Aviva Directory » Business & Industry » Business Opportunities » Work-at-Home

A home-based business requires much of the same preparation as any other business, with the exception of having to find an office or retail space outside of the home.

The first step in starting a home-based business is deciding on the type of business endeavor you're interested in. To this end, consider your skills, talents, and interests, and determine how these qualities can be used to establish a business. Unfortunately, it may be difficult to translate every skill or interest into a feasible business idea.

The next thing to consider your business idea can be accomplished at home. For example, you might be a great chef, but, due to local or state regulations, you might find it difficult to establish a catering business from your home. Although you might locate your office in your home, your business will likely require a commercial kitchen.

Once you have an idea that sounds feasible, you will still need to determine whether it's worth the investment. Involvement here will be market research, market testing, and startup costs. Not everyone does this, of course, but the chances of a successful home business will be enhanced if you do your homework.

Unless you intend to invest existing funds into your business, if you are going to apply for funding or seek investors, you will need to prepare a business plan that includes an executive summary, an overview of your business, a market analysis, a description of your product or service, marketing and sales plans, a financial plan, and projections.

Your business will need a name, and you may need to ensure that your proposed business name is available for use.

Most home businesses begin as sole proprietorships or as limited liability corporations (LLCs), but general partnerships or corporations are also possibilities. Review the pros, cons, and costs of each with your attorney, as the regulations are likely to differ from one state to another, or from one country to another.

Other considerations may include home occupation permits, property use and zoning permits, and general business licenses and permits.

Even if your plan is for a one-person operation, it is generally considered to be important to separate your business and personal finances, and to do so from the start. Consider investing in business insurance, as well.

You may come across work-at-home offers on the Internet, in newspapers, or in magazines. While some of these may be legitimate, many are not. As a rule of thumb, if a work-at-home scheme sounds too easy, or doesn't demand much in the way of training, skills, or effort on your part, it's more likely to be a scam. In response to an advertisement, a victim might be offered a proposal involving performing some simple task at home, requiring no particular skills, and often a minimal amount of time, but promising an income that far exceeds the market value for the job. In a scam, the business model may be to get money from the victim, either by charging a fee to join the scheme or requiring an investment in products whose resale value is grossly exaggerated.

Not all work-at-home proposals are outright scams, however. Some of these advertisements are for legitimate work, although the salary, anticipated income, or the amount of work available, may be exaggerated. If it sounds too good to be true, it's probably not true.

Legitimate work-at-home opportunities are generally not found by responding to an advertisement online or in a magazine, and they are likely to require special skills, training, education, and effort.

Particularly with the expansion of high-speed Internet into small towns and rural areas, many people are attracted to the very real possibility of creating a business that can be conducted largely, if not entirely, from home. Entrepreneurs with children can often find ways to integrate parenting into their working time and workspace. Home businesses allow parents to care for their children while creating income, as the flexibility permits them to integrate business and parenting duties.

People work from home for a variety of reasons, including the ability to lower business expenses, eliminate the cost of commuting, accommodate health limitations, or enjoy a more flexible schedule.

Although the focus of this part of our web guide is on home-based businesses, the boundaries between jobs and businesses can be fluid. For example, if you are providing freelance content for another client, once you have built a significant client base, you are running a business.

Depending on your education, credentials, and skills, some home-based businesses may include consulting, research, freelancing, affiliate marketing, online course creation, tutoring, coding, web design, photography, online sales of crafts or other products, and many others.

With businesses moving online, home businesses are becoming more accessible.



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