THE BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO STARTING A BUSINESS FROM HOME

Updated: Nov 15



The current landscape of the digital marketplace has lead to a dramatic rise in startups, small businesses and entrepreneurship. With even the biggest corporate names transitioning their employees to work-from-home, the reality of starting your own business in the comfort of your home has never been more possible.


Chances are, you know someone that has started their own profitable home business and it’s inspired you to do the same. If this sounds like you, this beginner’s guide for starting a business from home has found you for a reason.


Here’s what you’ll learn:

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO START A SMALL BUSINESS FROM HOME?

Generally there are two types of businesses: service-based businesses and product-based businesses.

What You Need for Your Service-based Home Business

A service-based home business can range from digital services like social media management or business coach to in-person services like personal training or photography. While we won’t get into the nuances of each unique business, there are a few essential things that a service-based business will need.

  • Domain name and website

  • Professional email address

  • Social media accounts

  • Branding and brand strategy

  • Business cards or digital business cards

  • CRM (customer relationship management) software


Other high-recommended essentials for starting your service-based business:

  • Brand photography

  • Copywriting

  • Content marketing strategy

  • Email marketing software

  • Client experience workflow



What You Need for Your Product-based Home Business

A product-based home business can range from handmade goods like jewellery or ceramics to supplier-made goods like apparel. A product-based home business can also include digital products like templates and art prints that don’t require shipping. Here are your at-home business essentials to start:

  • E-commerce website or Etsy shop

  • Professional email address

  • Email marketing software

  • Social media accounts

  • Branding and brand strategy

  • Product photography set up

  • Packing supplies (ideally custom branded supplies)

  • Thank you cards

  • CRM (customer relationship management) software


Other high-recommended essentials for starting your product-based business:

  • Copywriting for website or social channels

  • Content marketing strategy

  • Customer experience workflow

Related: 50+ Pieces of Advice for New Small Business Owners


THE FIVE BASIC STEPS TO STARTING A BUSINESS FROM HOME

Everyone’s home business journey will be different because no two businesses are alike. Here’s a great starting outline for planning and strategizing your home business from idea to launch.

STEP ONE: Create a Rough Plan

So you’ve got an idea, but where do you begin? It’s important to cover some basic elements in a rough plan for your home business.

What is the name of your business? Be sure to do domain searches on website’s like GoDaddy to see what’s available. This may influence what name you should go with. The same goes for social media handles.


What are your business goals? Start by making a list of small actionable goals and long-term targets.

How much time per week can you commit to building your business? Create a schedule for yourself.


What are the specific things you’ll need to run your business? Refer to the list above as a starting point.



STEP TWO: Create a Budget

Make a list of all of the things you’ll need to get started. Start with the upfront costs like:

  • computer and other relevant equipment

  • domain name

  • branding

  • home office expenses

Then make a budget for the everyday costs of running a business:

  • website fees

  • software subscriptions

  • CRMs

  • other fees affiliated with your unique business


Consider what things you will want to outsource versus what you’ll do yourself. Possible outsourcing would be hiring a social media manager, accountant, web developer, maybe even a copywriter. It all depends on how hands-on you will be and where you can lend your strengths to your business.

PRO-TIP:

If you’re starting a business from home as a side-hustle alongside your existing job, factor in that extra income into the budget. If you’re planning to transition to full-time small business owner, I recommend saving six to eight months of living expenses before leaving the security of employment.

STEP THREE: Research

Do a little research of your industry. See what other people are doing and how you can leverage your uniqueness. To put your best foot forward, analyze your current offer to ensure it’s unique and not just another version of what’s already out there. What does your particular audience want and need from a business like you? If this sounds too overwhelming to do on your own, move on to step four.

STEP FOUR: Brand Strategy

You do not want to launch your business without developing a brand. Having a brand strategy is a must-have in today’s marketplace. With so many brands out there vying for our attention, you need to have a strategy to guide your home business. Working with a brand strategist will give you the proper foundation for your business and so much direction as you build your business.



brand strategy guide
What the Studio's Brand Strategy Guide looks like

STEP FIVE: Use Brand Awareness to Build your Online Presence

With your new brand identity in place, you’ll need to design your website or hire someone to build it for you. Between your brand style guide and your brand strategy, you’ll have enough to guide your content creation in a way that will resonate with your desired audience, allowing you to easily build brand awareness. Read 5 Ways to Increase Brand Awareness for specific strategies.

OUR 10 INSIDER TIPS FOR STARTING A SMALL BUSINESS FROM HOME

As we’ve mentioned already, everyone’s path in business will be different. Based on our own experience and our clients’ experiences, here are ten tips for starting a small business at home that we think are worth sharing:

  1. Register your business

  2. Open a separate bank account for your business

  3. Get an accountant ASAP

  4. Put 25–30% of your monthly income (minus expenses) aside for taxes

  5. Keep EVERY receipt and track it in a spreadsheet

  6. Set up your systems early (CRM, expenses, project management)

  7. Establish your workflows or create standard operating procedures

  8. Schedule time each week to focus ON your business, not just in it

  9. Be social on social media—people want to know the person behind the business

  10. Write your vision and mission statement and keep it near your desk as a constant reminder for why you started your business in the first place


There’s a lot of joy that comes from doing what you love professionally, but it takes a lot of hard work and proper planning. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and guidance along the way. Connect with your peers online by joining Facebook groups that are relevant to your industry or are for small business owners in your area. They will be your biggest supporters and are a great source for resources and connection.

And finally, one of the most significant steps to starting a business is to invest in yourself. The investments you make now will have a huge impact, not just on where you end up, but how quickly you get there. When you invest in yourself, others will too.

Join the Brand Discovery Workshop for $179 to start your home business with brand discovery strategies that will uncover the brand that already exists within your business.






 


Jenny Henderson is a brand strategist and business mentor. She collaborates with service-based solopreneurs to design memorable brands that allow them to make a living doing what they love. Since 2020, her branding studio has become a place where small business owners learn to think like a brand.




 


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