The Best Home Business for the 21st Century: The Inside Information You Need to Know to Select a Home-Based Business That's Right for You


This invaluable guide provides comprehensive profiles of more than one hundred hot new businesses that promise the top opportunities for small-business people in the future. Paul and Sarah Edwards explore the best opportunities for self-employment in the next century—ranging from being a business-network organizer to running a transcript-digesting service—and provide expert, step-by-step advice on: • the skills and knowledge needed to startup; • the start-up costs, pricing, and potential earning; • the best ways ...

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This invaluable guide provides comprehensive profiles of more than one hundred hot new businesses that promise the top opportunities for small-business people in the future. Paul and Sarah Edwards explore the best opportunities for self-employment in the next century—ranging from being a business-network organizer to running a transcript-digesting service—and provide expert, step-by-step advice on: • the skills and knowledge needed to startup; • the start-up costs, pricing, and potential earning; • the best ways to get new business; • the advantages and disadvantages of each business; • the hands-on advice of those already in the field. In addition to the nearly one hundred businesses profiled, an expanded section on "The Best of the Rest" explores dozens of additional top businesses to watch for. The Best Home Businesses for the 21st Century is the smartest, most complete book available for anyone looking for right ways to make it on their own.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874779738
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Edition description: REVISED
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 672
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul and Sarah Edwards are the bestselling coauthors of numerous books, including Finding Your Perfect Work, The Best Home Businesses for the 21st Century, and Making Money in Cyberspace. They provide millions of people with informative and inspirational advice on self-employment through their radio and television shows, their online venues, and their popular newspaper and magazine columns.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Abstracting Service

If you like to read and have a special expertise or affinity for technical subjects, an abstracting business may appeal to you. The main job of an abstracting service is to read content of all kinds, such as articles from journals and magazines, and distill it into a brief synopsis of ten to fifteen sentences for database storage and retrieval. In some cases, the articles are indexed instead of, or in addition to, being condensed. Indexing means that the abstractor creates a list of key words based on the article or selects terms from a controlled vocabulary list so that a computer can locate an article quickly. Abstracters may also create abridgements of larger works into shorter ones.

    Ten thousand databases from over 300 producers (such as Chemical Abstracts Service, Information Access Company, and Dow Jones) provide a continuing supply of work to freelance abstracting and indexing workers. According to Richard Kaser, Executive Director of the National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services, with the movement away from proprietary hardware and software to producing abstracts in Microsoft Word, more work can be outsourced by the database producers. Many database producers specialize in areas such as law, medicine, engineering, science, and other technical fields.

    In addition to such database applications, abstracting and indexing services also may work for corporations, creating summaries of books and articles of interest to the company's executives, technical people, or clients. Some large corporations make extensiveuse of abstracting and indexing to stay up-to-date and competitive in today's world of rapidly changing information.

Knowledge and Skills You Need to Have:

• You need to be a quick reader. Producing two to three abstracts an hour requires speed.

• You need to have sufficient knowledge of the subject areas in which you are abstracting or indexing or a broad-enough general knowledge and interest to be able to ferret out central ideas and relevant information on a wide range of topics. Subject specialists, however, are generally more valuable and successful abstracters are keenly interested in their subject and care about information.

• You must have the ability to synthesize and consolidate information. This requires learning how to read an article or book differently than you normally would. You need to be able to skim through and pick out key points, condense the points into the required number of lines, and pick out key words that someone would use to search for that information.

• You need excellent writing skills and the ability to communicate the material you're abstracting clearly and concisely.

Start-up Costs Low High
Computer $ 1,500 $ 3,000
Printer or $ 300 $ 800
Multi-function printer/fax/scanner/copier $ 150 $ 600
Cell phone $ 75 $ 200
Office furniture, especially an ergonomic chair $ 400 $ 1,000
Initial marketing budget $ 1,000 $ 2,000
Reference books and dictionaries $ 200 $ 600
--------- --------
Total $ 3,625 $ 8,200


• The work can be interesting and intellectually stimulating.

• You learn constantly about a variety of subjects and can keep abreast of significant changes in many fields.
• You may have a great amount of flexibility in choosing your working hours: days, evenings, weekends, etc.

• The kind of writing you do for abstracting in which you focus and summarize in a clear and concise manner is valuable for doing other kinds of writing.

• The business is a good add-on to an editorial service, indexing service, or technical writing service.


• In some cases, you may have tight deadlines and turnaround times; so stress is a factor.

• The work is highly detailed and requires intense concentration, precision, and careful organization.


$5 to $15 per article for doing a full abstract with index. Specialists, particularly those in scientific disciplines, particularly chemistry, earn top money

Potential Earnings

Typical Annual Gross Revenues: $45,000 based on billing thirty hours per week, fifty weeks per year, averaging $30 per hour.

Overhead: low (20 percent or less).

Best Home Businesses Estimate of Market Potential

While artificial intelligence and search engines help people find relevant information, the role of human intelligence in summarizing and evaluating content will grow as more and more information is available. Therefore, we anticipate the market for abstracters to grow. The number of firms for whom work can be done may grow as well as more types of organizations, such as libraries and publishing companies, are producing abstracts and indexes for the Web.

Best Ways to Get Business

• Directly solicit database publishers by sending samples you have written along with your resume emphasizing any relevant background you may have.

• Since many types of database producers hire local freelancers, in order to find database publishers in your area, decide which type of database you want to work with and search a directory like Ebsco Index and Abstract Directory or Gale Directory of Online Databases to identify publishers in that field by address. You can find these directories in many large public and academic libraries.

• To get corporate work, contact corporate librarians and the department responsible for technical writing.

• Have your own Web site with meta tags and links that will direct people to your site.

• Responding to online and occasional newspaper classified want ads.

First Steps

• Identify a specialty.

• Find out what producer companies want and establish relationships by setting up appointments to discuss their needs and your qualifications to work for them.

• Create a portfolio of samples to show prospective clients. Then call several database publishers in your local area for an appointment to show your work.

Where to Turn for Information and Help


American Society of Indexers. P.O. Box 48267, Seattle, WA 98148. (206) 241-9196. While primarily for back-of-book indexers, this is the closest organization for individual providers. The Society publishes and distributes to publishers without charge the Indexer Services Directory, a directory of freelance indexers, listing its freelance members in terms of their specific subject expertise or background. Web site:

National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services (NFAIS), 1518 Walnut Street, Suite 307, Philadelphia, PA 19102; (215) 893-1561, fax (215) 893-1564. This organization, whose members are 60 of the largest database producers, offers information, conferences/workshops, a monthly newsletter, and a variety of books on topics of interest to abstractors and information professionals. The organization's Web site,\nfais.html, has an employment section with links to members who post ads on their individual web sites. Newsgroup:


Careers in Electronic Information: An Insider's Guide to the Information Job Market, Wendy K. Wicks, National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services. See address above.

Guide to Careers in Abstracting and Indexing, Ann Marie Cunningham and Wendy Wicks, is another NFAIS publication.

The Information Broker's Handbook, Sue Rugge and Alfred Glossbrenner, New York: Computing McGrawHill, 1997. ISBN: 0070578710. An overview of abstracting, databases, and the electronic information industry.

Advertising Agency

By the year 2003, advertisers will be spending $1,203 per person each year to get their message to the nation. That's more than the per capita income in many countries. They'll be reaching their audiences through the newspapers, television, magazines, and the radio, but the largest increase in spending will be for online advertising. An online advertiser can communicate interactively with the exact individuals they wish to reach. Creating ads for micro niches lends itself to small, boutique advertising agencies and experts.

    This, of course, has been the direction the advertising industry has been moving in during the 90's. Large companies that once dominated the market have lost clients to smaller, upstart agencies and have had to divide into smaller components in order to compete with the little guys. The very center of gravity of the business has shifted from New York and Los Angeles to San Francisco, Minneapolis, Boston, Portland, Oregon, and Richmond, Virginia.

    In short, the industry is more competitive than ever, which means new opportunities for the creative advertising professional who may be home based. While home-based ad agencies aren't likely to wrest the million-dollar corporate accounts from the major firms, there are a lot of different ways to split the $138 billion U.S. advertising pie. Using a computer, some specialized software, and a high-resolution printer, someone with experience in the business who has the necessary skills can make a good living running an ad agency from home. After all, bright ideas can germinate and flourish anywhere. You can choose to specialize in one particular type of product or service, or in one specific medium (TV, radio, print, America Online ...).

    Steve Shoe runs a home-based advertising agency in Denver, Colorado, called Railroad Promotions. After many years in the business, Shoe finally realized that the overhead on his office was draining his resources, so he decided to take a few of his steady clients and move his office into his house. A model railroad hobbyist, Shoe was approached by a local rail line to do ads for them. He agreed to represent the company "if it didn't ruin my hobby." That was ten years ago, and he's still going strong. In fact, he now has an employee who works with him in his home. Shoe's decision to specialize helped him establish a name for himself. It built his reputation as someone with expertise in the field and also gave him easy access to potential clients in professional and amateur groups. Some of his current clients include the Colorado Railroad Museum, the Model Railroad Association, and Craig Thorpe, an artist who photographs and paints trains (he did a calendar for Amtrak). He has also pitched his services to a construction company that manufactures nothing but railroads.

    "Are we making a fortune? Living high on the hog? No," says Shoe. "But we're doing something we feel good about, something we like, and making all the bills."

    Shoe recommends a similar course of action for someone who is just starting out. "Pick something you like, a hobby." Possible clients include a local hobby shop, a magazine dealing with the topic, a specialty bookstore, and other things related to the hobby. Shoe says for ethical reasons it's best not to solicit businesses that are in direct competition with each other, such as two model railroad shops in the same city. He points out a benefit of focusing on one of your hobbies: you already know what the people you'll be dealing with are like, because you're one of them. Chances are that you also have some ideas about which advertising approaches would appeal to hobbyists, have contacts in the field, read the literature, and know when and where the trade shows and conferences are held.

    Small firms can specialize by audience, industry, and medium. Industry and audience are more typical ways of niching than specializing by medium, according to Christine Hilferty, Director of Marketing of the American Advertising Federation. However, the Internet—a medium—is a rapidly growing specialty. Still another kind of specialization is to function as an advertising planner, responsible for strategy, creative direction, and budgeting. Research may be done by the planning firm or supplied by the client. Execution is done in-house by the client or by another firm. Increasingly, small firms emphasizing their skills as planners call themselves marketing agencies. In this case, they may handle all or some aspects of executing the plans they develop.

Knowledge and Skills You Need to Have

• Advertising can be very technical, which means having at least an understanding of the "little picture." At the same time it requires a "big picture" understanding of advertising as an industry within the context of a total marketing perspective.

• You need to know basic principles of design, layout, and typography.

• You must be good at writing copy that conveys your client's message in a catchy, appealing and memorable way.

• You should have a portfolio of your best work in order to get new business.
• There is no substitute for experience in this field.

Start-up Costs Low High
Computer $1,000 $ 3,000
High resolution printer $1,000 $ 2,500
High resolution scanner $ 600 $ 800
Photo editing, presentation and other software $ 500 $ 1,000
Fax $ 150 $ 600
Digital camera $ 600 $ 2,500
Initial marketing budget $1,000 $ 3,000
Organizational dues $ 250 $ 500
Office furniture $ 400 $ 1,000
--------- --------
Total $6,500 $14,900


• Advertising is a creative endeavor. You get to use both your verbal skills and your artistic talents.

• You can specialize in a field you enjoy, which means you get paid to do the things you like best.

• You get to meet a lot of interesting, colorful, and knowledgeable people.

• Loyal clients will give you repeat business and referrals.


• Deadlines are often tight.

• Heavily competitive in part because many people who lose jobs at major agencies go out on their own.

• The broad range of things you must know, understand and at least know where to go to find other people who will dependably do those things for a reasonable price.


Few advertising agencies are now paid with the fixed 15 percent commission, which covered most services provided by the agency. Instead a myriad of ways have been substituted, including sliding scale commissions, volume rebates, cost-plus-profit, minimum guarantees, fixed fees, and flat fees plus hourly charges. Most small firms charge by the hour or by the project. Hourly rates vary according to the kind of work done. Tasks generating higher rates include art direction, digital photo manipulation, illustration, and layout and design at $50 to $85 an hour. Account management and production art rates are generally in the $40 to $65 an hour range. Projects may range from creating designs for Web sites in the hundreds of dollars to creating advertisements for print media in the thousands. Rates will vary depending on region of the country, whether you are in a major metropolitan area, the type of client you're servicing, and the medium in which you're working.

Potential Earnings:

Typical Annual Gross Revenues: $40,000 to $85,000, based on billing 20 hours a week at $40 to $85 an hour, 50 weeks a year.

Overhead: moderate (20 to 40 percent).

Best Home Businesses Estimate of Market Potential

The trend toward boutique advertising agencies favors home-based work and independent contractors, particularly for smaller local and regional businesses and Web-based enterprises located anywhere.

Best Ways to Get Business

• Networking with other people in the advertising field, going to ad club meetings.

• Networking with your contacts in clubs and hobby groups.

• Networking in online forums.

• Immediately becoming aware of research that benefits clients and leads you to new business.

• Advertising in a trade publication where professionals who might need your services will see your ad.

• Teaching at a community college or adult school, which can also produce income.

• Have your own Web site, which can serve as an example of your capability.

First Steps

• Before going out on your own, get some experience in an agency or company. This may be by apprenticing with a boutique agency.

• Read extensively, which includes both paper and online literacy.

Where to Turn for Information and Help


The Advertising Council, 261 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016; (212)922-1500. The Council creates public-service messages of nationwide interest. The Ad Council operating revenue is funded by donations, and the creative work is done by top ad agencies pro bono. Web site:

American Advertising Federation, 1101 Vermont Avenue, N.W., Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005; (202) 898-0089; fax (202) 898-0159. Parent organization of 50,000 members for many local ad clubs or ad federations, which interestingly do not require being in the advertising business as a requirement for membership. Look in your telephone directory for your local affiliate; sponsors meetings, workshops, and competitions. Publishes American Advertising magazine as a member benefit. Web site:

International Association of Business Communicators, 1 Hallidie Plaza, Suite 600, San Francisco, CA 94102; (415) 433-3400. Web site:


Enterprise One to One: Tools for Competing in the Interactive Age, Don Peppers, Martha Rogers, Currency/Doubleday, 1997. ISBN: 0385482051.

How to Open and Operate a Home-Based Communications Business, Louann Nagy, Werksma, Globe Pequot Press, 1995. ISBN: 1564406318.

How to Start and Run Your Own Advertising Agency, Allan Krieff, New York: McGrawHill, 1993. ISBN: 0070352194.


BottomUp Marketing, Plume, 1990. ISBN: 0452264189.

Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, Warner Books, 1993. ISBN: 0446347949.

Marketing Warfare, New American Library; 1986. ISBN: 0452258618.

The Twenty-Two Immutable Laws of Marketing, Harper Business, 1994. ISBN: 0887306667


The New Positioning: The Latest on the World's #1 Business Strategy, McGrawHill, 1997. ISBN: 0070653283.


Creative Business, 275 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116; (617) 424-1368. Published ten times per year, this newsletter is directed at copywriters, designers, art directors, and principals of creative businesses. Subscribers also receive free unlimited telephone consultation. It was founded by Cameron Foote, who also gives Creative Business Workshops around the country for people in creative businesses. Web site:


Standard Directory of Advertising Agencies, Published annually by The National Register Publishing, 121 Chanlon Rd., New Providence, NJ 07974; (908) 464-6800. Web site:


Advertising Age, Crain Communications, 220 E. 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017; (212) 210-0170; subscriber service (800) 678-9595; 740 N. Rush, Chicago, IL 60611-2590; (312) 649-5200. Web site:

Adweek, 1515 Broadway, New York, NY 10036; (212) 536-5336; (800) 722-6658. Web site:
Folio, Cowles Business Media, P.O. Box 4949, Stamford, CT 06907-0949. Targeted to magazine publishing. Web site: magazines/Folio.htm

Promo magazine—promotional marketing, including media cause-related promotions, couponing direct marketing, entertainment and sports promotion, fulfillment games, contests, sweepstakes, in-store marketing, interactive promotions, licensing tie-ins, newspaper inserts, point-of-purchase advertising, premium incentives, promotion research, redemption, sampling, special events, specialty printing, television, and radio tie-in promotions. Stamford, CT. (203) 358-9900. Web site:

Target Marketing magazine, North American Publishing Company, 401 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19108. Covers direct marketing, telemarketing, use of catalogues, etc. Web site: tmcover.html or www2/ /tm/tmcover.html

Association Management Service

Organizations of all types from nonprofits with a local mission to professional and trade groups and even the chambers of commerce arc contracting out their management functions. Since many organizations have grown beyond the size that volunteer officers can effectively manage, but are not large enough to justify renting office space and hiring employees, they turn instead to the services of association managers, people who make a living administering professional and trade associations on a contractual basis.

    The association manager provides a cost-effective solution to staff an organization. He or she also enables the organization's volunteer leadership to concentrate on program and policy issues rather than administrative tasks and provides the organization with continuity during leadership changes.

    Association management services, also called executive director services, have existed for over one hundred years. What association managers specifically do depends on which functions their clients want them to handle. However, to serve clients well, they need to be prepared to do just about everything an organization needs to have done. They may keep membership lists, write and publish the association's newsletter, answer phone calls, handle incoming mail, send out information about the organization, keep the financial records, collect dues, pay bills, make arrangements and take reservations for membership meetings and events, help raise funds, and book speakers for meetings as well as national conventions. They may also get involved in membership development, professional education, lobbying, and marketing. With today's office technology, all the tasks involved, however, can be done from someone's home.

    There are literally thousands of associations from which your clients can come, and new ones form every year. Some associations are national trade associations for manufacturers such as the Model Railroad Trade Association, managed by Steve Shoe (who got into the position from an advertising background), and the Windsurfing Association, managed by Scott Sea (formerly a Wall Street broker who decided to leave his high-pressure job to enjoy working full time with his hobby). Other associations may be state and local professional associations or hobbyist organizations like the Lake Amphibian Flyers Club, a group of 400 individuals worldwide who pilot Amphibian aircraft on lakes. One association manager, Bill Goddard, also finds churches to be in the market for executive director services, because they often have many administrative needs but not the budget to hire full-time staff. Emerging fields are fertile grounds for forming an association. Mary Jo Ginty and Brad Bangerter formed the Managed Care Consultants Association in southern California. When we began writing about working from home, managed care was a term most people did not even know.

    Many people get into this business by first working for an association as a volunteer. Other people find their first clients through a want ad in a newspaper or magazine and convince the association to let them work from home. Some people manage just one association; others work with two or more at a time.

    Another alternative is simply to start your own association. For example, consider starting one based on your own profession, hobby, or special interest. While it's best to start an association around something you know and care about, there are many businesses that lack an association, and this provides opportunities. For example, in researching the current edition of this book, we could find no associations for a number of the businesses profiled. We can't predict whether these would be viable as organizations, but the possibility is there.

    Starting your own association can be doubly profitable, since you can obtain a fee for managing the association as well as take a profit on your annual convention or any advertising you can get for your association's newsletter. Associations may be organized as nonprofit or for-profit ventures, although arguably it is easier to market an association as a "not-for-profit" entity.

Knowledge and Skills You Need to Have

• You need to be good at organizing paper, information, and people. You'll be handling lots of details and administrative work. You must make sure that everything runs smoothly and that everyone is taken care of.

• You need to be able to manage an office at a secretarial level or higher.

• You need to manage either a Web site or hire and manage a Webmaster.

• You need good people skills to deal with members, and if manage associations with a boards of directors, then their constantly changing members and officers with changing goals and priorities. It helps to have a modicum of political savvy to handle personality and ego conflicts that arise within associations.

• You may need to be a good writer, because you may compose press releases, newsletters, and correspondence on behalf of your organizations.

• You'll need sensitivity to motivate and guide volunteers, most of whom are involved with the association as a labor of love or for personal development, and who generally respond better to persuasion than to commands.

• You should have marketing skills in order to bring in new members.

Start-up Costs* Low High
Computer $ 1,500 $ 3,000
Printer or $ 300 $ 800
Multi-function printer/fax/scanner/copier $ 150 $ 600
Cell phone $ 75 $ 200
Office furniture, especially an ergonomic chair $ 400 $ 1,000
Initial marketing budget $ 1,000 $ 5,000
Bond covering your management of funds. $ 200 $ 400
---------- --------
Total $ 3,625 $ 11,000
* In some cases, your client organizations may pay for your equipment and supplies.


• Association work offers ample variety to keep almost anyone from being bored.

• You get to attend and possibly travel to many interesting meetings and conventions, with the costs paid for by your clients. Some of your other travel can be tax-deductible.

• This business provides a lot of visibility. You can meet many interesting people, often some who are leaders in their industry.

• When you do your job well, your efforts will be greatly appreciated.

• Some people can build their business extensively, taking on more and more associations and hiring employees to handle the clerical work.


• Navigating organizational politics can be tricky. You must watch out not to insult an important member of the association or to step on anyone's toes in the line of your work. Your job could suddenly end if a new officer decides to hire someone else.

• You're on call. You need to be available when your clients need you. Sometimes you will be extremely busy.

• Organizational meetings are often held in the evenings or on weekends.

• Except for associations organized around hobbies and avocations, which typically don't operate on rigid time lines, you're apt to find that there will always be some big event or project in the works, so your vacations and time off will be pretty much confined to December and August.


Professional association managers usually operate on a monthly or yearly retainer. The amount of the retainer depends on what functions you perform for the association and the amount of time you spend on the job. You therefore need to estimate how much of your time the tasks will take each month and negotiate a fixed, monthly fee. Average monthly rates range from $2,000 to $4,000, plus office costs. Another way of pricing used by association expert Stuart Sandow is for members to establish a deposit account. As they have questions answerable by association experts, they call and at the rate of a dollar a minute pay the association personnel for the time they use.

Potential Earnings

Typical Annual Gross Revenues: For managing associations: $24,000 to $48,000, based on a monthly retainer of $2,000 to $4,000. One person can manage several associations. For running your own association: $20,000 to $40,000, based on an organization with 400 members, each of whom pays $35 to $100 a year for dues. Conference fees can greatly increase your income.

Overhead: low (20 percent or less without employees)

Best Home Businesses Estimate of Market Potential

Occupational and business specialties are growing and with them grow associations suited to management by home-based association management firms. Another contributing factor to the growth of association management as a home-based business is an effect of corporate mergers in reducing the number of companies that belong to trade associations. This causes the remaining members of the trade associations to downsize and contract the operation of the associations out to self-employed association managers.

Best Ways to Get Business

For engaging existing associations as your clients:

• Contact the presidents of professional and trade associations directly. Refer to the Encyclopedia of Associations, published by Gale Research, which is available in most libraries.

• Identify state associations that are not represented by lobbyists in your state capitol and propose to represent them.

• Subscribe to ASAE Career Ops, a newsletter published by the American Society of Association Executives, listed below. Call (202) 408-7900 for more information.

• Respond to the occasional classified ads in newspapers for associations seeking managers.

• Network with professional, trade, or industry groups to learn about potential openings.

• Volunteer to do seminars on administration and management for association leadership teams.

• Have your own Web site with meta tags and links that will direct people to your site.

For starting your own organization:

• Identify affinity groups without an association; it's better if you have some background or relationship to an unformed group. Incorporate or otherwise declare as the association for the heretofore unformed group.

• Mail a brochure to a list of potential new members.

• Establish a Web site for the group.

• Get publicity for your organization or advertise in the publications your audience likely reads.

• Get a board of directors for your association and ask them to network to find members.

First Steps

If you don't have any administrative experience, you might volunteer to administer a group to which you belong or another association that needs help. Or you could get elected to an office in an organization to gain the experience of running an organization.

    If you already have business administrative experience, find a niche you could serve, such as medical associations or professional organizations. Survey the officers of Such potential clientele regarding their likes and dislikes in administering their organizations, and see if you can locate one that would need your services.

    In either case, join ASAE (see below) or network with other independent association managers to learn more about their work.

Where to Turn for Information and Help


American Society of Association Executives, 1575 I Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20005; (202) 626-2723. Fax on Demand: (800) 622-ASAE; International (402)271-9293. The principle organization in this field, ASAE has local chapters and offers certification. The Web site has a career headquarters. Web site:

International Association of Association Management Companies, 414 Plaza Drive, Suite 209, Westmont, Il 60559; (630) 655-1669. The association for association management companies. The Web site has a listing of member companies. Web site:

The Society for Nonprofit Organizations, 6314 Odana Road, Suite 1, Madison, WI 53719; (800) 424-7367 or (608) 274-9777. A resource center for nonprofit organizations of all types, including associations, throughout the country.

Many states also have regional organizations of independent association executives. Check your Yellow Pages.


Encyclopedia of Associations: Regional, State, and Local Organizations, Detroit: Gale Research describes over 50,000 trade associations, professional societies, labor organizations, fraternal, sporting, patriotic, and charitable organizations. Published annually and costing over $500, it's available as a reference in libraries.

Legal Risk Management for Associations: A Legal Compliance Guide for Volunteers and Employees of Trade and Professional Associations, Jerald A. Jacobs, David W. Ogden, American Psychological Association, 1997. ISBN: 1557983046.

Managing Your Future As an Association: Thinking About Trends and Working With Their Consequences, 1993-2020, Jennifer Jarratt (Editor), Joseph F. Coates, American Society of Association Executives, 1994. ISBN: 0880340843.

Principles of Association Management, Henry Ernstthal and Vivian Jefferson, Washington, DC: American Society of Association Executives, 1988. ISBN: 0880340088.


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Table of Contents

Introduction: Finding the Best Business for You
Abstracting Service
Advertising Agency
Association Management Service
Bed-and-Breakfast Inn
Bodywork and Massage Therapy
Bookkeeping Service and Bill-Paying Service
Business Broker
Business Network Organizer
Business Plan Writer
Caterer/Personal Chef
Cleaning Services
Computer Consultant
Computer Programmer
Computer Repair
Consulting to Businesses and Other Organizations
Desktop Publishing
Desktop Video
Editorial Services: Editing, Proofreading, Indexing
Elder Services: Elder Relocation Service, and Other Elder Services
Errand Services
Executive Search
Expert Referral Service/Brokerage
Export Agent
Family Child-Care Provider
Financial Advisors
Financial Planner
Credit Counselor/Consultant
Financial Educator
Fitness Trainer
Gift Basket Business
Home Inspector
Image Consultant and Personal Shopper, Clothing Sales
Information Professional Broker
Mail Order/Web Merchant and Antique and Collectibles Reseller
Mailing List Service
Make Up Artist
Manufacturer's Rep—Independent Sales Representative
Medical Billing
Medical Coding
Medical Claims Assistance Professional and Hospital Bill Auditing
Medical Transcription Service
Meeting and Event Planning
New Media/Multimedia Production
Newsletter Publishing
Pet Sitting and Other Services for AnimalLovers
Professional Organizer
Private-Practice Consultant
Public-Relations Specialist
Real Estate Appraiser and Personal Property Appraiser
Remodeling Contractor
Résumé-Writing Service
Secretarial and Office-Support Services
Security Specialists: Private Investigator, Security Consultant, Background checking
Tax Preparation Service
Technical Writer
Training Specialist
Transcript-Digesting Service
Tutoring, Computer Tutoring/Training, Scholastic Tutoring
Website Designer
Web Merchant, see Mail Order
Wedding Coordinator
Alternative Energy Installer
Disc Jockey Service
Doula service
Drafter/Computer-Aided Design
Feng Shui Consultant
Fund Raiser
Hauling Service
Indoor Environmental Tester
In-Home Health Care
Interior Designer/Decorator
Leak-Detection Service
Mystery Shopping
Personal Historian
Plant Caregiver
Proposal and Grant Writer
Red Tape Expediter/Complaint Service
Referral Service
Relocation Expert
Repair Services
Restoration Services
Reunion Planner
Rubber Stamp Business
Sign Maker
Tour Operator
Travel Agent/Outside Salesperson
Travel Consultant
Appendix: Lists of Top 10 Best Businesses
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