While many people have thought about starting a home business based on a talent or skill, only a few actually take the leap, leaving the security of a corporate job to do their own thing.
If you’re thinking of starting a home-based business, either full or part-time, here are four preliminary steps you should take to review the feasibility of your business idea:
- First, think through your business idea until you are quite clear about it.
- Second, research or test the market. Since all good ideas are not easy to monetize, make sure there is a demand for your products or services.
- Third, if there is a demand, research as much about your target audience’s interests and buying habits as possible.
Once you’re clear on your business ideas, confirmed that there’s a demand for your product or services, and understand your target audience, then you just need to take a leap of faith and do it.
1. A Business Mailing Address
Using your home mailing address or a post office box may work out in some cases. Still, if it means compromising your privacy, safety, or credibility, getting a physical business address is advisable. A physical company address improves trust and credibility, and it helps project a professional image.
So how do you get an actual physical address without going through the expense of renting a commercial office space? You use a mail forwarding service, costing as little as ten dollars. Your mail and packages will be delivered to a mailbox location with an actual street address.
After viewing your mail online or with a mobile app, you can have it forwarded to your home address. If you’re not sure about the purpose of a piece of mail, you can request a scan to view its contents either on the cloud or via a pdf file. And, if there is mail you don’t want, you can discard it or have it shredded.
2. A Home office
While it’s possible to work from anywhere in your house or to work from coffee shops and libraries, it’s usually a good idea to set up a home office. This will allow you to organize your work and use various office equipment.
While different businesses need different types of equipment, especially when it comes to software, most home offices usually need a computer, monitor, high-speed Internet access, telephone, and printer.
In addition, you should get a desk large enough to spread out all your work and a comfortable office chair. Other things to consider are adequate lighting, air purifiers, fans, heaters, trash containers, tables, bookshelves, storage shelves, and file cabinets. You may also want to add ambiance with a potted plant, posters, photographs, and memorabilia.
One thing to keep in mind is that since you’ll be sitting and typing on a keyboard and using a mouse for many hours of the day, you should choose an ergonomic keyboard, mouse and chair.
An ergonomic keyboard and mouse will reduce the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome, and an ergonomic chair will reduce the risk of having lower back issues.
3. Marketing Materials
Marketing is an essential part of your business, and you need to do it even when you have enough long-term clients. If you don’t keep the pipeline full, there may be lulls in your work when clients either don’t have enough work for you or choose to discontinue working with you.
Online marketing materials can include a website, a blog, and social media profiles; offline marketing materials can include brochures, flyers and business cards.
You may also want to add some less-known marketing techniques. For instance, incorporate the use of loyalty cards in your direct sales marketing plans to create rewards for customers to continue buying your products. A points program might offer future discounts.
Finally, if you’re still not sure it’s worth starting your own business because you think you might jeopardize your financial future.
There are many tiny, even one-person businesses where the owner makes more money than all but the very top executives at the largest corporations.”