Thanks to the internet, home business ideas have never been more accessible for fledgling entrepreneurs. Social media lets you promote your business for free, online marketplaces allow you to instantly advertise products and services to a global audience, and specialist software can take the hassle out of sending invoices and receiving online payments.
Given how the barriers are lower than ever, it’s no wonder that so many people in the UK are making their work at home business ideas a reality. According to recent data compiled by the Office for National Statistics, around 16% of Brits solely work from home, with self-employed workers twice as likely to work from home compared to employees.
If you’re asking yourself the question, “What business can I start from home?”, this guide should come in handy. We’ll run through dozens of the most viable work from home business ideas, most of which won’t require a large budget to set up.
We’ll also discuss some of the key things you’ll need to factor in when you’re gearing up to launch business ideas from home. Whether you’re looking to work from home full time, or are wondering how to make money on the side, the information here should give you more motivation to make it happen.
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Deciding on the best business ideas to work from home is a subjective thing, and there are certain job types that will strike more of a personal chord than others.
With this in mind, we’ve arranged our list of 25 great UK home business ideas into five categories, so you can jump straight to the “genre” that’s most likely to resonate with you. Of course, you might also want to read through them all in case you find unexpected inspiration.
The categories are:
Setting up your own business at home could be a great opportunity to explore creative ways to make money – and turn your talent into profit.
Monetising your creativity may sound like a pipe dream, but savvy use of established online marketplaces, and enthusiastically promoting your work via social media really can make it possible. Here are just a handful of home business ideas which will allow you to give free reign to your imagination.
Once upon a time, selling handmade arts and crafts items would have meant setting up market stalls or making the right connections in the retail industry. But these days, online marketplaces like Folksy, Etsy and MadeMe allow you to showcase your creations to customers with ease.
From handmade bracelets to quirky ceramic figurines to glass art, you can create listings for practically anything you make, making this rank among the top home business ideas today.
The important thing is to be unashamedly yourself, because the arts and crafts market is a crowded one, and you’ll only stand out from the crowd by fashioning items people can’t find anywhere else.
There are lots of wholesalers catering to the handmade arts and crafts market, meaning you can stock up on raw materials like beads, gemstones and metal without having to put a huge dent in your budget.
You can also promote your wares for free by posting on sites like Instagram and TikTok. Plus, once you start making sales on the established marketplaces and feel ready to further establish your brand by listing your items within your own space, you can easily create a free online store in moments.
Love podcasts? Creating your own, and making money from sponsorships and advertising, doesn’t have to be a fantasy thanks to hosting sites which take care of the nuts and bolts of podcast creation for you.
An example is Libsyn, a platform which provides audio tools for recording your podcast, and walks you through essential steps like adding royalty-free soundtracks and creating enticing teasers, and incorporating ads. It will also distribute your show to top directories like Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
This frees you up to focus on creating the podcast itself, which will absolutely take a lot of time and effort. You’ll need to come up with a concept which is both commercially viable and which interests you personally. After all, this will be a passion project to start with.
It’s important to create as detailed a plan for each episode as possible. Unless it’s a conversational podcast with you and your friends riffing on a theme, you should write a script to curb any tendency to ramble.
You’ll also need to pay careful attention to your podcast cover art, and hire a freelance designer to come up with an eye-catching logo if necessary.
Take the time to research podcasting techniques online. You can find detailed guides on everything from how to position and use microphones, to when to schedule the release of episodes.
Substack is a much-talked-about platform which allows writers to sell their work directly to their readers. There are no editors or publishers breathing down your neck at Substack. You’ll have your own page on the platform where you can publish articles and interact with your readers.
Many of the world’s top authors have set up shop on Substack, but even relative unknowns have managed to generate serious revenue by writing about subjects close to their heart – from the lives of medieval women to the ins and outs of baking.
As a new Substacker, you’ll want to focus on the quality of writing above all else. Make it all freely available to start with, and promote your articles on Twitter if you can.
Then, once you start generating a readership, you can monetise your Substack by charging a small subscription fee for people to read premium articles and newsletters. The minimum price is $5 per month, so it’s easy to see how even a fairly modest number of subscribers can yield the equivalent of a full-time salary.
If you have an eye for design and are also a dab hand with a saw and sander, then revamping and re-selling old furniture should be one of the work from home business ideas you consider.
Upcycling furniture, also known as furniture flipping, will require a few essentials. You’ll need a wide-ranging toolkit, and a space in which you can comfortably work. A garage is ideal, though a well-ventilated indoor space can also work.
You’ll also need to source the furniture itself, whether from scouring flea markets and antiques shops, or looking at online marketplaces like Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace. All kinds of items, from dressers to coffee tables to lamps to bookshelves, can be re-invented for style-conscious customers.
A working knowledge of in-demand styles, such as mid-century modern and art deco, will help you cater to what people are looking for. You can set out your latest creations on your own online store, and promote them further on Instagram and other social media sites.
And don’t forget, you can also take on custom commissions, where customers will approach you to upcycle items they already own.
Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are digital assets which have been validated on an online ledger known as a blockchain.
In simple terms, it means that an asset – say, a digital photo or illustration or piece of music – can be authenticated as unique, and therefore bought and sold online just like a painting is bought and sold in the physical world.
So, if you’re a designer, photographer, illustrator, painter, musician or any other kind of creative, you can potentially carve out a career selling NFTs of your work.
The first step is to set up a digital wallet such as MetaMask, and load it up with enough cryptocurrency to pay the listing fees on NFT marketplaces. Ether is one of the most popular currencies used for this purpose.
You can then head to a marketplace like OpenSea or Rarible, connect your digital wallet, and upload the assets you’d like to turn into NFTs by having them recorded on a blockchain. This is called “minting”, and can incur a fee unless there’s an option to pass the minting costs onto eventual buyers of your work.
You’ll be able to sell your NFTs under a fixed price or through an auction. While the world of NFTs can seem daunting at first, sites like OpenSea have detailed FAQ pages that break down the whole process. Just remember to carefully check what the various fees – including commission percentages – will be.
When pondering “What business can I start from home?”, one idea that may well jump straight to mind is ecommerce. It’s a business category with some real advantages – you won’t have to spend money on physical premises, and you may not even have to buy the inventory ahead of time.
So, what type of ecommerce might be the right fit for you? Let’s consider some of the main ways you can make a living selling items online.
Asking yourself how to start an online business without a big initial investment? Dropshipping can be one way to go. This business model allows you to run an ecommerce store without ever needing to spend any money on the stock you’re selling.
That’s because every order you receive through your online store is simply forwarded onto your third-party supplier partners, who will take care of producing and shipping the items in question.
The secret to dropshipping success is specialisation. Pick a niche you’re passionate about, and populate your store with the most eye-catching, best-value items within that category.
This could be anything from minimalist wristwatches to unusual-looking trainers to state-of-the-art drones. Using Google Trends will reveal which items are getting the most searches right now.
Finding reliable suppliers is another crucial factor, and you can always reach out to companies yourself. However, it’s well worth looking at established dropshipping directory sites like SaleHoo and Worldwide Brands, which can connect you with a vast pool of tried-and-tested suppliers.
The idea of creating your own line of clothes may sound pretty far-fetched, but you really could make it happen without a large startup budget or even any tailoring or design skills.
Print-on-demand platforms like Printify and Printful present a large catalogue of garments, from sweatshirts to t-shirts to sportswear. You simply pick out which items you’d like to sell on your own online store or via social media sites like Instagram.
Then, you can upload the designs you’d like to have added to the garments in question, either through printing or embroidery. You can even add labels showing your brand logo.
The great thing about this business model is that, as with dropshipping, no stock has to be purchased ahead of time. The items are prepared and dispatched as and when they are ordered by your customers.
This leaves you free to focus on how to use social media for small business, and of course developing the distinctive designs that will define your brand.
Not a skilled artist or graphic designer yourself? You can still create your fashion line by hiring designers from sites like Upwork or Fiverr, and working with them to bring your ideas to life.
The print-on-demand model isn’t limited to clothing. If you see yourself as more of a homeware designer than a fashionista, there’s no reason why you can’t apply the same formula to creating your own range of unique home and lifestyle products.
Sites like Printify and Printful offer portfolios of products you can customise by uploading your designs to their sites. These include:
Wall art like posters and canvas prints
Blankets, pillows and pillow cases
Mugs, glasses and coasters
Towels and aprons
Remember, there’s little point in playing it safe with your designs. The market is crowded with home and lifestyle items, so the only way you’ll stand out is to emblazon your products with bold, striking imagery and messages.
You’ll also want to ensure you take the best possible photos for promoting on Instagram, Pinterest and the like. If you’re not confident about your photography skills, it may be worth hiring a professional through a site like Fiverr.
Surprising as it may sound, creating a range of beauty products really can be a viable work at home business idea. The trick is to make use of specialist cosmetics suppliers such as Selfnamed and Options Ltd.
Taking Selfnamed as an example, the company has a large range of products available to purchase in relatively small bulk orders. These include anti-age day creams, purifying toners and moisturising shampoo.
You just select the items you’d like to sell on your online store, and use the on-site tool to customise the packaging with your own bespoke designs. They’ll then be dispatched to you to store and sell.
Whatever site you use, you’ll want to order the minimum amount of each product to keep your financial risk as low as possible. It’ll be vitally important to have a highly active social media presence, promoting your beauty products through sites like Instagram and TikTok.
It’s also important to remember there are legal requirements for starting a small business selling cosmetics in the UK, even those that are pre-made. You’ll need to notify the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) before you begin trading.
Subscription box businesses make their money by supplying customers with regular batches of products by mail. It’s a sector that’s seen immense growth in recent times, and it’s anticipated that the UK market will be worth almost £2 billion by 2025.
This is one of the more involved home business ideas, since it will require a lot of planning and a fair amount of investment in both the products and the packaging. However, taking a methodical, step-by-step approach can let you take your own slice of a booming market.
Pick a product category you care about, whether that’s unusual spirits, pet treats, beauty products, kids’ toys, or game/pop culture collectibles
Do plenty of market research – see what similar subscription box businesses are doing and how much they’re charging, and work out how you can differentiate your offering
Find the right suppliers – it’s worth reaching out directly to explain your business and see if you can get discounted rates on bulk buys, not forgetting smaller and independent craftspeople if relevant
Plan your marketing strategy carefully – you’ll want to gain organic engagement through sites like Instagram, Twitter and TikTok, but if your budget allows you can also choose to pay for promoted posts, and reach out to influencers to offer them freebies in exchange for coverage on their channels
Open your own business account
Tracking how much you’re spending on stock, packaging and marketing is crucial when running a subscription box business. A free SumUp business account can make life a lot easier.Start now
Social media sites can be a fertile ground for work at home business ideas. Sites like YouTube and Twitch have allowed budding creatives with no prior experience or connections to grow huge audiences and forge satisfying careers.
So, what are the key factors you’ll need to keep in mind when putting yourself out there? Let’s consider some of the most popular platforms you might be able to monetise.
As with other social media platforms, becoming a YouTuber should be initially thought of as a side hustle idea, with the aim of growing your audience to the point where you’re making serious revenue.
Almost any niche, no matter how humble, can be the basis of a booming channel. Think of the ASMR creators who have amassed millions of followers by simply eating or whispering on camera.
Investing in a decent audiovisual set up is key. You’ll need a high-quality camera and microphone, and your channel should be presented in a professional way, with a banner and welcome video.
Monetisation can come in the following ways:
Being accepted onto the YouTube Partner Programme, which can happen after you gain 500 subscribers and 3,000 public watch hours, and which will allow you to make money from channel memberships, ‘Super Chat’ gifts and selling items via a connected online store
Gaining sponsorships from companies which pay you to promote their services and products
Adding affiliate links beneath your videos, so you can get a commission when your followers click through and make purchases
Across the world, over a billion users a month are active on the video sharing site TikTok. While it does have superficial similarities with YouTube, the platform is more about providing immediate hits of entertaining content, with an emphasis on short-form content.
You’ll need to become very familiar with the “language” of TikTok in order to gain your own following. Utilising hashtags, adding popular songs to your content, and putting your own spin on trending TikTok challenges are all important ways to keep up with what’s hot.
As with YouTube, you can make money on TikTok by gaining corporate sponsors – in fact, the platform has its own built-in network for connecting brands with creators/influencers, called the TikTok Creator Marketplace.
If you’re patient, grow your followers beyond the 10,000 mark, and accrue more than 100,000 videos in a 30-day period, you’ll also be eligible to apply for the TikTok Creator Fund. As a member, you’ll receive money in relation to the size of your viewership and level of engagement.
Here’s a remarkable statistic: almost half of the population of the UK has an Instagram account. It’s therefore no surprise that many businesses are keen to sponsor creators and influencers who are able to strike a chord with a proportion of this huge audience.
As with other social media home business ideas, it’s important to create content you genuinely care about, whether that’s travel, tech gadgets, food or fashion. After all, growing your Instagram account will take time, so your subject matter has to be something that will keep you motivated.
Quality of content is also key, not just in terms of crystal-clear photography and video work, but the kinds of things you post. You’ll need to pay careful attention to your metrics, and which kinds of posts get the most engagement.
With luck and hard work, you may get to the point where you’re paid by companies to promote their products. You can also turn your Instagram page into a potentially lucrative affiliate marketing hub, posting links to products and services relating to your niche.
Twitch is the world’s best-known live streaming site, and boasts 31 million active daily users. The platform is synonymous with gamers who have achieved celebrity status by broadcasting their play to legions of followers, so if you’re an avid gamer yourself, this could be a great fit.
That being said, it’s worth keeping in mind that plenty of people have also gathered followers on Twitch by streaming content relating to music, food and arts and crafts. So it’s worth doing your research and seeing if there’s a niche you can imagine occupying on the site.
Your main aim as a streamer is to become accepted as a Twitch Affiliate. To become eligible, you’ll need to stream at least 500 hours in a 30-day period and gain at last 50 followers. Using other social media platforms like Twitter can help you come to people’s attention and grow your follower count.
Being an Affiliate will allow you to receive “bits” from followers. This is a virtual currency, with each bit being worth $0.01. You’ll also be able to make money from including ads on your stream, and from people becoming paid subscribers.
Providing perks for your fans is a good way to get an edge on Twitch. For example, you should try to provide bespoke subscriber badges and emotes for those who follow your content. Graphic designers on sites like Fiverr and Etsy can create emotes tailored to you at very low prices.
If you live and breathe social media, you can set up a work from home business as a freelance consultant. The fact is that while almost all businesses now understand the importance of leveraging social media to promote themselves and boost sales, many don’t have the ability to do so.
This might be because they lack the staff, time or expertise to devote to posting consistently on platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter. And this is where your services can come in handy.
By advertising on sites such as Fiverr, Upwork and PeoplePerHour, you can forge connections with clients and get paid per day, or per social media campaign. You might be hired to develop social media strategies and posting schedules, and to write the content itself.
It almost goes without saying that your track record with social media will be scrutinised by potential clients. So, if you don’t already have a professional history in this sector, you should ensure you have active social media channels in your own name to showcase your affinity and knowledge.
It may also help to master at least one of the social media management platforms available right now. The likes of Hootsuite, Loomly and Sprout Social will make it much easier to schedule posts across various social media sites, and track engagement.
Previous sections in this guide have looked at business opportunities from home which utilise social media and ecommerce. This section considers another way you can make money online. Namely, by providing specialist digital services.
Armed only with a laptop and some relevant software, you may be able to generate serious revenue with minimal financial outlay. Let’s dive into some options.
While there’s been a lot of speculation about how the advent of generative AI will impact the graphic design industry, this is still a massive industry with great revenue potential for talented creatives. In fact, the graphic design market is tipped to reach in the region of $76 billion before the end of the decade.
Launching a graphic design business from home doesn’t just require creative flair and a proficiency with software such as Photoshop, Sketch, Figma and InDesign. You should also be up to speed with current trends within design.
Many potential clients may want to hire designers who can speak the visual language of younger millennials and Gen Z-ers. So, having a genuine knowledge and interest in everything from current meme styles to typographical innovations can give you the edge.
You’ll also want to get to grips with the latest generative AI tools so you can incorporate them into your work. Staying savvy with AI will ensure you can keep up with other designers in a very competitive field.
Copywriting is an umbrella term which covers a whole range of possible services. Armed with a natural knack for words, you’ll be able to cater to a wide range of requirements by companies both large and small.
Businesses will often hire copywriters to write for their websites. Think the pages which detail what the companies do, staff profiles, case studies, and so on. Many will also need writers on an ongoing basis, to come up with regular blog posts relating to their services.
Your research skills will need to be impeccable, as blog posts are often ghostwritten on behalf of CEOs and other senior staff, and are typically intended to position them as thought leaders within their industries.
Other kinds of copywriting jobs include writing longform, magazine-style articles for media clients, and writing marketing content such as emails and newsletters.
Sites such as Upwork and Fiverr will allow you to advertise your services within the specific categories you want to specialise in. However, it’s also well worth sending emails to companies directly to see if they require any copywriting services.
There continues to be a very high demand for coders, making this a potentially fruitful career path to follow as a home-based worker. The good news is that even total newbies can learn the ropes in six months or less, thanks to the array of online bootcamps available.
You’ll need to take the time to research and compare the courses available, weighing up how much they cost, how intensive they are, and how long they take to complete.
Remember to also check what else they offer, beyond the training itself. You should check what kind of mentorship schemes they may have, and whether they can help connect you with potential clients after you complete the qualification.
Many businesses rely on affiliate marketing to generate a substantial number of sales. The concept is simple: the companies provide links which are hosted on different sites, such as blogs and social media channels. The owners of these sites then get paid a commission when their readers buy products and services through those links.
To get into this sector, you’ll need to focus on creating content that attracts web traffic. For example, you might write a lifestyle blog about health and beauty, which can host affiliate links for cosmetics and health spa getaways.
It will inevitably take time to build up readers, so be sure to choose a category you really enjoy writing about. This will keep you motivated to carry on creating the best possible content even while you aren’t generating revenue.
Once you reach the monetisation stage, you can make use of numerous affiliate marketing networks which streamline the whole process. For example, by signing up with Amazon Associates, you can utilise the network’s link-building tools to earn up to 12% in commission from qualifying purchases.
If you have worked as a PA or have general managerial experience, you may be able to launch a new career as a virtual assistant. In other words, a PA who works entirely remotely, whether in your own home or anywhere else you like.
Virtual assistants can perform tasks both large and small for their clients. You may be asked to
Make business appointments
Run email accounts
Call people on behalf of your clients
Delegate tasks to other staff
Organise documents and other data on cloud-based platforms
You’ll need to have excellent attention to detail and great interpersonal skills, so that you can carry out tasks diligently and accurately while maintaining a good rapport with clients.
Advertising on sites like PeoplePerHour can provide a way into the sector, though you may also choose to create your own business website and contact potential clients directly.
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Passing on knowledge can be the foundation of some of the most fulfilling small business ideas from home. After all, you’ll be actively enhancing people’s lives even as you earn a living.
Here are some great ways to get into teaching and coaching, all of which can be done from the comfort of your own home thanks to the internet.
It’s been estimated that the global e-learning industry could be valued at almost $650 billion by the end of the decade. You can get involved by creating your own online courses which can be purchased online
This is an ideal route if you like the idea of providing knowledge but aren’t so keen on directly interacting with students one-to-one. You can curate entire courses on your chosen subject, filming videos at home and uploading the content onto sites that are dedicated to online courses.
Whatever your specialisms, chances are you’ll be able to create courses on them. A quick glance at one popular site, Udemy, reveals the sheer breadth of subjects covered. Teachers have created courses on cryptocurrencies, business marketing strategies, 3D modelling, sports nutrition, songwriting, and much more.
The two main essentials are having an in-depth knowledge of your subject(s), and being able to create slick, professional-looking videos. For the latter, you may need to invest in higher grade audiovisual equipment, and hire a freelance video editor to turn your raw footage into a glossy, sellable product.
Draw attention to your courses by establishing yourself as a thought leader in the subjects you create content about. Posting relevant commentary and snippets of videos on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter can be an invaluable way to emphasise your credentials.
The internet has meant that private tutoring for children and teenagers has become available to more households than ever. And, with the stark reality of today’s hyper-competitive world spurring parents and guardians to ensure their kids get off to the best possible start, demand for tutors is high.
A number of online platforms such as MyTutor and Tutorful specialise in connecting tutors with clients. Each will have their own enrolment process for prospective tutors, but the good news is you won’t need to have an official teaching qualification.
Since you won’t have to travel to clients’ houses, there are zero transport costs involved. In fact, since you’ll be making money simply from sitting in front of a webcam, this ranks among the best low cost high profit business ideas.
Once you’ve gained experience through the tutor marketplace sites, you can always cement your brand as a tutor by setting up a website of your own. Plus, thanks to SumUp Payment Links, you can take payments simply by sending parents/guardians a unique link by email or text.
If you’re a qualified personal trainer, you can carve out a lucrative career from home by adopting the virtual training model.
This means interacting with your clients entirely online, and it’s how many of the world’s top PTs make a substantial amount of their revenue. Virtual personal training usually involves a multi-pronged approach. When a client takes you on, you’ll conduct an initial “audit” to assess their current weight and fitness level, and what their goals are.
You’ll then provide them with a bespoke training plan, keeping track of their progress through regular emails, texts and calls via videoconferencing tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Apps like MyFitnessPal also provide an easy way to keep a close eye on clients’ nutrition and general progress.
It’s important to have a well-designed website clearly setting out how you operate, and what clients can expect from virtual training. If you’re not yet a personal trainer, you have to factor in the time and money required to earn your Level 2 Gym Instructor and Level 3 Personal Trainer qualifications from a training provider accredited by industry body CIMSPA.
While most people know about online tutoring for kids, it’s less well-known that you can earn money teaching adults in a similar way. As long as you have serious expertise, a webcam, computer and a genuine enthusiasm to pass on your knowledge, you can work this trade from home.
One online platform for connecting tutors and adult learners is Superprof. All kinds of skills are passed on here – whether you want to teach guitar lessons, conduct a course in graphic design, or teach accountancy, you’ll be able to do it.
Sites like this draw all kinds of people eager to learn. Students may be those who just want to brush up on a hobby, or undergraduates who need expert assistance with their studies.
Whether you advertise on Superprof or a similar platform, remember that the quality of your listing is all-important. A good, friendly photo and a detailed description of your educational and professional history can make all the difference when it comes to attracting students.
Life coaches specialise in helping clients meet personal and professional goals, by empowering them to find motivation, gain clarity of purpose, develop action plans and generally move along a path of self-improvement.
It’s a career you can pursue from home, conducting coaching sessions by phone or videoconferencing, providing you have some inherent attributes such as empathy, an ability to listen and communicate, and a calm, methodical mindset.
Life coaching isn’t a regulated industry, meaning you don’t have to complete any official courses to become a coach. However, having some relevant qualifications will certainly make you look more credible in the eyes of prospective clients.
For example, many practitioners will undertake a coaching diploma accredited by the International Coaching Federation, and/or a diploma in neurolinguistic (NLP) programming. Numerous reputable organisations offer these courses online, so you can study and become qualified in your own time.
It will then be a matter of gaining clients, perhaps starting off by advertising on sites like the Life Coach Directory, and then creating your own website when you feel ready to fully establish your name in the industry.
Before we dive into our list of great home business ideas, it’s worth quickly considering the benefits of working from home – as well as some of the potential drawbacks.
Sheer convenience – while others have to deal with traffic jams and congested trains when travelling to and from work, your “commute” will consist of simply ambling over to your study, kitchen table or sofa
Flexibility – most small business ideas from home don’t require you to work set hours, which means you can more easily fit your work around responsibilities such as child care or maintaining a primary “day job”
Lower overheads – it’s considerably cheaper to run a business when you don’t have to pay the rent for office or retail space
Blurs the work-life boundary – the convenience of working from home can come with a price, which is that it may be difficult to mentally disengage from “work mode” on evenings and weekends
Takes up domestic space – some home business ideas may require the use of whole rooms in the house, perhaps to store materials or record social media videos, and this may be inconvenient or cause friction with others you live with
Potential loneliness – by its very nature, working from home can be socially isolating, and some may come to miss the bustle of working alongside others
As we’ve seen, there’s a multitude of work at home business ideas you might be tempted by. Some entrepreneurs are lucky enough to have an immediate lightbulb moment, and recognise a particular idea as being absolutely right for them. But what if that lightbulb doesn’t appear right away?
This is where brainstorming sessions come into play. To ensure these are as fruitful as possible, you’ll want to keep some essential factors in mind. Think of these as the green flags which signifies that a home business idea should be on your shortlist.
Many entrepreneurs don’t mind spending time and money to learn new skills or gain the necessary qualifications to run a particular business. If, say, you love the thought of helping other people by becoming a life coach, you might be happy to embark on a coaching or NLP course.
That said, if you only have a small starting budget, or are itching to start working ASAP, then you’ll want to narrow your focus to those work from home business ideas that play to your current strengths and skillset.
Another benefit of doing this is you’re likely to feel more confident working in a field you’re already somewhat familiar with, whether that’s writing, making art, or tutoring in a subject you have a degree in.
The best home business ideas are those which light a fire inside you. Launching your own business will be tough, requiring most entrepreneurs to sacrifice time with their family and friends, so you need to feel passionate about what you’re doing.
Another thing to factor in is whether it’s a business that allows you to work in a way you enjoy. For example, if you have a somewhat extroverted personality and enjoy giving talks and interacting with new people, then working on social media platforms, creating a podcast, or presenting online courses may be good routes to go down.
But if you prefer a more low-key sort of job, or being able to work quietly without directly interacting with customers, then you might prefer to work as a freelance copywriter, or open a print-on-demand homeware store.
One thing to bear in mind when asking how to come up with a business idea is that originality is overrated. While some businesses do make a name for themselves by “disrupting” their sectors with completely unprecedented innovations, it will usually be more immediately profitable to cater for a tried-and-tested market.
This might be true crime fans (if you’re a podcaster) or lovers of manga and anime (if you’re a dropshipper). By putting your own spin on things with eye-catching branding and an active social media presence, you can stand out even in a crowded field.
Even if you have a big budget to play with, the question “how much does it cost to start a business” is always important in the planning stages.
It’s always a green flag if it won’t be too expensive to take an idea off the drawing board and into reality. Most business ideas from home boast low overheads because they don’t require special premises and don’t typically require to invest in large inventories.
Whether or not a business idea is affordable does ultimately come down to your personal circumstances, so be sure to carefully consider all the possible outgoings when weighing up options.
Working from home without the benefit of colleagues and assistants, you’ll want to keep the business logistics and all-round hassle to a minimum. Fortunately, there are lots of online resources to keep things as simple as possible, from well-established networks of dropshipping suppliers to the straightforward, free-to-launch online store available from SumUp.
After you’ve chosen your home business idea, it’ll be time to embark on the exciting, if a little daunting, task of bringing it to life. A step-by-step strategy will make this process more manageable in your mind, so let’s get into it.
Pondering how to do market research for small business enterprises? The good news is it isn’t that tricky, thanks to the power of the internet. There are two main avenues of research you should go down.
Find out as much as you can about the main rivals in your chosen sector. If you’re setting up a dropshipping company selling sports gear, then look up ecommerce sites specialising in the same, paying attention to their website design, what kinds of products they sell, and what they charge.
If you’re launching yourself as a Twitch streamer, pay attention to how successful players on the platform operate. How often do they stream? What kinds of perks do they provide their subscribers? How do they interact with fans on Twitter and TikTok?
Getting into freelance writing? Try to find writers creating the kind of content you’re hoping to specialise in – many will have their own websites, letting you see their case studies, who their clients have been, and how much they charge.
You get the idea. Researching your competitors will give you a 360-degree view of your chosen sector and allow you to plan how you can distinguish yourself or improve on their offerings.
You should think of social media platforms as windows into how your potential customers or clients think. Careful analysis of sites like Instagram, X (Twitter) and TikTok can reveal what kinds of products and services people are buying, and what they wish they could buy.
Let’s say you want to create a politically conscious, print-on-demand fashion line for the LGBTQIA+ market. By looking up relevant hashtags on Instagram and Twitter, such as those related to Pride Month or the BFI Flare film festival, you can take inspiration from social media talking points to come up with slogans and imagery that will really resonate with your target customers.
Or, if you’re looking to set up an online store selling handcrafted jewellery from reclaimed materials, look up related hashtags on Instagram to see what kinds of products are striking a chord with influencers. It might reveal which styles are currently “in”, which materials are particularly sought after, and which have fallen out of favour.
The legal structure refers to how your business will be officially regarded in the eyes of the UK government and the law. There are three main legal structures commonly adopted for business ideas from home.
The sole trader structure is the least complicated. You and your business are considered the same entity in the eyes of the government, and you won’t have to worry about registering the company with any official organisation. Your only obligations will be to submit your annual tax return to HMRC and pay any taxes owed.
Any money you make after tax is automatically yours to keep, since you are your business. This fact does come with one drawback, which is that you will be personally liable for any debts which might be incurred by the business.
Thinking of running your business at home with the help of a friend or relative? A partnership structure might be for you. This is basically like being a sole trader, except that more than one person is responsible for the business.
The profits are shared between the partners, each of whom must file their own tax return. A “nominated partner” must also take responsibility for handling the accounts and submitting the partnership tax return.
Setting up a limited company offers you more protection, as your business will exist as a separate legal entity. This means that you won’t be liable for debts and losses. What’s more, operating as a limited company can make you appear more credible in the eyes of potential clients and customers.
There are some extra steps required when operating your business as a limited company, as you’ll need to register with Companies House and adhere to more detailed accounting regulations.
This, plus the fact that the business must also pay Corporation Tax on profits, means that many limited company owners find it’s worth hiring an accountant to take care of the paperwork.
The concept of the “marketing mix”, also known as the 7Ps, stems right back to research done at Harvard University in the 1940s. The marketing mix remains relevant even today, and lays out a list of the seven points of focus for an entrepreneur.
You can think of it as a cross between a template and a to-do list for when you’re planning how you’ll position your business and reach out to customers.
Depending on your business, some of the Ps will be more important than others. But all will need to be considered when getting your business started.
This is the key P, referring to the thing that you’re selling – be it a product or service. If you take a product-led marketing strategy, it means you’ll focus on how to make your product or service as good and distinctive as it can be. You should draw attention to its unique selling point(s) in your promotional content.
Absolutely integral to marketing, pricing will fundamentally affect how your business is perceived. You might deliberately adopt a higher price than competitors to emphasise that you’re providing a premium product or service.
Or, you might sell more cheaply, either to position yourself as the budget option, or to smash into a market and get noticed.
Careful consideration needs to go into how to price a product or service, whether you can afford to undercut the competition, and when you might offer discounts to customers.
The next P stands for promotion, and refers to all the tactics you employ to boost custom. These can include posting on social media, paying for promoted posts and ads, and email and search engine marketing.
Certain platforms will be more relevant to certain home business ideas. If, say, you specialise in business to business copywriting, then marketing yourself on LinkedIn is likely to be more worthwhile than posting on Instagram.
This P may seem self-evident for working from home business ideas. But “place” in this marketing mix also refers to where you’ll be operating from online. You’ll need to weigh up how large your digital footprint should be.
For example, will advertising on marketplace sites relevant to your business category be enough? Or should you branch out from the likes of Fiverr or Folksy and set up an online store?
Also referred to as “packaging”, this P is all about the various elements of your business look and feel to customers and clients. Physical evidence will be at the forefront of your mix if you’re creating a bespoke fashion label, a line of customised cosmetics, or a subscription box business.
Even if you’re providing digital services such as graphic design or copywriting, this P comes into play when it comes to how your business website looks, and how your invoices are laid out.
This quite simply refers to anyone in your business who is in contact with customers and clients. Chances are this will only be you, at least to begin with, and you’ll need to be on the ball when it comes to all forms of communication – be that via phone, email or social media.
The latter can be particularly important when dealing with possible queries or complaints – you’ll want to ensure any remarks made on platforms like Twitter or Google Reviews are swiftly dealt with.
How will your business work? That’s the crux of this P, and having a clear idea of all processes will help you keep calm under pressure. Depending on your business, you’ll need to have complete clarity on who your suppliers are, how supply chains will operate, how you’ll take payments, and what your policies on refunds are.
Whichever home business idea you go for, it really is worth writing a business plan.
Business plans aren’t just for pitching ideas to lenders and investors. They are a great way to get your concept clear in your mind, and lay out an essential to-do list for hitting the ground running.
The question of how to write a business plan may seem daunting, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. You just want to write out the details of your business in a methodical format, including:
An executive summary, describing the business and its legal structure
Details of your target market, including your main competitors and target consumers
A breakdown of your budget, including business loans and when they have to be repaid
Your sales forecasts and anticipated profits
Small business ideas from home can be the easiest way to forge your own career and become your own boss. With overheads generally ultra-low, you can try out an idea with far less financial risk than business ideas which require hiring premises or travelling around.
Hopefully this guide has given you plenty of food for thought, and you’re poised to brainstorm ideas and make one of them come true.
Control your business finances
A great first step to starting your own business from home is to create a dedicated SumUp business account where you’ll be able to keep tabs on incomings and outgoings.Find out more
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