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Starting a Home Business? Start with what you know.

By Bob Cortez

The most frequently asked question I receive as an Internet home business consultant usually goes something like this; "I would really like to start my own home business on the Internet, but I don't know what." The short answer is - Start with what you know and enjoy.

There are a number of good reasons for this By drawing on existing knowledge, you can concentrate on building a business rather than learning about a new trade, product, or service. Starting and running a home business means long hours and sacrifice. It is easier to do when you are doing something you enjoy. Selling what you know and enjoy is less difficult for non- salespeople. Selling what you know and enjoy is less difficult for non-salespeople.

The Internet offers unique opportunities for the home business netrepreneur. It creates the ability to reach a much larger potential market for your product, service, or information at a much lower price than through conventional advertising mediums.

The Internet and World Wide Web are still in their infancy. Right now, you can get everything you need to put your business online - free. It is like someone offering you a store (web hosting), full time staff (web pages, auto responders) and advertising (lots of advertising) for free. All you have to do is come up with an idea for a product or service to put in the store.

One of my favorite examples is my mother's home business. She builds very creative and unique birdhouses. She uses scrap lumber from a local sawmill (free) and driftwood from the local beach (free), to keep her material costs low. Another local artist provides the miniature sculptures for a percentage of the sales. She started by building and selling these for the local tourist trade in Homer Alaska, and was doing ok. But when we put them on the Internet (http://www.ptialaska.net/~cortez/) sales really began to soar. Not everyone that would be interested in the birdhouses can afford to visit Homer, and we certainly couldn't afford to advertise to the world in any other way. We were able to reach this larger market by using free web hosting, design, and promotion services. Once we developed a flow of traffic, we were able to create additional income streams by selling other peoples products as well. (I'll discuss this further later in this article)

This business model can work for just about any product that can be shipped. What unique item can you build using local materials? Do you have a craft or gift idea that is unique? How about a kit or plans for something you have built?

Information is another type of product. What do you know or know how to do that would be of interest or value to others? You can either sell that information as a report, or a tip booklet. Or you can give the information away at your store and sell other peoples related products for a commission. The advantage here is that once you put your information in the store it is done. You don't have to keep building it and shipping it. If your not comfortable with writing your own material you can use a ghostwriter (http://www.home-work.net).

Another home business opportunity that is unique to the Internet is based on common interests. What do you have a special interest in that others may share? Music, books, computers, cars, gardening, collectibles, etc#? The idea in this business model is to create a site with information and resources available online of interest to others. Then you select products to sell of interest to people that would be visiting your site. For instance, if you had an avid interest in a particular type of music. You could develop a site that was a resource for others with that same interest. The site could include links to artists sites, reviews of the latest releases, concert tour information, photos, sound clips, interview excerpts, a chat room, or discussion board. You become an "associate" of one of the CD distributors online and receive a commission on CD's that are sold. The distributor does the entire order fulfillment. The number and variety of companies that have an associate program online is growing daily. They cover all kinds of products and services from gifts to computers or web hosting to credit cards.

Start with what you know, apply some imagination, and open your low cost home business online. The market is growing everyday - world wide.

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Bob Cortez has 20 years of sales and marketing experience. Through Total Quality Marketing he is providing consulting services to home based entrepreneurs looking to expand their business online and take advantage of the tremendous opportunities available.

Total Quality Marketing PO Box 338 Homer Alaska 99603

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