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5 Hot Homebased Businesses

Ready to go home--with your own business, that is? We've got 5 great ways to do it.

Sick of the 8-to-5 rat race? Tired of spending countless hours in your car, wondering why turn signals were even invented if people so rarely use them? Want to stop taking orders from other people and start working for yourself?

If you answered yes to those questions, you may be ready to embark on your own homebased business. Before you get too excited, however, remember that even though you're in your home, you'll still be working hard to get your business off the ground. But you'll be doing what you truly enjoy and making money to boot. To inspire and hopefully motivate you, we at Entrepreneur have compiled a list of five of the hottest homebased businesses. Read on to see what's hot, who's doing it...and, most important, how you can do it, too.

Virtual Assistant

If you've got a computer, an Internet connection, great administrative skills and a serious interest in serving clients, virtual assisting may be for you. A relatively new specialty, virtual assistants (VAs) do everything from building databases and managing schedules to making travel arrangements and editing newsletters. Says VA Christine Barnes in San Diego, "I have to remember that these are my clients' businesses-their livelihoods. And it's about representing them in the best possible way."

One special joy for Barnes is being able to choose the people she works with during her average 20-hour workweeks. In 1999, Barnes felt stifled in the job she held at the time and started taking classes from AssistU, an organization that trains and incubates VAs.

Stacy Brice, president of AssistU, advises prospective VAs to do some serious planning and realize that juggling the different needs of several clients at any given time can be extremely challenging. New VAs bill around $30 per hour, while the more experienced professionals can command more. Some VAs even focus on certain industries. Brice, for example, specialized in virtual assisting for bestselling authors before starting AssistU. "Our entire [VA] culture is built around collaboration," says Brice. And AssistU graduates are encouraged to build long-term relationships with clients as well as fellow graduates, to combat the isolation that is so frequently a part of homebased business.

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