Every business is different, but they all have the same basic needs to thrive. Here are a few simple things to get you started on the road toward owning your own home-based business.
1: Be legit. Too legit to quit.
What will be your business name? Make sure that your name isn’t already taken to avoid an awkward and potentially pricey situation. Just as important as a name is how the government will identify you. Will you have an EIN or use your social as your Tax ID? LLC or sole proprietorship? Each option has pros and cons, and you’ll need to research to see the best fit for your small business needs.
2: Money, money, money!
How will you take payments? You need a way to accept money, whether Paypal, Square, Venmo or even Cash App. Most payment options take a cut, so factor that into your decision. Make it easy for people to pay you, with multiple options. Remember to keep your business and regular accounts separate. Save your receipts and set a little extra money (or a lot depending on your state…) aside for tax time in the spring.
3: Make a Game Plan.
Business plans may feel daunting if you are starting a home-based business, and maybe you don’t want to make your business complicated. As much as you may want to keep it simple, it’s helpful to know where you are going and what you need to get there. Do you need any licenses or insurance? Depending on the work you are doing, the answer may be yes. Even craft fairs frequently require insurance in case of a fire, and that’s not something you want to find out the day you set up your booth.
4: What are you Selling?
What might seem like the most straightforward question can often take the most time to figure out. You may want to have your own business but aren’t sure what to sell yet. Will you offer a service or sell goods? If you aren’t sure, look at your skill set and dreams to determine what you will offer.
5: It’s OK to Mess Up
You will need to try new things. Part of owning a home-based business is exploring the unknown. Business is a giant experiment of seeing what works and what doesn’t. Learn from your failures, and instead of beating yourself up for them, take them as helpful information and pivot as needed. Keep learning, and may your business flourish this year and many more to come.