Be your own boss: 4 ideas for a home-based business in Singapore

7 min read
Khalida Kamaludin

With the rise of remote working in today’s connected world, we now have more freedom on how and where we work. And it might be from the comfort of your own home. Think about it: you don’t have to commute or fight for a seat with strangers and you could even work in your pyjamas (if that’s your thing, no judgement here). We’re seeing more people embark on a home-based business in Singapore. Some are operating it right out of their HDB flats. For small businesses, it is definitely a good idea to explore starting it from home at initial stages before increasing business activity!

Save costs with a home-based business in Singapore

Starting a business from home can be the practical choice, especially if you’re new to entrepreneurship and have limited capital to work with.

You get to drastically reduce costs traditionally associated with setting up a business, like:

  • Physical store & office: You no longer have to own a brick and mortar to display your goods - a well-designed website now plays the role of a digital storefront. You can also save on office rent by operating from home, but keep in mind that your business should not affect the character and residential estate of your HDB flats i.e. don’t do anything that might annoy your neighbours. Otherwise, there is nothing stopping you from turning your residential space into a small scale office!
  • Marketing & advertising costs: Social media is a cheap means to advertise your business, and with the use of digital marketing tools you can even automate your content marketing and social media management.
  • Operating costs: Things like customer service and inventory management can also be automated, so you don’t have to look into hiring staff while you’re still trying to build a business from the ground up. All you need is a stable internet connection and you’re all set.

If you are wondering whether you can operate a home-based business in Singapore, check out Small Scale Business Scheme for more information! If you're staying in HDB flats, take note of the guidelines on running a business within a space meant for residential use.

Related: Why You Need A Website Even If You’re Selling On Social Media

There are many kinds of businesses that you can operate from home in Singapore! Whether you're launching your own business or a side hustle for extra income, here are four ideas for starting your home-based business in Singapore.

F&B businesses

Bread bowl and Soup
The cheekily named Eat My CB serves homemade curry baked into golden buns. Image credit: Eatbook

In Singapore, food is life… and we don’t just mean that in a biological sense. Food signifies celebrations, heritage and more than just sustenance; it's the experience of sharing joy together.

So it’s no wonder that home based food and beverage businesses in Singapore boomed amidst the pandemic. While the world was suffering from a deadly virus, Singaporeans turned to the thing that never failed to lift their spirits.

Baked goods in particular are popular amongst businesses operating from home. After all, who doesn’t enjoy the fragrant smell of warm freshly baked goods? As a home baker, you get to choose how and when you want to sell your goods. This is a win-win situation for both consumers and business owners! By saving cost of a physical space, you can translate that to better ingredients and cost savings to your customers.

The cost to entry is low when it comes to selling food from your home kitchen. Unlike a restaurant, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) doesn’t require home-based F&B businesses to have a license - they just need to adhere to the hygiene guidelines on the SFA website and ensure the food prepared is safe for consumption.

Homemade products & accessories

Hand Holding Craft Necklace
Handmade jewellery by Singapore-based brand play.though. Image credit: @play.though

With the rise of hybrid careers, selling homemade handicrafts is a great way to earn money on the side. From scented candles to customised furniture, this is an opportunity to turn your passion into a home-based business in Singapore.

People are eager to support local brands and nothing screams EXCLUSIVE more than a unique piece painstakingly crafted by a local seller. Popular items by hand crafters are usually snapped up very quickly by discerning buyers!

Take note that when it comes to selling one-of-a-kind handcrafted items, how you showcase products is key.

Think of all the stores that have show stopping windows filled with creative displays of items on sale. Similarly, your digital storefront i.e. website needs to be visually appealing, too.

Invest some time in learning how to photograph your products in a way that highlights their best features and gets potential customers interested enough to stop scrolling and start clicking.

If you’ve always wanted to learn how to make something but don’t know where to start, a quick search on Youtube will get the ball rolling!

Editor’s note: Design your own E-Store to build the ultimate online shopping experience for your future customers. Check out these templates and get inspired!

Online classes

Tarot Online Class Screenshot
Image credit: Tarot Singapore Online

There are countless ways to monetise your skills and expertise, and teaching online classes is one of the most flexible. There’s a market for just about anything, whether it’s teaching English, yoga classes or even tarot reading webinars.

Teaching classes online also means you don’t have to necessarily be available for each session. You can choose to offer live or pre-recorded classes and have complete control over your own schedule.

This frees up your time to brainstorm new content and strategize a better class experience for your students. Employ the use of tools like automated email campaigns to send out regular content and keep your students engaged in between classes.

Teaching online is a profitable business because it requires a low overhead. All you need is to invest your time (and a stable internet connection).


Dropshipping is a fulfillment method where you don’t keep stock of the product you sell. Instead, you purchase items from a third-party supplier who ships it directly to the customer.

You could live in a flat the size of a shoe box and start a dropshipping business. Besides a laptop and a few recurring expenses, you don’t need much else.

Since you don’t have to pre-purchase the products you want to sell, you can also have a variety of trending products on your online store. Take a look on AliBaba for potential products you’d want for your store (there are literally tens of thousands to choose from).

You’ll also be able to scale easier - sales growth means the supplier works harder to fulfill the orders, not you. Just make sure you keep customer support in tiptop shape to sustain your dropshipping business.

Start your home-based business in Singapore today!

The internet has opened the door to many new opportunities for people looking to launch a home-based business. If you want to start small without breaking the bank, this is just what you need! You get to save costs all while reaching a wider net of potential customers.

From online courses to artisanal bread and handcrafted items, the possibilities of what you can sell online are almost endless. Leverage the digital resources and tools available to create your own job and work from anywhere with Wi-Fi. All it takes is a few clicks to get started. We hope this article will inspire you to put a simple business plan together. Go forth to fulfill your dreams as an entrepreneur!