Why a home-based business
A profitable business doesn't have to involve running to and from an office or shop. And it doesn't mean having to sacrifice time with loved ones or ignoring your overall quality of life. If you're thinking of starting your own business and being your own boss, a home-based business is a great way to dip your toes in.
Not only do you get to work from the comfort of your own home, you'll also get to set your own schedule. Working from home is particularly great for busy mums as it allows you to work around your daily commitments.
There are plenty of small home-based business ideas to choose from if you're a female entrepreneur. It's important to choose something that's right for you, so that working for yourself is fun and enjoyable.
Below is a list of 40 small business ideas you can consider:
A transcriptionist is someone who converts audio content to text. This is probably one of the easiest ways to kick-start your home-based business. You just need to have a keen eye for detail and stick to clients' deadlines.
If you can type fast and have a good grasp of grammar, this is the job for you. Depending on your availability, you can devote anything from a couple of hours to making this a full-time gig.
There are a few online websites offering transcription jobs. Google and browse through the search results to find something that suits you.
2. Virtual assistant
If you are organised, good at time management, and are a good communicator, this is for you.
A virtual assistant (often shortened to VA) is someone who provides professional administrative, technical, or creative assistance to clients remotely. Many small and online businesses employ virtual assistants to help them with their day-to-day admin and technical tasks. You can also work for busy executives as a virtual assistant.
As a virtual assistant, you'll communicate with your clients using emails, phone calls, virtual meetings. Technology such as Skype, Slack, Google Voice and online file sharing means that you can work with clients from anywhere in the world.
If you have a strong grasp of grammar and punctuation, and a keen eye for details, you can set yourself up as a proofreader.
As a proofreader, you'll make sure that a piece of written material is free of typographical, grammatical, spelling, punctuation, syntactic and formatting errors. There's no editing or revision involved.
A proofreader is the person who notices the extra space between two words, the "your" when it should be "you're", missing hyphens or wrong placement of apostrophes.
This can be a great long term business if you love languages and words.
4. Translation services
Are you proficient in at least two languages? If yes, then you can consider working from home as a translator. If you are working as a freelancer, you can establish yourself as a specialist in the languages you're most proficient in.
5. Language teacher
If you are fluent in multiple languages, you could build a business as an online language teacher. Depending on the platform you are using, you may need to acquire certification.
6. Music teacher
Why not turn your passion for music into a home-based business? If you play an instrument, you can give music lessons either in person or via online platforms like Skype or Zoom.
This requires minimal investment to begin with. All you need to do is designate a quiet room for the lessons.
Why not turn your photography hobby into a business? If you have a good eye for great compositions, you can make this a business.
Selecting a niche is the best way to go. Whether it's landscape, weddings, family portraits or food photography, picking a niche will allow you to hone your craft and get known in a specific field.
You don't need to start with an expensive camera. But as your business grows, you should definitely consider investing in better quality equipment. And you'll most likely need to learn photo editing skills as well.
8. Business consulting
Businesses often hire consultants from outside to get an aerial view on their strategies and practices.
You will need to establish some credibility in this field before you begin. Your value will increase as you gain more and more experience.
9. Marketing consulting
If you love marketing (whether off- or online) and keep up-to-date with the latest marketing trends, you could set yourself up as a marketing consultant.
You'll need to show some track records in order to establish credibility. If you're just starting out but have the necessary background, consider providing some free consultancy in exchange for testimonials.
Many businesses outsource blogging to external bloggers. If you have a passion for writing and the skills to do your own research on various topics, you'll love getting paid for doing something you love.
It doesn't matter what niche you write for. Most people will provide you with some kind of brief for you to get started and do research on. However, if you do specialise in a particular niche, you'll be able to charge more once you establish yourself as an experienced writer.
11. Affiliate marketing
If you already have a blog or a website, affiliate marketing is a good option to consider. This is where you promote other people's products and services, and get a percentage of the sales.
There are a ton of affiliate programs out there but you should look for products and services that fit your niche, so it doesn't come across as you promoting random things. You will need a basic understanding of internet marketing but there are lots of resources out there to help you learn.
12. Drop-shipping with an online store
One of the easiest small business ideas for women is to start drop-shipping with any e-commerce store. You don't have to stock items or worry about shipping.
It is important to select a niche you are passionate about. Also, it is a good idea to go for products that appeal to impulsive buyers as they offer the highest conversion. Give customers value like free shipping and products that aren't readily available and you can establish yourself as a favourite brand.
13. Graphic designer
Most businesses do not have in-house graphic designers and rely on outsourcing design tasks as and when needed. If you have a graphic design background, you can set yourself up as a freelance designer. Having a unique or unusual design style will make it easier for you to find clients that are looking for something that stands out.
14. Web designer
Have experience in designing and developing websites? Web designers are in huge demand as more and more businesses come online. You don't need any formal training for this as long as you are skilled and have an eye for design and layouts. It helps to stay up-to-date on the latest web design trends and best practices.
15. Branding services
If you have an understanding about digital marketing and branding, consider providing branding services for other businesses, especially solopreneurs and smaller companies who don't have in-house branding staff.
Start small. Once you have enough experience you can start looking for opportunities with large firms. It is all about establishing your credibility.
16. Social media manager
If you already spend a lot of time on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, then this could be your dream business.
More and more companies are using social media as their primary source of contact with customers, and there is a growing demand for people to manage their social media accounts. This can involve curating and sharing useful content, sharing company news with followers, and responding to questions and complaints posted on social media channels.
You should have at least a basic understanding of how each social media platform works, as each of them has different rules and appeals to different demographics.
17. SEO consultant
When someone searches for a specific phrase on a search engine (such as Google, Yahoo and Bing), websites that appear on the first few pages attract the most traffic. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a process which aims to get the website ranking higher on search engines.
SEO techniques are constantly evolving. So you'll need an in-depth understanding of how search engines work, and stay up-to-date with the latest developments and trends.
18. Interior designer
If you love design, decor, and coordinating colour schemes, interior design could be an excellent option for you. You can specialise in a particular type of interior design, such as kitchen design or soft furnishing solutions.
You'll need to establish yourself as a trusted name. You may need to do some pro bono projects to get some projects in your portfolio before you can start charging.
19. Airbnb host
Have a spare empty room going to waste? Why not make use of it by renting it out on the popular site Airbnb? This is particularly suitable for those who enjoy meeting new people.
Make sure you meet all the legal requirements to become a host in your jurisdiction. You may also be required to modify your home in some way to comply with local laws and regulations.
20. Event planning
To become an event planner, you should have a degree in public relations or something similar. A degree in hospitality or marketing would also work. A degree is only a prerequisite if you are planning to start working with an event planning firm. If you plan on flying solo, you just need good public relation skills.
You will need to establish contacts with various organizations for catering, venues, arrangements, etc. But over time you will have a strong network which will make planning events a breeze.
21. Wedding planning
Planning a wedding can be extremely stressful for the couple-to-be, and this presents a fantastic business opportunity for someone to step in and organise everything.
You'll need to be organised, have an eye for details and stay up-to-date with the latest trends.
22. Children's party planning
Parents want to give their children memorable parties but it's often difficult for them to find the time to plan and organise everything.
If you're creative and enjoy working with children, you'll love being a children's party planner.
Your job will include planning the party theme, providing costumes, toys, decorations, accessories, food and entertainment. You don't have to limit yourself to birthday parties either. There are many occasions you can plan parties for. For example, Christmas, end of school, Halloween to name a few.
23. Cake making
Have a passion for baking? This one's for you. You don't need a significant capital for this. You don't even need to have a website. Just create a profile on a couple of social media channels and get cracking.
To establish credibility, you can bake a few cakes for friends and family. Then ask them for testimonials to go alongside images of your creations. This is a great way to turn a hobby into a small home-based business.
24. Sewing / tailoring services
If you love sewing, there are many home-based business ideas you can explore. For example, alteration service, home tailoring, fabric restoration, uniform making, etc.
25. Professional organiser
Professional organisers help businesses and individuals organise their workspaces or homes. If you have friends or family members who need their workspaces or homes organised, offer to do it for free. This will allow you to get some hands-on experience as well as some testimonials to add credibility to your business.
26. Jewellery making
If you already love making jewellery at home as a hobby, you can turn it into a great small business. People love having unique designs and making custom jewellery is a great way to earn extra money. If you have younger children, you can even get them to participate in the jewellery making process. It will be a fun activity for them and you can spend quality time with them.
27. Life coaching
If you love helping people overcome their limitations and achieve their dreams, life coaching can be a profitable and fulfilling option.
You'll need to possess compassion, good listening skills and the ability to problem solve. While there are no educational or legal requirements to become a life coach, bear in mind that coaching anyone is a big responsibility and you will need to be professional and ethical with the way you conduct your coaching.
You may decide to attend proper training and get certified, although this is not compulsory.
Most parents need help looking after their children, no matter what age, so there is usually a high demand for childcare requirements. If you have experience and the necessary qualifications / licences working with children, you can consider starting a childcare business, such as babysitting, creche, day care centres, after-school clubs, etc.
29. Personal chef
One of the most fun small business ideas for women is to become a personal chef. If you love cooking, then this could be the right business for you. Personal chefs are responsible for everything from grocery shopping to planning elaborate meals. So you will need to research this profession thoroughly before diving into it.
The best way to learn is to opt for apprenticeship programs. You will get hands on experience and you will learn things that will benefit you in the long run. It's also a good idea to speak to a few personal chefs. They will point you in the right direction to start your business.
30. Personal stylist
If fashion is your passion, there are ways you can turn it into a rewarding business.
Personal styling is an ever-growing market aimed at helping others to put forward their most fashionable self. Your job will involve helping your clients define their fashion style, sorting through their existing fashion items, shopping for clothing and accessories and styling outfits together.
31. Personal training
Fitness and weight loss is one of the biggest and most profitable markets out there. If you are already into fitness and love working out, this could be the perfect business for you.
You will need to get certification in personal training. You can work with your clients in their homes, in your home, in a health club, or on location.
32. Yoga teacher
If you're a passionate, dedicated yogi who feels ready to lead your own classes professionally, you can take a yoga teacher training course and become a yoga instructor. You should consider focusing on a particular style of yoga, such as Hatha or Iyengar, so make sure the course matches the type of yoga you want to teach.
You can teach yoga in a studio or in your home, provided you have a suitable room available. You can also bring yoga to the homes of 1:1 clients.
Yoga can also be easily adapted to being taught online, which will open up a whole host of other opportunities.
33. Beauty therapist
Beauty therapy is all about making your clients feel good about themselves. If you're known for doing everyone else's makeup, helping your friends with their eyebrows or knowing all the latest beauty products, then you'll be well suited to starting your very own home-based business.
For this you'll need to acquire the necessary qualifications, insurance and be compliant with licensing regulations in your country / region, as well as being able to dedicate a room in your home for treating clients. Performing certain treatments may require you to register with the relevant quality commissions and/or local authorities.
34. Massage therapist
There are few things more relaxing than a massage. A massage therapist enhances a person's wellbeing by relieving their clients of muscle pain, tension and stress.
Proper training and certification is a must, and you may want to specialise in a particular type of massage such as Shiatsu, sports, antenatal or deep tissue.
35. Pet sitting / dog walking
The demand for pet sitters is on the rise. Many people have pets that can't be boarded or left with friends and family when the need arises. And most people prefer to have their pets in a safe and more personal environment of a home, rather than being cooped up in a boarding environment.
You can talk to other pet-related businesses in your community to build up a network. For example, veterinarians, dog trainers, pet grooming services and pet supply retailers.
You should check with your local authority to see whether you need a license to operate as a pet sitter or dog walker.
36. Garden / landscape designer
We all love a beautiful and peaceful garden or backyard, but few of us have the time and expertise to create one. That's where garden and landscape designers come in.
Depending on which area you specialise in, you'll need to buy various equipment and vehicles, so the start-up costs for this can be significantly higher than most of the business ideas mentioned in this post.
Your clients will be homeowners and other businesses such as apartments, hotels, hospitals, government institutions, architects, property developers and contractors.
37. Freelance writing
Freelance writing is perhaps one of the best online business ideas. You just need to create a profile on one of the many freelancing platforms. From there you can bid on the writing jobs that interest you, and start to build up a portfolio.
It is always a good idea to invest in grammar and plagiarism tools. Initially, you should stick to topics you have sound knowledge about. Once you get a hang of writing, you can diversify your portfolio.
Copywriting entails writing persuasive and compelling content and promotional materials for other businesses.
Freelance platforms offer lots of copywriting jobs on a daily basis. As a novice copywriter you will need to keep your price low and build a portfolio. Once your portfolio is strong, you can start charging premium pricing.
39. Financial advisor
Most people find it difficult to understand and plan their finances. As a financial advisor, your responsibility would be to help your clients set financial goals and to provide sound financial planning to realise those goals.
You'll need to obtain qualification recognised by the relevant authority in your country/region. In the UK, there are a few universities that offer specific financial planning degrees.
Bookkeepers provide record keeping and management services to local businesses and sometimes to private individuals.
More and more businesses are using bookkeeping software to record their financial transactions themselves. So make sure the services you plan to provide will be beneficial to potential clients.
In this digital age, it's possible to run your whole bookkeeping business online, with all the paperwork being uploaded and stored on cloud storage.
Hopefully the list above has given you some inspiration on what type of home-based business you can try. As you would when starting any type of business, spend some time to think carefully about your goals, what motivates you, and the type of people you enjoy working with in order to create a home business that works for you.