The Top Ten Home-Based Business Ideas
Which Business Is Best for Me?
If you’re thinking about starting your own home-based business, the available options can seem overwhelming. What type of business is the best fit for your background, skills, and interests? If you don’t have a lot of initial capital to invest, which ones can be started at a low cost? And, most important, which home business has the best chance of succeeding, especially with the U.S. economy still on the rebound?
Narrow down your search with these 10 home-based business ideas that have growth potential, both now and in the future. Your new life as a small business owner awaits!
1. Personal Trainer
An aging baby boomer population eager to invest in longevity, along with a growing concern over childhood obesity, make it a great time to join this expanding field. As a personal trainer, you can visit clients in their homes and work with fitness centers on a contract basis.
Check out the National Federation of Professional Trainers for information about the certification process, insurance, marketing, and more. To make yourself stand out, think about taking extra courses in specialized fields, such as nutrition or Pilates.
2. Yoga Intructor
It’s undeniable — yoga is a trend with staying power. And it’s especially appealing to an aging population, as seniors benefit from low-impact workouts. Yoga is also gaining attention in the medical community; according to a 2008 study by Yoga Journal, nearly 14 million Americans reported that a doctor or therapist had recommended yoga to them. And yoga is attractive to today’s price-conscious consumers who don’t want to spend a lot of money for exercise equipment.
You don’t need a studio to teach yoga; just like a personal trainer, you can visit clients at their homes or offices. TheYoga Alliance website provides information on yoga schools, certification, insurance, and more.
This field no longer only caters to struggling children or those with learning disabilities — ultracompetitive parents are flocking to tutors to help their children get ahead and, ultimately, into the best colleges. The tutoring industry has also seen a boost from theNo Child Left Behind Act, which requires government-funded schools that have fallen short of performance goals three years in a row to offer federally financed tutoring.
You can start by tutoring students in their homes, at schools, or at local YMCAs or other child-care organizations. Talk to your local school district officials and school principals to determine their needs. To have a successful tutoring service, you’ll need excellent credentials, competitive pricing, relevant experience, and glowing references.
4. Child Care Services
If you enjoy working with children, you can start a home-based daycare center. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, self-employment opportunities in this easy-to-enter industry are among the best in the current economy.
Before making the leap, find out about your state’s regulations and insurance requirements. The National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education provides helpful information on its website. Aside from insurance, licensing fees, and advertising, you’ll need enough startup capital to buy things like play equipment, toys, and educational supplies — and don’t forget to get CPR and first aid certified. If you set up your business as a nonprofit, you’ll have better access to grants.
5. Business Coaching
In a tough economy, businesses need all of the help they can get. As a business coach, you can empower individuals — often business owners and managers — to improve their work performance through personal change. The most successful business coaches have plenty of experience in the business world, along with specialized expertise (e.g., marketing, finance, or sales). Whatever your niche, you need to have the ability to help your clients set and achieve their goals.
Network with others in the business world, both business coaches and owners, to find out what clients want and how to market to them. TheInternational Coach Federation provides certification and a coach referral service for its members.
Business consultants analyze businesses, identifying problems and implementing solutions. To be competitive, you’ll need to be an expert in a special subject. Think human resources, IT, inventory management — the possibilities are nearly endless. Many consultants have master degrees, and all have plenty of real-world business experience.
Once you’ve identified your niche, find out if there’s a market for your services and what the competition is like. To set yourself up as the expert in your field, you’ll need to make yourself heard in the local community (via speaking engagements, business events, interviews) and online (via your website, blogs, and social media).
7. Medical Transcription
Because they perform a necessary function, medical transcriptionists are always in demand. And with its low overhead — you’ll need a computer, Internet access, a printer, headphones, medical dictionaries, and a foot pedal and software for audio playback — this business is easy to start.
Medical transcriptionists listen to audio recordings of medical records, such as doctors’ notes, X-ray reports, and discharge summaries, and transcribe them into a word processing program. You must be able to listen and type at the same time, and quickly. A medical spellchecker helps, and you can get a system for rapid text entry, such as Instant Text. Find out about training and connect with others in the field through the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity.
8. Legal Transcription
To become a legal transcriptionist, you’ll need the same equipment as a medical transcriptionist (but swap those medical dictionaries for legal ones). You can work from home transcribing client interviews, court hearings, depositions, interrogations, and more.
As with medical transcription, top-notch typing skills are a must. While legal transcription training isn’t required, it will give you the legal terminology and legal formatting knowledge you need to succeed. Check local community colleges or search online for transcription training courses.
With loads of businesses looking to save money by outsourcing accounting services to qualified individuals, certified public accountants can make a solid income.
Starting a CPA business from home requires relatively low overhead, but it may take time to land the clients needed to turn a profit. You can market your services through networking, and you might consider starting your business part time until it gets off the ground.
While you can be an accountant without CPA certification, CPAs have a strong advantage over their noncertified peers. Visit the American Institute of CPA website for information on specific state requirements.
10. Web Design
In today’s tech-savvy world, more and more businesses and organizations are realizing that DIY websites or — gasp — no website at all just won’t cut it. And with mobile Internet usage set to overtake desktop usage by 2014, the do-it-yourselfers are going to have a hard time designing websites that are smartphone compatible.
If you’ve got what it takes, Web design can make for a satisfying career. But the road isn’t easy: You’ll need to be able to market your skills effectively to stand out. Network as much as possible. You can start a blog, speak at local events, and learn from others in your field. You’ll also need to have the skills to complete complex projects and the personality to please demanding customers.
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