Career Question: Should You Launch a Home-Based Business?

Late-career professionals can turn the knowledge they gained during their careers and lives into a successful home-based business. Whether it’s a franchise, e-commerce, or service business, many home-based enterprises are suitable for those desiring a flexible schedule or working conditions in contrast to traditional employment. Most do not require a ton of capital to start. Let’s take a look at some of the basic steps of launching a business from your home.

Determine if a home-based business is for you

You may have been toying with the idea of starting a home-based business for quite some time now, but how do you know if it’s the right move for you? As you consider it, put some serious thought into whether or not you exhibit the following signs that you’re ready to take on entrepreneurship:

  • Do you have a clear reason why you want to go into business for yourself (aka know your why)?
  • Are you prepared to make financial and personal sacrifices to see business success?
  • Do you have a strong support system in place to support the highs and lows?
  • Do you have a basic understanding of business?
  • Do you know how to manage yourself and others in a way that breeds positive productivity?
  • Are you willing to commit to the risk that comes with starting a business?
  • Are you and your family members ready for your home to become a business hub?

Find your niche

If you already have a business idea, you’re ahead of the game. If not, identify the skills in which you excel, and figure out how you can leverage them to make money. For example, former teachers canmake great editors, financial experts may become bookkeepers, or medical professionals might try transcription. There are thousands of home-based business ideas, from app design to baking to eBook writing. Find something that utilizes your skills and you enjoy.

Develop a website

After you have a solid business plan, you need to let people know about it. No matter what type of business you are running, a web presence is essential these days. If you don’t have the time or know-how to design your own website, hire freelancers to take on the task. By using online job boards like Upwork, you can find an experienced graphic designer to design your business logo, a CSS developer to create a user-friendly website, and writers to fill your site with stellar content. With freelancers, you don’t have to make a long-term commitment or pay the costs associated with hiring a full-time employee. Using such contractors allows you to focus on the parts of the business that you can do best.

Embrace social media

According to We Are Social, there are 3.484 billion active social media users worldwide. Therefore, it’s vital for business owners to be able to navigate Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Social media networking and marketing is a great way to interact with potential customers, introduce products and services, and make sales. You can find a number of free social media marketing courses to learn the basics, or look for a mentor who is social media savvy. If you want to leave the social media duties to someone else, you can certainly find freelancers who have the knowledge and experience to develop and implement a social media marketing plan.

[Sound Advice Note: For more on managing your web presence, explore Module 5 of our ecourse, How to Find Your Dream Career!]

Stick to your budget

Even if you are well-off in retirement and starting the business with your fun money, you don’t want to overspend. Set a budget and stick to it. The Small Business Administration offers a list of common startup costs that can help you determine your budget, as well as tips on funding your ongoing business expenses. Do your best to keep startup costs down by purchasing only the necessary supplies/equipment, staying on top of your income and expense reports, and utilizing free business tools in areas such as design, marketing, productivity, and general business.

Handle the legalities

When starting a home business, you’ll need to determine whichtype of business structure to use. The various business structures have different levels of personal liability, different tax advantages, and different record-keeping requirements. For many, a sole proprietorship makes the most sense since it involves very little paperwork and allows a single owner to have complete control over the business. However, sole proprietorship also offers no legal protection against liabilities of the business. If you want protection against liabilities, you might decide to register as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) instead. After you have chosen a business structure and registered your business with your state, you can open a bank account and begin operations.

Starting a home-based business can be a rewarding experience for seniors and a lucrative way to utilize the knowledge they’ve gained over the years. Of course, there’s always a risk of failure, but with a solid business plan, an online presence, and a dedication to your vision, you can put yourself in the position to succeed.

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Photo via Unsplash

Note: This is a guest post by Carla Lopez, creator of Boomer Biz, a resource for late-career professionals who want to start their own business or go back to work doing what they love .

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