Tightrope: It's a good time to think about working at home

— -- "If you've ever wondered if you could work from home — whether you could earn real money from a job that satisfies and excites you, design your own office, and work in comfortable clothes on your own schedule — you are not alone. You've picked a great time to wonder."

These are the words that open Tory Johnson's new book Will Work from Home: Earn the Cash Without the Commute. Every once and a while I run across a book that I find helpful in getting started in business or enhancing an existing business, and this book fits that category.

All of the news this week about the major Wall Street meltdown has many of us wondering what the economic picture will look like for each of us in both the near and far future.

From soaring gas prices and childcare costs to fears of not being able to afford retirement, or merely wanting to earn extra money or just have something to do to overcome the empty nest syndrome, the reasons from working from home are many. There has never been a better way to make ends meet. According to Tory, the average household has 52 unused items worth $3,100. You can sell these items on eBay for extra cash. Her new book is full of ideas of home-based jobs to help you earn extra money, such as dog walker, senior caregiver (no special training required), virtual customer service agent and online tutors. This is just a few of the suggestions that you can find in her book.

I know firsthand about the 52 unused items. I actually think that I have more like 5,200 unused items to sell. Like most mothers I still have books that my now-grown daughter used to read as a small child. And I unearthed a load of stuff from closets and storage areas in our home when we put it up for sale. Each Sunday morning I take a stack of books or other items along with a cup of coffee and sit down to my computer and place them for sale on eBay. By the following weekend I am off to the post office to mail the items that I sold.

According to Tory's book, working from home is an attractive option for many people. It's estimated that 100 million U.S. workers will telework by 2010, up from 14.7 million in 2006.

Tory is the workplace consultant for Good Morning America and founder of Women for Hire, which is a great website for women interested in increasing their earning capacity.

So, if you are wondering how to generate a few extra dollars or get a full fledged home-based business started, take a visit to Tory's website (www.womenforhire.com) or check her latest book out.

Gladys Edmunds' Entrepreneurial Tightrope column appears Wednesdays. Click here for an index of her columns. As a single, teen-age mom, Gladys made money doing laundry, cooking dinners for taxi drivers and selling fire extinguishers and Bibles door-to-door. Today, Edmunds is founder of Edmunds Travel Consultants in Pittsburgh and author of There's No Business Like Your Own Business, a six-step guide to success published by Viking. Her website is www.gladysedmunds.com. You can e-mail her at gladys@gladysedmunds.com.