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What is the best home business opportunity?

Creating the right kind of home business opportunity requires solid research.

Learn how to find the home business opportunity that's best for your skill set. [© 2009, Jupiter Images.]
© 2009, Jupiter Images.
Learn how to find the home business opportunity that's best for your skill set.

Americans are an entrepreneurial people. After all, this is a country built on rags-to-riches stories, start-ups and home businesses. This innovative spirit is still alive today, and many Americans continue to establish new home businesses every year. Some benefits of running a home business include the freedom of being your own boss, having your own schedule, and not having to deal with personalities you may simply prefer to avoid. Home business owners include mothers, stay-at-home dads and those who are unable to work in traditional professional settings for a variety of reasons. Even if you know that you'd like to run a home business, however, choosing the best home business opportunity can be difficult.

Evaluate Your Skills

There are literally thousands of home business opportunities, from Internet based businesses to pet-care services. Because of the scope and volume of home business opportunities, there is simply no way to say which is the "best" for everybody -- each entrepreneur's experience will be different.

To get started finding the best home business opportunity for you, examine your own resources, skills and interests. The success of your home business will ultimately depend on your imagination, resourcefulness and willingness to put in the hard work necessary to get your ideas off the ground. Remember, there are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of other businesses just like yours. Standing out in a vast sea of businesses that are all trying to do the same thing requires dedication, originality and skill.

Study Consumer Trends

Once you've determined where your skills and interests lie, a thorough study of consumer trends will help you shape your home business. For example, if you love animals, you may be interested in starting a pet-services business. Indeed, some of the best and most lucrative home businesses established in recent years are those that deal in high-end, luxury pet products and services. In 2005 the pet service industry was valued at $30 billion in the United States alone. The growing popularity of expensive pet services such as pet hotels, pet spas and pet vacation resorts has also increased interest in more affordable pet products and services. Pet daycares, pet walking services, homemade pet foods and pet clothing, for example, can be produced or provided on a small scale by home business owners.

Start Small

After you've identified your skills and determined the niche where you'd like to focus, you're ready to begin your home business. It's a good idea to take it slow, and to start small, using the resources you already have at your disposal. For example, Surefire Marketing, an Internet based document retailer specializing in downloadable, generic business forms, was established out of a small one-bedroom apartment. Within five years the company had expanded dramatically, adding Web sites and services and breaking $3 million in gross revenue in 2005.

Even if you aren't a marketing or Web wizard, you can still establish a home business. If you are a stay-at-home parent, you may be able to use your home to start a small daycare or pet sitting service, or run a small catering service from your own kitchen. Similarly, a home business specializing in lawn services or gardening can be started for free if you already own gardening tools. A home business cleaning service can do residential jobs using only the cleaning materials found in most homes, and a pet walking service can be started with no equipment at all.

This approach to establishing a home business will require a lot of work, but as you learn the ropes, refine your business and attract more customers, your low cost home business will start to profit and you can expand your business without the pressure of enormous start-up debts.

Internet Home Businesses

A growing percentage of home business opportunities are Internet related. Data entry, blogging, filling out surveys -- the opportunities are wide-ranging. You need to be savvy, though. Many of the low cost home business opportunities featured on the Internet and on job search Web sites like Craigslist require a "one-time" payment before you begin making money. While some of these offers are legitimate, the vast majority are not. People who get involved with these companies often don't receive their promised income, or are unable to retrieve their payment. Remember, thousands of start-up home businesses go bankrupt every year. While some of these home businesses fail because they are mismanaged, others fail because of Internet scams.

Ultimately, the best home business opportunities are those that rely on your own skills, ingenuity, and motivation, rather than vague promises from online sites claiming you can make thousands of dollars a week stuffing envelopes, filling out surveys, or other mindless activities. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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