As a teen, babysitting was my bread and butter. I would babysit my father’s co-worker’s children, the neighborhood kids, my siblings, as well as children from the church we attended. It was an easy way to make some money, and obviously, I didn’t spend any money on advertising my services. While most of my clients were from word of mouth referrals, I was also able to offer my childcare services on the local bulletin board at our church, and I told everyone I wanted to work.

If you’re thinking of starting a small business from home, you must first determine your idea before you build its foundation, launch your business, and grow your customer base. After starting your at-home business, make wise financial decisions. Start small and think big. Once you have built up sufficient income, consider a move to a larger location.

While you can start a home business on budget, it's not likely you'll build a profitable one without incurring some expense. Calculate your startup costs — the amount of money you need to open up shop. It's okay if you don't know specific costs, but you want to get as close as possible, perhaps even over-estimate expenses. Here are common start-up expenses:


Used-car salesmen unfortunately have some nasty stereotypes to live down, but you don’t need a tacky blazer or a fast-talking sales pitch to make money buying and reselling cars. People throw away perfectly good (or certainly good enough) cars all the time for all sorts of trivial issues. If you know a little something about servicing a car and can make one shine for a Craigslist ad, you could take advantage of massive opportunities to buy used cars and resell them for major profit.
Figure out if you can make this business profitable. How much will people pay for your services? Can you make a good income off this? Many people see astronomical numbers in their future until they take the time to determine their profits. Be sure to consider how much time you can reasonably commit to your business and how much profit you can get back for your time and investment money. In some cases, a great business idea in theory can in reality be unprofitable. Account for every cost associated with your business instead of just the upfront costs such as inventory and advertising. Remember to calculate the easily overlooked overhead and expenses such as travel, legal fees and accounting.
thredUP is a way you can sell your old clothing, shoes, and handbags online. Simply sign up for or a clean out pack online. Once you receive your clean-up-pack, fill it full of clothing, and send it back to thredUp with the pre-paid label and packing slip. Upon receiving your package, thredUp will appraise your clothing and issue a credit which can be withdrawn via PayPal or store credit. Any unsold clothing will be donated with a donation receipt will be issued.
Exchange is a marketplace powered by Shopify for buying and selling ecommerce stores. You can browse the listings for businesses that suit your budget, level of experience, and needs. Maybe you want to buy a proven business and are willing to invest more money to acquire it. Or perhaps one catches your eye with untapped potential that you’d like to build on.
Once you’ve registered your home business as a legal entity, the next step is to open a business bank account. Having a business bank account effectively separates your personal and business expenses so you can avoid cash flow issues. Additionally, separating personal and business finances helps to ensure a smoother federal tax audit, if one were to ever occur.
Once you determine your customer personas, it’ll be time to do research and ensure there are enough customers available to make your business a success. The type of market research you do for this depends on your business. If you’re servicing local customers, you want to ensure there are enough prospective customers physically located near your business to make it successful. If you’re an online-only business, you need to focus on where customers are spending time online versus if they live near your home.
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