If you’re planning to start a business, you might start thinking about things like renting commercial real estate, commuting to an office, or managing employees.
But with the rise of home businesses, more and more people are discovering ways to use remote work to pursue entrepreneurship, with their business headquartered at home.
In today’s connected world, where technology affords us more flexibility in how and where we work, home-based businesses come in a variety of forms.
Some require you to convert a spare room into a mini-warehouse for products, while others can be run completely online. But generally, you can start these types of businesses using your existing space and means. You can also check our guide on how to make money online to explore more options.
1. Buy products in bulk and sell them online
Many businesses center on the simple concept of importing products in bulk and selling them individually for a profit.
Maybe you recently traveled abroad and came across unique products that aren’t readily available in your market, but that you sense an appetite for. Or maybe you’ve zeroed in on a niche market and know the perfect way to serve it.
Either way, if these products are relatively easy to store and ship, you may have some solid home-based business ideas on your hands.
You can even initially use your home as a showroom to sell locally, giving you the option to expand with additional storage space and employees as you validate your idea and sales start to ramp up. This is how Artemis Design Co. got its start.
2. Start a dropshipping store
So far, we’ve covered business ideas that require you to hold inventory in your home. But there are a variety of online businesses ideas to pursue that don’t involve worrying about inventory and shipping.
These businesses employ a dropshipping model, where a third party produces, stores, and ships your products on your behalf, leaving marketing and customer service as your chief responsibilities.
Children’s brand Finer & Dandy is an example of a home-based business that uses a dropshipper. Founder Courtney White started the company in search of a way to make money online without spending too much time providing services to customers. That’s when she discovered dropshipping. Now, she wakes up at 4 a.m. every morning to run her dropshipping business before going to her day job.
Your dropshipping supplier can be local or overseas, but you need to ensure you find a supplier you can trust to deliver a consistently great customer experience after the sale. Always do your due diligence or you might put your business’ reputation at risk.
3. Start a print-on-demand business
Using a similar dropshipping model, a print-on-demand business doesn’t require you to hold any inventory or ship anything yourself. Print-on-demand even offers you more flexibility to customize white label products with your own creative designs.
Rebecca Lee Funk launched The Outrage, a women’s rights activist apparel brand that sells print-on-demand t-shirt designs from her home. The business donates a portion of profits to Planned Parenthood in Donald Trump’s name. Her launch campaign went viral, and The Outrage turned into a thriving ecommerce business.
There are many other print-on-demand products you can sell: books, hats, backpacks, blankets, pillows, mugs, shoes, hoodies, phone cases, watches, and more, depending on the supplier you choose to work with.
Many print-on-demand businesses focus on serving a specific niche or, better yet, a shared identity. What are people passionate about and proud to share? What about yourself? From pet owners to vegans to gamers, there are plenty of passionate communities you can create products for.
If you have design skills, you can create your own designs. But if not, you can always hire the talent you need.
For a full runthrough of how print on demand works and how you can get started, be sure to take our video course inside Shopify Academy.
4. Grow an audience you can monetize/ Youtube and Blog
If you’re a content creator, have a sizable online audience already, or have always thought about starting your own blog, YouTube channel, Instagram account, or podcast, then you can potentially grow and monetize your following using any of the previous ideas on this list.
Andrew Finn co-founded Wait But Why, a blog-turned-business. After amassing more than 371,000 subscribers and millions of visits, they created digital content products tailored to an already loyal audience. Today, Wait Buy Why is a full-blown e-commerce site with digital and physical goods for sale.
Jordan Ferney, founder of Oh Happy Day Shop!, also built an audience via blogging and later turned it into a full-fledged home-based business. She designed her business around her life and being able to spend time with her family and now sells products on her ecommerce site.