer
So, you know a thing or two about exercise? You’ve got it down to a tight routine that yields real results? Perfect.
Now, as long as you enjoy working with the public—one by one—you might just want to go into personal training.
33. Personal shopper
While some subscription boxes claim to offer a personal stylist type service, we all know there’s very little that is personal about it.
Many people out there want nice new things that make them look hip and cool, but aren’t into the whole going-out-and-trying-it-on deal.
You could cast a vision of a new them and then deliver that new them in some bags. Voila!
34. YouTube personality
So, maybe blogging wasn’t your thing but you like to talk. Even better, people like to see you talk and whatever it is you are saying.
Well, you’ve got a camera in your phone and access to YouTube.
Start filming and become a known quantity on the internet. Watch the ad revenue pour in (hopefully).
35. Instagram influencer
Then, if video doesn’t suit you, maybe some staged photos are more your speed.
Once you’ve captured enough followers to become influential, you can pitch your personal brand to companies for money.
You don’t have to be Kylie Jenner to make some scratch from Instagram.
36. Affiliate marketer
Again, you need to have enough people coming to you for content before this will yield income.
But, once you do, companies will send a piece of revenue your way for sending customers their way.
With the right mix of personal authority and SEO magic, people will start buying the stuff you suggest and giving you a small payday each time.
37. Dog walker
This one is self-explanatory. Dogs love a good walk and their owners can’t always be there for each and every necessary walk.
These days, there are apps that easily connect dog to walker, allowing you to get paid while strolling the streets.
Rarely do you find a job that requires hanging out with some good pups.
38. Pet sitter
Animals are not able to ‘hold the fort’ when their owners leave town, unfortunately.
So, a good pet sitter is necessary for the well-deserved vacation. Feed them, cuddle them, take them out for walks (or clean their receptacles).
Consider the pet sitted.
39. Pet groomer
A good trim, brush, and wash is nice for both human and animal alike.
If you prefer dealing with the latter, you could be the personal stylist to the four-legged.
This could be done from your home, in the pet owners’ homes, or in a mobile grooming van that you’ve fashioned.
40. Home daycare
With the appropriate amount of childproofing, your home could be host to a daycare.
While the parents are hard at work, their kids can squeal in joy as toys fling across the room of your home.
Obviously, you’ll want to do your research to make sure your in full compliance with your city’s regulations for taking care of other people’s children.
Or, you can go to other people’s home to watch their kids. The benefit here is that you can go home to a place that is still fully intact.
This is no small job. You are responsible for the early development of the youth. It can be hard, but they are a joy to watch.
If you’d rather take care of someone that is capable of conversation, look to the other end of life’s continuum.
Help them with whatever they need, keep them company, make their time enjoyable. If that’s your thing, there are plenty of people who could use it.
If cleaning your own home just isn’t doing it anymore, you could bring that energy to other people’s homes.
They will even pay you.
Take on enough homes and you’ve got yourself a business. All from your home.
44. Music teacher
Piano, guitar, drum, cello, violin. Without the guidance of a great teacher, these instruments are merely lovely objects.
By taking on students for a fee, you could be saving the ears of so many parents out there.
They need you.
45. Art framer
Without the proper frame, the prettiest paintings in the world just seem to be missing something.
For those that are experts at the miter saw and have a keen eye for just the right border, framing art may be the perfect calling.
Your guest room just became the framing studio.
A simple yet revolutionary invention, soap is the chemistry experiment you can make into a business.
If you have not made soap, the internet is your friend. If you have, you have a leg up.
Bring your suds to the masses.
47. 3D printer
If you can 3D design it, you can 3D print it. You can be the one-stop purveyor of plasticky anythings.
Oh, you need a steampunk-themed coat hook? I’m on it.
This is something you might say in your new role as 3D printer to the people.
Wow, that was a lot of jobs
And, there are likely plenty more. The point is: where there is a will, there is a way. If you want to start a business from home, it’s possible.
Take a hard look at what you like doing and imagine what you could do with that to make money. All without going to an office.