With the right mindset, self-employment can allow you to work when you want and how you want. For many, the hardest step in starting a home-based business is coming up with the business idea itself. Evaluate your passions and interests to help you find the business that is right for you.


Dog Services

If you love dogs and the outdoors, there are a number of dog-related services that you can begin with minimal startup capital. If you’ve got a strong stomach, grab a shovel, a good pair of boots and trash bags, and start a poop scooping business. If exercise is what you seek, walking dogs can be a rewarding and lucrative business. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “employment of animal care and service workers is expected to grow 21 percent over the 2008-18 decade.”


Computer Tutoring

Computer tutoring is in high demand, which is why many libraries and community centers offer computer courses on basic computer instruction to Excel. Less tech-savvy individuals, uncomfortable learning in a group environment, may seek private instruction. Create a few fliers listing your certification, areas of expertise and other qualifications and post them at community centers, libraries and community colleges.


Computer Repair

Compete with nationwide computer support departments charging an arm and a leg for computer setup and repair. Provide individuals and businesses with onsite computer services, such as setting up a network or removing viruses and other unwanted software. Before getting started, get quotes from local businesses offering similar services to ensure that your pricing is competitive.



Accountants with the right certifications can provide their services for tax accounting or bookkeeping for small businesses. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) details guidelines for independent accountants. You’ll need to be up to speed on these requirements.


Making Home-Baked Goods

If friends rave about your culinary ability, contact your local health department to see what it takes to turn your hobby into a business. At a minimum, you’ll need a food permit and licensed kitchen in which to operate. Contact your local church, baker or catering service about renting space. Then sell your goods online or at local fairs and festivals.


Making Gift Baskets

Gift baskets can be made for any occasion, such as birthday parties, graduations and weddings. Sell your pre-made gift baskets online or to local gift shops. Make your products memorable by developing special themes or incorporating one-of-a-kind fabrics. Think beyond food and candy. In addition to a sales tax permit, you’ll need plenty of room to store your products.


Making Towel or Diaper Cakes

One of the latest trends among baby and wedding shower enthusiasts are towel cakes. Constructed out of diapers or bath towels, hand towels and ribbons, these elaborate gifts can include wine glasses, pacifiers, baby shoes, lingerie or bubble bath. Invest in a quality camera and, in a well-lit room, take pictures of your creations to sell on your own website or at sites devoted to homemade goods, such as Etsy.com.


Bicycle Repair

Many cities have a monthly “Big Trash Day” where bike frames and other bike parts are available at no cost to those willing to cruise town. These bikes need very little work and once repaired, can be sold on Craigslist.org, the local paper or local community bulletin boards.


Cleaning Service

Providing cleaning services is one of the easiest to break into self-employment. Hone your cleaning skills practicing at home to learn the skill behind carpet cleaning and spot removal. Create a client checklist to ensure that you and the client understand the services that will be provided.



Taking photos at public events is a great way to start your home-based photography business. Invest in a quality camera and contact the event planners to ensure that your presence is welcome. You can set up a photo station or walk around talking pictures of attendees and handing out cards directing them to your website, where they can log in, view the pictures and purchase.

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