Home > Business & Entrepreneurship > 31 Legitimate & Profitable Home Based Business Ideas (for 2017)
With an increasing desire for many to escape the rat race and work from home, many people are trying to start a home-based business.
Working from home not only offers independence and freedom but there are also some great home-based business tax deductions as well.
As I sit and write this, I am reminded of the years I spent in jobs that I didn’t like and am now so thankful that I get to work from home and do something I love.
If you are longing for that situation, I encourage you to work to figure out what it is that you would love to be doing and keep at it until you reach that goal.
For my business (blogging here at SeedTime) it took a long time before I started making any money blogging. let alone enough to pay the bills each month. I didn’t really know anything when I started and still feel like I do a whole lot more wrong than right, but the one thing I have had going for me is that I have been persistent.
Great ideas and business degrees only go so far. It is persistence and determination that, I believe, are the true sources of success for most businesses.
I put together a list of legitimate home-based business opportunities below.
But they are just ideas – hopefully they will spark some inspiration, but you have to apply all the diligence and hard work to turn it into something.
Starting a Home-Based Business
Even though I wasn’t making very much at the time, when I got laid off in 2008 I was very happy that I had started a side business that was another source of income. Even if you don’t have aspirations of working full-time from home, having a little supplemental income would be nice – wouldn’t it?
Below are a bunch of home-based business ideas that you can peruse to see if any would work for you.
Oh, and also as an aside, I am defining a home-based business as one that can be run from home, not necessarily a business that you would work from home all the time.
Top Home-Based Business Ideas
1 Turn your blog into a business
I guess we should start with the one that I am MOST familiar with. I have been making a full-time living blogging for almost 10 years now, and it isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, but it can definitely make you some money.
If you are interested I am hosting a FREE 45-minute online workshop where I teach the 3 most important keys to making a full-time living blogging .
Additionally, I actually wrote a short book that explains how I replaced my day-job with my blog – and even though it sells for $5 on Amazon, you can get it FREE here .
The book covers the basics of getting started as well as how to get traffic and how to earn from it as well.
2 Sell a product online
A friend of mine had a baby and didn’t like the style/design of any of the baby products at the stores, so she started making her own. After getting some compliments, she realized that she could turn her idea into a business that she could run from home (with the babies).
She just created an online store and sold all of her products via her website. If you aren’t creating your own product you can always find a product to dropship – that way you don’t have to store any inventory in your home.
3 Start a woodworking business
Do you love woodworking? Even without a huge workshop, you can create some of the more popular crafts and sell them. And like most things, your success in business isn’t necessarily related to how skilled you are as a woodworker. So if you can figure out which products consumers want and just create those, you could have a good business plan. and farmers’ markets are a great place to start selling.
4 Driving for Uber
So, have you ever thought to drive for Uber ?
Depending on your city you can make over $20/hour all while having 100% control of your schedule.
If you don’t know what Uber is, basically it is the 21st century version of the taxi. You just use your own car and when someone near you wants a ride you get a notification on your phone (assuming you selected that you were available in the app) you go pick them up and drop them off where they want to go and then you automatically get paid.
5 Freelance writing
Since I started blogging, I have seen the freelance market explode. There is a huge demand for content and so there are a lot of ways to make money writing it. Jonathan wrote a great article about a few legitimate work from home jobs – most of which were freelance writing.
6 Goodwill/Garage sale reseller
There are a lot of items that can be purchased very inexpensively at garage sales or thrift stores and sold for higher prices elsewhere. A few years ago I discovered that I could purchase good hardcover books at my local thrift shop for $1 or less. I realized that some of them could be sold on for $15-$20, which turns out to be a pretty decent profit. Find and sell enough items and you have a fun home business.
7 Build Websites for Small Businesses
I feel like I have people ask me to build them a website all the time. If you can just learn how to use WordPress you can be off to the races with a business like this.
8 Ebay Business
Several years ago I started an Ebay business kind of as an experiment, just to see if it were something I could do if I needed cash.
I wrote step-by-step instructions about starting an Ebay business if you are interested. Ebay is a pretty crowded market, but it still is one of the most popular home-based businesses.
9 Home Inspector
This one will require certification, find out more about getting certified here .
10 Real Estate Agent
This one isn’t technically a home-based business, but with the flexibility it allows you would be able to likely do a lot of work from home. Find out about getting your real estate license .
11 Tutoring Students
What subjects do you have a good working knowledge of? Math, Science, History, Baseball, Soccer? Parents will often pay to see Johnnie or Sally excel at _______. If you can help, then it sounds like a business.
12 Start a Christmas Light Hanging business
If you aren’t afraid of heights and can handle being out in the cold, this is a pretty great business opp. Some people earn a full-year’s salary just hanging lights for 2 months each year.
13 Car Mechanic
Do you know how difficult it is to find a good and trustworthy mechanic? Maybe it is just me, but I feel like I have had way too many experiences with mechanics not be truthful with me that I would gladly pay more and give all my business to an honest one. If you know your way around a car and have a few tools, this could be a great business idea for you.
14 Mobile Oil Changes
Building off the previous idea, what if you offered a service where you came to the customer’s house and changed the oil in the street? I would pay to do that – and would be willing to pay more since I didn’t even have to do anything but make a phone call.
15 Rent out your home on AirBNB
AirBNB is a site that allows you to rent out your home to other people who may just want to visit where you live.
You can rent it out as little or as much as you want and can list it to rent by the night, week, or month. They offer a $1,000,000 guarantee to protect you from any kind of property damage that was caused by renters.
They also have a renter rating system, so you can choose whether or not you want to rent it out to a particular renter.
If you have a spare bedroom or guesthouse, it could be a great way to turn it into some easy money.
16 Wedding Planning
Isn’t this every girls dream? People will always be getting married, so in theory they will always need wedding planners. If you love all-things-weddings and can handle the pressure from the brides, this might be a fun one.
17 Medical claims billing
This industry is one of the most popular work-from-home businesses. You can find training courses online at places like
18 Start a Daycare
If you love kids and are uniquely gifted with a lot of patience, you could always start a home-based daycare.
19 Handy-man service
If you are handy, there are lots of little old ladies who are willing to pay someone to do odd jobs around the house. There are even franchise opportunities available with certain companies.
20 Lawn Care
Don’t forget good ‘ol lawncare or landscaping. As we become more and more acquainted to the air-conditioned lifestyle more people are going to want to pay someone to do landscaping. If you like to sweat this one may be for you.
Because I am just a little bit techie, I get asked to video record weddings all the time. If video or photography are up your alley, starting a wedding photography business could be a great idea for you. If doing weddings aren’t your thing, there are other ways you can make money as a photographer as well.
22 Virtual Assistant
Virtual Assistants are just like a secretary in another part of the world. This industry is growing very quickly. Check this out to find out more about being a virtual assistant. For opportunities, go to this site and search for “virtual assistant”.
23 Window Cleaning Business
A lot of businesses (and homeowners) need windows cleaned. If you are not afraid of heights, cleaning windows could be a decent side or full-time gig.
24Litter Removal Business
One of our readers sent this suggestion in and it looks like a great home business opportunity, especially if keeping your community clean is important to you! Check out Cleanlots to learn more!
A few years ago I started making my own beeswax candles – because they were so stinking expensive to buy. In the process of learning, I found that there are a lot of people who use candle-making as a home business. You can sell to your products online at places like or .
26 Massage Therapy
“The massage therapy business has been growing by leaps and bounds in the last decade, tripling in volume. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, it should grow by an additional 20% through 2016, meaning this home business has strong potential for growth. And, because all in-home massage services are necessarily local in nature, it’s work that can’t be outsourced to another country.”
27 Clean Business Offices
A lot of small businesses need people to clean their offices and this is a business that you can start with a very small investment. For more information check out this guide (I haven’t tried).
28 Professional Pooper Scooper
Maybe not the most glamorous work, but in recent years I have seen many dog waste removal companies pop up, so there must be some money to be made.
29 Senior Care Services
More and more seniors are wanting to avoid nursing homes in lieu of staying in their own homes. Offering non-medical home care by assisting the elderly with regular daily tasks could be rewarding and profitable.
30 House Cleaning
I have known a few women carved out a flexible home-based business by cleaning homes. You probably already have the skills you need, now you just need to get the word out.
31 Teach English (or other Language) Classes Online
Did you know that English speakers are in high demand in Asia? As a result many are turning to freelance English teachers using websites like . The site is basically a virtual online classroom for freelance teachers and students. Anyone can offer lessons (and set their own price) and anyone can take lessons.
From a quick scan, it looks like making $15-20/hour is a fair expectation.
Need more home-based business ideas?
Here are a few more articles with even more ideas and opportunities…
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Good ideas, I like numbers 2, 3, and 6 personally. I think in addition to persistence and determination, creating a successful home-based business also takes courage. It can be a scary proposition to quit your day job to go it alone. I always admire people who make this move, and I think that in general they are all the more happy for it. There is not doubt, though, that you have to go for it 100% in order to make it happen!
Bob, thanks for the reminder that it takes lots of persistence and determination to build a good blog. I definitely agree that it takes much mental energy.
But you really still feel like you’re doing more wrong than right? I find that interesting…
Darren the more I learn, the more I realize that I have so much to learn. At the beginning I knew I had a lot to learn, and I have learned a lot, but as I have moved further along my eyes have been opened to things that I couldn’t understand at the beginning. Anyway, it is a good thing that there is always room to grow.
Any ideas for me? Am disabled physically/mentally …I had a side job stuffing envelopes..My boss was so thrilled with me and my partner he fired a bunch of workers as we could pull off the bulk of his work!…We got paid well when the economy went upside down we noticed our pay decreased but still made enough to pay 3 house bills. Since about 6 months ago my boss I think lost his house …I remeber his last visit he was so stressed saying he almost had 2 foreclose emergencies:(
This is a man who on our first envelope job bought us our furnace gas heater by paying us upfront half the money he would have topay when the job was done. He was so concerned we had no heat he paid us before we even started writing out the envelopes…I felt so bad to see when I called him 2 months ago someone answered it but was not him or his family. I fear he lost his home:( If he hasn’t we would still be in the back of his mind for envelope work knowing we are his people to get the job done.
I have done approximately over 7 thousand envelopes for one job in less than a month…thats with writing the addresses on envelopes folding the car ads and sealing them and placing them by zip code into mail buckets.
Well I am in tears I cannot find any more work like this and tho this was a legit man and not off the internet I am sure that someone somewhere would love to have me do their work for them.
Not only do I enjoy it but my handwriting is superb and every name on list is done no cheating and my partner too was having a good time doing them.
I have searched the internet for such a job and all I see are scams and this kind of work is my best asset…Not only am I productive and accurate but it is a fun job and one I can handle well.
Can you recommend anyone that would be interested in me …I work with my hubby side by side doing these envelopes and we never let anyone down. The pay is cheap but because we both are so good at it and want to do it we never complain because by the time we are done with the job we have done so many it pays well enough for us.
I would really llove some input on this Unfortunately I cannot do any physical labor that requires a lot but i have sat for up 24/7 doing these envelopes on occasion and it was well worth my time even when my back and body gave out I would go take my breaks and back to it!
Sincerely Donna Brummer…. [email protected] ….Lake City Florida
This good Christian Woman is desperate for more stuffing envelope work to help pay our bills again.
This is Tim Ferris doctrine here. Find a niche, find 1,000 passionate customers, and boom, you can get it done from anywhere in the world. Location-independent. That is why, me, personally, I dig the e-commmerce oriented sites. That’s just me though.
One of the easier ways to start a business is by consulting/freelancing, since a consulting business has:
–>low start-up costs,
–>high hourly pay rate, and
–>you likely already have the expertise to get started.
I’ve found that fear often stops aspiring consultants from starting a consulting business–or any business–and on my blog, I talk about how to overcome those fears. I also talk about practical, concrete things you can do to start and run a successful consulting business, along with tools, tips, tricks, and techniques for automating your business and keeping costs to a minimum. The info I give is applicable to most other types of businesses as well.
One of the neat things about becoming a consultant is that you DON’T need a pile of cash to start a consulting business. For example, you can create a professional website for under $100–typically in an evening (I have a free ebook that shows you exactly how to do this, even if you’re not a techie).
I started my consulting business over 4 years ago as a part-time way to make extra cash, and it’s grown into my full-time endeavor, where I’ve quadrupled my income, and have much more flexibility. My wife no longer has to work, and we’ve both been able to be involved in our kids school–which neither of us could do when we were employees.
November 12, 2011