Entrepreneurs are known for turning dreams into reality. We’re proud to recognize their accomplishments by publishing the first-ever 2007 StartupNation Home-Based 100.
The inaugural StartupNation Home-Based 100, which ranks and categorizes the nation’s top-performing home-based entrepreneurs, is the first of its kind. While larger companies have been tracked by Fortune and other outlets for years, no one until now has shone the spotlight on the millions of Americans who call home “the office.” At StartupNation, we decided to change that. We set about creating an annual ranking competition that focuses strictly on the first frontier—and for many, the preferred frontier—for entrepreneurs.
16.5-million home-based businesses exist in the United States today – an all-time high. According to the Small Business Administration, home-based companies contribute more than $530 billion to the U.S. economy and represent 50% of all businesses registered in the United States. No matter how you slice the stats, it’s a huge chunk of the American economy and growing fast.
And it’s no surprise—after all, recent Federal Express and Yahoo! studies reveal that more than two-thirds of Americans have considered starting their own businesses, and nearly half have taken initial steps in that direction.
StartupNation organized the Home-Based 100 ranking as a series of ten Top Ten categories, each with a unique theme. To reflect the true nature of home-based businesses and the entrepreneurs behind them, we ranked companies on qualities that go beyond financial data. Playing to emerging trends, we created categories to highlight the greenest, worldliest, and boomer-run businesses. For fun, we also share the wackiest and “most slacker-friendly.”
But above and beyond our categories, one theme dominated the submissions – passion.
We’re talking bleeding passion. The work of these entrepreneurs is literally and figuratively close to home. We learned that home-based entrepreneurs don’t separate who they are and what they do. Instead, they see their enterprise as part of their identity. They live for the triumphs and plug away at the challenges with incredible tenacity. At stake? Their name, their vision, their lifestyle.
The 2007 field of entrants had other, more tangible things in common.
Many were baby boomers who had worked for years, successfully, at large corporations, and decided for whatever reason that it was time for a change. Some people had great ideas or goals that they were never able to implement because of their demanding work schedules. Others were interested in choosing a career that allows them to spend more time with their families. Some found they could make a lucrative, fulfilling living without leaving their homes. Larry Murphy, the operator of Murphy Outdoors of Gladstone, Mo., and the winner in our “Boomers Back in Business” category, took it one step further. He incorporated his love of fishing into a tour business after retiring from a software company at age 47.
In fact, some of the most financially successful home-based businesses in this year’s ranking actually made a conscious, strategic decision to transition from a traditional office environment to a home-based operation. They did this for efficiency. They traded in the commute and corporate cubicles for home-brewed coffee, blue jeans, and a high-bandwidth Internet connection.
Across the board, technology proved to fuel the exodus from the office to the home. The Internet, where you can hang a shingle almost instantly, combined with communications advances such as Internet-enabled cell phones with Star Trek-like capabilities enable “home-preneurs” to operate more viably than ever before.
Other observations from the Home-Based 100 Best Financial Performers include the rise of “virtualization,” where entire teams of people are home-based, banded together by communication and data-sharing technologies.