20 Creative Home Based Business Ideas You Probably Never Thought About.

20 Creative Home Based Business Ideas You Probably Never Thought About.

Throughout my adult life, I have been an 8-to-5 worker. Now I have stepped out from that comfort zone and joined the ranks of entrepreneurs.

With this shift in my life, I began to notice how people around me make income. I started to observe and compare those who had 8-to-5 jobs with those who run small home-based businesses.


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This blog post here is about creativity and entrepreneurs. I show you 20 creative home-based business ideas from Indonesia. That is how millions make a living and support their families.

For the last seven years, I have lived in Indonesia. It’s a wealthy country, but sadly, the immense majority of its 270 million population (2018) is poor… or very poor. There are not enough jobs available, and people are forced to be creative. “You don’t work, you don’t eat,” they tell you.

If you want to be an entrepreneur, you have to be creative also. So you can learn from them.

1. Man Pedalling His Mobile Carousel

man making living by mobile carousel

This man is riding his mobile carousel around Jakarta slums, and more impoverished neighborhoods enable poorer kids to get a ride. An about 10-minute ride costs 08 cents. In case he rents the carousel, he has to pay daily rent too.

2. A Mobile Food Stall in Your Front Yard

The street vendor and his mobile food stall.
Food stalls like the one in the picture above are hugely popular in Indonesia. They allow people to make a living. Don’t you have a job? Then learn to cook (to know how to cook just one type of food is enough). Buy stuff from the local market and prepare the food. Then walk your food stall through local neighborhoods, find some hungry customers, and serve them.

3. The Collector of Plastic Bottles.

Man looking for used plastic bottles.

Many earn their income by collecting and selling used plastic bottles. Used plastic is cheap, and selling it does not make you rich, but at least it brings bread to peoples’ tables.

4. Air Conditioner Service

AC service enterpreneurship

Indonesia is a country with a hot and humid climate. It’s hard to live here without air conditioners. This fact turns AC Service a lucrative niche for many.

5. Shoe repairers at the local market.

A shoe repairer waiting for customers

This young shoe repairer opened his workshop right in the center of the local market in Kendari, South-East Sulawesi. It’s always hot, dusty, and noisy here, but this is what he can do to support himself and his family.

6. Plastic Household Ware Salesman in Action.

Man selling plastic kitchenware

This motorbike is like a mobile shop. This entrepreneur does not have a car to run his business, but it does not stop him. If you cannot afford a car, do it by motorbike.

7. A Shoe Repairer in Action.

Young shoe repairer working

This young shoe repairer has a different strategy. To find his customers, he walks through the neighborhoods and shouts. Cheap shoes mean lousy quality, and thus, there are always those who need his services.


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8. A Street Music Begging Money

This man is making money by walking from door to door and singingThis type of entrepreneurship is (at least in my opinion) is one of the laziest ways to make money. It’s just one step above begging. They offer you some service (music, singing and some entertainment in this case) and expect you to pay for that.

9. Making Rooster Cages.

Building bamboo rooster cages

A bamboo rooster cage

That is a family business. They buy raw bamboo stems, then make everything from bamboo that they can sell.

10. A Street Vendor Selling Tofu Products in a Jakarta Slum.

Street vendor selling fried tofu.If you don’t have a job, cooking skills often open you a door into the entrepreneurship world. This lady here has focused on making tofu products and selling them in Jakarta, poorer neighborhoods.

11. A Cracker Salesman Delivering His Products.

A man selling crackers

Crackers are hugely popular in Indonesia. There are thousands (if not millions) of family businesses in Indonesia who make a full time living by cooking, packing, and selling crackers.

12. Clean Water Delivery Man.

Carrying water requires a lot of physical energy

This man is, in fact, a rice farmer from a rural area in Java. However, this is not enough to support his family. Thus, he spends his off-seasons in the capital, rents a trolley, and provides clean water delivery to nearby households.

13. A Pedicab Taxi Business

Man making money riding his pedicab taxi.In my opinion, another lazy way to make money. But at least, it is an option if you don’t have anything else but a motorbike. Or if you don’t have it, you can always rent it. Sadly, way too many young Indonesian men choose to become pedicab taxi riders. It’s because neither education nor hard work is required. A lot of sitting and a little bit riding, that’s it.

14. Monkey Shows.

Doing monkey shows is another option to make money

Young Indonesian men often choose to run a monkey show to feed themselves and their families. Once the animal is well trained, they walk from neighborhood to neighborhood giving 10 minutes long performances and collecting money from the spectators (mostly kids).

15. Old Street Vendor at Action

Old lady selling veggies in a Jakarta slum

This old lady is yet another street vendor selling veggies in Jakarta, impoverished neighborhoods. What is impressive with these street vendors is that many of them have done it for decades. Often 20 to 40 years.

16. Making Cheap Paper Dolls for Sale.

Trying to be creative by making these paper tolls

To make some desperately needed cash, this mother of 2 began to make small, cheap paper dolls and sell them in front of local public schools. That is another example of how poor people use their creativity to support their families.

17. Grilling and Selling Corn Cobs.

Doing business by grilling corn

To support her family, this mother of 3 opened a food stall in front of her home and began to grill and sell corn cobs. She didn’t have any proper grill to run the business, so my family and I bought her one.

18. Making Aggregate

This lady uses hammer to make aggregate

That is a surprising way to make money, but it happens in many villages in SE-Sulawesi. Whole families – men, women, and children make aggregate. All you need to do is to hit rocks with a hammer, and that’s it. It’s a tedious and time-wasting job, but, at least, it gives the work for hundreds (if not thousands) of families.

19. A Young Street Vendor Selling Fried Stuff.

Street vendor cooking and selling fried stuff

This young man has neither a trolley nor a bike to sell his stuff. But at least, he does not sit idle, complaining: Give me a job. Give me a job. He uses his creativity, cooks, and walks through the neighborhoods, selling his stuff (fried bananas, fried sweet potatoes, etc.).

20. A Seaweed Farmer.

Most of the villagers in Karimunjawa are seaweed farmers

This man makes a living and supports his family by growing seaweed In Karimunjawa island, Indonesia. You see his “farmland” here:

Planted seaweed in the swallow waters


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Yes, you need discipline. But the pain of discipline is far less than the pain of regret. Go here, and feast.



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