If you’re like me, owning your own business is the best thing you’ve done. Maybe you’re at a point where you’re ready to start diversifying your income with projects and business you can do at home. Or maybe you’re ready to take the leap into entrepreneurship. But what happens if you don’t know exactly what to focus on for your new endeavor?

I received a great article from my readers at Insurance Quotes that details nine small businesses you can start from home. Lets take a look at six of the ideas they suggest.

Personal Assistant

If you love helping people, why not make some money doing it? You can become a personal assistant of the virtual office capacity using nothing but your personal computer. Lots of busy professionals (especially in large cities) will pay for such a time-giving service. Consider using current corporate connections and social networks to advertise your discretion and trustworthiness, and get your home-based business off the ground.

To get started, think about a specific audience that you’d like to serve; maybe you like working with the elderly or perhaps busy moms are more your speed. Because being a personal assistant has such wide possibilities, the more you focus on an audience, the more you’ll be able to create a service that’s tailored to their specific needs – and that is what makes you irresistible.

Graphic Design / Desktop Publishing

If you’re handy with Photoshop and Illustrator, and you’ve got a sense of sellable style, you can launch a desktop publishing or design business from home with just a little start-up cash and a few prospective clients. Under-promise and over-perform, and you’ll be getting calls for help on everything from brochures to invitations. A graphic designer with efficient skills and just a bit of insightful vision will always be in high demand.

To get started, check out 99Designs. This is a fantastic crowdsourcing logo design service where clients post projects and designers post potential designs. Then the client chooses a winning design from the submissions. You might think that getting a percentage of $300 is small potatoes, but remember very often the client picks a winning design for a logo and then they want letterhead, collateral and other marketing materials — and they’ll want to use the designer who created the logo to do it.

Dog Walking / Pet Sitting

If you’re a pet person, and you enjoy being outside, pet sitting and walking is an easy home-based business to start. Whether you’ve ever done a stint as a house-sitter or not, pet sitting (and other home tasks, like plant watering) is a simple way to make a little bit of extra money. If you have an animal-friendly, reliable schedule, you could book up your entire day with walking your neighborhood?s dogs, and easily expand to earn some extra money by checking in on your friends? cats. It starts with word-of-mouth, but once you’re in, you’re in.


Whatever you do at your nine-to-five, considering going home and doing it some more. If you’re a software developer, find work creating apps. If you’re a coder, designer, or writer, check out freelance gigs on Elance.comor Odesk.com. And if you have an eye for good products because you work retail all day, you could even work to create a vintage resale business through eBay. Who?s to say that you have to stop at a simple salary? Making extra cash by continually practicing your trade will only make you better (and more marketable) at your current job.

Here’s a tip for getting started as a freelancer — FOCUS – FOCUS – FOCUS. You’ll be tempted to create a profile that lists anything and everything that you do. Resist the temptation to include the kitchen sink in your profile description. When employers see descriptions that are too broad – they will jump to the conclusion that you can’t be great at any of them. Instead pick one thing or a set of related areas to specialize in and just promote THAT. If you over-deliver, your clients will ask you what else you can do. A great example is my transcriptionist, Lisa. I found her on oDesk and chose her because I needed a transcriptionist and her profile only focused on THAT. I hired her and found her to be ridiculously fast and thorough with technical transcriptions and with people who are NOT native speakers. When I asked her to do more things – she DECLINED because she says that transcriptions are what she does best. I’ve referred her to many of my clients for transcription and they have been delighted. That is the power of focus.

Accounting for Small Businesses

Do you have an accounting background or love working with numbers? Why not use your skills to help new business owners manage the financial side of their business. For busy entrepreneurs, the tasks like calculating mileage, tracking expenses, invoicing, and payroll often get pushed to the back burner. Offer to help business owners with these items, which will likely take you less time and make the business owner a very happy referrer.

Home-Based Laundry

Sometimes the best business ideas seem like no-brainers. If you’ve already got a washer and dryer at home, and the zoning regulations in your city are favorable, a home-based laundry business is a great place for first-time entrepreneurs to learn the ropes. Do some market research for the wash-and-folds already in existence, and try to find an angle that sets you apart. It might sound too good to be true, but you could wash and fold your way to a second income, just by doing everyone else?s chores.

From laundry to dog walking to accounting, there are so many ways people can earn income by working in their own home. All it takes is a few good clients and referrals and you’ll be an entrepreneur in no time. Be sure to read the rest of the article at Insurance Quotes for even more great ideas for starting your home-based business.