By Jamie Edson Opielski

There are many reasons why a person may choose to work from home. Perhaps, a special-needs child or an aging parent necessitates being at home full time. Some may  simply desire an additional income. Whatever your reasoning for seeking to work from home, we are here to assist you in finding viable sources for a successful, well balanced work at home career.

Many people are also running successful Internet-based home businesses. Many more want to start and run a home business the old-fashioned way.

Where do you start?

Deciding upon running a home business is easy. Choosing the type of business proves more difficult.  The keys to unlocking this dilemma are listed below.

1. Inventory your skills, interests, training and education, personality, and work and volunteer experience. Make a tangible list of these qualities to examine. These factors hold the necessary information that make up what you know and where your talents lie.

2. Weed out what you do not enjoy doing or what you feel your personality is not suited for.

3. Next, match your interests with marketable activities. If Steps 1 and 2 still haven’t suggested feasible home business ideas, review the following activities that have proven marketable for others and weigh them against your list of interested fields.
Some ideas may include craft fairs, pottery, cleaning homes, professional
shopping, floral arranging, gift baskets, hairdresser, bookkeeping service, candlemaking, dog grooming, real estate, web design, home daycare, home party plans, direct sales, etc. By the time you’re done, you will have a list of possible matches with your skills and interests on the one hand and home business ideas utilizing those skills and interests on the other.

4. In creating marketable potential, your idea must satisfy the following criteria:

a. It must create a need in the market.

b. Is your idea trendy? Will it go out of style in a short time?
Substance and longevity are the keys here.

c. Is your idea unique? This doesn’t mean you have to invent
something completely new, but it does mean that there has to be some
aspect of your product or service that sets it apart from the competition.

d. It must not be in an oversaturated market. What you want is
healthy competition where it’s possible to differentiate yourself from
competing businesses.

e. If you can’t compete on uniqueness, you must compete on price or
convenience. If you’re forced to compete on price alone, that drives down
your profit margin. Not smart business.

f. You must be able to price competitively yet profitably. The price
you set for your product or service must allow you to compete effectively
with other businesses in your market, it must be acceptable to consumers
and it must return a fair profit. If any one of these is off, move on.

g. Your business must fit with your lifestyle. Will your business
require you to be out of the home a lot? This may not work if you have
young children. If this is the case, you will need to choose a business that
allows you to work completely from home or perhaps around your
spouse’s schedule. Home parties would be an excellent choice here.
Similarly, if your business idea would involve having clients come to your
home, you’re not going to want an unruly toddler underfoot as you’re
trying to conduct business.

h. Your financial resources must be sufficient to launch and carry the
business until it becomes profitable. No business is profitable from day
one, of course. But some are quicker to break even than others. If your
business requires considerable capital to start, it will take longer to see
profit. If your financial situation is such that you can’t afford to quit your
day job until your business is paying its way, this, too, will mean it will
take longer to break even.

5. Once you’ve identified the right business for you, write a business plan for your business. Include sections for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and competition, and set goals for what your business needs to achieve for you, by  when, and how you are going to get there.

6. If your idea passes the business plan test, you can be reasonably confident that this is the right business for you. If you come away from this exercise feeling hesitant and unsure, either do more research or discard that particular idea. If this  happens, repeat the steps above until you are onfident that your business idea is viable.

Although it may seem like a waste of time and effort to complete a business plan if you don’t intend to seek outside financing, taking the time and exercising the discipline needed to really focus your mind on the important issues facing your  business, you will be forced to take a long hard look at your idea through very  objective and realistic eyes.

By taking a disciplined approach to identifying the right home business for you, you will be giving your idea the best possible chance  for long-term survival, hopefully avoiding expensive mistakes along the way.

 

Jamie Edson Opielski

Jamie is a work at home mom living in Universal City, Texas with her husband and their four children. She is a published Poet and started her Writing/Copy Writing Business shortly after she quit working out of the home. She started submitting poetry for Families Online Magazine and later starting writing the Work at Home monthly column. Jamie expanded her horizons as a Virtual Assistant managing the help desk for Kindersigns.com. She is now the Director of Operations for Kindersigns.com and the Support Manager/Asst to the President of Bizymoms.com. Jamie also creates Character Letters for children. She published her first book Tangerine Sky- a book of poetry and short stories.

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