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