If you’re thinking about starting your own home-based business, the available options can seem overwhelming. What type of business is the best fit for your background, skills, and interests? If you don’t have a lot of initial capital to invest, which ones can be started at a low cost? And, most important, which home business has the best chance of succeeding, especially with the U.S. economy still on the rebound?
"Many people think they have a great idea and jump into launching their business without thinking through who their customers will be, or why these people should want to buy from or hire them," Desaulniers said. "Second, you need to clarify why you want to work with these customers – do you have a passion for making people's lives easier? Or enjoy creating art to bring color to their world? Identifying these answers helps clarify your mission. Third, you want to define how you will provide this value to your customer and how to communicate that value in a way that they are willing to pay."
Consider your expertise. If you take the time to reflect on your experiences, you will realize that you have more knowledge about which to write than you might think. Begin by listing three assets that define you, such as your profession, a special hobby or a personality trait. Next, list three things that inspire you, such as religion, education or charity. Finally, list three of your dreams, such as getting married, traveling or spending more time with your children. These three lists should give you many ideas of topics about which you can write.[13]
Find a profitable niche. Starting with your interests, write down as many niche ideas as you can. Think about topics people might search online. Ideas include passions (like surfing or body building), fears (like spiders or speaking in front of crowds) and problems (like getting out of debt). Do keyword research to see it others are interested in the topic. Find out if a domain name is available that matches the keyword 100 percent. [7]
Also, make sure you’re up-to-date on CPR, first aid and other emergency procedures. Then make sure your own kids are OK with sharing their home every day. Once all of that is wrapped up, go to your friends and neighbors, your kids’ teachers, your place of worship and anywhere else busy parents are looking for day-care services, and get your word out.
Experts generally agree that startup businesses often fail because they run out of money too quickly before turning a profit. It's never a bad idea to overestimate the amount of startup capital you need, as it can be a while before the business begins to bring in sustainable revenue. Additionally, don't overspend when starting a business. Understand the types of purchases that make sense for your business and avoid overspending on fancy new equipment that won't help you reach your business goals.
My current company, Outbox Systems, began this way. We wanted to connect two software applications, but we didn’t have the capital to build the integration. Knowing we needed to generate money to fund our product development, I approached the partner channel at AtTask and asked if I could build a software integration for them. Fortuitously, an enterprise AtTask customer needed to integrate AtTask and Salesforce and was willing to pay us $125 per hour to build the integration. Then we turned around and resold the product to others. A typical tech entrepreneur thinks, “Raise money, build software.” But we turned the model on its head and essentially got the company to help us develop intellectual property for our business.

Instead of spending hours playing with accounting software, dreaming up potential expense and income categories, and creating fancy reports with no data, spend that time generating revenue. As long as you record everything you do now, creating a more formal system later will be fairly easy. It will also be more fun, because then you'll have real data to enter.


Perhaps most importantly, though, would-be eBay moguls need to specialize. Just throwing junk online won’t work. Sellers need to know what they want to sell and how they’re going to market it to their audiences. Again, competition is fierce, so research, preparation and strategy are critical. (For reference, eBay itself provides an extensive guide to selling on the site.)
Tasks like naming the business and creating a logo are obvious, but what about the less-heralded, equally important steps? Whether it's determining your business structure or crafting a detailed marketing strategy, the workload can quickly pile up. Rather than spinning your wheels and guessing at where to start, follow this 10-step checklist to transform your business from a lightbulb above your head to a real entity.
There’s no need to be an artist, just an expert in some form of art. Visit galleries. Get on their email lists, and go to their parties. Get to know their clients. Gallery owners will love you, even recommend your services, because you’ll be telling people to buy art from them. You don’t have to own any inventory. It’s pure consulting. There is almost no overhead cost for a business like this. It’s really about having a passion for art and a knack for earning people’s trust. And it’s fun!
Amazon Mechanical Turk is a service that lets you make money online through doing paid microtasks. Each task is something simple that requires human interaction like rating search results, checking for the right spelling on search terms, categorizing the tone of an article, or even basic translating. You can do these tasks from anywhere you want and make money online from the world’s largest e-retailer.

While it often takes a significant amount of time and hard work to build up your affiliate income, if you have the ability to regularly publish high quality content that drives in targeted traffic to your website, this online revenue source can become quite substantial. Follow along with my experiment growing a completely new finance blog MoneyTalk, into an additional revenue stream for my business.

If you have a fondness and talent for taking pictures you can make extra money online by becoming a stock photographer and selling your images to a stock photo company like ShutterStock or iStockPhoto. You’ll get royalties every time someone licenses an image you’ve submitted. To really be successful, build your own photography website to be able to showcase your portfolio and start getting higher-paid private corporate work.


High-ticket consulting or coaching: You could sell your own high-ticket consulting or coaching products from your website. You'll still need a website, merchant account, sales funnel, lead magnet and many other items. But you can easily earn a substantial amount of money from each individual customer, making it well worth the arduous setup required. 
Now next, you’ll want to pick a WordPress theme from somewhere like ThemeForest, Elegant Themes or OptimizePress. This is the barebones design of your site, which you can then customize with your own branding, copy, and images. That being said, you don’t want to cheap out. It costs less than $100 to buy a theme that will make your website look professional (and you can upgrade to a completely custom design once you get the business going). You'll also need strong marketing tools to grow your website, like HubSpot's All-in-One Marketing plugin.
How can you make a living as a real social-media expert? Practice. Build an audience for yourself before offering your services to others. Determine your target sector, build your own online presence in that community and start making contact with the social-media elite. Twitter is a great place to start. Keep cranking out content and getting it to the right users, and you’ll find a way to get yourself hired even in an ever-expanding universe.

If you’re willing to take on some risk and have the heart of a true hustler, you can make extra money online doing commission-only sales for startups and other businesses. While you won’t be getting a regular salary, with the right sales strategies and skills as an inside sales rep, you can make decent money for each sale you bring in. And because you’ll most likely be working with startups, if you can negotiate a little equity you could profit big time if you're pitching a solid product and the startup succeeds.
Once a pie-in-the-sky idea, home businesses are a reality for millions today. It's easier and more affordable than ever to build a home-based career. This doesn't mean that profits will be automatic, immediate, or easy to achieve, but you can be a successful home-based entrepreneur if you have the desire, a plan, and you're willing to put in the work.
You also will need to file certain forms to fulfill your federal and state income tax obligations. The forms you need are determined by your business structure. A complete list of the forms each type of entity will need can be found on the SBA website. You can also find state-specific tax obligations there. Some businesses may also require federal or state licenses and permits to operate. You can use the SBA's database to search for licensing requirements by state and business type.
Domain name trading has been around for the last couple decades, and while most slam-dunk names have long been sold off, there’s still plenty of others that you can get your hands on for relatively cheap and broker as a way to make money online. Before you dive in, however, beware that some experts doubt the long-term viability of this idea for making money online. However, there’s always the chance you might just land on a lucrative domain name for a future billion-dollar company. To get you started, here are some tips from GoDaddy, arguably the world’s largest and most famous repository of domain names.

My next self-funded business hit $160,000 in revenue in its first year alone. After that first taste of self-made success, I’ve gone on to sign consulting contracts worth tens of thousands of dollars with startups like LinkedIn and Google, launch profitable online courses, and build a following of hundreds of thousands for this blog and my podcast series.
If you don’t mind doing other people’s chores, then TaskRabbit is a great option for making money online. Earn extra income by walking your neighbor’s dog or mowing Mr. Smith’s lawn. It might seem like not the most lucrative option, but the top taskers reportedly earn as much as $7000 a month, making this a full-time way to make money online for some.
Video is growing like crazy. And more and more people are looking for professional help cutting their raw footage into viral-worthy content. If you have the right software and a bit of skill, you can easily make money online as a video editor. Check out these article of Fstoppers on how to become an online video editor and then look for relevant jobs on Mandy.com, Creative Cow Job Search, or ProductionHub.
While it often takes a significant amount of time and hard work to build up your affiliate income, if you have the ability to regularly publish high quality content that drives in targeted traffic to your website, this online revenue source can become quite substantial. Follow along with my experiment growing a completely new finance blog MoneyTalk, into an additional revenue stream for my business.
– Project Payday is one of those sites that has testimonials of people who have earned thousands of dollars by getting paid to get trial offers. I’m not saying you’ll earn thousands, but it is legit and you can earn some extra cash. They assume that by paying you to do a free trial, you’ll either like the product and purchase it, or forget to cancel the trial and get charged for it. If you can keep track and cancel before you get charged (if you don’t want the product), then this is a great site for making some money.
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