Supporting a family on a single income isn’t always possible particularly in this lousy economy. Problem is, hiring professional child care can often eat up a whole salary. One way to earn extra money without having to pay for child care is to start a home-based business.

Working from home allows you the freedom to set your own hours. Kids driving you nuts? Work when they go to bed. There are tons of different home-based business opportunities out there (and some scams, so beware).

Before you choose, take the time to consider what you like to do. If you enjoy your business, it will be more successful.  Here are some ideas to help you get started.

1.    Event Planning
Whether it’s a big wedding or a simple at-home birthday party, busy professionals often don’t have the time to make the arrangements. If you are a natural hostess, this could be the job for you. Planning a party can mostly be done by phone and email, although you'll have to show up on the day of the event. If there’s a lot of competition in your area, think about specializing in one type of party, such as baby showers or sweet sixteen parties.

2.    Antiques and Dealing
You don’t have to own a furniture shop to start dealing in antiques and collectibles. If you have a passion for hunting flea markets and estate auctions, you can turn that into a business. It’s easy to create an online store to sell your finds, or you can sell them on eBay (Stock Quote: EBAY).

3.    Network Marketing
There are tons of companies looking for an at-home sales force. These opportunities range from selling beauty products to Tupperware. With network marketing, you don’t just sell the product; you expand your network to make money. Before jumping into a deal, however, you should do your research. There are some network marketing scams you should be on the lookout for.

4.    Scrapbooking
If you enjoy scrapbooking and are good at it, you can make scrapbooks for others. Scrapbooking takes lots of time and creativity that many people just don’t have. But some are willing to pay to have their memories preserved. According to the International Scrapbooking Association, one in 100 scrapbookers turns their hobby into a business. Starting a scrapbooking business has low start up costs and very flexible hours. Professionally made scrapbooks typically cost hundreds of dollars.

5.    Photography

If you have training in photography and all the necessary equipment (a fancy camera, lights, etc), you can turn your home into a photography studio. All you need is a spare room or a room that can be converted for portraits. Don’t have space? You can specialize solely in on-location shoots or event photography.

6.    Child Care
If you’re good with your kids, you may be good with others. Starting an in-home child care facility can provide a valuable service to your community and added income for you. You can’t just set up and get to work, however. Most states have requirements for who can operate a child care facility and where. You may need to be certified and/or licensed.

7.    Doggie Day Care

If you’re a dog lover, turning your home (or yard) into a doggie day care center can bring in a good side income. Owners will pay big bucks so their dogs won’t be left alone while they're at work.

8.    Jewelry Making

This craft can be very lucrative if you are dedicated to making it so. If you don’t already have jewelry making skills, there are classes you can take. You can sell your jewelry to friends and neighbors, create an online store or set up a booth at a street fair or flea market.

9.    Gift Baskets
Do you love making gift baskets? You can turn it into a business. Most people don’t have time to go out and shop for all the little items that make a gift basket special. You can buy these items in bulk, assemble the gift baskets and ship them out to private or corporate customers.

10.    Virtual Assistant
Personal and executive assistant skills are in high demand. In this economy, companies and individuals often can’t afford to hire in-office help. With a virtual assistant business you can provide support services from home. Booking travel, typing, creating reports, web site updating, forum moderating and managing database are just some of the duties you might be asked to handle.

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