Ranking the best home-based business ideas

A successful home-based business is the gold standard.

Who doesn’t want to work from home, setting your own hours and calling your own shots?

But there are lots of misconceptions about working from home…

Like never getting out of your pajamas…

Or working on the back-porch drinking cocktails while you play with the dog…

Or earning half a million working just 4 hours a week.

Don’t be fooled. A home-based business is still a business. It takes hard work and commitment to succeed.

But if you’re willing to learn the ropes, the opportunity is real.

In fact, in this post, I’m going to show you 22 of the best home-based business ideas I’m seeing today—with tips on how to get started.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

1. Marketing agency

This one is huge!

The demand for marketers who can get results on digital marketing campaigns is endless. And you can create an agency that’s a perfect fit for your skills.

Offer full-stack services or specialize in specific outcomes or skills. Work alone or with friends. Or be the consultant and hire contractors to do the grunt work. Your agency can be whatever you want it to be.

The key is to provide services that businesses truly need—and make sure you help your clients succeed.

Here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Build a track record as an A-level marketer, with stats to prove your campaigns generate results.

Step 2: Build a website that explains what you do, for whom, and how you do it.

Step 3: Use Clickfunnels to create a funnel that generates leads. Then start generating wins for your clients and blog about your success stories.

Example:

Best place to learn:

2. Web developer

start a web developer business

If you’ve got experience building websites and know your way around HTML, CSS, PHP, and Javascript, you can start a home-based business as a web developer.

As a developer, you’ll build websites, write web copy, create mockups of your designs, and help your clients get better results from their websites.

Among home-based businesses, this is a real winner. The demand is twice as big as many other opportunities, and businesses will pay a premium for a skilled web developer who can create custom solutions for them.

Here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Build an impressive website that shows potential clients what you can do.

Step 2: Reach out to local businesses about building or improving their websites. Add screenshots of your work to a portfolio and create case studies that prospects can review.

Step 3: Use word of mouth and referrals to expand your business.

Example:

Best place to learn:

3. Copywriter

Every business needs messaging that builds their brand, attracts customers, and sells.

Those words? They’re called copy, and as a copywriter, that’s what you’ll write.

Often called “sales in print,” great copy builds businesses and makes money. Which is why freelance copywriting is a great home business idea.

And it’s easy to get started.

Step 1: Choose a niche. It’s a good idea to find an industry that you know well and enjoy talking (or writing) about—or to specialize in a specific type of writing, like blog posts, emails, or sales letters.

Step 2: Build a website where you can promote your copywriting services and show off samples of your writing.

Step 3: Pitch your services to local businesses. Once you’ve got some experience, promote yourself to your “dream clients.” Create a powerhouse sales letter and send it to businesses you’d like to work with.

Example:

Best place to learn:

4. Graphic designer

If you’re more creative with visuals than words, you can start a successful home-based business as a graphic artist.

And since not everyone is good with design or colors, the opportunity is real. Especially if you’re able to create logos and layouts your clients love.

You will need to learn some advanced-level software. The standards are Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. But once you’ve learned how the Adobe interface works, you can pick up new software easily.

Here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Pick a niche or specialize in a specific type of design work.

Step 2: Build a website that wows. Be sure to include a “Services” page describing what you can do and a “Portfolio” page with samples of your work.

Step 3: Reach out to local businesses and your connections to get your first clients—and start getting paid for doing what you love.

Example:

Best place to learn:

5. E-commerce merchant

start an ecommerce business

Your home-based business doesn’t have to revolve around services. You can sell physical products as an e-commerce merchant.

Thanks to Amazon, people are comfortable with buying online—and a growing number of people prefer it.

Best of all, you don’t have to create your own products or have a warehouse full of inventory. Through dropshipping, you can order products as they’re purchased, and have them shipped directly to your customers. Easy peasy.

Here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Decide what type of products you want to sell, and look for suppliers who offer dropshipping. Wish.com and AliExpress.com are good sources, but there are plenty of sources closer to home.

Step 2: Sign up at Shopify and set up your shop. Add the products you’ve chosen from your suppliers. And write great product descriptions that make visitors want to buy now.

Step 3: Drive traffic to your shop with advertising, social media, and blogging. Then provide stellar customer support.

Example:

Best place to learn:

6. MLM distributor

Another way to sell physical products is as a distributor in a multilevel marketing company. It doesn’t matter what type of product you want to sell, there’s probably an MLM that offers it.

Be aware, to succeed as a multilevel marketer, you need to promote your products just about everywhere you go. So be sure you truly believe in the products.

Be aware, too, that constantly selling to your friends and family can alienate them. Check this out for a better way.

MLMs are notorious for promising huge profits, but in reality, few people make it big with them. So be prepared to work hard so you can at least build a decent side income.

Here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Research popular MLMs and pick one you like. Sign up under a distributor who’s already doing well—they’ll be your trainer and motivator, so find someone who’s committed to helping you do well.

Step 2: Set up your sales channels. Most MLMs give you a website where you can promote your wares. You should also think about promoting your products in social media and a blog.

Step 3: Learn your products and start selling and recruiting.

Example:

Best place to learn:

7. Etsy seller

start an etsy business

If you want to sell products that you make, such as artisan candies, crocheted beanies, or hand-wrought jewelry, Etsy is your marketplace of choice.

Here, you can sell your wares without having to build a website or e-com store and without having to attend a ton of fairs. Which means you can spend your time doing what you love—creating your products.

Etsy does take a cut of everything you sell, but compared to the cost of setting up your own shop, it’s negligible.

It’s easy to get started.

Step 1: Decide what you’re going to sell.

Step 2: Set up your Etsy account and add products to your store.

Step 3: Provide rave-worthy customer support.

Example:

Best place to learn:

8. eBay seller

Want to sell vintage products, unusual goods, and collectibles and have the choice of direct sales or online auctions? For that, eBay is your best option.

eBay is a trusted marketplace, so you can easily get your products in front of thousands of prospective customers. That gives you all the benefits of having an online shop without all the worries.

Step 1: Sign up and list your products. Be sure to include quality images and well-written descriptions.

Step 2: When a purchase is made, pack your item, print your label, and ship it to your customer.

Step 3: Get paid!

Example:

Best place to learn:

9. Social media specialist

start a social medial business

Home businesses, digital businesses, and big box businesses alike now use social media as a major marketing channel.

Why? Because that’s where their customers hang out.

That’s why you can make good money as a social media specialist, managing the social media pages for businesses big and small. You’ll be responsible for strategy, advertising, and community engagement—and helping your clients build their brands and sell more. Not bad for time spent on Facebook and Twitter!

Here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Build a community of your own. Create accounts on all the major social media sites and start engaging with your followers.

Step 2: Put the word out that you’re available for hire. Build a website and/or optimize your LinkedIn profile.

Step 3: Knock it out of the park for your clients, and let word of mouth take off.

Example:

Best place to learn:

10. YouTube personality

A fun and fulfilling home-based business is to become a YouTube personality, running a YouTube channel and making money off sponsorships and affiliate products.

This isn’t a get-rich-quick idea, but if you become popular, there’s no cap to your potential income. So look for a niche where you can stand out. Then focus on entertaining and informing your followers, so they’ll keep coming back for more.

Step 1: Select your niche and start publishing your videos.

Step 2: Drive traffic to your videos through SEO, social media, guest blogging, and ads.

Step 3: Monetize your channel by becoming a YouTube partner, promoting affiliate products, and negotiating sponsorships.

Example:

Best place to learn:

11. Blogger

You don’t have to make videos to become a “personality.” As a blogger, you can share your unique message, entertain your followers, and still make money through sponsors and affiliate products.

Of course, you can still use videos if you want, or just use written articles with attractive photos. It’s totally up to you.

And your success path is similar to vlogging: build traffic and engagement to attract sponsors.

Here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Select a niche where you can stand out, and start publishing high-quality blog posts that inform and entertain.

Step 2: Drive traffic to your blog through email, social media, guest posts, SEO, and paid promotion.

Step 3: Get the word out that you’re accepting sponsorships. Promote affiliate deals. And consider creating your own products.

Example:

Best place to learn:

12. Pet sitter

start a pet sitting business

Love animals? Start a pet sitting business!

Today, the pet industry is $72 billion strong. And when pet owners worry that their fur babies aren’t getting enough time and attention, they’re more than willing to add to that number by hiring a professional pet sitter.

As a pet sitter, you won’t just be taking care of animals. You may be asked to do other odd jobs, like house sitting, watering the plants or running errands. Don’t let that bother you. Just set your prices to include these extra services.

Here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Decide on the services you’ll provide, your prices, and your hours.

Step 2: Build a website or sign up to a pet sitting portal where pet owners can find you.

Step 3: Start taking care of your furry clients, and get paid for doing it.

Example:

Best place to learn:

13. Party planner

For a fun, eventful home business, try party planning. As a party planner, you’ll plan and execute events like family reunions, birthday and anniversary parties, and business events.

You can do all the planning in your home. But you’ll need some storage space for many of the props and decorations you’ll use. You’ll also need to have a strong network of suppliers, including photographers and caterers.

If being a professional partier sounds good, here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Decide on the type of parties you want to specialize in, including the number of guests and location. Give some thought to how you can stand out from the competition.

Step 2: Start planning parties for your family, friends, and local businesses.

Step 3: Build a website. Share pics on Facebook and Instagram. Get the word out that you’re available for hire.

Example:

Best place to learn:

14. Photographer

start a photography business

Of course, you don’t have to plan the events. You can record people’s special moments as a photographer—and make good money doing it.

You can specialize in events such as weddings and corporate events. But you can also specialize in baby pics, portraits, or business photography.

Here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Pick your niche and set up your studio.

Step 2: Start working with local people, friends, and family. Then let word of mouth take off.

Step 3: Build a website and social media channels where you can show off your work and attract more (high-paying) gigs.

Example:

Best place to learn:

15. Caterer

If cooking is your thing, a great home-based business is catering.

As a caterer, you’ll work with clients to prepare delicious meals for their special events—everything from corporate events to social gatherings. But you can also work out of a food truck and let people come to you. It’s really up to you and how you want to build your catering business.

Step 1: Get the insurance and business licenses required by your state. Stock your kitchen (and upgrade it if necessary).

Step 2: Start catering for friends and local businesses to get word-of-mouth started.

Step 3: Build a website and start bringing in bigger and better clients.

Example:

Best place to learn:

16. Personal shopper

start a personal shopper business

A personal shopper business is easy to start, easy to operate, and gives you tons of flexibility. Best of all, it can bring home an anywhere from $12 of $27 an hour. Not bad for a home-based business “running errands” for people.

If you’re worried about whether people will really pay for this service, don’t be. You’ve got two distinct markets, and both desperately need a personal shopper. The first is professionals who are too busy. The second is people who can’t do it themselves: the homebound, disabled, and seniors.

Not only that, you can choose your focus. Will you help clients with everyday shopping, or will you be a personal stylist, helping them with their wardrobe and accessories? Will you only do shopping, or will you include other services, such as pet care, odd jobs, or virtual assistant services? It’s up to you.

Step 1: Offer your services to anyone in your circles who’s busy, stressed, or physically challenged.

Step 2: Build a website and/or Facebook page to promote your services. Be sure to include testimonials from happy clients.

Step 3: Let word of mouth take off. Ask customers to tell their friends about you, and offer a reward for any referral who becomes a repeat customer.

Example:

Best place to learn:

17. Life or business coach

If you’ve got an inspirational story or have achieved impressive success, you’ve got the credibility to set up business as a life coach or business coach.

Your clients will often come to you because they’re struggling to achieve their goals. You’ll need to have a step-by-step process you can take them through (kinda like the 12 steps AA teaches) to reach their full potential.

Here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Choose your niche and the specific problem you’ll help people overcome. Be sure you’ve got a proven roadmap for achieving success.

Step 2: Build a website and social media profiles to share your wisdom and show off success stories.

Step 3: Sign up eager clients and work with them until they’re happy with their results.

Example:

Best place to learn:

18. Furniture maker

start a business making furniture

Household furniture manufacturing is a $25 billion industry and going strong. If you love working with wood or getting creative with furniture, this is the home-based business for you.

You can build a business doing custom designs or specialize, creating your own line of furniture.

Here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Decide the type of furniture you want to build: children’s, office, garden, luxury, or green. Be as creative or specialized as you like. Then set up your workshop.

Step 2: Get the word out. Build a website and social media profiles. Attend fairs. Advertise. Make sure you include lots of pictures so people can see your work.

Step 3: Wow your customers and add their referrals to your website.

Example:

Best place to learn:

19. Tax preparation specialist

Everyone pays taxes. And everyone wants to be sure they aren’t paying more than they should. Which is why you can clean up as a tax preparation specialist.

You don’t need to be a CPA or having an accounting degree—though it could help you expand your business. You do need to take at least one tax preparation course and the Annual Federal Tax Refresher Course (AFTR) to confirm your tax knowledge.

You can set up shop focusing only on tax preparation or create a seasonal income stream. And it’s easy to make tax preparation just one of several services, including financial services, bookkeeping, and insurance.

Here how to get started.

Step 1: Get the training and certifications you need. Register with the IRS as a Tax Preparer.

Step 2: Offer your services to friends, neighbors, and local businesses. Don’t forget to ask for referrals!

Step 3: Build a website and LinkedIn profile. Share your expertise freely in both, so you’re top of mind when tax time comes around.

Example:

Best place to learn:

20. Medical transcriptionist

Also known as Healthcare Documentation Specialists, medical transcriptionists listen to doctors’ recordings and either type them out to create written reports or edit the reports created by speech recognition software.

To succeed, you’ll need to be familiar with medical terminology and abbreviations. And you’ll need to be an accurate typist with good editing skills.

Right now, there’s a huge need for medical transcriptionists, and the demand is expected to grow. So if you’ve got a medical background, this one’s for you.

Here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Get certification to prove you’re able to handle medical lingo like a pro.

Step 2: Start by reaching out to local physicians. Once you’ve got more experience, you can start getting clients through email outreach and social media.

Step 3: Create a website and LinkedIn profile promoting your services. Make sure you include rave reviews from your happy clients.

Example:

Best place to learn:

21. Interior designer

start an interior design business

Love decorating? You could do well with a home-based interior design business. This is a $10 billion industry, and it’s growing fast. And since you don’t need a degree or special training, your own personal designing flair could be enough to attract all the clients you want.

There are lots of ways you can focus your business: antique furniture refinishing, home remodeling, decorating offices and residential homes, and more. So you can create a business doing the type of creative work you enjoy most.

Here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Decide what type of interior design services you want to offer.

Step 2: Get the word out that you’re opening shop. For your first few customers, consider offering discounted services in return for glowing reviews and portfolio images.

Step 3: Build a website promoting your services, and use social media to share before and after pictures of your work.

Example:

Best place to learn:

22. Home staging professional

Of course, you don’t have to do all-out interior design to flex your decorating chops. If you love making homes look warm and inviting, set up a home-staging business.

You’ll work with realtors and home flippers to make houses irresistible to potential buyers. And while you’ll have the flexibility of a home-based business, be aware—during busy seasons, you’ll work long hours.

It’s easy to get started.

Step 1: Go to local events and tradeshows. Start networking with realtors and builders. Get on mailing lists to stay on top of the industry.

Step 2: Offer to decorate the homes of friends who are selling, so you can build a track record. (You’re aiming for the lowest “days on the market” and the highest price possible.)

Step 3: Build a website and social media profiles to show off your work. And encourage word of mouth. It’s powerful in this business.

Example:

Best place to learn:

There you have it!

The 22 best home-based business ideas I’m seeing today. All of them worth pursuing, and all of them able to give you a good (to great) income.

Now it’s your turn…

Which home-based business ideas from today’s post are you ready to try?

Have you tried something else that’s working great for you?

Let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

Meet the Author

Kathryn

Kathryn Aragon is a copywriter, content strategist, and author. She writes about marketing, success, health, and living the good life. Follow her on KathrynAragon.com.

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