You’ve been thinking about starting your own business for a while now. You’ve heard about the woman whose Julie/Julia Project blog was turned into a book and a popular movie. You’ve heard about young entrepreneurs who’ve made billions creating popular websites such as Facebook. But you’ve been slow to jump on the bandwagon. You’re a busy person, after all. You have a full-time job, whether it’s running your home or working outside your home. Or perhaps you’ve been laid off or are going through some other life-changing event and are ready to take off in a new direction, but the economic upheavals of recent years leave you understandably reluctant to make a big career change.

Well, I have news for you: Now is the perfect time to turn your dream into reality by starting your own online business. More individuals than ever before — regular folks just like you — are making money and enriching their lives by operating businesses online. The clock and your location are no longer limiting factors. Small business owners can now work any time of the night or day in their spare bedrooms, local libraries, or neighborhood coffee shops.

If you like the idea of being in business for yourself but don’t have a particular product or service in mind, relax and keep yourself open to inspiration. Many different kinds of commercial enterprises can hit it big on the Internet. Among the entrepreneurs I interviewed for this book are a woman who sells her own insect repellent, a husband and ...

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