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Match Your Passions with Your Strengths

Working at home, like going to school online at George Washington University, Post University, Rasmussen College, Virginia College, or University of Southern California, to name a few, is the dream for many office-bound professionals, but finding the right kind of work that will be sustainable is a roadblock that keeps most office workers from pursuing their ambitions. With some soul-searching and planning though, anyone with the motivation can create their own profitable at-home business. The key is to find your passion and analyze your strengths.

The first mistake many new at-home entrepreneurs make is that they fail to connect their passion with their practical skills. Loving to cook is great, but if you’re not good at it, it’s probably not the best business idea. Sit down and take a long hard look at your strengths. Are you organized? Are your artistically inclined? Is there something you would enjoy doing every day? You only need to excel at one thing. If you are a great graphic designer, you don’t also have to be a great writer. You can cheaply outsource that type of work to focus on what you’re good at so don’t worry too much about that at the beginning. Find what you love and what you’re good at and go from there.

Once you’ve honestly found your strengths and have linked those strengths to something you’re passionate about, imagine what possibilities there might be for that field online. Working from home isn’t typically feasible without an online component. Unless you’re willing to transform your home into a warehouse, showroom or retail store, you’ll need to set up shop on the Internet. This is not to say you can’t still sell material goods, you just have to do it electronically in order to make sustainable profits. Fortunately there are many low-cost ecommerce solutions available that come with a free website, so you can have an online store up and running in an hour or so. If this sounds too complicated, consider setting up a store on ebay or etsy, two ready-made storefronts with a large amount of traffic. You can open a store to sell just about anything.

If your skills are more service-oriented, consider starting your own freelance business. Freelancing is a growing industry, and there are many forums and classified websites where freelancers can find work. Research your field to figure out how to price your services, and don’t be afraid of emulating your competitors, as long as you aren’t out-and-out copying their work. Remember that your website is critically important. If it isn’t professional, new clients will look elsewhere.

If you’re not artistically inclined and don’t want to freelance, consider one of the many other avenues for making a profit online. Website flipping is an increasingly popular business model for online entrepreneurs. It involves creating websites for niche markets, building their traffic, and then selling them to businesses already in that niche. There are many techniques for researching niche markets, building websites, and finding businesses online that need the traffic boost. Another increasingly popular online business model is in affiliate marketing. Many companies offer affiliates a commission for making sales. If there is a product or service already out there that you’re passionate about, sell it to people you know and make a cut.

The most important take-home message is to be determined. Once you’ve found the business model that appeals to you, don’t give up. New businesses always take time to get going in the beginning, and it is easy to get discouraged. Remember: if you have a product or service that you believe in, there will be other people out there who believe in it too.

References and Resources:

Riley Guide: Steps In Starting a Business
http://www.rileyguide.com/steps.html

Entrepreneur: How To
http://www.entrepreneur.com/startingabusiness/howtoguides/index115868.html

Freelancer
http://www.freelancer.com/

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