Running your own small business from home is a dream for many workers who want to escape the daily grind. It can be a career change to throw your energy into something new, whether you are in the middle in your working life, contemplating retirement or recently retired.
You wouldn’t be alone in making a fresh start – on average, a person has two to three careers through their lifetime.
You won’t need a flash of entrepreneurial genius that nobody ever thought of before. Most successful small businesses thrive on applying skills and knowledge just where and when they’re required. Be prepared to work hard, run and manage the business and take a few risks.
Among dozens of small business ideas for beginners below, you’re sure to find a spark of something that fits your skills and experience, or an activity that you could develop from a hobby or passion.
Manual, Garden & Home Labor
If you have plenty of experience working for home repair or building contractors, and contacts for specialist skills, it’s a relatively easy step to start your own business offering services to householders. You could specialize or offer a range of services.
House Painter / Interior Decorator
Offer your services as a house painter, inside or outdoors or both, to local homeowners or businesses.
Some good equipment, means of transporting it and a regular client base is mostly what’s required to offer a lawn care service. It’s a good option if you don’t have much business experience.
This is a similar service that takes relatively little training, but run as a business can earn you regular clients and a route to further opportunities.
For those with the energy and enthusiasm to clean a house fast and do it well, your own house cleaning business is a straightforward start as a business proprietor.
If you would prefer to be based at a home instead of being mobile, and provide additional homemaking services, you could become a housekeeper for families.
There will always be demand for a business that does errands for people like picking up dry cleaning or groceries, other general services and home assistance.
If you love spending time with animals, it will hardly seem like work at all running a dog walking service for people who don’t have the time to exercise their pets properly.
If you enjoy babysitting or just get on well with kids, that’s an easy way to develop casual earning into your own business.
Offering your writing services to businesses and other clients, locally and online, is a fairly easy business to start up if you’re a skilled or trained writer. This is also a skill you can develop and specialize yourself.
Trained accountants can apply their expertise and contacts and build a client base of businesses and individuals by delivering straightforward accounting services. There is always demand for this at reasonable rates.
Design experience and training can be applied on a small scale on logo and branding elements. You can build a strong portfolio and client base both online, and locally with premium face-to-face customer contact.
The online marketplace in particular has expanded opportunities for anyone with language skills and time to convert documents, transcripts and interviews between languages.
Resume and Job-seeking Services
You could put your own experience to good use helping local job seekers prepare their cover letters and resumes.
You won’t need much equipment or experience to get started delivering messages and packages between people, just determination, trustworthiness and a means of traveling.
Industry experience can be put to work for your own profit over someone else’s, by assisting people by phone, online or in their home or workplace, with their software, hardware and equipment issues.
Online Business Opportunities
T-Shirt Design and Printing
You could make use of online print services, or local shirt printers, to produce and market your own designs or help businesses and individuals create their own.
Another use of talent and enthusiasm is to build a business helping customers who don’t have the time or creativity to preserve their memories and those of their loved ones.
Maybe you have, or are building, an online presence in a blog on a particular topic. Leverage your audience and direct them to brands, earning a percentage of each sale they make from you.
Become a YouTube Sensation
Take it a step further by earning ad revenue from your own videos, if you have an engaging personality online. YouTube is a popular, highly developed platform.
Offering services, checking written work and advising businesses, individuals and online customers can be done from home as little or as much as you like, and built from a sideline into a more extensive business.
You could begin by proofreading, editing and generating ebooks for other writers. Publishing and selling your own electronic book has never been easier, with a wealth of assistance and marketing services online to get you started.
If your preference, talents and interests lie on an audio platform, add value by selling advertising space or mobilizing affiliate links.
Food & Drink
Coffee Cart Vendor
You could quickly build a loyal customer base, and remove some of the regulations and licensing complexities of owning a coffee shop, by starting out in business operating a coffee cart.
If you are licensed, skilled and have access to supplies and equipment, you could set up a business providing single-serve meals to customers from home or a commercial kitchen.
Events & Entertainment
If you love organizing, bringing a party or event together and are a natural communicator, this is a valuable service that can grow from a passion. Make full use of valuable experience and feedback from weddings and other events you’ve worked on in the past.
This is a great way to build up an interest to a passion, perhaps if you have enjoyed offering your services at friends’ weddings or selling a few images, and want to expand and earn money from portrait photoshoots.
Traveling to individuals and clients for events and occasions, offering your services as a hair stylist or hairdresser, is a way to launch a business that should have plenty of demand.
A more event-based specialist service, this can also be a viable small business for photoshoots, weddings and large events.
You don’t need to have owned a business before to share and deliver your expertise in a certain area. You can offer your speaking services to conferences, dinners and other events.
A skilled musician can create their own business from playing at events and venues, earning fees or portions of the ticket receipts.
Training and Tuition
Running your own training business is often a medium-to-long-term goal for personal fitness trainers as they build their experience and identify particular specialisms and interests. Offering services from home, at clients’ homes or premises, or in partnership with a local gym is a good way to get started.
If you are, or want to become a certified yoga instructor, it’s a logical step to running your own classes and there are other centers besides gyms that you could partner with.
The same applies if your background and training are in a somewhat different area of movement, you could start your business from a studio locally.
One-to-one tuition is a fairly straightforward way to use valuable teaching skills and share knowledge, particularly after retirement from a teaching or academic career.
Teach your preferred instruments or styles to adults, new learners or small groups and classes.
People who are skilled or trained at sewing and repairs can go into business without too much additional equipment or much of a business background.
Second Hand Book Sales
If you have access to an endless supply of used books, you could move beyond online auctions and flea market sales to something a little more profitable. Running a shop with its own atmosphere, interests and activities like swap programs or book clubs can create a community and loyal customer base.
Make the most of a passion or hobby, and let your creativity delight others and earn you money. Upcycle and revive old and vintage furniture, or make your own if you have the skills. Local fairs, makers’ shops or your own home business could be your outlet.
You could develop craftsmanship knowhow and a hobby commercially by having customers bring you items for refurbishment or a particular service such as reupholstery.
Car Washing and Detailing
If you enjoyed satisfying outdoor work around cars as a kid, then you could earn much more and make it your business. It can be from simple premises near where you or your customers are based. This also makes a good traveling or mobile service as a detailing service can be operated without too many supplies.
Computer and Electronics Repairs
Start your own electronics business and channel your training, work experience or knowhow gained from an interest into it. Take on repair projects for customers, specializing in computers or a wider variety of electronic equipment, and provided you have the storage space and organization, you can add customer satisfaction to your own sense of fulfilment. Adding a collection and delivery service could add insurmountable costs for a business like this, so you may prefer to have customers bring items to you.