11 Proven Home-Based Business Ideas to Try in 2024

I want to start a business but have no idea.

Does this sound like you?

Working from home, setting your hours, being your boss — what’s not to like about owning a home-based business? The possibilities of this 2.9 million business sector are endless.

Maybe you have a skill or talent you want to monetise; perhaps the corporate grind has got you down, and you’re looking for an escape plan; or maybe you just want to supplement your income with a side gig. Whatever your reasons, this guide will walk you through how to start a home business and be your own boss.

11 Best Businesses to Start From Home

Here are some of the most successful small business ideas to start from home:

  • Franchise Recruitment
  • eCommerce Store
  • Freelance Writing
  • Virtual Assistant 
  • Online Tutoring
  • Social Media Management 
  • Graphic Design 
  • Web Design and Development 
  • Baking and Cooking
  • Photography 
  • Crafts and Handmade Goods

Continue reading as we explain more about starting a business at home with these ideas.

1. Franchise Recruitment

If you’re looking for a great business idea, we recommend franchise recruitment as the best business to start online. As a franchise recruiter, you help match candidates with job openings provided by the Recruiter Startup organisation.

All you need is a computer, phone, and a quiet space to work. You’ll go through training to learn the ins and outs of the recruiting process. Then, you can start networking, posting jobs, interviewing applicants, and placing top talent. You don’t need to worry about a business licence and setting up a legal structure for your business since we’ve taken care of that.

The earnings potential is solid. Most franchise recruiters earn £40,000 to £100,000 per year. You get paid for every candidate you place, so the more matches you make, the higher your paycheque.

The flexibility you enjoy as a franchise recruiter is far from what other business structures offer. You set your hours and can work from anywhere. And if you want to take time off for family events or vacations, you have the freedom to do so, too.

The cherry on top is that Recruiter Startup makes it straightforward to get started as a franchise recruiter. Contact us today to get started or learn more about the franchise recruitment structure.

2. eCommerce Store

If you’re looking for how to start a small business at home, dropshipping is the way to go — the industry boasts a 10–20% average success rate. Dropshipping is like an affiliate marketing business where you sell other people’s goods for a profit. All you need is a supplier and an online store.

eCommerce Section Image

Finding Suppliers

With dropshipping, you can easily find suppliers who will ship products directly to your customers on your behalf. All you have to do is build an eCommerce store to sell the products.

Search for dropship suppliers on websites like SaleHoo, Worldwide Brands or AliExpress. Compare prices and quality to find reliable suppliers for the types of products you want to sell. And finally, make sure they offer blind shipping so your customers won’t know the items are coming from a third-party supplier.

Building Your Store

The next step is to create a free store with Shopify, WooCommerce or another eCommerce platform. Add products from your suppliers, set your prices to generate a profit margin, and start promoting your store on social media.

When an order comes in, simply forward the customer’s shipping information to your dropship supplier. They’ll ship the product directly to the customer with your store’s branding, so it looks like it’s coming from you. That way, you keep the profit without having to handle inventory or shipping!

While it requires a steep learning curve and the ability to spot winning products, an eCommerce store is a profitable home business idea when done right.

3. Freelance Writing

Freelance writing is a popular choice for those curious about how to build a business from home. As a freelance writer, you can generate an income by writing for websites, companies, blogs, and more. All you need is a computer, an internet connection, and the ability to write clearly about a variety of topics.

To get started, determine what kind of writing you want to focus on, such as:

  • Blog Posts
  • Website Copy
  • Newsletters
  • Ebooks

To be successful, build your portfolio by writing some samples in your chosen areas. You can then start pitching to potential clients or apply for jobs on websites like Upwork and Fiverr. As your portfolio grows, you can set your rates based on your experience and client feedback. However, fast learning ability and creativity are key to excelling in this career.

4. Virtual Assistant

If you’re curious about how to start a business online, one viable option to consider is a virtual assistant position. This is a service based business where you provide administrative assistance to busy entrepreneurs and small business owners remotely. This job allows you to leverage your organisational and communication skills to help keep a business running smoothly.

A Virtual Assistant

Some of the tasks you may perform as a virtual assistant include:

  • Answering emails and scheduling appointments
  • Data entry and customer service
  • Researching topics and aiding in decision-making
  • Managing calendars, travel arrangements, and expenses

To get started as a virtual assistant, start by determining your areas of expertise and the types of businesses you want to work with. Next, build a professional website to establish your online presence and credibility.

You can find new clients through online job boards, social media, and your personal and professional networks. Securing your first job may make it easier to land additional roles, given your experience. Still, note that this is a competitive niche, and you must know how to pitch yourself to potential employers to be successful.

5. Online Tutoring

Online tutoring is one of the best small business ideas if you have experience teaching a particular subject. All you need is a computer, webcam, and Internet connection to get started.

Websites like Tutor House, Fleet Tutors, and Superprof allow you to create a profile, set your rates, and connect with students online. You can tutor a wide range of primary and secondary-level subjects, including mathematics, science, English, and foreign languages; you can also coordinate test prep sessions. These platforms handle payment processing and scheduling to simplify things for you.

The key is finding a subject you’re passionate about and skilled at explaining to others. While a degree or certification in the field isn’t always required, your experience and effectiveness as a tutor will determine your success and ability to build a strong student base. If you have a teaching background or enjoy mentoring others, online tutoring could be an ideal home-based business for you.

6. Social Media Management

If you’re seeking the best business to start with little money from home, consider managing social media accounts for organisations. As a social media manager, you handle posting and engagement on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Two important aspects of managing social media accounts are building an audience and staying up-to-date.

Building an Audience

The first step is helping companies build their social following. You’ll create posting schedules, suggest content ideas, and engage with followers. Start by determining the company’s target audience and goals. Then, develop a content marketing strategy to achieve them, which may include:

  • Posting industry news and tips
  • Sharing behind-the-scenes photos
  • Running contests and giveaways
  • Promoting products and services

Once you build an audience, you need to keep them engaged by responding to comments and messages promptly. Also, post regularly and consistently, monitoring what resonates with followers. You can then make minor tweaks to continually optimise the company’s social strategy.

Staying Up-to-Date

As social media platforms evolve, you must keep your skills and knowledge fresh. Stay on top of new features, algorithms, and best practices. Help companies take advantage of the latest social tools to connect with customers in innovative ways.

Managing social media accounts is a job you can do remotely on your schedule. If you have a knack for social networking and community building, it may be an ideal work-from-home opportunity for you. Build up a portfolio of successful clients, and you’ll establish yourself as an authority in this growing field.

7. Graphic Design

Graphic design is a popular home-based business idea that allows you to tap into your creative skills. As a graphic designer, you can create logos, website designs, print materials like business cards or flyers, mobile app designs, and more for clients.

To get started as a freelance graphic designer, you’ll need some basic equipment like a computer, design software such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, and possibly a drawing tablet. Build up your portfolio by designing mockups for fictional companies or nonprofit organisations to demonstrate your skills. You can then promote your services on websites like Upwork, Fiverr, or 99Designs to find new clients.

Graphic design is a flexible home business venture that can be done part-time or full-time. With hard work and persistence, you can build up a successful freelance design practice. Let your creativity shine through in every project, and the work you produce will speak for itself.

8. Web Design and Development

If you have skills in web design and development, you can easily turn that into a home-based business. Many small businesses and entrepreneurs need help building a website and maintaining an online presence.

Web Development Section Image

As a web designer, you can offer services like:

  • Designing and developing custom websites
  • Updating and improving existing websites
  • Building eCommerce sites for selling products online
  • Optimising websites to improve search ranking

To get started, set up a website to showcase your services and previous work — consider starting off with a Squarespace website template and tweak as needed. You’ll also want to build a strong portfolio of live websites you’ve created. Promote your business through social media, online freelancing websites, and your local business community.

As a web developer, you can offer more technical services like:

  • Writing code in languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • Developing interactive features and user experiences
  • Integrating payment platforms and secure checkouts for eCommerce sites
  • Troubleshooting website errors and performance issues

While more demanding than the recruitment franchise option, working as a web pro from home also offers a lot of flexibility and independence. If you have a knack for design or programming, use your skills to help other businesses establish an online presence and open up a world of possibilities.

9. Baking and Cooking

If you love baking and cooking, consider starting a home-based bakery or catering business. With social media, you can easily sell your goods online from platforms like Instagram or Facebook.

Baking

Offer homemade baked goods like cookies, cakes, breads or other treats. Develop your recipes or put a unique spin on classics.

Start by selling to friends and family and at local events to build your customer base. Then, create a social media presence to reach more people and take online orders. Keep costs low by baking in your kitchen and delivering locally or shipping nationwide.

Catering

Provide catering services for special events like weddings, parties or corporate functions. Consider focusing on a specific cuisine or theme to set yourself apart.

Build a portfolio by catering for smaller get-togethers for friends and family at first. Set up a website to showcase photos of your work and services. You can then reach new clients through social media, promotions and word-of-mouth. Remember to keep overhead costs in check by using your kitchen and hiring temporary staff as needed.

Catering and baking from home have low startup costs but require time and patience to grow. Start on nights and weekends while keeping your day job. Then, expand as demand increases. Play to your strengths, keep quality and service high, use social media to your advantage, and watch your home-based cooking or baking business rise!

10. Photography

If you have a talent for capturing stunning images, consider starting a small home business off your skills. With the latest high-tech cameras and editing software, you can get professional results without a studio.

Here are lucrative options to consider alongside helpful tips:

  • Offer portrait photography for families, children, and seniors pictures. You can do location shoots at local parks, schools, or in clients’ homes.
  • Wedding and event photography is also in high demand. Build a portfolio by offering discounted or free services to gain experience.
  • Sell stock photos on sites like Shutterstock, iStock, and Alamy. Capture a wide range of subjects like nature, food, lifestyle, and landscapes. The more photos you have, the higher your passive income potential.
  • You can also sell framed prints and canvas gallery wraps of your best shots on your website or at local craft fairs.
  • Some photographers charge by the hour for services, while others charge per photo or photo package. Determine competitive rates in your area and keep your costs low since you’ll be working from home.

With some dedication and skill, you can turn your love of photography into a successful business. Start building your portfolio, create a website to showcase your work, set your rates, and market your services on social media and to local clients. In time, word-of-mouth and great reviews from happy clients can help establish you as a go-to photographer in your area.

11. Crafts and Handmade Goods

If you have a hobby making crafts or handmade goods, consider turning it into a home-based business. Sell your wares on social media, at local craft fairs, or open an online store.

Some popular handmade goods include:

  • Jewellery: Make necklaces, bracelets, rings or earrings to sell. All you need are some crafting supplies and gemstones or beads.
  • Clothing and Accessories: Knit scarves, sew quilts or bags, or paint custom t-shirts. People love unique, handcrafted clothing and accessories.
  • Home Decor: Create dream catchers, candles, pottery, wreaths, or wall art to sell. Home decor is always in demand, and you can create a niche for yourself in this industry.
  • Toys: Make stuffed animals, dolls, building blocks, board books or other toys for children.
  • Bath & Body Products: Whip up lotions, bath bombs, soaps, bubble baths or bath salts. All-natural bath and body products are a big market to take advantage of.
  • Stationery: Design greeting cards, gift wraps, notebooks or other stationery products featuring your art or graphics. Personalised stationery is a great gift option.

The key is finding what you’re good at making and passionate about. Afterwards, you can build up an inventory, set up attractive product listings with photos on social media or your website, and start getting the word out to potential customers.

However, having great online business ideas doesn’t guarantee success; you still need to validate them before launching.

How to Validate Your Home Business Idea Before Launching

Before you invest too much time and money into launching your home-based business idea, it’s important to ensure it’ll resonate with your target customers.

Follow these steps to test your business concept:

1. Survey your audience.

Unlike recruitment, which is an in-demand service, most business ideas may not have potential customers in your market. Create a simple survey to gauge interest in your potential product or service. Ask questions to determine if there’s demand, how much people would be willing to pay, what specific solutions or features they need, etc.

2. Build a landing page.

Set up a basic one-page website explaining your new business, idea and concept. Include an email signup form to capture contacts of interested visitors. Drive traffic to the page through social media ads or organic posts to see how many signups you get. Lots of signups indicate strong interest.

3. Conduct customer interviews.

Reach out to people in your target audience and set up short phone calls to discuss your idea. Explain the concept, share any materials you have, and get their honest feedback about what they like or don’t like and how you can improve.

4. Make a prototype.

For a physical product, create a basic prototype. Show it to potential customers, either online by sharing photos and videos or in person. Gauge their reactions and ask if they would actually buy it. Be open to making changes based on the feedback.

Following these validation techniques will give you the data and insight you need to determine if your home business idea has real potential before dedicating too many resources to it. Once you’ve determined a strong interest, the next step is crafting a robust business plan.

Note: Going forward, we’ll tailor the information provided to the franchise recruitment business idea.

Creating a Business Plan for Your Home-Based Venture

A solid business plan is essential to start a business at home. It’s a roadmap documenting your business goals and your paths to achieving them.

Business Plan Section Image

Here are 3 key aspects to consider when writing a business plan for your home-based recruitment business:

1. Target Market

Who are your ideal clients?

To set up a solid business structure, focus on industries that lend themselves well to remote work, like tech, sales, and customer service. Also, consider the experience level and salary range of candidates you want to place. Defining your target market will help guide your marketing and sales efforts.

2. Services

As a franchise recruiter, will you focus solely on permanent placements or also offer temp-to-hire and contract positions?

Catering to a range of options opens you up to more potential clients and candidates. Also, determine if you’ll handle things like background checks, skills assessments, or onboarding for your clients. The more comprehensive your services, the more valuable you’ll be.

3. Marketing

Use social media to connect with potential clients and candidates, tailoring your content to your areas of expertise and the types of roles you fill. Consider search ads to increase visibility. Word-of-mouth and networking also play a big part in selling your recruitment services, so work with your existing contacts and look for ways to get involved in relevant industry groups.

With a well-defined marketing and sales plan, you’ll be poised to hit the ground running. But be willing to adapt as needed to find what works. The good news is that Recruiter Startup has done most of the heavy lifting, and all you need to create your own business entity is the willingness to grow. Contact us now for more information on how to get started.

Now that you have a solid business plan and strategy, your next focus should be setting up your home business office.

Setting Up Your Home Office: 5 Equipment and Tools You’ll Need

To set up your home-based franchise recruiting business, you’ll need some essential equipment and tools, including:

1. Computer

When setting up a home business, the most important tool is a reliable computer, like a PC or Mac. You’ll use it for communication, research, and running the recruiting software provided by Recruiter Startup.

2. High-Speed Internet

A stable Internet connection is a must-have. Look for a minimum of 10 to 25 Mbps to facilitate smooth video calls and software running.

3. Headset

Invest in a high-quality headset, ideally with a microphone. This will make phone and video calls with candidates much easier. Noise-cancelling headphones are best if you live with others.

4. Phone

Have a dedicated business phone number, either a landline or cell phone. Let candidates know the best number to reach you during business hours. You may want to set up call forwarding to send calls to your cell when away from your desk to avoid losing potential clients.

5. Video Camera

For video calls, a high-definition webcam is useful. Look for one with at least 1080p resolution and autofocus feature. It will allow you to connect face-to-face with candidates from a distance.

With these essential tools in place, you’ll be ready to start your home-based franchise recruitment business. However, one issue prevalent among home business owners is poor work-life balance and time management. Let’s explore how to avoid these roadblocks while working from home below.

Managing Your Schedule & Work-Life Balance as a Solopreneur

As a solopreneur setting up home business, it’s easy to let work take over your life — up to 29% of home business owners struggle to maintain a proper work-life balance. Without a dedicated office to leave at the end of the day, the lines between work and personal time can get blurred. To avoid burnout and maintain a healthy work-life balance, you need to be disciplined in managing your schedule.

Consider the following tips to effectively separate work from personal time:

1. Set business hours.

Establish standard business hours for yourself and stick to them. For example, you may decide to work Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. When your workday is done, shut down your computer and avoid checking emails until the next day. Make time for exercise, hobbies, socialising, and relaxing. Having dedicated non-work hours will help recharge you for the next day.

2. Take regular breaks.

It’s important to take short breaks between work sessions, say every 90 minutes. Step away from your desk, stretch your legs, or do some light exercise; longer breaks, like going out for lunch or coffee with a friend, are also important. Working longer hours doesn’t necessarily imply increased productive, so make out time for yourself.

3. Leave your office.

At the end of your workday, leave your home office or dedicated workspace. Go to another area of your home to relax, exercise or spend time with family. Physically, leaving the space where you work during non-business hours will help you establish boundaries and “turn off” your work mindset.

4. Make time for holidays.

One of the benefits of being self-employed is flexibility; you should strive to take advantage of it to avoid getting overly stressed out. Plan holidays and stick to them as you would with any other job. A well-rested and recharged solopreneur often translates into a more effective and productive mind.

Managing your time and maintaining a work-life balance as an entrepreneur working from home requires discipline. Making your mental and physical health a priority gives you the energy and motivation to grow your business. However, that’s not all to setting up a home-based business; there’s one last important topic to discuss — managing your finances.

5 Tips for Managing Finances & Accounting for Your Home-Based Company

A surprising 82% of businesses fail due to poor cash flow. To avoid this, it’s important to pay attention to the financial aspects of your home-based business; this will help you set it up for continual success and sustainability.

Consider the following tips to ensure proper monetary management in your home-based business:

1. Keep detailed records.

Maintaining meticulous records of all business-related financial projections, transactions, invoices, receipts, payments, and expenses is essential. Our accounting software allows you to easily log all financial activity to generate reports on your business’s fiscal health and performance. You can also create a separate business bank account and business credit card for accountability. Keeping good records will make it much easier to file tax returns.

2. Set a budget.

Creating an operating budget for your business expenses will help ensure you stay within budget and keep costs under control.

Determine and separate your personal and business finances. Factor in essential expenses like supplies, marketing, transportation, and utilities. Stick to your budget by reviewing reports regularly and making adjustments as needed. A reasonable budget will increase the chances of your business staying profitable.

3. Pay yourself a salary.

People often get engrossed in the process of deciding how to start a small home business and tend to overlook the idea of receiving a salary. However, a salary is a great way to reward yourself for all the hard work you’re putting in.

Set a salary for yourself just like you would for any employee. Pay yourself a consistent amount on a regular basis, whether monthly, quarterly or annually. Your salary is a business expense, so be sure to account for it in your budget and records.

4. Manage taxes.

You’ll need to pay estimated quarterly taxes on your business’s earnings. Our software can help you track your income, making it easy for you to calculate how much you owe to avoid potential penalties. We’ll also take care of any business licences, permits or certifications required in your city or state and renew them annually. This will ensure you meet all your tax obligations and compliance properly.

5. Review reports regularly.

Log in to your account regularly to check on your business’s financial health. Look at reports on income, expenses, cash flow, accounts receivable, and profit and loss, making any necessary adjustments to stay on track. Monitoring your business’s finances consistently is key to its stability and success.

With good financial management, you can build the next successful home business. Contact us at Recruiter Startup today to get started on launching your home-based recruitment business.

Frequently Asked Questions

What business can I run from home?

You can run various businesses from home, such as franchise recruitment, freelance writing, professional photography, etc. These online-based businesses can be profitable and also offer the flexibility to work from the comfort of your own home.

What is the most lucrative home-based business?

Franchise recruitment is one of the most lucrative home business ideas, with potential earnings of £40K to £100K per year — our testimonials speak for themselves. Other profitable business ideas include launching an eCommerce store and offering web design and development services.

Is it illegal to run a business from home in the UK?

Running a business from home in the UK is not illegal, but you may need permission from your landlord or mortgage provider. Also, contact your local planning office if you plan on making significant changes to your home. Lastly, consult your local council if you need business insurance or plan or plan on advertising outside your home or doing lots of deliveries.

What is the cheapest home business to start?

One of the cheapest home businesses to start is social media management. Alternatively, if you’re tech-savvy, becoming a franchisee recruiter can be affordable, with a monthly cost of only £825. This investment can set you up for an annual earning of £40,000 to £100,000.

Conclusion

We hope our list of 11 home-based business ideas provides enough inspiration to help you kickstart your business. The opportunities are endless if you have the motivation and determination. It’s time to stop making excuses and take action to launch a thriving home business. Consider joining Recruiter Startup as a franchise recruiter today; contact us for more information.

Daniel has an operations background and has been working in the Recruitment and Payroll sector for over 15 years. Daniel started with Additional Resources in 2010, now managing Business Operations, IT, and Contractor services.

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