6 Home Business Ideas to Help You Kickoff Your Next Venture

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

A home business allows you to control where and how you work. Explore the types of businesses you can run from home and start today.

[Featured Image] A woman in hijab smiles and stands before the products she sells through her home business.

Running a business from home comes with many perks: being your own boss, creating your own schedule, and reducing your daily commute to just the seconds it takes to boot up your computer. 

Before you start printing your eggshell business cards with Roman type, you need to decide on your business's purpose. Will you sell handmade goods through an online shopfront? Run a drop-shipping business? Put your graphic design training to good use and become a one-person design studio? 

Or will you do something else entirely? 

While the possibilities might be endless, the business idea you settle on will likely depend on your interests, goals, and available resources. To help you pick the one that best fits your needs, this article includes a list of common home business ideas and some common considerations for each one. Your next venture could be just around the corner. 

What you need to know: Home business types and stats

Small businesses abound in the United Kingdom. In fact, according to a report by the UK Government, there were over 5 million small businesses in the country [1].

While these businesses technically include everything from one-person operations to companies with up to 49 employees, the number of small businesses in the UK illustrates the feasibility of starting your own business and the competition that can inevitably develop from such a crowded playing field. 

To start your own business, you should first decide on the type of business you will run: a home product business or a home service business. 

In simplest terms, a product business sells physical products, while service businesses sell services that do something for someone [2]. For example, a supermarket is a product business because it sells customers physical foodstuffs, such as fruit and vegetables. A tax advisor, however, is running a service business because they sell their time and expertise to customers looking for help on their tax returns. 

Both product businesses and service businesses have advantages and disadvantages. Product businesses typically require a higher financial investment than service businesses because they need a stock of physical goods to sell. Products are often easier to measure in quality, while services rely on customer reviews and opinions [3]. 

Home product business ideas

You don’t need a brick-and-mortar shop to start selling products to customers. Today, the internet makes running a product business from home more accessible than ever. 

The following home-based business ideas highlight three distinct ways to sell products online. 

1. Dropshipping

Drop shipping is an order fulfillment business model in which a seller acts as a middleman between a customer and a manufacturer. Drop shippers don’t own their product stock but instead purchase products directly from manufacturers and wholesalers when a customer makes a purchase.  The product is then directly shipped to the customer from the manufacturer or wholesaler. 

Statista released a report estimating that the UK's e-commerce market's revenue is about £110 billion between 2017 and 2025 [4]. With so many UK shoppers turning online, drop shipping is likely to stay a lucrative home business option. Unlike a traditional shopfront that maintains a physical inventory of products, dropshipping allows businesses to sell products they don’t physically stock or technically own yet. Drop shipping is one way for entrepreneurs to start a product business without investing the capital typically required to purchase and store stock. 

2. Subscription boxes

Subscription boxes contain curated items that customers receive on a regular basis through a subscription. You can create subscription boxes offering a monthly stock of just about anything, including cocktail mixes, gourmet cheese, and patterned socks.

Subscription boxes are a multi-billion dollar industry that spans the globe and has been predicted to grow strongly for years. According to the Royal Mail subscription box market report in 2019, the UK market for subscription boxes was forecasted to grow 72 percent between 2017 and 2022 [5]. Subscription boxes are popular across the UK, with over a quarter of all UK survey respondents signing up to receive at least one subscription box.

Subscription boxes are likely to appeal to knowledgeable and passionate entrepreneurs about a specific niche product or market. Subscription boxes can be practical, silly, or anything in between. Some fun and unique subscription boxes include: 

  • Bloom & Wild: a subscription box that delivers beautiful floral arrangements each month 

  • Pasta Evangelists: a subscription box that sends customisable and creative pasta recipes to your doorstep 

  • The Cocktail Man: a subscription box that sends you everything you need to create a cocktail that will elevate your night

3. Make your own products

Making and selling your products online is one of the most common home businesses. You can sell anything from artisanal soaps to handcrafted knives or anything else you can conceivably make.

The wide reach of the internet has made online shopfronts selling handcrafted goods a common enterprise. According to a 2022 study, for instance, the number of active users on Etsy increased from 830,000 in 2012 to 7.5 million in 2022 [6]. In the same span, active Etsy buyers went from 9.32 million in 2012 to 96.34 million in 2021 [7]. 

Selling handmade products will likely appeal to entrepreneurs who want to flex their creativity and have the resources to create and store their own goods. At the same time, it can also be a good option for entrepreneurs with a pre-existing skill set that has yet to be employed, such as ceramics or knitting. 

Home service businesses

Service-oriented businesses sell customers the time and energy of a skilled professional in a particular field. Thanks to the internet, it’s never been easier for customers and individual service providers to connect. 

The list below includes some of the most common home service businesses today. 

4. Online tutoring

Tutors help students of all levels learn course material and prepare for important exams. Students range from primary school students to graduate students working towards their doctorate. 

According to a study by Tutor House, an online tutoring platform, the most highly paid subjects to tutor include Mandarin, Physics, Chemistry, German, French, and Maths. Tutors can earn between £32 to £53 per hour for these subjects [8].

Online tutoring is a potentially good business idea for patients who enjoy teaching and working with others. It could also be ideal for university-educated individuals looking for a business opportunity that allows them to work from home with a flexible schedule. 

5. Writing and editing

Writing is everywhere—from the blog posts you read online to the manuals of your new vacuum cleaner. As a result, freelance writers are in demand in virtually all industries requiring communication. 

Writing is a growing field with applications in many industries. According to Glassdoor UK, writers make an average annual base salary of £31,164 as of May 2024 [9]. 

Freelance writing and editing are best suited to talented communicators who don’t mind spending time alone. Not all writing assignments are the same. While copywriting requires writers to collaborate with clients and craft compelling copy for marketing purposes, technical writing requires writers to create documents that clearly describe how a reader should use a product. SEO content writers, meanwhile, craft original writing to help draw online search engine users to a specific website. 

6. Digital marketing

Businesses use marketing to promote their products and services. If you have experience in marketing, why not parlay your skills into your own digital marketing business? 

Today, billions of people around the world are online. In fact, one recent study found that, as of July 2022, an estimated 5 billion people were online [10]. In response to this massive audience, marketing firms are dedicating more and more of their budgets every year to digital marketing. 

Starting a home-based marketing business could be a good fit for entrepreneurs with a keen understanding of digital marketing. Some of the most common services that digital marketers provide include affiliate marketing, search engine optimisation, content creation, and social media management. 

Next steps

A new business venture offers the opportunity for a new beginning. As you prepare for your next chapter, consider taking a flexible online Specialisation in Entrepreneurship on Coursera. Spanning five courses, the Specialisation is designed to take you from opportunity identification through launch, growth, financing, and profitability.

If you're interested in learning how to use social media to promote and advertise your home business, consider the Meta Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate.

Article sources


GOV.UK. “Business population estimates for the UK and regions 2021: statistical release (HTML), https://www.simplyinsurance.com/how-many-small-businesses-are-there-in-america/.” Accessed May 20, 2024.

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