What Does it Really Take to Start a Business From Home?

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Home_WorkingThinking of starting a business from home? It’s a great idea, it gives you the opportunity to start your own venture from scratch and build it from the ground up.

Home businesses tend to be relatively inexpensive to start, and there’s no commuting time or costs involved.

It’s something you could take the plunge with full time, or work around an existing job or commitments. But what exactly does it take to get started? Here’s what you need to know.

Set up as self-employed

If you’re not already self-employed, then you will need to register and get your company set up. This makes everything official and ensures you’re paying the correct taxes. Even if you’re already employed by a company, you can be self-employed at the same time. All of the income you earn from your business has to be declared- even if you don’t earn enough to pay tax on right away.

It’s pretty simple, a few forms and a phone call or two will usually have you all set up. From there, all you’ll need to do is complete a tax return every April. Get into the habit of putting money away for your tax each time you get paid, that way you don’t end up with a bill you can’t pay.

If you use a tax calculator for the self-employed, it can give you accurate estimations of what you need to pay out based on your projected earnings. Most countries have a set amount that you can earn before paying tax, but if you work a job as an employee then this is included. So you could be over this immediately and need to pay tax on your venture from the start.

A good (yet realistic) idea

Every business needs to be selling products or services that people actually want. Your venture will all start with an idea, which you can then refine to work out exactly what you’ll be doing or selling. You might want to aim for the stars, but if you’re starting things from home on a small budget then it needs to be realistic.

It’s not to say you can’t grow and achieve incredible things but know what you’re able to do right now. You could base your business on the skills and passion you have, this is good as it’s not something that can easily be replicated by your competitors.

You become your brand- so if you’re a designer, an artist, a baker or create anything of any kind then it’s because of you that your loyal customers will buy. You could also stick with a tried and tested business model such as purchasing items wholesale and reselling them for a profit. Create an online store and choose to sell items in a niche that you genuinely enjoy and know a little about, as it helps you to make the best choices for your stock.

For example, if you enjoy and follow fashion then you could set up a store in women’s, men’s or children’s clothes. You could specialise in accessories, in shoes, in budget finds or designer items. Decide on your niche, as it gives you a unique selling point and helps you to target your marketing methods. You need something that’s going to set you apart from your competitors, and the ability to do it on the budget you have, using the space you have at home. So think carefully before taking the plunge.

A productive workspace

When you know what your business will involve and the tasks you’ll be completing, you need a productive workspace. In most cases, a spare room turned into an office will do the trick. If you don’t have a spare room at home, you could consider renovating and adding an extension or even a conservatory or garden room.

It might seem extreme but if you’re serious about making things work, it’s important to have your own space so that the boundaries between life and work remain clear. It’s easy when you work for yourself, especially when it’s from home for this to become a problem.

You end up working every hour you’re not asleep and it ends up feeling like you’re never getting a proper break from things. This will slow your productivity down, as you’re never getting the chance to view things with ‘fresh eyes.’ It’s far better to close the door to your workspace after you’re finished for the day and take the time you need to rest and rejuvenate.

Get a knowledge of outsourcing

You might be a sole trader and working from home, but it doesn’t mean you’re able to do every job in your business- especially as things begin to grow. You don’t need to hire employees and have people come into your home to work (in most cases, this won’t be practical). Instead, you should outsource.

Here you can hire third-party companies or freelancers to do specific projects, weekly tasks or even run entire departments. For example, you could look into outsourced IT support, have a freelancer contribute weekly blog posts or hire a company to tackle all of your marketing.

This frees up your time for the jobs that you’re good at and enjoy, and can allow your business to grow even if you don’t have every skill needed. Let’s face it, very few people will have enough of an understanding of all elements of business, and even if they did, time would be a constraint. Use outsourcing to your advantage, if you want to succeed it’s absolutely something you need to get on board with as your company picks up traction.

Bucket loads of self-motivation and determination

In many ways, working for yourself from the comfort of your home is a dream. There’s no boss micromanaging you, no annoying colleagues and no long commute. You’re surrounded by your own creature comforts and have plenty of flexibility. But it’s not all a walk in the park, there’s still work that has to be done. And without anyone forcing you, it’s up to you to do it. You still need to get up, logon and grind just as you would in a regular job.

You’ll have customer and client deadlines that need to be met, and the daily runnings of your business to tackle, it can be really hard work. If you’re planning on setting up a business under the impression that it will be sunshine and roses on easy street then you’ll be in for a huge surprise.

In fact, without a regular wage coming in you’ll more than likely be working more hours than you ever have to make things work. Sure, later down the line you might be able to reap the rewards of a ‘business that runs itself.’ But it takes a whole lot of work and dedication to get to this stage.

Working a business from home can be a fantastic way to earn a living. It could be the start of a company that grows and moves into commercial space. Or it could be a venture that you choose to keep at home.

Either way, it’s a lot of work but is well worth the effort. For the right kind of person especially, earning a living from your home can be far preferable than any kind of workplace environment.

About the author

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Like Minds is a global thought leadership platform delivering world class events on business development, knowledge and insight aimed at entrepreneurs and business leaders to engage, stimulate and empower them to become global businesses of the future. We also offer a bespoke service for corporate clients and training programmes under the Like Minds U brand. For more information please email bespoke@wearelikeminds.com