20 Links to Home Business Ideas

February 13, 2013

Homepreneurs has many articles for home business ideas; they are listed under the Home Business Ideas tab on the main page.  Many are listed, but may be a little hard to search.  For quick reference, here are 20 recent home business ideas with links to the original articles:

1)     Real Estate Brokers and Real Estate Agents

2)     Snow removal for the northern climates

3)     eBooks – featured multiple times – most recently in Why the Hype about eBooks?

4)     Photography


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Home Business Idea – eBay Seller

August 9, 2012

Homepreneurs has blogged about selling on eBay before.  With 100 million active users around the world and close to 70 billion dollars in sale in 2011, eBay is the world’s largest and most successful online auction house.  eBay is an ideal home business for virtually anyone.  Start-up costs are very low and launching an eBay store is simple.  If you have a bunch of stuff cluttering up your house, why not list the items on eBay to make extra money?

The most popular categories on eBay are collectibles, clothing, shoes, and accessories.  Other strong sellers include computers and electronics, toys, antiques, and business/industrial goods.  A quick visit to eBay Pulse shows hot daily search trends.  According to eBay statistics, approximately $2100.00 in sales is generated every second! Wouldn’t you like a slice of that pie?

eBay’s website provides plenty of information on buying and selling, including its Quickstart guide; begin selling in 4 easy steps!  Also available are resources for selling, for business, videos, and tips and tools.  eBay also offers protection to both sides of sales – as a facilitator, eBay depends on happy buyers and sellers.  Their long history of success and huge market presence proves eBay has a successful process.

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Business Models Defined

March 27, 2012

What is a business model?  Simply, a business model defines the way business delivers value to its customer base, receives payment from the customer, and converts the payment to (hopefully) profit.  This differs from a business structure, a legal form of business ownership.  Changes in technology – notably the Internet – has created new forms of business models, and given home business many more options.

This post examines some of the most common business models and their pros and cons.  Some are part-time models while others have options for full-time or part-time commitments.

Traditional brick and mortar store

A brick and mortar store is a local dry cleaner, retail store or any business requiring a physical location outside of the home.


Physical locations allow for passing traffic to browse and shop, increasing marketing and sales efforts.

A dedicated space allows an owner to become mentally and physically vested in day-to-day running of the business.

Provides the opportunity to work directly with customers – face-to-face – and become part of the local business community.


Startup cost and risk is higher.  Location, lease, purchase, and local licenses are all needed to set up shop.

Inventory for retail stores is critical with diverse and adequate quantities to merchandise the store.

A full-time commitment for owners or employees is required for setting up and staffing the store.

Home Business

Advances in technology have made home businesses more attractive and competitive.  According to the SBA, home business is about 20% of new businesses.[i]  Home business can use a spare room, kitchen table or garage as an office, “manufacturing facility” or conference room.


Lower startup cost and less risk.  Home business is part-time or full-time and allows one to work a job with benefits if desired.  Startup cost is low with no rent and minimal staff.

Many functions can be outsourced.  Contract with other companies for marketing, public relations, manufacturing, website creation, accounting and more.

Home business is scalable.  Start small and test the business waters.  If a market is strong for your product or service, expand as space and time allows.  If needed, outsource.


Local laws may limit customer traffic to your home and also specific products made or services provided.  Check with local and county governments for details.

If the business depends on physical customer traffic to the home, your family or residence may not appreciate the intrusion and leave a negative impression.

The home is often filled with distractions from children to pets and spouses.  Are you prepared to deal with these issues and run a business with time split between priorities?


Another possible home business option without the home traffic and distractions.  Sales are through a website to consumers or other businesses.


Choose this for a part-time or full-time job.

Easily scalable to meet market demands or as time restrictions allow.  The e-Commerce business may be large or small based on personal needs and wants.

Low risk, low startup cost.  A website is inexpensive and inventory can be made or purchased as it sells.  Offer limited edition items and when gone, don’t worry about refilling them.

Market and sell to a national or global customer base via the Internet.


Inventory management and credit card processing are concerns, though PayPal and similar companies are good alternatives for the latter.

Customers to your website can be difficult.  If they find you, are you trustworthy and create customer confidence?


A sub-category of e-Commerce and also home business, e-Bay is a location for your online store.  eBay’s customer base is huge and helps drive traffic to your online store.


Low cost and low risk.  eBay provides sellers with many tools to help their business get started.  Instructions for market research, store templates, and credit assistance are available.

eBay has a huge global name and customer base, avoiding the need to build a website and a customer base from scratch.


Much like e-Commerce, brick and mortar, and home business, inventory management can be a hassle.

Competition on eBay can be fierce, especially from established and known sellers with good feedback ratings and a loyal customer base.


If this option is chosen, you use a proven business idea as a roadmap.  Upfront fees and possibly a percentage of revenues are paid to the franchisor.  More information on franchises is available at www.franchise.com.


Lower risk because of known company name, support, training, and existing business processes.

Established brands are familiar and attract customers automatically.

Franchise success rates are higher than independent startup businesses.


Cost.  Some franchise chains (McDonalds) can charge millions in upfront fees.

Franchise rules may limit creativity in marketing, product offering, and pricing.

Revenue may be limited because of ongoing profit sharing with the franchisor.

Multi-level Marketing

This is a marketing and distribution model.  Classic examples include Avon, Pampered Chef, Mary Kay, and Primerica.  This pyramid style structure typically benefits those higher in the structure while a high number of people on the low end make little money to start.  Homepreneurs covered MLMs and direct selling in this article.  For additional information, refer to www.mlm.com or www.dsa.org .


Primarily a home-based business.

Limited startup costs required for a membership and small inventory commitment.

Company provides marketing, product, and sales tools.


Limited money return for time spent and sales problems.

Reputation problems from selling to friends and co-workers.  Many MLM companies are also a scam.

Each of the above business models is viable and proven.  Carefully weigh how each fits into your lifestyle, financial needs, and future goals.  How much risk are you willing to take?  How much money do you have to commit to a startup?  Check back for the next post discussing business structures.

By Dion D Shaw

Dion D Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs.

Homepreneurs.  New Day.  New Opportunity.


[i] http://www.sba.gov/content/can-i-operate-business-home


Homepreneurs does not endorse nor have any relationships with any of the services listed.  Homepreneurs receives no compensation or consideration for its suggestions.  Homepreneurs strongly urges all interested parties to conduct research and accepts no responsibility for any losses incurred.

© Homepreneurs 2010 – 2012, All Rights Reserved

Starting a Craft Business – Selling Your Product

February 28, 2012

Homepreneurs recently discussed creating a home business from Arts and Crafts.  We believe this market is growing, cost-effective, and a business option for many.  Arts and Crafts can be done part-time, full-time, by the employed, retired or semi-retired.  Linda Strickland – recently featured as a Homepreneurs success story – supplements her income with her photography business.

Linda is a typical artist/crafter.  She enjoys her photography hobby and is able to turn it into a money-making side business.  Linda uses craft shows, a website, and Flickr to sell her product.

In part three of our craft business series, we’ll take a look at various ways of selling and marketing your craft or art product.

The first – and traditional way – is to set up a booth at a local arts and crafts show and bring a selection of products to sell.  If a two day weekend show, see what sells well, get customer feedback, and bring more of the same product for the second day.  Also be prepared to offer deals on multiple purchases or have a closeout sale for those items that aren’t selling.  Just don’t change prices during a show; many customers attend the same shows and you don’t want them waiting for a price break.

Offering deals

–        Be consistent with your offers.  The local craft show market is small and many of the same customers will attend multiple local shows and return next year.  They won’t be happy if the price changes each time they stop by your booth.

–        Multiple item purchase discount.  Consistency is important here too.  If you give one person a free 3×5 picture when a 16×20 is purchased, do the same for all buyers.  People will talk and ruin your reputation.

–        Closeout or limited quantity offers.  Discontinuing a product line and offering a discount is fine.  But don’t bring back the product after it is gone, no matter how well it does.  Ditto for limited quantity issues.  If you are only offering 50 prints, have them numbered (1 of 50, 23 of 50, etc) and once sold out, be done with the product.

Alternatives to Craft Shows

–        Etsy.  Etsy is a venue, not a retailer; Etsy’s role is to connect the buyer and the seller.  Etsy charges $.20 per item listed and transaction fee of 3.5% when the item is sold.

–        eBay.  eBay charges two fees, an insertion (listing) fee and a value (sales) fee.  A complete fee table is found here for eBay.  Tips for setting up an eBay page are found here.

–        Facebook.  Facebook is more than simple a social media site.  It has evolved into a major sales and marketing channel.  At 800 million active users, Facebook should be embraced as a real sales tool.  Hints on how to set up a Facebook  page are written up here.

–        Personal websites.  Linda has a website – naturerestoresme.com – and sells directly from her site in addition to craft shows.  Advantages to a website include: a much larger selection, a broader audience, and 24×7 access.  Sell while you sleep.

Other craft and art websites are available – covered in this article – as well as Craigslist, local resale shops, and local garage or neighborhood sales.  You may be able to sell a product in quantity to small or large retail chains too.  This often requires knowing the buyer and the markets targeted.  If Costco or Sam’s club knocks on your door, be prepared to produce large quantities and deal on price.

By Dion D Shaw

Dion D Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs

Homepreneurs.  New Day.  New Opportunity.


Homepreneurs does not endorse nor have any relationships with any of the services listed.  Homepreneurs receives no compensation or consideration for its suggestions.  Homepreneurs strongly urges all interested parties to conduct research and accepts no responsibility for any losses incurred.

© Homepreneurs 2010 – 2012

Making Money on eBay

February 8, 2012

This post is a follow-up to the frequently visited article on creating an eBay storefronteBay is a very popular – and potentially rewarding –  business model, inexpensive to start-up, and easy to run.  eBay provides many helpful suggestions, tips, tools, and user forums to help both buyers and sellers.  eBay is also a classic example of a work from home business that even works while you sleep.

eBay may be the most powerful on-line money-making resource.  As mentioned below, 97 million active users use eBay as of early 2011.  Including both buyers and sellers, full and part-time, eBay is the world’s largest online marketplace  Many people dream about working from home; very few are truly successful.  Could an eBay business model offer a way for many to achieve a viable work-at-home goal?

eBay World Wide Stats

With more than 97 million active users globally (as of Q2 2011), eBay is the world’s largest online marketplace, where practically anyone can buy and sell practically anything. Founded in 1995, eBay connects a diverse and passionate community of individual buyers and sellers, as well as small businesses. Their collective impact on ecommerce is staggering: In 2010, the total value of goods sold on eBay was $62 billion — more than $2,000 every second. (1)

Anyone can make money on eBay with a product to sell, a computer, and an Internet connection.  Individuals don’t even need to own a computer or have broadband access; local libraries and community colleges provide these resources for free.  eBay represents the ultimate in business equality:  Sellers are retirees, employed, laid off, college degreed, white-collar or blue-collar persons.

eBay is very attractive from a marketing standpoint.  Buyers are automatically drawn to the site to search for both specific and general products, from printer paper to antique clocks to real estate.  The challenge is finding a product that drives traffic to your listing.  As with any new business, initial challenges exist, but with experience one can become a very good seller.

A good seller views the marketplace from a buyer’s perspective:  What items are popular, needed and/or desired?  What information does the buyer want and what requirements (e.g. free shipping, no reserve) are key to the potential purchaser?  Register initially as a buyer and research the products to better understand the selling process and marketplace.

Here are some tips directly from eBay’s “1-2-3 Start Selling” page:

Get Ready to Sell

> Research similar items

Search or browse through similar items and completed listings on eBay to see how other sellers describe similar items and what categories they typically list similar items in.

> Take a digital photo of your item – make sure it is clear, and upload extra pictures if necessary.

> Calculate postage and packaging costs.  Buyers want to know up-front the total cost of what they’re buying, and you don’t want to end up out of pocket.

Sell, Sell, Sell!

> You’re now ready to list your item.

> Click the Sell button at the top of any eBay page, and this will take you to the Sell page. Enter the name of what you are selling in the yellow search box and click “Sell It”. You will now be guided through the listing process.

> If you are not registered on eBay, you will be asked to register. If you haven’t sold before, you will be asked to create a Seller’s Account.

Complete the Sale

> Make sure you deliver – both in the literal and the figurative sense. Track your sales in My eBay so you know where you are. Send your buyer an invoice by email (PayPal prepares this for you automatically if you use it), and once you have received payment post and pack your item well, and dispatch within the time you committed.

> Make sure you deliver great customer service too – email buyers to let them know you have dispatched their item and include tracking or insurance details, if relevant. Follow up on any questions or concerns they have, and don’t forget to leave fair and accurate feedback.

Congratulations! You’re an eBay Seller. (2)

– By Dion D. Shaw

Dion D Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs

Homepreneurs.  New Day.  New Opportunity.

1) http://www.ebayinc.com/who
2) http://pages.ebay.co.uk/sell/basics/start.html

eBay is a trademark name with all rights reserved.


Homepreneurs does not endorse nor have any relationships with any of the services listed.  Homepreneurs receives no compensation or consideration for its suggestions.  Homepreneurs strongly urges all interested parties to conduct research and accepts no responsibility for any losses incurred.

© Homepreneurs 2010 – 2013

8 Tips For Creating a Successful eBay Storefront

February 5, 2012

Many are looking for employment, a second job or a different career, especially one that may be part-time, full-time, and run as a home business. This article, by Sarah Kessler, covers tips for a job that almost everyone qualifies for and can do successfully. The start-up costs are minimal and most already own the necessary equipment: a computer, a camera, and Internet access.  It is true work from home employment and once started, runs automatically, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A seller needs a little creativity and research along with solid customer service skills, though almost no direct contact with the public occurs. Further, the world is your marketplace, thanks to the Internet and popularity of eBay.

eBay wants its sellers to succeed, offering tips and tutorials via online classes about setting up stores for new sellers.  eBay also has information for forming an eBay business and lists several resources for sales ideas.

Do you have a collection of coins, inherited jewelry or a unique antique you no longer want?  eBay will provide exposure, a far higher number of buyers, and assistance with all parts of a sales transaction.  Several hundred million potential buyers is much more than a local store, craft fair or garage sale could ever provide.

If the Internet has a quaint pastime, selling things on eBay is probably it. Before a thriving e-commerce sprouted a handful of platforms on which anyone can sell anything to anyone, there was a slightly thrilling novelty to participating in the online auction. “Yes,” we told our friends, “I sold it on the Internet.”

Some of the mystery and magic may have been lost over the last 15 years, but the easy selling platform remains. Up to 100 individual listings per month are free on eBay, but many people go beyond that — the site’s 90-million-person community now buys enough (about $1,900 worth of goods every second) to support many full-time businesses.

If you’re thinking about setting up a storefront on eBay, here are eight pieces of advice to keep in mind.

1. Ask yourself if eBay is right for your business

Though Marc Cohen’s business sells merchandise on Amazon, Buy.com, and through each of his two store’s websites, his two eBay storefronts bring in about 80-90 percent of his business. eBay works well for him for several reasons. For one, sites like Amazon and Buy.com have catalogs of merchandise that make it easy to create listings. If you’re selling something other than what is in the catalog, however, it can be more difficult to create a listing. Because Cohen sells a wide variety of used video games and other discount merchandise, at times it’s easier for him to list them on eBay. If you sell unique items like collectibles, eBay might also be the best way to go.

Another aspect that makes eBay an ideal choice for Cohen is that he deals exclusively in merchandise that is somehow distressed — used, returned, part of a closeout sale, or excess inventory. “eBay is an online flea market,” he says. “It is extremely price competitive. Most products (except rare or out-of-stock products from primary retailers) will not fetch prices even close to the retail prices.”

Like all third party online retailers, unless you can offer something that is harder to find or lower priced than the majority of other sellers, it’s unlikely that you’ll have much success.

2. Start slowly

“[Most eBay sellers] don’t think of their businesses as business, and they don’t come from business backgrounds, and they tend to make mistakes in their business practices based on this lack of experience,” says Jim Griffith, eBay’s senior manager of seller advocacy and the author of The Official eBay Bible.

Before you jump into eBay full throttle, Griffith suggests starting out with a few listings while you perfect your processes. Taking on more listings than you are prepared to smoothly package, ship and provide adequate customer service for could lead to detrimental buyer reviews.

3. Customer service is king

Aside from offering quality products at competitive prices, customer service is probably the most important factor for successful selling on eBay. Sellers who win glowing reviews from their buyers will turn up higher in product search results than a competitor with low ratings, and achieve a better public feedback profile.

Frequent sellers who maintain good customer service ratings also become part of the top-rated seller program. Benefits of belonging to this program include an endorsement badge that is displayed alongside listings, UPS discounts, and a 20 percent discount on eBay’s final value fees.

4. Create effective product listings

Griffith works with new sellers every day. He says one of the most common innocent mistakes he sees them making is in their descriptions, terms and photos.

One thing that sellers should avoid is adding text that could be viewed as negative by buyers. “Harsh or restricting terms of service — requests to do not do this, do not do that, you must do that — that kind of language doesn’t work in any marketplace, and on eBay it’s actually an effective way of getting rid of customers,” Griffith says.

Terms should be simple. Consider using a bullet-point list to convey your shipping and handling, payment and return policies. Product descriptions can be more robust. Griffith suggests watching how others selling in the same category handle their product descriptions. Clothing sellers, for instance, used to use simple sizes like XL in their descriptions. Now they are migrating toward exact measurements.

It might seem obvious, but another great way to increase your sales is to provide quality photos. eBay sellers can upload up to 12 photos with each product and should use as much of this space as possible.

5. Brand your storefront

One of the great things about selling on eBay is the opportunity to create a branded store page that highlights specific products and can set you apart as a seller. Unlike most other selling platforms, eBay allows all sellers to create up to 15 customizable pages.

Cohen, whose Thumbmonkey Video eBay store beat out about 12,000 other stores to win a marketing award from eBay in 2008, says that some things that are being upfront about the return policy and providing contact information.

eBay provides a free tool for customizing your pages. Marketing and merchandising apps can also help you make you customize the look and functions of your storefront. In addition to themes, the section contains apps for doing market research, sharing your listings over social media, or even tracking your buyers’ locations.

6. Remember, the customer is always right — even when they are not

Griffith gets a fair share of heroic customer service stories during his daily conversations with eBay sellers. Recently, a seller of packaging materials told him about a customer who complained about an order of pink packing peanuts.The customer said he had received white, not pink, packing material. After assuring the customer had another order of pink packing peanuts on the way, the seller asked if the buyer could send a photograph of the mistake in order to show the supplier its mistake. The customer sent a photo — of indisputably pink packing peanuts.

“That to me as an example of what a great seller on eBay will do, not to protect themselves, but just to make sure that somebody is happy, even if they’re completely wrong,” Griffith says.

7. Consider free shipping

“When it comes to shipping, the standard is moving across the industry toward free shipping,” Griffith says. “Buyers don’t want shipping to be part of their decision making. The best way to take it out of the decision making process is to offer free shipping. Even if that means moving some or all of the cost of shipping into the price of the item, it’s still an easier experience for the buyer.”

Unlike many other selling platforms, the seller is in control of setting shipping prices. Whether you decide to go with free shipping or not, you should ship your merchandise as quickly as possible. Cohen says that even if there’s a problem with the order, buyers are usually much more amicable when they’ve received their products quickly.

8. Do a bit of method acting

In order to understand what eBay buyers want, become one.

“You’ll garner a lot of valuable information about your business once you understand what the eBay buying experience is like,” Griffith says.

By Sarah Kessler (mashable)

Article Source:


Homepreneurs.  New Day.  New Opportunity.

Home Business With Arts and Crafts

January 30, 2012

Turn your hobby into a money-making machine.  Crafts and crafting are perhaps the ultimate home business that is fun too!  The typical crafter displays at local or regional craft shows; higher end artisans travel around the country.  Liam Hughes, profiled as a Homepreneurs Success Story, is an example of a nationally known artist that attends many shows around the country.

Here is a small listing of art & craft shows in the Midwest for 2012 .  Use Google search and the newspaper to find many local and regional shows.  Once on the show circuit, make friends with the other artisans and find out what where the hot shows are and what products are selling well.

While craft shows are the obvious choice for selling your product, other options exist.  Thanks to the Internet, crafters and artists now have multiple distribution channels including Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, personal websites and the specialty sites listed below:

Art Fire

“We have crafted a complete market place and community for handmade artists and those who love handmade items where artisans can list handmade crafts for sale, absolutely free of charge! There are No listing fees, no final valuation fees, no fees, no kidding!”

Fees: Not for the basic option; upgrade options are available


Claims to be the #1 marketplace for logos and graphic design.  “crowdSPRING is an online marketplace for creative services. For buyers, crowdSPRING is a place to post a creative project, watch the world contribute ideas and choose the one they like. For creatives, crowdSPRING is a global stage for creativity where title and experience don’t matter.”

Fees: None noted.


The auction site known ’round the world can be an excellent place to sell your handmade items. Ebay even has a Guide to Selling Crafts for crafters.

Fees: Product listing fees apply


Etsy is a popular web site for crafters of all kinds, generally homemade items.

“We connect buyers with independent creators and shop owners to find the very best in handmade, vintage and supplies.”

Fees: 20 cents to list each item for four months and a 3.5% transaction fee on items sold


If you love to craft and own a digital camera, http://www.FaveCrafts.com wants to pay you for your craft ideas. Submit your craft project or craft tutorial to FaveCrafts and earn $15 for each article published on the website. All craft techniques are welcome, but projects must include a materials list, instructions and at least one finished project photograph. For details on how to submit your craft idea, click here.

FaveCrafts.com is also looking for crafters interested in producing video for the website. Earn $25 for each video published on FaveCrafts. Video submissions can include craft techniques, how-to videos and craft project videos. To get started producing video for FaveCrafts, contact the FaveCrafts editorial team with 3-5 ideas for craft videos you can produce..


In their own words, “SmashingDarling is the online destination for anything new and emerging fashion, bringing together independent fashion designers with individuals who seek a unique fashion edge.”

Set up an online boutique (or several) at this fashion-focused site and sell your unique clothing and accessories.  No household items.

Fees: Free to set up; 18% transaction fee on all sales


If you’re great at coming up with new projects, and can capture the details in easy-to-follow how-to guides, you may be able to sell your patterns and crafting directions at YouCanMakeThis.com.

Fees: Profit-sharing model


An on-demand, made-to-order marketplace that’s perfect for anyone who has a great idea for customized clothing, mugs, magnets, buttons, skateboards, and more!

No need to purchase inventory. Create a free online gallery to showcase your products!

Fees: Free

Many more craft websites here: http://www.artcraftmarketing.com/topsites/ .

Compiled by Dion D Shaw

Dion D Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs

Partial article source:


Homepreneurs.  New Day.  New Opportunities.


Homepreneurs does not endorse nor have any relationships with any of the services listed.  Homepreneurs receives no compensation or consideration for its suggestions.  Homepreneurs strongly urges all interested parties to conduct research and accepts no responsibility for any losses incurred.

© Homepreneurs 2010 – 2013

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