We've heard from thousands of "Good Morning America" viewers who say they desperately want to work from home but can't seem to find the right opportunity in their area to fit their skills and interests.
If that sounds like you, perhaps it's time to start your own business. It's not as difficult -- or as expensive -- as it may sound!
First step, ask yourself three questions to help define your goals:
1) What kind of business do you want to start? Is it a product or service? Do you possess the skills to make it happen? Give a lot of thought to what type of work would excite you every day.
2) How much time can you devote? Be realistic, and think seriously about your current routine to figure out how much time you can devote to this endeavor. Perhaps you have five hours a day while your kids are in school, or maybe you only have nights when your baby is sleeping. Will you focus on finding the time to give this priority? If you're going to devote too little time or you're going to find excuses why you're too busy, this won't work.
3) What are the financial requirements and expectations? Let's face it, business is about money! How much will it cost you to get started? If it's a product, think about materials you'll need to get going. And ask yourself how much money you'd want to make -- realistically -- for this endeavor to be worthwhile, given the time you'll have to invest. Some people want to make $1,000 a month -- others want three or four times that. Is this money to cover special extras such as vacations? Or is it to help pay the mortgage?
There's some crossover between time and money to consider. If you're going to have to hire a babysitter while you're working, will the cost of that sitter negate any money you're making?
What will you charge? How much is your product or service worth? Pricing is always something that makes people a bit queasy. If you charge too much, you scare off the potential customers. If you charge too little, you're cheating yourself -- and there's a potential to actually lose money.
While there's no precise science to pricing, take into consideration a couple of key things: Exactly how much does it cost you to produce your product or service? Put a value on the materials used, as well as your time. Then figure out what the market can bear by doing some basic research.
For example, to determine pricing for sewing classes in New Jersey, Fiona Arang looked at what other extracurricular courses were going for in her area. She also asked a group of likely clients what they'd be willing to pay for sewing classes. She used that information -- combined with what she felt her time was worth -- to develop her pricing.
And make sure you don't undercharge. Sarah Lemire of MemoriesMadeSpecial.com, which creates video montages, admitted to me that her husband thinks she's practically giving away her services. He's absolutely right. But she's not alone: Many women worry about fear of overcharging. Now that she's got more experience under her belt, Lemire is confident about raising her rates.
How do you figure out who your customer is -- and where you'll find that customer?