Like most people reading this article, you have spent the majority of your life working for some one else.  Working 8 to 5 for an income that generally kept your bills paid.  You got health insurance, possibly life insurance, a 401K savings program, and if you worked for the right company, you got vested and earned a retirement income.  Hopefully you enjoyed your profession and have a healthy family life.  

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   I lived that life as an electrical engineer in the aerospace industry until I became an industry dinosaur at age 40 when computers became commonplace.  I had taught myself computers and I considered myself computer literate.  However when a company is hiring computer people, they look for younger recent grads that are computer literate and will work for less money.  The probability of a 40 year old being as good as a 20 year old was an uncommon thing in 1985 and I became labeled as a dinosaur, then I tried Real Estate Sales until the real estate bubble burst, then driving big trucks and touring the country vie the Interstate Highway system.  After a big accident that destroyed 54 vehicles and closed Interstate 5 for 24 hours, I stayed home and learned how to make web sites.

   My dad was 89 and had just suffered a stroke and needed help.  Plus his dementia made life more difficult.  His Social Security plus some other incomes kept us afloat for several years.  Then when he had a heart attach at age 91, we lost his Social Security income and I was forced to take my web design skills and start making money.

   One of my web sites was, or the International Burgee Registry and the credibility of the web site brought me many yacht clubs that wanted burgees made.  I made an arrangement with some local burgee makers to make my burgees and put my label on them and they sold them to me at a discount.  Almost instantly I had an nice little income.

   I also owned the web site that listed all the bear traps on the interstate highways and I wrote a book on how to keep from getting tickets and exposed the revenue generating scams the Highway Patrol and other government agencies were pulling on interstate highways.  This web site caters to people that are less inclined to spend money on learning driving techniques and although I sold a number of books through the years, possibly 100, the web site has not been a revenue generator.  

   Then I started the and had a wholesale account at a couple of suppliers.  I got a line on a bunch of JRC radar systems at a very good price and sold them on eBay, making $500 a sale.  I also got a good price on discounted fish finders and was selling one a day during Christmas, until the inventory ran out.  During this process I noticed a number of mariners were asking for operating and service manuals on different marine products.  I discovered I could download most of these on the Internet from the manufacturers and expanded my business to sell manuals and for many years that was the lifeblood of my income. 

    The Internet is changing all the time.  My profit on selling marine electronics dropped from 9% to less than 3% and it was not worth the effort to try to sell to people that were only shopping for price.  Today the competition selling electronics on the internet is so strong you can only make money by capturing the discount on the “2net10” terms the manufacturers are offering.  As of recently the manual business has gained a lot of competition and sales are declining with the economy.

   About 8 years ago, I purchased an Oxygen Party Bar and started selling oxygen at street fairs and festivals.  As we grew we added other product lines, magnetic jewelry, sunglasses, laser etched crystals and many other items and were making a good living.  Then the economy went south and sales started dropping 25 percent every year.

    During this time I built a web site to sell the magnetic jewelry, and being health related, it weathered the bad economy better than most businesses.  Then we got a line of “Oxygen In A Can” that became a good seller on the Internet.  It was a natural product to combine with the Oxygen Party Bar.  We have expanded oxygen in a can to sell three different products and sales are booming.

    The bottom line is that developing a home based business takes a little skill and a lot of work.  The key seems to be skilled at making web sites as that is where the market is going.  With today’s WYSIWYG programs, making web sites is easy once you take the time to learn the software.  The Internet sales have become so dominant that Circuit City has closed its doors and Best Buy is forecasting a dim future because of internet competition.

  Another point that becomes obvious is that the Internet is constantly changing and Search Engine Optimizing, SEO, and Social Networking are the hot subjects/tools for marketing.  If you are going to have a home based business, you must be flexible and be willing to try new things all the time.  

   My latest trick has been to make money from Google Adsense where you place Google code on your web site and Google places adds relative to your content, and relative to the readers interests.  Google gets paid for the advertising and shares the income with the owner of the Adsense account.  There are whole web sites, called “Content Farms” like and dedicated to generating Adsense income where you can write articles like this one and publish it on these Content Farms.  The purpose is to attract visitors that will click on the Google adds.  Normally 60% of the adds are your revenue and 40% are the content farms revenue.  However the income is minimal, but constant month after month.  I have found that if you have a web site you can publish the same articles and get 100 percent of the Adsense revenue.

   The problem is that Google very recently changed their algorithm to block Content Farms and favor community web sites like Facebook and Twitter. has changed their format where readers can comment on the articles.  This makes it more a community and less of a content farm.  I am not sure how this affects my articles yet.

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