online_businesses_main.jpgOnline businesses have a number of advantages: home-based operations, minimal startup costs, home-based operations, you can be your own boss, home-based operations, flexible hours—and did we mention you could run them from home?

But while the allure of running an online business from the comforts of home is undeniable and you may have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, you may be wondering about the kind of business you want to run. Here are five types of online businesses you can run from home:


SELL YOUR ARTS AND CRAFTS

Making handicrafts, designing clothes, jewelry-making, printing books and photos—all of these are hobbies you can turn to profit with a website or blog and enough friends who are willing to spread the word about your awesome products. Offer volume discounts, make sure your product is unique and your service memorable, and throw in freebies to keep your customers coming back and your profits on the up and up, as this Entrepreneur article suggests. And, make sure your talent is showcased in the best light by taking professional-grade photos of your products and marketing your wares at trade fairs.


START AN ONLINE RETAIL STORE


Just because you don’t make your own products doesn’t mean you can’t try your hand at selling. If you know where to get the best bargains and think you know what people need or want at various times of the year, why don’t you try your hand at finding products you can buy at wholesale price and sell for a profit? If you are a Divisoria shopaholic or if you have access to products you believe in, why not create your own online store? Make sure any physical products are well-described and well-photographed. Don’t know what to sell? Go for what you feel you could use yourself. That could mean anything from clothes and shoes to herbal products and cosmetics.


MAINTAIN YOUR OWN BLOG AND/OR WEBSITE

What you might not know about maintaining your own website or blog is that you may be able to earn money just by having people come and visit and click on the links you post . Whether you use your website to generate income for you in some other way (like selling products) or as a venue for your own content (like pro blogging ), you need to drive people to view it and click on the ads and other links you earn money from. Not sure where to start? Check out 2CreateAWebsite.com and other how-to sites.


OFFER YOUR WEB SERVICES: WEB DESIGN, ONLINE NETWORKING, ETC.

Got L33T skills in java, PHP, HTML, CSS, and other programming languages? If so, you might want to try your hand at freelance web designing. And if you’re familiar with online social networking, you may just get a company to have you on retainer to manage not just their websites but their Facebook accounts, MySpace pages, and Multiply accounts as well. Check out Smashing Magazine’s roadmap to becoming a professional freelance web designer or get started by listing your website (AKA your portfolio) in the Freelance Web Designers Directory or finding jobs at sites like Project4Hire.com .  


CHARGE A FEE FOR WRITING, EDITING, ILLUSTRATING, OR DOING DIGITAL ART


With all the cost-cutting going around, a lot of businesses are turning to freelance writers, editors, and artists to provide them with their content needs. That means that you can make big bucks from turning a company’s processes and documents into marketable material they can show to prospective customers or coming up with images for their websites or ad campaigns. If you’re trained to edit according to a certain style, like the Chicago Manual of Style, the APA style, or writing for SEO, or if you can draw to another person’s specifications, you can advertise your services and find prospective jobs at sites like Sulit.com.ph, iFreelance.com, and many more. All you need to start is a blog or website that will serve as your online portfolio. It’s also a good idea to start expanding your network to include people you’re likely to work with or for—advertisers, online and print publishers, fellow freelancers, etc.


On fire to start your own web-based home business? Great! Just keep a cool head about you, take note of the dos and don’ts of starting and growing your business, and remember that even if you’re at home and in your fuzzy slippers, it’s still important to be professional and to love what you do. Because no matter what your working environment, skill, dedication, and passion are still—and have always been—the keys to successful endeavors.


(Photo source: sxc.hu)
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