12 Best Home Based Businesses Consumer Reports 2019 – Top Rated

The idea of a “job for life” is now a thing of the past. That’s why around 30 million Americans operate a home-based business, many of them pursuing an online business model of one type or another.

Wanting to start your own internet business is a smart move for a lot of reasons. But the biggest mental hurdle most of you face right now is figuring out what the best online businesses to start are. Maybe you’ve heard about affiliate marketing, but somebody mentioned Shopify during lunch. Plus…you’ve always wanted to write a book, and you’ve read stories about indie authors earning millions.

Top 12 Home Based Businesses

$1.30Bestseller No. 1
Home-Based Business For Dummies
30 Reviews
Home-Based Business For Dummies
  • Edwards, Paul (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
Bestseller No. 4
$3.99Bestseller No. 6
How to Start a Home-Based Landscaping Business (Home-Based Business Series)
7 Reviews
How to Start a Home-Based Landscaping Business (Home-Based Business Series)
  • Dell, Owen E. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
$5.19Bestseller No. 7
How to Start a Home-based Fashion Design Business (Home-Based Business Series)
103 Reviews
$4.56Bestseller No. 9
How to Start a Home-based Professional Organizing Business (Home-Based Business Series)
78 Reviews
Bestseller No. 10
Start & Run a Home-Based Food Business (Start & Run Business)
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Fix, Mimi Shotland (Author)


Starting an online business isn’t a decision you’ve come to lightly. In fact, we’re pretty sure you’ve talked yourself out of the idea of being self-employed as many times as you’ve convinced yourself it’s absolutely the best possible decision for you right now.

But once we get to the heart of why you want to have your own part-time or full-time online business it comes down to a handful of factors:

  1. Money
  2. Autonomy
  3. Predictability

There’s no better feeling than grabbing the rudder of life away from an ungrateful employer and setting sail for the glowing horizon of entrepreneurial success. You KNOW you can do this. But an even more pressing need is earning enough money to replace your 9-5 income, or just to pay those extra bills, with the sweat of your brow.


Because that will have a direct impact on the type of business you start.  You see, there are only two types of businesses:

  • Product based
  • Service based

A product-based online business is one where you’re selling products directly to customers. E-commerce stores are a perfect example of a product-based internet business. Just be aware it can take several weeks or months for this type of business to earn money.


Owning a “real” business means you need to think about bank loans or financing, leases, maintaining inventory, business insurance, finding staff, training staff, etc. You then need to factor in finding a prime location for your business. If you don’t have enough footfall then you can expect to be shutting up shop in as little as a few months. In fact, 50% of small brick-and-mortar businesses fail within their first 3 years.

Some of the things we love about pretty much any online business model out there include:

  • Low startup costs
  • Almost non-existent overheads
  • Can be run from anywhere in the world
  • Can be run part-time
  • No staff required unless you choose to

Most of the online business models we cover here can be started for less than $50, while some of them can be started for exactly $0. That’s not a typo – it genuinely does mean zero dollars and cents. If you can find any ethical and legal brick-and-mortar retail business you can start with exactly nothing, then we’d love to hear about it. Oh, and that doesn’t include the “no money down” property flipping model.


One of the simplest sides hustles to get started with is flipping used textbooks on Amazon. While there are a couple of different approaches to take, the one I like best is buying used books on Amazon and then trading them into Amazon (via the Amazon trade-in program) and pocketing the difference.

Sound too good to be true?

There are actually more deals out there like this than you’d believe, thanks to the fact that sellers list used textbooks for low prices on Amazon all the time, not realizing they could trade that book into Amazon for more money. For example, you might see a Biology 101 textbook that has a used price of $45 and an Amazon trade-in price of $70 – meaning you could buy it and trade it right back in for about a $25 profit.

2. Your Affiliate Marketing Empire

This model gives me warm fuzzies because it’s a simple online business that’s also enjoyable and has the potential for almost 100% passive income. Affiliate marketing, in a nutshell, is about selling products on a commission basis for a range of companies, including major brand names. There’s no need to buy stock, you don’t handle packing or shipping, and you never have to deal with customer service issues.

The cornerstone of your affiliate business is about setting up a website that’s focused on a specific niche. You research low competition keywords for that niche, with the aim of ranking on page one of Google for those keywords. People visiting your site then click on a referral link, and if they make a purchase at the destination store, then you get paid a commission. That’s why some people call it “referral marketing”.


Do you love everything arts, crafts, and vintage? Or maybe you love making things with your hands? If that’s the case then Etsy is an online business model with a twist because it provides crafters like you with a dedicated platform to sell your handmade or vintage goods from. And don’t think you’ll have to nickel-and-dime your way to a profit – it’s actually the opposite.

Although Etsy originally launched as a platform solely for crafters, it’s expanded to include pre-made vintage and antique items. Some sellers do try to circumvent the system to sell mass-produced items, but Etsy shut those stores down as soon as they find them.


Some people still shy away from the idea of having an e-commerce store because of the dotcom crash of 2001. It left a lasting impression on anyone who knows anything about it. But modern e-commerce businesses are as far removed from those days as Google is from Yahoo in terms of dominating the search market.

Back then you had to worry about paying web developers vast amounts of money to build an e-commerce site for you. After that, it was time to pay an SEO agency to rank your site, or you had to resort to paid (PPC) traffic. Then you had to deal with inventory, staff, deliveries and managing customer service issues.


We kept the Fulfillment bAmazon (FBA) business model separate to the e-commerce section above. The reason for this is that Amazon FBA is a little bit different from regular e-commerce. This difference is it allows you to piggyback off the success of the biggest online retailer on the planet – Amazon.

The process of getting Amazon to sell your products for you is a straightforward one:

  1. You brainstorm an idea for a product you think will sell online
  2. Next up is to do extensive market research on that product, focusing on product popularity, sales price and profit margin
  3. Now you need to find a company that will manufacture your product(s) for you – this is a lot easier than it sounds
  4. Once your product order is completed, you then arrange for them to be shipped to an Amazon fulfillment center
  5. You create your product listings for your Amazon store
  6. The listings go live, and you start making sales
  7. Around 14 days later you receive your slice of the pie from Amazon via check or electronic fund transfer to your bank account

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