How to Start a Home Business

Starting a home business is something that a lot of us dream of, but most may never do.  You might have a great idea (and be really excited to work at home, on the couch, in your pajamas, start your day at 10am), but if you don’t have a concrete plan, your dream may fall through.

It’s important not to focus too much on the word “home.”  No matter your location, you’re starting a business, and you need to be prepared to work.  Your success is directly tied to the amount of time and effort you’re willing to put forth.

Choose the Right Home Business

Examine your options fully before you begin.  Have you chosen a product or service that you’re passionate about?  There’s nothing wrong with selling something purely because it’s a guaranteed money-maker, but if you’re excited about it, too, that can make it easier to keep up with your business goals, especially during the startup phase.  Would you still be willing to put in all the necessary effort while things are slow?

Who Will Buy Your Product?

Are people willing to buy your product or service?  Great.  Now dig a little deeper—are they willing to pay a price that will be affordable for them but help keep you in business?  If it doesn’t seem possible to turn a decent profit with the going rate, you may want to consider a different idea.  Decide if you want to run your business full- or part-time.  That will make the difference in knowing whether your expected profits are acceptable enough for you to invest in the business.

Cover Your Business Expenses

You’ll have a lot of expenses to consider, and you want to be prepared for them ahead of time.  You’ll have start-up costs—know how much you’ll need to invest up front so you can include that when determining how long it will take you to start collecting a profit.

Research your insurance options.  Of course, you’ll have to find your own medical and dental benefits, and that can be expensive on your own.  Can your business help cover your costs?  You’ll also need extra insurance to cover your actual business; homeowner’s insurance may not cover you if a customer has an incident on your property while conducting business.  Make sure to acquire any necessary licenses before your apply for insurance.

It’s also a good idea to seek out a good accountant and tax advisor (unless, of course, that’s your profession and your home business idea…then it’s up to you!).  Especially once your business takes off, you want to feel confident that your finances are being handled correctly and efficiently.

Create a Business Plan

Plunging in can be a little easier if you create a business plan.  You will definitely need one if you’ll be applying for a business loan, but it can be helpful even if you’re not.  You’ll be able to see all of your goals in writing, and doing so will force you to spell out every last detail about your business, from marketing research to your mission statement to your future projections.

Treat your home business like an off-site one.  Determine the best hours for you to work and make sure you actually work during them.  There’s no one to tell you what to do and where to be—that’s a definite perk, but it really means that you have to be able to push yourself.  Be committed and do your research and you’ll have a better shot at success.

For some home business ideas and resources, check out Entrepreneur.com.

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