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By Jon Steiert Updated on September 23, 2022

The 17 Most Successful Home-Based Businesses

Your options for home business ideas are seemingly limitless, from virtual consulting and educational services to freelance writing and design work, among others.

Even before the COVID-19 outbreak made home-based work a necessity for many, working from home was on the rise. Indeed, over the last 5 years, growth in remote work increased by 41%, while the past 10 years saw 91% growth, according to business account provider NorthOne.

If you’re looking for the most successful home-based businesses to start, don’t miss our list of 17 of the best (including home business ideas with low startup costs).

House with open sign in front and internet symbol

1. Blogging

If you have a way with words, there are plenty of freelance blogging opportunities to explore. And fortunately, writing is one of many home business ideas with low startup costs. To get started, you only need a place to share your work (such as a personal or client website), word processing software and a topic that provides real value to target audiences.

Pay: Salary.com says the average blogger’s salary is almost $47,250 annually.

2. Ghostwriting

While many influential speakers or corporate executives might want to share their thoughts, opinions or findings, they may not have the time to consistently blog for their companies or contribute articles to high-profile publications. 

This is where ghostwriters come in. It’s a particular skill to write in another person’s voice and tone, making ghostwriting one of the more potentially profitable home businesses.

Pay: At a national level, ghostwriters average almost $55,600 annually, according to ZipRecruiter.

3. Copywriting

Copywriting is another top home-based business idea with low startup costs.

However, it takes skill to be convincing enough to drive consumers to take action, whether for a national ad campaign or simply getting someone to be influenced by a chalk sign on the street.

Pay: According to Payscale, copywriters average a base salary of approximately $54,850.

4. Technical Writing

Technical writers rewrite complicated information and concepts from various science and technology fields so they can be shared and understood by a lay audience. Examples of technical writing include instruction and policy manuals and analysis reports. 

When thinking of the best home-based business ideas, technical writing should be among them. 

Pay: Technical writers average roughly $62,360 per year, according to Payscale.

5. Editing

Being an editor-for-hire is a business service that is beyond valuable. Editors are instrumental in shaping a piece’s overall voice, intent and composition, helping a team of writers get to the heart of the ideas. 

Like blogging, this home business idea’s overhead costs are relatively low. Your primary tools are access to the proper software for your clients and knowledge of various writing styles, including Associated Press, American Psychological Association and Chicago Manual.

Pay: On average, editors earn just over $73,800 annually, per Salary.com.

6. Transcription

With the sheer volume of multimedia content created today, there’s a need for these compositions to be transcribed. These transcriptions can be used for closed captions, show notes, pull quotes and even blog posts that accompany the original material. 

It should be noted, however, that transcription services reside in a very competitive industry. However, transcribing could be one of the better home-based business ideas if you’re a quick and accurate typist.

Pay: Work-from-home transcriptionists earn roughly $58,540 per year, according to ZipRecruiter.

Photo editor graphic

7. Web and Graphic Design

If you have artistic and graphic design skills, keep them in mind as you consider home business ideas. From logos and corporate brand identity to websites and billboards and everything in between, graphic and web designers play considerable roles in a company’s overall image and messaging. And while many business owners understand the importance of great design in their branding and publications, they might need more in-house talent to handle these projects.

Pay: According to Salary.com, web graphic designers earn an average of nearly $89,120 annually.

8. User Experience (UX)

While graphic and web designers are instrumental in getting the message across, the work done by user experience designers is crucial for getting users to interact with a website, mobile app or other software properly. UX involves a careful mix of visual design and computer coding. While UX designers require a lot of training and an intuitive understanding of a user’s needs, the job can easily be done from a home office.

Pay: The estimated annual pay for a UX designer is just over $105,000, notes Glassdoor.

9. Interior Design

Much like UX designers, interior designers aim to improve how a person uses a particular space and how efficient and enjoyable a room can be. Interior designers are responsible for the entire environment of a space, including its look and feel, functionality and overall safety.

Pay: On an annual basis, interior designers average approximately $52,900, according to Payscale.

10. Audio Engineering

The power of the spoken word is remarkable. If you can paint a picture using nothing but words, song or other synthetic or organic noises, starting an audio business could be one of the great home business ideas for you.

With a quality microphone, computer and good editing software, it’s increasingly easy for home businesses to handle audio recording and editing. If you have sound editing skills and equipment, you could find home-based work editing, mixing and mastering audio recordings for podcasters or other content creators.

Pay: According to Indeed, audio engineers earn just over $98,000 each year.

11. Voice-Over Work

If you have a pleasant speaking voice and excellent diction, voice-over work is a home business idea to consider. Voice-over work isn’t strictly for voice acting and audiobook narration. Beyond finding work in animated movies, many local businesses are looking for talented voice-over professionals to bring their advertisements and marketing messages to life.

Pay: According to Indeed, Voice-over artists earn an average base salary of nearly $71,700.

12. Tutoring

Learning is a lifelong endeavor, and people of all ages need educational enrichment or want to acquire new skills. Needless to say, there’s always a need for great teachers, even when they’re outside of a traditional classroom. 

Educators and even skilled non-educators who desire to help pupils “off the clock” can make this solid home business idea a reality.

Pay: In the U.S., tutors earn an average of about $51,560 annually, according to Indeed.

13. Music Lessons

If you’re skilled at playing one or more instruments, becoming a music teacher is another profitable home business idea to explore. Your potential pool of students could be quite sizable, spanning age groups and ability levels, and some of them will take years of lessons with you. This is also one of the home business ideas with low startup costs because you won’t be paying for studio space, and students can bring their instruments into your home.

Pay: The average music teacher’s salary in the U.S. is $52,085, according to Salary.com.

Megaphone on social media graphic

14. Social Media Marketing

Marketing is a key ingredient to a business’s success and growth, and social media quickly went from an interesting little side project to a business necessity. 

From community management to Facebook advertising to influencer marketing, there are myriad angles for a social media marketer to tackle. Companies of all sizes need help establishing the best strategies and tactics to help them find and nurture their ideal audiences and consumers. 

Social media platforms can be accessed anywhere. As long as you can regularly communicate with clients, you can easily execute your strategies from a home office.

Pay: Salary.com notes that social media marketing specialists earn just shy of $48,160 annually on average.

15. Search Engine Marketing

Much like social media, search engine marketing is now a staple in most marketing and advertising programs and another one of the most successful home-based businesses available today. 

Using paid advertising through Google, for example, businesses can reach visitors searching specifically for whatever products or services a business offers. 

However, learning these tools and strategies takes time. That means there’s a large opportunity for home-based businesses to help companies that want to take advantage of this opportunity.

Pay: Search engine marketing specialists earn an average annual wage of approximately $66,135, according to Salary.com.

16. Affiliate Sales

If you’re looking for passive income, affiliate sales is another top home-based business that could be right up your alley. Affiliate sales are links placed on your web properties (website, social media, email newsletters, etc.) that link directly to a sale page for another company’s product or service. 

For every conversion you generate, you receive a portion of the revenue. Of course, you’ll need to disclose your relationship with the company, but this is a terrific way to generate income from the comfort of your home office.

Pay: The total yearly pay sales affiliates earn is approximately $103,600, according to Glassdoor.

17. Data Analysis

Collecting and interpreting data to help guide a business’s future decisions is an invaluable service and another successful home business idea. Thanks to the rise of technology, there are multiple resources a person can access to analyze consumer behavior, making information collection less proprietary and thus a strong home business idea. Many companies will gladly pay you to help them unlock potentially lucrative insights.

Pay: On average, data analysts earn nearly $63,500 a year, according to Payscale.

Choosing the Top Home-Based Business for You

Thanks to the Great Resignation, many in-office workers are branching out and starting businesses of their own, often as sole proprietors

When you’re aiming to create a profitable home business, it’s key to find a project that’s not only a passion but something that’s combined with an area of professional experience, education and expertise. For instance, you wouldn’t start a home business idea as a data analyst if you earned a college degree in history or education. In the same vein, you wouldn’t want to open a graphic design business if you’ve only ever been trained as a plumber. 

Whatever your motivation to act on a profitable home business idea, consider factors such as the following, so you go into your venture with eyes wide open:

  • Client base
  • Marketing costs
  • Technology needs
  • Financial needs
  • Competitors
  • Inventory and supply needs
  • Professional insurance costs
Jon Steiert is a content writer focused on making business and financial information accessible to any business owner. He’s always on the lookout for fascinating stories that just haven’t been told properly.
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