Home Business Ideas

Small business ideas can also be home business ideas if you're serious about working from home. I can’t possibly suggest every type of business that you could operate out of your home, but there are a few general types to consider.

Before you make a decision on a type of business, you'll have to do some soul searching to make certain what you select matches your interests, enthusiasm, aptitude, experience and skill set.

That's all very important.

And, of course, the business you select should also have a marketplace that you can define and work within. If you stay with your strengths and stay in a marketplace you are familiar with, chances are you'll do just fine.

Let’s look at the general types of home business ideas that you might develop to meet specific needs in a marketplace, and satisfy your desire for self-employment. Seek advice from others sources before you settle on any one of many home-based businesses. A second opinion is always among the good business ideas simply because it helps reduce the likelihood that you'll fixate on something that may be emotionally appealing but unwise from a rational standpoint.

Service Type Businesses

These home business ideas focus on providing services to individuals and companies, and may be performed regularly, on request, or by appointment. They can be relatively easy and inexpensive to start-up. Some are labor intensive while others require special skills, tools and certifications.

Let’s look at some examples:

- Lawn care and landscape service provider - Massage therapist - Pet sitter - Psychic reader - Courier - Housekeeper - Office organizer - Proofreader/editor - Photographer - House painter - Auto detailer - Tutor - Power washer - Home inspector - Designer - Dog breeder - Window washer - Handyman - Junk and refuse remover/hauler - Event coordinator - Disc jockey - Computer support - Auctioneer - Showroom window painter

To evaluate each of these home business ideas, you might focus your self-assessment on:

  • Demand for the service - how much demand is there for a psychic reader?
  • Skills and experience - how good am I at "spinning records" at events for others?
  • Resource requirements - what tools would I need to be a handyman?
  • Travel requirements - will I pet sit at my place or theirs?
  • Seasonal demand - what will I do in the winter if I offer lawn services in the summer?
  • Insurance - what kind and level of insurance will be required in case I damage customer property?
  • Job satisfaction - do I really enjoy cleaning houses?
  • Licensing requirements - what are the licensing requirements for a massage therapist?
  • Special training and certification - as might be required for an auctioneer.

Small business ideas of a service type are some of the easiest businesses to start up and run successfully.

Product Sales

These home business ideas center on creating and/or selling a product. The products may be ready made for retail sale, created by the small business owner, or manufactured by others according to specifications of the small business owner.

Products can be sold to local merchants to complement their product line, offered on consignment to local retail establishments, displayed and sold at the office of the small business owner, sold as part of a mobile concession stand, sold via mail order, or offered on the Internet via a website or on Ebay.

Examples of products to create and sell include:

- Candles - Jewelry - Bread and pastries - Smoked meats - Toys and games - Wood carvings - Paintings and photographs - Artwork - Specialty motor vehicles - Knives - Cosmetics - T-shirts - Leatherwork.

To evaluate each of these home business ideas, you might focus your self-assessment on:

  • Maintaining an inventory - how much room will I need to store products that I intend to sell?
  • Demand - is there a seasonal demand for the things I want to sell?
  • Production - will I be able to easily and cheaply create the products I want to sell, or are there others that can do this for me?
  • Investment - will I have to buy my inventory or can I sell it on consignment?
  • Customer interaction - do I enjoy selling things to people?
  • Product line - how diverse do I have to make my offer to ensure that there is sufficient appeal in the marketplace to make regular sales?
  • Display of products - do I go door-to-door, sell at a booth in the mall, have product displays at my home, or do I list my items on eBay?
  • Compliance with health department requirements - I am prepared to comply with health department inspections and standards of cleanliness?


Home business ideas that center on providing information are usually easy and inexpensive to get into, and typically have small and limited costs associated with start up. The one thing you'll need is specialized knowledge to help guide your efforts. In other words, you'll likely need to be an expert in order to convince your customers that you have sufficient value-added knowledge to make it worthwhile for them to purchase your products.

If you are an expert in one or more areas, here are examples of information you could provide:

- Focused research - Guidance booklets on specific topics - Books for publication - Website development - Articles for magazines and newspapers - Reprints of documents available in the public domain - Compilation of data - Private investigator

To evaluate each of these home business ideas, you might focus your self-assessment on:

  • Area of expertise - is my area of expertise sufficiently specialized to be in demand and provide acceptable levels of income?
  • Ability to communicate and persuade - do I have the writing and speaking skills to attract and retain business?
  • Education - do I have the type of education that my customers will be looking for?
  • Marketplace - if I offer reprinted information for sale, what kind of information will be popular and where will I market this?


This home business idea is usually easy to start and fund, but it requires specialized skills and knowledge to support advising others on technical and management matters. In addition, the business generally requires travel outside of your locality. Your work may take you to places all around the world. One of the pleasures of operating a consulting business is that you will be engaged in numerous and varied tasks, so your work doesn't ever have to become routine.

If you are an expert in one or more areas, here are examples of services you could provide:

- Proposal writing - Problem solving - Technical and market analysis - Program analysis - Negotiations - Research - Project management

To evaluate each of these home business ideas, you might focus your self-assessment on:

  • Service area - is my service area local, regional, national or international?
  • Associations - am I associated with trade organizations, industry groups or other businesses that will help me penetrate the marketplace?
  • Travel requirements - am I willing to travel for much of my time to provide services to customers around the country?
  • Education - do I have the type of education that my customers will be looking for?
  • Communication - do I have the writing and speaking skills that my customers are looking for?

Consulting work is one of the best small business ideas for people that have acquired special skill and knowledge working with others. It can be lucrative, and your office travels where you do. It's probably one of the higher paying home business ideas.

Real Estate

As home business ideas go, real estate is a type of service, but I think it deserves its own category because it's requirements, demands and activities are unique. Real estate offices are everywhere, and it seems that people from all walks of life are involved. That means that there's a good potential for you to be successful, and there is a large market to serve.

Let's look at examples of what you might do in the area of real estate:

- Agent of your own - Associate with an agency - Broker - Property manager - Landlord - Resident apartment manager - Appraiser - Home inspector

To evaluate each of these home business ideas, you might focus your self-assessment on:

  • Training - are you willing to put in the time and effort to learn the real estate business to be an associate or a licensed agent?
  • Knowledge - do you have sufficient knowledge and aptitude when it comes to finance and law?
  • Communication - are you willing to spend lots of time on the phone?
  • Travel - are you willing to spend lots of time driving around with people to show them properties?
  • Management - can you make consistent and fair decisions when dealing with tenants?
  • Work hours - are you willing to respond to tenant issues at all hours of the day and night?
  • People skills - are you able to "read" people and pre-qualify them so you aren’t spending time with people that can’t qualify for a loan or are just "kicking tires"?


Again, here are home business ideas that involves selling products, but they really deserve a category of their own. Reselling is an enterprise that can be fun and profitable, especially if you like to shop and trade. It requires a knack for getting good deals on a range of items. It also requires that you identify what customers want and be able to provide them with it efficiently. Also, you must be easy to find where customers might be looking for resellers.

Items for resale can be found at rummage sales, garage sales, auctions and estate sales. The key to this home business idea is to know the value of the items so you buy them cheap, and mark up for reasonable profit so you make good return on your investment of time, money and transportation costs. Some storing, shipping and advertising will likely be involved in this type of business.

Examples of reselling include:

- Booth at an indoor flea market - Space at outdoor flea markets - Selling on eBay - Operating a shop that fixes and resells equipment or appliances - Conducting "garage sales" every few weeks

To evaluate each of these home business ideas, you might focus your self-assessment on:

  • Shipping - am I willing to package things up for shipping?
  • Scavenging - are you good at finding bargains at garage sales, auctions and estate sales?
  • Appraising - do you really know the value of items?
  • Marketing - are you adept at advertising your products and making them attractive to potential buyers?
  • Stock - do you have the room to store items for sale?
  • Display - do you have appropriate means of displaying items for prospective buyers?
  • Effort - are you willing to put in the level of effort necessary to pickup, advertise, sell and deliver/ship items that you sell?
  • Investment - do you have the financial resources to acquire good buys when you see them, knowing that it may take weeks or months to find the right buyer?

Country Home Business Ideas

If you're going into business from your home, and you live (or would like to live) in the country, this can present particular challenges as well as opportunities. Although many of the home business ideas suggested above could work quite well, you'll have to carefully consider many factors before you settle on an enterprise.

Here are a few factors to consider if your home business idea will be operated in the country:

Location - few if anyone will stroll by and see your "shop".

Distance - it's likely that you will not be conveniently located for customers that know where your "shop" is located. Most likely, you'll have to bring the goods and services to them.

Space - you'll likely have enough space to grow vegetables and flowers, and raise animals.

Facilities - it is common for remote residences to have a barn or large shop associated with the home. This could provide a workshop or storage facility for your goods and raw materials.

Regulation - typically the red tape associated with living in the country is less than that of the city. Noise, smell and traffic won't be much of a concern because neighbors tend to be farther away from your home.

Communications - it may be difficult to get cell phone and high speed Internet service out where the buses don't run.

Deliveries - delivery services go almost anywhere four wheels can go, but might require more time or additional cost to provide the service.

Weather - country living means rain and snow and wind can blocks roads with mud and washouts, snow drifts, and fallen trees. It might be days before roads are serviceable, and it could even mean that regular travel and deliveries are not possible for weeks or months at a time.

Helpers - you'll likely be limited as to who, how many and what skill and experience level you can hire, contract with, or coax into helping you. You will likely find "slim pickings" for staff out in a rural setting.

Support services - if your home business idea need copying, illustrating, binding or advertising, these service providers won't likely be your neighbors, and they might be inconveniently located for you and your business.

Utility vehicles - if you're providing a product for others, you might need special vehicles to transport the products to a marketplace for sale. This could require a truck, van, trailer or other special vehicle.

Travel - are you going to travel with your new business? If so, then how far are you from convenient air service?

These aren't all the factors to consider, so walk it through in your mind to make certain all those "what ifs" associated with country home business ideas are carefully considered. This will help maximize success in what can be a more challenging situation.

Okay, now what?

Regardless of the home business ideas you select, remember to "what if" the concept extensively. You need to consider, among other things: your ability; demands of the activity; potential for income; requirements for licensing and certification; anticipated travel requirements; depth and breadth of the marketplace; how to attract and retain customers; how to differentiate yourself from competitors; and, upfront investment in tools, infrastructure, inventory and travel.

After narrowing your choice of home business ideas, the best thing to do is put together a business plan to see which of the small business ideas might be best suited for you.

Done with Home Business Ideas, take me Home

The only business you'll really ever be part of is your own.

Wondering about what to do with your savings so inflation doesn't eat it up? Start your own enterprise. It's a good way to invest your capital and make it work for you. Who will be better at keeping an eye on your investment than you?