What You Need To Know To Start Your Home Based Business

One of the first things you should do before taking the leap from a "real" job to your own home based business, is to do a self-assessment. This will give you some ideas of how you will do when you answer to no one but yourself. More on this later on in the article. Once you've determined that you can be successful in your home business, you can get right down to planning for it. You should write some plans, including a business plan, marketing plan, and a financial plan. Check into the legal end of starting your business. Money matters come into play here as well; how will handle financing your new business, opening bank accounts, will you do the bookkeeping or hire it out. You'll need to consider your office or workspace, where it will be and what you'll need to do to make it a place you can use. And don't forget the legal end of things. Check the zoning restrictions to be sure you can operate a business from your home.

Do You Have What It Takes?

Before getting too far into your plans, you should find out if you have the discipline and skills to operate your own business. This is called "self-assessment." Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before you get too far in planning.

Do I have the necessary skills to do the job, plus extras to handle other business-related chores?
Can I set my own schedule and stick to it?
Am I good at setting goals?
Am I easily distracted?
Do I know when to end my work day, and can I do it?

Online Sources for More Information

Here's a few of our favorite online sources which contain tips, ideas, and good articles on how to start your own business:

  • Entrepreneur.com One of the best all-around informational sites to get you started in your own home based business. Includes guides on business ideas, business plans, basics, work and family life balance, and more.
  • AHBBO.com (A Home-Based Business Online) offers practical business ideas, strategies and opportunities for the home-based entrepreneur. They also have a newsletter you can subscribe to.
  • boconline (Business Opportunities Online): source for small business and home business opportunities, ideas, news, and resources for small and work at home business opportunity seekers. Contains classifieds, ideas, tools, technologies, articles, links directory, monthly newsletter, affiliate program, and business opportunity forums all geared towards the small busines, and work at home based business markets

Planning Your Business

Most people know what type of business they'd like to begin. Some branch out from their current employment. Others base their business on an interest, skill or talent that they have. If you aren't sure exactly what you'd like to do, here are some ideas for you. Make a list of your skills and interests. Do you have an accounting background? Do friends comment on your cooking skills, or a special dish you make that could be turned into a home-based business.

Do you have writing skills, including the type that could be turned into writing for greeting card companies? Skilled in any crafts or sewing? Do you have skills in furniture repair or restoration, or upholstering? Are you a former teacher who could do private tutoring? The list is endless! Once you have drawn up a list of your skills and interests, you can narrow down the possibilities.

Money Matters

A very important consideration that shouldn't be overlooked is the financial planning for your new business. This includes opening a bank account, knowing where your start-up costs are coming from, cash flow, bookkeeping, your salary, etc. The first thing to consider is where you are getting your start-up funds from. Have you already saved money to start this venture? Will you be borrowing from friends or relatives? From the bank or credit union? Refinancing or second mortgaging your home? These are all viable ways to raise the money to start your business, you'll need to decide which is best for you. Open the bank account next, when your financing is in place. Will you be doing the books yourself, or hiring an accountant to do them for you? Don't forget to set aside a certain amount for your own salary. Be sure it covers your basic personal expenses, and plan to live a little more frugally for the first 6 months to a year while your business gets on its feet. And watch your cash flow, this is a major reason for business failure--failing to keep an eye on the money as it comes in and goes out.

In Conclusion

Did you realize there would be so many things to consider in starting your own home based business? We didn't cover everything, but you will find more information by going through the online sources we listed, talking to anyone you may know who has started their own business, and reading books and magazine articles on the topic. It's important to carefully consider all aspects of start up plans, so your new business will get off to a good start.

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