11 Legitimate Home Based Business Ideas

Want to work from home but aren’t sure what you should do? This list of 11 home business ideas is a great place to start.

Dreaming about starting a home business? Getting a little tired of the rush hour commute to and from work? 

Maybe you simply want the “freedom” of working at home where you can have more flexibility and, most days, don’t have to go through the morning routine of a nice outfit, makeup, etc.

Nearly any job can become a work from home position or a home business thanks to technology. If you have marketable skills and a computer at home, there are many home businesses you can start with little or no money. 

1. Virtual Assistant ($15 to $100+ per hour)

Virtual Assistants may answer e-mails on behalf of their client, handle reports, or other office duties. Higher paid VAs may take on tasks like social media campaign management, accounting, human resources, or nearly anything else. You could work as a VA or start a business placing VAs with the right clients. Zip Recruiter puts the national average hourly rate for virtual assistants at $23, and the national annual earnings at $48,099. The amount of money you can make will depend on your location, the nature of your customers and your skills and experience. 

2. Translator ($61,625 per year)

Are you bilingual or know more than a couple of languages? Even better, are you a strong English speaker but live in a non-English speaking country? Translators are in high demand but if you live in a country and understand how local cultures and customs affect the language, you’re likely to find a lot of work. As a freelancer based in the US, if you land enough business to work full time you can make between $42,000 and 101,000 a year according to Glassdoor. They report the average annual earnings are $61,625.

3. Website Designer ($50,000 to 100,000+ per year)

Everybody wants a website but many don’t know how to make it happen. If you have skills in graphic design and basic programming, starting a web design company could be well advised. Websitebuilderexpert.com notes that web designers charge between $50 and $80 an hour.  the web Start with small businesses that you can service on your own. As you get larger and hire people to work for you, go after the larger clients. (Learn more: How to Start a Web Design Business) How much money you’ll be able to make a year will depend on your skills, the ability to sell your services, the size of your clients and your location. If your skill level is high and you can bring in a lot of business, your earnings can be significant. If you’re working alone, your earnings will be limited by your time as well as your skillset. 

4. Virtual Tutor ($18 to $30 an hour)

Education is no longer all about sitting in a classroom listening to a teacher in the front of the room deliver a lecture. Now, students learn online, too.

Online tutors function just like a face-to-face tutor except that students watch and interact with the tutor from a computer or mobile device. Because they don’t have to travel, online tutors have the potential for higher revenue than traditional tutors who may travel to a student’s home or to a learning center. The amount of money you can make as an online tutor will depend on the number of hours a week you work.

5.  Career and Skills Training (varies, but can be lucrative)

If you know how to do something that other people want to learn how to do, you can make money teaching courses online.  Unlike tutoring, creating and selling online courses doesn’t require you to tailor your instruction to a particular individual’s needs. Instead, you create a video or other training course once and then sell it over and over again to anyone that wants to learn what you’re teaching. How much money can you make? Some online instructors make $5,000 to $10,000 a month from their courses. Others make next to nothing. How much you will make will depend on factors such as where you sell your courses, how many people want to learn what you’re teaching, how good the content is and how good you are at getting people to find and buy your courses.  

6. Freelance Writer ($26,000 to $75,000 per year)

The Internet is in constant need of content and that’s why freelance writers are often in high demand. According to figures published by Zip Recruiter, freelance writers make between $26,000 and $75,000 a year. The national average income works out to $63,213. (Learn more: How to Make Money as a Writer). 

7. Consultant (Salary Varies)

If you’re an established expert in a certain field, consider becoming an independent consultant. Maybe you’re an expert in digital marketing after spending years running ad campaigns for major clients. Or you know the science behind designing a retail floor plan for maximum profitability. Salary is dependent on the nature of the consulting but as your client base grows, expect to earn more than when you were working for an employer. (Learn more: Start a Consulting Business)

8. Pet Sitting ($39,000 per year)

If you love animals, this home-based business is perfect. Pet sitting doesn’t necessarily mean you’re with the animal 24/7. Pet sitters may have 5-10 homes each day to check (or more depending on the market.). The job includes being on 24-hour call and a lot of driving but if you’re ok with that, it’s the perfect job for an animal lover. Indeed.com reports that the average earnings for a pet sitter are $39,025. The amount you can make will vary, however, by your area and the number of pet sitting jobs you take on.

9. Repair Service (Salary Varies)

Everybody has a lot of “stuff” and that stuff often needs fixing. Refrigerators, dishwashers, dryers, cell phones, cars, computers, you name it. If it costs more to replace than to repair once or twice—and you can fix it—you have a winning business. Run your business from your home or make yourself more valuable by going to the customer. Salary varies widely based on the type of item being repaired. Many places in the US Northeast $75 an hour or more and charge a minimum fee of $75 to show up at a customer’s home or business.

10. Bookkeeper ($45,000 per year and up)

A well-trained VA can take on entry-level bookkeeping tasks but small business owners may not want to worry about the accounting side of their business. Home-based bookkeepers service smaller clients that don’t require a large accounting staff. Depending on whose figures you look at, the hourly fee freelance bookkeepers charge ranges from $18 to $50 or more. The higher rates would go to those who perform more than entry-level bookkeeping.

11. Daycare ($55,000 per year)

Homes with both parents working are a fact of life for about 47% of two-parent families. Statistics like these are why daycare businesses are in high demand. You will need insurance and a state license but caring for 5 kids will likely place you over $50,000 per year.

Bottom Line

Successful home-based workers work just as hard and sometimes harder than people who drive to work each day. There is no more freedom than in a traditional job. Scammers often prey on people by offering big salaries and the “freedom” to work their own hours. Don’t fall for such scams.

Also, beware of opportunities with unknown companies. The most legitimate home-based business is one you start on your own. Becoming an independent contractor for another company is a high-risk move unless that company is well-known.

Finally, like any business, a home-based business will take a lot of time and effort before becoming something that offers enough income to support yourself and your family. Start building it before you quit or save enough at least 9 months of living expenses. 

Find 300 more business ideas here.

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