If you’re planning to start a business, you might start thinking about things like renting commercial real estate, commuting to an office, or managing employees.
But with the rise of home-based business opportunities, more and more people are discovering ways to use remote work to pursue entrepreneurship, with their business headquartered at home.
In today’s connected world, where technology affords us more flexibility in how and where we work, home-based businesses come in a variety of forms.
Some require you to convert a spare room into a mini-warehouse for products, while others can be run completely online. But generally, you can start these types of business ideas to start from home using your existing space and means. You can also check our guide on how to make money online to explore more options.
What makes a “home-based” business: the pros and cons
A home-based business is a venture—whether full-time or run as a side hustle—that you can start and operate using your own home as your base of operations. A few home-based businesses, especially those that sell online and don’t buy and hold lots of inventory, can even be run on the go, without the need to be bound to your home.
Naturally, there are pros and cons to consider when choosing good ideas to start a business from home.
- A low-investment business has fewer overhead costs (such as warehousing fees), plus potential tax deductions you can claim.
- The option to sell products or services locally or internationally.
- Flexible work-life balance, which is ideal if, for example, you’re a stay-at-home parent or a retiree.
- You can create a family business where your relations or your spouse can chip in as needed.
- You may need to convert space in your home to support the needs of your business (e.g., holding inventory, creating a home office, or storing equipment). The challenge can be doing this without disrupting your life at home.
- You still have to comply with any regulations that pertain to the business you want to start (e.g., you may need to rent a commercial kitchen if you plan to sell food products or a license/permit to hold inventory).
- Your business may outgrow your home and require you to rent additional space and hire employees.
- Working from home offers you a lot of freedom, but it can also be lonely. This might be difficult if you enjoy being around other people.
Home-based business ideas you can start today
1. Buy products in bulk and sell them online
Many businesses center on the simple concept of importing products in bulk and selling them individually for a profit.
Maybe you recently traveled abroad and came across unique products that aren’t readily available in your market, but that you sense an appetite for. Or maybe you’ve zeroed in on a niche market and know the perfect way to serve it.
Either way, if these products are relatively easy to store and ship, you may have some solid home-based business ideas on your hands.
You can even initially use your home as a showroom to sell locally, giving you the option to expand with additional storage space and employees as you validate your easy home business ideas and sales start to ramp up. This is how Artemis Design Co. got its start.
2. Sell homemade products
If you’re a maker yourself (or know someone who is), consider turning that hobby into a business. Hobbies are a perfect source of good business ideas to start from home. Even if you have to create your products elsewhere—in a studio, commercial kitchen, or workshop—you may be able to store and sell them in your own home.
When you have the ability to control nearly every aspect of the products you sell, you can make them more cost- effective, improve their quality, or cater them to a certain audience by targeting demand in the market.
Josh Pigford already had a thriving home based business in a business analytics startup, but wanted to find a way to flex his creative muscles. He started printing succulent planters at home with his 3D printer—and a business was born. Cedar & Sail now carries planters, coasters, and other small desk tchotchkes.
Whether you choose to pursue your good home business ideas on a marketplace like Etsy or build your own branded storefront, selling your creations is a great way to share your passion with others and make money too. Just be wary of regulations concerning products that customers ingest or put on their skin.
3. Start a dropshipping store
So far, we’ve covered ideas to start a business from home that requires you to hold inventory in your home. But there are a variety of online businesses ideas to pursue that don’t involve worrying about inventory and shipping.
These small business ideas from home employ a dropshipping model, where a third party produces, stores, and ships your products on your behalf, leaving marketing and customer service as your chief responsibilities.
Children’s brand Finer & Dandy is an example of a home-based business that uses a drop shipper. Founder Courtney White started the company in search of a way to make money online without spending too much time providing services to customers. That’s when she discovered dropshipping. Now, she wakes up at 4 a.m. every morning to run her dropshipping business before going to her day job.
Your dropshipping supplier can be local or overseas, but you need to ensure you find a supplier you can trust to deliver a consistently great customer experience after the sale if you want to be the best home business. Always do your due diligence or you might put your business’ reputation at risk.
There are even Shopify apps, such as Oberlo, that can connect you with suppliers to import products into your own store while streamlining order fulfillment.
At its core, dropshipping involves becoming a distributor of a third party’s products, taking on the costs (both financial and time-based) of marketing to be rewarded with the margins when you make a sale. In many cases, this can make your products a commodity with limited opportunity to brand your customer experience. Luckily, there are a few different ways you can still compete, even when there’s no shortage of your products in the market you’re selling in:
- Curate products from different suppliers to create a store that serves a specific niche.
- Compete through quality content and customer service, creating value beyond your products.
- Target an underserved region of the world. (Be sure to pay attention to your shipping costs.)
- Target a new audience with the same products (e.g., LED shoes can be marketed to music festival goers or runners).
If you’re interested in learning more about drop shipping for home-based business opportunities, be sure to check out The Ultimate Guide to Dropshipping.
We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.
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