Top 10 Internet Home Business Ideas You Can Start and Run in Your Underwear


With over 300,000 “Internet Home Business” related searches on the internet every month, it’s safe to say that there is a lot of demand for information on how to make money on the internet. Sadly, this also means that there are a lot of shady characters preying on this group of people.

I knew someone who fell for one of these once - they taught him how to make money online, and then all he did was sell seminars - on how to make money online. The fact that he had never actually made any money online was beside the point… I guess. Not surprisingly, I’m not a big supporter of his business.

Can anyone make money online? I do believe so. But not everyone WILL make money online, because as I have said before, making money on the internet takes a long time to learn, and most people give up because it can be extremely frustrating.

My one piece of advice for starting an internet home business is this :: Don’t expect to make any real money for 365 days (or so!) . Although I will add that service-based businesses tend to bring in revenue faster, I would still allow for a full year to replace your outside-the-home salary.

The good news about this industry is that as long as you are willing to put in the hours (days… weeks…. months….. ) to learn the ropes, you can bootstrap your business with extremely little money, generally speaking. Some businesses take more to start than others. I’ve probably directly invested less than $3000 getting this blog up and running, and now revenue is increasing at about a 125-140% pace every month after being in business for 16 months.

So, where do you start from here? Some general rules of thumb:

  1. Pre-packaged programs only work as much as you can customize it and make it unique and your own. Even then, techniques that work for one niche won’t work in all niches.
  2. Be wary of any “system” that promises instant results (especially anything that sounds like a get-rich-quick scheme!)
  3. Knowing the basics of html, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), social media, and traditional marketing and sales are a must.
  4. Every business is made stronger by specializing in a tight niche. Know your audience and stick to it.

Unless you have a brilliant tech idea that makes venture capitalists drool, you need to determine where your strengths are and which business model you plan on following (and you don’t need this list). I have run three home-based businesses in my life, all of which leveraged my current skill set as the foundation for building the business.

Look over the following list and single out the ones in which you have at least some experience. You probably won’t have all of the skills necessary, so don’t let that stop you! All you have to do is work hard and be willing to learn.

Website Magazine

  1. Affiliate Marketing

    What is it? :: Promote other company’s products and services on your website. When a sale is made, you get a commission.
    Most important skills needed ::
    PPC (Pay Per Click marketing), sales copywriting, web marketing
    Best learning resources :: ReveNews, ABestWeb Forum, ShoeMoney, Rosalind Gardner, Affiliate Classroom

  2. Blogging

    What is it? :: A chronologically based website filled with articles, reviews, or journal-style writing. You can sell advertising or incorporate affiliate marketing on a blog to earn money.
    Most important skills needed :: Copywriting, social networking, affiliate marketing, web marketing
    Best learning resources :: ProBlogger, JohnChow, DoshDosh, eMoms at Home

  3. eBay & Auction Selling

    What is it? :: Selling or reselling products via an online marketplace like Ebay, Amazon Auctions, or Craigslist. You can sell used goods, buy goods wholesale, or use a drop-shipping service.
    Most important skills needed :: Merchandising, sales copywriting, customer service
    Best learning resources :: Ebay Learning Center, SaleHoo Training Center, JennyHow

  4. E-Commerce

    What is it? :: Selling products or a technology-based service on your own website.
    Most important skills needed :: All of the above, below and then some!
    Best learning resources ::’s Online Business Startup Guide

  5. Arts & Crafts

    What is it? :: Creating and manufacturing your own product lines and selling them online.
    Most important skills needed :: Creativity, sales, e-commerce
    Best learning resources :: Craft Business 101 Series, Barbara Brabec

  6. Internet Research Business

    What is it? :: Doing internet research for corporations, law firms and other small businesses.
    Most important skills needed :: Librarian-style research skills, customer service
    Best learning resources ::’s Information Consultant Startup Guide

  7. Freelance Services

    What is it? :: Providing professional services such as copywriting, design, photography, illustration, and programming usually billed on an hourly rate.
    Most important skills needed ::
    Sales, customer service, trade-specific knowledge
    Best learning resources ::

  8. Recruiting

    What is it? :: Recruiting candidates for companies who pay a fee when a hire is made.
    Most important skills needed :: Sales, relationship building, networking
    Best learning resources ::
    RecruitersNetwork, HireAbility

  9. Consulting

    What is it? :: Providing your specialized industry knowledge to corporations, entrepreneurs, investors or other businesses.
    Most important skills needed :: Trade-specific knowledge, sales, customer service
    Best learning resources ::’s Consulting Business Startup Guide

  10. VA (Virtual Assistant)

    What is it? :: Providing administrative and business support to other business owners and small businesses.
    Most important skills needed :: Customer service, organization
    Best learning resources ::
    VirtualAssistantStartups,’s Business Support Startup Guide

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  • Discussion

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    On August 17th, 2007 at 6:49 am, Aaron M. Potts said:


    GREAT resource! As the Internet grows, so do the “get rich quick” schemes, so thanks for putting together this list of real-world info on home business ideas.

    Awesome stuff! Now, I’m off to Stumble this post so everyone else sees it, too! :)

    On August 17th, 2007 at 8:04 am, alli said:

    This is one of the best, most comprehensive, easy to read posts about making money from home/ online that I have ever read.

    On August 17th, 2007 at 8:19 am, Aruni said:

    Great info! I was wondering where I fit in on the online business model and from this list I believe it’s a combination of Affiliate Marketing, Blogging, E-commerce, and Consulting. I will ready up on the links when I next have some time. :-)

    On August 17th, 2007 at 8:51 am, derek said:

    Very nice list of ideas and resources! The best part is that you have clearly defined that it is not easy to be successful and requires hard work and dedication.

    On August 17th, 2007 at 9:46 am, Doris said:

    i always believe that the internet has opened up lots of opps for WAHM so this list is helpful and informative.

    On August 17th, 2007 at 9:51 am, Laura said:

    Thanks for compiling the list Wendy. I’m really curious about start-up costs and ramp-up times for various businesses.

    I definitely thing that this post is a great resource for anyone who is thinking of starting their own business, or switching gears.

    On August 17th, 2007 at 11:02 am, lornadoone said:

    This is literally one of the most useful posts I’ve seen on a blog, ever. Great job. Thanks for the hard work. I’m relieved to say that I’ve already visited some of the sites you’ve listed, but I’ll be checking even more now that you’ve given us a starting point.

    On August 17th, 2007 at 11:09 am, JoLynn Braley said:

    Wendy, this is excellent info, thank you very much for putting it together for us, and for making it so very easy to follow…you’ve made it all the easier for anyone to take action and get started on learning how to accomplish their dream! :)

    On August 17th, 2007 at 1:11 pm, Jeri said:

    Great info! Interesting you mention arts/crafts have a long-held wish to actually make a living at jewelry design & metalsmithing… but there is very little profit margin there on unique work, most jewelry makers end up working for ~$10 an hour.

    So, instead, I’ll continue project managing and writing. :)

    On August 17th, 2007 at 3:17 pm, Stephen Welton said:

    An instant Stumble Thumbs Up!

    On August 17th, 2007 at 3:26 pm, pearl said:

    Very useful post…thanks for putting it together!

    On August 17th, 2007 at 4:52 pm, said:

    Great list! I’m particularly interested in the last item, Virtual Assistant. This was heavily promoted in Tim Ferriss’ book “Four Hour Workweek” and sounds like a very interesting way to organize a business.


    On August 17th, 2007 at 6:27 pm, Cari said:

    This is one of the best post I have ever read regarding what you need to make money online. A lot of people seem to think that all you need to do is throw up a website or get on board the latest get rich quick scheme and by next month (or week) they will be rolling in cash. It just isn’t true! I have spent over 2 years learning how to make money on line and I am just starting to see the fruits of my labor.

    It’s too bad that everyone who wants to make money online doesn’t read this post before they start because I think it would give them a solid dose of reality.

    The bottom line is that making money online is no different than making money offline. You need a solid foundation in your business and how to market it, you need to pay your dues and you need to work at it. Most importantly online you can never stop learning because technology changes so rapidly. What worked 6 months ago no longer works as well and that trend will not stop.

    Work to your strengths, keep learning and pay your dues and I am convinced anyone can eventually be successful online.

    On August 17th, 2007 at 11:39 pm, Brown Baron said:

    Most people think that they can make a lot of money right away. It’s great that you emphasize the fact it still takes time and effort.

    Of course, who could ignore that great title? Loved the article.

    On August 18th, 2007 at 8:45 am, Yvonne DiVita said:

    Just found this blog and… this is really what it’s all about. Blogging is about sharing and helping out and not being afraid of connecting to people who do the same things you do. I can’t wait to share this with my readers at Lipsticking. Hey, did you know today is Millie’s birthday? She’s 82 years young and she blogs over at Hop over and wish her a happy one.

    On August 19th, 2007 at 2:04 am, Jenni Hunt said:

    Excellent comprehensive list… funny how you really don’t need any hype to provide great information! :) Every single one of these is a great way to get started with working at home… and then you can get a bit more advanced and mix them together a bit ;)

    On August 19th, 2007 at 9:54 am, Cris Cohen said:

    Thanks for the great tip! One thing you should remember when starting a new and profitable home based internet business people need to get involved with someone they know, like and trust!! Someone that can coach them and support them!

    On August 19th, 2007 at 3:39 pm, Shahid said:

    I’ve found the eBay and e-commerce methods to work quite well, selling electronics (iPod and mobile phone accessories for the moment). There’s no real recurring revenue, such as what blogging can offer - where you do the work and then keep getting paid even if you take a break. But all three of these methods can pay the bills if done properly.

    On August 19th, 2007 at 8:09 pm, Jenni Hunt said:

    I have to respectfully disagree, Shahid - with what you said here: “There’s no real recurring revenue, such as what blogging can offer - where you do the work and then keep getting paid even if you take a break.”
    You can learn to use the traffic eBay generates to build a business that does provide more of a passive income. I’ve done it… and I know many who have. ;)

    On August 20th, 2007 at 7:26 am, Craig Harper said:

    Hey Wendy,
    Great Post.
    Thanks for a well put together and valuable resource.
    Definite Stumble!

    On August 20th, 2007 at 9:18 am, Jenny said:

    Wow what did you do to your site?

    Anyway, those are some nice tips. Loved reading it and learned a few things. Thanks for the read. Great job

    On August 25th, 2007 at 1:06 am, kimmy said:

    thanks alot wendy for the wedsite anybody thats thinking about going into home base business should do they research because everything that sound good is not good… thanks alot.

    On August 25th, 2007 at 8:58 pm, Hot Librarian said:

    Wendy, this is a fantastic post! I’ve had it saved to read since it first went up, and I finally got to it tonight - what an excellent resource. Thanks!

    On August 29th, 2007 at 8:46 pm, Steve Totoro said:

    Does anybody no anything about please let me no I’m tired of getting ripped off Thanks

    On August 29th, 2007 at 10:42 pm, Ann said:

    The resource list is a very important touch to this article so it’s not just another list of things we already know from every other blogger on the world wide web. Nice touch!

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