Home Business FAQs

How long have there been home businesses operating in the United States?

Home businesses date back centuries in the United States. Of course, many of the first business owners in the United States ran their business out of their homes – blacksmith shops in barns, candle making at home, and carpenters working from home work shops, just to name a few. As towns and cities became urban centers, these businesses were either replaced by new technology or moved into store fronts to service customers.

Home businesses were never completely extinct. While the bread winning businesses may have moved into retail outlets, women kept the business market alive by adding to the family budget through their home projects. Many women took in laundry, altered clothing, and sold jams, jellies and other craft items from their home. These women may not have been making a fortune, but they were certainly creating viable businesses.

The home business that we recognize as a “true” business got its start in the ’60s and ’70s. This period was the golden age of business with the introduction of multi level marketing companies like Tupperware, Avon, Mary Kay, and Shaklee. While many business executives scoffed at these businesses as mere methods for women to earn a little “pin money”, they soon changed their tune after following a few pink Cadillac’s down the highway.

The success of these companies and others like them paved the way for the businesses of today. The introduction of the Internet just made home businesses that much more viable. Now people were able to work their chosen career from home, or start a whole new career.

How many home businesses are there in the United States?

The number of home businesses in the United States has exploded in the last decade. Recent surveys indicate that there are 38.7 million households in the United States with some form of a home business. Of that number, 21.8 million businesses are actually generating income.

It may be surprising that only 57% of the home businesses are generating income. Remember, you have to factor into the equation the number of people that have a home business as a “hobby business”. These home businesses are owned by individuals who choose to work merely a few hours a week or month. They are often not concerned about the amount of money made (their primary income isn’t dependent on it), but instead use the business as entertainment outlet. And of course, there are some people that become involved in fraudulent or scam home businesses, or their business simply fails. Still, the majority of home businesses are generating an income that individuals can rely on.

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