7 Home-Based Business Ideas

June 29, 2012 | By | 8 Replies More

7 home-based business ideas

I’m always amused at books that try to predict the hot jobs for the future. Leafing through one book a few years ago, I saw “Underwater Archeologist.” I’m not sure why that’s a high-growth area, but I noticed the book failed to predict any Internet-based careers, such as web designer! The book didn’t foresee the development of the Internet. Clearly, predicting the future isn’t easy!

None of these businesses is earth-shattering. But, they all offer real opportunities for entrepreneurs, if the business matches the entrepreneur’s personality and desires. We’ll briefly describe the nature of the business, why the business provides value to clients or customers, and downsides to the particular business. Then, for the specific business you contemplate, we’ll ask you to create a similar brief description of your proposed home business ideas.

1. Information Broker/Researcher

What they do: Information researchers and information professionals use their research skills to obtain information for individuals and companies. If you like studying and doing academic research, this might be the business for you. While many researchers spend considerable time on the Internet, most also spend substantial time at libraries, county courts, and other locations where various records are kept. Private investigators and skip tracers are one type of professional researcher.

Why the business provides value: People and companies value their time and often prefer to hire specialized individuals to do time-consuming jobs, like research. In some cases, people don’t know how to go about collecting the information themselves. Companies and organizations can usually afford to spend the most on research.

Downsides: Like any consulting activity, this is a personal service which essentially limits income to billable hours. Many of the most lucrative opportunities, such as personal background checks for pre-employment screening, are already well-served by established companies.

For more information, read Starting an Information Broker / Research Service Business


2. Real Estate Investor/Manager

What they do: Real estate investors purchase real property for rent or resale.

Why the business provides value: Fixing up an older property can increase its value, so this is a possible opportunity for people who enjoy fixing up houses. For those who specialize in certain kinds of repairs or construction, contracting can also be lucrative, without requiring substantial investment in property. Many people who don’t want to own homes choose to rent. So, you’re providing the necessity of shelter.

Downsides: Real estate investment usually demands a significant capital investment. It’s important to note that the early 2000s has been a time of greatly increasing property values. This means people could make money by just sitting on properties and reselling them at a later date. In a more subdued real estate market, this large gain in value doesn’t occur as automatically. Further, if real estate prices drop, leveraged investors can lose substantial sums. Tenants can be problematic.


3. Seminar Educator/Professional Speaker

What they do: Seminar instructors teach topics in which they’re experts. For example, some people teach specialized classes about business taxation or preparing for the new SAT tests. Professional speakers often give keynote speeches at special events in front of large groups.

Why the business provides value: Seminar educators tend to be experts in their field and can offer students up-to-date information about a specialized area. I’ve never quite figured out why some organizations pay some individuals $10,000 plus per speech! (Entertainment value, I suppose.) But, many organizations regularly pay $5,000 and up for competent and established professional speakers. Famous people earn far more, of course, with fees going well into six figures.

Downsides: Travel is usually required, because seldom can one region support many seminars in a specialized field. Plus, to give great seminars, you need to be an expert in your field. Building a reputation to earn big bucks giving keynote speeches usually takes time. Further, becoming a semi-celebrity isn’t for everyone.

Many professional speakers sell their speaking services through speakers bureaus, which are like grocery stores for people who are looking for speakers. This means the speakers only talk. They aren’t involved in planning the events. Speakers bureaus are sometimes involved in event planning. If you teach seminars, event planning skills may also be required.


home business ideas

4. Financial Planner

What they do: Financial planners help clients plan their finances. Usually, they work with clients one-on-one to help them plan for retirement, college savings, and major purchases. They help clients select appropriate investments. Some money managers and mutual fund managers manage hundreds of millions of dollars in assets from their homes.

Why the business provides value: Many people who have solid incomes lack financial planning skills or don’t have the time or the interest to handle all of their personal finances in a do-it-yourself fashion.

Downsides: Usually, solid credentials are required, such as being a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). Building a solid client base can take time. As with information professionals, this is a personal service which inherently limits income. One of the most popular types of financial planners today are flat-fee-based planners, who don’t receive sales commissions. Many knowledgeable, affluent people simply index their money and wouldn’t trust their money to an unestablished money manager.


5. Author/Publisher

What they do: Write and/or publish books. Other forms of publishing include newsletter publishing covering specialized topics and online publishing.

Why the business provides value: Books usually provide specialized information or entertainment value to readers. Newsletters and online publishing provide current information and analysis about a specialized field. Most smaller publishers serve a particular niche market, such as Christian readers, people interested in cooking, etc.

Downsides: This is a very competitive area with hundreds of thousands of books published each year. Newsletters must compete with magazines, the Internet, and other forms of communication.


6. Niche Online Retailer/Online Auction Seller

What they do: Niche retailers serve narrow market segments, usually a specialty area in which the business owner is interested. For example, “sporting goods” wouldn’t be considered a niche. But, “golf supplies” or “tennis equipment” or “air gun supplies” would be a niche.

Some online sellers specialize in purchasing inventory at a discount and reselling it. But, unlike a catalog niche seller, the inventory tends to vary, based upon what the individual purchases at special bargain rates.

Why the business provides value: Niche sellers usually serve the most dedicated hobbyists, who spend considerable sums on their hobby or interest. Niche retailers often evaluate and recommend the best products and have specialized knowledge. Mail order and the Internet are key distribution and marketing channels, because many customers don’t have local niche retail operations serving their interest.

Downsides: Many niche areas are well-served. Retailing involves carrying inventory, which represents a significant capital investment. There is inventory risk—the risk the inventory won’t sell. Further, fulfillment of orders may be an issue for the home-based operator.

Resources: Starting an Online Business for Dummies by Greg Holden; Starting an eBay Business for Dummies by Marsha Collier; and Building Your Business with Google For Dummies by Brad Hill.

7. Auctioneer

What they do: According to the National Auctioneers Association, live auction sales in 2004 topped $217 billion. Art, antiques, and collectibles accounted for about $12 billion. You’re probably familiar with auctions. Some quick-talking auctioneer gets bids for an item and sells the item to the highest bidder. Auctioneers help people and organizations sell things through auctions. For example, many larger estates have estate auctions, where property, including antiques, firearms, cars, motorcycles, and other personal valuables are sold at auction. Auctioneers help plan and advertise the auction.

Why the business provides value: Auctioneers help their clients get the best prices possible for items that would be time-consuming and more difficult to sell, if the sales were made individually.

Downsides: Travel is often involved. You’re dependent upon a few key clients at any given time. Understanding the valuation of the property auctioned is essential. Appraiser is a related skill.


  • The National Auctioneers Association (NAA). Website: auctioneers.org.

Whenever you are thinking of starting a home-based business, write out statements about your planned home-based business:

  1. What your business does. You should be able to describe what you envision doing in only a sentence or two;
  2. Why the business provides value to customers; and
  3. Possible downsides to your business idea.


 About the Author: 

Peter Hupalo is the author of several business books, including Thinking Like An Entrepreneur, How To Start And Run Your Own Corporation: S-Corporations For Small Business Owners, and Getting Rich In Your Underwear: How To Start And Run A Profitable Home-Based Business. He operates the website ThinkingLike.com for entrepreneurs.
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Category: Business Ideas

Comments (8)

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  1. Bibek Nandi says:

    I want to start my own business please give me the better idea.

  2. Blanca Mathews says:

    Experience is not a requirement for you to start making money online. With the right resources-such as a reputable marketing and mentoring program, you can easily put up your internet marketing business where you can work from home to make money online.

  3. janyjuly says:

    A lot of sites post the articles about making money online, they give advice on how to get on with your business stuff. The thing is that the worldwide network gained incredible popularity and is widespread almost all over the world. All the commercial and government institution’s work is based on the Internet, so I think it is already clear for you that it is the right variant to apply for the Internet to get help.
    How to work from home

  4. Margaret Haynes Meritt says:

    There are so many great opportunities online to work from home and your article listed some good ones.

  5. CATHERINE says:

    These above home based business ideas will help and guide you to choose a right profession. Narrow down your searches to a few of your choices and try to get information locally.
    If you have time and are interested to do something, home based job is a right opportunity. Go ahead.

  6. katiam colman says:

    Hey! Would you mind if I share your blog with my Facebook group? There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Cheers

  7. tangela rauch says:

    Appreciate the recommendation. Let me try it out.

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