Are you wondering how to start a business from home? Perhaps you’ve toyed around with starting your own business and being in control of your income and work hours. While you will have to work hard to get things off the ground, you’ll be the one in control of the path of the company. It’s a challenge well worth taking on.
According to the Small Business Administration’s 2020 Small Business Profile, there are 32.5 million small businesses in the United States. The median income for self-employed people was about $51,816 annually. Some make much more than that range, and some make much less. It takes any business time to become profitable and bring enough income for you to support yourself.
How to start a business from home doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You can start a side gig in your own home while maintaining your full-time job. Find out if your idea might be successful before abandoning your steady income.
What Is the Easiest Business to Start?
Perhaps you find yourself in a situation where you’ve been laid off, need to be home due to childcare issues or your mental health needs a change in work setting. Whatever the reason, if you need to get started immediately, there are some industries where you can get going for little money and turn a profit quickly.
You could even start some of these as a side hustle while you get your dream business running and more profitable.
- House cleaning – All you really need are some cleaning supplies and a few well-placed ads. You’ll want to lay your eyes on the job before you offer a quote as every house or building is different. One might need a light cleaning and take an hour and another may need a massive declutter and deep clean.
- Yard maintenance – If you already own some lawn equipment, this can be a profitable venture either as a new business or to supply income while you build something bigger. See what the going rate is in your area and go from there.
- Delivery service – Whether you tap into one of the third-party providers such as Instacart, or you create your own service, shopping and delivering items to others is a hot trend.
- Rent event equipment – You’ll need a little upfront investment for this one and a truck to fit it in. You can make good money setting up bouncy houses, event tents, tables and chairs for parties and weddings. Make sure you secure appropriate insurance to protect your investment and understand most of your work will be on the weekends.
If you’re determined to work for yourself, there are numerous business types that fit the requirement. Keep in mind you can start in one thing or support the business you want to eventually own while you learn the industry. From there, the sky is the limit.
1. Find Your Passion
You’ve likely heard it said that if you love what you do, the money will follow. Think about what you have skills in and a passion for. Do you love art? Perhaps you could start a mom and tot art studio in your garage. Are you skilled at programming? Create software for companies. Think about the things you enjoy doing. How to start a business in your home begins with your interests.
Almost any job people perform remotely can be turned into an at-home gig. The struggle is finding enough clients to keep your new business humming. Make sure you inform family, friends and acquaintances. Ask them to share your brand with others they know.
2. Set Up a Workspace
One of the top things about how to start a business from home is getting organized. You need a separate workspace for your office area or to create products. If you don’t have a separate room, buy an armoire-style desk you can shut up when not in use or turn a closet into a desk area. You could also buy a room screen and section off part of your living space for office work.
If you have a spare room, you may be able to take part of your expenses off on your taxes. Just make sure you don’t use the room for anything other than your business, keep track of costs and talk to your tax professional about the right amount and way to take the deduction.
You’ll want to minimize as many distractions as possible, so it’s a good idea to invest in soundproofing items, especially if you plan on having client meetings. This can be as simple as investing in some noise-cancelling headphones to soundproofing your entire office space. If you live with others, ask them to respect your work hours by not interrupting you.
Keep everything you need to do business in the same location, so you don’t waste precious time running back and forth to grab supplies or information.
3. Create a Business Plan
The Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps track of how many businesses succeed based on how long they’ve been open. By the five-year mark, about half of new companies are still thriving. However, by the tenth anniversary, only a third are still around.
When you’re thinking about how to start a business from home, you may not consider all the finer details of the endeavor. However, common sense tells us a company with a solid plan and some contingencies is much more likely to make it through the hard times in the initial years of starting up.
Create a business plan as one of your initial steps in how to start a business from home. When you start to go off down rabbit trails or your business flounders, refer back to your plan. Ideally, your guide offers details on marketing, competitors in the area and how to handle cash flow.
4. Study the Competition
Spend time looking at who your local competitors are. If you plan to open a wreath-making business, for example, who else in your area offers this. Do you have competition from the big box stores?
Study every aspect of others in the industry and find a niche where you can be a bit different. Can you offer personalized features the bigger retailers don’t? Perhaps your service is top-notch, such as offering to go graveside and place a memorial wreath for those out of the area. Think about how you can stand out.
Consider the prices others charge. Can you remain competitive even if you buy supplies in lower volume? Is the profit worth your time? If you can make more up the street at a local fast food restaurant, then you may want to choose a different business model.
5. Choose Marketing Methods
When learning how to start a business from home, you also need to decide if you’ll be a solopreneur operation or bring in employees. If you plan to do everything yourself at first, you’ll need to figure out where to best spend your time. While you must get the word out, you won’t have the time a dedicated marketing professional spends on promotion.
In a survey by Visual Objects, researchers found 70% of small business owners plan to use social media for marketing more than in the past. The top five new business channels for the year were websites, digital marketing, social media, mobile apps and public relations.
If you can only hone in on one or two methods, focus on creating a website with an excellent user experience and interacting with customers on social media. Seek out inexpensive promotions such as going on a local radio show or putting an ad in the newspaper.
Never turn down a chance to get your name out there. Sponsor little league teams, give to the high school yearbook and newspaper by taking out advertising space and set up at local craft fairs. The more people see your brand name, the more likely they’ll remember you when they need your product.
6. Find a Work/Life Balance
As a business owner, you may be tempted to toil late into the night and every weekend. It’s tempting to go full throttle, especially if you also work a job you despise. Whether you have a family or are single, you need to find a balance between professional and social life.
Carve out time for yourself for a haircut or time with friends and family. Choose one day a week for rest where you don’t do any work at all. Resist the urge to constantly check your email and social media accounts. Have periods where you set aside technology and take a breath.
Resist the urge to feel tied to your phone or computer during vacations and breaks. Take trips where you have little to no signal, so you can resist the urge. For example, go on a cruise where you have to pay more for a WiFi connection and then don’t pay for the extra benefit.
Without some type of balance, you will burn out. Knowing how to start a business from home includes knowing your limitations and how to embrace both life and work
More Tips for How to Start a Business From Home
Your best teacher for your new home business is experience. Find a mentor in your area and ask for advice. Pay attention to the mistakes you make along the way, so you don’t repeat them. With a lot of determination, you’ll be able to turn your idea into a success.
Starting a business from home gives you the advantage of low overhead and sticking with your current income source. At some point, though, you’ll need to decide whether to expand your operations outside of the home. Keep your eye on your goals, and understand you don’t have to become a mega-corporation if you don’t want to. You only have to meet your personal goals for your brand.
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About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.