Start ButtonAs my 22 year-old niece enters her final semester at college, graduating with not one, but two degrees (in Psychology and Business Administration, in case you’re curious), the often asked, and still to be answered question looms. “What now?”

She’s worked for several small businesses and one major corporation since she was 16 years old, and knows one thing. She wants to form her own small business. She is blessed with that entrepreneurial spirit that runs in our family.  She wants to be her own boss and create a successful company that allows her to live her life on her own terms. The family life she envisions in her future begins with starting her own home-based business now.

And, there is no greater time for starting a small business than right now- with fewer jobs, greater competition from seasoned professionals, let alone her peers, compromising wages and fewer companies offering benefits, such as insurance, even if she should land a job.

Some doom-and-gloomers might think the future looks bleak. But aspiring entrepreneurs know better. Small business has made a prince (or is that, princess?) out of many a pauper. So whether you’re just venturing out into the world beyond academics, or you find yourself recently unemployed after years of service to corporations and employers, now is the time to get in the game. Now is the time to think and act on your ideas for starting your own small business. There’s a wealth of at-home business opportunities that can afford you a very comfortable life.

There are a couple of caveats. No one can tell you what your business should be. That is your call. My niece so wishes that weren’t the case, but if you’re going to be making big decisions, this is a good place to start. What you choose to do depends largely on your own attitude.  If fulfilling your passion is important, look for something in line with your interests and hobbies. If making a good living is more than enough to motivate you, review business opportunities from a more practical and logical point of view. Your business idea could be original and unique, or it could be something that already exists.

Many small business opportunities you explore might require some additional training or certifications on your part, but if you’re serious about being successful, you have to expect an investment of your time and, of course, some money too. No matter what the business, every successful entrepreneur will tell you that starting a profitable small business requires a willingness to learn how to start your own business. Once you’ve got your idea, make sure you have a plan in place to implement it. There are plenty of resources available to help you with the business side, including right here.

The web is filled with lists and trends for the top home-based businesses, though they are not as scientific to pinpoint as, let’s say, the NY Times Bestseller List. We could list hundreds, but here’s one for nearly every letter of the alphabet just to give you an idea of the more popular ones – at least, as of today. Who knows what you’ll come up with to add to the growing home-based business industry?