Owning a home business can be one of the most rewarding career moves you will ever make. Not only do you get the freedom of answering only to yourself, but our increasingly Internet-savvy society makes reaching out to worldwide consumers easier than ever. Whether you are tired of a nine-to-five work schedule or you are bursting with ideas for ways to make money, there are countless reasons to consider working from home and being your own boss.
However, small businesses are not always successful. Oftentimes, a lack of poor financial planning is at fault. Sometimes it's not having the right permits or licenses. Other times, it's simply that you don't know how to manage your time or where to look for help. These should never be a reason for failure.
This course is designed to provide you with everything you need to know to start on your path toward home business success. From determining whether or not you're suited to become a business owner to providing information on the tax implications of hiring employees, this Home Business e-Course is a comprehensive source of tips, tools, and tricks of the trade.
Do You Have the Time?
There are many different ways to start a home business, but every single one of them has one requirement in common: time. Granted, some businesses will take less time than others to start or run, but if you don't think about these things in advance, you can find yourself unable to even get yours off the ground. In order to determine if you have the necessary time to get your business up and running, take a few things into consideration:
How much time do you need?
Again, this requires you to be realistic with yourself. How much time will your business idea honestly require? Can you fit it in during those two-hour blocks, or would it take a staff of full-time workers to really pull off what you want to do?
How can you make more time?
If you are really serious about your home business idea, then you are probably going to have to make some changes in your life. In order to find the time to get your idea up and running, you may have to carve more time out of your schedule. A few tips for doing this include:
- Stay up an hour later at night/Get up an hour earlier in the morning
- Find someone to look after your children for a few hours a week
- Turn off the TV
- Give up a hobby or leisure activity for a while
- Get your whole family involved in the business
Finding the time to start your home business can be quite a sticking point in actually getting it started. If you just can't seem to fit it into your already-busy schedule, then perhaps it's not the right time to start up something new. If you are truly devoted to the idea, however, you will find a way to make the time for it to happen.
Are You a Self-Starter?
One of the most attractive aspects of having your own business is that you no longer have to answer to a boss. This is a great idea in theory, but it has gotten more than one entrepreneur into a world of trouble. If there is no one standing by to give you assignments, set deadlines, or just generally pester you to get your job done, will you still be able to do what you need to do?
This question requires you to really take an honest look at yourself. We all want to believe that we're "go getters," but the fact of the matter is that many of us need the structure that a "regular" job provides. Determine if you will be able to set and reach goals – if you will truly make yourself sit down and do the work every day without fail. Remember that you will likely only have yourself to rely on at the beginning. If you don't do the work, no one else is going to be able to pick up your slack.
On the other hand, if you are the kind of person who just loves to organize projects and pays close attention to details, then running your own home business might be just the ticket to moving toward your personal and financial goals. The best candidates for home businesses are people who have a variety of interests in a number of fields. Perhaps you don't know everything you need to know at the onset (filing taxes, marketing your goods or service, etc.), but if you are willing and able to learn these things with enthusiasm, then you have a real shot at success.
Can You Afford to Start Your Business?
More than one incredible business idea has remained locked in someone's head due to a lack of money to get it up and running. While there are actually a few home businesses that you can start for free, most of them are going to take at least a little start-up capital. There are several ways to acquire this funding.
1. Save it up
Believe it or not, the easiest way to fund your business idea is probably to save a little bit of money at a time until you have enough to move forward with your plans. It's not the flashy way to do things, but it is likely the most solid way to get started. Try a few of these ideas to free up a little cash to start your business:
- Take on a second job
- Cut out your daily latte/pack of cigarettes/etc. and save the money
- Get rid of your cable and use the time and money to build your business
- Clip coupons and shop the sales
While it can be tempting to quit your regular job and jump on the home business bandwagon, that might not be the best way to go. Consider starting your business part-time on the side and allowing it to grow while you still have a steady paycheck that pays the bills.
2. Get a loan
If your credit is good and you have a solid business idea, then a bank or other lender might consider loaning you the funds you need to get started. Of course, loans must be repaid, so you business needs to be successful enough to be sure you can make the payments. You will also have to put up some sort of collateral, so loans are risky.
3. Find a venture capitalist or "angel investor."
Of course, everyone dreams of finding someone who wants to invest in their business idea just because they believe in it. There are folks who do that, and they're called angel investors. Not surprisingly, there are far more people looking for these types of funds than there are actual investors. Venture capitalists also invest in ideas they think might have the ability to bring in a good return on their investment down the road. However, if you are excited to start your business so that you don't have someone looking over your shoulder, you might want to skip the venture capitalist idea.
4. Bootstrap your business
"Bootstrapping" is a term that's used to describe running a business on a very tight budget. Bootstrappers find free and inexpensive ways to start and run their businesses, as well as for marketing and possibly even manufacturing a product.
Are You Passionate about Your Idea?
If you want to start a home business simply so you can make some "easy money," then you should probably reconsider. While it's true that you can make your own schedule when you're your own boss, you do still have to work. In fact, you will probably have to work even harder than you would if you went in to an office or factory every day. When you own your business, you have to consider things like taxes and inventory and marketing and more. It's not just a matter of doing the one thing you like every day. There are dozens of other jobs that go along with being a business owner.
If you are truly passionate about your business idea, then you have a much better chance of staying focused. Sure, you still have to do all of those other administrative tasks, but you have the added bonus of knowing that you're doing them to further your great plan. If you're selling something, for example, it's a whole lot easier when you truly believe in that product. In addition, you want to be sure that you can continue day after day. If you don't actually enjoy the work that goes into it, not only are you going to get burned out, but there really isn't much point in going into business in the first place, is there?
Speaking of sales, any type of business you start is going to require you to sell yourself, your service, or your product in some way. Getting a customer's attention, hooking him on your product or service, and delivering it are all part of marketing. This is something that is truly difficult for many entrepreneurs, so if you don't have a natural talent for marketing, you'd better be ready to educate yourself and step out of your comfort zone.
How much time do you have?
The amount of time you have available is going to greatly affect what you can and cannot do. Sit down and realistically determine how much time you have during the week to devote to your new venture. Just as important as the amount of time is the way it is available to you. An eight-hour block of time once a week lends itself to different business ideas than four two-hour blocks a week. You must be realistic with yourself when making these types of determinations.