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Creative Home Business Ideas and Opportunities

written by: KLeeBanks•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 6/9/2010

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well, perhaps even more than ever before, in these days of business closures and high unemployment. You can turn your interests, expertise, and passions into successful and creative home businesses with some strategic planning and effort.

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    Why Work at Home?

    Then again, why not? As a growing number of people find that it takes two incomes in a family to stay on top of the finances, and another large segment of the population becomes unemployed, more people are considering home business ideas and opportunities to generate the necessary income to make up for the lack elsewhere. Becoming entrepreneurs allows many people to pursue their areas of interest and expertise while providing for their families.

    Recognize that running a successful home business requires determination, time management, and organizational skills. You also should review your local zoning ordinances to ascertain that you can in fact operate a home business. Discuss the idea with your family, to ensure you have their support and understanding. Conduct market research and seek out promotional opportunities.

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    Candle Making

    One creative home business idea is candle making. Pleasing to the senses, as well as practical items, candles are popular as household staples and gifts. Do your research into the whole candle making process to determine if it is something you can manage. Locate suppliers for all the materials you will need.

    Becky Ryan-Willis of Country Keepsakes in New York has operated a successful candle making business since 2002. She moved her business home in 2009 and enjoys the lower overhead costs, since she no longer has to travel to her previous storefront location or pay the associated costs of rent, heat, and lights. She advises interested candle makers to pursue making soy-based candles for their cleaner burning properties. Ryan-Willis also emphasizes the importance of enjoying candle making, while also recognizing the work that’s involved.

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    Customized Quilts and Crafts

    Quilts and crafts may not be items within the “need" category, but if you have proficient quilting and crafting skills, you can offer customized products that become desirable items for home décor and gifts. By specializing in a service such as adding imprinted photos to quilts, pillows, wall hangings, and bags, you can create a niche market that people find appealing.

    You can also customize items by making them according to customer specifications, according to their preferred colors, sizes, and designs. Again, this makes your products exceptional among others available. You may also want to consider offering combined deals, such as a lap quilt with coordinating pillow, or a tote bag with a smaller cell phone holder.

    Several online venues provide marketing avenues for handmade products. Etsy and Bonanzle are two such websites that offer free or low cost opportunities for you to sell your products. You may also want to consider having your own website. GoDaddy.com is one of the best known and lowest cost domain registrars, as well as offering web hosting packages. Ryan-Willis, the previously mentioned entrepreneur with the candle making business, also offers website hosting options through her Stone Alley Hosting home business.

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    Sewing and Alteration Services

    If you are a skilled seamstress or tailor, you may find success offering sewing and alteration services. A range of services may include making customized clothing and home décor items from purchased fabric and patterns, or providing alteration and mending services. Do some research into the prices of some local dry cleaners who often offer these services and then set your prices competitively. If you are confident in your sewing and alteration abilities, advertise your services at local schools. You may pick up business sewing costumes for school plays or altering gowns for school dances and proms.

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    Virtual Assistant

    Another home business opportunity growing in popularity is virtual assistant services. As more businesses cut costs and seek alternative means to fulfill their companies’ needs, telecommuting arrangements and virtual assisting have become viable options. As a virtual assistant, you may provide a number of services, including the traditional secretarial services, as well as graphic design, marketing, technical support, customer service, or any number of specialized services depending on your areas of education, expertise, and training. You need to have a computer or laptop with internet access, fax capability, phone, and proficient marketing skills for you and your services.

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    Writing, Editing, and Proofreading

    You may find opportunities to pick up work from local companies in writing, editing, and proofreading. These companies may need freelance writing for items such as press releases, feature stories, or news columns. Other companies may employ “home workers" who have proven editing and proofreading skills for many types of documents, including letters, manuscripts, or pre-press publications.

    Another ongoing opportunity is writing web content. The proliferation of the Internet and massive numbers of websites has opened up a relatively new area in need of constant new content.This content needs to be written, as well as edited, on an ongoing basis. Bright Hub, for instance, hires freelance writers and editors as independent contractors to provide and proof content for numerous subjects of interest to people who want to learn more about making better life decisions and pursuing their interests.