Forget the bust, it's a Home Business Boom -- close to a million and a half small entrepreneurs are turning their dreams into reality, creating financial security from the sanctuary of their own homes, in the fastest growing enterprise in the country.

"We want people to be able to stop work, start earning from home and take a little bit of control about their future and where they are going with your life" says Shaun Stenning.

The brave hearted are turning their backs on the boss, leaving behind the long office hours. "One of the best things from working from home is that I can walk out of my office, be at home, no traffic, no stress", said John Gannan.

John gave up the rat race, moving his publishing business to his hobby farm outside Melbourne. "I get out of bed and I'm at work. It also gives me the flexibility of working when I want", he said.

He's also the organiser of the Australian Home Business Awards which is seeing an explosion in people working from home.

It's not just fed-up workers or those on the retrenchment scrap heap, enterprising retirees or part-time mums and dads -- all types are giving it a go. But with 80% of small businesses failing in the first 5 years there are dangers.

"It's hard work, you have to roll with the punches" says John.

"If you have got an idea, you have a computer, an internet connection - you just get started." A self-proclaimed "geek", Shaun uses the internet as a "virtual" gold mine -- for years running successful online businesses. "Online we don't need to have a retail store, we have one website, we could sell advertising to make money, we could sell products, we could sell someone else's products to make money as well", he said.

Shaun and the "Geekversity" team are now teaching people how to start their own online businesses. "With an online business - there is no start up costs, you don't really need to have stock or a product, you just need to go out there and have the desire to start doing it" says Shaun.

Like all of us, Peta Mathews would like some extra cash. She loves fashion and wants to sell her wares online. "I want to sell jewellery range, some of the handbags, the fabulous designer labels we have, the clothing, the shoes."

Recently retrenched, corporate events organiser Gareth Lewis is finding work harder to find. So he's turning his organic lifestyle into a business. "Basically could I combine my passion with a business and try and set it up with myself from home", he said.

And when it comes to the net, you don't even need a product or do any selling, you can just blog and make money. "Blog is short for web log which basically means an online diary. So what I do is that I write about my experience with scrapbooking, I write about my experience with DIY home gardening and by doing that, people get interested in what I'm doing and I can put links across to sell products" explains Shaun.

It's called affiliated marketing and dedicated sites like clixgalore have millions of product links to choose from. "If someone buys that product off your website you make a commission on the way through. So if they might buy a $20 product and you might get $5 or $10 commission."

If you're looking at a home business these are the top 5 areas:

1. First - Home Services. Yes the ironing lady, the gardener and handy man are all in high demand.

2. So is Child Care and Tutoring.

3. With our population growing older Home Aged Care is becoming a necessity.

4. There's wellbeing ...both financial and physical - from home accounting to personal training.

5. And Green Industries taking advantage of various government grants they're going gang busters.

As for those businesses to avoid -- those any with big set up fees, commission only opportunities, and pyramid schemes. "If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is and the great thing about internet marketing, is that we can go online and research anyone we like. I can find out what other people are saying about it" says Shaun.

For further information:

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