For stay-at-home parents planning to restart their careers, starting a home-based business is one of the best options to consider.
Most home-based businesses are low-cost, can generate a steady stream of income, and allow you ample time to spend with loved ones.
In this article, we’ll explore the best business ideas to consider and the steps required to run a successful home-based business.
Low-Cost Home-based Business Ideas
Here are four ideas that can be run from the comfort of your home, with just a laptop.
1. Freelance Writer
The freelance writing market has a low barrier to entry, hence even if you don’t have an existing portfolio, you have a good chance of landing clients. In freelance writing, the pay is often set per word.
For instance, intermediate writers are paid around 0.05 cents per word, which translates to $50 for a 1000-word article.
Freelancing writing is a scalable business, as with experience you can undertake multiple clients and increase earnings. Another way to increase revenue is to work towards becoming an expert in a niche.
For example, if you have prior healthcare experience, focus on building a portfolio of medicine-based articles and developing a strong reputation.
Experienced writers can charge upwards of $200 per article, owing to their expertise, as clients will prefer experts writing their articles rather than a generalist.
2. Virtual Assistant
Regardless of a company’s niche, they have administrative requirements such as mailing documents, call screening, filings, managing email queries, and more.
Virtual assistants, who have become an integral part of organisations in all industries, take care of these requirements. Communication, data entry, and time management are three core skills employers look for in VAs.
As reported by Indeed, the average salary of a VA is $20/hour. But, it can vary based on the scope and duration of the project. Additionally, being a VA you can work for multiple clients across industries, build a strong portfolio, and demand higher compensation in the near future.
Being a specialist can pay off in the online tutoring business. As an independent tutor, your unique selling point will be the expertise you bring to the table.
Additionally, good communication skills are key to developing strong relationships with students, gaining referrals, and growing the business. Here are some niches to explore:
- Language: Teaching foreign languages to native English speakers will help you cater to your customer base (children to adults). Structure your pricing based on levels and language difficulty.
- Test-Prep: SAT, GMAT, PSAT, and ACT are some of the many standardized tests taken by millions of students in the United States each year. Being a reliable test-prep tutor will require you to have scored well on one or more of the tests in the past and have a strong understanding of the current curriculum.
Utilizing your network is the best way to land your first client and develop a reputation as a good tutor.
Business Start-Up Steps to follow
Choosing a business idea is the first step toward being a home-based entrepreneur. Below we provide a comprehensive list of steps you’ll need to take next:
Step 1: Choose a Business Structure
By default, all businesses operated by individuals are recognized as sole proprietorships. While it is an easy, low-cost business structure, it is not the best option for a home-based business.
As a sole proprietor, you’ll be personally liable for all business debts, and liabilities. In the event the business is sued for damages, your personal finances and home could be under threat of litigation.
Registering your business as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) will protect you from such threats and allow you to enjoy various tax benefits.
Step 2: Open a Business Bank Account
As an entrepreneur, it is imperative to keep personal and business finances separate.
The easiest way to achieve this is by opening a business bank account which can be used to accept payments, pay for expenses and keep track of business finances.
Additionally, a business account simplifies the tax filing process.
Step 3: Purchase Business Insurance
While homeowners insurance will cover claims against damage, destruction, or theft of your property, it may not include damages caused to business equipment and inventory.
While it will come at a cost, purchasing business insurance is important for all home-based entrepreneurs. This insurance will cover the costs of legal claims against the business and damages to business equipment.
There are various types of business insurance available in the market, hence conduct research and choose the one that best suits your needs.
Step 4: Create a Reliable Payment System
Regardless of the scope of the project, include a fixed payment schedule as part of the contract. Payments can be time-based or progress based.
Along with timelines, mention the exact amount to be paid and your preferred mode of payment. Additionally, make it a habit to share invoices with clients before the payment deadline.
Another way to ensure that you’re paid on time is to use a finance API to check whether clients have the required funds to make payments.
In case they don’t, consider making changes to the schedule and work with them to create a mutually agreeable timeline to ensure your accounts receivables stay on track.
Step 5: Consider Hiring Help
While the image of an entrepreneur hustling to manage all aspects of their business is shown repeatedly in movies, that is the opposite of how successful entrepreneurs work.
Long hours and hard work will be required, but the key to success is to work smart, not hard. For projects where you lack expertise consider hiring freelancers on a per-project basis.
This can include designing a website, managing social media, handling customer service, and more.
Step 6: Prioritize Marketing
Even in today’s social media-driven world, word-of-mouth marketing is the best medium to grow your home-based business. According to research, 92% of customers prefer suggestions from friends and family compared to advertisements.
Once your business website is complete, share it with everyone in your personal and professional network. To add a personal touch, call friends and family to announce your decision of launching a business and request them to send any referrals your way.
Simultaneously work towards creating a strong social media presence, as it will help develop brand awareness among thousands of potential customers.
Final Words – Entrepreneurship for stay-at-home Parents
The prospect of starting a home-based business can seem challenging at first. The best method is to tackle steps one by one and focus on creating strong business foundations.
All businesses take time to grow and through hard work, patience and good planning yours will as well.