Renting commercial real estate, commuting to an office, or managing employees might be things on your mind if you plan to own and operate a business. Using this guide, you will learn how to start a small business from home step-by-step.

Start a home business: pros and cons

A home-based business is a venture that you can start and run from your own home, whether it’s a full-time gig or a side hustle. There are a few home-based businesses that can even be run on the go, especially if you are selling online and do not hold a lot of inventory.

When deciding whether to start a home-based business, there are obviously pros and cons to consider.


  • The overhead costs of a small business (such as warehousing fees) are lower, and you can potentially claim tax deductions.
  • Products and services can be sold locally or internationally.
  • It is ideal for stay-at-home parents and retirees, for example, to have a flexible work-life balance.
  • A family business can be created in which your spouse or relatives can participate as needed.


  • If you run a business out of your home, you may need to convert space (e.g., to store inventory, to create an office, or to store equipment). It can be difficult to maintain your home life if you do not disrupt it.
  • To start a business, you will still have to follow any regulations that pertain to it (e.g., a commercial kitchen if you intend to sell food, a business license/permit to store inventory, etc.).
  • In some cases, your business may outgrow your home and you will need to hire employees and rent additional space.
  • You can experience a lot of freedom when you work from home, but you can also feel lonely at times. If you like being around people, you might find this difficult.

You can start a home business in a variety of ways, but here are some of the most practical ways to make it profitable.

  1. Buy bulk liquidation products and sell them online
  2. Sell homemade products
  3. Start a drop shipping store
  4. Start a print-on-demand business
  5. Offer online services
  6. Productize your service or expertise
  7. Buy an existing ecommerce business
  8. Turn your pet into an influencer
  9. Sell unwanted items
  10. Play video games
  11. Become a virtual event planner
  12. Start an affiliate marketing business
  13. Start a daycare
  14. Sell stuff on online marketplaces
  15. Become a social media manager
  16. Become a virtual personal trainer
  17. Offer bookkeeping services
  18. Start a dog grooming business

Buy bulk liquidation products and sell them online

A common business model is to import products in bulk and sell them individually for a profit.

You might have discovered unique products while traveling abroad that aren’t readily available in your market but that you feel there is a market for. Perhaps you have pinpointed a niche market and know how to serve it.

In either case, if the products are reasonably easy to store and ship, then you may have a good idea for a home business. 

Initially, you can even sell locally from your home, expanding with additional storage space and employees as your idea validates and sales ramp up. Start sourcing bulk liquidation lots on today!

Sell homemade products 

Consider turning your hobby (or the hobby of someone you know) into a business if you are a maker. It may be possible for you to store and sell your products even if you have to create them elsewhere-in a studio, commercial kitchen, or workshop. It is possible to become more cost-effective, improve the quality, or cater your products to a particular audience by targeting market demand when you have the ability to control nearly every aspect of your products.

Create a drop shipping business

Until now, we’ve only covered home-based business ideas that require inventory. You can still pursue a variety of online business ideas without having to worry about inventory and shipping. You are left with sole responsibility for marketing and customer service in these drop shipping businesses, where a third party produces, stores, and ships your products for you. You can find a drop shipping supplier locally or overseas, but make sure you choose someone you can trust to deliver consistently great customer service after the sale. Your business’ reputation may be at risk if you fail to do your due diligence. Essentially, drop shipping involves becoming a distributor of another company’s product and taking on the marketing costs (both financial and time-based) in exchange for a percentage of the sale.

As a result, your products can become commodities with little opportunity to differentiate the customer experience. When there’s no shortage of your products in the market you’re selling in, there are a few different ways you can still compete:

  • Build a store that serves a specific niche by curating products from different suppliers.
  • Create value beyond your products by creating quality content and good customer service.
  • Be aware of shipping costs when targeting an underserved region.
  • Using the same product, target a new audience (e.g., Lighting Fixtures can be marketed to remodelers or home builders).

Print-on-demand businesses operate similarly to drop shippers, in that they don’t require you to hold inventory or ship anything yourself. You can even customize white label products with your own creative designs with print-on-demand. Depending on the supplier you choose, you can sell books, hats, backpacks, blankets, pillows, mugs, shoes, hoodies, phone cases, watches, and more. Most print-on-demand companies specialize in a niche or, better yet, share a common identity. Where do people find inspiration and pride in sharing what they love? Would you like to share your thoughts? There are endless passionate communities in which you can create products, ranging from pet owners and vegans to gamers and everyone in between. A designer can create their own designs if they have the skills. In the event that you do not have the skills, you can always hire someone to fill the gap.

Offer online services

In fact, starting a business selling services at home is even easier than selling products, but the challenge is allocating your limited time. Running a service-based business is a perfect example of “time is money“.

A creative professional like a designer or marketer might freelance or consult with another company, juggling multiple clients from their own home office with occasional travel. The services of others may be offered directly to individuals based on appointments and bookings.

Here are some ideas for service-based home businesses:

  • Freelance writing
  • Virtual assistance
  • Marketing
  • Designing
  • SEO Consulting

You may need to network and seek referrals from others to find suitable clients for your service-based business, but satisfied clients are likely to continue to do business with you in the future.

So, unlike a product-based business, you don’t necessarily need a lot of customers to succeed. Working from home full-time can be feasible with a handful of high-quality clients, depending on the service you offer.

Productize your service or expertise

In order to grow your business, you can “productize” your service by creating physical or digital products that package up your expertise and streamline or complement the service you offer. Alternatively, you can reach out to a new market in the same area as your current customer base.  

You can add the following products to your own business:

  • Courses
  • Designs
  • Licensable assets (stock footage, photos, music, etc.)
  • Downloadable reports
  • Digital templates
  • Merchandise
  • Ebooks

These ideas are mostly based on digital media packaged as products, which means you don’t have to store inventory. 

Buy an existing e-commerce company

Consider buying an established e-commerce business if you’re more interested in generating income from home or on the go.

In addition to the total revenue generated, profit potential, assets available (such as email lists or social followings), inventory, etc., prices vary greatly. You may even be instructed on how to run a seller’s store by them.


Turn your pet into an influencer

Social media is flooded with pet influencers promoting brands and inspiring thousands of likes. Working with brands to promote their products online could be possible if you have a pet of your own. Is there no pet in your house? Provide pet care for other people. Using apps like Rover, pet sitting, and dog walking has become a part of the sharing economy. A valuation of $232 billion was placed on the pet care industry in 2020. Offering pet owners a place to drop off their animals when they head out of town is a good way to make money from home.

Sell unwanted items

Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important issue for consumers as they become more environmentally conscious. Just in the US, the resale clothing industry is worth $4 billion. Selling your unwanted clothing on sites like Poshmark and Mercari is a great way to start your own home-based business. The Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist are also good options.

Play video games

In spite of the fact that many people think video games are a waste of time, it is actually a profitable hobby. Sitting on your couch and watching TV is the epitome of home-based. 

Through platforms like Twitch, gamers can gain notoriety-and eventually money-through esports and video game streaming. A Twitch streamer can get up to 100,000 viewers at a time, and the esports industry alone is worth more than $1.5 billion. 

What is the best way to monetize this? Starting a home-based competitive gaming business through sponsorships is one of the best ways to get started. Playing their games and streaming them to your audience will be paid for by companies. 

Sell NFTs

There has been a lot of buzzes lately about non-fungible tokens as a lucrative business you can start from home. You can make money from home by creating and selling NFTs if you have artistic skills or know someone who does. Start by familiarizing yourself with the minting process. It is important for you to have a basic understanding of how cryptocurrency and blockchain technology work. As a result, you’ll be able to easily create NFTs to sell on marketplaces like OpenSea, SuperRare

Become a virtual event planner

To achieve success with your first customers, you’ll need to become familiar with virtual event platforms such as Hopin, Cvent, or Whova. Instagram can be used to illustrate how businesses like Virtual Events Creator market their services. 

Selling your virtual planning services as toolkits can add an additional revenue stream as your virtual planning business grows and your skills improve. 

Create an affiliate marketing business

Having digital marketing skills makes affiliate marketing a profitable and unique business idea. Platforms that allow affiliate links give product affiliates a lot of opportunities to make money. There are many places to find products to be affiliated with, including ShareASale, RewardsStyle, and LikeToKnowIt. You’ll need to get creative when it comes to deciding on an affiliate link that may be shared through Instagram Stories by some businesses. However, others may choose to create websites with valuable content that contains affiliate links. Another option is to use affiliate pins on Pinterest. Once you have created and pinned your affiliate pins to your boards, the more likely you are to earn commissions. There are regulations specific to the affiliate industry. You need to publicly disclose that you’re a partner with that brand if you want to make money through affiliate links. Affiliates are subject to FTC regulations.

Start a daycare

There will never be a shortage of reliable day care. Consider opening a daycare business if you are good with children. There are currently over 50 billion dollars in revenue generated by the day care industry, and this number is only expected to increase in the coming years. Even if you’re starting your day care from home, you’ll need to pay some startup costs. There is equipment to consider and paperwork to complete. In spite of this, child care can be extremely expensive. As you win your first few recurring customers, you can earn a steady stream of income by offering local parents an affordable yet quality alternative. To open a daycare that’s compliant with your local regulations, it’s important to ask: How do you do it? There are child care licensing requirements, background checks, and training requirements to consider. You can avoid being shut down and stay compliant by researching your local state’s requirements for offering child care.

Sell stuff on marketplaces

There are many platforms where you can sell stuff for a profit, such as Amazon, eBay, Etsy, OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace, and Bonanza. In our definition of “stuff”, we mean anything that is in demand and has the potential to generate revenue.

One of the easiest ways to start an at-home business is to flip items on online marketplaces. Start by familiarizing yourself with each platform’s seller regulations so your seller account stays in good standing. In order to find higher-value items, you can recruit contractors to hunt garage sales and thrift stores. 

Become a social media manager

With the advent of social media platforms, a new job title has emerged: social media manager. This line of work doesn’t require you to work for an agency. 

Sprout Social, Hootsuite, or Buffer are social media management tools you can use from home to start your own business. Landing your first customer is the hardest part of starting a service-based business. Share your social media services with your network. Promote your expertise on social media platforms such as YouTube and Instagram to attract customers. Generally, social media managers earn around $70,000 a year. Earning potential can exceed that when you are your own boss. 

Become a virtual personal trainer

Due to rising obesity trends, personal training has become a $12.9 billion industry. Creating a virtual personal training business may be a good idea as disposable income increases following the pandemic.

You can provide virtual personal training classes once you acquire knowledge or certifications in the field. Many established providers offer courses that can help you become a certified personal trainer. Once you have some certification to support your services, you can market your service packages to clients interested in getting fit from home. 

Offer bookkeeping services

You can start an at-home bookkeeping business if you’re good with numbers. You can learn how to land your first customer for free with resources like this YouTube guide from a bookkeeper who started her business from home. 

Three general steps can be taken to start a home bookkeeping business:

  • Marketing your services
  • Generating return customers

There is an average salary of $45,000 for a bookkeeper in the United States. By increasing your rates and building your clientele, you can earn more as a freelance bookkeeper. Creating an LLC or limited liability company is the first step to this process. Don’t miss any steps along the way by bookmarking our in-depth guide on starting an LLC

Start a dog grooming business

In case you have space in your home to set up a grooming station, consider offering dog grooming services. With a market size of over $10 billion, busy pet owners will always need grooming services. You don’t have to start big with a dog grooming business. To find your first few customers, you can leverage your network. You probably know a couple of pet owners who would benefit from your services. Consider offering a lower rate for your first few customers in exchange for testimonials and word-of-mouth referrals. 

Decide which small business idea will work best for you at home

Depending on your goals, you can start a small business at home in a number of ways. Would you rather earn a part-time income as a stay-at-home mom or become a full-time entrepreneur? How much capital do you have to start up? What skills are already in your arsenal that you can tap into? Today, home-based businesses are merely remote-friendly businesses where technology can help you, your suppliers, employees, and customers communicate widely. As a whole, this is a terrific home business opportunity to grow and invest nimbly, especially if you are able to avoid the cost of renting an office. Creating a successful at-home business requires you to think carefully about your goals and what you enjoy doing.


Is your business already established? and ready to source bulk liquidation to fuel your business get started now by registering