Whether it’s as a result of family circumstances or personal choice, more and more of us these days are contemplating starting up our own businesses from home. With the jobs market the way it is, creating your own job and your own business can often be the best course of action. Of course, not every business or enterprise can be started from the comfort of your own kitchen table or spare room. There are however a few that most certainly can. If this is something that has been on your mind, here are 5 ways to start a business from home to give you some food for thought.
No longer simply a hobbyist activity, crafting now has a viable place in the economy. Whether it’s embroidery, knitting, painting or whatever, if you’re gifted and talented at a particular craft, you have the opportunity to create a business and earn some money. And whilst at one time, you may have only been able to sell your wares at local craft fairs and the like, the internet has certainly changed that. There are countless websites where you can effectively have your own virtual shop and sell, market and promote your work. All generally will take a small commission on any products sold but when you consider how few other overheads you have, it’s more than worth it. Etsy, Folksy and Tosouk are a few worth checking out. Also, many crafters find they can promote their businesses extremely effectively on social networks too – so don’t forget Facebook et al.
You only have to google “make money blogging” to see the plethora of blogs (ironically enough) that are written around this subject. The key to the whole thing though is to write or blog about something that you have a genuine interest in. Setting up a blog is easy – there are countless free blog hosting platforms out there and very little technical knowhow is required – WordPress, Blogger, and Typepad to name but a few. The subject matter though? That’s an entirely different matter. If you can identify a topic that you are really interested in, you’re halfway there. It’s all about finding a niche subject and then ensuring that you write quality articles and content as regularly as possible. So whether you want to blog about the latest mobiles or tablets or if fashion is more your thing, it’s something to seriously consider
Admittedly, this one has been around for a while now, yet there are still plenty of people who have managed to create businesses and careers for themselves from ebay. Again, it’s essential to identify a niche product or area that you are going to serve. Monitoring ebay trends is a must so that you can quickly see what is in demand and what would be worthwhile selling. If you are considering an area that is awash with sellers, chances are it is a saturated market and you stand little chance of making any decent money. Choose instead the areas with less competition and you stand a better chance. Other things to consider of course include your own sourcing of products to sell and their storage. Would a spare room or garage suffice?
If you’re handy in the kitchen, then perhaps using some of your culinary skills could be an option. The last few years have seen an abundance of home catering businesses being set up from kitchens, particularly those with a baking slant. Whether it’s specialist cakes for weddings and birthdays or cupcakes for virtually every occasion under the sun, this can become a viable business if you do it right. Apart from the obvious culinary ability, you will also need to consider things like environmental and health and safety compliance. Would your domestic kitchen meet local council requirements? If not, how easily could you remedy that? Also, you will need to consider if you would need any additional equipment? Would your standard food mixer or oven cope with batch baking in bulk every day? Promoting your products can be again done easily and cheaply thanks to social media. And the good thing is, that repeat business will often come your way from referrals and recommendations so advertising spend is not always needed in the long term.
The difficult jobs market and often lack of permanent jobs has led many people in recent times to undertake contract or consultancy work, often from home. Some areas in particular lend themselves to this type of work. For example, I.T., Marketing and Social Media are all areas where companies often require an extra pair of hands on a temporary, contract or casual basis. If you have a proven work history and solid background, you may be able to pick up roles on a freelance consultancy basis. No need to work from an office necessarily and you can pick and choose both the hours you work and when you work them. If you do decide to go down this more traditional and professional business route, it may be worthwhile to familiarize yourself and adapt to new more secure business processes such as paperless signing of documents etc. There are many resources which can help you to learn such new methods and processes, for example, this guide to electronic signatures from Silanis is particularly useful. Finally, if you are interested in this type of work, registering on some of the freelance sites is a must as is updating your profile on the likes of LinkedIn. By letting employers know that you are open to these types of roles, you may find yourself getting work relatively easily, provided of course that you have a good network there to begin with!