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QUESTION: I'm recovering from a long illness and would like to work from home doing something that affords me a little extra money without taxing my energy too much. Any suggestions other than a telemarketing or online business?
ANSWER: Many people recovering from health problems or suffering from chronic illnesses can work or run their own businesses from home more easily than taking full-time jobs with daily commutes and fixed schedules and responsibilities. In your own business, you can choose the type of work you do, who you want to work with and how much work you take on for a given day, week or month.
We suggest doing an inventory of your skills, interests and existing contacts, then brainstorming ideas for serv-ices you can provide from home.
For example, when an interior decorator we interviewed suffered a serious injury, she realized she would no longer be able to lift furniture and accessories as she had done previously. Given her decreased stamina and mobility, she realized she needed to change directions. As she assessed her skills and interests, she identified a new niche. Because she'd always been a collector of rare artifacts and already had contacts in the design industry, she decided to start a home business supplying other decorators with unique and interesting artifacts.
We also spoke with someone who was stricken with an illness that prohibited her from eating the kinds of food she'd eaten all her life. So she began experimenting with recipes for healthy versions of her favorite desserts. After getting rave reviews from her friends, she decided to create a line of healthy chocolates. The former model had contacts with upscale hotels and spas that cater to models and other health-conscious consumers-they became her first customers.
Both of these entrepreneurs were able to find ways they could work from home that provided them with the flexibility they needed. Here are a few other in-demand home businesses that meet these criteria: mailing-list services, bookkeeping services, computer programming, tutoring, coaching, technical writing and financial planning.