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10 Profitable Home Business Niche Ideas

For many small businesses, focusing on a niche market could be the ticket to success. Here are 10 of some of the unique home-based business ideas that have proven to be very profitable.

By Isabel M. Isidro
Managing Editor

For many small businesses, focusing on a niche market could be the ticket to success.

Instead of being everything to everybody, many small business entrepreneurs choose to offer something different to a small segment of consumers that have unmet preferences. The key is to provide something unique that is not easily duplicated and serves a market need.

(article continued below ...)

I’ve listed some of the profitable niche businesses today, often from entrepreneurs who are running their businesses from their homes. Some of these businesses ride on existing trends with massive customer base such as iPod or MySpace, by providing support or additional services. Others, on the other hand, are a result of the creative and innovative mind of the business owner as they produce new products. While there’s no set formula for success, the most successful businesses are those that are able to spot opportunities -- even in the seemingly ordinary things in our every day life.

Here are 10 of some of the unique home-based business ideas that have proven to be very profitable:

1. Gourmet Pretzel = Plain salted pretzels are the most common types of pretzels offered in the frozen food aisles in the supermarket or grocery stores.

Pretzel-lovers Kim and Scott Holstein had the idea of offering uniquely flavored soft pretzels as the gourmet alternative to the plain salted pretzel. They experimented with various flavors, adding fruits, cheeses, spices, cheddar jalapeno, herbs, sun dried tomatoes, and others to see which flavors work best.

Believing that a huge market exists for their distinctive pretzels, the Holsteins decided to launch their business in May 1995 out of their cramped studio apartment. With $25,000 borrowed from family members and credit cards, the couple launched Kim & Scott's Gourmet Pretzels http://www.kimandscotts.com/

Now their pretzels are sold in restaurants, coffee shops, and grocery stores nationwide, including Barnes and Noble coffee shop, Sams Clubs, Whole Foods, Albertsons, among others. However, their biggest sales outlet is the home shopping network QVC where they have appeared more than 22 times selling about 625,000 pretzels!

2. MySpace Web Layouts = According to web measurement firm Hitwise, MySpace.com received 72.73 percent of the market share of U.S. visits in May 2008 among 58 of the leading social networking websites. With the enormous traffic of MySpace, there is a huge opportunity for other online businesses to develop business models that revolve around this massive social networking site.

One entrepreneur who saw this opportunity is Ashley Qualls. Ashley founded WhateverLife.com http://www.whateverlife.com in 2004 at the age of 14 when friends and others clamored for custom MySpace layouts. WhateverLife.com was created to showcase the graphics, pictures, backgrounds, layouts, and skins she has developed for MySpace, which are all free for the taking.

Ashley does not create the best graphics in the world – but she creates the graphics that speaks to her target audience. As a teenager herself, her success stems from her unique understanding of her core audience – young teenage girls. FastCompany magazine reports that her site gets 7 million individuals and 60 million page views a month. Given the massive amount of traffic, WhateverLife.com reportedly earns more than $70K a month from advertising, such as popups and Adsense ads.

3. Domain Naming Service = Finding the right name for your website can be a difficult process. It is often hard to think of snappy domain names or domain names that perfectly capture the essence of your business – and most importantly, that are still available. Some business owners and even ordinary users who want to have a Web presence struggle to think of what domains to use for their websites. The process of naming the site can be long and hard, whatever approach you use – whether to combine key concepts of your site or use keywords describing your site.

This is a niche that Dmitry Davydov successfully ventured with PickyDomains.com http://www.pickydomains.com . Making brainstorming for new domains easier, clients who want a domain name deposit $50 and writes specifications about the desired domain. PickyDomain.com’s team of domain name contributors will come up with a list of names. If the client doesn’t like the suggestions, the client gets the 50 bucks back.

4. Sympathy Gifts = When a love one dies, be it a friend, colleague or family member, cards and flower arrangements are typically given to the family. However, there are many who are looking for alternatives to traditional bereavement cards and flowers, and who are looking for a more personal way to express their feelings.

When the father of her sister-in-law died, Renee Wood was looking for a meaningful sympathy gift to express her feelings but was unable to find one. Instead, she created a teardrop shaped pendant with a forget-me-not flower embedded in the design along with a verse she had written. When friends asked for her special necklaces, she knew she had a business on her hands. That was the start of her business, The Comfort Company http://www.thecomfortcompany.net  .

Today, her company sells jewelry, ornaments, pet loss gifts, garden benches, and other items that function as sympathy gifts and memorials. Renee’s business is doing well with more than 200 orders a week – and growing.

5. Ipod Service = Ipods are the hottest music accessories today, with the signature white earphones showing up everywhere from subways to streets to offices. In March 2008, about 170 million Ipods have been sold worldwide.

Given the popularity of this product, it is no wonder that service industries revolving around Ipod would crop up. HungryPod.com http://www.hungrypod.com , a business that converts CDs into MP3s that can be uploaded to Ipods is one such example.

Catherine Keane, then 23, started HungryPod.com in September 2004 after hearing an acquaintance pay $500 to convert her CDs and load them up to her Ipod. She initially provided her services in the New York area, later branching out to the Web through her website HungryPod.com.

Her niche business grew primarily through word of mouth, Craigslist ads, and a 2004 New York Times article. In addition to CD conversions, she also offered music consulting services by selecting songs for her clients and buying them in iTunes. Her business soon earned revenues of more than $100,000 a year, employing three people.

In May 2008, Catherine sold her HungryPod business for an undisclosed amount to competitor Moondog Digital. But Catherine has shown that money can be made with the right niche business.

Continue reading: More Profitable Niche Ideas


Isabel M. Isidro is the Managing Editor of PowerHomeBiz.com. Read her blog PowerHomeBiz Small and Home Business Blog at  http://www.powerhomebiz.com/blog/blog.html . For more entrepreneur success stories, visit Women Home Business

July 2008