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Career to Home-Based Business? Go with What You Know!

By Nancy Collamer

If you're looking for a home-based business idea, but don't have a clue what type of business might be a good fit, take a look at your resume for inspiration.

You'll be surprised to discover that the skills and accomplishments associated with your former jobs could provide a strong foundation for a winning home-based business.


Benefits of Transitioning from Work to Home-Based Business

I am a big fan of choosing a business that builds on your work-related experience for several reasons:

  1. Shorter ramp-up time:

    When you build on your professional expertise, you won't have to spend hours learning the tricks and peculiarities of a new industry, while simultaneously dealing with the challenges of being a new entrepreneur.
  2. Credibility:

    It is much easier to market and sell your services as an "old pro" than as a "newbie." Clients will have greater confidence in your services when you can point to a proven track record of success, strong references, and experience in dealing with a wide range of clients.
  3. Established client base:

    If you develop a business in your field of expertise, the odds are good that you can count on your network of former colleagues as potential clients.
  4. Insider's Advantage:

    Since you are already familiar with the business and some of the players, you'll also enjoy an "insider's" advantage thanks to your familiarity with the industry's unique set of challenges and opportunities.

Now, I know some of you are thinking, "I don't want to do what I did before!" But, before you dismiss the suggestion outright, let me emphasize that I am simply encouraging you to select the parts and pieces of the jobs that you enjoyed most - and then build on those skills in new and interesting ways.

3 Career Change Options:

Let's take a look at how this might work in the real world:

Old Job Title: Classroom Teacher

Related Home-Based Business Options: online teacher, tutor, curriculum development, SAT preparation tutor, educational birthday parties, educational consultant

Old Job Title: Corporate Accountant

Related Home-Based Business Options: bookkeeper, private tax preparation service, online accounting teacher

Old Job Title: Administrative Assistant

Related Home-Based Business Options: virtual assistant, personal organizer, desktop publishing, personal assistant

Choosing Your Business

Here are some questions to help you explore your work history for clues about your entrepreneurial future:

  • What aspects of your previous employment did you find most fulfilling? Think about the types of personalities, issues, companies, and business challenges that were most appealing to you.
  • What aspects of your previous employment did you dislike?
  • Which business-related skills did you most enjoy using? (e.g., networking, public speaking, research, etc.) Remember to include all of your favorite skills, not just those that were part of your official job responsibilities.
  • What were your favorite work-related accomplishments?
  • What kind of work environment brings out the best in you?
  • What kinds of people do you most like to work with?
  • What kinds of problems do you like to solve?

Bottom Line

Remember, your old jobs are only a starting point in the brainstorming process. Once you know what you enjoy most and do well, then you can move on to exploring exciting ways to blend your skills with a need in the marketplace, and go on to create a winning home-based business concept.

About the author...

Nancy Collamer, M.S.,is a career coach, speaker, and author of the new book Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit from Your Passions During Semi-Retirement (Random House, 2013). In private practice since 1996, Nancy gained national prominence in her tenure as the Career Transitions columnist for Oxygen Media. She has spoken at venues ranging from Harvard Business School to the California Governors Conference on Women. Please connect with Nancy on Twitter @NancyCollamer and on her website at


Guide to Lifestyle-Friendly Careers:

Changing to a Lifestyle-Friendly Career

Home-Based Businesses:

Home-Based Jobs:


Career Change Options:

Turning a Hobby into Income:

More Information:

Lifestyle-Friendly Careers Expert:

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