Their Bliss Is Their Business

If running a business out of her home sounds attractive, you may be interested to learn that the best ideas for such a venture often involves the thing you enjoy doing the most, reports The Early Show's Debbye Turner.

For instance, Steve Mondazzi always has loved working with wood. But what he builds in his workshop might surprise you.

You see, Steve comes from a family of animal lovers, so when his wife's cat, Dusty, passed away, he built a casket in which Dusty was buried.

"It was pretty basic and did the job," he says, "and we thought it was a good way to pay tribute to her."

Then, his Mom's cat, Pumpkin, died. This time, the coffin he built was a little fancier.

Recalls Mondazzi, "The family was like, 'Wow! This is pretty good.' So they kind of convinced me to try starting a business."

So Mondazzi had a friend build him a Web site called PetsWeLoved.com, and he was shocked by the response he got.

He says, "People were calling a lot and saying 'Wow! That's great. I've been looking for something like this.'"

Now Mondazzi sells a line of pet bereavement products from out of his home, including personalized urns in which to put your pet's ashes.

"I think the secret to finding a home-based business that's right for you is to know yourself," says Sarah Edwards, co-author of "Home-Based Business For Dummies." She continues, "Everyone has the potential for turning the things that they enjoy most, and that may be a hobby, into a viable business.

She also says these business have an advantage in being about to provide a more personal touch.

Says Edwards, "Many, many people are more interested in handcrafted things, homemade things, specialized things, and a lot of personal attention. And we can make that unique thing that can make people feel special."

(For more about the book, visit www.workingfromhome.com.)

Jeanne DeGatan always has loved Teddy bears and, over the years, her home in Cape May, N.J., has become filled with them.

"They would call to me and I'd be drawn to them and say, 'I have to have that. I just have to have that.' And they've become part of my life," explains DeGatano.

Although she was still working full-time as a librarian, she was looking to start a home business.

"And I wanted to do something in retirement because I don't sit idly by and I need to do something," she explains.

Using her garage as a design studio, she began making a line of clothing for bears and learning how to get them manufactured abroad.

"And then I started going to toy fairs," she recalls, "and they said they could help me design and develop that. And the next thing I know, I have a garage full of bears and a garage full of outfits."

In the six years since she has started the Cape May Teddy Bear Company, she has sold nearly 13,000 bears, dressed in more than 200 different costumes.

"I've done so many," she says. "You have to have the tuxedo and the bride. The mermaid bear. The military, the branches of the military…"

Unlike big companies, she is able to fill custom orders, dressing bears to suit the people who will receive them.

As she looks at the bears, can she believe that she has a bona fide home business?

Says DeGatano, "Actually, I'm just sort of amazed that it took off the way it did."

It's estimated that more than 20 million people have home businesses, so whatever your hobby is or your interests are, there may well be a way to make a profit doing it.

"My advice," says DeGatano "would be to live your dream and just believe. If you believe in what you're doing and you believe in what your product is, I know it will be successful."

Of course, it is the Internet that really enabled this trend. Now people can reach a mass market very easily, and so there's really never been a better time to start a home business.