Home businesses are becoming increasingly popular. And with computer-savvy millennials taking the reins of their own startups, it’s never been easier!
So, just how do you go about starting your own home-based business? And, more importantly, how do you make sure it’s successful? We’ve gathered our top tips on how to set up your own small business from home, including popular ideas and how to keep costs low.
How to Start a Small Business from Home
Whatever business you want to start, there are a few important steps to follow.
Assess Your Skills, Talents and AbilitiesStarting a business with your own two hands means, at least to begin with, you’ll have to rely on your own knowledge. List all of the relevant skills you have, just as you would on a CV, and work out which ones you could use to make a profit. Finding something you’re good at is key to any successful startup, and if you can fall in love with it – even better!
Come Up with a Few Different Business IdeasHome-based businesses are pretty much limitless – if you’ve got the skills and the drive, the world’s your oyster. That’s why it can be difficult to decide on what you’re going to do and how to actually start a business from home.
Here’s a little extra inspiration UK business ideas.
List every idea you come up with and assess each for pros and cons. It’s also worth running them past friends and family as research. And speaking of research…
Look at What's Already on the MarketOnce you’ve researched what your potential competitors have to offer, you’ll be able to work out what makes your business unique. These factors are called USPs (unique selling points). They may include any special products you offer, the pricing or the level of service.
Ask: Will it Make Money?More often than not, a business’ success is measured on how profitable it is. So you need to bear that in mind when thinking about how to start a business from home.
To figure out how much money, or even how it will make money, you’ll need to determine your business model.
Establish a Work ScheduleWhen you’re your own boss, it can be easy to spend either far too much or far too little time nurturing your business. Especially when you’re working from home.
When you decide to start a business from home, finding that all-important work-life balance is crucial for a home business owner’s success.
Set GoalsA business plan is nothing without specific direction on how to achieve your goals. We recommend setting SMART goals based on 5 key characteristics:
Once you’ve followed these important steps, you’ll be ready to set up your online business from home.
Spread the WordOne of the most crucial steps is to get your name out there. Attending networking events is a great starting place for this. Here, you can hand out business cards and create lasting relationships with potential new connections. You could also design flyers and leaflets to circulate around your local area, or send out newsletters via email – one of many ways to get your brand out there from the comfort of your own home.
How to Start an Online Business from Home
Once you’ve followed all the steps above, you might be wondering how to actually start your own business from home. For this, you’ll need to grow an online presence.
Here are some top tips to set up any small online business from home:
Build a WebsiteBuilding a website should be your top priority to take your business online. If you want to save time, you could hire a professional designer to do this for you. If you want to take a more hands-on approach and have a stab at it yourself, just follow this easy how-to guide.
Write Engaging Copy Using KeywordsNext, you’ll need to populate your website with engaging copy that captivates your target audience. This should be informative, transparent and easy to digest - too much information on a page could cause customers to exit your website. Your copy should also help your brand to rank on search engines like Google. To do this, research keywords that relate to your business and its products/services using tools such as Google AdWords and Google Trends.
Use Email MarketingWith some research reporting a return on investment of 4400%, one of the best tactics for starting an online business from home has to be email marketing. Let customers opt in to receive email updates after they’ve made a purchase to grow your mailing list and turn one-time buyers into loyal customers.
Try Social MediaNearly three-quarters of customers rely on social media to influence their purchasing decisions. And, with the number of people using social media growing all the time, your brand could be missing out.
Posting updates about your business or showcasing new products can create real traction and excitement around your brand.
How to Start a Business with No Money
A common concern for aspiring small business owners is that they have little money to spend on producing a product to sell. Here’s how to start a business from home without breaking the bank:
Find Ways to Raise MoneyIf you want to go down the route of raising money for your business, the most common options are:
Save Costs with Free TrainingThere are plenty of free eLearning opportunities for entrepreneurs and business owners that cost nothing at all. Or, if you prefer reading – check out this list of essential books to boost your business.
Pick a Business with No Initial CostsSome businesses don’t cost a lot – or anything at all – to start. Especially if they’re already your hobbies to begin with. Here are a few low-cost business ideas to inspire your own and how to fulfil them.
How to Start an Accounting Business from Home
If maths has always been your strong suit, starting your own home-based accounting firm could be a very attractive choice.
However, this type of business legally requires you to have certain qualifications. These can be achieved through university courses, a level 7 apprenticeship (equivalent to a Master’s degree) or through training with a professional body to become a qualified accountant. In the UK, these include the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT).
Getting a few years experience in an existing firm is a fantastic idea. It’ll also show you as an authority in the field when you do take the leap to begin your own accountancy business.
How to Start a Computer Repair Business from Home
The majority of people know how to use computers. What they might not know is how to fix them – especially when they’re up against problems that require technical knowledge to find a successful solution.
If you have the relevant skillset to help resolve IT queries, this could make for a fantastic venture that will remain in high demand for many decades to come. All you need to start this kind of business is the right equipment – and the workspace to store it in!
To begin with, it’s likely that your customers will be people in your local area. One of the easiest ways to reach out to them is through a designed flyer or brochure. You can pin these up in local shops and post offices, or even pop them through neighbours’ letterboxes. Every time you finish a job, be sure to provide your client with a business card – that way they have your details to hand, making it easy to get in touch again or refer you to a friend.
How to Start a Catering Business from Home
When considering how to start a business from home, catering can be a great avenue for anyone with a passion for cookery. From online recipes to selling baked goods and meal kits, if you can do it in your kitchen – you can make a business out of it!
There are two main areas of focus in the home business catering world:
- Private – e.g. making cakes for birthdays and weddings
- Corporate – e.g. catering for businesses, such as large meetings and office parties
Then, you’ll need to work out what licences you need. Because serving food to the public can pose certain risks, your business must be registered. It’s also a good idea to invest in catering insurance, to give you full peace of mind that you’re covered for unforeseen circumstances.
How to Start a Home-based Crochet Business
If you’re looking for tips on starting an online business from home, turning a hobby into a side hustle can be the perfect answer! If you love working with textiles, a home-based crochet venture could be the path for you.
Crochet entrepreneurs are taking the UK craft market by storm – but that’s not to say there isn’t room for your niche.
After creating your one-of-a-kind pieces, all that’s left to do is open your own Etsy, eBay or Amazon store and start advertising!
Pop a handwritten compliment slip in every order to create a personalised touch. This also doubles as a great way to ensure your customers have always got your contact details if they wish to make another order or refer you to a friend.
How to Start a Home-Based Personal Training Business
The fitness industry is booming; it’s getting more and more popular all the time. In fact, the industry was estimated to be worth £5bn in the UK in 2018. If you’ve got the right equipment already, you can operate a mobile personal trainer service, performing house visits, or start an online business as a virtual trainer through video chat.
If you do choose face-to-face personal training, you’ll need first safety training. This includes:
- First Aid
- Automatic Defibrillator
Overall, starting your own personal training business from home is a fantastic way of combining your passion for fitness with inspiring others to get into shape.
How to Start a Beauty Business from Home
If you have a flair for skincare and make-up, this could be a great idea for starting a business from home. You’ll need skill, experience and certificates – demonstrating that you’re trustworthy through qualifications is a must. There are different training providers that are widely recognised for this – here’s a couple to help start your research:
- NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) certificates and diplomas in courses such as Beauty Techniques
- CIBTAC (Confederation of International Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology) offers Levels 1-5 qualifications in beauty therapy
If you have to travel to your clients frequently, such as to wedding venues and hotel suites, why not advertise your business on the go? Create your own magnetic car signs with instantprint and spread the word with every trip you make.
Starting a home business is incredibly appealing. You have full control over what you’re doing, the hours you work and what direction the business goes in – all from the comfort of your own four walls!
But, that’s not to say it’s easy. (The best things in life usually aren’t.) And we definitely understand those startup challenges. For some extra inspiration, take a read of some of the things our founders, James and Adam, struggled with during instantprint’s early days.