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 benefits: being your boss, creating your schedule, and reducing your daily commute to just the seconds it takes to boot up your computer. 

Before printing your business cards, you must decide what your business will do. Will you sell handmade goods through an online storefront? Run a dropshipping business? Use your graphic design training 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 statistics

Small businesses abound in India. In 2019, micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) grew by 13 percent and added more than 57 trillion rupees to the country's gross value, according to Statista [1], which is more than 20 percent of India's gross domestic product (GDP) [2]. In 2021, this contribution grew to 27 percent of India's GDP [3]. 

India's most recent count of MSMEs was 63 million in 2016 [4]. As of April 2024, India's government recognised over 1,27,000 new startups [5]. E-commerce businesses are growing especially rapidly, with a market value of $21.9 billion in 2018 and an expected value of $350 billion by 2030 [6].

The number of small businesses in India illustrates the feasibility of starting your own business and the competition that can inevitably develop from such a crowded playing field. 

To join this industry, you should first decide on your business type: a home product or home service business. 

A product business sells physical products, while service businesses sell services that do something for someone. For example, a grocery store is a product business because it sells customers physical foodstuffs, such as fruit and vegetables. A tax consultant, however, runs a service business because they sell their time and expertise to customers looking for help with 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. 

In India, service-based businesses fare well. Some examples of service-based home business ideas include website design, interior design, wedding planning, virtual event planning, and online teaching.  

Product businessService business
Capital investmentHigh initial investmentLow initial investment
ScalabilityEasily scalableDifficult to scale

Home product business ideas

You don’t need a brick-and-mortar store 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

Dropshipping is an order fulfillment business model in which a seller acts as a middleman between a customer and a manufacturer. Dropshippers don’t own their product stock but 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. 

Unlike a traditional storefront that maintains a physical inventory of products, dropshipping allows businesses to sell products that they don’t physically stock or technically own yet. Dropshipping 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 regularly through a subscription. Today, subscription boxes offer a monthly stock of everything, including cocktail mixes, gourmet cheese, and patterned socks.

Subscription boxes are an expanding business in India. With the growth of e-commerce, digital payments, and higher consumer spending, subscription boxes are taking off.

Subscription boxes are likely to appeal to knowledgeable and passionate entrepreneurs who are interested in a specific niche product or market. They can be practical, silly, or anything in between—it’s up to you. 

Popular types of subscription boxes in India include beauty boxes. GlamEgo, Fab Bag, and Lady Raga are some examples, all of which offer monthly supplies of makeup and skincare. 

3. Make your own products

Making and selling products online is a common home business. You can sell everything from artisanal soaps to handcrafted knives or anything else you can make.

The internet's broad reach has made online storefronts selling handcrafted goods a joint enterprise. 

Esty, an online store that allows creators to sell handmade goods, expanded its territory to India in 2013. The active listing on Etsy India climbed by 135 percent in 2018, mainly spurred by female creators [7].

Selling handmade products will likely appeal to entrepreneurs who want to flex their creativity and have the resources to create and store their 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, such as the SAT. Students range from elementary school students to graduate students working toward their doctorate. 

Today, more and more people are learning online. In 2019, for example, the global online learning market was already worth nearly $200 billion, but by 2026, that number is expected to grow to $375 billion [8]. 

Online tutoring is a potential business idea for patients who enjoy teaching and working with others. It could also be ideal for college-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 in India. Writing positions have a median income of ₹3,08,000, or ₹123 per hour, according to Talent.com [9].

Platforms like Upwork, Freelancer.com, and Fiverr have given Indians a new outlet. You can connect with clients worldwide and sell your services to companies or brands in need.

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 get the word out about their products and services. If you have marketing experience, why apply your skills to your digital marketing business? 

Today, billions of people around the world are online. One recent study found that as of January 2024, there were an estimated 5.35 billion people online worldwide [10]. In response to this massive audience, marketing firms are dedicating more and more of their annual budget to digital marketing than traditional marketing methods such as television commercials and print advertisements. 

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 offered by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Spanning five courses, the specialisation is designed to take you from opportunity identification through launch, growth, financing, and profitability.

If you want to learn how to use social media to promote and advertise your home business, consider the Meta Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate.

Article sources


Statista. "Growth rate of gross value added from micro, small and medium enterprises across India from financial year 2013 to 2019, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1122350/india-growth-rate-of-gross-value-added-from-msmes/." Accessed April 26, 2024. 

Keep reading

Updated on
Written by:

Editorial Team

Coursera’s editorial team is comprised of highly experienced professional editors, writers, and fact...

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.