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Stories About People With Successful Home-Based Businesses

by Yank Elliott, IAHBE Staff Writer

The reasonable man accommodates himself to the ways of the world. The unreasonable man attempts to get the world to accommodate itself to his ways. Progress depends on unreasonable men. —Unkown

Anyone considering a home-based business, or any self-owned business, will quickly hear from close associates that what they contemplate is impossible. It is unreasonable to think you can work for yourself, in your own business, and succeed. It just can’t be done.

So they say!

It’s inspiring to read about these “unreasonable” people who have succeeded, so the IAHBE wanted to share some of these stories with you We encourage you to use the links provided and read all about these everyday people who made their businesses work. You’ll learn, you’ll be uplifted, and you’ll be nudged closer to your very own success story.

Most of the businesses in these stories remain home-based. A few outgrew the home office and have moved into other quarters, but every one of them began at home.

Two Unique Examples:

Howard Brown simply decided to be rich; he is.

Howard and a friend decided they would enter the promotion business. They developed and sold promotional games to very large companies. One of them began on the West Coast, the other on the East Coast. Both struggled operating the business out of their homes and slept on the couch for a while.

When the early times were rough, Howard kept telling himself, “If somebody else can do it, why can’t I?”

Then they began to get very large companies as clients. In three years, both amassed fortunes of over $11 million. You can see how this happened and maybe get a few ideas from Howard's story at www.powerhomebiz.com/vol3/brown.htm.

Next is the story of Baby-Cakes.com. The owner, Charlotte Fowkes, was a mother who was fired because she spent too much time caring for a sick child. It didn’t bother her much, because she had been making gift baskets out of baby diapers.

She called them Baby Cakes because they look very much like a cake. She developed a growing business selling wholesale and retail online from her home. She has now moved into a store.

Read Charlotte's story at

www.powerhomebiz.com/OnlineSuccess/babycakes.htm, and you will find a step-by-step plan for success.

This Group Developed An Interest or Hobby Into A Business:

Sean and Todd had successful jobs with no intention of quitting to run their own business. They started playing around with selling video games and DVDs from home.

Business got so good, they had to quit their jobs to devote their attention to it full time. Over a million bucks the first year isn’t bad. Here’s the rest of their story: www.powerhomebiz.com/OnlineSuccess/sneetch.htm.

Native Ground Music: Love of native music and the banjo sparked this $200,000 a year music-publishing business, operated from the family's 100-year old home. Read the article on the SCORE Website (www.score.org/success/nativeground) to see how this organization helped Wayne Erbsen succeed.

Here is a successful cookbook seller who began collecting recipes on his personal home page. Read how Darnell McGavock turned his hobby into a real money-maker: www.powerhomebiz.com/vol101/darnell.htm.

A disability encouraged Chris Morrison, an 11-year-old entrepreneur, to build his love of fishing into Eatum-Up-Baits. Most manufacturing is done in the family garage.

Chris has participated in his state’s export program and sells lures in many countries. He also contracts some production out to other disabled people, a method that could be utilized in many communities with organized groups working with the disabled.

Read the story of Eatum-Up-Baits here: www.sba.gov/wv/eatum.html.

Tony Roeder built a million-dollar Radio Flyer business from an online store in three years. It all began from a love of this famous childhood toy. Tony has lots of good advice for would-be entrepreneurs here: https://www.powerhomebiz.com/OnlineSuccess/redwagons.htm.

The world’s first titanium flute--hard as steel but very light--is made in the home workshop of Jonathon Landell, a Vermont flute maker. Read about this business built as a result of Jonathon's love for flutes: www.sba.gov/regions/states/vt/vtlandellflute.html.

They Started Their Business Because A Job Was Lost:

This husband and wife team made candles at home as a hobby. A job layoff caused them to re-think the hobby into a business. This is the story of a very successful online candle business built by David and Wendi Kast: www.powerhomebiz.com/vol101/wendy.htm.

Some People Just Want To Stay Home Or Have Their Own Business:

Custom Sewing: This mom just decided to stay home with her children. When they began to need a lot of clothes, Ellen Baxendale used her sewing hobby to make them. Friends and family began to ask her to help them, too, and her business took off. Read this article at www.score.org/success/custsew/index.html to see how she was able to expand her business and stay home at the same time.

BigKidsVideo.com is run by Tamara Carlisle, a home-based entrepreneur who just wanted to do her own thing. With experience in producing videos, she capitalized on her father’s idea about a children’s video to launch a successful business. Check out the article where she shows you how to use direct mail and the Web to make sales: www.powerhomebiz.com/OnlineSuccess/bigkidsvideo.htm.

Lockheed Guidance: This MBA, with experience in Fortune 500 companies, used SCORE to build a successful web design and marketing firm. April L. Lougheed tells how SCORE volunteers steered her down the right path. Read the article here: www.score.org/success/lockheed/.

This office service business started with help from the SBA and Small Business Development Centers. The entrepreneur, Barbie Dallmann, just decided she wanted to start a business of her own, so she quit a “secure” job. Her customers are worldwide. Among her most unusual requests was to help import exotic creatures. Read how she used all the tools we’ve discussed in the article at www.sba.gov/wv/dallmann.html.

Sweet Tulip: Sharon Redman and Renee Wightman used SCORE’s help to secure a $250,000 bank loan to finance their apartment-based luxury baby bedding company. This is how they did it: www.score.org/success/sweet_tulip/index.html.

Here Are Some Mobile Home-Based Businesses:

Geese Police use pet dogs to discourage geese from becoming a nuisance on golf course, at parks, and at other open areas. See how this business created by David Marcks grew into 27 trucks and 32 dogs at www.powerhomebiz.com/OnlineSuccess/geesepolice.htm.

Cheshire Club Fitting: Tony Richter, a golf lover, turned a hobby into custom golf clubs. SCORE was his mentor. Read his story here: www.score.org/success/chesire/.

David and Nancy Bradley started the mobile locksmith service from home, using SCORE and the SBA for a sound start. Read about them at www.sba.gov/wi/successlock.html.

SBA Microloan (https://www.sba.gov/ga/Costfleet.html) gave veteran Harvey Barnard his successful start in a mobile auto and truck repair business.

These Enterprises Began At Home, But They Have Now Expanded Into Larger Facilities:

Carmen Handbags: This business sells 70,000 hand-made purses a year to customers worldwide. It all began in Albuquerque with Yolanda Chavez peddling her hobby to merchants door-to-door. Her business grew so fast she went to the SBA--they referred her to SCORE: www.score.org/success/carmens/.

Creative Cut-Ups: This advertising specialty business began with promotional buttons. Kathy Dane and Marcia Rose has taken the business from the kitchen table to a store full of buttons, pens, balloons, T-shirts, and other advertising pieces. SCORE guided them all the way: www.score.org/success/creative_cutup/index.html.

These successful entrepreneurs illustrate some basic business requirements:

You must have a business plan. Every lender will ask for this. Even if you don’t plan to borrow money you should have this as a guide for your daily tasks.

You need GOOD advice. Excellent free advice is available from your local Small Business Development Center, the Small Business Administration (SBA), or from SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives). Advice from other successful entrepreneurs is also valuable.

You need a strong reason to start your business. The entrepreneurs in this report started their businesses for many of the standard reasons. Driving forces for many people include a desire to stay home, love of a hobby, job loss, and just wanting their own business.

What You Should Learn From These Stories:

If these people can do the things they have done, you can, too.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Nobody knows everything!

When you read each of these stories, make a note of things you believe will apply to your situation.

Use the stories to stimulate your creativity. You should get several ideas for a business, or you may find a niche to fill.

Every one of these had a written business plan. Start yours now (or get some help with it).



1 Source Unknown. From the constantly changing quotes on the site of Brint.com, https://www.brint.com/.

2 SCORE success stories can be found only through the SCORE home page: https://www.score.org/. Use the ARCHIVES button at the bottom of the page. Choose CLIENT SUCCESSES, and scroll down to the company you want. They are in alphabetical order.


The SCORE home page.


Here you will find how to get e-mail counseling. face-to-face advice, and many other resources to help start and run you home-based business. It’s all free.

How to set up a home-based business.


Basic how-to by SCORE

SBA home page


Financing, laws, library, and a lot of other small business resources.

Small Business Development Center home page


Tells what they can do for you, and where to find them.

PowerHomeBiz.com home page


This site has resources for your business, how-to articles, and success stories.

© Yank Elliott. All rights reserved worldwide.
Article by IAHBE Staff Writer, Yank Elliott. Yank is a home-based entrepreneur and freelance business writer in Belhaven, North Carolina. His Website is www.furriwhalesworld.com.

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