What up, Jeremy here.
You’re here to get the best home based business ideas.
Also, be sure to check out my other rankings as well:
I love those “coolest office” articles out there lol.
The coolest offices in the world? Come on. I can assure you from experience that the beaches of Brazil, a coffee shop that reeks like a terrible Sundance film, or the comfort of your home—these are the coolest offices in the world.
Thanks to the thriving digital economy, you can work where you want and how you want. And don’t think for a second you have to trade bank for the luxury. I’m a true digital nomad, and I make a lot more money than most traditional office-goers.
This post will help you get there, too.
PART 1: ranks the top 25 home-based businesses
PART 2: takes a closer look at home-based business trends
So, let’s dive in. Using potential income, projected growth, scalability, and, of course, fun, here are the top 25 home-based businesses:
25. Virtual meditation guru
Don’t laugh. I’m serious. If you want to get in on the ground floor of a booming industry, then meditation is a good place to be. In 2015, the industry raked in over $1 billion (1). That doesn’t even include mindfulness apps and wearable tech, which are proliferating faster than the number of Angelina Jolie’s children.
Looking at the surge of public interest, it’s not hard to see why.
Here’s a graph showing the interest over time of the Google search: “YouTube Meditation.” There’s no doubt the public craves virtual meditation guidance.
But unless someone lives in a big market, the opportunities for learning meditation are scarce. But you could supply that demand—virtually—with no training required. Just make sure you study meditation in its various forms, believe in its benefits, and master a calm, smooth voice. The last thing you wanna do is come off as some online bamboozler.
The potential income is unlimited. Why? The business is crazy scalable. Start with a guided meditations YouTube channel and individual appointments via Skype. Once you have a following, create a virtual ashram and hire on other teachers, taking a cut of their earnings. Maybe there’s even a mindfulness app in your future. The founder of the virtual meditation empire, Headspace, went from broke to bling in a few short years (2).
24. Graphic designer
If meditation’s not for you, but you’re still looking for something uber chill, you may want to check out graphic design.
There’s some training involved. You’ll need to learn software like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, but if you’ve got innate talent, you could make a killing creating logos, websites, collateral or advertisements.
One word of caution: earning potential has suffered thanks to wholesale cloudwork sites like UpWork and Freelancer, mainly populated by hack designers from South Asia who charge pennies on the dollar. But if you’re a Poindexter with pixels, you can still live large.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows graphic designers at the top of their game can earn about $78K a year and up (3).
23. Massage therapist
If you don’t mind kneading nude strangers—maybe you even enjoy it!—massage can be a profitable home business. The $12.1 billion industry is projected to grow even more at the rate of 3.6% a year (4).
You do need to be certified, but massage therapists can charge an average of $68 an hour and up (5). And there’s plenty of room to expand. Yuppy pet owners want their fur-bearing friends lose and loving life, too, and the pet massage industry is expected to boom a full 15% in the next five or so years (6).
22. Software or web developer
If $160K a year sounds good, start a home business as a developer (7).
Behind all the apps, websites, and software we love are baller code writers, and they can work anywhere with a good wireless connection and plentiful source of caffeine. Virtual collaboration tools like Slack, Github, and Basecamp make it easy to work with a remote team.
Some say, “Code is the new literacy.” Whether they’re right or not, the potential to turn code into cash is killer right now.
21. Personal concierge
What’s the scarcest commodity in today’s fast-paced world? Time. People are time poor, and those with the means will pay almost anything to get just a little more of it. That’s where a personal concierge steps in. But you’ll have to be stellar at building and maintaining a valuable personal network.
A personal concierge is more than a personal assistant, and the difference is in connections. An assistant’s job is to save their boss time, too, but ask an everyday assistant to get reservations at Talulah’s Table or to book last-minute a villa in St. Barth’s, and they’ll be useless. But a concierge who’s developed a priceless personal network—well, that’s a different story.
And priceless is the operative word. Depending on what you and your network can wrangle, the earning potential is boundless.
20. App designer
Just five years ago, worldwide mobile app downloads were 2.52 billion. By next year, they’re expected to break 268 billion (9). This is a fast-growing industry, and if you have the technical know-how (remember code is the new literacy?), then you’d do well to climb onboard.
Doing so is likely to thicken your wallet. Mobile app designers make up to about $100K a year in base pay, and the bonuses and profit sharing can be huge (10).
19. Pet sitting and grooming
Talk about juicy! Demand for pet care providers is nuclear. In the next three years alone, the industry is expected to break $92 billion in sales (11).
With a passion for pets and a little ingenuity, you can hustle some real cash.
It’s easy to run a pet care business from your home, but if you want to retire early, consider growing with a grooming truck. They’re all the rage right now.
18. Video game tester
When you’re talking about home-based dream businesses, testing video games has got to be on the list. But it’s a lot harder than you’d expect.
You won’t be sitting around all day smoking doobies in your pajamas and playing your favorite games. That’s not a business; that’s heaven. You will be playing cool games, but the catch is, you don’t get to play them like a normal person.
Instead, you play them according to specific tests. For example, all fighting games go through “matrix testing,” where you have to fight every character against every other character on every stage to make sure they’re no bugs.
But, dang! You’re still playing games for a living, right? Well, game companies know that. So the pay for this gig is luke warm. Lead testers average $58K a year (12).
17. On-demand property renter
Did you think on-demand rental platforms were limited to Airbnb and vacation houses? You thought wrong. You can build a business around renting almost anything. Cars, boats, tools, RVs, and even parking spaces—they’re all fair game.
Here’s a list of sites to help you.
Like most entrepreneurial businesses, you’re only limited by your willingness to work (you’ll have to do a lot of online marketing) and the schwag you have to rent. Some Airbnb hosts, for example, make more than $10 grand a week (13)!
16. Clutter consultant
Consumers are looking to max out on minimalism. We all know about the hoarding reality shows, but that’s the extreme. The truth is, tons of regular folks are tired of living in a sh*t storm, and professional organizers—or “clutter consultants”—are in high demand.
The job is just like it sounds: you help people minimize material chaos and maximize space. Imagine a personal trainer for “stuff.” Clutter consultants analyze client’s lives, possessions, and environments and help curb the disorder. And the pay ain’t bad: clutter consultants can bill $90 per hour or more (14).
Thinking bigger? Good! With the advent of mass virtual reality and 360-degree video, it’s possible to work with clutter clients six time zones away. Now that’s scale.
15. Specialist photographer
I know. I say photographer, and you think of the scraggly dude who takes pictures of kids with Santa at the mall. I’m not trying to bust any balls—just truth talking. But take it from me, not all photographers are broke. In fact, some specialist photographers rake it in.
What do I mean by “specialist?” I mean don’t be a jack-of-all-trades; be a master of one. Be a wedding photographer, or an executive headshot photographer, or a pet photographer—not all of the above. This kind of focus is the only way to develop a competitive edge.
You’ll need to do some cramming on how to attract customers, and I don’t mean a cheesy Instagram account. Create a blog, foster community partnerships, and build a killer digital portfolio.
If you do, you can earn upwards of $90K a year (15).
14. Party planner
I know a truckload of wedding and event planners that run their businesses from home. They kill it, financially, and their gig is pretty darn fun. I mean, who doesn’t like parties?
They do exactly what you’d imagine: manage all elements of an event from choosing and procuring locations, to transportation, entertainment, food, and drinks, and the list goes on.
13. Network marketer
Okay. I’m not oblivious to the irony here. Yes, this blog takes jabs at network marketing every chance it gets, but network marketing is still a lot better than pretty much any 9-to-5 grind. Plus, network marketing is perfectly suited for a home business.
Here’s what to do:
1) Find a product-based MLM. Make sure you’ll be peddling a product you already use regularly, this way you can preach its value from first-hand experience.
2) Use the Internet (display ads, blogging, social media, partnerships) to draw in customers.
Don’t rely on 3-way calls with your up-level sponsor. That’s tasteless. And don’t try to get family and friends to drink the Kool-Aid. That’s shameless. And don’t you dare go hitting up well-dressed marks at the Super Target. That’s tasteless and shameless.
Be clever. Be innovative. And be aware. This business isn’t for everyone. But it beats some flaccid office job any day. In the last two years, this blog and our private coaching offering have proven that.
12. Interior designer
I know a bunch of interior designers. All of them have an incredible sense of inborn style. Most of them run their businesses from home. A handful of them drives Bentley’s, always flies first class, and lives in the fattest houses I’ve ever seen.
Interior designers (not decorators—they hate that word) do just that: they design interiors. From selecting furniture, artwork, materials, and colors, to executing layout design and sometimes even architecture, interior design can be surprisingly exciting.
But it’s not easy. You don’t need formal training, per se, but you do need impeccable taste, and that can’t be learned. Plus, the big money is with wealthy clients and commercial design (restaurants, offices, etc.), and high-dollar, high-stress projects like that can take their toll.
But the business has a relatively low cost of entry, and while the average designer pulls down about $48K a year, if you’re good and know how to play the part, the income potential is endless.
11. Landscape designer or architect
For outdoor lovers, there’s probably no better home-based business than landscaping.
Landscape design is the art of selecting and arranging features of a yard or garden. Landscape architecture, however, involves creating large public spaces and making sure they work with things like big buildings or roads.
Like interior designers, the top-tier pay comes with the big, commercial projects. Generally, landscape designers and architects average around $55K a year (17), but for those who love nature, the joy of the work can far exceed the benefits of the salary, anyway.
10. Personal chef
Love to cook? Good at it, too? This home-based business may be the one for you.
A personal chef—unlike a private chef, who serves one client full-time—handles multiple clients and delivers meals that can be stored and consumed at the client’s leisure. There’s virtually no start-up cost, and personal chefs can make between $200 and $500 on average per day.
9. Online teacher
Talk about disruption. The digital economy is changing the landscape of education forever. I don’t have to tell you about the swarm of colleges and universities moving toward tele-education—you’ve seen all the online courses—and it’s only getting trendier.
From grad school to kindergarten, the opportunities to teach from the comfort of your home are endless. One warning, though: online or in class, the pay for teachers is abysmal at best. K-12 online teachers average about $40K per year; online college professors average around $60k (18), (19). But remember, that’s for only three-quarters of the year. Summers off? That’s hard to beat.
8. YouTube personality
If you can trend-spot and have a sixth sense about what’s going to go viral, then you can clean up as a YouTube personality. Marketers call them “influencers,” but whatever you call them, video makers who can amass a big following can also amass a big payday.
The concept is simple. It’s just like TV. The more popular a TV show, the more expensive it is to advertise during it. The more popular a YouTube channel… well, you get it.
This is, however, a business of feast or famine. But if you can crush it and go viral, then you can cash in. Felix Kjellberg, the top YouTube earner of 2016 so far and creator of the channel PewDiePie, has around 47 million subscribers, racks up roughly 3 million views a day, and pulls down about $1 million a month from ad revenue alone (20).
7. Video producer
YouTube’s CBO made waves when he declared that by 2020, 90% of all Internet traffic would be video. He undershot! Cisco projects by 2019, the 90% mark will be breached (21). The point is video is f’ing huge, and if you’re creative and good at project management, video production is a home-based business with killer potential returns.
So what does a producer do? Everything. You oversee the development of the script, manage the budget and schedule, cast the actors, hire the screenwriter and director—basically nurse the video creation process from beginning to end. It’s hard work, but it pays well, too. The average salary of a video producer is around $86K (22).
6. Personal stylist
Think a career in fashion requires a 212 area code? Wrong. Folks everywhere from Montecito to Manila are looking for good advice on what to wear. And thanks to the digital economy, you can biz dev and service clients with little more than a knack for trends, a flair for fashion, and an iPhone.
The U.S. average for a personal stylist is up to around $81K (23), but be warned: you better be sick with style. This isn’t something you can fake, and the great clients will spot an impassionate poser from terabytes away.
5. Yoga instructor
You can’t pee without hitting a yoga studio these days. The trend is undeniable. From Bikram to vinyasa, clothed to nude, yoga is an industry that continues to grow at a break-neck pace. But as the studios become more and more crowded, workaday yogis are looking for a boutique feel. That’s where you come in.
Certification is relatively cheap, and all you need is some space at home to lay out the mats. You can go digital on your downward dog, too. Start a yoga YouTube channel to promote your business and earn a little ad revenue. The demand is there.
4. Freelance content writer
Want to ride a money wave? Providing quality content is one way to do it. Of all the internet-centric businesses on this list, content writing may be the one in highest demand. Why?
Content marketing makes companies big bucks. There’s no getting around that. But notice earlier I said quality content. There’s plenty of crappy content out there. In fact, finding good content has been a huge challenge for building out my own companies, so I know.
If you have a talent for storytelling and can write well, you might want to give this a try. It can be stressful (crazy deadlines), and it’s sometimes dull (can you give me 3,000 words on health care reconciliation software?), but after you’ve built a reputation, you get to write more of what you want, and the pay is pretty darn good.
You can bill $5,000+ for some long-form content or $200 an hour teaching brands how to tell their stories. Thanks to the price-skewering gig platforms I mentioned earlier, most content writers average anywhere between about $30 and $70 an hour (24).
In #4, we saw one way to monetize internet content. Blogging is another way. A blogger—short for “Web logger”—creates content, too, but unlike a freelance writer who sells that content one-off, a blogger uses content to accumulate a following, then sells the resulting leads to brands and the eyeballs to advertisers.
You’ll need to have a good understanding of all types of content from written posts to video to social media, and you’ll need to have a gift for knowing what makes content “go viral.”
It’s tough, I know. But if you pull it off, it can be a cash cow. Some top blogs earn over $100 grand a month (25).
2. Social strategy consultant
Is your Facebook page on fire with likes and shares? Do your tweets top feeds? If you have a gift for social media, you can bring in big bread with this home-based business.
It’s not enough for companies to merely reach consumers these days. Companies have to engage with consumers—talk to them not at them. That’s where the social media strategy consultant comes in.
It’s not complicated. You advise companies on the types of posts and platforms to best achieve their goals. In some cases, you may even manage a company’s social profiles. In either case, demand is booming:
The pay is nothing to sneeze at, either. In the U.S., social strategists bring in an average of $102K annually.
1. Local lead-provider
Okay. We’re down to number one. And while every home-based business on this list is an amaze-balls option for killing the office grind, not every option is right for everyone. So, here’s the truth: if someone I cared about said to me, “Forget this top 25 BS… tell me what you think the best home-based business of 2017 is…
(and I wouldn’t hesitate)
“”Online lead generation.”
Don’t judge. My answer would have nothing to do with the fact that local internet leads are my business, too. Facts are facts, and when it comes to automation, scalability, and earning potential, you’re not gonna find a better home-based gig.
I My digital $$$ comes in two ways:
1) Building blogs that bank on affiliate sales and partnerships (like this blog, as HuffPost reported)
2) websites I lease to local lead-seekers.
Leasing sites to local businesses is the cream because it’s like taking candy from a baby. There’s no competition!
So how can you start leasing sites?
Step 1) Build a website. Obvious, I know, but you can’t create just any site. Local is the name of the game, so you’ll want to develop a site optimized for catching local leads. One example might be a website about pet apparel for folks in Miami.
(Miami spends more on pet threads than any other city) (26).
Step 2) Sell the leads to local businesses per acquisition (you get a cut of each sale you refer) or per lead (a set fee for each lead).
The cost per acquisition (CPA) model is the easiest to sell. No business worth its salt says no to leads they only pay for when the lead pans out.
It’s common sense. Marketing isn’t as simple as it used to be, and few businesses have time to market while they’re out there peddling pet clothes, or water bongs, or whatever.
This trend ain’t going anywhere, either. Think about it: there are over 19,000 cities and towns in the U.S. alone (27). Multiply that by an infinite number of niche industries, and you’ve got a never-saturated market.
And believe me, it works. I’ve can’t count the number of people in our private coaching group that have successfully killed their day jobs with this home-based boon.
Part 2: Home Based Business Trends
Do you know what Apple, Ford, Mary Kay, and Hershey’s have in common? That’s right. All businesses that started at home. Today, more than half of all U.S. businesses are home-based (28). And while they don’t all end up like Apple, a lot of them are doing pretty darn well.
Here’s the skinny. At the time of the last census there were:
- over 30,000 million-dollar home-based businesses run by solopreneurs;
- over 200,000 with sales between $500K and $999K;
- and over 400,000 day job killers raking in $250-$499 grand a year from home.
Smart entrepreneurs are taking advantage, and not just for the cash. In fact, studies show that working from home decreases stress and increases productivity, creativity, and most importantly, happiness.
45% of home-based workers say they love what they do; only 25% of office jockeys say the same (29).
Home-based professionals enjoy a 70% increase in productivity (30).
Those that do business from home eat better by 42% and sleep better by 45% (31).
And when it comes to the mainstays of successful entrepreneurism, studies (which are scarce) show that home-based businesspeople are up to 20% more creative and innovative (32).
One last thing: If you’re still on the fence about giving up the office grind, I understand. It’s a daunting thing to risk the (perceived) security of a 9 to 5 gig for the chance at a home-based homerun. But I believe you can make the right choice by answering one, simple question:
Am I professionally fulfilled right now? Or, in other words, does my office job make me happy?
If the answer is yes, great. Keep crushing it.
But if the answer is no, chances are you’re not making the choice at all. Fear is. And living fearful isn’t living. I think I can help.