The home office deduction may become even easier to use in the near future. Colleen DeBaise wrote, in an early 2006 article entitled "Locking In The Home-Office Deduction," about efforts being made to simplify this tax deduction. She wrote, "The National Association for the Self-Employed, a small-business group in Washington, D.C., supports a simplified, standard deduction to ease the burden on home-based businesses. And perhaps someday, sweet relief will be granted: Two bills introduced in 2005 contain language for a standard home-office deduction, although neither has passed. One of the bills, the Small Employer Tax Relief Act of 2005, specifically calls for a standard home-office deduction of $2,500'¦. In the meantime, small-business owners have little choice other than to muddle through the form—or hire a tax adviser for help."
There's nothing more off-putting than a poorly designed website, and often, it kills credibility. If you know HTML and have a good eye for design, you can launch a service to create attractive, easy-to-use websites for small businesses. Put your skills to good use for business owners who want to take their online presence to the next level. Build a comprehensive portfolio, and then create your own website to show it off and attract a steady stream of clients.
Enjoy plenty of flexibility. One big pro of running a home-based business is that your home office is just a few steps away. So if you’re a night owl whose prime work hours are from 10 to midnight, you can take advantage of that without having to drive to a commercial office and let yourself in after everyone else is gone for the day. Working from home, without set office space size and costs, also gives you the flexibility to scale up or down as needed. For example, if you grow quickly and need to contract or hire more help, you don’t have to worry about whether more workers will fit in the office space you lease. On the other hand, if business slows and you need to streamline temporarily, you’re not stuck with more space than you need.
Also, keep in mind that there isn’t really one platform that works for every type of business. Take the time to research the best one for you. If you’re selling art or crafts, look for a platform that is used by other artists. If you’re selling used comic books, look for a platform that attracts lots of shoppers looking to buy used comic books. And read the fine print. Almost every platform has its own list of prohibited items.
The concept of home-based business, as opposed to the previous terminology of "cottage industry", first appeared in 1978. The phrase was coined by Marion Behr, the originator of a study to find out what businesses women throughout America were carrying on in their homes. The preview edition of Enterprising Women wrote about the search to gather information pertaining to home workers throughout the nation. Numerous magazines and organizations helped to disseminate information regarding the study. Ultimately 40,000 letters were received, many indicating the problems the respondents experienced while carrying on businesses from their homes.
For most small businesses, it’s best to file formation documents in the state where you’re located. By doing this, you’ll avoid the added costs of registering to do business in your home state and hiring an out-of-state registered agent. However, if your business will have significant nationwide activity or you expect to attract venture capital, you might consider incorporating in Delaware.
Fiverr is a great place for first-time freelancers who might not have tons of experience and want to build up a portfolio of their work. You'll be able to complete simple tasks ranging from logo design, to creating animations, or even drawing a company logo on your forehead. While this side business idea likely won't be growing into a million dollar startup for you, it can still be a platform for funding your next big business idea. Want to learn more about Fiverr's history and how to get the most out of selling on the platform? Listen to my interview with Fiverr CEO Micha Kaufman.
Not to be confused with hoarding, this business idea takes a lot of time, patience, and passion. If you have an eye for good art, it’s easy to get in on the ground level by visiting the studio department at your local university—though don't expect to get rich overnight with this side business idea. Many art students are more than happy to sell their work for a bargain, and in as little as a few years, there's a chance that piece you bought for a couple hundred bucks may be worth well into the thousands. Beware though, this business idea will take a whole lot of patience (and storage space for all that art).
Some firms outsource their customer service operations and many of these companies accept home-based contractors. You can start by signing up on freelancing sites such as Upwork to test the waters with this business idea first. If you’re already a CSR specialist with management skills, then you can form and lead a virtual team online and engage clients as a bona fide customer service company or, provide customer service training to such teams as well as individuals.
Basically, you pick a profitable niche for your online business, and then you find an affiliate partner who has products available in that niche. Some of the most popular affiliate sites are Clickbank.com, Amazon.com, and CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction). Between them, they offer just about any digital information product (like ebooks, audio files, video files) or physical product you can think of.
This is a perfect business idea for trained accountants who would like to work from home, although it is not necessary to be a Certified Public Accountant in order to become a freelance bookkeeper—it’s just necessary to have the background knowledge that bookkeeping courses at any community college can offer. This kind of freelance work is especially helpful for small businesses that do not need or cannot afford a fulltime bookkeeper, making it possible for you to have full time work through several smaller clients. Median salary: $34,000.
There's an audience for everything, whether it's making dollhouse furniture or creating organic dog food. With a specialty e-commerce store, you can reach those customers who are seeking your specific products. All you need is a web-hosting service with an integrated shopping cart feature or with e-commerce software, and your business will be operational in no time. You can even work with vendors to ship products to customers on your behalf, which means you don't need to own a lot of inventory. [See Related Story: A Small Business Guide to E-Commerce Shipping]
Darlene – How did you grow your mastermind group? I totally see the value in this but haven’t had much luck trying to get something going myself. I’m currently working on forming a local tribe (geographically speaking) with the idea that meeting in person might be really beneficial to us all although we’re all in different blog categories. How did you form your group? Who gets invited? What are the perks to membership? I would love to know!
Moz’s Rand Fishkin agrees that there are potentially untapped opportunities out there for you to leverage. For example, there are almost certainly keywords in your niche that your competitors aren’t targeting. As you strive to reach the “content marketing maturity” zone, make a commitment to move beyond producing the same type of content that your competitors publish.
Just revisited this post after it was mentioned on the Fizzle show. And man, I’ve found that #6 is SOOO true. There are still plenty of “gurus” who say, “Even just dedicating 15 minutes per day to your new business will get you going.” While I suppose that’s literally true, fact is, I’ve found that while I’m working my full-time gig I still need to spend no less than 2 hours per day (and preferably 4+ hours per day), 7 days per week to get a useful amount of work done. Launching a business while holding down a full-time job can certainly be done (and I’m doing it), but I think too many of the IM advice-givers sugarcoat the amount of time that actually needs to be invested. Perhaps that’s why so many people “fizzle” after a few months. They start something, then realize “Oh no…this is actually real work that takes real time!”
20. Invest in a separate landline even if you’re trying to cut costs. “One of the first things I realized that I needed to do was get a separate landline and number for my office so that my son, who was then 5 years old, did not pick up the phone when reporters called,” says Julie Phillippi-Whitney, founder of Phillippi-Whitney Communications, a home-based PR consulting firm. Paul Robert Edwards also recommends getting a landline in addition to a cell phone. “When the electricity goes out, you want to be able to get calls,” he says.
As you are planning to start your business, you have the time to think of possible scenarios of what could go wrong and how. But if you are already in the midst of running the venture, it is so easy to get caught up with the day-to-day tasks that you no longer have time to evaluate where it is going. Strauss emphasizes that “For your business to survive and grow if you are now in business, take stock occasionally and (re) evaluate how your spend your day.” This exercise will help you look at your business objectively, identify what is wrong with it, and find out how to remedy and improve the situation.