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February 18, 2002
In Search Of The Perfect Home-Based Business
By Tad Hulse

If you are currently in the process of searching for the perfect home-based business, you could be searching for a long time if you don't know what exactly you're looking for. Over the years, many people I know have commented about starting a business, the only problem, they haven't a clue which kind. For every person, the answer can vary as much as the personality. Many can look for up to five years before finding a business that fits their liking, only to find out two years later that it really wasn't the right business after all. You will search high and low, you will read just about book and article on the subject, and still, you may find yourself struggling to find the "perfect biz." But for some, time and experience is exactly what's needed in order to find that home-based business that's "the right one." If you don't want to wait that long then hopefully this'll help you in shortening your search period.

First of all, before you even start your search, you need to ask yourself a few questions to lead you in the right direction. When working for you, realize, the glories of being a business owner is not all what it cracks up to be. Essentially, you are your only employee, which means you get to do everything from marketing and accounting to taking out the trash and running errands - and let's not forget about everything else in-between (unless, that is, you outsource). There is no doubt that you will probably work harder for yourself than for any employer you've ever had in the past. That being said it is crucial to find something you not only love, but something you are more than passionate about. Once you have found this fervor, see if you can then turn it into a home-based business of some sort. For example, my aunt decided after years of discontent, to quit her job and start a home-based business. She combined her love for travel with her knowledge of customer service, and now runs a very successful home-based travel agency. Remember that it'll be much easier to get up in the morning and start doing something you love than getting up and forcing yourself to work. I say this because as a business owner, there will be no boss to poke you along - only you.

So, that brings us back to the questions should you need to ask yourself. For the most part, what do you love doing? Be as honest as possible. Recall a time or two in your past when you felt more alive, flourishing and happy. Write it down even if they do not seem to have any related link to what you're doing now (at least not yet). Next, find out where your experience lies. This can either be a very important question, or a completely irrelevant one. Many, who were once in the same predicament as you, have prosperous businesses in a field they had not one ounce of experience in. If necessary, take some courses, attend seminars, enroll yourself in management or finance classes, anything to get you rolling in the right direction before learning your trade. Keep in mind, experience doesn't just have to come only from jobs you've held in the past. Consider as well; volunteer work, old hobbies, favorite subjects of study in high school or college, a beloved sport, etc. After mulling over everything, try and match your passion with your experience and see what sort of business you can come up with.

Another issue you to consider is the contacts you may have from prior experience that could effectively boost my business from the nothing to something. As possible sources for business networking, ponder former employers, teachers, university professors, work acquaintances, family friends, friends of friends, the list goes on.

Lastly, you must find out what resources or assets you have to start this business. For example, if you have a top-notch computer system and you're interested in starting a desktop publishing business, you may need to purchase some software. The more assets you have related to the business you're venturing into, the better. Obviously, if start-up costs are low, you chances of success are higher.

Whatever business you start, prioritizing is a vital. Will you be able to work "from" home when the actual "work" is done somewhere else (i.e. landscaping, plumbing, interior decorating) as opposed "at" home (graphic or web design, publishing, direct sales)? Will your business be full or part time? Will you need to schedule your work around a part time job? Will your business fit within the lifestyle you seek? Answer these questions sensibly, and if still no ideas come to fruition, give yourself time - and continue researching. Starting and building a business takes time, effort and persistence, together with a passion for what you're doing.

Tad Hulse is an American freelance writer who has covered topics from small business ventures to world travel. Currently he is based in Oslo, the capital of Norway. Email:

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