The requirements to start a business depend on the type of business and its location (city, state). You can start some businesses without any limitations. However, we recommend all businesses file as a legal entity with the state in which they will be operating. This protects the business owner’s personal assets if a lawsuit were to occur against the business.
Select a name for your business that reflects what you do. Finding the right name for your business is one of the most important variables to your success. Consider avoiding an obscure and unique name for your new business that does not clearly describe your business and give customers a clue about the services and products provided. First-time customers should be able to piece together a well-informed idea of what your business does based on its name.
Using the knowledge, tools, and resources you already have, you can start a home business today. History is littered with successful businesses that were started with little or nothing, except a giant desire and the commitment to make it work, no matter what. In fact, commitment and tenacity are two of the most important assets to have in ensuring home business success. If you want the freedom and flexibility to work at home as your own boss, here are five ideas you can start now for nothing.
If you’re a top-notch editor with a deep understanding of how college admissions works—including standardized test preparation, personal statement requirements, supplemental essay requirements, applicant statistics, and even financial aid—then you might be able to snag a rather well-paying job as a college consultant. Some families are willing and able to pay, and pay well, to make sure their kids submit the best possible applications to their dream schools.
Even the portrait and general-interest options, though, aren’t really for beginners. Photography businesses can be complex operations, with lots of equipment required and years of portfolio and relationship building necessary to really get steady income flowing. Still, if you’re a hobbyist already, starting a photography business as a side operation is a great way to make some extra money and possibly begin a career change.
If you’re passionate about helping people and have any experience in personal care, you might consider starting an eldercare business. Nursing homes can be expensive and people are often hesitant to put their family members in full-time care facilities. Therefore, you might decide to offer freelance care, traveling to your clients’ homes and caring for them as needed. Or, if you have space, you might consider offering your home up to a few full-time care residents.
Many of the same concepts that apply to making gift baskets or arranging flowers also apply here, but this time you’ll be putting people’s names on the things you send them. Personalization is especially hot for any sort of kids’ item, so don’t be afraid to be creative with the products you offer to personalize. Good photography, a good Website and some crafty skills will come in handy here.
A WordPress theme defines the design and layout of your site. There are thousands of free and paid options — a bit of browsing will lead you to the right fit for your store. Choose something that looks good on devices of all sizes, integrates with WooCommerce, and looks professional. The Storefront theme is one great option that’s both intuitive and flexible.
Since your home business is new, you need to market it to let potential customers know it exists. Additionally, your marketing efforts should help customers understand how your product or service is different from or better than your competitors. Speak directly to your potential customers’ pain points to win them over and convince them to do business with you.
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:
Antiques, baked goods, catering, gourmet pet food, daycare, massage therapy, nanny service, personal chef, personal shopper, personal trainer, photographer, tutoring, wedding planning, wine consultant. You might create your own brand of homemade pet food and set yourself up to sell it on your own website. Parents and even older post-graduate students are usually very willing to part with dollars if you have the appropriate background to help them or their kids ace that next important test. As for catering, why not deliver homecooked meals from your own kitchen? Who says you have to invest in a commercial setup and do large events for hundreds of guests?
Although not home-based per se, becoming a rideshare driver, like with Uber or Lyft can offer the same flexibility and freedom has a business that’s physically based in your home. As a rideshare driver, your business will more or less be based in your car, and you’ll be able to choose your own hours and be your own boss. With the popularity of ridesharing apps continuing to grow, there’s no shortage of clients looking for rides, especially if you live in a tourist area or near a big city.
Pay-per-click advertising is the easiest way to get traffic to a brand-new site. It has two advantages over waiting for the traffic to come to you organically. First, PPC ads show up on the search pages immediately, and second, PPC ads allow you to test different keywords, as well as headlines, prices and selling approaches. Not only do you get immediate traffic, but you can also use PPC ads to discover your best, highest-converting keywords. Then you can distribute the keywords throughout your site in your copy and code, which will help your rankings in the organic search results.
Swagbucks is an online platform where you can earn points called SB, which can be redeemed for gift cards and coupons. You can easily earn SB points by watching videos, playing games, answering questions, shopping online, and even surfing the web using their toolbar. Refer your friends, and you’ll earn even more SB points. Your SB points can be traded in for gift cards from Amazon, Target, Starbucks, PayPal, and Walmart. Swagbucks also gives you a $5 bonus for signing up! Swagbucks, which is part of Prodege, LLC, has an A rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Your host is where your website lives — it stores all of your website files and displays them to visitors around the world. Your host has a big impact on your website’s security and speed — a great place to start is the WordPress.com eCommerce hosting plan, which includes everything you need for an online store. For other options and price points, take a look at our full list of recommended hosting solutions.
The basic idea behind an online drop shipping business is that, as a small business owner, you don’t have to maintain a large inventory (or any inventory whatsoever) of products or handle any delivery to your customers. That eliminates the financial cost and risk of having a warehouse full of stuff you might not sell, and the hassle of arranging to send orders all over the country or the world. In fact, you don't have to manufacture or store any products at all.
A Rollover for Business Startups (ROBS) lets you invest retirement funds in a new business without paying taxes or early withdrawal penalties. A ROBS is not a loan or withdrawal; instead, it allows you to tap into your retirement funds early. A ROBS is a great way to use your 401(k) to start a new business, particularly if you have more than $50,000 in qualifying retirement savings. There are no monthly payments and repayment is not required.