Are you thinking about starting up a small business from your home? Home-based businesses are a great way for busy people to take more control of their careers, but starting your own business can be intimidating.
No matter what business you're planning on starting, you have numerous factors to consider: the economy, how that industry is performing, start-up costs, overhead, payroll and so on.
Fortunately, starting a successful home-based business has never been easier. There are free resources online and online support groups for practically any niche. To get started, use these 21 simple tips to start your first (or second or third) business and take charge of your success.
Click "READ MORE" to know the top 21 secrets of finding success in home business!
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7 Steps to Successfully Starting a Business From Home
1. Set Up a Solid Financial Plan
Factor in start-up costs, daily expenses and taxes into your budget. Depending on the type of business you plan to open, you may need a small business loan to help get you up and running. Term loans, SBA loans, lines of credit and invoice financing are just a few of the options available to small business owners.
2. Develop your Expertise Daily
Gaining the right knowledge is key to developing expertise so be discerning about who and where you get your information from. Look to those who aren’t just saying they are experts but can demonstrate some successful examples or case studies from their expertise.
3. Become a Successful Consultant
4. Carefully Cultivate Your Client List
If you are completely new to business, you will need a few networking essentials to shape your client list. These days networking involves attending events and meetings or tapping into social media interactions. Just be sure you do your homework, stay focused and follow up in a timely manner. It’s up to you to build relationships with potential clients, so you have to stay tenacious and ready for opportunities.
5. Set up a Dedicated Workspace
Or find a local coworking space if it’s getting old working at your home or coffee shop.
6. Be Patient as You Grow Your Business
It can take years of hard work to begin making real profits. Focus on surviving your first year as a small business owner and then go from there. Be ready for success, but also be prepared for failure which isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, most successful businesses have come from a past failure, so learn from your mistakes.
7. Consider Your Branding
Before you begin making any major waves with your business, purchase 10,000 business cards, or register a domain and pay for professional site design, make sure you love your branding. You need to love your name, your colors, your vision—everything.
As a startup, your finances will likely be very thin as is. Paying to have a site redone or cards printed again because you decided to change your business name after a month will set you back even farther.
It’s best to think before you leap!
5 Home Based Business Tax Deductions to Consider
As you progress in life, taxes can become more and more complicated. You factor in a spouse, children, a house and things are already more difficult. The complication of taxes grows tenfold when you run your own business (this guide on small business accounting may help you out).
The good news is there are numerous deductions you can claim that will lower your taxes!
Disclaimer: This entire article is not intended to be legal or tax advice; I am not an attorney or accountant. For specific questions about your tax situation and what deductions you can take or other laws pertaining to running your new business, I recommend you should seek proper advice from a professional.
1. Bad Debt Write Off
When running a business, having a client stiff you on paying an invoice is inevitable. The bad news is that you can't get back the time you spent working on any projects for this client. The good news is that if you reported this as income in your gross income for the year, you can write that income off as bad debt when filing your taxes.
2. Cost of Goods or Services Sold
To take advantage of this great deduction, make sure you're keeping accurate inventory of your products, or documenting any expenses you have in regards to services rendered: software purchased/used, subcontractors hired, etc.
3. Janitorial and Cleaning Services
If you're being savvy and cleaning the house yourself, you can still write off any kind of cleaning supplies on your taxes. While this may be a small portion, every little bit can make a difference.
4. Travel Costs
- Hotel costs: If you pay for any kind of lodging during work-related travel, keep the receipts and make sure you write this off.
- Rental cars: Did you rent a car for business travel? Keep that receipt, too!
- Plane tickets: If you had to fly anywhere for work, you can also write that off. Again, keep the receipts.
- Food: If you ate during travels you can write off 50% of the bill as a work expense. This includes any kind of wining and dining of your clients.
All of the above can quickly add up, so make sure you're keeping any receipts or tickets for your records.
5. Home Office Space Deduction
9 Best Home Based Business Ideas to Consider
Furthermore, we've got 9 killer home based business ideas here for you to ponder.
1. Home Based Business Ideas for Moms
Blogging has virtually no startup cost, save $20 for a domain name and a few dollars per month for hosting. There are numerous courses on blogging for a living, many of them free. On top of that, there are tons of online groups for bloggers, specifically mom bloggers.
The biggest downside to blogging for a living is that it doesn't pay right away and you need to put in a ton of effort up front. Maintaining a content schedule, mastering outreach and promotions, and building a network are key to building an audience. Eventually you can become profitable through ad revenue, affiliate links, sales from products/services, or even charge for sponsored posts from other businesses.
2. How to Start a Home Health Care Business
If you go the non-medical route, you need to decide if you want to be part of a home care franchise or go independent. A franchise can help you with training, offer additional support, and give you a business plan at the expense of recurring franchise costs. Running your own independent home health care business results in more freedom and a higher earning potential, with generally higher startup costs.
3. Home Based Business Opportunities with No Startup Cost
To get started, you can build your portfolio by picking up smaller tasks on sites like Fiverr, Upwork, or Indeed. As your experience grows you'll be able to charge more per hour or project. Eventually, you can start your own website selling your services, or even form your own writing firm where you hire other writers.
Once you're comfortable with your writing abilities, you can begin learning marketing skills online and translate your writing into a content marketing or general marketing writer job. These often pay higher than straightforward technical writing, and can result in you learning additional digital marketing skills on the job.
4. How to Start a Bakery Business from Home
- Be knowledgeable of allergies: If you're going to be commercially selling your baked goods, you need to make it clear if you use any common allergens like peanuts or dairy.
- Know the local and state laws: It's possible your home may be inspected if you decide to use it as your base for baking. Make sure it's up to code. In some states or cities, you may need to actually rent out a commercial kitchen or purchase a license.
- Ensure you have room for supplies: You'll want to make sure you always have a surplus of ingredients. On top of this, you need a secure place to store them.
If you're a pro at baking and you can afford the upfront cost of buying tons of ingredients and any equipment or workspace you may need, a home bakery is a great idea.
It's also a great way to meet people at local trade shows and farmers markets!
5. How to Start a T-Shirt Business at Home
To get started with your custom t-shirt business you first need a solid brand or store name. Even if you plan on being totally digital, you need a catchy name that people will easily remember. Next, you need to make sure any designs you use or will use don't include trademarked or copyrighted materials. Finally, you need to test your designs out. Ask some friends and strangers what they think of your designs and more importantly if they would buy them.
Once you've picked some designs to start with, find a site to make and sell your shirts if you want to keep startup costs low. CafePress and Skreened are two popular sites for making shirts. If you want to be completely DIY, you'll need to look into screening materials and learn how to screen your own shirts.
6. Home Based Clothing Business
For those interested in selling franchised clothing from home, there are a number of great options. Many of these essentially transform you into a salesperson and business owner at once, giving you a website to market and sell from, as well as discounted rates on products. You can then purchase these products and sell them at trade shows, gatherings, or parties thrown. Much like blogging, a big factor in succeeding as a home based clothing business is your ability to network and build your loyal audience.
7. How to Start a Catering Business from Home
The biggest hurdle you need to check for first is if your state allows you to cater from home. Some states will require you to work from a commercial kitchen or certified restaurant. In this case, some restaurants may be kind enough to let you rent their kitchen when they're not using it. (Generally this is after hours, making it difficult for catering.)
The first thing you need to do if you plan on starting a catering business is contact your state or local office to see if you can even cater from home, and if so, what certifications and licenses do you need to have. Once you've established this, draft up a business plan and determine what kind of catering you plan on doing: food, food and drinks, cocktail parties only, etc.
8. How to Start a Cleaning Business from Home
Once you're certain you can handle cleaning day in and day out, you'll want to find your first clients. This part is the hardest, as you're new to the business. Reassure your clients that you can do a great job, guarantee your work, and most of all, be confident. Confidence is key in any business, especially when you're starting out.
9. Home Based Jewelry Business
As your audience grows you can think about taking your store off Etsy, avoiding their cut, and building your own ecommerce platform. This comes with its own risks and startup costs, making it a move you shouldn't consider until down the road. But in the short term, it is best to leverage the large audience of a site like Etsy until you build a following. Ecommerce growth can take time to build up so it's best to be persistent and patient.
If you want to become a franchised jewelry business, there are numerous companies that assist you in selling from home. Like the clothing businesses, you can often purchase jewelry at a discounted rate and in turn sell it at local markets, gatherings, and so on. These are higher risk than the clothing businesses due to the cost of jewelry, but you can also make a significant amount of money from a single sale.
One tip many jewelry business owners give is to wear your product anytime you can. At the end of the day, even if something doesn't sell, at least you'll have a flashy ring or necklace to show for it!
And you never know when someone on the street will ask you where you got the piece of jewelry you are wearing...an open door for a sale...
The Most Important Part of Running a Home-Based Business
The most important thing you can do is to keep on going. When your mind tells you to give up, look at where you were a month or two ago, and look at where you are now. The needle has likely moved a bit, and if it hasn't, ask yourself what you can do next.
It's also important that you celebrate your victories, especially the small ones. You typically won't have as many wins in the beginning, so holding onto those little wins is key to staying motivated. Tell your friends and family about your victories and let them celebrate with you. If you're feeling like giving up, remind yourself of that last victory and how great it was.
You can do this. Millions of people around the world are making the decision to start their own business. Let the next success story someone reads about be yours.