25 home business ideas with low startup costs

Looking for home business ideas? Working from home might be a dream you’ve had for quite some time. But, today, with the prevalence of the internet, more and more workers are finding success with their home-based businesses.

Best of all, the startup costs for your new business can be incredibly low, often requiring nothing more than a laptop, a website and the desire for success.

A strong online presence will drive the success of your business. GoDaddy Website Builder makes it easy to create a beautiful, effective website in under an hour. Bonus: You can start for free.

If you’re not completely sure about what kind of home business you’d like to start, then use the following list for inspiration.

25 home business ideas with low startup costs

Here are the types of home business ideas we’ll cover in this post:

  1. Freelance writer.

  2. Virtual assistant.

  3. Social media manager.

  4. Blogger.

  5. Graphic designer.

  6. Web developer.

  7. Digital marketing.

  8. Online tutor/teacher.

  9. eCommerce store owner.

  10. Sell online courses.

  11. Self-publish Kindle books.

  12. Join a freelance site.

  13. Data entry.

  14. Etsy store owner.

  15. Online consignment store owner.

  16. Sell stock photos/video.

  17. Photographer.

  18. Pet sitter/dog walker.

  19. Fitness instructor.

  20. Music teacher.

  21. Event/wedding planner.

  22. Electronics repair shop.

  23. Personal chef/caterer.

  24. Sell baked goods.

  25. Run an Airbnb.

Read on for a variety of home-based businesses that you can start. You’ll notice that some are more computer based, while others will force you away from your screen and have you dealing face-to-face with clients.

Related: How to start a service business for less than $500

1. Freelance writer

If you have a passion for writing, then you can build up a great business writing for the web. Even with little experience, you can build up a stable business rather quickly.

The first step is figuring out your niche.

For example, will you write emails for SaaS companies? Blog posts for supplement companies? Or focus on copywriting for fitness professionals?

With your niche narrowed down and your website built, it’s time to start pitching companies who need your services. If cold pitching seems a little daunting, you can always start by browsing jobs posted on freelancer sites like Upwork and Freelancer.

2. Virtual assistant

If you love planning and organization, then a virtual assistant business might be right up your alley. As a virtual assistant, there are a ton of different tasks that’ll fill up your workday.

It might range from bookkeeping and responding to emails, scheduling meetings, posting to social media, or doing general data entry.

A lot of online businesses and solopreneurs are turning to VAs to handle daily tasks they don’t have time to themselves.

If this sounds like the right home business idea for you, you can explore gigs on sites like Upwork or Remote.co, or learn more here about this field.

Related: How to become a virtual assistant on the side

3. Social media manager

Nearly all of us are active on social media these days. But, did you know you can build a business around managing and growing social media accounts for others? Brands will pay decent money for people to manage and grow their social media accounts. CNN even lists social media manager on its list of top 100 careers.

If you’ve had success with your own social media accounts, you’re already a step ahead. If not, there are a ton of different educational resources you can use to build up your skillset.

4. Blogger

Creating a blog gives you a multitude of opportunities to create an excellent side business or even full-time income. There are tons of success stories floating around online about bloggers earning crazy profits online.

It will take a lot of work to get to this level as a blogger, but with the right strategy, you have a solid chance of building a business.

A blog in and of itself won’t make you any money. But there are many different ways you can monetize your site once it’s picking up traffic, such as:

  • Selling affiliate products

  • Paid advertising

  • Selling eCourses and eBooks

Related: How to make money blogging

5. Graphic designer

If you’ve always had a love for design, or spend your off hours toying around with Photoshop and Illustrator, then you can build a business around these design skills.

There are several different niches you can tap into with your graphic design skills. For example, you can find work in markets like:

  • Book cover design

  • Front-end web design

  • Logo design

  • UX design for mobile apps

There are nearly endless array of niches open those with the right skillset.

6. Web developer

If you have a knack for web design or you’ve always wanted to learn how to build sites, then you can build a viable business.

Your first step is learning how to code, and building up your skills and portfolio. Once you feel confident in your abilities, it’s time to start getting clients.

You can start pitching clients on platforms like Upwork or start building relationships with businesses directly.

To increase your chances of success, it’s always a good idea to find a niche for your services. For example, do you build websites for real estate agents and property managers? Are you focusing on a local market? Or, maybe you build sites for startup eCommerce companies?

Related: Becoming a full-time freelancer — 3 tips for web developers

7. Digital marketing

Digital marketing is a pretty broad category and can cover virtually any online marketing task. But, as more and more companies jump online to stake their claim, you can build a business by helping these companies succeed.

Once again, deciding upon a niche will help to increase your chances of success.

Here’s a quick look at the types of skills you can build an online business around:

  • SEO and SEM

  • Content marketing

  • Email marketing

  • Building websites

  • Google My Business page creation

You can either build up a roster of local clients or serve clients virtually across the globe.

8. Online tutor/teacher

If you have a penchant for teaching, you can start a business teaching or tutoring online. If you live in an English-speaking country, you can make up to $25 an hour teaching English online.

It’s more of a contractor role than a traditional business, but the work is consistent, and the need for competent teachers is high.

You can explore virtual teaching roles on sites like VerbalPlanet and Learn4Good.

If you prefer to take the tutoring approach, you can build a sustainable tutoring business teaching kids about your favorite topics. For this approach, you can find solid leads on your local Craigslist page or on sites like Chegg Tutors.

Related: How to start a school from your home

9. eCommerce store owner

Ecommerce stores have been growing in popularity in recent years. If you prefer to sell physical products instead of digital services, then this might be perfect for you.

With eCommerce, you can either create and sell products you’ve manufactured yourself, or source cheap goods from a foreign country and sell them at a markup.

With the right idea, there’s no reason you can’t be the next big success.

Related: How to sell stuff online — A comprehensive guide for eCommerce success

10. Sell online courses

Chances are, you have some existing knowledge you can package up and sell as an online course. The online education industry is projected to grow to $325 billion by 2025. There’s enough room to make a name for yourself in this space.

You can package up your knowledge and sell it in a ton of different ways. You can integrate your course into an existing blog, sell courses from your social media profile pages, and even use one of many education platforms like Udemy or Skillshare.

The online world is so big. There’s room for even the most niche of information. For example, the course Learn Scrivener Fast is solely dedicated to helping writers master the writing tool, Scrivener.

Related: 5 things to ask before teaching online courses

11. Self-publish Kindle books

If you’ve been dreaming about making a living as an author, this reality may be closer than you think. As a self-published author you can make up to a 70% royalty on your books.

The prevalence of self-publishing has brought down the walls between you and your career as an author.

The ease of publishing means there’s more competition, but by writing a book that satisfies reader expectations, you can still make a name for yourself.

Spend some time figuring out the genre you’re going to write in. Then, write the best book possible, and build an email list of readers to whom you can sell books in the future.

Related: Want to sell books online? Read this first.

12. Join a freelance site

There are many massive freelance platforms that you can take advantage of by selling your freelance skills.

For example, you can join FiverrGuruFreelancer and Upwork, to name a few.

To build a sustainable business on the back of these platforms, you’ll need to create a niche for yourself. For example, do you do SEO for large content sites? Are you a graphic designer who does startup web design? Or, are you a writer who specializes in small business personal finance?

These platforms are a quick path toward a reliable income. As your experience and reputation grow, you can expand beyond these platforms and diversify your client base.

13. Data entry

Data entry might not seem like the most exciting job.

But the fact that you can work from home, or a beachside bungalow, might help to make it a more appealing home business idea.

Plus, the skills required to get your business off the ground are minimal.

 

All that’s needed is the willingness to learn how to input information into your clients’ desired software program.

This kind of business might not be as lucrative as others on this list, but it won’t require as much attention either. So, feel free to listen to a podcast or put on Netflix while you work.

14. Etsy store owner

Do you love crafting and regularly create Pinterest-worthy crafts, art and other goods? If so, you might be sitting on an Etsy goldmine. Spend some time exploring Etsy to see if there’s a market for what you produce, then make sure you can keep costs low enough to turn a profit.

If you can satisfy these two conditions, then you have a solid chance of running a successful Etsy business.

If you can move enough of your products on Etsy, you always have the option of moving to a full-fledged eCommerce store as well.

Editor’s note: With GoDaddy Online Store, you can list your products on online marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy and you can manage your orders from one simple dashboard.

Related: 10 hot crafts to make and sell on the side

15. Online consignment store owner

Thrift stores and consignment shops are more popular than ever. If you have a talent for putting outfits together and finding stylish clothing, then this could be the business for you.

Consignment shops can work well as an online business too. So, you don’t have to worry about a building lease or employees.

Plus, there are sites like Poshmark and Mercari that allow you to create a virtual closet to sell your products.

Related: An insider’s guide for how to sell clothing online

16. Sell stock photos/video

If you have a passion for photography or videography, you can turn it into a business. All you have to do is upload content that’s in alignment with what’s selling.

Some stock photo sites include iStockPhoto and Shutterstock. I you prefer to go the video route, you can upload your stock videos to sites like Pond5VideoBlocks or VideoHive.

To build a long-term business, it can be helpful to create a niche for yourself on these sites, either through you unique style or the topics you capture.

Related: Selling photos online for beginners

17. Photographer

We’ll continue with the home business ideas for camera lovers. There are a number of different photography-based businesses you can build from home.

For example, you could specialize in wedding photography, portraits, product photography for eCommerce, studio photography, drone photography, events, real estate photography and more.

Of course, you’ll have to leave your house for most of these niches, but once the photos are taken, you’ll be spending hours in your home office, editing away.

18. Pet sitter/dog walker

If you have a deep love for animals, then it’s hard to imagine a better job. You spend your days watching and playing with pets while their owners are away. Or, walking a group of dogs down to your favorite park for the afternoon.

Most pet owners care for their pets as if they were their children, so attention to detail and a high degree of trustworthiness are essential qualities to possess.

Typically, dogs and cats will be the most common animals. But, you may have to take care of fish, birds, rabbits and other animals on occasion.

You can scale this up even further by offering a service like mobile grooming services, in addition to pet walking and sitting.

Related: How to set dog sitting rates

19. Fitness instructor

If fitness is your passion, you can create a business sharing this with others.

There are multiple paths to success as a fitness instructor. You can make house calls, create group fitness events in your local park, work out of a gym or have clients come to you (if you have the space and equipment).

Social media marketing tools like Instagram can be very effective in helping you build your brand, whether you’re operating your fitness business out of a gym or offering personal consulting.

Related: How to estimate costs for starting a fitness business

20. Music teacher

As a child, you probably took your fair share of piano or guitar lessons. Now, if you have the musical skills, you can pass on this same love of music to the next generation.

If you have the right setup at your home, you can teach lessons right from there.

 

Otherwise, you can market yourself to preschools, kindergartens and other daycares — teaching lessons or offering musical performance training.

21. Event/wedding planner

The stress of event planning isn’t for everyone. But, some people thrive under this pressure. If you love planning and coordinating events, hiring caterers, booking talent, managing staff and more, then this could be the right home-based business idea for you.

As an event planner, you can either focus on a specific style of event, like weddings or conventions, or serve your local area by tackling the variety of events that’ll come up.

Event planning is largely a word-of-mouth space, but with a quality online presence, you can make success that much more likely.

Related: 10 qualities of a great wedding organizer

22. Electronics repair shop

Do you love fixing your own devices and electronics? If so, you can build a business doing this for others too. Lucky for you, a lot of modern electronics are pretty fragile, and people need help with cracked screens, dead batteries and other problems.

You can start a home business fixing a certain type of electronics such as new iPhones, or you can be more of a generalist and serve your entire local community.

23. Personal chef/caterer

As a personal chef, you can have a pretty broad customer base — anyone who loves to eat who has the budget for your services.

To be a success, you not only need to be a master of the kitchen, but also be up-to-date on the latest food handling and health regulations.

You might only have one client for whom you prepare meals or multiple families. Be ready to adapt to various kitchen setups or invest in your own portable kitchen utensils.

If you want to scale up your cooking even further, you can start to cater events. To produce this volume of food, you may need to rent out a commercial cooking space and bring on additional staff. But, the fee you can make per gig can be much higher.

24. Sell baked goods

Photo: Yonko Kilasi on Unsplash

If you prefer baking, you can create a business selling baked goods to local businesses. Most coffeeshops and cafes don’t make their own baked goods in house. Instead, they outsource this to others with the proper skills.

You can specialize in a certain type of pastry, like gluten-free or vegan baked goods, or instead opt to cast a wide net and bake every kind of pastry under the sun.

Related: Learn what customers want to help your bakery prosper

25. Run an Airbnb

There’s a lot that goes into managing a successful property via Airbnb. But, if you’re serious about renting out your home, or even just a room, then you have the chance to build a decent side income.

Depending on how desirable your property is, and the reality of your local rental market, you may be able to offset your entire rent or mortgage just by renting out your place on the weekends.

Tips for home business success

Starting a home business can help reduce overhead and shorten the pathway to business success. When looking through the list of ideas above, make sure you choose an idea that you’re passionate about, and not one based solely for potential profits.

Starting and running a business takes a lot of work, and having passion beyond the bottom line will help to carry you through.

Beyond passion keep the following rules in mind as you launch and grow your new business:

Carve out a home office space

You don’t have to convert a spare bedroom if you don’t have one to spare! Even a closet or partitioned-off section of a room will do for your home office. But do designate space for it.

You need to spatially — and emotionally — stake your claim over part of your home for your business. Otherwise, you end up working on the couch, sitting on your baby’s squeaky toy.

Set dedicated hours

Make it clear that you want to focus on work when you’re in your office, and let your family know when you will be available. Time block your calendar to increase productivity — scheduling time for both work and personal tasks.

Treat it like a real business — because it is

You might work from home but you run an honest-to-goodness business — so treat it like one! Invest in things like a professional website and the right business structure to ensure you succeed.

Build a network, online and off

Working out of your home doesn’t mean you don’t need help or shouldn’t hire it because you don’t have the office space. Delegating work — like creating blog content, graphic design or accounting work — can be affordable if you hire freelancers.

It also can make you feel less isolated if you connect with other entrepreneurs who also work from home online. You can find them in forums, online communities and social media.

Take care of yourself

Work-from-home business owners can get so wrapped up in their work that they neglect their physical and emotional well-being. Before you know it, you’ve been sitting at your keyboard for four hours and you forgot to eat lunch. It happens.

Use the time-blocking calendar strategy to schedule wellness breaks.

 

Build a few minutes into your schedule every hour to get up and stretch (set an alarm on your phone if that helps). Keep a water bottle handy to stay hydrated; it’s easy to over-caffeinate when you’re on a mission. Celebrate successes by treating yourself to a massage, a movie, or something else you really enjoy. You deserve it.

Score a home run with your home business

Hopefully, these 25 home business ideas have sparked enough excitement and intrigue to help you take the next steps to realize your business dreams.

Spend some time evaluating your skills and thinking about how you want to get paid for your time. Treat this list as a springboard for further research and dive deeper into the ideas that intrigue you.

And remember: You’ll need a strong online presence to make your home-based business a success. GoDaddy offers all the help and tools you need to start and grow your new venture. Good luck!

This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by the following authors: Nellie Akalp and Chris Smith.

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Kevin Wood

Kevin Wood is a freelance writer who writes about technology and human potential. You can find him at his virtual homes, Counter Culturist and Wooden Writing.

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