FORTUNE Small Business:

Are there any legitimate home-based businesses?

Yes, says FSB expert Verne Harnish, but best to do your homework.

By Verne Harnish, CEO, Gazelles, Ashburn, Va.

(FSB Online) -- Dear FSB: Are there any home-based businesses that are legal and profitable?

- Bill Quillin, Ft. Myers, Fla.

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Dear Bill: The answer to both questions is yes. One of the largest sectors of home-based firms consists of entrepreneurs who have set up shops on eBay. Many professional services companies also run their businesses via the Internet, offering editing, writing, translation and advice services from their home offices.

My guess is that you have come across some Internet businesses that say they are guaranteed to make you rich. Before you buy into any of them, do some serious legwork, checking them out with the Better Business Bureau and the Florida Department of State. Also ask for references and check them out. If an opportunity sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Top of page

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.