We foster relationships with brands we use and trust. The testimonials on our site represent real experiences, but they don't guarantee you'll achieve similar results. When you make purchases through our links to our partners, we may earn a commission. Your support helps us continue this work. You can read our full disclosure here.
I never pictured myself creating my own small business from home. I always thought I’d go the traditional route: graduate college, get a good job, and work 9-to-5 until I retired. I ended up finding out that that sort of lifestyle just wasn’t fulfilling for me.
Truthfully, it took me a while to figure this out. I knew I wanted to start my own business, but I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. There were many ideas bouncing around in my head, and while I entertained several of them, nothing felt right. Until I found my passion.
From that moment on, creating a small business from home became exciting and fulfilling in more ways than I could have ever imagined. I was able to create something for myself that brought me such joy. It also forced me to think outside of the box. I needed to craft a marketing plan, come up with a unique service, and make some goals – fast!
While there are many challenges associated with running a business, the resulting accomplishments make it all worthwhile. I encourage you to find your own passion and start a small business from home.
The Top 10 Small Business Ideas
Many freelance services were listed amongst the top 10 small business ideas for 2021 because they require little to no upfront investment, and can earn you a paycheck within the week.
1. Freelance Proofreading
General proofreaders earn money by reading content and marking grammar, spelling, and sentence structure errors. This is the final stage of content creation and requires good English skills and attention to detail.
These professionals proofread books, manuscripts, medical documents, and other types of texts. You don’t need to have any special education or certification to become a proofreader, but possessing an English degree could potentially accelerate your income.
Professional proofreader Caitlin Pyle earns more than $50,000 per year working from home. Her 76-minute workshop teaches beginners how to get started. Sign up for a spot in her free Proofread Anywhere class right here.
Start your own bookkeeping business and help creative small business owners organize their finances.
This service gives you the flexibility to work your own hours, take on as many clients as you want, and set your own rates. Anyone with knowledge and experience in bookkeeping would be a great fit for work-from-home finance jobs.
Check out Bookkeepers.com‘s free online workshop to learn how to kick-start your own bookkeeping business.
3. Private Photo Editing
Work-from-home jobs are in increasingly high demand, so turn your photography and photo editing skills into a private photo-editing service business. This flexible venture is the perfect way to exercise your creativity.
Professional photo editor Katie Rivera earns a full-time income working for photographers all around the world, and is committed to teaching others how to do the same. Watch the free training by The Photo Editor's Guide to learn if online photo editing is right for you.
4. Niche Site Creating
It’s easy to make money with a niche site as long as you have a solid strategy in place. Monetize your website with display ads, affiliate partnerships, sponsored posts, digital products, and your own virtual services. Pick just one method or use multiple techniques to make the most money with a niche site.
Follow this step-by-step tutorial to start a site for just $2.75 per month. You could launch your own website by the end of the day and quickly publish your first article introducing your goals.
Niche site owners earn anywhere between $10 and $150,000-plus per month. Your success will depend on whether you treat your site as a hobby or invest in the necessary resources from the start.
5. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing websites are similar to blogs, but typically involve a less personal approach to content marketing. Fill your website with evergreen articles like product reviews, tutorials, and service comparisons.
To make money, you’ll need to sign up to become an affiliate with some of the hundreds of thousands of available companies, like Amazon and Etsy. Use your unique tracking links to refer your readers to the products and services you enjoy. You will earn a commission on each sale made when someone clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase.
Michelle of Making Sense of Cents is an experienced affiliate marketer who grew her small business to more than $50,000 in residual income per month. While this isn’t a feat that will happen overnight, it’s possible to start earning between $500 and $1,000 per month within your first year as an affiliate marketer. It all boils down to your strategy and time investment.
Check out Michelle’s free eBook, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, where she teaches beginners how to follow in her footsteps and make money with affiliate marketing. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel; instead, learn from someone who has consistently earned an income as an affiliate marketer for many years.
6. Freelance Writing
Freelance writers assist clients who need help with their websites, email marketing, social media content, and various other writing projects. Your salary will depend on the types of services you offer. Established professionals charge between 3 cents and more than $1 per word.
To kick-start your own small business as a freelance writer, build a solid portfolio of writing samples to share with potential clients. Writers often use their own blogs as ongoing, live portfolios.
Related: How To Create A Business Website
7. Used Clothing Consigning
There is a lot of money to be made in the used clothing market. Turn your home or small storage space into a lucrative online clothing consignment business. You will split the profits of each item sold with your consignors (the people who provide the clothing to you upfront).
As the business owner, you’ll need to find a way to keep track of each consignor and the clothing that he or she brings to you. Label bags or individual items with the numbers assigned to each person.
Take advantage of the many sites that allow users to sell clothes online, like thredUP or Swap.com, or create your own Shopify website to potentially earn the most profit from each item you sell. Sign up for a free 14-day trial to see if Shopify is right for you.
8. Flea Market Flipping
Flea market flipping is a profitable business idea for any entrepreneur who enjoys finding a good deal and reselling items for a profit.
Flea markets, thrift stores, garage sales, and free “trash” piles are just a few places to find items you can then flip for cash, both online and in person. Research a piece’s potential value before committing to buy it.
9. Delivery Driver
All you need to start your own delivery purchase is insurance, a license, and a working vehicle. This option is more flexible and potentially more profitable than driving a truck for weeks at a time away from home.
To avoid jumping through the hoops of starting your own transportation business, become an independent delivery driver for a company like Instacart. You won’t need to purchase an additional delivery vehicle, as long as you have a reliable car. Pick up as many or as few delivery orders as your schedule allows.
Check out our choice of the three best delivery driver apps that make the most money.
10. Land Flipping
Real estate flipping is a common investment many people use to build a profitable business. This concept involves buying homes at a discount (usually with cash), fixing them up, and selling them for a profit. Remember that the competitive market means profit margins are low, budgets are tight, and the labor is tedious.
An alternative small business idea is to flip land for a profit. This business model eliminates the fixer-upper house, agent commissions, and (preferably) tax or mortgage liens, and is a potentially lucrative venture for anyone who is willing to learn the buying and selling process and put it into action.
Jack and Michelle closed more than 5,000 land deals through their land-flipping business. They called upon their many years of experience to craft a system that now helps others buy land for “pennies on the dollar” and sell it for a profit. Their free online webinar explains more about the process they use to flip land in just a matter of days.
Online Creative Small Business Ideas From Home
Start your own home-based business and reap the rewards, including job satisfaction, more flexibility in your schedule, and a higher income. Focus on choosing a business that fits your lifestyle and skills.
11. Sell Printables on Etsy
Incorporate your artistic abilities into a small business selling printables, which can include anything from invitations to worksheets to home decor. Many verified Etsy sellers with stellar reviews earn a comfortable $40,000 per year – and you can, too. Click here to sign up with Etsy and list your first 40 items for free.
Check out this free resource if you find yourself stumped and needing some help brainstorming printable ideas that you can make and start selling immediately. Julie and Cory of Gold City Ventures put together this free eBook as a guide to earning money selling printables on Etsy. Inside, they explain how to find the most profitable seasonal trends and during what times of year you can make the most amount of money.
Related: How to Start an Etsy Store
12. Sell Crafts on Etsy
Use your crocheting, screen-printing, sewing, and other creative skills to design homemade items that will sell well on Etsy. Consumers use this site to purchase unique designs from one-of-a-kind sellers like you. New Etsy users can sign up here to get their first 40 items listed for free.
13. Start a VA Service Business
Businesses are increasingly shifting their work online, but not many can afford to hire a full-time employee to manage their virtual tasks. Many people who step in to fill this void earn a good income working as virtual assistants for just a few hours per week for multiple businesses.
Use this free list of more than 275 services you can offer as a VA to inspire you as you begin thinking of a career in this field. Market your existing skills to local and online businesses that could potentially use a few hours of your help each week.
14. Sell Your Own T-Shirt Designs
Flex your creative muscles and come up with unique designs that you can sell on T-shirts. The print-on-demand industry allows apparel-focused business owners to sell items without having to maintain a physical inventory.
15. eCommerce Support
Use your web skills to open your own small business from home and help other organizations with their eCommerce setup and maintenance. Your services could include getting paid to answer phone calls and respond to customer emails. These alone could earn you between $41,000 and $100,000 per year.
16. Transcribe Audio
Transcribing audio to text requires good listening and typing skills. Transcribe the information from your clients’ audio files and return the completed documents to them. Most transcriptionists charge by the audio hour (which can take three to more than six hours hours to complete with accuracy).
17. Web Design Service
Turn your knowledge of web design (or interest in learning more about it) into a web design service that could bring you thousands of dollars per job. Your available packages can include full initial design, website redesign and page update, and continuous site maintenance.
18. SEO Service
Many companies pay an SEO specialist to help them rank their websites higher on search engines, thus getting their name out in front of more potential customers. SEO services can start at $75 per hour and increase from there. If are skilled in SEO, start offering your services to online business owners.
Consulting businesses focus on many different topics, such as financial, new business, makeup, and childcare. Offer your planning services to other individuals to help them make the most of their personal and/or professional lives. Your rates will depend on your specific focus; make your pricing competitive to fit within the growing average in your area.
20. Virtual Home Office Designer
Help companies beautify their office spaces by offering your services as a virtual home office designer. Determine your design fees based on the current market value, and provide your invaluable services to businesses around the globe.
21. Hair Influencer
As the name indicates, hair influencers promote hair products, demonstrating to their audiences how to use the items, and showcasing the results. The brands pay them a set percentage of any sales made through their special codes or referral links.
22. Travel Agent
Travel agents are paid to plan vacations for their clients. You will need to be credentialed to fill this position, but that process doesn’t take long to complete online. Your travel agent services will allow you to meet people from all over the world, and you can even participate in any available travel specials.
23. Voice Over Services
Voiceovers are used in off-camera or off-production projects, including radio commentary, theater dialogue, and animated shows and movie acting. Depending on the type of narration, voiceover projects can pay between $275 and $1,700.
Related: How to Get Paid to Narrate Books
24. Video Editing
Video editing takes both skill and patience. Your small business focused on video editing for movies, commercials, or business presentations could bring you between $75 and $100 per hour.
25. Closed Captioning Service
Closed captioning services create subtitles that allow the hearing impaired community to enjoy movies and TV shows. Create these visual aids for audiences around the globe and bring in a salary of between $55,000 and $60,000 per year.
26. YouTube Creator
Some YouTubers use the platform as simply a hobby, while others earn a significant salary. Find your niche and create your own YouTube channel that will attract subscribers who are interested in the type of content you cover. YouTube will pay you to play advertisements within your videos when you hit a certain view count.
27. Brand Ambassador
Brands hire ambassadors to refer sales to the companies. Independent ambassadors are often able to turn their promotional work into small businesses with a sizable income.
Most people’s biggest concern with becoming a brand ambassador is choosing the right company with which to work. Here are three considerations to keep in mind when seeking an opportunity with the most potential:
It’s a legitimate business with at least 10 years of positive history.
Don’t choose an obscure product that’s a little too unique; work with brands that have a stable history and positive reviews. These stipulations will help you sell products you know work well and are legitimate.
It’s a necessary business that provides a necessary product.
Selling items like candles, makeup, and nail art is fun, but it can be difficult to convince anyone that they need those products. You can become a successful ambassador for any type of company if you put in enough work, but it’s best to choose a product that fulfills a need.
The compensation package is generous and can turn into a livable income.
A plethora of organizations are on the hunt for brand ambassadors, but not all of them pay well. Some leave no room for growth. Avoid the latter, do your research, and choose a company that offers the opportunity to earn a livable wage.
Related: How to Become a Content Creator
Local Creative Small Business Ideas For Small Towns
All small towns could benefit from each of the following small businesses. Your biggest challenge will be to get the word out and build a reliable customer and client base. Thanks to the recent growth of local social media sites, it has become increasingly easier to share your services to the people in your area.
28. Pet Care
To run a successful pet care business, you will need to love spending time with other people’s animals. This job isn’t for everyone, but it’s perfect for those who enjoy hanging out with cats, dogs, and other fur babies.
Sign up for a free account with Care.com to get your services in front of people who might need your help.
29. Lawn Care and/or Snow Removal
People who live in temperate climates often require assistance to maintain their lawns in the summer and keep their driveways free of snow in the winter. Fill this need by starting a small business as a lawn care or snow removal specialist.
Related: Ways to Make Money in the Winter
30. Car Detailing Service
Detail cars out of your own garage or bring your service straight to your clients. This position is perfect for anyone who is OK with getting their hands dirty, and you can earn a decent income from cleaning and detailing vehicles.
31. Cleaning and Organizing Service
You can charge by the hour or by the service done through your cleaning and organizing service business. Build your client base and work up to having a team of professionals who work for you.
32. Rent Out Storage Space
Earn a passive income by renting storage space in your area. Purchase a property on which to build rental units, or use an existing building that you already own. The more storage units you have, the more your business and income will grow.
33. Decorating Service
A successful decorating business simply needs an entrepreneur with a keen eye for design and the ability to improve existing spaces with style. Create a website, or market your services locally on Facebook, Craigslist, or other online bulletin boards.
34. Party Planner
If you’re the type of person who throws a party people talk about long after it’s over, turn your skills into a lucrative business planning celebrations for others. Market your party-planning gig on social media to get new clients, and share photos of your latest successful bash to showcase your talents.
35. Indoor Painter
Indoor painters are inspired by fresh colors, ever-changing palettes, and crisp lines. If this describes you, start your own creative small business as an indoor painter. Established entrepreneurs in this field often make close to $40,000 per year, depending on their experience and the number of projects their schedules allow.
36. Mural Painter
Mural painters use their artistic abilities to spice up homes, businesses, and other types of buildings. Depending on where you’re located, your mural-painting prowess could bring you between $37,000 and $55,000 per year.
37. Sell Baked Goods
If you’re a wizard in the kitchen and are known for whipping up delicious treats like cookies, cupcakes, and cakes, start supplying your goodies to your customers and make some sweet money on the side. Depending on the type of baked goods you create and the frequency in which you take orders, you can earn upward of thousands of dollars per month with your own home bakery business.
38. Host Children Craft Parties
Move over, face painters and corny clowns. Craft parties are the newest hit when it comes to kids’ parties. Your craft party offerings could include beaded necklaces, friendship bracelets, model airplanes, and anything else your creative brain imagines. This small business idea will allow you to have fun and get paid to color, craft, and more.
39. Makeup Artist
Take your small business as a makeup artist to clients needing help with their wedding, body art, and holiday makeup. Your salary will depend on your level of talent and the types of services you offer, and can range between $22,000 and $46,000 per year.
40. Laundry Service
Free up families’ precious time and offer your laundry services to take their dirty clothes off their hands. Go to your clients’ homes to do their laundry for them, or pick up the clothing and sheets and wash them at a secondary location, like your house. Your service packages could include payment for gas, water and electrical, plus any other applicable fees.
41. Tax Professional
Small business and contract workers hire tax professionals to help them stay on top of their taxes each quarter. Setting up your own small business in a small town will increase your chances of getting more clients.
42. Sell Insurance
A lot of insurance companies hire outside salespeople to market their products. Your commission will be based on the number and types of sales you make each month. The compensation will vary, depending on the individual insurance company.
43. Fence or House Painting
Assisting customers in their color choices for the exterior of their homes is just as important as selecting the interior colors. A beginner fence or house painter can make between $24,000 and $34,000, and even up to $63,000 per year.
Homeowners never run out of projects to do around the house. Set up your own small business earning money by assisting local homeowners with plumbing, electrical work, cleanup, and basic repairs.
45. Gardening Services
We all love beautiful landscaping, but many of us don’t have the time to dedicate to maintaining our gardens. Start a small business offering gardening services to people in your local area.
Related: How to Start a Worm Farm for Profit
46. Grow and Sell Produce
If you have enough available green space, start a garden of your own and sell the produce or mature plants. You can charge between $4 and $5 for a pound of tomatoes.
47. Sell Eggs and Fresh Chicken
Thanks to the recent increase in egg and meat prices, many people have begun raising chickens in their backyards. Sell eggs and chickens out of your home to provide your customers with fresh, organic ingredients. Your eggs can sell for up to $5 per dozen.
48. Sell Fresh Milk
Those with enough available outdoor space to raise cows can sell the fresh milk to neighbors or at farmer’s markets. Start your own small business in milk selling. Pricing and pertinent regulations will vary by state.
49. Breed Dogs
Puppy lovers who legally breed and sell dogs often make a very lucrative income through this type of small business. Your earnings will depend on the breed and bloodline of the dog you choose to raise.
50. Sell Piglets
Similar to breeding dogs, raising piglets can also be a great money-maker. Piglets are typically sold by the pound, so the amount you will make per animal will vary based on its weight.
51. Property Management
Landlords often require the assistance of a property manager to maintain the grounds of a home or collection of houses. Offer your property management service at a flat rate per month, or at a specified percentage of the rent being made off of each location.
52. Open a Gym
Running a gym requires a small upfront investment to obtain an adequately sized space. Turn your passion for health and fitness into a small business operating a local gym.
Disc jockeys spin at celebrations including weddings, proms, birthdays, and family reunions. These artists are in high demand, and their clients pay them per hour they spend performing at an event. Your salary will depend on the types and pricing of the packages you offer as a DJ.
54. Party Entertainment
Put your unique skills – like juggling, flame-throwing, unicycle riding, belly dancing, or acrobatics – to good use while entertaining others, and get paid to attend events and parties!
55. Trash Can Cleaning
Most people don’t enjoy deep-cleaning their dirty trash cans. Take advantage of this need and start a trash can-cleaning small business with just a pair of gloves and some cleaning supplies.
56. Childcare Provider
Stay-at-home parents can offer childcare services right from their homes. Whether you choose to take on one or three children, each child in your care will make you some additional income.
What Creative Business Will You Start?
Turn your inspiration into a business that you can run right from the comfort of your own home. Get inspired by the more than 50 methods listed above to help you kick-start your own new venture. Start now, and there’s no telling where you might end up in one, two, or even 10 years from now. The main goal is to start your business sooner rather than later, and grow it as consistently as possible.
We all have our own share of hidden talents. There’s a small business opportunity for everyone! No matter which idea excites you, take advantage of your unique skills and start your own brand-new venture.