10 steps to a home-based business!

Starting a home-based business was always a dream of mine. Today, millions of people aspire to become entrepreneurs and start their own home businesses but for some reason or another never really get around to it. Whatever your desires and motives are, below are 10 basic steps on how you can get started in your own home business.

1. What it means to be an entrepreneur
- Are you a risk taker? Do you see opportunities and go for it? Do you have your own creative ideas that can benefit others by helping them achieve their wants and/or needs? As an entrepreneur, these questions are important.

2. Being Computer Savvy
- Computers are key to any business especially an online business. Learning a word processing software such as MS Word, Word Perfect, Outlook Express, etc. will enable the growth of your business.

3. Being Internet Savvy
- Build your own website/blog and consider marketing your business. You can market via email, networking, and creating a newsletter featuring your products and valuable information and tips on how this product will add value to your customers.

4. Start a business you’re passionate about

My passion is business. I enjoy writing and publishing business articles and products which helps me succeed with my own home business. Find your hidden talent and start building your own business at home. Begin by making a list of all your hobbies, interests, which will help you get ideas to implement. When you do something you love, it is fun and not work!

5. Obtain a business license
- It is imperative to have your business legally prepared. You need to have a business license, a home occupation license, if running your business from home, a city or county license, (depending on what state you live) plus you need to register your business as fictitious if you are not using your name as a business. For instance, If John Doe has a business name as John Doe’s Grooming Parlor, a fictitious name isn’t necessary.

- When opening a business in your residence, additional information is required. Some businesses require more than a city license to be fully licensed. Please check with your local city & state office for detailed information.

- While it is my understanding that there are many businesses who are operating “under the table”, so to speak, I highly advise against this practice. If you are just interested in selling a few things out of your home, don’t worry about this section, as you should not have any form of tax liability for selling your own belongings. However, if you start a business to make some money, you need to look at the legal aspects of running a business. Eventually, those who operate under the table will be caught.

- If you are running an Internet business it is not as anonymous as some people may believe. Keep in mind, the government designed the Internet in the first place! They know how it works! Legalize it and you will sleep better at night!

- It really is simple. This is not as complicated as you think, so don’t worry! I know I fussed and fretted over this for a good while and when I actually went “legal”, I kicked myself because the process was so simple.

- Determine the type of home business you want to start. Sole Proprietorship, Partnership or Corporation. A sole proprietorship is the least costly and least complicated way to set up your business. Remember that a sole proprietorship is totally dependent upon your ability to work and have good ideas for growth. There is no other person in the business to rely on.

- A partnership happens when two or more entrepreneurs form a company. Legal fees for setting up such an arrangement are usually more costly than those required for a sole proprietorship and less costly than a corporation. The up side of a partnership is more capital for growth and more ideas for how to grow the business. The downside is getting rid of a bad partner.

- A corporation is the most complicated and most costly of the three options. The ongoing accounting, legal, and tax reporting obligations of a corporation are much more complicated than for the other two options. Corporations have boards, shareholders, and shared responsibility for the business. It is necessary to keep everyone informed of decisions, the company’s financial status, and a host of other actions.

- It is wise to seek the advise of an attorney in the beginning of your work-from-home situation in order to avoid serious problems later on. An attorney will guide your decision about what legal form your company should take.
- If using a fictitious name for the business, it must be registered first with the state. Call your city & state office to find out their phone number. Usually, you can do this online. Visit their site and fill out a fictitious name form. A fee may or may not apply.

- Is your home located in the city? Some states like Florida require a county license if your business isn’t located in the city. If not sure, contact your local jurisdiction office for licensing information.
- Complete the home occupation application and the business license application. You may download the forms from your city hall website. Call your city hall office to find out their website address and fees.

- Forward your applications and fees to your city hall office either by mail or by visiting the office. They will usually accept cash, checks, debit cards, VISA, MasterCard or American Express credit cards. Again, check with your local city hall office.

6. Open a business checking account
- Visit your local bank and obtain a DBA checking account which is usually FREE. The purpose of a business checking account will be to cash your customers’ checks made payable to your business. Remember to take your business license and some form of ID such as a driver’s license. Start with a small deposit and you’ll soon get your printed checks ready for business.

7. Place an inexpensive classified ad in your local newspaper advertising section
- Start out small and test your offer with a low cost classified ad. Ads that are placed in local papers will run quickly, unlike ads placed in magazines.

8. E-mail marketing
- Consider e-mail marketing by offering FREE reports and valuable information about your products. Subscribe to other e-mail newsletter and place low cost test ads to get the world wide web exposure for your offers. Consider creating your own e-mail newsletter.

9. Networking
- Let everyone you meet know what you do and also listen to what they do. Exchange business cards and refer clients to them. Ask them to forward your business cards to anyone they know. Find an interesting article related to the other person’s business, clip it and mail it to them with a note that says: Thinking of you…here’s an article you may find interesting. These little small but important tactics work wonders.

10. FREE publicity with press releases
- Write a business news press release to area newspapers. State why your home business would be of interest to readers. Remember to state why your business will help people save time, money, etc., Good luck!

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Sonia Colon is writer/publisher of My Fashion E-Mall Blog & The Biz Buzz of a Latina Mom Blog! Writing & sharing powerful business articles & successful Internet marketing tips on starting & maintaining a lucrative work-at-home business is a passion.
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