One of the most common questions we are asked is, “How do I start a home business?” My husband and I started PowerHomeBiz.com in 1999, and a decade on the Web has taught me a lot in terms of what to do (and what not to do) when running a home-based business. Here are some in my list:
- Decide what you do best, and focus on it. For other things you can do marginally, consider hiring others to free up your time to do what you do best.
- If you are concerned about the cost of outsourcing or hiring outside help, calculate how much time it will take you to do the task yourself (and the opportunity cost of foregoing things you should be doing), and see which option makes the most sense.
- Little kids and a home-based business are very hard to mix. Either you decide to work only when the entire household is sleeping (that means no sleep for you!); or you hire a babysitter or nanny during the day to watch the kids while you work.
- Sit down and make every effort to understand your business financials. Not only is the knowledge important come tax time, you can achieve your business goals faster if you know where you stand financially.
- Understand your cost structure. You can only price your products well if you know what it costs to produce them.
- You need to be very good in managing your time when running a home-based business. Otherwise, you’ll often end up wondering where did time go when the day is over and you’ve accomplished nothing.
- Don’t be ashamed to say that you run a home-based business. Other people might sneer at you for being “too small time”, but they don’t know that you earn 5x more than they do!
- Create a dedicated space for working in your home, and it must be a place that is convenient to you and suitable for your work habits.
- Even if you consider yourself the smartest cookie in the block, there is much to learn from other people. Participate in forums and even social network sites. Talk to other business owners and network.
- Be out there and trumpet your business. Even home-based businesses can build its brand.
- Do not ignore the social media. Participate in Twitter. Create a Facebook profile for your business. Submit content to StumbleUpon and Digg. But be sure to separate your business from your personal accounts.
- Learn how to chill out and take a break from work. Discipline yourself to stop checking emails while eating dinner with your family. And do not put your laptop in your night stand so you can check emails at 2 a.m.
- Relax and have fun. You are working from home so you can be free from the rigorous demands and timetable of a corporate environment. Take a break from work and enjoy life at home. Hurry up with work so you can live your life — talking a walk with your dog, having ice cream with your kid, or watching your boy play tball.