Fed up with earning lots of money for a big company? Maybe you don’t have much job satisfaction, or your colleagues are driving you crazy. Perhaps you’re bored or feel limited in your current role? If so, the idea to set up your own business has probably crossed your mind. Something you can pour your passion and creativity, a job that gives you purpose and makes you excited to work. You can fit a home business around your other commitments (so perfect if a regular nine to five job doesn’t work for you) and as you will be working from home, there’s no time or cost for commuting for factor in, and no cost for premises either. However, there are a few things that you do need to bear in mind.
Can You Afford It?
It probably won’t cost much to set up your home business, especially if you will be a sole trader. You won’t need money to recruit and pay workers, and you won’t need to spend money on business premises. However it can be slow to get going, and you might go many months before you’re turning a profit. It can take longer still until you’re earning enough to be able to live on. Before you turn in your letter of resignation at your day job, you need to think about this. Do you have savings that can act as a buffer? Do you have a partner who is prepared to support you both while things get off the ground? If not you may need to get your business established in your spare time while you’re still working, until you’re at a comfortable enough level to quit.
Coming Up With a Business Idea
The first thing to decide on when you’re looking to set up a business is work out exactly what you will be doing/ selling. Will you be crafting your own items and selling them on an online marketplace? Will you be an online tutor or tutoring people from your home? Will you be blogging? Blogging is a great business idea since it’s cheap to start up, you probably already have a laptop and internet connection! You will need to spend some money on hosting, the problem with cheap WordPress hosting is that you get what you pay for. It can be missing things like support which can be difficult to live without unless you’re an expert. If you’re selling physical items (as opposed to digital creations or services) you will need to make sure you have storage space. Do your market research, work out if there’s an audience for whatever you plan on selling. And come up with a unique selling point, work out what sets you aside from your competitors. Is it the price? Do you offer payment plans? Do you sell items people can’t easily get elsewhere?
Your Office/ Workspace
Another consideration when it comes to space is your office. When you’re running a business from home, it makes sense that you’d have your own office as opposed to working from your bed, the sofa or the dining room table! If you have a spare bedroom in your home, transform this into your office. It gives you a place to keep all of your things together and keep organized. Your home and work life are also kept separate which is a crucial thing to get right. When you work from home, it’s so easy for your working day to become any time that you’re not asleep. To make you feel more focused and allow you to be more productive when you are working, set your hours then close the door to your office at the end of the day. Treat it the same way you would any job, it’s difficult when your venture’s success is in your hands, but it’s still important to maintain a work/ life balance. Invest in a good quality, large desk to give you plenty of room to work from. A comfortable chair and the right equipment. You will need storage and good organization to allow you to keep on top of things. Think about decor too, this is a space you’re going to be spending a lot of time in so make it look nice. Light colored walls will make the most of the space, and plants will liven it up- psychologists have even shown they can boost productivity! There’s loads of inspiration online for home offices, so spend some time planning it out and getting it right. You will be happier spending time and working from there when it’s a space you enjoy being in.
Own Website or an Online Marketplace?
Another question to ask yourself when it comes to setting up your own business is whether you will be selling from your own website or an online marketplace. Online marketplaces will charge you fees for listing and every time you sell an item, but people trust them, and they are convenient. You won’t pay fees if you sell from your own site, but it will cost you money promoting it so that people are able to find it in the first place. There are pros and cons to each, so think carefully. Before spending all of your money on a website and everything that goes with it, you could sell through eBay, Etsy and/ or Amazon first. This will give you an idea if people are interested in what you’re selling and the kinds of prices similar products sell for. It could give you information needed to tweak what you’re selling. Once you’re more established you could go it alone on your own site.
Licences and Permits
One of the big benefits of working from home is you can generally avoid the need for licenses and permits which can be both complicated and expensive. However, depending on what you’re selling, there might be a couple of occasions where you could need to apply. For example, if your business involves food such as cooking, baking or preparing food based products like jams and chutneys, you will need a food hygiene safety certificate. You will also be required to b registered with environmental health, where your kitchen will be subject to random inspections. This is to ensure you’re keeping up to date with hygiene and keeping your customers safe. If you’re selling any kind of medicines, this is another reason you will need to get the right license. And selling things that are limited by age such as knives, chemicals or alcohol will also require you to have the right paperwork in place. Get this wrong, and you could be severely fined.
Tax and Legal Considerations
When you set up a business, this has to be registered correctly. Even if you’re very small and unlikely to be earning a profit for a while. You will need to register within three months of setting up or you risk getting fined. Different countries have different procedures when it comes to paying tax, but once you meet a certain threshold (welfare/ benefits and and wages as an employee will all count towards it), you will start paying tax on your earnings. Even if you plan on using an accountant, you should still keep good records. It will make it quicker and easier for them which will work out cheaper for you. Business accounting software is good for this, it avoids the need to go through time-consuming paper records. If you take on employees to work in your business, you will be responsible for finding out if they’re legally able to work for you. This means they must be old enough and must be allowed to work in the country, it’s your job to make sure this is the case, or you risk getting into serious trouble- you could even be sent to prison. Make sure you’re up to date with the law, speak to a lawyer if you’re unsure. But always follow the rules to avoid penalties, fines, lawsuits and even prison.
You don’t have to be stuck in a rut when it comes to your career. Setting up your own business allows you to escape the rat race and gives you something to put your effort and creativity into. Setting up a business from scratch is incredibly rewarding and a huge achievement too.