The research and thinking that you do as you work through the business plan will help you refine your business idea and plan for how you will successfully launch yourself into your market without costly real-world trial and error. If your business plan shows you that your idea isn't viable, don't be afraid to shelve it, choose another home-based business idea, and go through the process again.
Mild spoiler alert: Viewers of the TV drama Orange Is the New Black might remember that the show’s main character made amends with one of her fellow prison inmates by making her a soothing lotion. Hopefully you won’t find yourself in prison, but if you find yourself wanting to start a home-based business, consider hand-making soaps and lotions yourself.
Consider the space required for your business. If you're planning on doing any sort of manufacturing, product storage, or shipping, you will likely need more than a desk to work on. Think about how much space you have in your home for these activities. Will you be displacing other family members with your business activities? Consider your space requirements and your home's ability to meet those requirements before moving forward.
If so, then consider putting your knack for arts, crafts, and design to use as the manager of an online store. So long as you believe your creations can find a market and sell at a profitable price, there’s very little stopping you from signing up as a seller on a site like Etsy and carving out your niche. While it might be a tough business, there’s plenty of wisdom out there to learn from—and it certainly fits on our list of home business ideas, especially while you’re small!
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.
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.
A great way to come up with a business idea is to brainstorm about your existing skills. Focus on identifying the skills that are unique to you or that you particularly excel at. Evaluating your previous professional experiences should give you a hint. Think of instances in which you were able to provide value to the organization for which you worked: do you notice any trends?
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