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The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Home-Based Business

Introduction

According to survey data, over 70% of Americans say that they would like to be self-employed as opposed to working for someone else. As a result, it is not surprising to find that entrepreneurs are starting companies every day, with a special emphasis on home-based businesses.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com, licensed under CC0 Public Domain

This guide is written to help any aspiring entrepreneur to set up their own home-based business. It starts with the ideation phase and takes you, the reader, step by step till you have a thriving business. In the process, this guide will cover numerous topics, including promoting your business, writing your business plan, and taking care of the legal side of things.

What follows is a brief summary of all the chapters in this guide along with the topics covered in each one:

Chapter 1: Things To Consider Before Starting Your Home Business

The first chapter in the guide will offer an overview of what to expect when entering the world of home-based businesses. It will discuss the sort of questions you need to ask yourself and the traits you need to succeed, and offer an insight into pros and cons of this type of business.

Chapter 2: Coming Up With a Business Idea

If you’re still convinced that a home-based business is for you, then you need to start by coming up with a business idea. This chapter will cover the first steps of starting a business, which include brainstorming and coming up with a good business idea. It will also list some common and profitable home-based business ideas.

Chapter 3: Writing a Business Plan

Just as a captain of a ship studies the weather and the surrounding waters to plot the best path, you too should scrutinize the market and devise the best plan for your business. This chapter will demonstrate what you need to look out for and offer advice on developing a good business plan.

Chapter 4: Taking Care Of Legal Requirements

Even though the legal red tape surrounding businesses might seem daunting from a distance, when you start understanding the legal requirements, you’ll realize that there’s nothing to it. So, whether you want to understand the different types of business structures or learn how to register your business’s name, this chapter has got you covered.

Chapter 5: Managing Finances

Running a business requires diligent care of its finances. In this chapter, you can develop a solid financial plan that takes into account your startup costs and prepares you to get the funding you need.

Chapter 6: Organizing Proper Work Space

The workspace you operate within is critical to your success; it shields you from outside distractions, it provides you with all the resources and tools you need, and it helps you project a professional demeanor to all your clients. This chapter will list and explain what needs to be considered when setting up a workspace at home.

Chapter 7: Establishing Business Practices

Once your business is up and running, you’ll want to establish a few routines and practices that’ll help keep you on track. This chapter will offer advice on setting your work schedule, delegating and outsourcing, and creating a successful work-life balance.

Chapter 8: Using The Right Digital Tools

This chapter will focus exclusively on the digital tools at your disposal that can take your business to the next level. The tools will range from simple time-tracking programs to more intricate marketing and data analysis software.

Chapter 9: Promoting Your Business

This chapter will cover all the possible ways you can promote your business. We will begin by discussing how to create a website and finish by seeing the different marketing strategies you can use, both online and offline.

Chapter 10: Tips For Success

Finally, the last chapter will cover a few tips that you might find helpful, along with a couple of pitfalls you might run into and how to get over them.

 

Chapter 1: Things To Consider Before Starting Your Home Business

One of the most difficult things to do when taking on any large endeavor is to be realistic about what you’re committing to. 

This chapter aims at getting you ready for what all business owners are bound to encounter at one point or another. It poses a few questions that you need to ask yourself, explores some of the traits that will prove invaluable along your journey, and dissects some of the pros and cons of being your own boss and running your own business from home.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com, licensed under CC0 Public Domain

 

Questions to Ask Yourself in The Very Beginning

We will begin by looking at a few questions which you have to answer honestly if you want to give your business the best chance it can get:

What are your strengths?

The first question on our list seems natural enough; it stands to reason that you’d want to start a business that plays to your strengths. However, most people aren’t necessarily aware of their strengths. Instead, they rush into starting a business, without thinking how it complements their natural talents. You, on the other hand, should begin by writing down a list of all the things you’re good at it and see what you can make of them.

What are your weaknesses?

Just as you spent some time listing your fortes, you should spend some time figuring out your weaknesses. After all, a business requires a multitude of talents, and you’re bound to fall short in a few of them. Once you figure out your faults, you can do one of two things: you can either work on them or outsource them to someone who is more talented in those specific areas and who will save you loads of time to focus on your main business.

Given your list of strengths and weaknesses, how suited are you to run a business?

This is a tricky one to answer. Nevertheless, if you know for a fact that you don’t handle stress well, then it’s safe to say that starting, for example, a call center at your home is not the best use of your time; some things are just that clear cut.

How much are you willing to invest financially?

Any business requires that you put some initial investment into it. Additionally, different businesses will contain different degrees of risk. As a result, the size of the checks you’re willing to sign and the risks you’re willing to take on are dependent on several factors, including your age, your risk tolerance, and your savings. For example, a risky venture might not be the best idea for someone who’s close to retirement, especially if the venture requires a lot of money to start.

Moreover, you’ll need to pour some sweat, sacrifice some time, and invest your own emotions. You can start out by trying the business part-time before devoting yourself fully to it. In any case, you need to be prepared to give up on a few things you might have grown accustomed to in the past years.

What does your support network look like?

Every entrepreneur needs the help of someone along their tortuous journey, and you are no different. You’ll need the support of family, friends, and mentors.

On the one hand, getting the support of those already close to you can lift you up when things get rough. On the other hand, mentors can give you excellent counsel at times when you find yourself unsure of your next move.

The Traits Needed to Start a Business From Home

Having just surveyed some of the questions you need to answer in order to start your own business, let’s assess some of the character traits that’ll prove instrumental for you.

  • Determination: managing to produce consistent work regardless of how you feel is of the utmost importance, and to make that happen, you need plenty of determination.
  • Self-motivation: unlike working in an office, you’re your own boss when you start a business. Consequently, you have to set your own goals and strive to achieve them. This is where self-motivation will make all the difference.
  • Optimism: you need to have a sunny outlook on life to not only produce your best work but to also weather all those times when the loneliness of the job along with its ups and downs will hit you hardest.
  • Independence: even though working from home can shelter you from all the distractions offered by your co-workers, it can get extremely lonely at times. Therefore, you need to be sure that you can stomach sitting on your own for hours on end.
  • Willingness to learn: without your boss to give you the requisite training to keep up with our ever changing world, it’ll fall on you to keep up to date and teach yourself whenever the need arises.
  • Problem solving skills: regardless of how reliable your support network might be, there will come several instances when you are facing a problem on your own. When that happens, you want to make sure that you are well-equipped to solve the problem, be it by being a good researcher, a critical thinker, or a resourceful individual.

Pros and Cons of Starting Your Own Business

With the basics behind us, let’s end this chapter by looking at some of the positives and negatives of operating a business from your household.

Pros

Convenience. Without the need to commute back and forth to your work on a daily basis, you can save yourself an average of 50 minutes a day based on a Gallup poll. In addition to this, you can avoid all the stress that comes with that daily commute.

No dresscode. Not only can you avoid having to follow a stifling dress code on a daily basis, but you can also spare a few bucks thanks to not having to maintain a formal wardrobe.

Flexibility. When you operate a business from your home, you can set your own hours. Luckily, this means that you can work when you know that you are most productive, which can be suitable for both morning people and night owls alike.

Less stress. Assuming that you choose the right business for you, you can end up spending your days in a much more relaxed atmosphere than at an office. Think of it this way: apart from the daily commute, you’ll no longer have to contend with everyday office politics, you’ll be able to control your environment at home to create a suitable work environment, and you’ll no longer have to deal with all the distractions and noise that come with the corporate life.

Cheaper to run. Obviously, running your business from your home is cheaper than renting out some office space, which can be a nasty overhead. What you might not know is that home businesses qualify for tax incentives and tax deductions.

Proximity to home and family. Last but not least, a home business allows you to keep an eye on the kids as well as get some house chores done when need be. You’ll be able to give both your professional life and your personal life the attention they deserve.


Cons

Isolation. Working on your own can get pretty lonely. It’s true that we just mentioned getting away from your colleagues’ distractions can be a big plus, yet the flip side of that coin is that those same distractions can keep you company and offer you much needed breaks every so often.

Distractions. Speaking of distractions, your home can still offer its own set of diversions that will interrupt your work flow and get you out of your chair. These can range from your children’s needs to a hungry pet to a household chore that can’t wait.

Unintended procrastination. This isn’t a drawback of having a home business so much as an unintended effect. You see, with neither a boss to look over your shoulder nor a sense of competition with you colleague to egg you on, you are left to your own devices. Unless you can motivate yourself, you are bound to slack behind.

Less ad hoc learning. You might not be aware of it, but you inadvertently learn a lot from your colleagues when you work in an office. This is known as ad hoc learning, indirect learning. A home business deprives you of this, which means that you have to work double time to make up for it.

Difficulty in separating home from work. As much as we all yearn for balance in our lives, we are all susceptible to having our personal lives and our work lives wash over one another. This becomes even more prevalent for those of us who operate their business from home.

Unprofessional appearance. Despite your best efforts, some clients might get the impression that your business isn’t that professional the minute they learn that you work from home.

To conclude, we’ve covered some of the main questions you need to ask yourself when contemplating starting your own business.

We are going to spend the next chapter discussing how you can come up with a business idea that fits well with your experience, background, and skills. Also, we will take a look at some common and profitable home-based business ideas.

 

Chapter 2: Coming Up With a Business Idea 

Once you’ve set your mind on beginning your own home business, the first thing you need to do is to identify what your business is going to be about; in other words, do you plan on selling a product or offer your services?

With that said, this chapter will discuss how you can fine tune your brainstorming process so as to come up with the idea that suits you best. It will also take a glimpse at a few possible options that have proven lucrative for others before you.

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Coming Up With The Business Idea


Anyone starting a business venture will fall into one of two camps: Either they will know what they want to do and need to figure out how they can do it from home, or they still are unsure about what they’d like to invest in but know that they want to run the business from their home. Naturally, it is the second group who should be more interested in working to define an idea that they’d be passionate to work on.

Where do ideas come from?

When it comes to ideas, they tend to come from one of three directions:

1. Spontaneous ideas. Just like a bolt of lightning that strikes you out of the blue and has you running in the middle of the street shouting “Eureka”, ideas can come out of nowhere and surprise you when you least expect it. However, although this type of spontaneous ideas may seem inspired, you need to research them because odds are others have thought about them as well and are already making them happen.

2. Insider ideas. Another type of ideas comes from years and years of experience in a specific field or industry. These are the kinds of ideas that come when you know an industry inside out and are aware of all the needs that are yet to be met. You don’t even have to meet an explicit need; you can start a business by improving on current operating standards.

3. Deliberate ideas. You have to exert deliberate effort to come up with one of these. Usually, people who are aware that they want to start their own business but aren’t certain what they want to do, our second category from above, are the ones who put in the time and sweat to find these ideas. This is where brainstorming can come in handy.

The Brainstorming Process and Evaluating The Ideas You Come Up With


1. Defining your goals. You might be unclear on the kind of business you’ll eventually run, but you should be clear on why you want to start a business in the first place. For instance, you might want to make a profit off of a hobby of yours, in which case your home business will probably be a part-time gig that will supplement your main source of income. On the other hand, you might be looking for a business that provides you with a revenue stream that can replace your monthly salary. A third possibility is a business you plan to sell within a few years. The bottom line is that your goals and objectives will have a large role in defining the ideas you choose and the ideas you discard.

2. Factoring in your strengths. Along with defining your goals and objectives, you should take into account your relevant qualifications, skills, and experiences. After all, you want to go with something that plays to your strengths.

3. Framing the problem.This frame can come in the form of a list of all the industries you’d be interested in working in or of all the customers you’d like to serve. For example, you could think of all the B2C customers you’d like to work with, such as gamers, stay-at home mothers, and chefs. Alternatively, you could use a list filled with options like dating, travelling, and real estate as a guide of the industries you’d like to infiltrate.

4. Coming up with ideas. Armed with your list of potential customers and industries, you should start asking yourself what possible ideas or products can you offer each customer segment/ industry on your list.

5. Evaluating the idea. By now, you should have a list that exceeds 6 possible business ideas. The next step is to evaluate each idea and discard the ones that don’t make the cut. You have to measure your ideas against your original goals and see which ones suit them best. Furthermore, you need to honestly consider which ideas will align with your strengths and which ones will place you out of your element. Market opportunity is also another big factor you should put in the mix. When looking into market opportunity, you can quickly use Google to estimate the size of the market, the degree of competition, and the barriers to entry.

6. Picking the top three ideas. Based on your evaluation of your ideas, you should be able to pick three winners from the bunch. These are probably the ones that fit well with your goals and skills as well as show promise when it comes to their market size.

7. Writing a concise business case for each idea. Seeing as you’ll be researching these three ideas in depth, you need to lay out all you know about them. This includes what problems your business addresses, how it attempts to address said problems, what makes your idea different than what is already on the market, and who your main competitors are and the size of the market you all serve. Over and above, you need to state the resources you have at your disposal and how they can work for your business along with how profitable you think the business stands to be. In short, think of these business cases as mini-business plans.

8. Thoroughly researching each idea. At this stage, you should be finished with all the online research. It’s time for you to hit the ground and start seeing how practical each idea is in everyday life. You can start by interviewing family members and friends. Afterwards, you can survey real life customers and get their feedback. Other stakeholders that can benefit your project include potential investors, potential suppliers, and other people within the value chain.

9. Revisiting your business cases. Having seen what’s out there in the world, you should be able to make adjustments to each business case and assess how accurate your assumptions were.

10. Picking an idea. You should now be able to choose an idea from the three seeing as you have the full picture. It is worth remembering that your choice shouldn’t be based on what’ll make you the most money but what you’re most passionate about. At the end of the day, if you choose a business based solely on the potential revenue, your enthusiasm will fizzle out quickly and you’ll be left wondering why you started the business in the first place.

Some Profitable Business Ideas

Here are a few possible ideas that have been tested time and again. They are profitable, and, more often than not, you will find ample demand for them:

Arts and crafts services:

  •  Jewelry making: for those of us who have a high aesthetic sensibility coupled with an interest in fashion and jewelry, why not make your own stuff? People will always want to buy necklaces, bracelets, and other unique ornaments.
  • You can also look into: Faux painting home interiors, gift baskets, scrapbooking.


Home services:

  • Home renovation services: if you have the necessary experience and tools, home renovations are a lucrative option for you.
  • Cleaning services: plenty of families are looking for reliable, trustworthy individuals to help them clean their house.
  • You can also look into: lawn care, chimney sweep, home inspection, pool cleaning, computer repair.

Personal Services: 

  • In-home beauty services: you can spare countless mothers a trip to the salon by offering the same beauty services in their own homes.
  • Business/ life coach services: just as a good team needs a strong coach to lead it, you can help people in both their professional and personal lives by offering them the mental and moral support when they need it most.
  • You can also look into: tutoring, freelance writing, blogging.

Business services: 

  • Consulting services: if you have plenty of experience in the professional world and are capable of seeing the bigger picture when need be, you might be the perfect candidate for a freelance consultant.
  • You can also look into: bookkeeping, tax preparation, virtual assistant, web designer.

E-commerce: 

  • Online retail store: purchasing things through the internet has made things convenient for all of us. Therefore, you can capitalize on this market opportunity and begin an online store.

To conclude, this chapter investigated how you can come up with the perfect business idea for you. Afterwards, we looked into a few possible ideas you could explore.
In the next chapter, we will discuss how you can write your business plan. We will look into how you can develop a solid business strategy and marketing plan.

 

Chapter 3: Writing a Business Plan 

Armed with your business idea and the enthusiasm to make it happen, it’s time for you to come up with a plan that can help steer you towards your goals. Naturally, to come up with a plan, you need to do extensive research, including knowing your target market and marking out your competition.

This chapter will explain what a business plan is as well as what it entails.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com, licensed under CC0 Public Domain

 

What is a Business Plan?


Be it a start-up that needs funding or an existing business that needs to reassess its strategies, modern day corporations need to have a business plan on hand at all times. In a nutshell, these plans detail your current situation, the possible obstacles you’re about to run into, and how you can deal with said obstacles.

A very important thing to point out is that several business owners treat the business plan as a static printed document that must be followed to the letter. However, this is never the case. If anything, your business plan is built on information and assumptions that might have seemed valid at the time but no longer are. Therefore, the plan has to change according to the new information that comes along, turning your business plan into a dynamic document that changes and morphs with time.

There are two main types of business plans: the first is what’s known as a lean business plan, whereas the second is the more traditional type. Lean business plans are the kind that take up a single page, such as a business model canvas. Conversely, a traditional business plan can span quite a few pages; its size depends on the amount of detail explored along with the intricacy of the business. Within this guide, we will focus more on the traditional plan, knowing that a lean one is much easier to make should you understand the basics.

Why Do You Need a Business Plan?

A business plan has plenty of benefits to offer. Let’s take a look at some of them.

1. A business plan is instrumental for securing your business finance.

Unless you have a clear plan for your business that details the possible risks involved in your business along with the potential returns, no loaner or investor will be willing to part with their money and give it to you. The only way you can convince anyone of the profitability of your business is through your business plan.

2. A business plan can help you discern what’s important from what isn’t. 

A business plan doesn’t only inform you of what things you should prioritize, but it also relays this same vision to the rest of your team members. In such a manner, your company’s efforts are focused on to a few single points that will lead to your ultimate goal. 

3. A business plan helps you better manage your business.

A business plan can help in other aspects of management as well. For one thing, it helps you foresee problems before they come knocking at your door. Another thing is how it helps you test your hypotheses to see what you truly know about the market and what is erroneous. 

A few notes before we start talking on how to write a business plan.

Before we delve into the minutiae that go into writing a business plan, there are a few things that should be pointed out.

  • To start with, your business plan will need plenty of research, much more than what was required for your ideation phase. For example, not only should you look into the other competitors occupying the space you’re trying to get into, you should also try to ascertain how their business models work and see what can be useful for you.
  • You also need to decide who is going to use this business plan of yours; is it an internal document to be passed among the employees? Or are you writing it in hopes of receiving funds? At the end of the day, you have to tailor your document and writing to your audience.
  • When you do start writing, you don’t have to finish the entire business plan in one go. Instead, you can work on a few key chapters, leave it a bit, and then return to finish the rest. Furthermore, you should make sure that you get all the help you need when going through the chapters. For example, when working on the legal aspect, your business would be better served by the services of a lawyer than by you working on something you might not fully understand.
  • Finally, realizing that your business plan is bound to be riddled with assumptions, you shouldn’t be surprised when your forecasts deviate from the actual figures once the business gets going. What matters is the degree of this deviation. Remember, a business plan is meant to be revised time and time again to ascertain how well the business is going. 

The Business Plan

In this part, we will discuss everything that should go into your business plan. We will analyze each section separately plus create a short fictitious business plan for a home-run jewelry business. 

A business plan can be broken down into the following:

  • An executive summary
  • A company overview
  • Products and services
  • Market analysis
  • Marketing and sales plan
  • Milestones and metrics
  • Management team
  • Financial plan
  • Appendix

Here is a more detailed look into each of them. 

1. An Executive Summary. The executive summary contains a synopsis of the entire plan, making it one of the most important sections for any potential investors. In the executive summary, you should offer a concise explanation of what your business is, who runs the business, the problem it tackles, who its clients are, its edge in the market, who the competitors are and the possible profits you stand to gain. 

In the case of a jewelry business, your executive summary should start with a simple introduction that discusses your business, what it does, and where it is headed. Subsequently, you can offer a brief overview of the market. For example, you can talk about how your main customers can be broken down into two main categories: individuals and galleries. After the market overview, you can present the broad strokes concerning the financial projections. At the end of the executive summary, you can state the objectives of this business plan.

2. A Company Overview. This section is devoted to diving a bit deeper into the nooks and cranny of your company, specifically the legal structure of the company along with its history and location. Additionally, you should mention both the vision and mission of your company.

In the case of a jewelry business, the first thing you should write in this section is a brief description of your company and its value proposition. This is a perfect place to discuss the location and history of your business, including the reason it was started in the first place.

You also want to discuss the company mission statement. Afterwards, you’ll want to discuss the legal structure of the business. 

3. Products and Services. Having discussed your company, it’s time for you to discuss the products you are actually selling and their market appeal. It’s important to show what differentiates your products as well as how they solve a problem that was left unchecked by the other products in the market.


In the case of a jewelry business, simply put, here you should describe the jewelry products and what makes them unique. You can put in a few designs to show what sets you apart in addition to a couple of testimonials from different individuals stating their honest opinion of your products. You might choose to talk about the materials you use, particularly if you use unique materials.


4. Market Analysis. This section is probably the most research intensive part of your plan. It consists of two subsections: target market and competitor analysis.

When discussing your target market, you should be aware of the total market size and how big your target market is within the total market. You also want to illustrate how fast your target market is growing or shrinking along with any changing trends.

As for the competition, the first thing you want to do is to see how you compare to them. You need to remember that your competition isn’t restricted to companies that sell a product that is exactly like yours. Instead, your competitors are the ones who address the same customer needs that you do regardless of what they sell.

In the case of a jewelry business, to figure out how big your target market is, you want to scrutinize what the buying patterns are and create personas for your different target segments. Odds are, for a jewelry business, your main clientele will either be galleries that purchase wholesale and resell to the public or be individuals who buy directly from you. The individuals in turn can be impulse buyers or gift buyers. Afterwards, you should talk about the competition and mention how you plan to face it.

5. Marketing and Sales Plan. You are now ready to start figuring out how you are going to address your potential clients. The first thing to settle on is your branding and positioning: how will the customer think of your company and business relative to other businesses within the same space. Although this is defined by the current terrain of the market, you can play a huge role in how your customers perceive your business, starting with setting your price. 

Aside from positioning and pricing, you need to consider all the tools at your disposal to directly communicate with the client. This includes the use of advertising, public relations, social media, and other.

As for sales, you want to think of all the possible ways you can get your product into the hands of your customers. Do you plan to sell directly to you client? Or would you rather go through a retailer of sorts?


In the case of a jewelry business, for starters you need to discuss what kind of jewelry you plan to sell. Are we talking about high-end jewelry that is expensive? Or, are you considering selling everyday earrings and rings? You also want to look into the kinds of advertising and promotions you’ll be offering. When it comes to your sales strategy, you should talk about each different target segment separately.


6. Milestones and Metrics. Even though you might have a marketing and sales plan, you need a way to measure the success or failure of your plan as well as benchmarks to assess the progress of your business. When measuring metrics, you will want to set different metrics according to the nature of your business.

In the case of a jewelry business, you will probably resort to numerous metrics and benchmarks. Assuming that you are just starting out, here are a few to get you started: the degree of setting up an office and workshop, the degree of establishing a distribution channel, amount complete of business plan, market share captured, and number of repeat customers.

7.
Management Team. This is the place to introduce people to your team as well as elaborate why each individual is qualified for their role. What’s more, you should include your company’s organizational structure and explain how this structure affects day to day operations.


In the case of a jewelry business, odds are that you’ll be the only employee the company has. Thus, you should elaborate on what qualifies you to run a jewelry business. However, somewhere along the line, you might want to hire someone to help you in the day-to-day operations or a sales representative to help you sell your products.


8. Financial Plan. In this section, you will insert your sales forecast, your personnel plan, your expenses from marketing and running the business, and a profit and loss statement (a spreadsheet that details all your expenses, all your income, and subtracts one from the other). Also, you will probably produce a cash flow statement and a balance sheet. At the end of the chapter, you can discuss a funding request, where you elaborate on the number you need. Moreover, you will need to add a section discussing an exit strategy.

In the case of a jewelry business, to begin with, you should state the assumptions that you have at the outset. Following the assumptions, you need to write your income statement, your cash flow statement, and your balance sheet. An important point to focus on is the break-even point: you need to show how much time is needed to reach it.

9. Appendix. The appendix is where you put any and all necessary information that doesn’t fit in any of the other sections of a business plan. Graphs, charts, definitions, legal notes, and any other information that you see fit should be covered in this section.

In the case of a jewelry business, here you should insert your resume to prove that you are qualified to run this business. Other items that might be of interest to potential readers are pictures of the jewelry, testimonials, and sales brochures.

 

Throughout this chapter, we’ve seen what constitutes a business plan and why it is important. Afterwards, we explained all the important sections of a business plan.

In the next chapter, we will look into the legal requirements you need to take care of. In it, we will discuss licenses, business structures, and different governmental entities you will eventually come across.


Chapter 4: Taking Care Of Legal Requirements 

One of the main constituents of your business plan, the topic of the previous chapter, is the section dealing with all the legal details revolving around your business. Naturally, it’s important to understand all the legal requirements of your business along with the exemptions and deductions that your business is eligible for.


With this in mind, this chapter will take a closer look at everything legal pertaining to your business.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com, licensed under CC0 Public Domain

 

Picking a Legal Structure For Your Business

There are four main types of legal structures your business can take.

Sole Proprietorship and Partnerships

This is the simplest type of business to start up. You are automatically considered as a sole proprietary once you engage in business activities without being registered. One of the advantage of this structure, besides its ease and cheapness, is what’s called a pass-through tax system. Basically, your company’s profits are passed on to you directly and are taxed as personal income. Compared to other structures, such as the corporation, this means that your profits are taxed once.


On the other hand, sole proprietorships have a few downsides. To start with, you, as the business owner, are liable for the business’s debt and obligations. Additionally, seeing as you can’t sell shares of your company, raising funds and bringing investors onboard tends to be very difficult.


Partnerships are very similar to sole proprietorship, except that they are made for two people or more. In short, all the benefits and drawbacks experienced by a sole proprietorship are also experienced by a partnership, yet they are distributed over the partners rather than be focused on a single owner.

Nevertheless, there exists a hybrid between a sole proprietorship and partnership where one partner carries all the liability, while the rest of the partners aren’t as exposed as the main one. This sort of partnership is called limited partnerships.

Corporations

There are numerous types of corporations out there, including a C corp, an S corp, a B corp, a close corporation, and a non-profit corporation. Each type of corporation performs a specific function and has its benefits and drawbacks. For our purposes, we will focus on C corps.


Corporations in general form a legal entity that is separate from its owners. On the one hand, in some cases corporations are taxed twice: once as income tax on their profits and another time as taxes on dividends distributed to shareholders. They also tend to be complex thanks to all the required bookkeeping efforts, compulsory board meetings, and operational processes.


On the other hand, corporations have numerous advantages over other entities like the sole proprietorship. For one thing, it offers limited liability to its owners, which means that its owners are only liable to lose the money they’ve invested into the business and that’s it. Moreover, the corporation’s separate life from its owners makes it very easy to bring on new investors.

Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)

LLCs combine the best of both worlds: you can enjoy the limited liability of corporations along with the pass through taxes of sole proprietorships and partnerships. Nevertheless, due to owners of an LLC being seen as self-employed in the eyes of the law, they need to contribute to their Medicare and Social Security by paying self-employment tax.


Another issue pertaining to LLCs is that their lifespan may be tethered to its owners. For instance, in the event that a part owner decides to get out of the business, some states insist that the LLC be dissolved and that a new one replace it.

 

Choosing and Registering a Business Name

When picking a name for your business, you want to go for something that is indicative of your brand and meshes well with your products.

Upon arriving at a name, it’s in your best interests to protect said name and prevent any other entity from using it; your first line of defense is to register the name. With that said, there are four main paths to registering your business name:

Entity name. This form of registration offers your business’s name protection at the state level. It is through this name that the state recognizes your business. It stands to reason that each state has its own rules regarding registering the entity name.

Trademark. Whereas an entity name provides protection at the state level, trademarks protect your business’s name throughout the whole country. This is pertinent to companies operating in similar industries.

Doing Business As (DBA) name. A DBA name is a fictitious name under which a business can operate; it does not have to be the same one the business registered. Usually, companies should register their DBAs, even if they are not obliged to.

Domain name. Owning a domain name means that no one can use it but you, hence guarding your online brand and presence. It should go without saying that your domain name doesn’t have to be identical to your legal name.

Registering Your Business

The instant that you have a business structure and name, you can go out to register your business with the proper authorities. In the event of running a small business from home, you’ll most likely have to register with the state and local governments.

Registering with federal agencies. Besides filing to obtain a federal tax ID, you probably won’t have plenty of interactions with the federal government.

Registering with state agencies. If you are anything besides a sole proprietorship, you need to register with the proper state authorities. You can register through the internet, through the mail, or in person, depending on the rules of the state. In case you carry out business in states other than where your business is located, you should look into filing for foreign qualification.

Registering with local agencies. Rather than having to register with local agencies, like county and city governments, businesses need to issue permits and licenses from said agencies. Given that each local government has its own rules regarding registration and licenses, it stands to reason that you research the rules that apply to your locality.

 

Determining Your Federal Tax Obligations

Before even looking into the sort of deductions your home business is entitled to, you need to acquire federal and state tax IDs.

Federal tax ID number. A federal tax ID, which also goes by the name of Employee Identification Number (EIN), is indispensable to any company that wishes to pay federal taxes, hire employees, open business bank accounts, or file for business licenses and permits.

State tax ID number. Should you have to pay state taxes, you are obliged to issue a state tax ID; nevertheless, a state tax ID has other benefits, such as protecting sole proprietorships from identity theft.

In the event that you decide to start a home-based business, you can qualify for home office tax deduction. To deduct home-office expenses, you first need to establish that your home is your principal base of business or a place where you meet with customers and clients on a regular basis.

Applying For Licenses and Permits

No matter what your business structure is, odds are you will need a license or permit of one form or another. Also, you should research whether your business will need any health permits or occupational licenses.

There are two main types of licenses and permits you can file for: licenses and permits on the federal level and licenses and permits on the state level. Beginning with the federal level, you’ll need a license or permit from the proper authority should your business’s activity be regulated federally. As for state licenses and permits, your business location plays just as big role as the kind of activity you are performing.

Dealing With Home-Based Business Regulations

When it comes to running a home-business, there are a few things you should look into, starting with the zoning rules of your home’s location. 

Understanding that zoning laws were made to preserve the function and aesthetic of certain places and areas, it becomes apparent why most residential areas have their own zoning rules. 

Should you wish to further understand the sorts of things zoning laws attempt to regulate when it comes to businesses, the following questions should help:

  • How much does your business affect the physical look of the neighborhood it’s in?
  • How much does your business affect the flow of cars in and out of the neighborhood?
  • Does your business have any external effects on the surrounding neighborhood?
  • Do you in any way annoy or aggravate your neighbors?
  • What kind of business activity are you performing and is it suitable for the neighborhood you’re in? 

Along with complying with zoning laws, you’re business will have to issue a few special permits and licenses due to being based from your home. 

Furthermore, you will need to look into federal and state labor laws if you have people working for you. Federal laws pay attention to the employees you hire and are concerned with their age, working conditions, compensation, and workplace. 

Last but not least, just because you’re running your business out of your home does not mean that copyright laws don’t apply. In other words, you shouldn’t operate under the assumption that selling jewelry under the Tiffany name can go unnoticed. 

Opening a Business Bank Account

There are several types of bank accounts at your disposal: checking accounts, savings accounts, credit card accounts, and merchant services accounts. However, merchant services accounts give you the added bonus of being able to accept credit and debit cards as forms of payments.

Regardless of the account you go with, you will need to issue an Employer Identification Number (EIN) (or your social security number if you’re a sole proprietor) to start a business bank account. You will also need your business’s information documents, ownership agreements, and business licenses.

The only thing left for you to do is to choose the bank with which you want to start your account. 

 

Throughout this chapter, we’ve taken a detailed look at the all necessary legal requirements for you to register a company and acquire the prerequisite licenses and permits to operate.

The next chapter is devoted to understanding how you can best manage your business’s finances. We will discuss financial planning and how bookkeeping plays into all of this.

 

Chapter 5: Managing Finances 

Regardless of their vision, every business needs to make money to survive; otherwise, your business won’t be able to sustain itself for long. With this in mind, let’s take a look at how you can monitor and manage your business’s financials.

 

Image courtesy of pixabay.com, licensed under CC0 Public Domain

 

Defining a Financial Plan 

In our previous chapter covering business plans, we discussed what financial plans were and the basics of writing one. 

When writing a business plan for a start-up, all of the financial statements are projections built on assumptions. Nonetheless, they should indicate the size of the initial investment required as well as the expected time to reach a breakeven point. All of these details paint a clear picture of what running the business will be like, what to expect moving forwards, and how well your initial assumptions are holding up against the real world.

There are several other benefits to financial plans. First of all, they present you and your investors with a lucid picture of how efficient the business is being run and where all the money is going, especially when contrasted to the actual figures. Financial plans also help you stay focused on your objectives. Moreover, comparing your actual finances to the projected ones can give you an idea of how attainable your overall goal is with the budget you have. In short, a thorough financial plan can act as an excellent map, giving you a lay of the land and providing your business with much needed direction when push comes to shove.


Start-up Costs

One of the main constituents of your financial plan will be your start-up costs. These are costs that you’ll have to pay at the beginning of your business, before you’ve started generating any revenue.

There are two main reasons that you should pay special attention to your start-up costs. On the one hand, appreciating your start-up costs can give you a clear idea of the size of the initial investment you’ll need. This will be critical information for both you and, should you decide to look for funding, your investors. The second reason you should calculate your start-up costs is that these costs can be amortized over several years, assuming that the business does take off.

So, what are the sorts of costs that count as start-up costs?

To start with, any research expenses that you pay upfront can be considered as start-up costs. This should cover the market research that’ll have to be done at the beginning, be it by you, a market research firm, or a consultant.

Speaking of marketing, any money paid for promotions, advertisements, and branding (which includes having the logo designed) can be counted towards your start-up costs.

As for consultants, besides marketing and business, you might need a legal consultant to help you establish the business and work through the paperwork.

Obviously, any salaries paid, any equipment bought, and any supplies procured can all be added to the long list of start-up costs.

Funding Your Business

The instant you’re done with your financial plan, at least the financial projections, you should have a grasp of how much money you’ll need to start your business. The next step is for you to determine what the best way is to fund it. You have numerous routes you can take, of which we’ll illuminate a few:

Bootstrapping. This is the common term used to refer to funding a start-up with your own money. This option is attractive to those who wish to start a venture with a low initial investment requirement as it allows them to retain full control of their business.

Bank loans. There are numerous banks out there that are willing to lend money out to small businesses that are starting out.

Crowdsourcing. You can crowdsource funds in one of three ways: equity crowdfunding, crowdlending, and donation crowdfunding. Equity crowdfunding involves a company issuing shares to the public. Conversely, crowdlending describes the act of borrowing funds from lenders at interest rates lower than that of the bank. Finally, donation crowdfunding involves getting donations from several people, including family, friends, and strangers who believe in your vision.

Investors. The type of investor you can attract is contingent upon the size and age of your business. For instance, if your business is at the very beginning of its life, you can look for seed investors and accelerators to help incubate your idea. When your business is a bit more mature and looking to expand, a viable candidate to approach is an angel investor, who may be willing to part with some of his money. And, in the event that your business has grown and you want more money than any angel investor can offer, you should approach venture capital investors.

Raising money. The simplest solution staring you right in the face is to go to your family and friends and ask for the money. Naturally, you risk harming the personal relationships between you and your close ones when you ask them for money, which is why you need a detailed a business plan that informs them of the risks they are taking on when they give you that money. 

Managing Your Finances

Having demonstrated the importance of having a sound financial plan, it should come as no surprise that you need to keep accurate financial records to reflect the progress of your business. 

Aside from showing you what goes where, tracking every financial transaction done by your business, bookkeeping in other words, can act as a vital signs monitor for your business, helping you make sure that your business is healthy as well as alerting you of any possible issues along the way. Furthermore, a well maintained book can you help assess several business decisions down the road through what is known as a cost-benefit analysis (CBA). In addition to all of this, when the time comes to pay the tax man, you’ll be glad that your books are in order. 

Accounting Software and Professional Services

There are countless ways to maintain your books, but, in today’s digital world, your best bet is to use some form of software designed for this task. You can look into a multitude of available options, some of which are free and some of which will cost you. 

Therefore, when deciding on the software you’ll be using, you should look into three factors: the cost, the usability, and the features. 

For clarity’s sake, when we are talking about usability, we are referring to your needs as a business: are you going to be the only one who uses the software or will you need others to access it as well? Do you want the software to be solely on your laptop or would you like to access it from your smart phone? Conversely, what is meant by features are the options offered by the software: what kinds of things does it track? What are the reports it produces?


Despite your use of accounting software, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask a professional accountant for help whenever you think you need it. A professional will be aware of the best way to keep your financials in line and will offer you advice tailored for your business. For example, one of the things that they’ll tell you is that you should separate your personal bank and credit card accounts from those of your business. 

 

Throughout this chapter, we’ve seen how financial plans can play a critical role in your business’s operations. We've discussed the various ways you can fund your business, only to end the chapter on the necessity of keeping clean financial records.

The next chapter will look into how you can create the perfect workspace that can heighten your focus and maximize your productivity.

 

Chapter 6: Organizing Proper Work Space 

So far, this guide has been focused on the theoretical aspect of starting a business, be it writing a business plan or preparing your legal documents. This chapter focuses more on setting up the physical space within which you’ll be conducting the majority of your business.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com, licensed under CC0 Public Domain

 

Selecting a Place To Set Up Shop

The main determinant of where you’ll set up your work space is the type of business you want to get into. For instance, in the event of starting a jewelry business, you need space to store your raw materials, space to design and make the jewelry, and space to showcase your stuff.

Apart from considering your business operations when choosing a spot, you should ask yourself a few more questions to help you make the right decision:

Are clients going to frequent your home office?

Should you be expecting clients, you need to plan ahead and make sure that you have enough space to receive them. You also want to ensure that your workspace can be accessed from outside your home, without having to walk through your dining room or pass by the kitchen.

Will your business require employees to help you out?

If so, you need to make sure that your workspace can provide adequate space and comfort for your employees. This includes isolating them from all outside distractions, while preserving your own family’s sense of privacy and safety. In the event that your home isn’t accessible by public transportation, you need to provide your employees with parking space. As well as this, you shouldn’t forget about the simple necessities beyond a workspace, such as a bathroom and closet space.

How dependent is your business on manufacturing and assembling products?

To start with, you have to clear your special business activity with your local zoning committee so as to make sure that you aren’t breaking any regulations. As for the workspace itself, you need to figure out what specific requirements your business will need and to see of the space will allow them. Heating, cooling, ventilation, plumbing, electrical wiring, and fire safety standards are all thing you’ll need to take into consideration.

How much space do you need to store stuff?

Storage space can differ from business to business. Additionally, the prevalence of digital records has reduced our need for things like filing cabinets and shelves. Regardless, it could very well be the case that you need extra space to store materials used in the manufacturing process. Reverting back to our jewelry example, you may need multiple compartments to organize all the small parts necessary for your business.

How reliant on communications is your business going to be?

If you need to be in constant touch with the outside world, how do you plan to do so? You can always go for a cellphone and get it over with so long as the signal strength is reliable. Alternatively, needing internet access will mean that you need to ensure that your workspace can receive the wifi from your home or that you have access to a landline on which you can install a router.

Workspace Options

With all this in mind, the following are a few candidates you can take into consideration when looking for a place to establish as your home workspace:

A spare corner. The main pro here is that this is the cheapest option on this list. The main con is that you won’t have any privacy or any insulation from all the noise in the house.

The dining room. It should come as no surprise that the dining room is the most popular choice for entrepreneurs running a business from home: it is spacious, seldom used, and quite cheap. Unfortunately, most dining rooms aren’t big on privacy and might not be ideal for client visits.

The kitchen. The kitchen can provide you the space you need to get your work done. Granted, the kitchen can be busy and cluttered, yet its cabinets can function as extra storage for your supplies as well as an excellent way to keep your work equipment out of sight when office hours are over.

An extra bedroom. A business where you don’t make any noise or dust and you don’t expect too many clients can be situated in a spare bedroom. The beauty of this option is that it provides you with complete privacy.

The garage. Although this is a pricey option, it more than makes up for its large price tag by offering you plenty of space and convenience. You’ll have to invest a lot of money in renovating the place, installing plumbing, fixing the heat, and much more. In return, you’ll end up with your own office that is isolated from the rest of the house while also having its own exterior entrance.

The basement. A basement with good access can make a perfect office. Naturally, you’ll have to make sure that there is enough headroom and that it is possible to adjust the climate to suit your needs. Another concern to look out for is moisture, which can be a seasonal problem.

The attic. Just like basements, attics need to provide plenty of height clearance for your head as well as a suitable climate for you to work, come summer or winter. However, attics are plagued with a few unique problems of their own. For one thing, an attic makes it impossible to have an exterior entrance to your office. Additionally, the fact that you have to take more than a flight of stairs to and back to work can be tiring. Moreover, the slanting of your house’s roof tends to limit the amount of space offered by the attic.

A new addition. As expensive as a new addition may be, it will give you a large degree of customization that isn’t available to the other options on this list. This option is ideal for professionals who need a very specific workspace. Should you go with it, just make sure that the new addition is compliant with the building codes and zoning regulations.

An outside structure. Similar to new additions, outside structures can make suitable workspaces. Yet, their main drawback is their lack of plumbing and electrical outlets, at least most of the time.

Plotting Out Your Workspace

Assuming that you have chosen the spot that will function as your workspace for the foreseeable future, you need to start planning it out so as to create a workspace that caters to your every need, maximizes your productivity, and doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg.

The steps to planning your workspace go as follows:

1. Assessing the situation. Assuming that you know what your business needs are, the first thing for you to do is to contrast what the workspace currently offers with what your business requires. Accordingly, you can begin figuring what you should start adding.

Furthermore, you should check to see the extent of renovations your workspace needs. You you may come to the realization that the workspace needs a serious upgrade, at which point you can begin planning the renovation itself.

2. Taking your workspace’s measurements. The next step is for you to bring out the measuring tape and start drawing a scale plan of the workspace. When doing this, you ought to try to take note of every window, electrical outlet, light fixture, and telephone jack within the area. Subsequently, you can use this map to either begin purchasing equipment and supplies that fit your office or start planning an extensive renovation.

3. Working on a large-scale renovation. In case your workspace needs a lot of work to get it into the shape you need, you should be ready for all the noise, disruption, and mess that come along with said work. Moreover, profound renovations tend to come with a significant time demand and a hefty price tag.

Speaking of which, one of the more important decisions that will define how much the whole renovation will cost you is whether you will choose to do the renovations yourself or you will opt for a contractor to do all the work. Factors that will go into making this decision include the complexity of the required renovations, the time demand, and the size of the job.

4. Making your work space as environmentally friendly as possible. There are several things you can do in the name of going green. For starters, not only should you opt for recycled and earth-friendly materials as much as possible, but you should also recycle the materials you use, by, for example, having a recycle bin at hand, or reusing paper that has printing on a single face. Additionally, whenever you have the option to go digital, you should do it without a second thought. Another good idea is to make sure that your workspace’s windows are well insulated so as to avoid any energy leakage, hence saving on both your heating and cooling requirements.

 

Getting Your Office The Equipment and Supplies It Needs

There are three primary variables that can play a deciding role when figuring out how to furnish and equip your home office. These are:

1. Your business needs. Naturally, there are a few basic items that you’ll have to get for your workspace, regardless of your business type. Nonetheless, the needs of your business will play, for the most part, the same role in defining how to equip your workspace that they did in planning said space in the first place.

2. Your personal comfort. Given the fact that you’ll be spending a considerable amount of time in your office, you need to make sure that it is comfortable. Something as simple as bad lighting can cause you to strain your eyes, giving you headaches and decreasing your overall productivity.

3. Your budget. Obviously, the third factor has to be how much money you’re willing to invest in your work place. It stands to reason that the more you’re willing to invest, the better the end result will be. Conversely, should you find yourself on a tight budget, there are numerous alternatives at your disposal to get good stuff for way less than their official price tag.

Once you’ve scrutinized all the previous factors and seen how they apply to your business, you have to start considering how to equip your workspace.

Furniture and Equipment

The reason these two categories are bunched together is because of how easily most items can function as both. For instance, a desk is a piece of furniture, but it is also a piece of equipment that can serve jewelry business owners as a workstation for putting precious stones into rings.

It should be pointed out that office equipment tends to be more specific to your business activity, whereas furniture can be more general purpose.

Some items that can fall into these two categories are desks and their alternatives (think armoires and countertops), workstations, drawers, filing cabinets, tables, chairs, bookshelves, lighting fixtures. One point that might interest you is that, out of all these items, your chair will have the most effect on your physical comfort and health; ergo, this is the area where you shouldn’t be afraid to invest a nice sum.

Technology

A quick look at the technology your business will need gives us items like the computer; the accompanying monitor, keyboard, and mouse; routers, both with a wire and wireless; laptops and notebooks; printers; computer data storage; and digital cameras.

Although your business will dictate the sophistication and quality of the tech you buy, there are some minimum standards to which you ought to adhere without which, you run the risk of buying technology that is not only obsolete but also unable to cope with modern day requirements.

Communication Technology

In order for your business to stay in touch with the outside world, you’ll need some gadgets to help facilitate that. These include: a telephone, a smartphone, a tablet device, a fax machine, and others.

An internet connection is indispensable in today’s day and age, and allows you to do business from home with anyone in the world. You can use instant messaging tools and other apps to call or chat with potential clients and partners.

Supplies

There are numerous factors that go into deciding the sort of supplies your workspace requires, including your business needs, your employees or lack thereof, and other luxury items you can afford. Like almost everything else on the list of items your workspace needs, there are basic supplies that almost any office needs, and there are other supplies that are unique to your business.

So, while paper may be a ubiquitous need for almost any business, the supplies used in making a necklace may be imperative for a jewelry business. Some basic supplies you might want to consider buying are trash cans, trash bags, a labeler, box cutters, paper, files, a mini-fridge, pens, pencils, staplers, staples, and paper clips. 

Securing Your Workspace

If you intend to run a home business, you have to be aware of the security risks lurking about.

For one thing, you have to protect your business and home against possible burglars and thieves. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to increase your home’s security.

  • Get to know your neighbors; they are your first and best line of defense against any foreign intruders.
  • Install a home security alarm with glass break detectors, interior motion detectors, and all the other bells and whistles.
  • Make sure that the locks on your doors and windows are all state of the art along with fortifying your home’s entrance doors.
  • Install metal bars on your windows for extra security. Yet, you should be careful with the placement of those bars because they will both affect the overall look of your home and trap you inside your house in the event of an emergency.
  • Look into installing security lighting in your backyard, or safety cameras around your property.

In addition to protecting yourself and your family from outside forces, you have to make sure that the workspace itself doesn’t jeopardize you and your family’s safety.

For instance, a person who makes jewelry should be careful to ensure that their children can’t reach small items that could be possible choking hazards. Another thing a jewelry manufacturer wants to be careful of is their use of chemicals and heatstools as these tools tend to require good ventilation and proper safety measures.

Beyond the specific hazards that a business may come across, there are other, broader issues that a business must safeguard against, such as fire hazards. This can happen through the use of smoke detectors, the purchase of fire extinguishers, and the installation of carbon monoxide detectors.

Yet, despite all the equipment that is out there, nothing can beat being prepared with a plan ahead of time and having the requisite insurance to cover you should crisis strike.

 

Throughout this chapter, we’ve seen how you can best set up your workspace.

In the next chapter, we will discuss how you can best establish your business practices.

 

Chapter 7: Establishing Business Practices 

Given that the previous chapters were focused on establishing your business, this chapter will be devoted to how you can best run it. It will start by looking at how you can best manage your time, followed by discussing different ways to keep your personal life and business life separated.

 

Image courtesy of pixabay.com, licensed under CC0 Public Domain


Managing Your Own Time

Time management is a term that gets thrown around a lot among corporate circles, yet, at bottom, its principles are simple.

1. Define your own goals. Your best course of action is to begin your business by defining your goals. The long-term goals, which span 3-5 years, tend to be expanded on in your business plan. But, what about your shorter term goals? What about your goals for the next month, the next week, or the next hour?

Setting these goals early on will not only help you prioritize, but they will also be instrumental in all of your future plans. Naturally, the more interconnected your goals are, the more cohesive plans you’ll come up with.

2. Set yourself a schedule. Unlike corporate jobs, a home run business doesn’t come with a set work schedule for you to work with; you set your own hours. Despite the flexibility this brings your professional life, it also ladens you with the responsibility of setting your own hours.

Now, you could set your hours in one of two ways: you could either decide to work from 9 to 5, just as you would in some office, or choose to work a set number of hours per week that can be divided between the morning and afternoon. Regardless of which option you choose, what matters is that you give your business the time it needs to grow and to let the rest of your family know that your work time should not be interrupted unless in the case of an emergency.

3. Take breaks regularly. Without scheduled regular breaks, you will become blunt and unproductive. Therefore, whether you choose to take a break every 50 minutes or go out for a walk after completing an important task, just be sure to have a rigorous system for your breaks instead of leaving it to “when you feel like taking a break”.

4. Delegate and outsource. Delegating and outsourcing isn’t the easiest thing to do: it requires the ability to let go and to trust someone else to get the job done. Moreover, you have to be willing to accept work that won’t conform fully to your particular vision.

Although you should delegate and outsource when possible, there are some tasks that should remain with you. For instance, you should delegate any task that requires redundancy, is monotonous, happens to lie outside your area of expertise, or would save you money by having someone else do it for you. For instance, blogging, editing content, performing market research, responding to e-mails, and offering customer support are all examples of tasks you should consider delegating or outsourcing.

Conversely, you should not delegate when the task is a key component of your business, generates revenue directly, or will have a long-lasting effect on the business.

5. Use routines, systems, and tools. Habits and routines help you function throughout the day better, without wasting too much energy figuring out your next move or letting yourself get sidetracked by distractions. Additionally, there are numerous systems and tools out there that can help you be more efficient and get more done in less time.

One of the best habits to adopt is getting an early start to your day, especially for those of you with families. By waking up early and tackling your business’s toughest problems when you are at your freshest, you give yourself the best chance at having a productive and fruitful day. 

Staying Focused and Keeping Your Head in The Game

Given that you understand how to best manage your time, we can take a look at how you can stay focused on your work and make the most out of every second you spend on the job.

1. Keep yourself in check. When working from home, there are a few pitfalls you are liable to fall in, and it is your responsibility to constantly make sure that you are averting them.

For example, when you work from home, you may find yourself logging onto your computer every couple of minutes just to see whether you’ve received that important e-mail. Nevertheless, an objective observer might say that the e-mail can wait and that you should learn to enjoy life outside the office. Or else, you may cause yourself a sense of exhaustion, lowering your overall productivity.

Speaking of time wasters, try to steer clear of anything that might leech away large chunks of your time without you noticing. Common examples include social media websites, adorable cat videos on YouTube, and irrelevant articles on blogs, no matter how interesting they may seem.

2. Create a separate office space for yourself. This point has been discussed at length in the previous chapter. Nevertheless, it bears repeating: having a designated workspace for your business is necessary for separating your professional life from your personal one. It seals you off from the all the distractions and diversions in the rest of the house. Furthermore, it helps you get into the ideal state of mind for work.

3. Get dressed. A nifty little trick you can resort to is changing clothes before heading into your home office. Obviously, this might seem confusing as one of the major benefits of working from home is the savings you accrue in the wardrobe department. Yet, by changing into something more suitable for the outside world, you can persuade your mind into shifting gears from a relaxed, homey state to an attentive, professional one.

4. Look after yourself. A healthy mind resides in a healthy body. Unfortunately, running a business, raising a family, and juggling several other things can all be taxing on your body.

Ergo, you should do everything in your power to keep healthy. As a start, you ought to sleep well, exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy diet. Additionally, you should make sure do drink a glass of water every once in a while in order to stay hydrated. Along with all of this, you should go for a walk or do anything else that lets you interact with the real world lest you lose your sanity as you gaze for hours on end at a computer screen.

5. Set boundaries. Boundaries can be an important tool if used correctly. Going beyond the normal boundaries between your professional and personal lives, as has been emphasized before, you should boundaries for yourself, for your family, and for your friends.

Starting with the boundaries for yourself part, just as you should forget work once the allotted hours are over, you should not concern yourself with house chores while on the clock. The goal is to create a clear distinction between work hours and personal hours and not let the two wash over one another.

As for setting boundaries for your family, it should be made clear to them that your work hours are sacred. In other words, when you’re in your workspace, you might as well be in a corporate office several miles away from them. They should only interrupt you in case of an emergency.

Finally, when it comes to friends, they need to understand that working from home in no way diminishes the importance of your work. As a result, they can’t call you up whenever they feel like and expect you to be there; they will have to wait until your workday is finished.

6. Get in touch with a network of similar peers. Running a home business entails isolating yourself from the outside world for prolonged periods of time, which can be mentally taxing. Moreover, you are bound to go through times of confusion where you doubt an action you’ve taken or the entire business altogether. During these trying times, being connected to a fellow colleague who runs a similar business can make all the difference.

 

Throughout this chapter, we’ve seen how you can manage your time properly and establish a successful work-life balance.

In the next chapter, we’ll take a closer look at some of the digital tools at your disposal to help run your business. We’ll see different tools that can be used in business management, marketing, accounting, and much more.


Chapter 8: Using the Right Digital Tools

In the previous chapter, we glossed over the idea of using systems and tools to boost your productivity and efficiency. Diving deeper into the matter, this chapter’s sole focus is how you can incorporate tools and technology into your business to give you that leg up you need against the competition.

Along with applications that help increase your productivity, we will look into different software that can aid in project management, extend your reach when it comes to marketing, sharpen your images with the latest graphics technology, keep your books in order from an accounting perspective, and allow you to store all the digital data you need.

 

Image courtesy of pixabay.com, licensed under CC0 Public Domain

Tools For Increasing Productivity and Managing Workflow

Whether you’re looking for software that can do your routine work for you or you want something that can keep track of your time, there’s probably an app out there with your name written on it. To make matters easier, we will look at four different aspects that pertain to productivity: automation, time tracking, goal setting, and organization.

Automation. A great way to cut down on costs and save yourself considerable time is to resort to automation whenever possible, which is becoming more prevalent in the workplace these days thanks to the advancement of A.I.

Tools you can choose from include: IFTTT, Zapier, and other.

Time tracking. You and your business would be well served by a program that can help you keep track of time and let you know where you spend it.

Tools you can choose from include: Focus Booster, TopTracker, and other.

Goal setting. Goals are integral for developing your strategic plans as well as your benchmarks and metrics. Without goals, your business will flounder. Your best option is to find a good tool with which you can set your goals and track them.

Tools you can choose from include: Joe’s Goals, Goal-Buddy, GoalsOnTrack, GoalEnforcer, Lifetick, and other.

Organization. Staying on top of everything requires a sense of discipline and organization that isn’t always easy when you’re starting a business. Additionally, there are multiple aspects to a business that can get out of control, making it difficult to be organized in all of them. Nonetheless, staying organized is doable, and, with the right tools, it doesn’t have to be a hassle.

  • Tools for overall organization. Evernote is one of the best tools that can play several roles in your quest to remain organized. It helps you maintain all your important notes, documents, and files in one place. Over and above, it makes it easy to organize these documents and incorporates A.I. technology to make the task even easier. In addition to all of this, Evernote makes sharing these files with others a piece of cake.
  • Tools for scheduling. Whether you run a business that offers multiple services which require booking or you set up appointments with clients in order to sell them your products, you will need a tool that will help you keep your schedule organized.

Tools you can choose from include: Appointy, Schedulicity, Genbook, Calendly, and other.

  • Tools for e-mail management. Your e-mail inbox can quickly get out of hand, and it doesn’t take long for the important mail to get lost in the middle of video links, event invitations, and other forms of spam. Ergo, you can make use of good e-mail management software that can help you reign in the chaos.
    Tools you can choose from include: Google Inbox, Rapportive, Boomerang for Gmail, SaneBox, AquaMail, and other.

Tools For Project Management and Team Collaboration

Being productive on your own is one thing, whereas managing an entire team and staying on top of things is a different thing altogether. As a result, taking on this challenge will require its own set of tools, which we will segregate into two main categories: tools that are used for communication between team members and tools that are used to coordinate the team’s actions and help them have synergy.

Tools used for communication between team members. When it comes to communication, your team can use an app that can allow them to chat fluently and keep track of the different conversation threads, hence replacing the need to use e-mails, or resort to software that can allow them to hold meetings and video conferences, which always adds a touch of warmth to any interaction.

Tools you can choose from include: Slack, Trello, Skype, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, and other.

Tools used for coordinating the team’s actions. Aside from communication, another problem that faces teams is how to coordinate their actions. There are various tools that can help your team members set up meetings, coordinate their tasks and keep track of who’s done what.

Tools you can choose from include: Doodle, Asana, Basecamp, and other.

Tools For Marketing

Getting the word out about your business is easier said than done. For starters, you have to find where your clients hang out plus the best way to reach them. Furthermore, you need to put in extra work to see what works for your clients and what doesn’t. For example, a jewelry business owner with an online store will have to consistently check which merchandise is selling and which isn’t along with finding the best format for their products’ description and much more. Bearing this in mind, let’s take a look at a few tools that can optimize your marketing efforts.

Data analysis

Any functioning business will find itself buried underneath a mountain of raw, unstructured data on a daily basis. As aggravating as that may be, this data can be an invaluable resource if harnessed, processed, and analyzed. It is for this reason that you should look into using one of the tools, which can help you track the performance.

Tools you can choose from include: Google Analytics, Moz, Kissmetrics, Followerwonk, SocialRank, and other.

Digital marketing

Gathering information from your customers may be important, but reaching out to them and communicating with them is just as important. Consequently, you should consider using as many tools as possible to streamline the process and make it efficient. Here are a few websites and tools that can be of service, and, as always, they are broken up into sections:

  • Blogging/content production. We live in a world that is saturated by digital media, where more and more people get their news from websites, online videos, and blogs. Because of this, you would do well to start publishing your own material, specifically stuff that can help build your customer’s confidence in you. Quality content like that can help your business get the attention it deserves.
    Tools you can choose from include: 99DollarSocial, HubSpot, WordPress, Kapost, Optimizely, Spokal, and other.
  • Social media marketing. Another powerful tool in your arsenal should be your social media arm. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest all offer excellent opportunities to reach your customers and have direct conversations with them.
    Tools you can choose from include: Hootsuite, Needls, Buffer, Sprout Social, and other.
  • E-mail marketing. Interestingly, e-mail marketing is one of the simplest, cheapest, and most direct ways of reaching your clients. You can gather e-mail addresses through various means and get in touch with them with relevant offers. Additionally, communicating through e-mail always feel more personal and customized rather than a social media post.
    Tools you can choose from include: MailChimp, Constant Contact, VerticalResponse, and other.

 

Tools For Networking

One of the most important activities you can do for your business is to network, be it with potential clients, possible partners, or future employees. With this in mind, you should make use of some of the tools that can help up your game.

Tools you can choose from include: LinkedIn, CamCard, Whoshere, MeetUp, and other.

Tools For Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Customer relationship management entails orchestrating every tiny detail that pertains to interacting with your customers, whether it involves the first time a customer hears of a business or the last time he purchases something from it.

Tools you can choose from include: Insightly, Salesforce, Zoho CRM, Pipedrive, Act!, Batchbook, and other. 

Tools For Customer Service

An integral part of any business is excellent customer service, which is something that plenty of business owners overlook. Interestingly, today’s digital media saturated world makes it all the more easier to reach your customers. Moreover, there are quite a few tools that can help you perfect your customer care.

Tools you can choose from include: Zendesk, Get Satisfaction, Freshdesk, Liveperson, SurveyMonkey, and other. 

Tools For Graphics

Graphics tools are important for businesses that rely extensively on images. For instance, a jewelry business that has an online store needs to post clear pictures that display the merchandise. There are numerous tools that you can use to touch-up your photos so as to make sure that they are of the highest quality.

Tools you can choose from include: Adobe Creative Cloud, Visual.ly, Pixlr, Canva, Skitch, and other.

Tools For Money Management

There are scores of services you could need that pertain to keeping track of your money, including payroll, invoices, preparing your taxes, and estimating your expenses. This is where accounting tools can come in handy. Naturally, you should opt for a tool adequate for the size of your organization, which is why you should use an accounting comparison tool to find the tool that is most suitable for you.

Tools you can choose from include: Freshbooks, Quickbooks Online, Wave, FreeAgent, Invoicera, LessAccounting, and other.

Tools For E-Commerce Websites

For anyone starting an online store, e-commerce software is indispensable. It can help with establishing your store and expanding your business. It can also help establish your online presence.

Tools you can choose from include: Shopify, BigCommerce, Volusion, Gumroad, WooCommerce, and other.

Furthermore, if you run an e-commerce site or you receive money through online clients, you’ll need to resort to a payment processor of sorts.

Tools you can choose from include: PayPal, Payoneer, and other.

Tools For Data Storage and Sharing

Most of your storage needs can be easily met thanks to the advent of cloud computing. Now, you can store your files on the cloud and access them from anywhere so long as you have an internet connection. Additionally, you can share them with others without having to go through the hassle of using a USB stick or other physical storage devices.

Tools you can choose from include: Google Docs/Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Box, Carbonite, SugarSync, Hightail and other. 

 

Throughout this chapter, we’ve taken a look at a plethora of tools that can be used to help give your business that extra edge.

In the next chapter, we will discuss how you can promote your business. We will look into how to best design your website, establish your online presence, and further promote your business.

 

Chapter 9: Promoting Your Business 

At this stage of the guide, you should have established a business, started its operations, and made your first sale. What is left is for you is to get the word out about the awesome work you are doing.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com, licensed under CC0 Public Domain

 

Building The Right Website For You

Your website is your digital calling card; it is how your clients will get to know about you in the first place, it is what your clients will use to research your business to get to know more about you, and it is how your clients will be able to contact should they want to do business with you. 

Before you get started, you need to decide what type of website you want to build, which is contingent upon the type of business you want to start. 

Building a website today is easier than any other time in the past. The steps will differ according to the type of site you are trying to create, but, for our purposes, they can be summarized as follows: 

Picking a domain name: Picking a domain name is pretty straightforward. It should be the same as your business’s name, or at least relevant to your practice. Otherwise, your clients might have a hard time finding you. Another thing to look out for is to make sure that the domain name you want is not already taken.

Choosing a website hosting provider. Web hosting providers are companies that upload your website onto the worldwide web. Simply put, your website is stored on a server that is accessible to the entire world. However, in order to have your site go live, you need to have acquired a domain name first, which a hosting platform can help you buy.

Deciding on the right website builder. Website builders are used to create websites. A big part of selecting a website builder is knowing your degree of sophistication as well as being clear on the features you are looking for. Needless to say, if you can afford it, you can opt to hire a professional to create a custom site for you. 

Creating a template and structure for your website. Templates are standardized structures for your website; they let you take a load off your mind by designing the layout of your website, leaving you to fill the rest with your words and pictures. Their main advantage is that they can help your site look professional while saving you the need to resort to a designer. Moreover, the right website builder can offer you such a wide range of templates that can suit your every need, whether you want to build an ecommerce website or an informative one.

Filling the website with content and images. Naturally, the minute you are done with your site’s template, you can start filling the site till with the content that is relevant for your business and services.

Special considerations for an ecommerce website. Building ecommerce sites requires special considerations. For instance, you can use ecommerce software to facilitate your listings, define your prices, and put a shopping cart on your website. You’ll also need to create a merchant account and to acquire an SSL certificate.

Branding. Building a brand is all about creating a product that is memorable for your customers. Here are a few tactics you can employ to distinguish your brand.

Emphasize your humble beginnings. Every company has to start somewhere, and these beginnings become entrenched in the company’s lore. You can share the story of how your business first began and let it be an integral part of who you are.

Offer excellent customer service. In a world that is becoming more and more customer centric, offering exceptional customer service is a must.

Appeal to emotions. Through associating your product with a specific emotion, you can make your customers feel said emotion every time they use their product. This can make your product much more identifiable for your clients.

Go green. One of the most important actions we all need to take is to take better care of the environment. You can do this by utilizing green materials, green manufacturing processes, green packaging, or anything else that helps preserve the environment.

Serve an unmet need. One of the best ways to be different than everyone else is to do something that no one else is. Maintaining this mindset, you can look for an unmet need and try to fill it yourself.

Stand out. Apart from what was mentioned above, there are several things you can do to stand out. For example, you can talk about how your business is the underdog in its industry; everybody loves an underdog. Alternatively, you can create custom, tailored products in an industry where everything is standardized.

Online marketing. Online marketing offers you something unique: the ability to reach scores of potential customers from all over the world at an affordable price. Here are a few important aspects you should be familiar with when it comes to online marketing.


SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is how you can make your website appear at the top of search engine results. This is very important owing to the fact that most people won’t search for your business by name but will instead look for companies that provide a particular service. Ideally, you want to be the first name on that list of companies that offer the service in question.

Blogging. A business blog can be the perfect platform to share your opinions, information about your business, and anything new that you think your customers should know.

Content marketing. Any online material that you share, be it an informative article, an interview in audio file format, or a funny video, can be classified as content marketing, so long as it doesn’t overtly promote your brand.

E-mail marketing. One of the simplest ways to market for yourself is to collect e-mail addresses from past clients as well as potential ones, and blast your subscribers with a regular newsletter that updates them on what’s new with your business.

Social media. Social networks can connect you to your customers faster than any other platform can. As a matter of fact, a big part of modern day customer service is being responsive to all your customers’ online inquiries, be it through Twitter, Facebook, or any other platform.

Online directories. A critical step to take is to see whether your business is registered in online directories. After all, it would be a shame for a potential customer looking for your services to miss you just because you weren’t listed on Google Maps or Yelp.

Business forums. You can search for online forums that are related to your topics of interest and join in on the conversation. However, when posting in these forums, you should steer away from blatant self-promotion. Instead, you should try to be informative and helpful.

Affiliate programs. Starting an affiliate program can be an excellent way to find people who are willing to promote you.

Advertising. Assuming that you have a solid understanding of what keywords are and what the best practices of copywriting happen to be, you can use pay-per-click advertising, which can drive a good deal of business in your direction.

Offline Marketing

Although digital marketing has proven itself to be a formidable tool time and again, you can never do away with good, old-fashioned offline marketing. Here are a few ways you can incorporate offline marketing into your general marketing strategy.


Using stationery documents and printed materials. You can have your business’s name, logo, and website address printed on most of the stationery you use on a daily basis. Common examples of stationery that should have your information on it are your business cards, letters and envelopes, invoices, receipts, faxes, company stamps, and address labels.

Offering promotional items. Along with your stationery, you can have your logo printed on promotional items, such as pens, t-shirts, and bags. The strength of this method lies in the ability of these items to act as constant reminders of what your business has to offer. 

Writing a press release. A well placed article or press release in the right magazine can catapult your business into new heights. Whether you choose to openly promote your business or to give your professional opinion about a certain topic, what matters is that you let people know about your business. 

Advertising using various channels. Even before the proliferation of the internet, there used to be a plethora of options to advertise for your business. Some of the more familiar channels are newspapers, billboards, phonebooks, flyers, radio and television ads, and direct mail; placing an ad in any of these channels can increase your brand awareness. 

Relying on word of mouth. The most effective method for offline marketing is word of mouth, which should come as no surprise seeing as people will always trust the opinion of their friends over any TV advertisement. Unfortunately, as effective as this method may be, it is mostly outside of your control because you need other people to do it for you.

Networking. When you network, you get to meet possible partners, interact with potential customers, and form personal relations with key people in your industry. This in turn can help promote your business and offer it the support it needs to grow and flourish. Luckily, you have several avenues for networking, including attending events and exhibitions, sponsoring events yourself, and contacting your chamber of commerce.

Asking for referrals from previous clients. The best people to vouch for you will always be the ones who have tried out your services. Bearing this in mind, always remember to ask your clients for referrals and testimonials.

Throughout this chapter, we have explored how you can best promote your home business. We delved into various marketing techniques, both online and offline.

In the next and final chapter, we will discuss some tips you should take into consideration when working on a home business. We will also see some of the problems that may arise and how to troubleshoot them.

 

Chapter 10: Tips for Success 

Throughout this entire guide, we’ve delved into everything related to running your own home business, from picking a business idea and planning for it to actually running the business and marketing it.

 The only thing left for us is to discuss a few tips and to explore a few pitfalls you might fall into.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com, licensed under CC0 Public Domain

 

Simple Tips To Keep Your Business Successful

Entire books have been written about what tips you should follow when starting your business. Nevertheless, we will shed a light on a few of the more important ones.

Keep your business and personal accounts separate.

Mingling your personal and business accounts is a precursor to bad news. For starters, it muddies the waters and makes it difficult for you to ascertain how your business is performing. Additionally, mixing both accounts puts them both at risk. For instance, should one of your accounts default on a loan, this would jeopardize the credit score of said account along with that of the other. Ergo, separating the accounts from each other is your best bet.

Always project professionalism.

Just because you run your business from your home does not mean that you should cut corners when it comes to having your business project an air of professionalism and legitimacy. You should always get dressed in formal attire or, at the very least, business casual whenever you meet a client. Additionally, you should do your best to maintain a safety code in your workplace. Therefore, when a client comes to visit, make sure that all your children’s toys are tucked away and that the dog will not disturb you.

Stay aware of changing needs.

The market is an ever-changing creature requiring your undivided attention. Something as simple as the entry of a new competitor can alter the landscape. However, even if you remain the sole provider of a product or service within your locality, your customer needs will change, forcing you to adjust your value proposition accordingly. Consequently, you should try to keep up with the latest trends, which can be accomplished with the help of business and industry publications, trade shows, and reports issued by experts.

Invest in your knowledge and personal growth.

In any business venture you embark on, you will be your own greatest asset. Hence, you need to constantly invest in yourself, be it through taking a technical course or working on your own personal growth. Along with boosting your confidence, it will help you offer your clients the best service possible and keep you one step ahead of the competition.

Outsource jobs as much as possible to free up your time.

The importance of delegating and outsourcing can never be overstated. Regardless of how good you may be at your job, you will always be limited by 24 hours a day. Over and above, not only do you want to work on technical aspects pertaining to your business, but you also want to work on your business, which means working on the marketing, financial, and other managerial aspects. Furthermore, you are bound to require specific skills that are outside of your area of expertise, making your need for extra help all the more pertinent.

Take full advantage of the internet and use it to market aggressively.

Rather than neglect marketing and focus solely on free ads, your business will be better served by you investing a few bucks in a solid marketing campaign. One of the strongest tools in your digital marketing arsenal is your website. Because of this, you want to be clear on your website’s purpose and make sure that it serves it well, which involves taking the time to create a captivating web design layout and monitoring it consistently. You should also take advantage of social media platforms.

Revise your business plan regularly.

A business plan is not a static document but a dynamic entity that requires constant updating. Therefore, as your business grows and expands, you should review the plan on a constant basis. This will serve a few purposes: On the one hand, it will give you the opportunity to measure your achievements against your previous goals. Furthermore, revising your business plan will help you in assessing your previous assumptions about the market and adjust the ones that were off. Along with all of this, you will be able to set new reasonable goals based on your past performance.

Make sure that the heart and soul of your business is something that you are passionate about.

Whatever type of business you choose to start, you will invest your time and money in it. Moreover, your business is bound to run into tough times, at which point you may very well doubt the whole venture. Thus, unless you are passionate about the core of your business, it will have a very small chance of succeeding.

Pitfalls and How To Solve Them

Your business is bound to run into a few snags here and there, and you must be ready to tackle them. What follow are a few pitfalls of the home business type as well as how to solve them.

You may suffer from a lack of discipline.

When you work in a corporate office, you tend to feel that your boss is looking over your shoulder, hence keeping you motivated. On the other hand, when running a home business, you are your own boss, which means that you set your own hours, you decide your own goals, and you are responsible for your own productivity.

There are many ways you can combat this lack of discipline. You can create a system where you get rewarded after completing specific tasks; just make sure to give yourself the reward after having finished the tasks at hand. Alternatively, you can try to set yourself a rigorous schedule that can help give your day more structure.

You may suffer from the sense of isolation engendered by a home business.

One of the most common complaints among home business owners is loneliness due to little to no communication with the outside world.

One of the best ways to solve this problem is to network with like-minded business owners. Together, you can share a space and work together every once in a while. A similar solution would be to take your laptop and work in a café on those days that you don’t have to be at the home office. Another option is to attend tradeshows and industry events, which are excellent places to interact with other people while marketing your business.

You may find yourself distracted and unable to perform any work.

Sometimes your house is not an ideal place for you to work; it can be riddled with distractions that can have you jumping off your desk frequently. These distractions can prove detrimental to your work, impeding you from being productive.

The first line of defense against all these distractions should be having a dedicated workspace. Moreover, having a set schedule that everybody in your household knows can help minimize the amount of distractions that come your way. Ideally, you should start working early in the morning, when the distractions are at a minimum.

You might have a family that is not supportive of your business venture.

Any new business venture comes with its own difficulties and risks. Accordingly, it would not be surprising if some of your family members were initially against the idea of you starting your home-based business.

Fortunately, the remedy for this problem is well within reach. To begin with, thorough research can go a long way in making your case. This should put their mind at ease as well as display how serious you are about this business venture. Should you manage to get your family on your side, they can be a great asset; they can help you pick up the slack left in the wake of your hectic schedule.

You might be unable to separate your home and family life.

It is easier than you think for your personal and professional lives to work their way into one another. The simplest way for this to happen is to find yourself logging onto your computer every two seconds to finish that one task well after your work hours. On the other hand, you might find yourself having to finish up a chore or solve a small family dispute, interrupting your work time.

Like distractions, a workspace and a schedule can be an eloquent solution for this problem. However, the solution here is more about your resolve than any set up you can come up with; you have to make the decision not to work while in bed, and you have to stave off any chores that aren’t urgent while working.

You might be setting wrong prices.

Whether you’re selling a product or service, you will have to quote your client a price. The problem is that if you quote too low of a price, you risk losing potential profits as well as making the client question the quality of you work. Yet, by charging too much, you may cause your clients to flock to your cheaper competitors.

There isn’t a single price point that you want to go for. If anything, your price is determined by several factors, including your competition, your target customers, and your venue of choice to sell. However, as a general guideline, you should never sell at a loss. As for how high you can go, it depends on how much your customer values what you have to offer compared to your competition.


Seeing as this chapter was the last one in the guide, it focused on a few final words along with a couple of tips and notices you might want to look out for.

 

Conclusion

This guide gave you a glimpse into everything you’ll need to run a home-based business. It started by looking at how you can start your business and then went into how you can keep it running successfully.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com, licensed under CC0 Public Domain


Even though both traditionall businesses and home-based businesses have a lot in common, there are plenty of differences as well. When possible, this guide has tried to enumerate these differences, starting with the required characteristics that are most suited to run a home business. It also went into how you can handle these differences in the hopes of helping you create a smooth transition from a corporate office to a home office.


Apart from that, the guide has tried to reiterate several key points, one of which was the importance of market research and planning. A recent survey by CB insights found that out of the top 20 reasons that startups fail, the following were all in the top 10:

  • Lack of a market need
  • Running out of cash
  • Not having the right team
  • Getting outcompeted
  • Lack of a business model
  • Poor marketing
  • Ignoring customers

All of those reasons can be jot down to neither doing the prerequisite market research nor coming up with a business plan. Therefore, without having a clear idea of where your business is heading and an understanding of the terrain that lies ahead of you, your business will likely fail. Additionally, your plan needs to be revisited regularly in order to adjust it according to new information.

Another point this guide tried stressing time and again is the benefit of establishing a workspace for your business in your home coupled with a set schedule. Not only does the workspace isolate you from the other distractions roaming in your home, but it, along with the schedule, also makes it easier for you to separate your business and personal lives.

Finally, the most important thing you can do is to constantly work on your personal growth and to do everything you can to expand your technical capabilities. This will keep you at the top of your game and at the forefront of your industry.

You now have everything you need to start your home-based business. It won’t be an easy journey, but it will be worth it. The only thing left for you is to take the plunge and do it.