How To Start a Business from Home in 2024

How To Start a Business from Home in 2024
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Independent professionals contributed over $1 billion to the U.S. economy in 2021, and the demand for a variety of skills is growing. If you’ve thought about launching a business from your home, now is a great time. We’ve compiled the top things to do and consider when it comes to starting a business from home, including:

Grab a pen and paper or bookmark this article to revisit as you start your business, because it’s all here—from home business ideas to step-by-step instructions on forming your new company.

10 common home businesses

There are a lot of good business opportunities that you can pursue from the comfort of your own home, including:

Home businesses can be product- or service-based. Each of the 10 examples below are businesses you can run from your house with the help of the internet—no storefront needed.

Homemade and DIY products

Many popular goods for sale through Etsy, an online marketplace, are products that you can make at home, such as:

  • Embossed leather wallets
  • Wooden puzzles for babies
  • Personalized charcuterie boards
  • Holiday ornaments
  • Handmade jewelry
  • Knitted sweaters
  • Hand-lettered greeting cards
  • Home decor items
  • Paintings

You don’t need to have prior artistic experience to get started making and selling goods from home. YouTube tutorials are a great way to learn new skills, and craft stores have many of the items you’ll use to get started. You can sell the items you make on Etsy or through your own website.

Dropshipping

One drawback to making goods at home is that you have to store and ship them as orders come in. Dropshipping is an e-commerce business model in which your business serves as an intermediary between buyers and suppliers. There are a few different variations on the process, but it typically works like this:

  1. You identify products you’d like to sell and list them on your website
  2. A customer places an order through your website, at which point you collect payment for the retail price
  3. You purchase the product at a wholesale cost from the supplier
  4. The supplier ships the product directly to your customer

Customers experience a normal checkout process, and you don’t have to worry about shipping products on time. The process is further streamlined by the use of e-commerce platforms like Shopify, where you can use plugins to automate most of the dropshipping process. There are lots of products available for dropshipping, too. You could start an online clothing business or sell kitchen wares—whatever interests you.

On-demand printing

On-demand printing is another way to run an online business without the need for maintaining stock or buying shipping supplies. Here’s how it works:

  1. You identify products and designs you’d like to offer for sale online. This can include books, graphic shirts, personalized drinkware, and more
  2. A customer places an order, selecting the quantity, size, color, or type of items they’d like
  3. You engage a manufacturer to print the product as ordered
  4. The product is shipped directly from the printer to the customer

With the print on demand business model, you can either purchase the rights to a design for your products, or create it yourself. Some print on demand business owners like to run their own website with the help of services like Printful. Others prefer to focus on the artistic side of the process and upload designs to marketplace sites like Society6 or RedBubble. You can use this method to start a t-shirt business, sell prints of your artwork, and more.

Data entry

Independent data entry professionals help their clients by entering content into databases, spreadsheets, and documentation systems. Some data entry businesses also offer transcription services for audio and video recordings. You may work on projects such as:

  • Helping hospitals update important records
  • Entering retail inventory into a database
  • Creating written transcriptions of webinars
  • Reviewing business documents for accuracy
  • Verifying the accuracy of insurance information
  • Digitizing paper documentation

To run a successful data entry business, you will want to have a computer and a reliable internet connection. Many data entry professionals also purchase access to resources like Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Access, as well.

Business analysis consulting

As a business analyst, you can help corporate clients make sound, data-backed decisions. In this role, you may:

  • Examine data for relationships with business events and outcomes
  • Collect and organize new data sets
  • Establish clear, measurable goals and key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Help client stakeholders understand the impact of your findings

Most business analysts have a strong aptitude for research, project management, reporting, and communication. You can do this type of analysis work from anywhere  as long as you have a computer, a phone, and an internet connection.

Web development consulting

Web development consultants provide advice and guidance about the best way to handle specific projects. While these consultants are experienced developers, they typically don’t do hands-on coding work. A web development consultant may advise on:

When starting a web development consulting business, it’s good to have access to a computer, an internet connection, and a video conferencing service like Zoom.

Graphic design

Graphic design consultants help their clients improve marketing and usability. These consultants use their experience in the design world to advise others on:

  • Digital and print design principles
  • Design strategy for marketing and branding
  • Usability in design

A graphic design consultant may also serve as an art director on client campaigns. Typically, all of this work can be done online with the help of a computer and collaborative platforms like Google Workspace.

Logo design

Logo design consultants may have a similar background to graphic design consultants. They help clients create new or revitalized logos and visual brand identities. This work may include:

  • Evaluating competitors
  • Applying principles of design psychology
  • Developing logo prototypes
  • Advising on brand strategy

To work as an independent logo design consultant, you’ll use a computer, internet, and design software like Adobe Creative Cloud.

Teaching and education

Education consultants are often former or current professors, teachers, and school administrators. They may work with their clients on a variety of projects, including:

  • Evaluating existing educational curriculum content
  • Writing new curriculum guidelines
  • Improving specialized education programs
  • Developing new education initiatives

Teaching and education consultants may work remotely with school administrators, as well as other key staff involved in client projects.

Digital marketing consulting

Digital marketing consultants may have a wide variety of sub-specialities and work on projects including:

  • Developing marketing plans
  • Setting goals and KPIs
  • Creating audience segments and buyer personas
  • Analyzing social media data
  • Researching competitors
  • Auditing websites and ad campaigns
  • Developing search engine optimization (SEO) guidelines
  • Crafting search engine marketing and pay per click advertising strategies

If you’d like to start a digital marketing consulting business, you may need to invest in access to a variety of resources including SEO and analytics software.

How to start your business from home in 13 steps

Proper planning is essential when launching any small business. We recommend starting with these steps:

1. Focus on a product or service

2. Learn about your market

3. Start a business plan

4. Draft a mission statement

5. Select a type of business

6. Choose a business name

7. Register your business

8. Develop a business fund or budget

9. Get a business bank account and credit card

10. Consider small business insurance

11. Talk to tax professionals

12. Set up a dedicated office

13. Market your business

With the right preparation, you can compete against well-established companies and make a name (and a living) for yourself, all from home.

1. Focus on a product or service

Having prior experience in your home business’ area of focus will give you a competitive advantage right away. However, it’s still important to enjoy the work that you do. Striking the right balance between enjoyment and experience can help you experience success in your new home business.

Many of the home business ideas discussed above involve a multitude of different things you could potentially provide to customers. Don’t feel that you have to offer every possible option to your clients. It’s okay to narrow your focus to one, or a handful of, products and services. This can help you:

  • Build your subject matter expertise
  • Effectively market your services
  • Connect with clients that are the right fit
  • Streamline and optimize business operations

It’s also important to pick a product or service offering that fits with your available space. Consider the following when starting your home business:

  • Do you have enough space in your home for the necessary materials? If you’re making physical products, don’t forget about shipping and packaging supplies.
  • Could your work disturb your neighbors? While it’s unlikely that computer-based work will bother someone next door, it’s good to be mindful of the impact that any potential noise or foot traffic will have.
  • If customers need to visit your home, it’s also a good idea to check with your local municipality to be sure this is allowed for home businesses.

2. Learn about your market

Once you’ve selected a home business that suits your experience, interests, and space, it’s time to research your market. By doing this research before launching your product or service, you can improve your positioning within the market.

You can conduct market research using resources from your state, province, or federal government as well as professional industry groups and online analytics. Data points to consider include:

  • Other companies’ revenues
  • Total annual sales in the industry
  • Customers’ demographic information
  • Historical trends in the industry

Custom​​​​ers

When researching your potential customer base, it’s important to get a sense for the demographic and psychographic factors that may influence their purchasing decisions.

Demographics are traits about a person, including age, location, family size, income, and career. Psychographic traits deal more with personality, including hobbies, interests, and spending habits.

Many industry groups and government organizations, like the U.S. Small Business Administration, have reports and information that you can use to gather demographic information. If you have access to people who fall within your target audience groups, you can also try conducting surveys and interviews. This can help you learn more about individuals in their peer groups.

It is possible that your target audience members will have a variety of different demographic and psychographic traits. Grouping people with similar traits together will help you build audience segments, which are very helpful for marketing purposes.

Competition

When researching your competitors, you can start with online searches, use website auditing tools, and turn to the same industry groups or government databases as before. Think about companies that might sell the same products as you, or potentially capture your ideal customers’ business. If you conduct any surveys or interviews, remember to ask what other companies people buy from.

As you start to research these competitors, consider the following:

  • What is their online presence like? Do they get a lot of traffic?
  • Do they run ads online?
  • Do they run ads offline?
  • How many products or services do they offer?
  • What is their pricing structure?
  • What kind of reviews do customers leave about this company?
  • What kind of customer service options are available? What about warranties and guarantees?
  • Is there anything that they aren’t offering that you can?
  • Do their customers live locally or are they spread out?

This information will help you figure out where your company fits among other competitors in the market, and how you can stand out.

3. Start a business plan

A business plan is a document that clearly lays out your goals and a path for achieving them. No matter how small your home business is, it’s a good idea to have a written plan. It can help you clarify your goals and purpose, and make sure all of your ideas work well together.

If you’re the only person who will see and use your business plan, it can be fairly short. If you intend to use your business plan to ask for financing, though, you may want to go into more detail. You can do this step yourself or hire a professional business plan writer.

Your business plan can include:

  • An executive summary that introduces your brand and its purpose
  • A value proposition that expresses the benefit customers will experience from using your products or services
  • Your new company’s mission statement
  • An overview of your target audience and competitors
  • Your products or services and pricing structure
  • A marketing strategy
  • Your goals, which you can break into milestones
  • How you will measure and track those goals
  • A financial plan
  • Your role in the company
  • The roles of any other other team members or independent professionals you plan to work with

This document isn’t fixed in stone—a business plan can evolve along with you and your business. However, it gives you a solid starting point so you can feel confident in your new venture.

4. Draft a mission statement

Your company’s mission statement is a succinct summary of what you do, how it helps people, and principles drive your work. It isn’t quite the same thing as a vision statement—the latter is focused on where your company is going. A mission statement is all about the motivating force behind your company’s existence.

The purpose of a mission statement

A mission statement helps you communicate the core benefit and values of your work to potential customers, and can help bring your collaborators into alignment.

Mission statement needs

Typically, a mission statement is very short—only a few sentences long—and can include:

  • Who is giving the statement: is this your mission? You and a partner’s?
  • Your company’s primary goal
  • Why your company exists
  • The key value differentiator that sets you apart
  • The type of customers you serve
  • Your company’s core principles
  • What success looks like or means to your company

If you’d like to expand upon your mission statement further for customers, you can incorporate it into an “about us” page on your website or in a letter from your leadership team.

5. Select a type of business

There are several different ways that you can structure your new company. Below, we’ll go over six possible options for home business owners in the U.S. The type of business entity you choose can impact the way you are taxed, so it’s a good idea to talk to an accountant and lawyer if you have questions.

Sole proprietorship (sole prop)

A sole proprietorship is the most basic, straightforward type of business entity from a tax perspective. You, right now, exist as a sole proprietorship. You can begin conducting business under your legal name and reporting revenue on your income tax return without going through any registration process with the IRS. A few things to consider about sole proprietorship include:

  • It’s very affordable to start working as a sole proprietor
  • There are no formal rules around record keeping—do what works for you and your accountant
  • If you want to use a name other than your own, you may need to register it with your state.
  • You can be held personally liable for your business debts and operations
  • It might be hard to secure funding for your business as a sole proprietor

General partnership

A general partnership is to two people what a sole proprietorship is to one. If you’d like to start your business with another person, you can both agree to enter into a general partnership. In this kind of business:

  • Both business owners take on personal liability for the company’s debts and operations
  • You may need to file paperwork to operate your partnership under a brand name.
  • Both partners have to report earnings on their personal income taxes
  • You and your partner could create a formal agreement regarding payment and conflict resolution.
  • In some states, one partner can be held liable for another’s actions

LLC

A Limited Liability Company, or LLC, is somewhat of a middle ground between a sole proprietorship or general partnership and a corporation. This type of business structure requires more upfront steps to register your company with the government, but it also provides more protections. Pros and cons of an LLC include:

  • You can form an LLC by yourself or with members, who are like partners.
  • When creating an LLC, you can opt to “pass through” earnings and report them on your personal income tax return, or file a corporate return.
  • It may be tricky to dissolve your LLC or transfer it to another state.
  • Your personal assets can be protected from business liability, but you have to keep everything carefully separated to maintain this protection.
  • In a partnership, if one member dies or leaves the company, the remaining partners have to dissolve the LLC and start again.

Limited partnership

A limited partnership can be a good option when you have some partners who would like to be active in the day-to-day operations of a business and some that prefer simply to invest in the business. In a limited partnership:

  • Investors act as “limited” partners and do not incur personal liability for business losses and operations
  • Active, “general” partners making business decisions do incur personal liability for the business
  • There are more registration steps involved than when forming a general partnership
  • If a limited partner withdraws from the business, the remaining partners may not need to dissolve the business.
  • Some select professional services providers can form a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) for further protections.

S-corp

This type of business entity is only available to U.S. citizens and residents. Like a sole proprietorship or LLC, you can report your S-corp income on a personal tax return. There are further restrictions, however, that provide owners with protection from liability. When forming this type of business:

  • One or more people may own an S-corp
  • S-corps are registered with the government and the IRS
  • There are limited options for issuing stock to shareholders in the business
  • S-corps have bylaws and hold formal meetings for shareholders
  • Owners do not assume personal liability for the company’s operations and debts

C-corporation

A C-corporation is the most restrictive and complicated business entity on this list. Depending on the type and size of your home business, though, your lawyer and accountant may advise you to form a C-corp. Important things to know about C-corps include:

  • You do not take on personal liability for the business
  • Owners of C-corps do not pay as much in self-employment tax, but you pay taxes twice: once as the business, and once when reporting income on your personal tax return.
  • There must be a board of directors
  • This type of entity is internationally recognized, which can be useful if you do business in other countries
  • You may have an easier time obtaining business financing, credit, and investments

If your business isn’t based in the U.S., the business entities available to you may be different. It’s important to talk to a professional who is well-versed in the best options for your place of business.

6. Choose a business name

A business name is essential for marketing your brand. This is how people will begin to know and recognize your company.

How to select a business name

The first step in choosing a business name is to think of original, unique options that will make an impression in your potential customers’ minds. It can be helpful to indicate what you do as part of your business name, even subtly.

After you make an initial list of name ideas, conduct some research to see if there are other businesses with this name. You can find this information in a few places:

  • Your state’s Secretary of State website
  • The local Chamber of Commerce
  • The U.S. Patent and Trademark office

Not all businesses trademark their brand name, so it’s a good idea to look in more than one spot for this information.

Tips for choosing a business name

When choosing your business name, consider the following:

  • Is your business name recognizable?
  • Are there other businesses with a similar purpose and name?
  • Can you obtain a domain name that includes your business name?
  • Does your business name give any indication as to what you do?
  • Will it translate well into a logo or brand mark?
  • If it’s very long, would it work as an acronym?
  • Will spelling a common word in a unique way make your brand easier or harder to remember?
  • Is it available for trademarking, if you decide to do so?

It’s a good idea to choose a brand name that you think will represent your brand well now and in the future. Consistency can go a long way in building trust with your customers.

7. Register your business

Once you’ve chosen a business type and a name, you’ll want to go through any applicable registration processes.

The Secretary of State’s office and your local municipality can provide information on the exact forms you need to file. Depending on the business type you choose, this may include:

  • Business formation documents
  • Name registration
  • Zoning forms
  • Business licenses and permits
  • Tax paperwork

It’s important to go through all the necessary business registration processes up front. If you do not do this before starting your business, it could complicate things at tax time.

Register for an EIN

Employer Identification Numbers (EINs), also called Federal Tax Identification Numbers, are issued by the IRS.

Business owners must have an EIN if they want to hire other people or form an LLC. However, sole proprietors and general partners can get an EIN as well. Some sole proprietors like to get an EIN because it:

  • Helps distinguish them as an independent professional
  • Allows them to refrain from sharing their Social Security number with clients
  • May make it easier to open a business bank account or credit card

U.S. residents can obtain an EIN directly through the IRS website for free—you do not have to pay a third party to obtain it for you. Here’s how it works:

  1. Visit the IRS website for EIN applications
  2. Complete an online application about your business
  3. Provide your current taxpayer identification number, which includes Social Security numbers
  4. Submit the form and receive your EIN

Even though the EIN form is online, you can only apply between 7 am and 10 pm, Monday through Friday.

Register for federal, state and local licenses or permits

Depending on the type of home business you run, and where you live, you may need to apply for additional licenses and permits. These permits may apply at the federal, state, or local level. Examples include:

  • General permits for conducting business within city limits
  • Zoning ordinances to run a commercial business out of a home
  • Permits to provide cosmetic, tattooing, or piercing services
  • A license to work as a notary public
  • Permits to sell tobacco or alcohol
  • Approvals to handle or produce food products
  • A license to collect sales tax
  • Permits for working with fish or farm animals
  • Licenses for real estate sales
  • Permits for broadcasting on television or radio frequencies

Your local chamber of commerce, professional organizations, and government offices can help you determine the right types of permits for your business.

8. Develop a business fund or budget

Home businesses do often entail some startup costs, even when operating as a sole proprietor. You may need to pay various fees to obtain licenses, file business paperwork, and more.

It’s a good idea to research all the various fees you’ll need to pay before officially registering and starting your business. This way, you know exactly how much you may need to invest out of your own savings or obtain through another funding source. It may be less than you expect!

If you want to seek funding for your business, there are a few avenues you can take.

Small business loans

Small business loans are available through banks and community development groups. The Small Business Administration (SBA) guarantees a variety of loans for small businesses, including ones with low down payments and fixed interest rates. Some SBA loans also come with business counseling that can help you navigate funding and growing your company.

Small business grants

A primary difference between loans and grants is that loans are to be repaid, while grants are not. Some grants are need-based, while others are industry-based or even tied into a competition. You may be able to obtain a business grant through:

Local business incubators, Grants.gov, and the Chamber of Commerce are great places to start when looking for information on this type of funding.

Crowdfunding

Some businesses opt to raise funding through a series of small contributions from multiple people. This model, known as crowdfunding, is typically conducted online through a purpose-specific platform like:

Once your business launches, it’s important to maintain a continual operating budget. Staying on top of your expenses, revenue, and profits will help you keep your business afloat on an ongoing basis.

9. Get a business bank account and credit card

Whether you’re operating as a sole proprietor, LLC, partnership, or corporation, it’s a good idea to have a business bank account and credit card that is separate from your personal accounts.

For sole proprietors, this can make it easier to keep track of business vs. personal expenses. For LLCs, it’s an important step in protecting your personal assets from liability.

Bank accounts

You can open a business bank account through many local, regional, and national banks. There are also entire financial tech businesses built around making small business banking easier and more accessible. Some options include:

The availability of specific bank accounts may vary based on your location.

According to the SBA, business owners can consider the following when comparing banks:

  • Monthly and daily fees
  • Account balance minimums
  • Transaction minimums and limits
  • Interest rates
  • Options for savings and checking accounts

Credit cards

A business credit card can allow you to earn rewards, finance certain purchases, and build credit history. You’ll want to look for a card that:

  • Offers the credit limit you want for your business
  • Has a low interest rate
  • Provides rewards that make sense for your business, such as cash back or airline miles

It’s also important to consider any annual fees when opening a business credit card, as you may have to pay to keep it active.

10. Consider small business insurance

Small business insurance can offer an additional layer of protection for your business operations. Depending on the type of home business you run, you may be required to purchase a specific type of insurance. It’s a good idea to check with your local municipality and your insurance company to make sure you’re appropriately covered.

According to the SBA, common business insurance policy options include:

  • General liability insurance that protects you if someone is injured at your business, slanders your company, sues you, and more
  • Professional liability insurance that protects service providers against malpractice and lawsuits due to errors
  • Product liability insurance that protects your company from lawsuits and problems arising from an item you made or sold

You may also have the option to add an additional policy onto your existing homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. These additions, or riders, can offer coverage for your home office equipment as well as liability from any customers who are coming to your place of business.

11. Talk to tax professionals

As a small business owner, you’re responsible for filing your taxes in a timely manner. Your customers and clients won’t be paying income taxes on your behalf each time they pay you, so you’ll want to file this information yourself. In the U.S., self-employed individuals typically make estimated tax payments every quarter. A tax professional can help you figure out:

  • How much your quarterly estimated payments should to be
  • Who you need to pay (such as the IRS, your state, and your town)
  • How you can deduct business expenses to lower your taxable income
  • Preparing for a final end-of-year tax return
  • If your business taxes are separate from your income taxes
  • Whether or not you should pay sales tax

Don’t be afraid to speak with several tax professionals in order to find the right fit. You want to choose someone who has the licenses and qualifications you’re looking for, and who is familiar with your type of business structure. Questions you might want to ask include:

  • What does your tax preparation process look like?
  • Are you available year round, or just at tax time?
  • How will I share sensitive information with you?
  • What certifications do you hold?
  • What information do you need from me to prepare my tax returns and estimates?
  • Is there a particular bookkeeping program you recommend or like your clients to use?
  • Are you familiar working with and finding tax deductions for home business owners?
  • What’s your rate for quarterly and annual tax preparation?
  • Do you prepare personal tax returns as well as business returns?
  • What’s the best way to get in touch with you if I have questions?

Independent accounting professionals, and those that work for larger firms, will typically be happy to answer your questions and make sure they can provide the services you want.

12. Set up a dedicated office

As you prepare to launch your business, it’s a good idea to find a dedicated office space in your home from which to work. This is useful for several reasons:

  1. It can help you create a division between “home life” and “work life” in a shared space
  2. It can signal to friends, family, and roommates that you’re at work and should not be disturbed
  3. Working at dedicated office furniture is often more ergonomic than working at your kitchen table or on the couch
  4. It can help to create a professional environment for video calls

First, find a space. If you have a spare room you can use as an office, that’s a great place to start. The ability to close a door will add privacy to your workday and to business calls. However, you can absolutely start a home business without an entire room dedicated to your work. Putting your desk or supplies in the corner of a room allows you to block off some space. You may want to use a folding screen or some plants to create a division from the rest of the room.

Next, outfit your space with what you will use to do your job. This may include:

  • A seated, standing, or convertible desk
  • A worktable
  • A computer and monitors
  • Computer risers to bring your monitor or laptop up to a comfortable height
  • A desk chair or standing mat
  • A comfortable keyboard and mouse
  • Any resources or materials you use to create products
  • A set of headphones and a webcam for video calls
  • Office supplies including paper, pens, sticky notes, and a notebook
  • A computer printer

You don’t need to have everything in your office ready to go on day one. As long as you have the basics—a computer, tools, supplies, and a place to work—you can add other elements as you go.

13. Market your business

As your business launches and you become ready to work, you can start thinking about marketing. This is often the only way for other people to learn about your home business, especially if you do not have any kind of storefront or area for customers to visit.

There are a variety of ways to market your business. The best options for you will depend on the type of business you run. However, all business owners can benefit from engaging in marketing efforts of some type.

Website

A business website can help you connect with potential customers and clients. It’s also a way to easily share your business info or portfolio with others.

When your business is new, you probably won’t need a complicated or large site. Content management systems and website builders make it easy to create a landing page yourself. You can also hire an independent web designer to create one for you.

Content and blogging

When you have a website, you can use it to publish blog content. This is a great way to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) and connect with more people online.

You can also opt to publish blogs on other content platforms like Medium. This can help you build your brand presence online and direct readers back to your primary website or portfolio.

Business social media

Social media can be a great way to connect with potential clients and customers. It’s a good idea to create branded business profiles that are separate from your personal accounts. Many social media platforms offer additional tools for business owners to view analytics, run ads, and more.

The best social media platforms for your business will depend on your target market.

  • LinkedIn is great for business-to-business networking and marketing your services
  • Facebook and Twitter can be useful for promoting services to other small business owners, or products to consumers
  • TikTok and Instagram may be useful for business owners who want to market products directly to consumers

When developing a social media strategy for your business, you may want to utilize a mix of paid ads and organic content. This can help you boost your reach and grow your follower counts.

Paid ads

You can also run paid ads online in addition to through social media platforms. Pay per click (PPC) advertising through a search engine like Google places your website at the top of search results. You’re typically charged each time a person clicks on the ad and visits your site.

The cost to run a PPC ad campaign can vary based on your business, industry, audience size, and number of competitors. An independent PPC advertising specialist can help you develop just the right strategy to balance budget with reach.

Speaking and webinars

Professional service providers may want to use speaking engagements and webinars to build a pipeline of potential clients. Speaking opportunities can also raise your profile as an expert in your field.

You can pre-record webinars, or run them as live events using a video-calling app like Zoom and a ticketing program such as Eventbrite. If you’d like to be a speaker, you may find opportunities available to you through local and professional organizations.

Best practices for running an at home business

Running a home business for the first time can feel like a daunting process. By carefully planning your launch and keeping an eye on your progress, though, you can turn your ideas into a successful company.

Conduct extensive market research

As mentioned above, conducting research is one of the most important things you can do when thinking about launching a home business. Having a clear understanding of your competitors and potential audience demand is essential for developing a profitable business model. If you skip this step, you may find yourself investing in building a business that can’t provide the necessary returns.

Talk to similar small businesses

If you’re unsure on how well your business idea will work, or are feeling overwhelmed by all the required steps, talking to some other business owners can help. There are a number of online and in-person networking groups where experienced business owners can interact with new entrepreneurs.

Talking to other business owners may feel daunting at first, but it can help you solve problems and formulate clear ideas much faster than trying to do it all alone. Many times, you’ll find that other business owners are happy to tell you about their experiences and provide some advice from the lessons they’ve learned so far.

Limit overhead costs

It is often possible to run a home business with little overhead and a high profit margin. The amount of overhead you incur will depend on your business—someone making or selling products will likely have higher operating costs than a computer-based service provider. Whatever your business model is, though, you can seek to limit costs in a variety of ways such as:

Paying attention to your overhead costs on an ongoing basis is important—if you don’t do this, you might find yourself spending more money than you’re bringing in.

Don’t over-invest in the beginning

When you first launch your business, it can be tempting to spend a lot of money on office equipment, premium supplies, or training courses that promise to help you maximize your revenue. While you certainly want to invest in the resources and help you need to do your work, it can be a good idea to spend cautiously at the beginning. Otherwise, you might find yourself spending more than you can quickly recoup. Once you begin generating some business revenue, then you can develop an ongoing budget that supports business growth.

Keep finances organized

Whether you’re keeping track of your books yourself, or hiring a bookkeeper, keeping your finances organized from the start will save you time and money. You can:

  • Open separate accounts for business and personal finances
  • Take a photo or screenshot of every purchase receipt, name and date the file, and immediately save it to a computer folder or your bookkeeping app
  • Send invoices promptly and on a regular schedule
  • Schedule set times every month when you will review your books, log expenses and income, pay yourself, and plan for the weeks ahead

Think about what long term success looks like

While many business owners set out to make money, your ultimate definition of success might not look like your neighbor’s or a friend’s. That’s okay! Developing your own personal definition of long term success can help you work toward your goals and feel proud of your progress. You can set smaller goals for yourself along the way, too. These might include:

  • Moving from part-time to full-time self employment
  • Increasing your sales by 10%
  • Taking on five new clients every year
  • Giving back a percentage of your income to your community
  • Supporting another new business owner

Try different forms of marketing

If you talk to five different business owners, they may all tell you that five different types of marketing are the best. What works for one business may not work for yours. Trying out multiple marketing channels and formats can help you find the best solution for your business. If your initial marketing efforts don’t pay off the way you envisioned, try another method—or work with a marketing strategist to develop a new plan.

Work through the tough times

Above all else, perseverance is key when it comes to running your own business from home. It can feel uncomfortable to be faced with new challenges or fluctuations in income. By planning ahead, building a strong support network, and being willing to seek out new opportunities, you can push past the tough times and succeed in running a successful business at home.

Take the first step to grow your home business

Sign up for Upwork today and discover how the world’s work marketplace can benefit your home business. Connect with other independent professionals, meet clients, and find the right people to help you grow your ideas into reality.

This article is intended for educational purposes and should not be viewed as legal or tax advice. Please consult a professional to find the solution that best fits your situation. Upwork is not affiliated with and does not sponsor or endorse any of the tools or services discussed in this section. These tools and services are provided only as potential options, and each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situation.

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Author Spotlight

How To Start a Business from Home in 2024
Emily Gertenbach
B2B SEO Content Writer & Consultant

Emily Gertenbach is a B2B writer who creates SEO content for humans, not just algorithms. As a former news correspondent, she loves digging into research and breaking down technical topics. She specializes in helping independent marketing professionals and martech SaaS companies connect with their ideal business clients through organic search.

How To Start a Business from Home in 2024
B2B SEO Content Writer & Consultant

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