Businesses that run themselves are the kind that requires minimal input from the owner and can generate passive income.
With the rise of technology and automation, these types of businesses are becoming more popular and arguably the best business ideas to make money.
Your choices range from digital products and subscription services to automated business services.
Though hands-off for the most part, you may be required to use a considerable amount of your savings to set up the business.
Running such ventures also requires getting the word out to potential customers and keeping up with trends and best practices in your desired industry.
So, which business can run without constant input? How do you get started and what can you expect to earn? Let’s find out:
Businesses That Run Themselves
Below are passive business ideas that can be started and operated from anywhere across the globe. They come with minimal material input and have the advantage of potentially earning you millions of dollars every year:
This is a type of e-commerce business that does not require the business owner to keep any physical inventory.
Instead, the business owner lists, markets, and sells items online. Next, and when an order is made, the supplier/manufacturer packages and ships the product to the customer.
The operation model makes dropshipping among the best online businesses. The training required is basic knowledge of online marketing, and customer support.
Depending on the product, a dropshipper can make up to $100,000 per year.
2. Subscription Services
Subscription services involve selling a product or service to a single entity or multiple business.
This business model is popular among digital products, such as software, online courses, streaming services, and more.
Typically, this is a business that runs itself; from billing to service renewal. The training required is basic knowledge of marketing, customer service, and digital product creation.
Unlike most gigs in this post, creating a subscription service requires expert knowledge in areas such as app development and web applications.
Depending on the type and size of the subscription business, a business owner can make up to several thousand dollars a month.
3. Freelance Writing
Freelance writing is a smart way to make money from anywhere and does not require a degree in any discipline. As a stay-at-home author, you can provide content for websites, journals, books, magazines, and more.
Depending on the type of work and the writer’s experience, freelance writers can make between $18 to $59 an hour.
Freelance writing is among the best businesses from home. The training required is only basic knowledge of writing, grammar, and dedication in the writer’s area of expertise or niche.
Related Post: Get Paid to Write
4. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing involves promoting and selling products or services in exchange for a commission. Marketers can make a healthy income if they can find the right products and services to promote, and the right audience to promote to.
This is a business that can be run from home by just sharing links to businesses and products on the web.
Depending on the type of product from the partnering company, most affiliate marketers make around $30,000 to $50,000 per year. Experts in the hustle earn over $150 per year, as reported by Ahrefs.com.
The training required is basic knowledge of online marketing, SEO, and affiliate marketing.
5. Online Courses
Selling online training is a simple gig to make money without having to leave the house. The courses can range from teaching a language to teaching a specific skill or topic.
Depending on the course and the audience, online course creators can make up to several thousand dollars a month, from a single product.
Instructor Academy, a popular host for online courses, reports creators’ incomes, ranging from $1000 to $100,000 or more per year.
The amount of traffic you attract to your course page, your conversion rate, and the price of your courses are the main factors that will determine your revenue.
As one of the best online businesses of 2023, online course selling just requires basic knowledge of digital product creation and targeted marketing.
6. Virtual Assistance
Virtual assistants help business owners and entrepreneurs with day-to-day tasks such as scheduling, email management, customer service, and more. To freelancers, VA is among the best businesses from home.
The training required is knowledge of customer service, scheduling, email management, and basic internet use.
You can get VA jobs through sites like Upwork and Fiverr. All you require is a PC, phone, and internet to start making money.
Depending on the type of services provided and the hours worked, CBNC reports virtual assistants making up to $100 an hour.
Related Post: Best VA Jobs In 2023
Online tutoring involves teaching students via video or audio chat. Depending on the subject and the experience, online tutors can make up to $50 an hour. The training required is knowledge of the subject and the ability to effectively teach it online.
Online tutors can create a business that can be run from home on a personal website or via platforms like Tutor ABC and English Hunt.
As of April 2023, the average annual salary for an online tutor in the US is estimated to be $51,154 according to ZipRecruiter. This equates to around $24.59 per hour or $4,262 per month.
Automated businesses are a great way to generate passive income and free up your time for other pursuits. They require minimal effort and time to set up and maintain, and you can scale them up or down depending on your needs.
Let’s take a look at some automated businesses that you can start today, right from home.
E-commerce is a type of automated business where you build an online store and sell products without ever having to manage inventory.
It works by connecting a supplier to an online retailer, who purchases the products from the supplier and then ships them to customers.
With eCommerce, you can make a profit by earning a margin on the products that you sell. It requires minimal training and no upfront costs to start, making it an attractive business opportunity.
Forbes estimates that 20.8% of retail business takes place online, making this a lucrative opportunity backed by a huge customer base.
With an e-commerce store, you can earn around $33 per hour on average, and up to $61 per hour as a top seller.
9. Digital Services
Digital services are some of the best online businesses that can be automated to run themselves. Common examples include web design and development, online marketing, web hosting, and virtual assistant services.
With digital services, you can charge clients for your time, expertise, and services and still generate passive income from your automation.
The amount your agency can earn will depend on the number of clients your business attracts.
On average, the cost of digital marketing services for small businesses can range from $50 to $500 per hour. If you are able to secure 10 steady clients, your agency can generate up to $5k per hour, backed by a remote and self-sufficient workforce.
10. Software as a Service
Software as a Service (SaaS) is an automated business model where a computer program is delivered over the internet and operated via a browser.
It helps you earn via users subscribing to the software, which they can then access and use.
With SaaS, you charge users a monthly fee for continued access, and you can scale the business up or down depending on your needs. It requires some technical knowledge, but it is a great way to generate passive income.
How much can you earn from SaaS?
For example, if a SaaS business charges $10 per month per user and has 1,000 users, it will make $10,000 per month. If they charge double that, the same 1,000 users will generate $20,000 per month.
11. App Development
Mobile app development is a specialized skill to create money without having to leave the house. Depending on the type of app and the audience, app developers can make up to several thousand dollars a month.
The training required is basic knowledge of mobile app development and coding.
This is a growing business with mobile app revenue worldwide estimated to hit $170 billion. The average salary for mobile device applications developers in the US is approximately $121,000 per year.
Once your app is ready, you just need to list it on app sites like Google Play to start making money, passively, from downloads and in-app ads.
When it comes to US-based developers, iOS app developers can expect to make the most with an average salary of $115,000/year, while Android app developers can expect to make slightly less at around $113,000/year.
12. Vending Machines
These are automated machines that dispense products to customers.
The machines can be placed in almost any public location, and depending on the type of product and the location, business owners can make up to several thousand dollars a month in profits.
Training required: Basic knowledge of vending machine maintenance and product restocking. You can place your machine in office buildings, airports, hospitals, and schools.
A typical business specializing in healthy snacks and beverages, reports that vending machines typically earn more than $75 per week and $300 per month.
On a conservative estimate, ZipRecruiter reports vending machine business making $20 per hour on average.
Low Maintenance Businesses
What discipline did you graduate in college? There are some low-maintenance jobs that you can launch from home with just your basic college degree.
With the injection of tech in your operations, you can comfortably earn from home through the venture. Such jobs include:
13. Web Design
As a web designer, you create websites for others and you may make extra money providing support. Depending on your mastery of the craft, you can charge anywhere from $50 – $1,000 per website.
Basically, you can create a business that can be run from home with just a good understanding of web design and coding to be successful.
With 4-6 years of experience in web design, the average salary for a web designer is estimated to range from $51,000 to $80,000 annually.
Senior web designers can expect to make slightly more, with an average salary of between $55,000 and $86,000 per year.
14. Graphic Design
As a graphic designer, you can create logos, websites, brochures, business cards, and more, for businesses and organizations. You can charge anywhere from $50-$1000 per project.
A good understanding of graphic design and coding, skills that can be self-taught, is all you need to be successful.
According to BLS, the federal minimum wage in the US is set at $7.25 per hour. However, graphic designers typically work for an hourly rate of $24.38, which is substantially higher than the statutory minimum rate.
15. Social Media Management (SMM)
As a social media manager, you run a company’s social media handles and create posts for them. You need to have a good understanding of the latest trends and smart practices in social media to be successful.
SMM is among the best business ideas to make money, with most remote managers making around $40k and $160k per year.
Those with more experience may be able to earn up to $200 per hour, depending on the number of clients they sign up.
As a blogger, you can create content for your website and monetize it through ads, affiliate links, e-commerce sales, and sponsored posts.
You don’t need any special training to be successful, but you should have basic knowledge of SEO, marketing, and customer support.
According to Wix, bloggers can make upwards of $100,000 annually after two years of building traffic and subscribers.
Even within the first year, bloggers can earn between $500 and $2,000 per month. This demonstrates the potential of a wide income range for those who pursue blogging full-time.
17. Personalized Meal Prep Services
With the rise in health consciousness, people are looking for healthier meal options but don’t always have the time to prepare them.
A personalized meal service could offer customized meals, observing any health and nutritional restrictions and personal dislikes, plus delivery options.
Since this is a customized service, you can run it as a small business charging high rates for meals.
18. Pet Daycare
Pet ownership is on the rise, and most dog and cat owners are ready to spend cash on their furry friends.
This is where pet grooming and daycare business comes in. You offer services such as bathing, grooming, and sitting for pets while their owners are at work.
This is a kind of business that requires your physical presence, however, you can have it run by one or two part time employees.
The gig pays well, to the tune of over $75k per year for top dog groomers.
19. Event Planning for Small Businesses
Looking for businesses that require my presence? An event planning service tailored to small businesses could offer affordable event planning services, including venue selection, catering, and entertainment.
Normally, small businesses often struggle with planning events due to limited resources. With your expert input, you can make around $51,560 an hour.
20. Virtual Interior Design Services
With more people working remotely in the 21st century, there is a rise in the number of clients needing virtual interior design services.
An online interior design service works on customized design plans and virtual consultations to help clients create their dream home office or living space.
With the work being virtual and all communication online, virtual designers can operate from a continent away and still make bank.
The job pays between $20 and $42 per hour.
21. Sustainable Cleaning Services
People are increasingly environmentally conscious, creating a growing demand for sustainable cleaning services.
A cleaning service that uses eco-friendly products and practices could appeal to this market segment and offer a unique selling point.
This is unlike franchising for a giant cleaning service business (more on this later), in that you’ll be running a personalized and client-oriented business.
Related Post: Best Self Employed Ideas for Women In 2023
Franchises That Run Themselves
Franchising involves selling services or products under the trademark of a larger company. This is done in line with the parent company’s model of business.
You benefit from their enormous marketing campaigns and brand recognition, while franchisors get fees from your business.
Below are some of the coveted franchise businesses in the US.
Subway is a franchise business that allows you to open a sandwich shop. You’ll have to pay an initial fee and ongoing royalty to Subway.
Additionally, you’ll need to purchase equipment and supplies, hire and train staff, and manage daily operations.
Most Subway franchise owners make around $400,000 yearly, with the franchisor taking 8% of the amount as royalty fees.
No special training is required, but you should have basic knowledge of hospitality operations and customer service.
McDonald’s offers a franchise business model that allows you to open a fast-food restaurant.
The business also requires you to purchase equipment and supplies, hire and train workers, and manage operations.
McDonald’s franchise owners make anywhere from $50,000 to $1 million a year in revenue. The owner of an average-earning McDonald’s franchise can expect to receive a salary of approximately $174,350 per year from their franchise’s profit.
In 2021, the franchise owner of the highest-grossing McDonald’s location earned a salary of around $680,000, while the lowest-earning restaurant made $34,000 in profit.
No special training is required, but you do need to raise an initial fee of about, which is determined by your location and business size.
24. Dunkin’ Donuts
As the name suggests, working with Dunkin’ Donuts means running a donut shop. You will need to pay an initial franchise fee of between $40k and $90k and ongoing 5.9% royalty fees to Dunkin’ Donuts.
Equipment, supplies, training fees, and salaries also come from your revenue.
Most Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owners make anywhere from $50,000 to $500,000 a year in revenue.
As a business owner, the expected net profit margin is around 15%, which is in line with the industry average. This means that the average Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee can expect to earn a profit of approximately $158,000 per year.
In this franchise venture, you get to open a convenience store. You’ll have to pay an initial franchise fee of $25k and a royalty fee of around 5.7%.
The average 7-Eleven franchise can make an impressive $1.4 million in profits every year.
Depending on the franchise size and location, the owner can earn anywhere from $50,000 to $75,000 in salary. With that kind of income, it’s no wonder why so many entrepreneurs choose to go the franchise route.
26. H&R Block
H&R Block is a franchise business that allows you to open a tax preparation office. The initial franchise fee is $2,500 and royalty charges of between 15% and 20% annually.
H&R Block Franchise Owners experience significant financial success, with an annual salary of around $71,000, or $34 per hour.
To get started, you will need to complete a tax preparation training program to get started as a bookkeeper under H&R Block.
27. UPS Store
The UPS Store allows you to open a shipping and mailing services center. Startup capital ranges between $240,959 and $508,472.
The initial fee for the franchise is around $29,950 and a recurring royalty fee of 5%.
Most UPS Store franchise owners make approximately $60,000 a year in revenue. No expert training is required, but you should have basic knowledge in printing, packing, and shipping operations.
Supercuts allows you to open a hair salon from your location. Their business model requires having an on-site manager at the store at all times.
The royalty fees for new Supercuts stores is 4%. Most Supercuts franchise owners can make from $50,000 to $250,000 a year in revenue.
Note, you will need to have a cosmetology license to be approved as a franchiser with Supercuts.
29. Merry Maids
Merry Maids is a franchise business that deals with house cleaning services. The company reports an average startup fee of around $94k.
The amount goes into buying equipment and supplies, hiring staff, and paying the initial franchise fee of $37,500.
Merry Maids franchises are among the best business ideas to make money with owners making an average of $65,000 per year.
Jani-King is a US-based franchise business that empowers you to open a janitorial business. Initial fees for the franchise range between $9k and $195k.
Royalty costs you 10% of gross revenue. Most Jani-King franchise owners make around $61,000 annually- $29 per hour.
Jani-King offers training to new franchise owners. You get to learn effective communication, efficiencies while cleaning, and handling materials and equipment.
31. Smoothie King
Smoothie King is a franchise business model where you open a smoothie shop in your preferred location.
The franchise fee is $30k with the initial investment starting at $320,301. Entrepreneurs trying to get started on the franchise also need a credit score of 700 or higher.
Most Smoothie King franchise owners make anywhere around $100,000 a year in revenue.
Best Business for Passive Income
The best passive income ideas involve making money while you sleep. Think of buying and selling products that appreciate in value by the minute.
Top investments of this nature include:
32. Real Estate Investing
Real estate investing is buying, renovating, and reselling properties for profit. You can also rent out properties for passive income.
This can be a great step to becoming a full-time realtor.
The average salary for real estate investors differs from state to state, with some earning up to $261,000.
However, there is no limit on how much money you can make, as you can continue to increase your returns over time with the right investment strategy, location, and team.
33. Peer-to-Peer Lending
Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending involves lending money to borrowers for a fee. P2P lending allows you to make money based on the interest rate you set or agree to.
P2P lending falls under businesses that require my presence since you need to know your lenders to vouch for their dependability.
Typical interest rates range from 1% – 6%, depending on the amount of money you are ready to risk.
It is possible to offer higher interest rates for huge loans, but this comes with a much higher risk of losing your money.
34. Dividend Investing
Dividend investing involves putting your money in stocks that pay a regular dividend.
According to Finmasters, investment portfolios typically pay out dividends of around 1-6% of their value each year.
This means that to make $500 per month in dividends, you would need a portfolio value between $100,000 and $600,000.
What I like about dividends is that you can become a part owner of businesses in any industry including defense, manufacturing, and tech.
You can create and monetize videos on YouTube to create money. According to Yahoo Finance, creators typically earn 55% of the revenue from their channels; for every $100 an advertiser pays, Google pays $55 to the creator.
On average, video content creators make around $0.18 per view, or $18 per 1k views.
The top ten highest-earning YouTubers in 2021 made about $300 million in total, which is a 40% increase from 2020. This makes YouTube stand out among the best online businesses.
Important Article: Getting Paid on YouTube
36. Selling E-Books
You can create a business to run from home and sell ebooks to generate passive income. The business has an earning potential of $500 – $5,000 per book.
To make good money, I recommend listing on Amazon which is one of the biggest online markets for selling digital ebooks.
The service offers you the chance to be a self published author via the Amazon Kindle program. To increase your income as an author, having several books selling on Amazon can make you over $1,000 per month.
37. Niche Websites
The best business ideas to make money online require a website to represent your brand and to pursue digital marketing. You can create niche websites to this end and start generating passive income.
Creating a niche website with a solid concept can bring in anywhere from $200 to $4,000 a month. Keep in mind that it will take some effort and time to break even.
38. Selling Domains
You can buy and sell domain names to generate passive income. Selling domain names can be a lucrative business and is a great way to make money without creating anything.
The idea is to buy domains on sites like GoDaddy and DreamHost and hoard them till their value increases.
For example, business.com was reportedly sold for $350m from an initial value of $7.5m only, eight years earlier.
Domain flippers and traders usually make between $100 and $10,000 per sale, while those who are very successful in domain flipping can make millions from a single domain.
Easy Businesses to Run
There are businesses that do not require huge capital investment, lots of labor, or a large space to run. Such ventures have few overheads and are easy to run. Here are the ideas to consider:
Copywriting is among the best businesses from home that require basic equipment. You can write copy for websites, emails, and other marketing materials for both small and big businesses.
Rates for copywriting vary depending on the deliverables. The average salary for a copywriter in the US is $53,847 per year, top earners making over $89,055 per year according to Indeed.com.
To become a successful copywriter, you’ll need to have a creative mind, above par writing skills and a deep insight of the target audience.
40. Virtual Bookkeeping
As a virtual bookkeeper, you can plan the business to run from home and provide services to businesses remotely.
You can manage your clients’ accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll and more without visiting any premises.
Rates for virtual bookkeeping services vary, but you can make anywhere from $16 to $25 per hour. As a full time bookkeeper, you can get over $54k per year.
To become a successful virtual bookkeeper, you’ll need to have knowledge of accounting principles and bookkeeping software.
41. SEO Consultant
You can provide SEO services to businesses, helping them optimize their websites and ecommerce portals for search engine rankings.
Rates for SEO consulting vary. SEO experts can earn between $66,385 and $96,245, depending on their education, certifications, work experience, and business skills.
While this is a very attractive salary, it takes experience to make a meaningful income.
To become a successful SEO consultant you need to also be conversant in related areas like web development and graphic design.
You can take photographs for businesses and organizations, creating visuals for websites, social media, and other marketing materials.
Rates for photography vary depending on the project. Photographers typically make anywhere between $27,500 and $78,500 yearly.
To make sure that photography is a financially sustainable career, many people choose to start by transitioning into photography part-time.
In this business, you’ll need knowledge of photography principles, equipment, and stellar entrepreneur skills. For passive income, you can list your pics on stock photography sites like Pexel and Shutterstock.
43. Business Consulting
As entrepreneurs continue to look for the best business ideas to make money, consulting is becoming a great way to get paid easily. You can provide consulting services to businesses, helping them with strategy, operations, and problem-solving.
Rates for consulting vary depending on the project, but Business consultants typically earn between $64,000 and $117,000 a year. On average, a business consultant can expect to make $41.93 an hour.
Factors such as location, skill, and business reach can significantly impact the salary of a business consultant. To become a successful consultant, you’ll need to have knowledge of the industry and a good understanding of business principles.
44. Social Media Influencer
Social media influencing is a great way to get paid remotely. The job involves creating content for businesses and organizations, engaging with followers and helping to grow a handle’s online presence.
Rates for influencing vary depending on the platform and the client.
ZipRecruiter reports Social Media Influencer salaries ranging from as low as $11,500 up to as high as $264,500 annually, with most influencers earning between $30,000 and $67,000 a year.
The top earners make an annual salary of $80,000 across the United States, making social media influencing among the best online businesses.
To become an effective influencer, you’ll need a huge social following and knowledge of the different platforms, and how to use them effectively.
45. Voice Acting
You can provide voiceover services for advertising businesses and creating audio for podcasts, videos, and other media.
Rates for voice acting vary depending on the audio work involved. In terms of monthly earnings, the typical voice actor can anticipate making approximately $1,245 to roughly $17,167.
However, newcomers to the industry may need to accept a lower monthly income until they have built up their reputation and become a trustworthy and respected talent.
To become a well-paid voice actor, you’ll need knowledge of the craft, especially oratory skills. A good place to start is audio narration for upcoming authors.
Transcription is a great business to run from home. You can transcribe audio for individual clients, create written transcripts for podcasts, You Tube videos, and other media.
What I like about transcription is that this is a lucrative profession with ample prospects for growth.
Typically, a transcriptionist can expect to earn about $16 per hour, while those with advanced skills can command rates of $20+ per hour.
To become a successful transcriptionist, you’ll need access to premium transcription software and a good understanding of English grammar and punctuation.
Self-Run Business Ideas [Final Thoughts]
A self-run business refers to a business that is managed and operated by the owner or a small team of individuals without the need for external management or supervision.
As the owner you are liable for the business through and through, including finances, advertisement, and customer service; in the case of franchises, you get to enjoy greater marketing budgets, but ultimately, you are responsible for your store.
The upside is that, if you do break even, you can enjoy financial windfall and create generation wealth.
This type of business model allows for greater control and flexibility, but also requires a significant amount of time and effort from the owner. Interested? Above are some practical ideas that typically run themselves.
Howdy Folks, thanks for stopping by my blog.
I’m Swati, a proud mom, dedicated side hustler, full-time blogger, and a recognized millennial work-at-home expert. My expertise has been featured on esteemed platforms such as Forbes, CEO Blog Nation, Referral Rock, Vital Dollar, Databox blog, and many more. I have embarked on this incredible journey to share my firsthand experiences in the world of online income generation and to assist all of you in earning money from the comfort of your homes.
Join me in my mission to revolutionize the way we make money and achieve financial freedom. Trust me, it’s not as challenging as it may seem!
Together, let’s explore the boundless opportunities and pave our paths towards a prosperous future.