Home Based Business Ideas Gallery

If you're looking for a home-based business, browse this gallery of home based business ideas. Each page of the gallery presents one home based business idea, including the pros and cons of starting such a business and what you need to get your own home-based business started​

Home Based Business Idea: Pooch Couture

why dogs shed, how to reduce dog shedding
Trio Images/Photodisc/Getty Images

Man's best friend has evolved into a stand-in for the human baby, and that translates into fashion opportunities. Take advantage of the dogs' ever-growing popularity and design a line of "pooch couture" to clothe and/or protect our beloved pets. Sweaters, booties, slings to make it easier to carry little dogs around – your line is limited only by your imagination. And don't forget accessories, such as decorated leashes and dog beds.

Another take on this home based business idea is to become a "pooch couture" distributor, selling dog clothing and accessories designed by others through a Web site.

Pros: There are an astonishing number of dogs in the U.S. and Canada. (In 2006, there were 73.9 million owned dogs in the U.S. according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association.) And the trend towards treating pets as children means that people are more willing to spend money on their pets than ever before.

Cons: Like any fashion-related product, your business's success will depend on the popularity of your products. Marketing will be just as important as design.

What You Need to Get Started With This Home Based Business Idea:

  • Creativity and the ability to translate your ideas into practical products.
  • Money for materials.
  • A selection of dogs (and their owners) to help you test the products.

Home Based Business Idea: Search Engine Optimization Services

Home based business idea: Search Engine Optimization.
Good search engine optimization drives higher search result rankings. © Dani Simmonds

While it's true that just about anybody can put up a Web site nowadays not everyone knows how to get people to visit their site. Good or excellent placement in search engines isn't the only thing that determines how many visitors a Web site gets, but it's certainly one of the most important components.

That's where Search Engine Optimization comes in, the art of making Web pages search engine friendly so they have high rankings in search engine result pages. Learn more about SEO with these Search Engine Optimization articles.

Pros: You should be able to work remotely with clients for the most part. There is/will be a growing demand for Search Engine Optimization Services by small businesses as more people realize the importance of Search Engine Optimization but don't have the time or expertise to do it themselves.

Cons: Competition in this area is fierce. It may be difficult to find/establish a clientele if you're a "one person shop".

What You Need to Get Started With This Home Based Business Idea:

  • The expertise to provide the service.
  • A portfolio of Web sites and results that you can show potential clients; start with your own Web site and those of friends to get going.

Home Based Business Idea: Shopping & Errand Services

Home based business idea: Shopping and Errand Services.
A home based business that's a dream come true?. Courtesy Webchicken

In the past, these businesses have focused on people who are just too busy to do their own shopping and/or errands, but a whole new market has developed of people who are incapable of doing these things themselves or just find it a whole lot easier to have someone else do them. There's a growing need for these services by seniors and shut-ins.

As for shopping, the holiday/Christmas season can be a real moneymaker for you – who wouldn't like to turn over their gift list and just have it magically turned into presents by someone else?

Pros: If you love to shop, this home based business could be a dream come true for you.

Cons: You might end up spending a lot of time sitting in traffic; you'll definitely be spending a lot of time driving. That's a pro or a con depending on your point of view.

What You Need to Get Started With This Home Based Business Idea:

  • A good - excellent vehicle.
  • Excellent local knowledge (of routes, shops, etc.)

Home Based Business Idea: Music Instructor

Music instruction can be a home based business.
Music instruction can be a home based business. © Kenn Kiser

If you have the training, offering music instruction can be an extremely satisfying as well as lucrative home-based business, as you get to share your love of music with others. Piano instruction is probably most common, but every instrument has its fans. You might also offer voice lessons.

Pros: The joy of teaching coupled with the pleasure of music.

Cons: Traffic to and from your home and the noise level of the lessons might bother your neighbours. You should certainly check with them first before starting such a business. If this is a problem, you could always give lessons in the clients' homes instead.

What You Need to Get Started With This Home Based Business Idea:

  • Training/certification needed to teach others how to play a particular instrument or instruments.
  • A "dedicated" room in your home where you can receive and teach clients.
  • Adequate parking for clients (that doesn't interfere with or annoy the neighbours).

Home Based Business Idea: Bed and Breakfast

Beds and breakfasts are popular home based businesses.
The ultimate home based business?. © Alex DeClerk

The Bed and Breakfast is the ultimate home-based business for those who want to work at home and can be an ideal business for a husband and wife team.

The first rule of success for the Bed and Breakfast business is the same as the first rule of success for real estate; location, location, location. Your B&B needs to be in a place that people want to go and preferably has more to offer than just a bed and a breakfast. Beach access, nearby skiing, an adjacent national park - people have high expectations for their vacation dollars.

Pros: You get to meet a lot of interesting people.

Cons: The seasonal nature of the business means that you'll probably have to work the hardest during the times you would most like to be off. Keeping up the presentation standards of your home and property consistently can be a strain.

What You Need to Get Started With This Home Based Business Idea:

  • An appropriate property in an appropriate location (which allows Bed and Breakfasts).
  • The ability to be a genial host and cook a good breakfast.
  • Excellent knowledge of local attractions and events.

Home Based Business Idea: Gift Basket Business

Gift baskets can be a home based business.
An example of a gift basket. © Malinda Welte

Gift baskets aren't just being sent by businesses any more – more and more individuals are discovering just how convenient and easy it is to pick one out and have it sent. Being the person creating the gift baskets can be both fun and profitable. Besides selling gift baskets locally, you can also sell them over the Internet, giving you access to a much larger market.

However, gift basket businesses are proliferating, so to succeed at this home-based business, you need to be able to create unique, attractive baskets and deliver them at a reasonable price.

Pros: The gift baskets can be assembled in and shipped directly from your own home.

Cons: This business has periods that are intensely busy (such as the pre-holiday season) so you have to be prepared for these peak periods. Also, any home manufacturing business tends to spill over and take over your home. As this business grows, you may need to move it off-site.

What You Need to Get Started With This Home Based Business Idea:

  • The creativity to create eye-catching, attractive gift baskets.
  • Money for materials/supplies.
  • The skills and/or money to create an attractive, functional ecommerce Web site.

Home Based Business Idea: eBay Business

eBay businesses are popular home based businesses.
One of the many products that you could sell on eBay. © Björn Láczay

Many people are experiencing success with the eBay business model. The concept is simple; you buy or make a particular product/products and then sell them on eBay, either through the eBay auction process or through your own eBay store.

Choosing the right product to sell and creating attractive listings that will get visitors interested in your products are two of the basics of running a successful eBay business. 7 Tips for Selling on eBay gives more information on both these topics and more.

Pros: You can run your eBay business from your own home.

Cons: You have to pay close attention to inventory to ensure that you don't get stuck with a lot of product that doesn't move. And like any home based business that involves products, this one can get away and take over your whole home. Also, the eBay auction process can be addictive!

What You Need to Get Started With This Home Based Business Idea:

  • A product that will sell well online and reliable suppliers of the product.
  • Knowledge of shipping and regulations.
  • Knowledge of eBay and how to market your products on eBay.

Home Based Business Idea: Window Painter

Window painting as a home based business.
A home based business with an artistic flair. © Alexandre Delbos

A painted window can be a real customer draw for a retail storefront, making that business stand out from the others around it and enticing customers to come inside. A pet grooming business, for example, might have a well-groomed happy looking dog and cat painted on its windows.

While window painting can be done at any season as a way to increase signage or make a storefront more unique, the busiest season for window painters is the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. You may be able to increase business throughout the year by also creating/painting murals on inside walls for businesses such as daycares.

Pros: You get to work outside as well as inside and have the pleasure of creating artistic decorations.

Cons: Working outside isn't always pleasant – especially in late fall, which will probably be your busiest season. In most cases, your work is temporary and will be washed away.

What You Need to Get Started With This Home Based Business Idea:

  • The artistic ability to provide the service.
  • Equipment, such as paint and brushes.
  • A portfolio of windows that you've painted to show potential clients. (You can always paint some windows at home and photograph them to get started.)

Home Based Business Idea: Medical Travel Consultant

Medical tourism can be a home based business.
Mix exotic vacations and surgery to create a home based business. © Xavier Chacko

While governments work on cutting surgical wait times, the truth is that we're all getting older and needing more medical services all the time – so waits for various procedures are not going to end any time soon.

In the meantime, some of those who have the money to get their medical needs met in other countries are doing so, finding that not only are the medical services up to snuff in places such as India and Thailand, but that staying in a five star hotel and being near a sandy beach is a very nice way to recuperate. As a medical travel consultant, your job is to find the right places with the right services for your clients and arrange a worry free trip for them.

Pros: The satisfaction of helping people get the medical treatment they need.

Cons: You will need a room suitable for meeting with clients in your home and may have to travel to meet with them face-to-face as well.

What You Need to Get Started With This Home Based Business Idea:

  • Knowledge of medical services and facilities in other countries.
  • Knowledge/skills to put together travel packages for clients.

Home Based Business Idea: Sewing/Alteration Services

Sewing/Alteration services as a home based business.
Turn your sewing skills into a home based business. © David Kinney

Love to sew? Sewing is rapidly becoming one of the lost arts, a fact which you can turn to your advantage if you have the skill. There are many people who don't fit "off the rack" sizes but don't have the skills to make alterations themselves. And then there are the people who know how but don't have the time. Another aspect of this home-based business would be repairing wear and tear injuries, such as broken zippers or rips in garments.

Besides alterations and repairs, you could also create and sew original pieces for those looking for one-of-a-kind fashions or sew to-order projects.

Pros: Sewing is creatively satisfying and you could work at home.

Cons: Parking and noise could both become issues with the neighbours with clients dropping off and picking off projects.

What You Need to Get Started With This Home Based Business Idea:

  • A sewing machine and sewing supplies, such as thread, needles, etc.
  • Advanced sewing skills.
  • A separate, suitable room for greeting and dealing with clients.
  • Suitable parking for clients.

Home Based Business Idea: Public Relations/Marketing Specialist

Being a marketing specialist can be a home based business.
Sell your writing and marketing skills to other businesses. © Kyle Macdonald

If you're a talented writer who has the knack of creating compelling copy and knows how to run an effective marketing campaign, this could be the perfect home based business for you. Small and medium-sized businesses are more willing to invest in public relations and marketing than they used to be. They realize that well written press releases, Web copy, and sales letters translate into more sales.

You might also offer services such as marketing plan development, proposal writing, speech writing, and/or trade show coordination. Another approach is to establish yourself as a marketing specialist for a particular type of professional, such as concentrating on providing public relation services to professional speakers, for instance.

Pros: This can be an exciting, fun business for a writer with a lot of interesting people and different projects to keep your creative juices flowing.

Cons: Besides being a talented writer, you have to be media savvy and extremely organized. It may be difficult to get clients if you focus solely on "micro" businesses. Generally, the smaller the business, the more likely it is to do its own marketing.

What You Need to Get Started With This Home Based Business Idea:

  • Writing talent and experience with/knowledge of different business writing formats (such as press releases, sales letters, proposals, etc.)
  • The ability to market your skills.
  • Excellent organizational abilities.

Home Based Business Idea: Photographer

Being a photographer can be a home based business.
A picture-perfect home based business opportunity?. © Andreas Laubscher

If you love to take pictures and are good at it, this could be the ideal home based business for you. However, like any kind of artistic endeavor, the success of this home based business will depend on your skills. To be truly successful, you will need to make a name for yourself.

It may be easier to do this if you specialize in a particular field, such as wedding, portrait or pet photography. Your marketing abilities will also play a critical role into turning this into a profitable business; selling the photos will be just as important as taking them.

Pros: A great opportunity to "do what you love" as a business.

Cons: The field is highly competitive. The business may be slow to build as getting known takes time.

What You Need to Get Started With This Home Based Business Idea:

  • Suitable cameras and photographic equipment (including a computer and photo editing software if taking digital photos).
  • Photographic skills.
  • A dedicated room to use as a studio for meeting with clients and taking photos.
  • Suitable parking for clients.