11 Businesses You Can Start In Your Pajamas in 2009
Bargain Hunting Website -- Karen Hoxmeier, MyBargainBuddy.com
Accounting Services -- Melissa Nash Andrews, Accounts Receivables
Technical Staffing -- Bill Foster and Ruben Santana, XRoads Consulting
Home Improvement and Organization -- Allan Young, ShelfGenie
Green Construction -- Nic Darling, Chad Ludeman, and Courtney Ludeman, Postgreen
Graphic Design Services -- Sam Feuer, Mindsmack.com
Resume Writing -- Kathy Sweeney, The Write Resume
Corporate Educational Services -- Joseph Pickett, Experts Briefings
Online Dating Site -- Markus Frind
For the above entrepreneurs, wearing pajamas for a day at the office isnít far from reality. From pet care to virtual assistants and even online dating, we found entrepreneurs who are not just enjoying work from their living rooms and bedrooms, but they are also making a good living at it. In one case, a business owner grossed $10 million in a year, and cleared half that amount. Here's a look at the hottest industries for home-based entrepreneurs -- illustrated with some fun CEO self-portraits.
Approximately two-thirds of American households own pets, making the pet industry the sixth-fastest-growing industry in the nation -- with $43.4 billion projected to be spent on pets in this year alone. It's no wonder then that Fetch! Pet Care, a Berkeley, Calif.-based company that provides a wide range of pet-sitting and dog-walking services is thriving. The 2008 Inc. 5000 company brought in revenue of $3.5 million last year and operates on a franchise model that includes 200 locations nationwide with a network of more than 3,800 pet sitters. "Pets don't know that we are in an economic downturn, and it's been proven that pets are therapeutic for people," says founder and CEO Paul Mann. "You don't stop feeding your pet in bad times."
As business owners have become more comfortable working virtually, and work/life balance has increasingly become a necessity, the demand for virtual assistants has grown significantly. Tawnya Sutherland would know -- five years ago she started VAnetworking.com, the largest online social network for virtual assistants, which has seen membership triple in the past year to over 10,000 and revenue exceed $150,000. She created the site as a space for fellow virtual assistants to share information, exchange ideas, and discuss industry best practices. Sutherland maintains that "VAs are a really diversified group that can do just about anything." And, in addition to saving business owners the cost of having an in-office employee, "it relieves you as a business owner to work on the thing that you're most interested in doing."
With just a computer and an Internet connection, virtually anyone these days can start their own website and market their products and services from home without spending a lot of money. But despite the low barrier to entry in this industry, not all businesses have worked out the model for success quite like Karen Hoxmeier. The stay-at-home mom founded MyBargainBuddy.com, which publishes hundreds of daily deals and coupon codes for shopping sites all over the Web. "My business happens to be a hobby that pays me," she says. "I love shopping and I love bargain hunting. And if what you do helps someone else, that makes it even better."