Home Business Ideas: Some Concluding Thoughts & Your Comments

If you have not read the previous six essays, each discussing a different home-based business idea, and the beginning essay, “Losing One’s Job," Click Here For an Index


In this concluding essay I’d like to wrap up my thoughts, and provide you with an opportunity to add your comments. But first, I ask you, where else on the internet will you find anyone seriously suggesting that you can start your own business as a pick & shovel ditch digger? I’ll answer that: Nowhere else. Remember, you heard it here first. Same goes for being a toilet repair specialist. I guess I just look at the world differently than most. ;-)

Speaking of ditch digging, I got a nice e-mail from Ed in Tennessee, who wrote, in part:

”My father was born in 1902 (I was his only child, born when he was 48), so much of your revelations about manual labor and ditch digging in particular, were passions of my father.  I, like you, did more than my share of digging in my teen years, in addition to helping him in the construction business.  He loved to relate to me the Polish brothers in Ohio who made a marvelous living as ditch diggers.  He explained their array of tools, how they were maintained and the precision of their work.  He would often say that an average man could not shake hands with them, since the span of their palms was too great too grasp!  You aroused many memories, as you have with other blog entries..."

And regarding my essay on starting a small woodworking shop, I forgot to mention a little woodworking business enterprise in my past....

Marlene and I had been married a couple of years and we were living with her parents in order to save money. I was working as a carpenter and came up with the idea to make and sell picnic tables. Marlene’s dad had a pole barn out back and I made the tables there. I put them, one at a time, by the busy road in front of the house with a FOR SALE sign and price. I sold quite a few tables that way. Marlene’s dad eventually took the business over and it was perfect for him in his retirement.

I also got an e-mail response to this series from Regina in Texas:

”Our 7 year old son has an "alumidum" business, where he actively picks up cans and sells them at the current rate of $ .70 / lb.  He was grinning from ear to ear when he recently sold his aluminum and got paid $9.56.  He felt rich!  And I feel blessed to be able to instill a sense of accomplishment and work ethics in this precious young man.”

Regina asked me to post past link to "Marlene’s Bread Business," and wondered if I had any good business ideas for kids. At the moment, I don’t have any business ideas for children. I think the ideal would be to have an integral part in helping parents with a family business. But I think entreprenuership is something good to instill in children (I suspect it is as much "caught" from parental example as it is taught), and I’ll give the idea some thought.

Here is the link to Marlene’s bread business essay (with some recently updated information) and some other business-related essays I've posted here in the past:

Marlene Blogs About Her Bread Business

Farm Market 2006

Home-Based Agrarian Enterprises & Garlic Powder Profits

Selling My Garlic Powder at The Farm Market

Without a doubt, there are all kinds of opportunities for inexpensive-to-launch, part-time home businesses. But they don’t just happen. You need to add some effort to your ideas.

And it is also worth noting that few home-business startups are successful right from the start. It takes time (years, typically) to establish a product or presence, and a good reputation. That is precisely why it is best to start your home business part-time, when, hopefully, you have another source of income and don’t need the money so much.

That’s what I’ve done with my Whizbang Books business. I started with less than $500 and printed 100 copies of my plucker plan book at a quick-print shop. That was the only seed money I invested. The little business has grown and paid its way as I've slowly added more books and branched out into making & supplying plucker parts.

I don’t think I could have invested more at the start and made more money right from the beginning. Building a small business with limited resources just takes time. It is a step-by-step process. So be sure to keep that in mind.

I turned off the comments option for this series but have enabled it for this final essay. I welcome your feedback about small-scale home businesses. A lot of people will be reading these essays over the next few years. Do you have insights, experiences and ideas that you can share with others? how about ideas for businesses for children?

Thank you


Anonymous said...

I've been trying to figure out how to make money from home for a long time. I've personally come to the conclusion that in this day and age it would be very hard (for me) to make enough money to live from only one job. It would be hard because my requirements for these businesses are very stringent. 1. Has to be a service business, you avoid a lot of taxes and other hassles by not having inventory. 2. It has to be something I can do with a few inexpensive tools. 3. It has to be something in demand.

Since I've come to realize that I would need more than one "business" (and I truly believe it is the more preferable "way eggs in baskets" and all that) I've been slowly making a list of odd jobs. One was knife sharpening. One was cleaning out folks' garages or basements or whatever and hauling the junk to the dump (and keeping and reselling any good things I find). Another was planting small gardens for folks at their homes (kind of a takeoff on the CSA).

But I have to say that your ditch digging idea suits my requirements perfectly and I'm surprised that I hadn't thought of it before.

I can't claim to have quite the shovel slinging experience you do, but for several months I did work for a group of Mennonites in the foundation business. And we dug all our footings with shovels. At the time, I admit, I hated it (why can't we get a machine?). But now that I think the way I do about machines, I think it would be perfect for me.

Thanks for all your great writing.

Anonymous said...

My Mother in Law's boyfriend, now around 90, mowed lawns on his suburban street until he was 80 or more. My son could make a nice amount of money if he did that himself - he's the only teen on the block where we are. Instead, he mows our lawn (of course!) and does the lawns of some of the elderly folks in our area for free.

This won't pay off a mortgage or anything, but it's a great one person business for a teen.


sharpy said...

As an additional marketing idea for the ditch digging business, building codes (boo) now require such a large window for egress from basement bedrooms that window wells often have to be as much as 5’ deep depending on the location and grade of soil outside. They also have to extend 3’ out from the exterior of the foundation. I would gladly pay someone to dig those for me when I remodel or finish a basement for people. Many times, this work is done in established yards, or in the midst of landscaping so tearing things up with machines is impractical and being so close to the foundation requires some skill and attention to detail if a machine is used. Give that ditch digging card to remodelers that you know or suspect do basements and that could be a good source of business.

Anna said...

The 'Almanack' idea was the best for our situation. Thanks for sharing! When we make the move within the next four months, we could have this up and running within a month.

Herrick Kimball said...

Check out this link for a story about a woman who decided to dig her own basement egress "ditch": To Dig a Ditch by Dana Green.

Online Business Insurance said...

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