Maybe you have a vague idea of what would be the best online home business for you. Or maybe you have no idea at all of what you’d like to pursue. You might even be one of the lucky few who have a clear vision of exactly what online home business you are going to do.

Whatever category you find yourself in today, keep reading.

If you are sure or have an idea for an online home based business, we still suggest you read the following article and go through the steps we outline. By doing this, you can see if your home business idea or concept will translate into a viable online business in the wild and sometimes crazy internet world.

Where Do I Start?

If you have no idea yet where to start, get ready for a fun and rewarding adventure. By following the steps, we’ll help guide you into something that will be something you’ll love, and something that others will love too!

Remember, the more effort, research and planning you invest in the beginning, the greater the chance of success you will give yourself. And we want to hear your success stories!

I want to Do an Online Home Business, So Where Do I Start?

If you have not yet done the Should I Work at Home Inventory, please stop and do that now before continuing. Not everyone is well suited for a home-based business.

It’s better to find that out now, before wasting precious time, energy and resources.

For those of you who already have a service or product, you would like to market, go through these steps anyway to make sure you have something others will really want.

Maybe you love your special homemade purses you create out of beer tabs, only to discover once you start your online research that someone else already thought of your idea and are selling beer tab purses online.

You might decide to do something different.

Or, after all, your research you may learn that there is a huge market, and a solid online home business opportunity for these purses and so there’s room enough for the two of you to sell them and still be profitable. Just make sure they haven’t already patented it, or you may get in trouble.

But then, of course, you might fall into the “trendy trap”…

So just do the exercise to be on the safe side.

  1. So you know you want to start an online home business…
    What Next?

How to Find The Best Online Home Business Opportunities

  1. Interests: List everything you are interested in. You may love to garden, but think that gardening would not be suited to an online home business. Don’t discount any ideas at this point.
    Maybe you could work in direct sales from home, selling plants, seeds, gardening tools and other gardening supplies. There’s no limit to the number of possibilities for an online home business.
    Or maybe you could establish yourself as a gardening or landscaping consultant. You might develop a great gardening website with all sorts of helpful tips and information and then learn how to monetize it to create a nice income for yourself.
    My point is, that if you have an interest, write it down on your list. Don’t judge your ideas at this point.

    We’ll weed it out later if it doesn’t hold up through the rest of the following steps…

  1. Take a close look at the list you’ve just made. Cross off anything you don’t absolutely love. You are going to be spending a lot of time creating this online home business, so it really helps to love and be passionate about what you are doing.
  2. Next, make a list of your skills and experience. Do you have any past job skills that you enjoyed?

    Even if you had (or have) a job you don’t like so much, you still may have developed skills that will be useful in your new online home business.

    For example, a Real Estate agent might decide to transition to an online home business, using internet marketing to expand her client base globally. She too could create an informational website and monetize it to create an income apart from her real estate activities.

    Or maybe you are a great handyman. There may be a need out there for someone offering online advice and consultations. Don’t discount any of your past or current skills and experience.

  1. Now do the same thing you did with the other list. Cross off anything you wouldn’t love to do.

Pay Close Attention To This Next Step

  1. Now you have 2 lists, one with your skills and one with your interests. How will you know if anything on there will work in an online home business? Time to do your research on the different industries.

    Select one of your interests and decide what industry it is. For example, if you like working out and eating healthy, you would research the health and wellness industry.

    Research your industry to answer the following questions:

    Is it growing and expanding?

    What are the predictions for future growth in this industry? What sort of products or services are available in this industry?

    Be sure to select an industry that is growing and expected to continue growing into the future.

    Next, take a look at your list of skills. What skills do you have that would apply to your selected industry. Using the above example of the health and wellness industry, say you have skills in consulting, sales, or marketing.

    You might enjoy selling quality health supplements online. Or even doing Network Marketing for a company in the health and wellness industry where you would also get the opportunity to use your consulting skills.

    the above steps until you have a couple of solid ideas of the industries you would like to be in, and what skills you have that would be useful.

    You should have only 1-3 industries to work from at this point. If you have more, pick the top 3 that you love, and have the best opportunity for growth and success in your online home business.

  1. Taking your skills into account, begin to list ideas you think might be good for your online home business. Like…

    Professional services: financial consulting, Landscape design or consultation, business analyst, travel agent, teaching, coaching, event planner…..

    Direct sales: retail sales of products, network marketing, selling your own product…

    Business services: taxes, accounting, meeting planner, web designer, software consultant…

How to Keep Your Boat From Sinking Before You Launch It…

  1. Time for Research Round # 2 – your idea should hold up through the following list of questions. This list may seem detailed, and it is. It’s for your own good. A clear picture and understanding of your business, the market, and your potential customers will help to stack the odds in your favor for success.

    Is there a need for it out there? Is the product or service you are considering offering something others will want, need and use?

    What’s the market like for your product/idea? Who will be using it? What population will you be targeting? Right now, Baby Boomers are a huge market segment, you’d have a pretty sizable target market. You need to understand clearly in your mind who you will be gearing your business toward.

    Maybe it’s teens who love video games, or brides planning a wedding. Just make sure there is a large enough population to market to.

    If your market is too big and general, you won’t sell anything to anybody. You need a focus.

    It’s like a fisherman who goes out with one big net, expecting to catch any fish he can. He most likely will catch very little.

    He probably will have a better chance of catching something if he uses a specific net, say to catch tuna.

    Know your market’s buying habits. How do they shop? Do they spend a lot or a little?

    What do they want in terms of products and services? For example, Baby Boomers might be interested in health and wellness, financial planning, or travel.

Look Out – For…

• The Trendy Trap. Back to the beer tab purses I mentioned earlier. Maybe this is a hot item now. Maybe it will be so next week, or next month even.

But in the world of fashion, styles change quickly. What will you sell when your purses are no longer the item to own? If you do want to sell something trendy, plan to stay on top of your market so you can be aware of when the shift is happening – because it will.

Maybe along with your beer tab purse, you also plan to sell other accessories.

Really think hard about this one, because the last thing you want is to work hard on your online home business, and then have your sales plummet when your item is no longer the hot ticket.

Keep in mind too that the Trendy Trap can also apply to other industries besides fashion. Jumping into a trend can be fun and lucrative – for a while. Just have a good solid back – up plan for when the ride is over.

• Stability – or the opposite of the Trend Trap.

There are things, and services people have always needed, and wanted, and will continue to need and want.

Like nutritional supplements, financial planning…

• Is your product or service something people will purchase over and over, or is it a one time sell? Either one can be good, depending on your personal goals.

If you like the idea of residual income, building a customer base, and providing excellent service, consider selecting an online home business or service people will use continually.

If you are selling or offering something that’s a one time shot, your marketing cost and time could be more because you’ll be constantly looking out for new customers.

• How unique is what you are offering? What sets your product or service apart from others out there?

You need to find something unique to offer people. If your product or service in not unique in itself, at least think about what will set you apart from your competitors.

This is what we call a unique selling proposition (USP), and we’ll tell you how to develop one in detail in our Building a Business Plan For a Home Based Business article.

For now, just think of a way you will be different than others out there in the market place.

• How saturated is the market with your product or service. The more competition out there, the better your USP better be.

Is your product/ service better quality? Is it less expensive than others? Saturated markets are no fun, and time consuming to deal with.

If you have your heart set on something in such a market, just be prepared to dazzle the internet world with something you have to offer, and become an internet marketing expert.

On the other hand, if there is little competition out there, it may be a sign there is no need for your service or product. Some competition is healthy.

• So now, you have a pretty good idea about the direction you’d like to go in with your online home business. Stay focused and determined – you’re doing great!

How are you going to get your product/service from your home to your customers? There are a lot of details to consider and think about when shuffling products from here to there.

If you’re offering a service, of course, you don’t have to worry about that. Before you get frightened at the thought of making and storing 1000 sweaters and then running to the post office to mail them off every other day, relax.

We aren’t going to send you out there yet without some help and ideas for all the questions that may be bubbling up inside you now. There are ways around some of the annoyances that come with running a business- even an online one.

Go on to the next article Running a Business from Home: The Do’s and Don’ts.