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5 Great Home-Based Businesses

Whether you're looking for income or just a way to follow your passion, these paths can get you started

2. Project-Based Consultant

Nitty-gritty: This requires top-level expertise and self-starter initiative. Most independent contractors work on a specific project for an intense period, then take time off for a several weeks or even months. Small and fast-growing companies looking for experienced employees who can tackle a range of duties are great sources of work. Drawback: slow payments at times, and projects that run longer than expected or don't begin on schedule.

Median pay range: $20 to $70+ per hour

Qualifications: Your resume is your calling card. Consultants with a track-record in finance, management, healthcare and information technology are sought after. The trick to landing a project is tapping fearlessly into your professional network. Past employers are a good first stop when you’re looking for a consulting gig. Contact ex-colleagues and clients for help finding great opportunities. For leads, you might get involved with the local rotary or a regional small business association. If management consulting is your goal, consider joining the local chapter of the Institute of Management Consultants. Become a member of LinkedIn's industry and networking groups in your field. Across the country, a number of franchise operators, with names like 10 til 2 and Mom Corps, cater to this niche. For executive-level, part-time consulting, you might contact a respected consulting firm such as Gerson Lehrman Group. To dole out advice for a variety of issues from starting a small business to career coaching, you might consider signing up with evisors.com. For less time-demanding positions, Peopleperhour.com also books freelance workers.

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