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Profitable Home Based Businesses and Online Business Ideas

Updated on November 15, 2016
janderson99 profile image

John uses his scientific skills (PhD) & experience developing 50+ websites to research, review & evaluate SEO, website design, Social Media

To most people starting a home-based business is a mystery and they do not know where to start and how to get ideas. Estimates vary, but in general up to a million businesses are started each year in the United States. There have been some spectacular successes such as Apple and Facebook. But for everyone who tries, there are many who don't succeed and even more who never get off first base.

Many fail to start because they wrongly believe that they have to find something completely unique and new - a breakthrough. This is wrong as most successful businesses develop from an existing idea and modify it, without any new invention or idea. The truth is that completely new things are perhaps the hardest to develop. You will now only have to set up the business but you may face an immense task selling something completely new. It is probably better to simply adapt an existing concept and to aim improve it, do it better, expand it, make it available locally and adapt it to meet the specific needs of your customers. You don't have to invent or reinvent the wheel - its already been done!

Anyone thinking about starting a new business should examine the following checklist before proceeding:

  • Only start a company in something that you are obsessive about and something you love.
  • If you need to develop an exit strategy, you are probably not obsessive enough or not fully committed.
  • Hire people who are similarly obsessive and committed about it.
  • Know that you will actually make sales. If not don't start.
  • Know your own competencies and limitations.
  • Stick to the technology you know such as Apple or Microsoft. Don't switch at the start of the company
  • Keep the organization structure flat at the start.
  • Do your own PR and promotion
  • Make the job fun for employees Make sure you are aware of the stress levels and accomplishments of your employees and reward them.

How to Find a Business Idea

How do you start?

  1. Take a sheet of paper and add the heading "Things About Me." List 5-7 things about yourself -things that interest you or that you excel in doing, individual things that drive you. Just list the tings that immediately comes to mind. Once you have developed your list add a priority number as a rank down the edge of the paper.
  2. On the opposite side of the page, register things that you don't believe you excel at, or you don't like to do, or you are not really capable in. Maybe you excels in trading ideas, but you don't think you have good people skills, you are fond of children or you don't feel competent about public speaking or accounting. Don't just believe about it, compose a list and give them a ranking.
  3. Read through the list of business ideas provided in the table below to help you refine this list
  4. Examine the things that annoy you, the delays caused by lack of service, the ways that you are inconvenienced by things that have not been developed properly - This is a great way to get new concepts and ideas - think about the things that frustrated you and your friends and family. This will often suggest new services, new ways of doing things as business opportunities. Chances are that many people will share your frustrations and the solutions you propose will appeal to them as well. This is the kernel of a new business idea.
  5. Next ask yourself "What handful of products or services would transform you life, save ypu time and make it much easier?" This is your life as a man, woman, mother, father, married man or woman, parent, grandmother or grandfather, business person - whatever your position in life may be. Determine what goods or services would make your life simpler or more contented, and help make you make you more creative or effective, or give you more time and remove the hassles.
  6. Ask yourself the identical questions about your business and work related experiences. Examine what you like or hate about your job and what frustrate you.
  7. List the reasons you want to start a business in the first place.
  8. Keep a notebook handy so that you can jot ideas down as you think of them. Many ideas arise all the time from just looking around or reading.
  9. Customizing an Existing Idea - Take an idea and customize it to the times and to the needs of your community. Add your own ideas to develop the idea further. Customizing a concept is always required to make it work as a business.

When you're finished, look for any patterns that emerge. For example, whether a need you've identified matches something you like doing or are good at. One of your frustrations may be the seed for a new business such as a service that provides lunches or coffee breaks at your work place, or a service that does your shopping for you though a cooperative buying group to take advantage of bulk price savings.

One of the best ways to quickly test your idea is to talk about it with people you know. For a business idea, talk to your colleagues and fellow workers. Discuss you ideas with your family, friends and neighbours. Don't necessarily be worried about people pinching your ideas. It's not likely as you have done the research. Keep the discussion to the basic concepts and ideas and keep the details to yourself.

Getting Started

By now, the way of working out what enterprises are right for you or have potential will be less of a mystery. Getting started is not hard if you take it step-by-step using common-sense. Persevere and work through it and don't be discouraged by negative comments from people who don't understand. Beware of the tall-poppy syndrome and people who will always try to pull you down and trash your ideas.Some will envy you; others will resent that you are giving it a go.

People will warn you about risk. This is why you need to develop a business plan that will address this risk. Every business is risky, but the key is to identify and quantify the risks Don't be put off by risk - simply address it. Don't allow risk to stop you proceeding.

Research to Develop the Business Plan

To begin you need to research your idea and develop a business plan, that sounds daunting and complicated documents. But the process is not that difficult if you take one step at a time. Thinking about you business in advance is an important way to minimize the risk and to quickly and easy start your business.

Determine Your Objectives - Where do you see the business in five years time? Try writing down your vision and developing your business goals. Describing what you will have accomplished at that time and how this was achieved. This is important because it defines the scope and size of your business in a reasonable time frame.

What is the focus for your Business? - This will determine the scope of your plan

  • Is it to be used to help you raise money? In this case, you will need to focus primarily on the executive summary, marketing, staff management, resource needs and financial aspects.
  • Will your plan be used for recruitment purposes? You will need to focus on location, work environment, job opportunities, mission statement corporate culture and opportunities for development and advancement.
  • Will your Plan be used to develop markets and convince suppliers of your worth? - It may help you arrange supplier credit and priorities.

Types of Plans - There are four main types of Business plans:

  1. The Summary Plan - This plan may be limited to 2-10 pages and should focus on the executive summary, business concept, financial summary, marketing, cash flow, and projected balance sheet. It is primarily designed to test a business concept with a potential partner. It can also be a preliminary plan that can be expanded later.
  2. The Working Plan - This plan is used as a guide to operate the business.
  3. The Presentation Plan - This plan has all the fancy images and summaries and is suitable for showcasing the business to potential investors, bankers, and others outside the company.
  4. The Electronic Plan - An electronic version of the plan is a must for promotion purposes and may have to be different from the hard copy version.

© janderson99-HubPages

Developing the Business Plan

A business plan is a written evaluation the development and operation of your business. It should include the following parts:

Business concept - This where you outline the foundation of your business in the industry, the structure of the business, the products and services produced by the business, and how the business will succeed.

Marketing - This is where you identify potential customers: who and where they are, how they will be attracted to your product or services. It will also identify the characteristics of the market, the competition and market opportunities and how you will get a decent market share.

Staffing and Resources - This is where you outline the staff required for the business and the plant and equipment needed.

Finances - This will have a summary of your income and cash flow statement, balance sheet and other financial statements, such as what is required to break-even and when the business will make a profit.

Generally the business plan should be about 15 to 20 pages long. The size depends on the purpose of the plan and the size of the business.


A business plan generally includes the following key components:

  • Cover, Title page and Table of contents.
  • Executive summary
  • Targets and Objectives
  • Business description
  • Competitive analysis
  • Market
  • Plan
  • Operations and management plan
  • Design and development plan
  • Financial summaries
  • Scope for Expansion


The plan should be a living document that is updated and reviewed every 6-12 months. It should always reflect the current situation.

© janderson99-HubPages

Business Ideas

Home Based
Auto Glass Repair
Bicycle Repair
Answering Service
Body Detox
Coffee Kiosk
Body Detox
Business Plan Writer
Coffee Mug
CPR Instructor
Background Checking
Compliance Consultant
Barbecue Catering
Concrete Polishing
Dance Studio
Bed and Breakfast
Elder Care
Bartending Services
Day Spa
Blind Cleaning
Expense Reduction
Bottled Water
Mobile Grooming Franchise
Driving Range
Bounty Hunter
Foreclosure Consultant
Candy Gram
Picture Framing
Drug Rehab
Fundraising Consultant
Candy Store
Drug Testing
Gourmet Cookie
Promotional Company
Elder Care
Credit Repair
Home Automation
Screen Printing
Duct Cleaning
Home Daycare
Coffee Truck
Spray Tanning
Herbal Products
Event Planner
Image Consultant
Toner Refill
Massage Instructor
Financial Advisor
International Business Specialist
Cooking School
Vehicle Wrap
Massage Therapist
Foreign Language
Merger and Acquisition Consultant
Motivational Speaker
Freight Broker
Personal Trainer
Freight Forwarder
Process Improvement
Dip Mix
Battery Reconditioning
Personal Trainer
Garage Sale
Professional Organizer
Food Bank
Bicycle Courier
Pilates Studio
Gift Buyer
Retirement Planning Consultant
Food Buying Cooperative
Carbon Trading
Self Defense Instruction
Home Laundry
Reunion Organizer
Frozen Food
Farmers Market
Home Repair
Risk Reduction Consultant
Gourmet Cake
Green Roof Growing
Stress Reduction
Home Repair Referral
Security Consultant
Gourmet Popcorn
Health Food Store
Wellness Consultant
Home Staging
Self Defense Instruction
Grocery Delivery
Home Energy Consultant
Import Specialist
Senior Training
Grocery Store
Plant Rental
Insurance Agency
Small Business Consultant
Home Meal
Sports Nutrition
Homemade Sauces
Trash Transformation
Judgement Recovery
Team Building
Hot Dog
Junk Removal
Think Tank
Hot Sauce
Knife Sharpening
Turnaround Planner
Ice Cream Truck
Internet Cafe
Laser Engraving
Used Bookstore
Kitchen Rentals
Lunch Catering
Personal Chef
Registered Dietitian
Personal Assistant
Personal Grocery Shopper
Restaurant Supply
Piano Lessons
Pressure Washing
Self-Published Cookbook
Private Investigator
Snack Bar
Property Locator
Wine Bar
Public Notary
Wine Importer
Real Estate Agent
Shrink Wrapping
Small Engine Repair
Specialty Coupon
Speech Writer
Vending Machine
Virtual Call Center
Wedding Singer
Window Cleaning

© 2012 Dr. John Anderson


Submit a Comment

  • In the Bank profile image

    In the Bank 

    6 years ago

    Lot's of good information but it doesn't have to be so complicated. I started a pest control business 20 years ago with a license, a few hand tools and a truck. I beat the pavement for a year or so and wah lah I lasted for more than 20 years and since retired.

    Now I've started an e commerce business for $25 and have a residual income of more than a $1000 per month in less than 5 months...It took me 40 years to get a social security check for $1004 per month.

    Non the less...great post.



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