Did you know there are roughly 15 million home-based businesses in the United States?
That sounds like a lot, but entering the market isn’t as hard as it may seem. Read on for 11 key rules to follow if you have a small home business idea you want to kick off the ground, or are just curious about what it would take to run one.
1. Make Sure You Have Permission
Does your business need a permit to run? The answer is more than likely yes, but it all depends on what industry you’re involved in.
Child or healthcare, for example, are two heavily regulated industries. The Small Business Administration lays out specific laws by state and even breaks down industries.
It’s also important to consider the money you’ll need to pay for these licenses and permits. Is there an annual fee needed to uphold their validity? This all depends on the city, state, or region you’re located in, and can even be broken down into districts depending on where you’re at.
Dedicate a day or two to this research, and keep tabs on where you read everything so you can reference it later if needed.
2. Know What It Takes to Get a Business off the Ground
Running a business is more than creating fun things and selling them.
Research what you’ll need to provide your business with before proceeding with anything else. Do you need a loan? Do you have insurance for your business?
Make sure you have an end goal for your small home business — a purpose. Starting anything from scratch can be demanding and difficult. It becomes easier to stay on track when you know what you’re striving for.
You also need to be real with yourself. Are you dedicated enough to work for yourself? Are you comfortable with overseeing employees when and if they’re ever needed?
Make a running list of all the things you need to consider before starting your business, and decide whether it’s the right choice for you. The earlier you make this decision, the better.
Remember, you’re not a failure if you decide to not do it one way. There are always other avenues to take. Find a business partner to help you out, or wait until the time is right for you and this new venture.
3. The Right Internet Package
Unless you’re a magician, your business is going to need the internet at some point. Even magicians would probably need a good internet package.
Get a clear idea of how many devices you’re going to run over one network, and make sure that others using the network (especially if you have a family with kids learning online) won’t disturb your use of it.
Knowing how many devices are going to be one network helps decipher the speed you need. Next, know what you’re going to be using that internet for.
Chances are, if you’re at home, you’re going to stream TV shows or movies on top of working. Keep all of this in mind, and then decide on a provider and plan that best suits your needs.
If you need help deciding, view here.
4. Manage Taxes and Insurance Closely
The federal government has very specific laws for businesses and their owners. This includes tax laws, employment and labor laws, antitrust laws, advertising, email marketing, privacy, environmental regulations, and more.
Most importantly, as a business owner, you’re now responsible for your taxes. If you have employees, you’re responsible for their taxes as well. Insurance and wages are also something to consider.
If you sell anything, you need to collect sales tax from customersThis does, however, vary from state to state. It also depends on what it is you’re selling.
5. Overestimate Your Starting Costs
Now that you’ve deciphered what things you’ll need to start your small home business, it’s time to calculate the costs. Once you’ve done this, double it.
Take things like marketing and new office furniture into account if it’s necessary. You might be saving money on office space or a brick and mortar shop by working from home, but you still need supplies to keep that business running.
6. Create a Workspace
It doesn’t have to be an air-conditioned shed in your backyard (though it can be if you want it to), but you should at least carve out a small corner of your home as a dedicated workspace.
If you’re in a small apartment, this can mean converting your dining room table or living room floor into an office during the day time. If space isn’t a huge concern, buy a desk. Get shelving and a file cabinet.
Even if space is a concern, there are compact systems you can buy to keep the mess at bay. If you’re able to convert an entire room into a home office, this is better.
No matter the situation, you just have to trick your brain into forgetting it’s at home. Creating separation during the day that you are then able to get away from at night helps decrease your chance of burnout.
7. Get Organized
Once you’ve figured out a workspace, it’s time to organize it.
Utilize file folders, binders, online storage systems, anything. The sky is the limit, and (this is the best part) it’s completely customizable to you.
If you need help creating a system, YouTube is a great place to start. Plenty of creators and small business owners have shared their secrets to working from home while staying sane.
Create a Pinterest board or consult other avenues of social media. There are even books on home organization. This is a big step to take and prevents you from losing files or important documents.
8. Understand Your Productivity Levels
Understand that you are still going to be creating your small business from home, and some level of comfort is going to remain in your bubble. This isn’t a bad thing, but it might be helpful to get to know your routine.
Maybe you’re most productive at night, or first thing in the morning after you’ve had your coffee and breakfast. Whenever it is, take advantage of it.
Also, be sure to give yourself breaks throughout the workday. If you’re on this small business venture alone, it’s important to consider just how many breaks a person takes throughout the day.
Whether it’s talking to coworkers, going to the bathroom, even stopping to eat a snack. Our minds aren’t wired to concentrate on one task for eight consecutive hours.
Give yourself breaks.
9. Create a Brand
Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t create a brand for your small business. Besides, this is the fun part.
Do some research into color psychology and the effects it has on the human mind. Certain colors evoke certain feelings, and you may be able to use this to your advantage.
Color palettes are also something to consider. You don’t want to overcomplicate your business’s brand with too many colors, so stick to a maximum of 3-5.
From there, create a logo. Build a website. Design t-shirts or merchandise if you feel it’s necessary. Above all else, create something you’re happy to carry as your own.
10. Build a Social Media Presence
In today’s world, this tip could make all the difference for you.
Step one is researching what you would need to start a small business. Step two is checking into people’s responses to your idea.
Think about it. You wouldn’t get a dog excited for treats knowing you have none to give. You shouldn’t get consumers, customers, your friends, family, followers, anyone, excited for a plan that you’re not sure you can carry out.
Research first. Brainstorm your brand and ideas. Then start marketing to tell everyone about what you’re doing.
Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are the best places to start. Plan giveaways if you’re able, or just run a simple poll to increase your engagement.
You should’ve budgeted for marketing when you estimated your starting costs. Run an ad on Instagram, send out a sponsored tweet on Twitter. That giveaway could be a really good place to start depending on the business you’re running.
If you’re not able to plan a giveaway, try to get your name onto the news or into the mouths of others. Do not underestimate the classic word of mouth marketing. People trust the opinions of others, and that could work in your favor.
11. Don’t Underestimate Yourself
This list may seem daunting, but that doesn’t mean you’re incapable of following through. Plan and talk to others if you need to.
Bouncing ideas around with a business partner, potential employee, or even a friend or family member is a great way to boost your morale. Building a small home business isn’t a one-man show, and feeling supported in your endeavors could help in the long run.
Building a Small Home Business Is Easier Than It Seems
It’s about follow-through. Think ahead, plan, get organized, and then it’s easy to execute from there.
Do not try to build your business from memory. Write everything down, including the names, times, and dates of people you speak with when trying to solve insurance or tax problems.
Check out the rest of our website to gain further insight into starting a small home business today.