You may have noticed that Sacramento’s economic condition has not exactly been strong, of late. In fact, while conditions across the country are trying, to say the least, Sacramento, and California as a whole, seems to be leading the pack in economic devastation. With a State budget on the verge of collapse, years of arguing and posturing over the use of public funds, and what appears to be the breakdown of our State’s entire public service sector, local entrepreneurs are turning to online businesses to supplement, and in some cases actually replace their income streams.Over the last several years, but specifically in the last six to nine months, direct sales companies have seen a surge in their membership numbers. Those companies experiencing the highest growth are companies utilizing the internet as a primary means of member recruiting as well as well-developed web purchasing interfaces.We know this economy has been hard on everyone, and we felt that this list would be timely and helpful to our readers. What follows is a list of the 10 best home based business ideas.Leading the pack of home-based direct sales companies are those that offer access to goods and services used by people on a regular basis, and especially those that offer discounts and/or rebates on these every day purchases. People are not interested in buying things they don’t view as necessary any more. Today what they are looking for is access to those items they have to have, and they are looking for ways to buy them cheaper and more efficiently.And clearly in this list, the online options dominate. Fully six of the top 10 best home based business ideas we researched were online opportunities. There is no doubt that online commerce is just in its infancy. According to one report this $305 Billion industry is likely to triple in the next 5 years, and that is allegedly a conservative estimate. More and more businesses are finding online sales to be lucrative, as well as more efficient and cost effective. There are less employees required and businesses can sell to a broader range of clients spread out over a greater geographical territory. The potential is limitless.So, without further ado, our list of the 10 best home based business ideas (in reverse order).10. Home Day Care Center Believe it or not, the home daycare center still ranks in the top ten for home-based businesses. The reason is that in these economic times it is becoming more and more difficult for families to stay afloat on just one income. Everyone is looking to supplement their incomes, and those with two spouses working, and kids at home, must have an alternative to the daily care of their children. Parents of young children looking to supplement income from home may find day care an excellent way to bring in income as well as spend time with their own children. There are some other benefits to this profession as well, such as the opportunity to socialize your own children at a young age. But, beware of the potential pitfalls of this industry: many children find it hard to share their personal space in their own home for lengthy periods of time, this may result in frustration for the care-giver’s own children. Also, licensing is required in most jurisdictions, so be sure to check with your local authorities before you launch a home day care.9. Medical Transcription This is an excellent choice of careers for people with excellent English language skills and typing ability. Many doctors outsource their transcription functions rather than pay employees to handle them. It is more cost effective for the doctors since they do not have to pay Medicare, SDI and other taxes that accompany hiring employees. This business is excellent for start-ups since it requires very low overhead and equipment purchases, and can be done in a minimal amount of space. In fact, most people already have the necessary equipment such as a desk, computer, and tape recorder. Incomes can range from $25,000 per year for part-time work to more than $90,000 per year for full-time efforts.8. Accounting For those would-be stay-at-home working parents, especially those with a strong background in accounting and/or financial skills, an accounting or bookkeeping career may be just the right choice. This career option offers a tremendous amount of flexibility to the working parent, and an excellent income opportunity. You can start the business right from your own home, building on referrals and low cost advertising, but it has the potential to grow with you as your children age and become less dependent, entering school, and freeing up more of your own time. Look heavily to building relationships with other professions, such as attorneys, insurance professionals and real estate agents as they will often refer clients to you. You can begin this business from scratch, or you can buy a tax and accounting franchise (a slightly more expensive option, but perhaps a shorter start-up period). Again, check with local authorities for licensing requirements in your area. Regulations can change from state to state, and there is also a wealth of information available at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.7. Catering Many parents love to cook and entertain, and catering can provide Moms (or Dads) an opportunity to work from home, but still get out and socialize and do what you enjoy. Most of the upfront preparation work can be done from your own home while looking after children, and then meals can be delivered, or in some cases even picked up, for delivery to the event. Parents with a modest approach can make an excellent income by simply providing the meals, those looking to satisfy a larger dream can also provide staff for set up, waiting, and tear down, or even do it themselves. Income potentials can be very good with catering services, and the most successful home-based caterers might make close to six figures.6. Online Affiliate ProgramsOne of the internet’s greatest introductions to home based business owners over the last decade has been that of the affiliate marketer. This is the first of our online business opportunities, and is a position that does not require you to work for a company, purchase products, carry inventory, or even to interact with customers. You can easily start a successful and lucrative affiliate marketing business by simply finding products on the internet that you are interested in, joining the company’s affiliate program, and then marketing those products online. Most affiliate programs pay directly to a Pay Pal (or other payment processing service) account on a monthly basis. Of course, this business may require some start up capital if you choose to market through pay for service venues, such as pay per click. There are plenty of free marketing sources online as well, but they may require more effort. Still, this can be an excellent way for work-from-home parents to supplement a one-income family. You can find out all about it by Googling “Affiliate Programs” or on resource sites such as Affiliate Programs and Affiliate Scout. While this is a viable internet opportunity, it does require you to seek out and market individual companies and their products. In my opinion, a far better opportunity to consolidate this effort into a more lucrative, efficient and profitable business exists in item number one below.5. Freelance Writing Everyone has considered writing a book at some point in their lives, or at least liked the sound of that idea. Today’s market for writers is wide open, everything from relevant articles on travel, the arts, local scenes and business to fully fledged e-books on both technical as well as tactical topics. Especially if you are already familiar with a specific subject, this is a great way for you to share that expertise with a very broad market. There are literally millions of people searching the internet every day for information on specific subjects, and they are willing to pay for that information. Try your hand at writing first with shorter venues, and as your skill and experience grow, branch out into more aggressive projects. An excellent resource for freelance writing on the internet can be found at the Freelance Writing Jobs Network or, become an Examiner in your area.4. Business Coach While this opportunity is not necessarily an “online” opportunity, it is a bit of a hybrid, and it really plays to those individuals at the top of their game. This opportunity requires someone with a very strong business background, or at least some formidable business training. In today’s climate with so many people becoming displaced or seeking opportunity outside of the traditional corporate walls, there is a tremendous need for someone off which to bounce ideas, to assist in the business planning activities and to keep over-energetic CEO’s feet on the ground. If you have experience in corporate management, business acumen or other specialized skills then you can share them with those who have ideas but less experience. There is even a coaching certification program and referral service provided to the members of the International Coach Federation.3. Web DesignWeb sites are a must in today’s business climate, even for traditional brick-and-mortar type businesses. With online shopping and information dissemination becoming more and more a requirement companies are jumping onto the web in droves, and they need excellent web site designers to guide them through the process. This is truly a case where it is difficult to see the forest for the trees. There are so many facets to web design and a web presence that it is almost impossible to get started without some heavy duty assistance. For anyone familiar with html programming, CSS, SEO, or even WYSIWYG editors, this opportunity can be a gold mine. Much of your work can be done after hours when the kids are in bed, and this is one thing that makes this opportunity perfect for moonlighters and all-day parents.2. Online Shopping PortalOnline shopping is already a $305 billion industry, and according to most reports, we have barely scratched the surface. There are several companies on the internet now that allow entrepreneurs and home-based business owners to purchase a web portal and profit from sales that occur through that web portal. Several of these companies will not only pay owners for purchases they have made through their websites, but also for the purchases made through the web sites of people they have personally referred. This is the affiliate program on steroids. This business is poised for tremendous growth, and companies also capitalizing on the “green” movement will benefit even more. Recent earth day articles and studies pointed out that online shopping is far more efficient and less harmful to the environment than traditional shopping. Watch this market explode in the next 5 years.1. Online Marketing Education and Financial TrainingOur number one pick of the 10 best home based business ideas – drum roll please – CarbonCopyPro. Whatever business you are in, and whether it is online or brick-and-mortar, these days you have to be able to market yourself online. It is essential in today’s marketplace, and will be indispensable in the future. The best money you can spend is to invest a little in your own training before you begin your online marketing campaign. And if you are going to spend a little on yourself, why not do it in a place where you can also earn while you learn? By far, the best training (and income opportunity) we have found for internet marketing, both free and paid, is through CarbonCopyPRO. At CarbonCopyPRO you will learn from the best of the best, internet marketers earning tens of thousands of dollars online every month, and they have a rather auspicious goal of creating 100 millionaires by 2012 – will you be one of them?So, now you have the 10 best home based business ideas. Of course, there are a number of other considerations you must keep in mind, such as which opportunity best fits your lifestyle, avoiding scams, etc.; and we will delve into some of these issues in future articles. All that is left now is for you to do your own homework and decide which opportunity is best suited to your tastes. Happy hunting.
Ready to get rid of those mosquitoes around the house? Great. But there’s one thing you should know about home mosquito control right up front.There’s no silver bullet to mosquito prevention, no one product or tactic guaranteed to clear them out of your yard. And you will never be able to get them all; it’s just not possible. The best you do is thin out their numbers and lessen the odds of getting bitten when you go out of the house.To accomplish this, you’ll have to use a combination of approaches. That includes ferreting out the possible mosquito breeding sites around your house, making the yard as inhospitable as you can, and attacking the adult swarms with everything from mosquito traps to mosquito spray.It will take some time, and yes, cost you some money, as well, but when you’re done, you will be able to relax outside your home, confident that you’re as safe from the marauding bloodsuckers as you possibly can be.Effective mosquito control starts with a thorough inspection of the potential battlefield, so let’s head outside for a look around.Is your yard a breeding ground for mosquitoes?On your way out, check all the doors and windows in the house. Every window that opens should have a screen that fits tightly into place – no gaps around the edges – and is in good repair, without cuts or holes.Same for entrances. You need a good screen door for each. When closed, the screen door should be snug against the door frame, and the screen should not have any damage that would allow mosquitoes to get inside.Of course, they don’t do any good if you raise the window screens along with the windows, or leave the screen door propped wide when the house door is open. Mosquitoes can and will come into the house any chance they get, so make sure to always keep the screens in place.Outside, you need to look for standing water, in both the obvious places and the not-so-obvious. The folks at the Alameda County (Cal.) Mosquito Control District put it best on their website:”The main rule when it comes to breeding grounds for mosquitoes is that they need stagnant water in order to lay their eggs. What most people don’t realize is the surprising number of areas around their own house where mosquitoes can find the stagnant water they need. The main rule: If it can hold water for more than a few days, it can breed mosquitoes.”Female mosquitoes can lay their eggs in as little as an inch of water. So look for these likely places where mosquitoes can breed:
Tree holes – Some mosquitoes favor laying their eggs in hollowed-out places in trees where rainwater collects. Dealing with these can be tricky because insecticide might harm the tree, as could removing part of it. You may want to consult a landscaping expert or tree service for help.
Yard equipment – An upright wheelbarrow, an empty flowerpot, or even an abandoned shovel can hold water long enough to develop mosquito larvae. Store equipment inside, or turn it over so that rain will run off. Drill holes in the bottoms of containers that must remain outside, so they can drain.
Tarps – Any kind of plastic or nylon cover, whether it is draped over a stack of firewood or a boat, will eventually begin to sag and develop pockets where water can collect. Tighten them where you can and check them frequently.
Toys – Rain will fill toy trucks, teacup sets, or Frisbees left lying in the grass. The same for old-fashioned tire swings, which collect stagnating rainwater, or any old tire left laying in the yard. Make sure the kids pick up after themselves, and get rid of the tires.
Puddles – You may have low spots in the yard where water gathers and is slow to drain. If the water stands for more than a week at a time, you’ll get mosquitoes during the warm months. Fill in the spots, install drainage pipes, or change the landscaping to keep the water away.
Rain gutters – When the gutters on your house get clogged with debris, water can back up and become stagnant. Check the gutters regularly, especially if you have heavy leaf fall. Also, keep the yard raked. Overturned leaves hold water, and mosquitoes like to breed in them.
Birdbaths and wading pools – Take a hose to the birdbath at least once a week during warm weather to keep the water from stagnating. Turn the kids’ pool over and stand it up against a wall when they aren’t using it. If you have a swimming pool, make sure you clean and service it regularly.
OK, you’ve taken care of the standing water in the yard. Now, since mosquitoes like to rest in warm, moist vegetation during the day, make sure you keep the grass cut and the bushes trimmed, and clear all the weeds out of the flower beds regularly. Water the grass and plants enough to keep them healthy, but avoid doing it so much everything stays wet.Natural mosquito control around the homeNext, you may want to make a few additions to the yard that can help control mosquitoes organically.You’ve probably heard of the citrosa, called the “mosquito plant,” that’s supposed to miraculously repel mosquitoes just by its presence. Unfortunately, that’s not completely true. Mosquito control studies have shown that an undisturbed citrosa has very little effect on the pesky bloodsuckers.However, the citrosa leaves do contain citronella oil, which is a mosquito repellent. And there are other plants with oils and fragrances believed to irritate mosquitoes, including citronella grass, lemon thyme, catnip and rosemary.The trick is that you have to crush the leaves in order to release the mosquito repellents. Not terribly effective as an active measure, but it might be worth planting some around your favorite spots, so you can rub the leaves on your skin when you’re outside, to help keep the mosquitoes away.This is also a good time to think about a small decorative pond to aid in mosquito control.If you have one already, it’s a good bet mosquitoes breed in it, unless it gets a constant flow of fresh water. A natural way to treat the pond for mosquitoes is to stock it with gambusia, also known as the mosquito eating fish.Gambusia feed on mosquito larvae, primarily wigglers at the surface. They grow to about two inches and require no care. About 35 to 100 are enough to keep a small ornamental pond relatively free of mosquitoes, according to Rutgers University entomologists.Many local mosquito control districts will provide them for free as long as they are kept somewhere that does not connect to other water environments. Gambusia are predatory fish and have been known to feed on the young of other native species.Meanwhile, if you don’t have a pond, it could be a good idea to get one installed. Designed correctly, a small decorative pond can attract dragonflies, sometimes known as “mosquito hawks” because they feed on both mosquito larvae and adult mosquitoes.The British Dragonfly Society recommends the pond be at least 130 square feet, but obviously, you can go much smaller. Put it somewhere protected from wind, but where it can receive direct sunlight to keep the dragonflies warm.The pond needs to be deep at one end, at least two feet, and shallow at the other, so dragonfly larvae, called “nymphs,” can dive when threatened by predators and eventually crawl out of the water once they’ve grown.Stock the pond with native aquatic plants that rise above the surface, giving the larvae a place to rest and hide in the roots, and the young adults a place to rest out of the water. Also plant shrubs close by to encourage the adults to stick around.Surround the pond with flat, light-colored rocks. Some dragonflies like to land on flat rocks to sun themselves.One quick note: You may have heard that bats and purple martins also are handy to have around because they eat mosquitoes. But researchers say those are fallacies. Bats prefer other insects, with mosquitoes making up less than one percent of their diet. Purple martins are partial to dragonflies.Mosquito spraying and other forms of attackNow that you’ve turned your yard downright unfriendly toward mosquitoes, it’s time to take a little more aggressive action. Again, you’ll need to use a combination of tactics.One of those involves insecticide.You can kill mosquito larvae in standing water with a product like Mosquito Bits, which contains the Bacillus thuringiensis israeliensis bacteria, the most effective larvacide, or you can apply a larvacidal oil to the water’s surface to keep the larvae from breathing.Adults are susceptible to foggers and mosquito spray.Foggers heat insecticide and release it into the yard in low volumes, killing mosquitoes on contact, but the fog, and its effectiveness, wear off within a few hours. A mosquito spray, such as permethrin or bifenthrin, lasts a little longer and can be used to coat areas where mosquitoes like to rest.Spray the grass, trees, bushes, wooden fences and walls of the house, then let it dry. The poison, a synthetic version of the insecticide produced by the chrysanthemum plant, kills mosquitoes on contact by attacking their nervous systems.You can find larvacides, foggers and sprays in most hardware and home improvement stores.Believe it or not, you are still going to have mosquitoes, even after all of this. Different tricks work with different species, and there could be tens of thousands of mosquitoes from a dozen or more species flying around your neighborhood.To add the next layer of protection, replace the regular lights bulbs in your outside lights with yellow bulbs, which attract significantly fewer insects. Then, put a mosquito trap in your yard, away from the deck, patio or anywhere you normally spend time.Mosquito traps mimic the attractants that draw female mosquitoes to feed on human bodies. They release carbon dioxide and Octenol, found in exhaled breath and sweat, and they emit heat and light in ranges designed to stimulate the mosquitoes.The traps can lure mosquitoes from more than 100 feet away, then sweep them through a fan into a container where they die. While you sit comfortably, the mosquitoes are tricked away from you to another corner of the yard and quietly disposed of by your trap.Within about two months of running the trap, you can expect to see significant reductions in the local mosquito population, as female after female is drawn in and dies without laying more eggs.And that’s it. You have implemented a thorough, comprehensive program of home mosquito control. Now put on a little mosquito repellent with DEET – you can’t be too careful – and go enjoy a nice summer evening outdoors.