I would say the most frequently asked question from beginners about opening their own business is “What should I sell?” I then proceed to ask them, “What interests and hobbies do you have?” Most don’t know how to answer that question because they cannot possibly envision how their own interests and hobbies could be turned into a business. After a long silence I then ask, “Why do you want to start your own business? The beginner will immediately answer, To make money.

I am sure that I would have give the same answers back in 1988 when I started my homebased business but the purpose of this report is to educate you in order to save you the loss of time and testing I had to endure.

The best way to find a unique product or service that will make you money is to first decide what you have an interest in. Look through business opportunity magazines for ideas. A business can be started from anything you can imagine. All you have to do is find something you are interested in selling (not how much money you will make.) Make sure the product you choose is something you believe in and are excited about. If not, you will abandon the business in the early stages when you are making common mistakes in marketing. You simply will lose steam with a product you have no interest in personally.

Now, determine the type of people that would be interested in buying your product. For instance, if you decide to publish a cookbook, you know your market will be people interesting in cooking. Work-a-holics who grab a pizza or run through a drive-through at Burger King would not be a likely to purchase a cookbook. Neither would students who live in college dorms since their cooking facilities are normally very small.

Now it’s time to make a trip to the library. Go to the Reference Section and look for the Thomas Register. Look under the classification that provides you the names and addresses of other companies selling the same product you have decided to sell. Copy all these names and addresses down. (The Thomas Register is an alphabetical guide to products and manufacturers, and is a storehouse of information for the businessperson.)

Write to all the companies listed in the Thomas Register and request a catalog or more information. Spend time and study all the materials you receive. Compare prices for the same merchandise. Who knows? You might locate a company that sells the same product at a cheaper price than you can make it yourself. If so, you can order quantities from them and re-sell the product under your own name and packaging.

The next, and very important step, is to advertise. Start with small classified ads in a variety of publications. Choose publications that are advertising the same type of item you wish to sell. Don’t just place an advertisement in a magazine or newspaper because the rates are low. If the item you are trying to sell is not relational to the publication’s theme, readers will skip over your ad and you will be wasting money.

Starting a homebased business to make some extra money at home or in your space time is as simple as falling off a log. The trick is to find a product or service that YOU enjoy. You won’t become a millionaire overnight (that will take a few months, ha-ha.) Instead, you need to allow yourself a little time in order to show a profit. (Uncle Sam gives small businesses 5 years to get out of the red.) So please don’t base the product your business will sell based on how much money you’ll make.