Millions of Americans work at home. Their “work” is as varied as the individuals themselves. Some telecommute, others have their own businesses, others are contract workers. Some created their work-at-home situation from scratch, others took advantage of flexible work options on the job or bought into an existing business such as a franchise or MLM. For many beginning to examine work-at-home options deciding to work at home is the easy part. Its the deciding what to do that is difficult.
Over the years I’ve been able to meet many people who work at home, and what I’ve found is that nearly all of them do something that is related to a talent, interest or passion. They take a job skill and turn it into a service business or they sell their homemade goodies, and so on.
Of course choosing a path, and what to do specifically once the path is chosen, is a challenge as well. Often, opportunity exists without realizing it. Jerry from Ginger’s K-9 Originals recognized an opportunity that showed itself when people began to ask him about his homemade sun visor for his dog. For others, the opportunity needs to be created. Below are some steps to help you find ideas to meet your work-at-home goal:
- Brainstorm your skills, talents, experience and passions. Write them all down without thinking about whether or not it could be turned into a business. This is important! After all, who would have thought a talent for baking cookies would make Mrs. Fields a well-known name?
- Using your brainstorm from number 1, think of business ideas (wacky or not) that could result from your gifts, etc. To help, use the books that list a zillion ways to make money from home. While these books aren’t so helpful on specifics, they are full of many different ideas you might not think of on your own. Some interesting ideas I have seen are: bartering club, holiday decorator (for homes and businesses), consultants (of anything), genealogy researcher, sales lead generator, referral service (from child care to bed & breakfasts), and so on. Use your search engine to search for keywords related to your idea to see what others are doing. Are they blogging about their passions? Selling their wares online? Marketing affiliate products? Also, find out if there are business-in-a-box offers such as direct sales related to your interests.
- Pick a few ideas and begin to research the feasibility of creating a business. For example, if you want to work completely from home, a business that required you to leave home to meet clients may not work. Also, begin to do market research to determine if there are people who will pay for what you want to offer. Whatever you choose, be sure it is something you want to commit to spending a great deal of time working on. If you are sick of bookkeeping, you probably shouldn’t start a bookkeeping business.
- Write a business and marketing plan. This is vitally important because businesses that fail to plan, plan to fail. Commit to your plan and your business. A business doesn’t grow overnight. Persistence and dedication are required. Find books and people to help you stay motivated and confident in yourself and your new venture.
The important thing to remember when searching for the best home business for you is to start with what you already know, love or do. Too many people jump online looking for fast, easy and profitable which almost never works and in most cases will lose money. You can’t make money at something that’s a gimmick or that you aren’t truly invested in. For example, there are good MLM companies but if you don’t like the product or aren’t willing to talk to people, it doesn’t matter how profitable it could be. You only make money when you do the work. So choose a home business that you can believe in and stick with.
Finally, choosing a business in an area you already know about shortens the learning curve and the time it takes to make money. Starting a business can take time because you have to plan, learn about marketing, obtain needed permits, etc. Choosing a business you know nothing about means you have to learn it along with everything else. But if you know about your business idea already, then all you have to do is put the business part in place.
Work-At-Home Success has articles, podcasts, books and courses on a variety of work-at-home options to help you find the right business for you.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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