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Home-Based Businesses

Starting a home-based business has many attractive features, such as no commuting, flexible hours, and extra time with family, especially your children.

Rather than starting your own business entirely from scratch, it may be worthwhile exploring "turnkey" opportunities offered to you by existing businesses. These may include:

  • Taking phone calls as a customer service or reservations agent.
  • Answering e-mails.
  • Conducting research over the Internet.
  • Tabulating information, constructing databases, and preparing spreadsheets.
  • Computer programming.
  • Selling products out of your home.
  • Assembling products or printed materials.
  • Remote secretarial services

When evaluating offers from businesses that promise to get you started as a home-based entrepreneur, some factors to consider are:

  • The business's reputation. Determine how long the business has been in operation and whether it has complaints filed against it with the Federal Trade Commission, Better Business Bureaus and state regulatory agencies.
  • Find a business that offers a quality product or service; avoid those that depend on gimmicks such as multi-level marketing, where you have to convince others to join. Determine exactly how you will be paid. Be sure that you cannot be denied pay for capricious reasons.
  • Be wary if you are being asked for upfront money or to pay for materials that you will assemble at home. Understand ahead of time what expenses, if any, you are expected to absorb and what will be reimbursed by the company.
  • Get all terms and conditions, especially those related to pay and expenses, in writing.

If the business sounds "too good to be true," it probably is. Instead, you are better off with a business that will reward you based on how hard you work and how successful you are.

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