18 Insanely Quick Actions to Find Your Perfect Home Business

opportunity magnify glass


“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Thomas Edison

You’ve heard it many times before, I’m sure.

You know, the story about that one man or woman who had that one brilliant idea that sprung from a passion for something, and now he/she is a lucrative small business owner, working out of the comfort of his/her own home doing something he/she loves while still having time to spend with loved ones and enjoy that thing called “life”.

The perfect scenario, right? Couldn’t be real, could it?

It could. And if you’re like I was – you’re sitting back wondering where the Hell you went wrong in life with your 9-5 (or 7:30-6 like some of us lucky SOB’s) and why you weren’t born as brilliant as that man/woman. Well here’s an insider’s secret – you’re just as brilliant. And you, my friend, can do the same damn thing.

But how do you go from slaving for somebody else to channeling your inner Katia Beauchamp, ditching your day gig and launching that perfect niche business that you love?

Maybe it’s not as difficult as it seems.  As a matter of fact, I’ll break down the process into 18 easy actions so that by the time you’re done, you’ll have a handful of business ideas worthy of pursuing.

Step 1: Find Yourself

You need to do this because: You need to have an honest understanding of yourself in order to find your best business match.

Sure, some entrepreneurs just have a great, lucrative idea and whether it’s a passion or not – it just works. But the large majority of us should aim to start a business that is a reflection of ourselves.


Because unless you’re a serial entrepreneur or have an idea as revolutionary as cloud computing, you’ll be in the business you choose for quite some time and if you aren’t passionate about it, you might as well go back to your 9-5.

Here’s how:

  • Action 1: Take a self-assessment.
    • They force you to be honest with yourself, face your personality and characteristics for what they are, and find the most suitable business choice.
      • Oprah’s website has a great one by Anne Dranitsaris that identifies seven “striving styles,” or modes of thought and behavior that direct us to seek satisfaction in different ways. Based on the results, she provides a suggested career choice.
      • Entrepreneur also has a great assessment that can help identify which type of entrepreneur you are.
  • Action 2: Determine your goals.
    • Why do you want to be an entrepreneur? Why a small business owner? Is your goal to have more time with family? To have a more flexible schedule? To take ownership of your life? To make more money? To prove something to yourself? Whatever your goals are for choosing to start a business, make sure to incorporate those into the identification of your business. Do your industry research to determine if this type of business will satisfy your goals.
  • Action 3: Identify your skills.
    • What are you most excellent at? What is your “one thing” or “few things” that you are masterful of? Writing? Crafts? Finance? Counseling? Marketing? Cosmetology? Management? Music? Photography? Fashion design? We all have one or many things we rock at, so make a list of every one you can think of and consider the potential each has in becoming your small business opportunity.
  • Action 4: Evaluate your education/experience.
    • The fact of the matter is, some careers require a degree or training while others don’t. If you want to start a marketing company for non-profits – you’ll need appropriate education and experience. But if you wanted to start a jewelry business, you might be okay by being self-taught.
      • If you want to start an accounting firm for small businesses, you’ll probably need at least a few years of prior experience. And though you should definitely consider your education and/or experience when tossing around business ideas, pull possibilities from random courses in art, random side gigs in promotions, or whatever else is in your background.

What you were specializing in surely doesn’t have to be what you’re planning to move forward with now.

Step 2: Find mentors and coaches

You need to do this because: To identify good business ventures, you need to consult other professionals in the industries you’re looking to play in for advice and inspiration.

Here’s how:

  • Action 5:Create a network web.
    • Everyone has a network of contacts, whether it’s from a previous job, college, a friend of a friend, a friend’s job, or whatever else. Do yourself a favor and write down names of people you have or have had good relationships with in industries you’re interested in.
    • Write down their occupation and continue adding to the web as far as you can go until you gather enough insight. What people are in your network that could help you with your business ideas? What people in your network, if any, are running their own business? Email them and ask to chat or Skype just for a few minutes. Run your ideas by them and ask for constructive criticism and advice.
  • Action 6:  Once you create a network, establish formal and informal mentoring relationships. 
    • For example, I meet informally, on Skype,  with a woman in my niche and we share our goals for the month and give each other feedback.
    • You can also formally hire a coach.  Coaching can help get you in the right mindset and help you stay motivated and accountable.  Lara Galloway,the MomBizCoach, is a one example and she is a business coach and really understands running a business and being a mom.  When looking for the right match, make sure to do your research and get references.
  • Action 7: Join communities.
    • It’s true – entrepreneurs love to help other entrepreneurs – it’s in our blood. So whether you have your great idea already, or need some help finding the best route to take to business ownership, seasoned entrepreneurial vets love to offer advice. There are a number of organizations to connect with, particularly a good number of female-oriented groups.  There are also plenty of private Facebook and LinkedIn groups that foster building a community.

Step 3:  Find your passion

You need to do this because: Like I said, if you start a business that you’re not passionate about – it likely won’t work out in your favor. And even if it does, regardless of success, you might be just as miserable running a business you’re not passionate about as your current 9-5 gig. Passion is important, and those who can make a living doing something they love is priceless.

In fact, according to business strategist, John Hagel, when you lack passion for something you’re doing, you experience any pressure as stress. Yet when you have passion, the same pressure is perceived as exciting. Now if this is true – would it make sense to pursue what you’re not passionate about? Not typically.

Some of us can easily identify our passions, while others may take some time.  A friend of mine, Kaylee Sturm has always known her true passion is writing and entrepreneurship. She was working an agency job in Public Relations and realized she wanted do what she loves but do it on her own terms, and have more time to spend with her son. She knew it would take a ton of courage to do it.

What did she do about it?

She left!

She leveraged her passion for entrepreneurship and became a full-time freelance writer and PR pro. She was even able to acquire a few long-term clients before she put in her two week notice and now is on the path to really doing what she is innately passionate about.

Below are some tips on how you can make that happen.

Here’s how:

  • Action 8: Identify hobbies.
    • What do you do to unwind after work? What do you enjoy doing on the weekends? What would you do if you had more time? What would you do if no one judged what you wanted to do? Hobbies can be fairly synonymous with passions – so take a look at both surface and suppressed hobbies and consider a business from those ideas.  Just make sure to consider that if you turn your hobby into a business, you may never enjoy that hobby again.
  • Action 9: Get opinions.
    • If you can’t be honest with yourself about your passions, or just aren’t sure, ask others. Ask family and friends what they think your passion is and you might be amazed at what you uncover.
  • Action 10: Identify role models.
    • Often times, we idol those we wouldn’t mind embodying. Who do you admire? What celebrities, professionals family, friends, leaders or mentors inspire you? What are their passions? Consider that you might have these same similarities with these individuals.
  • Action 11: Make a bucket list.
    • Unfortunately, sometimes are passions get buried underneath that massive animal called “life.” The best way to uncover them is to ask yourself what you would do if today was your last day on earth. Make a bucket list, as overplayed as it may seem, and be honest with what you’d want to do if you only had today left. I’m sure you’ll uncover some newer, different passions through this method.

Step 4: Find a niche

You need to do this because: People are starting businesses left and right and in all shapes and sizes and therefore, the landscape are getting fierce. So, what you need to do as a budding entrepreneur is to find and capitalize on a new opportunity within this landscape, or piggyback on and “own” an existing opportunity.

Here’s how:

  • Action 12: Research opportunities.
  • Action 13: Analyze your own personal needs.
    • The most successful entrepreneurs have created something that they themselves were in need of. Have you ever thought to yourself – “Man, I wish someone made ____ so I could do _______ faster, easier, more effectively.” Well guess what – therein lies an opportunity! Can’t recall any of these opportunities? Start today by keeping a close eye on things that bother you and can be improved. The odds are in your favor that many other people feel the exact same way and could use a product to remedy the situation.
  • Action 14: Meet a market need.
    • This goes along with analyzing your own needs, but instead of consulting yourself, consult the outside world. Ask others in your target group the same things you’ve been asking yourself. Also, see what industries are thriving and consider taking advantage of one of them.
  • Action 15: Hone or invent a product/service.
    • You may have a great product idea that needs brought to market, or you may want to improve or alter an existing product. Or, you may have a great idea for a new service, or want to refine an existing service someone else is offering. Keep in mind that there’s nothing wrong with jumping on the bandwagon of already-existing products and services and improving them to suit customer needs better. It’s done regularly, so don’t feel limited if something similar already exists.
  • Action 16: Tailor your product/service idea.
    • The most important task when thinking of a business idea is tailoring it to a very specific market. At this stage in the game especially, don’t try to be everything to everyone. If you want to start a maid service, consider targeting moms in your area rather than men and women of all different age ranges. You can also start your planning with a target market that’s of interest to you, and spark relationships with this audience to see what product and/or service they’d like to have available.
  • Action 17: Get creative.
    • This goes along with analyzing your own needs and creating a product that answers these needs, but getting creative deserves its own bullet point. If you’re a writer, consider a greeting card business, write children’s books, write a lucrative blog, blog for companies who don’t have time or resources. etc. If you adore babies and fashion, start designing clever onesies or cute baby accessories and sell them on eBay.

Finding the perfect small business opportunity for you isn’t something you can do overnight. Though essentially you can do it in four rather easy steps, you may have to repeat the cycle a few times to get the best results.

My best advice when trying to find that perfect business idea is to be patient, but not to be too patient that you miss an opportunity because you’re too scared or want to hold out for “a better idea.” If it feels right, set your fears and doubts aside like any true entrepreneur would do and go for it!

Now Over to You

Where have you found inspiration?

Action 18: Which of these actions can you take today?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa Stein owns FreelanceMom.com, is a college business professor and a mom to Gabriela and Elle. Lisa is dedicated to playing a part in helping women and moms run a business they love, help support themselves and their family and create a flexible lifestyle. You can find her online on Facebook and Twitter or at home burning something in the kitchen.