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25 Best Non-MLM Home-Based Business Ideas

I make money on some of the products and services I mention on Thinking Frugal through affiliate relationships. I never endorse a product or service unless I believe it will benefit my readers.

Starting a home-based business can be a great way to work from home and be able to set your own schedule.

And I don’t mean by joining a multi-level marketing or direct sales company. Those are NOT small businesses, and when you join one, you are NOT a small business owner. All you’re doing is paying to become a commissioned sales representative and sell some large company’s products.

I’m talking about starting a REAL home-based business – one where you are actually in charge of the pricing, the products, and everything else.

The businesses I have listed here have a relatively low start-up cost. I didn’t mention things like a hair salon because that takes special training, and it also takes having to remodel a room in your home to accommodate sinks and equipment.

Instead, I only mentioned home-based businesses for which you don’t need a lot of special training and are typically easy for anyone to start.

While you’ll probably have to make some type of investment to start a business, most of these require very little, if any, money to start.

Tips for Getting Started on Your Business

Before starting your business, there are a few things you’ll need to do. First, you’ll need to determine what interests you and what skills you have. If you hate to cook, then a catering business probably won’t work for you. It’s important for you to do something that you like.

Next, you’ll need to contact your local city, county, and state governments to find out if you need any type of business license. You’ll also need to find out if there are any sales tax requirements and if you need to be insured. 

If you aren’t sure who to contact, reach out to your local courthouse, and they should be able to direct you. 

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Best Home-Based Business Ideas

Babysitting Business

If you love children, you can offer babysitting services to other moms or parents who work. You can either go to their home or babysit in your home.

According to Sittercity, the average hourly pay for a babysitter is $17 per hour with $1 to $2 additional per each child.

Virtual Assistant Business

If you have any general administrative skills, you can easily start your own virtual assistant business. A virtual assistant’s skills can be managing social media accounts, content writing, live chat support, email management, or any other administrative tasks.

Small business owners, bloggers, and executives will pay a virtual assistant to help them with tasks they don’t have time to do themselves.

If you’d like to learn more about starting your own VA business, you can sign up for a really inexpensive mini-course here.

Freelance Photography Business

You don’t need to be a professional photographer with years of college to make money with photography. Many amateur photographers are very gifted and can easily start a home-based photography business.

You can photograph events like weddings, graduations, or parties. Or, you can start a stock photography subscription business or even do both.

Cratejoy is an excellent option if you’re interested in a photography subscription business and selling your photographs. You can go here to sign up.

Bookkeeping Business

Help new and small business owners keep track of their revenue and expenses.

If you have any prior accounting or bookkeeping experience, then why not put it to good use and start an at-home bookkeeping business?

If you need help starting a home-based bookkeeping business, you can sign up for a detailed course by going here.

Tutoring Business

As long as there are students, there will always be a need for tutors. If you are proficient in any subject, you can easily start a home-based tutoring business.

Tutoring can be done in person, either at your home or the student’s home, or it can be done online via video. 

To find clients, you can contact your local schools and put ads on Craigslist or social media. 

Virtual Receptionist Business

If you are skilled in customer service, answering basic questions, and taking messages, then why not offer virtual receptionist services?

Many small businesses could use the help of a virtual receptionist to answer after-hours telephone calls and take messages.

Have some inexpensive business cards made, or make flyers and hand them out to local small businesses to start getting clients.

Resume Writing Business

You can help job seekers tweak or re-write their resumes and cover letters if you are an excellent writer. Professional resume writing services charge anywhere from $400 to $1000 per resume.

Advertise your services at local job fairs, community colleges, and employment offices.

Laundry Business

Start a home-based laundry service. Wash, dry, fold, and hang laundry for others. Many busy professionals will pay someone to do their laundry. And, if you can pick it up and drop it off for an extra fee, you’ll be more in demand.

If you need some experience first, sign up with Laundry Care to become a provider. Learn how it’s done, then start your own laundry service.

Personal Errand Business

Many people could use help from time to time with errands. Whether they’re a busy professional, a single mom, or a business owner.

It could be anything from grocery shopping to picking up dry cleaning; you can easily offer errand services for a fee.

If you aren’t sure where to start, you can sign up with TaskRabbit and start finding people who need errands run for them, and build your list of clients. 

Pet Sitting Business

Pet sitting has gotten extremely popular over the last several years. Many people don’t like leaving their pets alone when they go to work.

If you have the space, you can offer pet sitting services in your home

And, as long they all get along, you can look after more than one pet at a time. 

If you don’t have the space, you can offer to pet sit at the client’s home.

Rover offers a great way to find clients, and it’s free to join.

Cooking, Baking, and Catering Business

If you love to cook and bake, then why not get paid to do it? You can easily start a catering service and cater weddings, parties, and other events. Or, you can start an at-home baking business and sell to local businesses and shops.

You can also be paid to cook by hosting events with Eatwith

ESL Teaching Business

ESL teachers teach English to students who can’t speak English. While many companies like VipKid require you to have a college degree to teach them, you don’t need a college degree to start your own business teaching English. 

You just need to obtain a teaching certificate such as a TESL, TEFL, or TESOL, and you can easily teach English to children (or adults) in your community or online. You take a free TEFL class online by going here.

Camping Rental Business  

Do you have some acreage or unused land with views or nice creek running through it? If the answer is yes, you can rent it out to campers wanting unique camping experiences. You can sign up with Hipcamp as a host, and they do all the work with booking it for you.

Printables Business

If you’re creative and like to craft, you can make pintables on Canva and sell them on Etsy. Pintables can include anything from calendars to kids’ coloring pages to budget planners.

If you aren’t sure how to make printables and would like to learn, you can sign up for a class by going here. I’ve personally taken this class, and it’s very affordable and easy to follow. 

Subscription Box Business

I’m sure you’ve heard of Ipsy. It’s a subscription makeup and glam business. But did you know you can easily start your very own subscription box business? Well, you can. Cratejoy is a fantastic platform for anyone wanting to start a subscription business.

Things that can be sold through a subscription business include baking boxes, homemade soaps, homemade candles, coffee, preserves, wine, and many other things.

To sign up with Cratejoy, you can go here

Freelance Writing Business

If you love to write, you can easily start your own freelance writing business. You can write eBooks to sell on Amazon, or you can offer content writing services to bloggers.

You can find writing gigs by joining blogging groups on Facebook, or you can find hundreds of freelance gigs on ProBlogger.  

Call Center Business 

If you’re skilled at customer service and enjoy talking to people, you can start your own call center services company. Both Arise and Great Virtual Works offer platforms for independent business owners to start their own small call centers.

Both of these platforms allow you to work when you want, and neither requires much experience. They have both telephone and live chat clients for you to choose from.

Dog Walking Business

A lot of people are now paying others to walk their dogs while they’re at work or away. If you’d like to start a dog walking business in your community, you can advertise your services through Nextdoor.  

You can also find dog-walking gigs in your area through apps like GigWalk and TaskRabbit and start building your clientele. 

Homemade Soap Business

If you enjoy crafting, then making and selling soaps from home is a great side business. You can sell your homemade soaps through local businesses in your community, at your local flea market, or on Esty. Or you can open your own Shopify store.

If you’d like to learn to make homemade soaps, you can go here for a step-by-step guide. 

Room Rental or Vacation Rental Business

If you live in an area that is popular with tourists, renting out a spare room in your house can bring in good money. Many travelers would much rather rent a room or private home while on vacation than stay in a hotel.

You can use Airbnb to rent out a room or VRBO to rent out your entire home.

Cleaning Business

Cleaning businesses are extremely inexpensive to start. All you need are the basic cleaning supplies, along with a broom, mop, and vacuum cleaner, which most of us already have.

Most clients hire cleaning businesses for ongoing services, so the more clients you get, the more money you’ll make.

Another option, depending on where you live, is cleaning vacation rentals. 

You can also join TaskRabbit to find people needing their homes or offices cleaned.

Retail Craft Business

No matter what kind of crafting you enjoy, there’s a place on Etsy to sell it. You can sell literally hundreds of crafts like candles, jewelry, glitter pens, tee shirts, mugs, hair bows, and wall art.

If you can craft it, you can sell it!

Rental Business

We live in the on-demand and tiny houses age, and many people don’t have the space to store things. So when they need to use something, it’s easier for them to rent it.

You can easily start a home-based business renting out things you own, from cars, boats, baby equipment, and everything in between.

Rentah allows you to rent out almost anything you own to people looking to use it.

Create and Sell Classes

We’re all good at something, and you can create classes on just about anything. How to cook something, how to craft something, how to fix something, there are always people looking for information on how to do something.

Teachable is an online platform where you can easily create your class to sell to others wanting to learn.

Design and Sell Merch

If you love designing tee shirts, mugs, or hoodies, Printify and Printful are online print-on-demand platforms where you can create your merch to sell.

After you’ve created what you want, you can sell it on EtsyShopify, or your own website.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Home-Based Business Ideas

If you’re still trying to decide which home business idea is best for you, here are a few frequently asked questions and answers.

What Are the Most Successful and Profitable Home-Based Businesses?

There are many home-based business ideas, such as the ones you see on this list. The key to success is to target people who would benefit from your product or service. If you do that and work hard, you can succeed no matter what type of business you choose.

However, some home-based businesses bring in more money than others. Bookkeepers, for example, earn more than the median wage for workers.

What Is the Easiest Home-Based Business to Start?

Think about your skills. If you used to be a teacher, it would be easy for you to start a business tutoring students. Or, if you used to work at a veterinarian’s office, consider pet sitting or dog walking.

Final Thoughts on Starting a Home-Based Business

There are literally hundreds of different home-based business ideas and these are only a few. Hopefully, this will give you some insight into the different types of businesses you can start.

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