Mild spoiler alert: Viewers of the TV drama Orange Is the New Black might remember that the show’s main character made amends with one of her fellow prison inmates by making her a soothing lotion. Hopefully you won’t find yourself in prison, but if you find yourself wanting to start a home-based business, consider hand-making soaps and lotions yourself.
We don’t manufacture as much in America as we used to, but the phrase “American made” still means a lot to some people. Artisanal items are also popular, making now a great time to start a furniture-making business. This might not be the easiest idea to start from scratch, but if you already own the equipment you need, you can start producing pieces to sell at fairs and online on sites such as Etsy.
Join a startup accelerator: Another great option is to apply to a startup accelerator like Y Combinator, 500 startups, or TechStars, where a group of investors will help coach you, connect you with potential partners, and provide startup cash in return for a small stake in your company. The competition is tough to get into these, so don’t rely on them as your only path forward.
Luckily, it is now increasingly easy to start a business from scratch without spending a fortune. Below, I've highlighted 75 varied business ideas you can start cheaply from the comfort of your own home. Some of the business ideas listed require nothing more than an internet connection, while others demand a level of licensing or a specific set of vocational skills...the choice is yours!
If cooking is one of your personal passions, there are dozens of opportunities to turn it into a decent business venture. You can start by setting up a catering website, experimenting with pop-up food stalls and local food markets, or joining platforms that encourage cooking enthusiasts to squeeze some money out of their passion. And if you’re not camera-shy, you can teach people how to cook special meals by selling online classes.
You also will need to file certain forms to fulfill your federal and state income tax obligations. The forms you need are determined by your business structure. A complete list of the forms each type of entity will need can be found on the SBA website. You can also find state-specific tax obligations there. Some businesses may also require federal or state licenses and permits to operate. You can use the SBA's database to search for licensing requirements by state and business type.