Friday, February 16, 2007

Successful Homebusiness – Ten Unusual Home Business Ideas That Worked Big Time


When Jennifer Gonzales' husband, John, gave her an Italian charm bracelet for Valentine's Day in 2002, Jennifer--a huge Sacramento Kings fan--searched in vain for a Kings charm before deciding to create one herself. Jennifer visited the Team Store at Arco Arena (home of the Kings) to ask about licensing, and a helpful employee called Kings' co-owner Gavin Maloof and let Jennifer leave a message. She was stunned when Maloof returned her call and directed her to someone at Arco, eventually leading to a $7,000 order. The couple now makes $2.5 million in sales annually.


After earning a master's degree at New York City's Fashion Institute of Technology, Laura Dahl worked for couture designers like Anne Bowen, who creates high-ticket beaded sensations with semiprecious stones. On a whim, Dahl bought some beads to adorn her "wife-beater"-a tank-top undershirt. After receiving scores of compliments and gauging the interest of friends who worked for Vogue and In Style, Dahl started Wifebeader with the shirt on her back in 2003. Last year she grossed $1 million.


After buying their first home, Debra Cohen and her husband faced the unenviable chore of finding reliable home improvement contractors. Fed up with blindly picking names from the Yellow Pages and waiting for contractors who didn't show up, it occurred to Cohen that if she and her husband were having trouble finding contractors, other homeowners in their community must be facing a similar predicament. This bleak reality sparked the creation of a unique service that has since expanded into a profitable cottage industry across the U.S. and internationally. Debra now makes in excess of $100.000 a year, working from home.


Rather than to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars for a domain name on the aftermarket, an increasing number of web entrepreneurs turn to professional “domain namers”. While most naming agencies charge a non-refundable fee that can be as high as $1500 for a corporate domain, one service that unites 17 professional domain namers from countries like United States, Russia, Australia and New Zealand, decided to offer a risk-free service that costs only 50 dollars per domain.


When Holly was pregnant a few years back in 1999, she looked for a unique way to tell her friends and family of her pregnancy. Making phone call after phone call to every cousin, aunt and uncle was a daunting task, but she still wanted to share her news with everyone. She hunted through stores and on the Internet and all she could find were birth announcements. Thus, Holly's idea for Fetal Greetings was born. She wanted to create cards where a little embryo baby could make the announcement of the upcoming birth for her.


With so much competition nowadays, a small business needs to create buzz and excitement to survive. That’s exactly what Vicky Prazdnik and Lori Mozzone did in their startup fashion business Curliegirl. The duo designs and creates crocheted and knitted hats, bags and scarves, but it was their sexy crocheted cotton thong underwear products that got them lots of attention at the start! As Mozzone says, “The thong has gotten us a lot of attention in the past. In fact, we tried removing them from our website a few times to make room for new items, and without fail someone emails us asking, "what happened to them?" This has earned them a permanent spot on the site!”


In 1994, Judy Rakocinski was looking into a home based career as a scopist, a person who edits legal transcripts from home for court reporters. That's how she found Cathy Vickio and contacted her about getting started. They have only met in person once since Judy lives in Florida and Cathy lives in Texas. Regardless, a friendship immediately bloomed and has grown since. Cathy helped Judy start her successful career and they continued to be friends. The two credit their home based business success to offering legitimate services at fair, competitive prices that still allows them to make a living. Before embarking on their new venture, they ensured that there would be a large enough potential client pool to make this a viable business. These ladies did their homework before starting, as anyone starting a business should.


Wendy and her husband Jack moved from East Brunswick, New Jersey to Maine in 1979 with a dream of building their own home and have a simple, natural life. Wendy, then 24, even went back to college to study the newest methods of farming in anticipation of their new life because “that's what we thought we would do when we came up here.” Their hope was simply to lead a self-sufficient life. As she puts it, “we didn't want to become big farmers.” The reality, however, was not easy. Wendy started her foray into the balsam business by selling the cut branches of the balsam fir trees for a local incense factory. Quite coincidentally, she had read in a book that Native Americans used balsam trees as herb for many different home remedies. With her long-standing interests in herbs “that got me excited into thinking about it [balsams] in a different way,” said Wendy. She became a supplier to the incense factory, which used her balsam fir boughs to stuff souvenir pillows.


Inside a dreary warehouse in an industrial section of San Francisco, the floor was littered with bodies. Some lay in piles while others had been dismembered, their legs, heads, and arms carelessly strewn about. Judi Henderson-Townsend had come to buy a mannequin to use as a backyard sculpture after seeing one advertised online. The seller, it turned out, was a former window designer who collected and rented old mannequins. He was moving East and closing up shop, so Henderson-Townsend impulsively bought all 50 mannequins for $2,500. She stood them in her basement, then named her new business Mannequin Madness. That was four years ago. Today her mannequin inventory fills a basement, a two-car garage, and a separate storage facility.


Think small. That was the basic starting point for Mike Cayelli when he decided to open an online retail business two years ago. With a tiny house, little capital to invest, and only "spare time" to devote to the project, Cayelli knew his big dream had to stay manageable. The Washington (D.C.) entrepreneur still hasn't quit his day job, but he's projecting $500,000 in sales this year for his company, Cuff Daddy.

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