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Finding The Right Home-Based Business

By Julie Frost

Over the years, many people have said to me “I’d love to start a home-based business, but which kind would be the right one for me?” The answer is difficult, as it is different for just about everyone. I looked for five years before finding the right home-based business, only to find out two years later, that it really wasn’t the right business after all! I searched high and low, read just about every book on the subject, and still found myself struggling to find the ‘right’ biz! Luckily time and experience finally led me to that home-based business that really was “the right one”. But I’m sure YOU don’t want to wait that long.

So, what can you do? First, there are some questions you have to answer before you can decide on a business. It’s important to remember, when you work for yourself, you are your only employee–you have to do everything from marketing, to accounting, to taking out the trash–and everything else in between (unless you outsource). You will probably work harder for yourself then for any “Employer” you’ve ever had!

With that having been said, I believe it’s extremely important to find something you love, something you are passionate about, and then you can turn it into your business (or find a home-based business opportunity that is a good fit). It’s much easier to get up in the morning and start doing something you love than it is to get up and force yourself to work. There will be no boss to poke you along–just you.

So, what questions should you ask yourself? First and foremost, what do I love doing? When answering this question, be open minded! Don’t hold yourself back by saying things like “I could never make money doing that!” That is not what this exercise is about. Just jot down some things that you really enjoy doing, and try to be as honest as possible. Try to remember times when you felt happiest, your most vibrant and alive. Write those things down, even if they don’t seem ‘work’ related (yet!).

Once you have finished writing down the things you are most passionate about, try brainstorming about how to turn those ideas into a business.

The next question you must answer is “Where do I have experience?” This can be a very important question, or, believe it or not, a completely irrelevant one. Many people start their own businesses without an ounce of experience in their business field. You may need to take classes, attend seminars, or just practice, practice, practice before you learn your trade.

But the question still needs to be answered. This ‘experience’ need not come only from prior jobs, but also from volunteer positions, hobbies, school, etc. Once you have finished writing this down, try to see how your experience could help you turn your passions into a business.

Another question you should ask yourself “What contacts do I have from my prior experience that could boost my business?” But don’t discount your former employers, teachers, and/or friends and family as possible sources for business and/or networking.

So, taking your passions, experience and contacts into consideration, your answers might look something like this: You have a passion for Art, went to school and received a degree and know many gallery owners. If it’s that cut and dry, you have a link, and a very feasible place to start your brainstorming. Many times these links will not be so obvious.

Finally, “what resources or assets do you have?” This is important. If you want to raise Emu, but live in a condo in the city, you will have to find a way to obtain land and care for the animals. On the other hand, if you have a great computer, and you want to start a desktop publishing business, you may only need some software. The more assets you have related to the business you want to start, the better. Because if start up costs are low, you chances for success should be much higher.

Whatever business you start, you must prioritize. Can you work “from” home (when the actual “work” is done somewhere other then home, like in the cases of the following businesses: landscaping, handyman, direct sales via home parties, etc.) as opposed “at” home (graphic design, newsletter publishing, web design, etc.)? Will your business be full or part time? Will you need to schedule your work around nap times and soccer practice, or a part time job? Will your business fit well with the lifestyle you want? City dwellers probably wouldn’t enjoy ranching, and folks who live in rural areas probably would want to start a personal shopper business.

If you answer these questions, and still don’t have any ideas, give yourself some time . . . do some research. Don’t get sucked into a scam, just because you want to work from home. And don’t get into the latest ‘hot’ home business just because everyone else is doing it, because you will probably end up quitting because it was never something you were passionate about.

On a final note: If you think you must start a home business, because you need money as soon as possible, remember that most businesses don’t actually make money for many months, if not years. Building a business takes time, effort, persistence, and a passion for what you do!

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