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How to Start a Small Business from Home

How to Start a Small Business from Home

Read Time: 10 Minutes


15 Feb 2019

Home businesses are becoming increasingly popular. And with computer-savvy millennials taking the reins of their own startup businesses, 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 for starting a small business from home, including popular business ideas and how to keep startup costs low. 

How to Start a Small Business from Home

Whatever business you want to start, there are a few important steps to follow.

  1. Assess Your Skills, Talents and Abilities

    Starting a business with your own two hands means, at least to begin with, you’ll have to rely on your own skills. List all of the skills you have, like 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 your startup’s success, and if you can fall in love with it – even better!

  2. Come Up with a Few Different Business Ideas

    Home-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 actually going to do. 

    Here’s a little extra inspiration for business ideas in 2019.

    List everything you come up with and assess each idea for pros and cons. It’s also a great idea to run them past friends and family as a bit of research. And speaking of research…

  3. Look at What's Already on the Market

    Once you’ve researched what your potential competitors have to offer, you’ll be able to work out what makes your business unique. These unique factors are called USPs (Unique Selling Points). They might include any special products you offer, the price or the level of service. 

  4. Ask: Will it Make Money?

    More often than not, a business’ success is measured on how profitable it is. And the same goes for ones you start at home.

    To figure out how much money, or even how it will make money, you’ll need to determine your business model.

  5. Establish a Work Schedule

    When 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.

    Finding that all-important work-life balance is crucial for a home business owner’s success.

  6. Set Goals

    A plan is nothing without direction. We recommend setting SMART goals based on 5 key characteristics:
    • Specific
    • Measureable
    • Achievable/Attainable
    • Realistic
    • Time-based

    Once you’ve followed these important steps, you’ll be ready to launch your brand new home-based business.

  7. Spread the Word

    From handing business cards out at networking events or creating a flyer mailer to send to people in the local area, there are loads of ways you can use print to boost your home business. 

    You should also try going digital – from email marketing to social media, there are tons of ways of getting 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 wonder how you can start your own online business. For this, you’ll need to grow an online presence. Here’s how to boost your brand online to create a home-based online business that sells itself.

  1. Build a Website

    Building a website, or hiring a freelancer to build a website for you, is the first thing you’ll need to do (after following all the steps in the previous section) to take your business online.

    This is actually quick and easy. Just follow our top tips.

  2. Write Engaging Copy Using Keywords

    Next, you’ll need to populate your website with engaging copy. This should be informative and show customers that they can trust you, but also help your website rank on search engines. To do this, research keywords that relate to your business and its products/services using tools like Google AdWords and Google Trends.

  3. Use Email Marketing

    With some research reporting a return on investment of 4400%, one of the best marketing tactics 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.

  4. Try Social Media

    With over half of all social media users engaging with brands several times a month, and 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 excitement around your brand. 

How to Start a Business with No Money

A common concern for aspiring small business owners is that they have no or little money to spend on producing a product to sell. Here’s how to start a business with no money.

  1. Raise Money

    If you want to go down the route of raising money for your business, the most common options are: In the UK, you can get a government start up loan of £500 to £25,000. You can apply for this or learn more about it here.

  2. Save Costs with Free Training

    There 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.

  3. Pick a Business with No Initial Costs

    Some 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 of startup. 

However, this type of business does require 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, looking at how it works, is also a fantastic idea. It’ll also show you as an authority in the field when you do take the leap with your own 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 the dreaded blue screen of death.

If you have the knowledge to help, this would make a fantastic business venture that’s sure to be needed for a long time to come.
All you really need to start this kind of business is all the right equipment – and the workspace to put them in. 

Oh, and customers! Your customers are likely to be people in your local area. That means the easiest way to reach out to them is through a flyer or brochure drop advertising your service. Every time you finish a job, give your customer a business card; they’re likely to keep it in case their need you again, or refer you to a friend.

How to Start a Catering Business from Home

From online recipes to selling baked goods and meal kits online, 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 catering licences you need. Because serving food to the public brings certain risks (potential for food poisoning or serving people with allergies), your catering business must be registered.

It’s also a good idea to get some catering insurance!

How to Start a Home-based Crochet Business

Fancy turning your crochet hobby into a side hustle? Crochet entrepreneurs are taking the 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 for a positive, personalised touch and to make sure your customers have always got your important details, like account name and how to order again.

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
  • CPR
  • 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’re hoping to start a beautician or beauty therapist business from home, showing that you’re trustworthy through qualifications is a must. There 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

Why not advertise your business on the go? You can create your own magnetic car signs now!


Most businesses fall into the sole trader or limited company categories. Find out which works best for you here.


In Conclusion…

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 home!

But, that’s not to say it’s easy. (The best things in life usually aren’t.) And we definitely understand those startup struggles. For some extra inspiration, take a read of some of the things our founders, James and Adam, struggled with during instantprint’s early days.

Jessica Lindley

About the Author

Hi, I’m Jessica and I’m instantprint’s Content Executive. I enjoy writing content to help small businesses succeed and inspire them to get creative with their print marketing.