There’s a lot to think about when you’re picking a home business. You’re taking a risk with your time and your money. Not a lot of money with most home businesses, at least compared to what a brick and mortar business would cost, but still a risk. It can be a pretty big deal. You need to consider a lot of factors.

1. Cost.

Whether you’re joining a business opportunity or starting something entirely on your own, consider what it’s going to cost you. You don’t want to risk more than you can afford to lose, especially if you are just after a small supplement to your income.

There is of course something to the old saw about it taking money to make money, and that’s why starting out with something that’s completely free is often the slowest way to start your home business. It’s not impossible to start for free, but the disadvantages can outweigh the advantages, especially if you go for free blogs and such. Paying for your own domain name and hosting gives you a lot more freedom.

2. Viability.

You need to do enough research to be sure that you have at least a chance that the market you’re after is viable. Are there buyers or does everyone want it all for free?

Odds are good that you aren’t starting an entirely unique business. If you are, you’ve just cut your odds of viability way down. But if your business has something in common with other home businesses, you can do some research to make your best guess as to whether or not people are buying that kind of product or service.

Check how many people are in the industry, for example. See if many are buying pay per click ads consistently. Find out how long their websites have been running. These details can give you some pretty good hints as to whether or not the industry is viable.

3. Testimonials.

This is really only relevant if you’re buying into a business opportunity. You don’t have to just go by testimonials on the site. You should be able to contact some of the people who gave testimonials to see what they really think now.

Some sites have used fake testimonials in the past and may continue to do so. It can be hard to tell if it’s a real person or not when the testimonial is from someone called “J. Smith” with no city or website listed. Do not put all of your faith in testimonials.

4. Scam research.

Once again, this has to do with business opportunities. You want to find out if the opportunity is, in fact, a scam.

Many people like to start with the BBB, but that’s really not the best of resources. It can tell you sometimes if a business is no good, but it’s not 100% reliable and many newer opportunities simply will not be listed.

A simple search is the business name plus the word scam; however many businesses have caught on and reviews will be posted asking if the business is a scam and concluding it’s not. Makes figuring things out quite a bit trickier.

Check scam busting websites to see what you can find. While people on these sites can get a bit jaded about home business opportunities they can also be excellent at spotting red flags.

5. Proof of earnings.

Yes, another detail for home business opportunities.

If an opportunity makes income claims, they need to be able to prove it. Many will show the high levels. The FTC now expects all opportunities to also clearly show what average earnings will be. I personally think that’s challenging, as many people who buy into a home business opportunity will never do anything at all with it, making the average extremely low.

6. Passion.

Are you going to love your business or are you going to end up dreading working on it, doing it just because you really, really need the money?

Passion for what you do really helps you to succeed. Your enthusiasm for your business can help you to succeed.

7. Time.

Time can mean a lot of things in home business. Will you have enough time to work on the business? How much time will it take to start showing a profit? How much time will it take from your family? Are there particular hours of the day that you will need to be working so that you are available to customers or clients?

You will want to figure out how the time the business needs will fit into your life. If you don’t have the time to work at it, how are you going to succeed?

Then there’s the amount of time that the opportunity has been around, if you’re joining a network marketing or other home business opportunity. New ones fail quite regularly, but older ones may have a lot of competition in your area. You will want to consider the amount of time they’ve been around, as if the company fails, so does your business.

Starting any kind of a home business isn’t something you should do without thought. Taking a little time to really figure out how you’re going to make it all work improves your chances for success.