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This story originally appeared on The Penny Hoarder.
You dream of giving up the daily commute and starting a business from the comfort of your home.
The only problem with your entrepreneurial daydream? You have no idea what type of business to start, let alone how to make it profitable.
Don't worry, we're here to help.
You are not alone if you want to do it alone. Of the 30.2 million small businesses operating in the United States, about half were domestic companies, according to the latest government figures.
Whether you are looking for a little extra income or dream of quitting your current job and daily commute for good, here is your guide to home business ideas.
Companies that don't have to leave you home
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Choosing your business can start with something as simple as choosing an activity that you enjoy.
For example, if traveling is your passion, you can follow the path of mother Cheryl Cavalli, who told us how she started a travel agency business at home.
However, if you don't already have a passion that you want to capitalize on – or prefer to keep your hobbies separate and work – you can still start a successful home business as a sole proprietorship or sole proprietorship. Personal business.
A sole proprietorship does not need to register with the state to exist (unlike corporations, partnerships, and LLCs). However, you must still comply with registration, license, tax, and licensing laws.
Local social media groups like Nextdoor can be a source of ideas. There you can find everyday services that are in demand, although this may not be the most glamorous job.
Mundane chores are good business because they're chores that many people are willing to pay someone else to do, whether they're mowing lawns as groundskeepers or building inflatable castles for kids as a party planner.
We have compiled a list of ideas that have relatively low barriers to entry and startup costs, but offer real income potential.
Are you ready to start your self-employment journey from the comfort of your own home? Let's go to work.
1. Freelance writing
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Use your word smith skills to quit your job and start a freelance writing business. We have tips on how to make a story if you look for your first line.
To make writing your full-time business, you'll benefit from adding more types of writing to your repertoire (adding editing skills also increases your value). Here are just a few options:
- Creative writing. Share your literary talents by submitting them to literary magazines that pay for short stories and poetry.
- Technical writing. Who doesn't like a well-written instruction manual? While technical writing may not offer as many creative options, the median wage as of 2017 was $ 34.10 an hour.
- Keep writing. Use your writing skills to help other people find work. Charmaine Pocek told The Penny Hoarder that she made $ 30 to $ 800 as a freelance writer at Fiverr, creating résumés, cover letters and optimizing her clients' LinkedIn profiles. According to Abby Forman, a Fiverr spokeswoman, Pocek made $ 2.4 million from the work she found on the site over the past six years.
2. Virtual assistant
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Administrative assistants usually answer a boss, but start their own business and you will be in charge.
Virtual assistants perform similar tasks as personal assistants, but you can offer your services to one or more companies. You may be introducing data one day and reviewing articles in WordPress another day. So prepare yourself for a wide variety of tasks.
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Life makes more sense in spreadsheets. If that statement sounds like something you would say, an accounting firm might be in your future.
For now, don't focus on one large business account, but rather on small businesses that need help managing their finances. You don't have to be a CPA to get started, but decent computer and customer service skills will help.
Ben Robinson, who teaches others how to become virtual accountants, told The Penny Hoarder that as an accountant, you can make up to $ 60 an hour.
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Enjoy all the fun of teaching without leaving home.
An online tutoring store is where you can offer your expertise whether you're teaching math and English to elementary school kids or preparing students for the SAT.
These 10 online tutoring companies are a good place to start. Promote your expertise in a subject or grade level in your organic teaching certifications, which will also add to your credibility (and bottom line).
Most online tutoring platforms require instructors to either have a bachelor's degree or be working towards it. Prior teaching experience is preferred. Review the requirements before you apply.
Spelling ace Cole Shafer-Ray went solo and started his own online business by creating a website posting tips for attending the Scripps National Spelling Bee (he was runner-up in 2015). The then 17-year-old told us he made $ 100 an hour teaching children who want to compete.
5. Affiliate Marketers
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If you have a website or blog that is already getting traffic, affiliate marketing should be part of your business plan.
The basic concept: you can make money by including affiliate links to products that you recommend on your website. When your readers click the link and buy the product, you will receive a commission from the company.
Penny Hoarder's brand content editor Dana Sitar suggests visiting the affiliate marketplaces to connect with brands that you pay to promote their products and services. Among the many marketplaces is ClickBank, which states on their website that commissions range from 1% to 75%.
6. Social media advisor
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Do you have a knack for words and are you familiar with the latest trends in social media? Consider becoming a social media advisor.
Most small businesses don't have the budget for a full-time media advisor, but they want to be on social media to attract and retain customers. Sell your social know-how – and your publishing software experience – to local businesses by blogging. You can expand your portfolio and your business.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) assigns social media consultants to the general public relations category and lists an average wage of $ 28.85 an hour.
If you focus your company on one area at least early on, you can expand your specialist knowledge. Research the local online business landscape to find out where there is a need, whether you're helping set up social media accounts for local businesses, posting a specific number of posts per week, or a specific industry (e.g. restaurants) to have in sight.
7. Web developer
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If you can find an aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly balance, your next business could be a web developer.
Technically, there are differences between web designers and developers, with designers focusing more on the visual aspect while developers focus on coding. The BLS, which makes no distinction between the two, states that the median wage is $ 33.38 per hour.
Even if businesses in your area don't have a huge budget for complicated websites, they may need a simple landing page. Once you have the basic web design and coding skills, you can start small and grow your business based on recommendations and your portfolio.
Kelly Vaughn taught herself to code as a child and eventually quit her job as a full-time web developer – she made $ 137,000 in her first year.
8. Graphic design
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Unleash your creativity – and use your arts degree – to build a graphic design business.
Whether you're designing logos or layouts, you need to invest in the right equipment and programs to give your designs a professional look. But you will at least find colleagues to consult – about one in five graphic designers was self-employed in 2016, according to the BLS.
Potential clients want to see previous design work to see if it is a good fit for them. Hence, a portfolio is essential. Sites like Coroflot and Carbonmade have free spots to post your work.
If you're just starting out, add to your portfolio by volunteering brochures and programs for nonprofits like your church or children's school.
Once set up, you can set hourly or per-project rates. Graphic designer Miranda Marquit shared that a typical hourly rate for a freelance graphic designer is between $ 75 and $ 150.
Work at home and beyond
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Sure, you enjoy working from home, but sometimes you miss the human interaction. Don't worry – there are plenty of options that allow you to run your business from the comfort of your couch, but also escape the confines of your home.
Many online businesses allow you to make money without leaving your home while others take you outside but don't have to commute to an “office”.
You may need a personal website that potential customers can find you. However, you can also find work for your specific skills through sites like Upwork and Fiverr.
9. Local tour guide
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Do you love showing off your city? Make it your own business by becoming a local tour guide.
And you don't have to limit yourself to museums and monuments – even if it is an option.
Brendan Smith told us that he makes $ 10,000 a year with his side gig running Craft Coffee tours in St. Petersburg, Florida, while Greg Stanek goes on bike tours to view the many murals around the city.
If you're already passionate about the arts, food, or any other specialty that makes your city special, like Smith you can first offer free tours to friends and then expand your reach by posting your tours on social media and through your local Apply tourist office.
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Cleaning other people's places may not be everyone's dream job, but that increases their potential as a profitable business.
Housekeeping is an option. However, if you're willing to get your hands a little (or a lot) dirty, your services can be invaluable to customers who want you to clean up decades of trash in their basements, attics, and barns.
Make your company stand out by including your personal story. Share how you got started and why you love connecting with customers who are looking for a reason to choose you over the competition.
11. Personal cook
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Your dinner parties are always a hit and people line up for your cake sales contributions.
Rely on your culinary skills with a personal chef or catering company.
You don't need a culinary degree to start coating, but a few recommendations can help you get your business going.
Offer to cook for the school fundraiser or church picnic, and display your business cards at the serving stations.
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Let your photography skills help you start a business.
In addition to taking photos of babies, parties, and weddings, you can work from home by selling your work on photo sites like Shutterstock or iStockPhoto.
Stock photographer Eliza Snow told The Penny Hoarder that making $ 1 off a photo doesn't sound like much, but when these sites advertise hundreds of downloads of the same photo the money can add up.
13. Home staging
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Live out your HGTV dream.
Homeowners hoping for the highest price need to make sure their modest property looks its best. And here you, the Heimstager, come in to rearrange the furniture, hide the millions of toys in a storage unit and replace all those framed cat photos with tasteful art.
Do you think you have what it takes?
Kristy Anderson told The Penny Hoarder that after years of decorating, she started her home staging business with a $ 3,000 investment and built her customer base as follows:
- Using Google AdWords for online advertising.
- Word of mouth questions.
- Create a social media presence.
- Networking with local builders and brokers.
Your hard work has paid off. In its first year, Anderson's company had sales of $ 180,000.
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Dear children? Do you love letting kids run around your house?
If your home is prepared for the troubled world of children, babysitting in your home is a great way to get around the whole "nanny tax" (where parents have to pay you as a domestic servant because you 'work') in their house).
Each state has its own regulations about how old and how many children you can see at the same time before going into daycare. So read your state's rules before you begin. Learning some basics – like CPR and first aid – can also help you claim a higher rate.
How much you can earn depends, among other things, on the number of children and your location. The Care.com calculator suggests the price of babysitting a child in San Francisco is $ 21 an hour.
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Let's start by assuming that you're not a rock star musician ready to travel the world.
That doesn't mean you can't be in the music business. In fact, here we have 25 ways to make money from your music.
16. Personal trainer
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Turn your love of fitness into money by becoming a personal trainer working from your own home studio or by traveling to clients' homes. Boost your credibility (and pay) by getting certified by a nationally recognized organization like the American Council on Exercise (ACE) or the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).
Expect the personal training business to be more of a marathon than a sprint. Accreditation training can take weeks and cost hundreds of dollars along with liability insurance. You must maintain your certification through continuing education.
According to the BLS, the median wage for fitness instructors and coaches is $ 18.85 per hour. However, the wage can vary greatly depending on the location and specialization. The IDEA Health and Fitness Association states that the average price for personal trainers in New York is $ 32 an hour.
17. Massage therapist
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Work with your hands, arms, and elbows as you massage clients' muscles.
It takes more than one of those cool tables and a towel to start a massage therapy business – although you should definitely expect lots of laundry (all sheets, you know).
Before you bend those fingers, you need training and a license. Find out about your state's license requirements for massage therapies here.
According to the latest figures from the BLS, massage therapy employment is expected to grow 26% from 2016 to 2026, with an average wage of $ 19.23 per hour for 2017.
18. Amazon seller
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Given that you can buy almost anything on Amazon, it makes sense that you can sell almost anything on Amazon, right?
If you want to sell more than just your old stuff, there are many ways you can sell on Amazon:
- Private label products: Generics that you resell with your own packaging and logo.
- Retail arbitrage: Items you've bought elsewhere – such as sale items or Craigslist giveaways – that you sell at a higher price on Amazon.
- Processing by Amazon: Items that you buy for resale are sent directly to Amazon, which stores the inventory in its warehouse.
Wondering which option is the most profitable business for you? Estimate your sales with this Amazon calculator.
19. eBay sellers
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Use your eye for fashion to resell thrifty finds for a profit as an eBay seller.
First, check eBay listings for similar items to determine demand for your product and a pricing strategy. How you rate your article affects how it appears in a search. The lower the price, the more eyes. However, setting a higher minimum guarantees a higher return on investment when the item is sold.
Good reviews are essential for any online seller. Invest in thank you cards included with every order to remind your customers to add their feedback on your website.
Attract more buyers (and higher prices) by using good lighting and professional presentation on photos of your product.
20. Etsy Marketers
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If you create a business out of your love of handicrafts, you don't have to drag your wares to a table at the farmers market every Saturday. Setting Up a Shop Using the Online Marketplace With Etsy, you can sell your custom jewelry, refinished furniture, and custom gift baskets without leaving your home.
As seasoned sellers will tell you, a big part of Etsy success is restoring the experience for a buyer who is used to dealing with the merchandise.
Rather than discovering your handmade jewelry or macrame plant holders through a tactile experience, buyers will look at your photos and descriptions in your Etsy shop to decide whether to buy them. High quality photos and detailed descriptions are essential to attracting customers, as is sharing your personal story.
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Sew to start a business (Sorry, I couldn't help it).
The first step in turning your threads into a profitable business is adjusting the hems and making changes for family and friends. However, there are many other ways that you can use a needle and thread to follow your passion.
Deisha Strater told us that she found enough work to make a side appearance by sewing cosplay costumes. They charge $ 300 or more per costume depending on the level of detail.
22. Airbnb hosts
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If you've ever dreamed of owning a bed and breakfast but never quite got your hands on this estate, you can still channel your inner hostess by turning a guest room (or your home) into Airbnb accommodations.
Instead of selling physical goods, you are selling your space, but you need the same marketing skills to make your Airbnb attractive to potential guests. Think: inviting photos and a well-organized space that will get great reviews from previous guests.
Calculate your potential earnings with this Airbnb calculator.
(Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations that apply to your city and listing.)
23. Pet sitter
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Do you prefer your customers to be the four-legged variety? Starting a dog walk could be an easy way to start a profitable business in your own neighborhood.
Connect with fur babies and their parents using apps like Rover to build a customer base. There you can add your profile and show the owners your experience.
24. Small farming
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Do you have a back yard with some growing space?
Tim and Chelsea Clarkson raised four chickens in the back yard of their home. Now they live on a 6 hectare farm where 900 chickens and 400 Grimaud Pekin ducks are raised.
The rules for raising farm animals vary. This is considered to be any domesticated animal raised to produce labor and / or goods. Please visit your state's Department of Agriculture website for more information.
If a full-sized farm is a little out of your reach, you can go the (much) smaller animal path and install a beehive. Make a business out of it by selling your tenants' honey at the local farmers market.
Yes, after purchasing the bees, setup costs and licenses are required to take this into account. However, given the high price that local honey can charge, the sweet stuff is worth selling.
25. Seasonal operator
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Perhaps you're more of a fair weather businessman.
Seasonal companies give you the option to operate if you prefer to be outdoors – remember to shovel snow in winter or carry beach gear in summer.
And when the holiday season offers more free time for a business venture, think of Christmas lights.
Lighting installers make most of their money hanging those twinkling lights during the holiday season, according to Joshua Trees, who tours the country teaching people how to hang lights properly. By his third year in business, Trees said he made $ 138,000.
26. Garden advisor
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You have probably heard of business consultants who use their decades of knowledge to advise a company on all issues. You may not be a CEO, but if you've been gardening for years, you can turn your planting expertise into a gardening consultancy.
Gardening is growing in popularity, according to a 2018 National Gardening Survey, with 77% of American households reporting that they garden.
But while people may dream of growing their food, most backyard gardens are a little sad, if at all, alive. Your knowledge of soil acid, fertilizer composition, and sunlight needs, as well as your willingness to dig around in the dirt, could pay off as a gardening advisor.
Think of these ideas as a starting point for your home business. Also, know that starting a business takes more than just a good idea. So first read our step-by-step guide to starting a business.
And no matter how tough the business world is, isn't it easier to weather the ups and downs from the comfort of your home?
What a great idea.
Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, sometimes we get compensation for clicking links in our stories.