A Beginners Guide to Home-Based Businesses

By Alicia Geigel on November 28, 2019

In today’s day and age, people are making money through several different avenues, such as online or home-based business on sites like eBay or Etsy, selling items on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, producing videos on YouTube, etc. Millennials especially are deviating from the standard norm of working traditional jobs, and are looking for alternative ways to supplement an income.

Andrew Arnold of Forbes affirms this generational shift, stating “[Millennial’s] ideal concepts of work and career do not include traditional long-term employment with a single enterprise – climbing the career ladder and collecting the gold watch after 35-40 years,” continuing to write, “Instead, they prefer alternative work styles and are enamored with the idea of entrepreneurship and perhaps multiple streams of income from several side ‘gigs.’”

But these alternative work styles and entrepreneurship isn’t purely utilized by the millennial generation, people of all ages are taking advantage of the internet and building businesses for themselves right from the comfort of their own home. While starting a home-based business may seem like an unrealistic dream that only a select amount of people decide to do or can do, it is actually more common than most people think! According to a blog post by Incfile, there are 38 million home-based businesses in the United States, and 70 percent of Americans would prefer to be self-employed. If you have dreams and aspirations of starting your own business at home, you are not alone; in fact, the majority of America thinks like you do! You may even have a business person your friend group or family and not even know it!

Are you tired of your current job or simply looking to try something different in terms of your career? Interested in combining your passions with your skills and creating something great from them? This complete guide on how to start a home-based business will give you the ins and outs of what it takes to create a business and obtain an income right from the comfort of your living room couch!

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Home-Based Business: What to Do Beforehand

Unfortunately, creating a home-based business isn’t as simple as quitting your job, sitting at home, and saying you have a business after building a website- if it was, everyone would do it! Rather, having a home-based business takes a good deal of patience, dedication, research, and investment. Here are some things to consider before you make the leap and start your own business.

Dig Deep for What You Want: This may seem like an obvious first step, but without it, there is no starting your own business! We all have passions and things that interest us, but the real question at hand is, can I turn this interest or passion into a career? So, you have to dig deep to figure out what it is you want exactly.

In today’s age with technology, the options are almost limitless in what you can do and accomplish. You could be a blogger that plays and reviews video games (and gets paid for it)! Or you could be the next big name in the entertainment world on Youtube. All it takes is aligning your dreams and goals with the job market and reaching for it!

Research What it Takes to Get There: No one can go from point A to point B without some elbow grease and research into what requirements, qualifications, and skills it takes to get to build a home-based business. It’s important that, before you take the leap, you gather all the information you need in order to carefully asses what you need to do, what skills you need to build, etc. to make your dream of having your own business a reality.

A blog post by Miss Ashley Allison suggests an article from Regis College, which “highlights some of the careers where certain skills are needed; which could be a motivator to help you decide on the path you want to take.”

Boost Your Confidence: This world is tough and to make it in this world, you have to have confidence- confidence in yourself, in your ability to do a job, in your skills, etc. We all have points where our self-esteem is low and we don’t believe in ourselves, so you’re not the only one.  To create a home-based business and a successful one at that, you need to have confidence, or else how can you ensure that you can continue on with your business after the smallest setback?

In an article on Entrepreneur.com, guest writer and CEO Chris W. Dunn recommends a few ways to build your confidence, such as visualizing yourself as you want to be, affirming yourself, doing something that scares you every day, helping someone else, caring for yourself, and shifting to an equality mentality, among some. One that I personally liked was to take the 100 days of rejection challenge.

Dunn writes, “Jia Jiang has become famous for recording his experience of “busting fear” by purposefully making crazy requests of people in order to be rejected over 100 days. His purpose was to desensitize himself to rejection after he became more upset than he expected over rejection from a potential investor. Busting fear isn’t easy to do, but if you want to have fun while building up your self-confidence, this is a powerful way to do it.”

Be Comfortable with Taking a Risk: Stepping outside of your comfort zone and the traditional job market to make your own home-based business takes a leap of faith and a fair amount of risk- and that’s ok! The steps you’ve taken prior to this have adequately set you up for doing this and now all you have to do is take that leap. Taking risks is scary because there’s no guarantee of success or a favorable outcome, however, you never know unless you reach for it and try it!

Have a Backup Plan: Making your dream job a reality doesn’t happen overnight, in fact, it can take months or even years to come to fruition. While you are figuring out what you want to do and how to execute it, be sure to have a backup plan or backup job so you can support yourself during the process.

Building Your Home-Based Business: Step by Step

After taking a few things into consideration, you’re ready to start your home-based business- but where do you start? Don’t worry, I got you covered.

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Write Out a Business Plan: Every business starts at a ground zero, and to effectively structure and build your business, you have to write out a business plan. Doing so helps you articulate what you are aiming to do, how you are going to do it, what resources you need to achieve your goal and the expected cost/profit of your goal.

According to Entrepreneur.com, “A business plan is a good way to explore the feasibility of a new business without actually having to start it and run it. A good plan can help you see serious flaws in your business concept.” Having a business plan will help you stay organized and on the path of your goal(s) instead of being confused and scattered, which can ultimately lead to failure. Here are some important things to include in your business plan:  

  • Your Basic Business Concept
  • Your Strategy and Actions to Implement Your Strategy
  • What Your Business Will Over in Contrast to the Outstanding Market/Industry You’re Entering
  • Financing Needs

Determine Your Business Entity: The next step in the process of building your home-based business is determining the specific kind of entity that your business will be.

Lisa Furgison of Bplans.com writes, “You’ll need to select between sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation, S corporation, nonprofit, or cooperative. You may want to talk with your mentor, accountant, and lawyer to make this decision.”

Understand Home-Based Business Taxes: Everyone has to pay taxes, even if you are self-employed and have a business at home. If you don’t pay taxes on the money you make, you won’t have a business anymore and deal with charges of tax fraud or evasion- trust me, you don’t want that!

Depending on the kind of business you establish, your taxes will reflect that. Talk with a financial expert or account to help understand the taxes you’ll have to pay, expenses you can write off, and how to obtain a business tax ID.

Create a Schedule: Just because you work from home doesn’t mean that you want your work schedule to be all over the place. You don’t want to be working until 3am one day and going to be at 7pm the next. Of course, some days are going to be unbalanced, but you want to have a schedule so you can stay organized and balance your workload in a healthy, productive manner.

Leslie Truex of the Balance Small Business suggests, “Find blocks of time you can use to build your business. For example, work an hour in the morning, an hour at lunch and two hours after everyone goes to bed. On your calendar, mark blocks of time for home business tasks and then guard that time.”

Designate a Proper Work Area: Plenty of us are guilty of having a messy desk or office area in our home. Think about it, when you have clutter like papers, books, memos, etc. all over your desk and office space, do you really feel like working in there? I know I don’t. Having a messy workspace clutters your mind and distracts you from what you’re trying to accomplish. Since your livelihood and business is at home, you have to designate a proper space to work.

In a blog post by Gunderson and Denton, they note that this is one of the common mistakes of people who have home-based businesses. They suggest that “having a reserved office space can help you get into work mode. Even if your home is small, you can set aside a corner for your desk and computer specifically for your work. Eliminate all distractions in the area. If you have to work in a common area, keep your desk designated for work only, and create some sort of divide between work and home.”

Assemble Your Dream Team: Though you may have all intentions of working by yourself (and there’s nothing wrong with that), you still need to have a few important people in your corner to help your business flourish and keep you sane in the process. Lisa Furgison writes, “Find an accountant to help with taxes and payroll, an insurance broker to decipher policies, a lawyer to draw up business forms, and a mentor to talk with during tough times.”

Network, Network, Network:  Networking online is no different than networking in the real world. Find people in your same niche, connect with them, follow their business pages and establish a relationship. Through networking, you can collaborate with people and expand your audience!

Additionally, promote your business on social media networks, such as Facebook or Instagram. Create specific pages on these sites for your business and link your business website on your Facebook and Instagram so not only can people reach you on social media, but they can also share your posts to spread the word! Use hashtags and look at the best times to post of each social media site to optimize your reach.

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Image via Pexels

Creating a home-based business is by no means an easy thing to do, but if you have a  drive and a passion to mix your passions with your skills and make something meaningful of the two, then it is certainly worth it in the end. Before diving in, do some important things like digging deep for what you want, boosting your confidence, and researching the market and industry you’re entering. After that, build your plan, create a schedule, designate a space, and do the boring tax work to take your business off the ground. If you have the right support system around you, there’s nothing that can stop you from being a success. As always, good luck!

By Alicia Geigel

Uloop Writer
Temple alum | columnist at Uloop News | writer at Top5Must & KnowPhilly | photographer | food blogger

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