The small business is big news for the British economy. In fact, at the start of 2020, there were 5.9 million small businesses recorded in the UK, with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) accounting for 99.9% of the total business population.
Where once the prospect of owning a small business seemed a venture only the brave dared to take on, now anyone can have a go at turning their home business ideas into reality. So, if you’re thinking of trying your hand at being an entrepreneur, there’s no better time to start your business than now.
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How to come up with a home business idea
Home-based businesses have become a popular option for entrepreneurs, due to their flexibility and convenience. The latest technology advances have improved our ability to work remotely, so you no longer have to think about upfront office costs and daily commutes. But, before you can start a business from home, you need to come up with an idea.
Whether you have a niche hobby or interest, or you’ve noticed a gap in the market, there are many ways you can come up with a business idea. You can even look to current trends and existing markets for inspiration. But remember, the most successful small business ideas aren’t always the most obvious. So long as it can generate interest and make people want to spend some money, you might just be onto a winner.
Here’s our rundown of some of the best home business ideas that you can start from your spare room:
B&B and Home Rentals
Rather than run a small business from home, how about making your home a small business? In the age of Airbnb, anyone can rent out their home, or a spare room, with the click of an app. But you don’t need to rely on other businesses to get your own venture off the ground. B&Bs are a £2 billion industry and while owning a B&B is no easy task, the rewards are all there in the form of paying guests.
Offering a boutique yet homely feel that hotels can’t quite match, the modern B&B has truly upped its game when it comes to high standards of accommodation. All you need to do is make sure you’re offering something guests will want to experience over a generic hotel room. If you own a property and want to give it a distinctive identity and style, take a look at this guide on how to start a property business.
Many B&Bs design each room individually, even letting guests pick precisely which room they want. Themed rooms, quirky suites and bathtubs in the bedrooms are all little touches of novelty or luxury that guests are willing to pay for – just make sure you’re all set up to take their payments, too! It’s a good idea to get the word out on social media and list your business with Google so it appears in search results for your local area. You can also set up your own online site with Square.
Read our guide on opening a B&B for some extra tips.
Sell Your Creations
If you make something you think people will be happy to pay for, then you can start an eCommerce business selling your creations. You can easily run the business from your own home, selling the products online or at a weekly craft market.
Bakers can sell your their handmade creations to local cafes, while an artist can work with bars, coffee shops or libraries to show off and market their work.
Once you’ve chosen which products to sell, you can get started on creating your brand presence. Set up social media accounts to promote your business and add a Square Payment Links so customers can buy your products directly from the social media posts. If you’re renting a stall at local markets, you can also purchase a card reader for easy in-person payments.
With any home-based business, it’s important to consider how you can make the space in your house work for you. Some people might be fortunate to have a spare room that can hold plenty of stock, while others may find that they are struggling for storage. This is where dropshipping comes in.
Dropshipping is one of the easiest businesses you can run from home, as it uses a supply-on-demand model – so you don’t have to stock the products you sell. Instead, when a customer places an order on your online store, you’ll contact a third-party manufacturer or wholesaler who packages and ships the products directly to the customer. They will then charge you, and you can charge the customer.
Gone are the days of a personal assistant having to follow their boss around like a shadow – instead, you can now be a freelancing PA from the comfort of your own home.
Virtual assistants have become increasingly popular alternatives to having staff in-office, as they are cost-effective, flexible and bring their own expertise to administrative tasks.
As a virtual assistant, you can offer a vital helping hand to other small businesses, all while building up your own profitable home-based career.
A popular choice among more eloquent types, freelance writing has always been near the top of the list when it comes to home business ideas. Offering you flexible hours and the ability to work as much or as little as you want, a freelance writing business gives you freedom from the 9-5.
You’ll require a bit of self-discipline to keep on top of your deadlines and manage your workload, plus a suitable at-home office where you can focus on writing. And when it comes to booking clients, a secure and reliable invoicing system is essential. Square Invoices software lets you track and accept payments, send reminders and manage your cash flow on-the-go.
The success of your business relies on good reviews, loyalty and recommendations – so make sure you feel confident building client relationships and delivering a smooth customer experience.
Tutoring and Teaching
Turn your passions and skills into products with a service-based business, like virtual tutoring and teaching. You could be an expert about auto repairs, a professional chef or even fluent in a language.
You’ll need to set up in a space that suits your skill – whether that’s a studio, workshop or kitchen. You can then use Square Appointments to manage your client bookings and an online checkout so that people can pay remotely.
With a service-based business, you also have the opportunity to expand and add products. These could include:
- Digital designs and templates
- Subscription boxes
- Brand merchandise
- eBooks – such as step-by-step guides and handbooks
Move your fitness classes online with virtual personal training – a popular service-based business you can run from home.
Nowadays, with the latest video communication technologies, personal trainers can offer the same expertise and experience to their clients, without having to pay gym rental fees. In fact, some PTs have even reported that they’ve been more successful online, as they can offer their service to a wider range of people across the globe.
You can organise one-on-one sessions with clients or use social media to gain interest in larger private classes. They can then book and pay online using Square Appointments.
There are a variety of offline services you can turn into a home-based business too, including:
- Dog walking
- Personal shopping.
The possibilities are endless! If you need to take payments in-person, you can purchase a portable Square Reader that wirelessly connects to your business account and accepts contactless and chip and PIN payments on-the-go.
As you can see, there are many benefits to starting a home-based business, from flexible work routines to saving money on commuting. Plus, with almost half of the UK working from home during April 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work has never been more viable.
Using the above home business ideas for inspiration, you can begin to draft a business plan that suits your needs. And remember, Square is here to support you through every step of your small business journey.