There’s a lot of talk right now about flexible working and working from home. This is especially true when connected to Mental Health. You may be thinking, what small business can I start from home? How can I make it work? Will my business fit around my family life?
I’ve always had a bit of a problem with “work from home businesses for mums” because there are so many more people that would enjoy more flexible working and working from home. I have a strong belief that, if it’s possible in your work role, working from home or working remotely should be an option for everyone.
I don’t believe that “one day a week” really makes much of a difference either. Neurodiverse people like myself generally tend to do much better outside of an office environment, and there’s enough technology now to mean working remotely should be an option for most non-customer facing businesses.
In this post, I’m going to take you through a few ideas for your own home small business. From hairdressing to virtual assistants, there are lots of options and this post really does just scratch the surface, but I hope it’s useful in giving you some inspiration!
Multi Level Marketing and Network Marketing
I’ll be straight with you here: I hate muti level marketing (MLM) and network marketing. Legally, most of them are not pyramid schemes because they do have a product to sell, but that product generally pales in comparison to the amount of time you would spend building your “team”. This makes them a pyramid scheme in all but legalities.
MLMs can pop up in almost any category, from makeup to herbal products, travel agents to cleaning products. The best way to know if you’re in an MLM is to take a long hard look and answer these questions honestly.
- Did you have to pay to enter or buy some kind of “kit”?
- Does the MLM make outrageous claims about the product you’re selling?
- Does the product come second to building your “team”?
Sadly, due to the “hunbots” relentless targeting of new mums on social media, with guilt-shaming messages like “would you feel bad leaving your new baby with strangers while you go to work?”, many people are falling for these schemes. I won’t mention any MLMs by name here (as I don’t want to give them any more advertising) but you can check out this master list from mlmtruth.org to see if your next ‘great opportunity to own your own business’ that your friend from school that you haven’t spoken to for ten years has contacted you on Facebook about after seeing you’ve had a baby…is, in fact, an MLM.
Remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
What businesses can I run?
So, now we’ve got the MLM question out of the way, what businesses CAN you legitimately run from home, fit around your family life and actually earn an income doing? Well, the answer is actually pretty much anything! If you are good at something, or you have a professional qualification in something, you could potentially turn it into your own business.
Just a side note, before we get into the list, running a small business from home is hard work. It can take hours of unpaid set-up time, unpaid advertising time, and unpaid admin time to get it to work. There are also various licensing issues for some businesses so it’s worth doing your homework. Any business with doing is not a “get rich quick” scheme, and there are very few real businesses that will earn you a “passive income” (money while you sleep) that don’t take a LOT of work upfront.
Starting A Small Business From Home: Ideas List
Small Businesses for digital people
Are you nifty with a laptop? Are you a web wizard? A small business in the digital sector could be for you! There are so many things you can do, but it is a bit of a saturated market, so find your niche and do it well!
- Website designer – Since 1991 and the invention of the World Wide Web buy the great British entrepreneur Sir Tim Berners-Lee, businesses have wanted to get “on the web”. The landscape of web design has changed drastically from the early days. If you can design an attractive and mobile-responsive website that handles data in a GDPR compliant way, a career as a web designer could be for you! Wondering how much web design costs? Check out this post I wrote a few weeks ago on the average price of web design for a UK based small business.
- Social media consultant – Although a relatively small field, this one is really becoming very saturated. There are lots of “I can do social media” types out there (check out my post, should I hire someone to ‘do’ my social media). If you have proven expertise in the field, however, and know you can do a good job, this is still a good one to go for.
- Marketing – I believe that when the apocalypse happens there will be two types of people left: parking wardens and marketers! I say that as a marketing professional! All jokes aside, marketing is a great field to be in as every business needs marketing. It’s becoming increasingly common for businesses (both big and small) to outsource their marketing to an agency or freelancer.
- Developer – Can you code? Can you build apps? A small business as a developer could be exactly what you could do. There’s still a massive call for developers from all over. Anything from WordPress theme development to front-end c# coders.
Small Businesses for creative people
- Photographer – I’ll be honest, this is a tough market. As the price of DSLRs come down, so do the prices that professional photographers can charge. I’d recommend finding your niche in this field and exploiting that. If you want to do weddings, don’t stick photos of landscapes on your website. Equally, if you want to do newborn photography, photos of supercars won’t convert customers. There’s no reason why you can’t have two websites and advertise to different markets.
- Musician – From jingles to bands to tutors to composers, life as a musician has never been easy but it can be really rewarding. A great place to start right now is creating music for online stock music sellers such as Epidemic Sound.
- Voice-Over – If you have a particularly unique voice, or you can change your voice or do different accents, a job as a voice-over artist could be for you!
- Actor/extra – While not strictly a “home business”, working as a jobbing actor or extra can afford you a good income as well as a lot of flexibility in your role.
- YouTube Presenter/Manager – It’s been said that YouTube is to video what Guttenberg was to books. Anyone can grab a phone and become a star nowadays, and the financial rewards can be very good. Be warned though, becoming a “YouTuber” takes a LOT more work than you’d initially think (and a lot of expensive kit!).
- Video Editor – Do you have skills with video editing but don’t fancy a life in front of the camera? Video is a massive marketing asset right now so jump in and start offering your services to other small businesses from the comfort of your own home!
Small Businesses for crafty and arty people
Are you that friend who always gives a homemade gift? Or do your friends ring you up for bespoke pieces because they know you’ll do a great job? There are lots of small business opportunities for crafty and arty people, but be sure you’re being paid properly for the work you put into your final pieces.
- Dressmaking and alterations – Although it may seem redundant in an era of fast-fashion, there’s a growing market for bespoke clothing and alterations. If this is your skillset, have a look to see what others are charging and see if you can build a business on it.
- Natural Beauty products – From homemade bath bombs to natural skin products, this is a really booming industry. Just be sure you have the correct knowledge, licenses and insurance before you start selling your products.
- Woodcraft – A bit of a curveball here, but artisan wood-crafting products have always been popular. From traditionally turned bowls and plates to burnt artwork for display, if wood is your thing, give it a try!.
- Drawing/Painting – Ahh the life of an artist. Yes, it’s no secret that it can be lonely and rather hungry, but if you develop a good name for yourself in your niche, drawing and painting could provide a nice income.
- Digital Artist – Are you pretty rubbish with a paintbrush but you’re great in Photoshop? Digital art can cover many things, from bespoke downloads to artwork for games and products. If you have skills in this area, explore this booming industry today!
- Handmade stationery – There’s always been a market for handmade stationery, and the fact that we don’t send many letters anymore has actually made this a bit of a niche! Weddings and invites seem to be the biggest area here, so get looking and get making!
- Handmade jewellery – As with stationery, handmade jewellery has that bespoke factor about it. If your art is in making beautiful pieces (or even individual masculine pieces) why not think about making it into a business?
Small businesses for organised people
- Virtual Assistant – The VA industry is booming! Many businesses are realising that it’s cheaper to hire remote workers, so if you’re fantastic at organising and have a background in HR, consider a Virtual Assistant career move.
- Planner – Wedding Planners, Party Planners, Event Planners. If you are a super organised person and enjoy project management, a small business in the planning industry might be ideal.
Small Businesses including some travel
- Delivery driver – Although being a delivery person can be quite an unreliable income if you’re part of the “gig” economy, it can be a great way to earn a bit of extra income. Bonus is, if you live in a town or city, you may even be able to deliveries on a bike, rollerblades, moped, anything really!
- “Man with a van” – Disclaimer: You don’t have to be a man! All jokes aside, owning a van can be surprisingly lucrative! Just check your insurance covers you for business miles and you have some liability insurance!
Small Businesses for people people
- Tutor – Love it or hate it, the private tutoring industry is growing year on year. Private music tutors have always been popular, but now private maths, English, and many other topics are popular to teach from home. When working with kids you’ll need to have a DBS check. If you’re using your own vehicle you’ll need to have it insured for business usage too. There are a lot of companies you can join to promote your tutoring services. These can be a great way to be covered for insurance and get your DBS check sorted, but they can take a very large cut of your hourly wages.
- Personal Trainer – Like with private tutoring, Personal Training is also a growing industry. Many people start from their garages, but a lot of gyms have personal training services on-site too.
- Tour guide – Do you live in an interesting city or town with a decent flow of tourists? If you know your way around and you love storytelling, this might be a great move for you!
- Childcare services – Do you love kids? Could you look after them all day? There’s clearly a lot more to it than that, but being a home-based childminder can be a wonderful small home business, especially if you have children of your own.
- Yoga teacher – Much like personal training services, Yogo has hugely popular. Becoming a Yoga teacher must be one of the most relaxing teaching jobs or small business from home you could have!
Small Businesses for people who love cleaning
- Mobile cleaners – From houses to schools, to businesses. Cleaning has always been a good business to get into and doesn’t look like it’s going to be slowing down any time soon.
- Car cleaning – People take pride in their cars, and a good valeting service is a fantastic idea for a small business. Either mobile or set up on small premises, why not give it a go?
- Speciality cleaners – Just like plumbers, oven cleaners and other speciality services are hugely valuable, especially with today’s rental market. Do some research and see if his one’s for you.
Small Businesses selling products
- Cosmetics – There are definitely some licensing issues around selling cosmetics, especially homemade ones, but if you’re a makeup and skincare lover, this could be a great one for you. Please be aware of MLM scams though, there are a few make-up MLM scams and I’d recommend checking thoroughly before you decide to jump in.
- Car parts – I’d never considered this one until doing some research for this article, but apparently selling car parts is a big business from home! If this sounds like something you’d love, why not look into it? I’d love to see how you do!
Small Businesses for people who love cooking
- Burger van – Many many moons ago I worked as an admin assistant for a company who organised the licenses for burger vans in hardware shop car parks. From what I saw, it was a great small business. Hard work, but a great choice!
- Mobile Catering Services – Weddings, parties, events. Mobile catering services will be needed for small. If you’re into food and fancy yourself as a small catering business, give this one a try.
- Cakes & decorating – There’s been a lot of coverage on TV in recent years of outrageously big and intricately detailed cakes. From Extreme Cake Makers to Ace of Cakes, it seems like each week there’s a new show and new designs. Think you could give them a run for their money? Don’t forget to send me a pic!
Small Businesses for doggy people
- Dog walker – Did you know that dog walkers, on average, earn more than the average salary? Whilst you don’t need much in the way of skills or experience to be a dog walker, it can be a lovely job to walk pooches all day. At least you’d get your steps in!
- Home boarder – You must be registered with your local council and it’s worth doing some pet first aid, but could you think of a better job? Being paid to look after cute dogs!
- Groomers – If you can get over the smell of wet dog, the dog grooming business is getting bigger every year and well worth looking into. If you have space in your house, it may even be possible to set up your grooming small business from home.
- Trainers & Behaviourists – If you’d like to take dog care a little further, being a trainer or behaviourist is a great way to do it. There are many courses and a lot of training you can (and should) go on to increase your knowledge, but with more skills should hopefully come greater remuneration.
As we’ve seen above, many small home businesses don’t require much in the way of official qualifications or licensing. If, however, you have professional skills, some of the below options might be a great idea for your next small business to start from home.
- Legal services
- Mobile hairdresser
- Beauty therapist
Which of these surprised you? Did this article give you a new idea you hadn’t thought of before? Let me know in the comments, and if you found this useful please feel free to pin it!