People launch a home business for different reasons. Many full-time employees go into it part-time, dipping their toes into the entrepreneurship waters first to see how they will fare. While their day job brings financial stability, a home enterprise on the side supplements their income amid a struggling economy, the rising cost of living, and slashed employee benefit packages.

Other workers venture into the home business market head on. They are often those who have retired or been dismissed, have grown disenchanted with the corporate world, want to pursue a new career or passion, or seek a more balanced work-family life.

Whether one wants to build a home-based trade as a sideline or as the main source of livelihood, the good news is that home-based start-ups are now more viable than ever. The combination of technology, growing acceptance of house-based business endeavors, and corporate outsourcing is giving the home business sector a tremendous shot in the arm.

How Technology Powers Home Businesses

Powerful technology is the foremost driver for the growth of the home business market. With affordable, easy-to-use technology and widespread Internet access, almost any trade can already be carried out at home.

Home business owners now routinely use online resources to promote their goods and services, work and communicate with virtual partners based anywhere on the globe, and perform tasks that were once only possible in a company setup.

They are reaping the benefits of new technologies such as cloud computing, which refers to applications that are hosted “on the Internet” or “in the cloud” and free the user from a dependence on a complex IT infrastructure or a large memory and storage drive in a personal computer. Some cloud computing applications include Web-based e-mail systems like GMail and Yahoo! Mail and online data storage facilities like Humyo and ZumoDrive.

Social networking services – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs and other tools of information sharing – are also boosting home business success. So too are handheld devices such as smart phones and netbooks as well as location-based Internet and other mobile services.

How Home Businesses are Gaining Legitimacy

The business world is beginning to recognize home-based enterprises as legitimate. Not surprisingly, technology plays a pivotal role in this emerging trend.

With the easy access to the latest IT applications and tools, even a single-proprietor home enterprise can present a professional image, with the added virtue of more flexibility than most corporations when it comes to arrangements and pricing.

The newfound respectability of home-based enterprises can be seen in how readily freelancers, entrepreneurs and consultants now volunteer that they are based at home. No longer do they go to the extent of playing office sounds at home or renting a commercial space to project a corporate ambience. They don’t need to. Customers or clients today are less concerned about the location of the business as much as its capacity to deliver at competitive costs.

How Outsourcing Benefits Home Businesses

Outsourcing is the third major trend that is opening up more opportunities for the home-based worker.

As the tough economy forces employers to conduct cost-cutting measures and a hiring slowdown, they are resorting to downsizing and exploring options like telecommuting programs, subcontracting, and partnerships. These outsourcing arrangements are expected to continue even if the economic climate improves in the years ahead.

From Simple Pastime to Serious Business

Home businesses have been around for decades, but for a long time they were regarded as hobbies, crafts or moonlighting attempts undertaken by people with limited chances of employment or promotion. A home trade was not treated as a serious activity that could support a family or a comfortable lifestyle.

But this viewpoint has been eroding in recent years. Sophisticated online tools and resources that are relatively inexpensive and increasingly user-friendly are changing the economic landscape in favor of home businesses. Technology, together with a growing respect for the capability of home businesses as well as company moves to farm out some functions, is offering unprecedented opportunities for workers in search of alternatives to corporate life.