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Information Consultant

Use your strong research skills to start an information consulting business.

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Business At A Glance

Information Consultant

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? No
Online Operation? Yes

Business Overview

The amount of information available today is staggering. For companies planning new products and patents or scoping out the competition, and for many other types of businesses, the trick is in figuring out how to access the information they need.
If you love research–the excitement of sifting through a maze of books, magazines, journals and other esoteric sources for bits of information–you can ride to the rescue as an information consultant. You can seek out material for all sorts of clients–attorneys preparing cases; advertising, public relations and market research firms preparing campaigns; financial wizards; medical researchers; environmental engineers; or management consultants.
Despite this wealth of potential customers, however, you should plan on specializing in a particular field. This way, you’ll be familiar with the usual ‘suspects’ or avenues of research, so you’ll be able to complete assignments faster.And since this can be a difficult business to market, by sticking to one industry, you increase your word-of-mouth advertising capacity.

The advantages to this business are that you can start part time if you like, you’re always learning something new, the industry has lots of room for growth, and if you love digging through information for the sheer joy of discovery, you’ll be in information nirvana every working day. You’ll need dogged persistence and the skills and experience to take you down the proper research avenues, plus the creativity and intuition to lead you in new directions when the usual methods fail. In addition, it helps to have a background in the field you choose to specialize in, but this is not an absolute requirement.

The Market

Who your clients are will depend on what field you specialize in. Once you decide, the best ways to reach them are by networking in professional groups and organizations and spreading the word among present and former colleagues.Write articles for and place ads in professional or trade journals. Give seminars and talks to industry groups. Establish relationships with other information consultants who can pass overflow or out-of-their-field work on to you.

Needed Equipment

You’ll need a computer with a laser or inkjet printer, a fax machine and the usual office software. And since you’ll do most of your research online, you must have a good Internet service provider and accounts with a variety of subscription research sites like Lexis/Nexis and E-Journal. Plan on having a separate, or dedicated, line for your Internet access–otherwise clients won’t be able to reach you.

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Online Businesses

Online Recycled Renovation Products

You know what they say, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

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Business At A Glance

Online Recycled Renovation Products

Startup Costs: $10,000 – $50,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? Yes

Business Overview

Here is a unique business start-up for the savvy webmaster. Thousands of homes are demolished annually in the United States to make way for new houses and buildings. Many of these same homes have items like hardwood flooring, bathroom fixtures, and doors and windows that are of value and can be recycled.
 
You can profit by developing a Web site where these valuable items can be listed for sale. The site should be indexed by product with a section for hardwood flooring, a section for windows, etc. This would enable visitors to easily navigate the site and find what they are looking for quickly. In terms of making money, there are a few options.The first is to charge contractors and homeowners a fee for listing the recycled building products on the site. The second option is to let customers list the items for free and retain a commission upon successful sale. Another option would be to make the site free to use for both visitors and people wishing to list items for sale and sell or rent banner advertising space to merchants and service providers seeking exposure to your Web site users.

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Online Businesses

Online Trade Show Directory

Compile information about trade shows across the globe online.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Online Trade Show Directory

Startup Costs: Under $2,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? Yes

Business Overview

Worldwide, more than 100,000 trade shows take place annually. Thus a very exciting and potentially profitable business opportunity exists–an online trade show directory. You can easily develop a website that lists trade show information, such as what type of trade show, when it is taking place, where the show is being conducted and how to contact the shows organizers.
 
This type of online directory could become very popular as thousands of small businesses and corporations rely solely on trade shows as their main marketing tool for introducing new products and services as well as collecting qualified sales leads from interested parties You also have options in terms of how your business will generate income, including charging a listing fee to have trade show information featured on the site, selling advertising space on the site or selling an annual trade show directory in print format.

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Online Businesses

Online Researcher

Have your nose in the net all day? Monetize your research time.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Online Researcher

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? Yes

Business Overview

If you find yourself spending a lot of time surfing the web, and if you’re looking to start your own business, consider an internet research service so you can get paid for the time you spend surfing. This business opportunity was once called information brokering, but, with the introduction of the internet, the name has changed.
The business remains the same, however, as the information that was once researched and compiled from newspapers, trade magazines, and business and industry journals may now be found online. An internet research service operates in two ways.
The first is to collect data and facts relevant to a specific topic or topics, and then sell the compiled data to individuals and businesses that require this information. Business owners also enlist the services of an internet researcher to source specific data and facts relevant to their particular business, industry, or market. In both cases, clients pay for information they are seeking. Billing rates for the services vary, depending on how much research time is required to compile the data; however, many internet research services have base billing rates of $25 to $35 per hour.

Needed Equipment

A computer with high-speed Internet access.

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