Updated June 23, 2023
You fantasize about ditching the daily commute and starting a business from the comfort of home.
The only problem with your entrepreneurial daydream? You don’t have any idea what kind of business to start, much less how to make it profitable.
No worries, we’re here to help.
You’re not alone in wanting to go it alone. Of the 31.7 million small businesses operating in the U.S., about 81% were run by individuals with no employees, according to the most recent government numbers.
Whether you’re looking for a little side-hustle income or you dream of quitting your current job and the daily commute for good, here’s your guide to home-based business ideas.
The 49 Best Home Business Ideas
Choosing your business can start with something as simple as picking an activity you enjoy and figuring out how to monetize it.
However, if you don’t already have a passion you want to profit from — or you’d rather keep your hobbies and work separate — you can still start a successful home-based business on your own as a sole proprietor, or one-person business.
A sole proprietorship doesn’t need to register with the state (unlike corporations, partnerships and LLCs). However, you still must comply with registration, license, tax and permit laws.
Local social media groups like Nextdoor can be a source of ideas. There you’ll find everyday services that are in demand, although it may not be the most glamorous work.
Mundane chores make for good business because they’re tasks that many people are willing to pay someone else to do, whether it’s mowing lawns as a groundskeeper or setting up bounce houses as a kids’ party planner.
We’ve come up with a list of the best business ideas that have relatively low barriers to entry and startup costs but offer real income potential.
Ready to start your journey toward self-employment in the comfort of your own home? Let’s get to work.
Businesses That Don’t Require You to Leave Your Home
Running an online business lets you make money with little need to leave the house. You may need a personal website where potential customers can find you, although you can also find work for your specific skills through sites like Upwork and Fiverr.
1. Freelance Writing
Use your wordsmithing skills to start a freelance writing business. We have advice for how to pitch a story if you’re looking for your first byline.
To make freelance writing your full-time business, you’ll benefit from expanding your repertoire to incorporate multiple types of writing (editing skills also increase your value). Here are a few options:
- Writing opportunities. Looking for a way to put some journalism training to use or do you just have strong opinions about current events and social issues? These 19 sites will pay you to write blog entries, personal essays and other types of stories.
- Technical writing. Who doesn’t love a well-written instruction manual? Although technical writing might not offer as many creative options, the median pay as of 2020 was $37.53 an hour.
- Resume writing. Use your writing prowess to help other people get jobs. Charmaine Pocek told The Penny Hoarder she earned $30 to $800 per assignment on Fiverr as a freelance writer creating resumes and cover letters as well as optimizing clients’ LinkedIn profiles. Pocek set a record for being the first U.S. — and the first female — Fiverr seller to break $1 million in earnings.
- SEO writing: Help websites show up at the top of Google searches with content that focuses on search engine optimization.
2. Virtual Assistant
Administrative assistants typically answer to a boss, but start your own business, and you’ll be calling the shots.
A virtual assistant performs similar tasks to an in-person assistant, but you can offer your services to one or multiple companies. You might be doing data entry one day and proofing articles on WordPress another, so be prepared for a variety of tasks.
3. Travel Planner
Arrange for others to travel the world without having to leave your couch.
A remote travel planner is a great home-based business idea for someone who is well organized, detail oriented and has stellar customer service skills. It helps if you have travel experience and understand trends in the travel and tourism industry.
The demand for travel agents is expected to increase by 20% between 2021 and 2031—so now is a great time to get your feet wet with this lucrative home business.
Stand out from other travel agents by finding a niche, and marketing your services to a targeted audience, like single parents with young children or retirees with limited income. The 2021 median pay for a travel agent was $21.06 an hour.