If you’ve recently retired and found that sitting idle isn’t for you, starting your own home-based business may be an ideal solution. You will have flexible hours, can do something you love, and won’t have to spend a huge out-of-pocket amount to get started. Many successful businesses have been started by the Boomer generation, and there has never been a better time to slice your own piece of the proverbial pie.
Is an at-home business right for you?
Before you start passing out flyers, it’s a good idea to have a heart-to-heart with yourself to determine if you’re truly ready for entrepreneurship. Even if you owned your own business before, working from home is a next-level commitment that can easily invade your valuable personal time. CreditDonkey underscores the importance of doing your research and cautions that running your home business could be a financial and personal risk.
Getting started before you open
Once you know that you are ready, it’s time to get to work putting your home-based business together. It is not enough to simply decide that you want to offer a service; there are decisions that must be made ahead of time. First, you’ll need to come up with a company name. Next, decide where within your home that you’ll conduct business. This could be a full-fledged home office or a laptop in the living room.
An important aspect of all businesses nowadays is their online presence. If you are not computer savvy, it’s in your best interest to hire someone to help you get set up with a website and social media presence. A good website will offer convenience features, such as a contact form and quick link to your social media pages, that your customers will use. You probably won’t have the budget to hire a full-time IT person, so look into finding a professional HTML5 developer. This person should be up to date on the latest coding best practices, since HTML5 literally makes up the building blocks of your website and ensures your site looks and works great on any device. You can find a freelancer to do the work for you, which will ensure that your website is user-friendly. A poorly-designed site can cost you money in the long run, so invest a little bit up front to avoid problems as you grow.
Now that your website is up, you’ll have to determine what goes on it. You will, of course, have a description of yourself that outlines your experience, your contact information, and what it is that you do, but that’s not everything that you need to showcase. Your website is your most valuable marketing tool. This post from Duct Tape Marketing goes into greater detail on what other information customers expect on your website.
You will also need to set pricing and outline your services before you start accepting customers.
The legal stuff
In most areas, you can have a small home-based business with no problems. Keep in mind, however, that there may be restrictions, and you may not be allowed to have branded vehicles in the driveway or employees on-site, for example. Further, you’ll need to determine your business structure. For a home-based business, this will likely be a sole proprietorship, partnership, or private LLC.
Make a point to hold onto all of your receipts and keep detailed records of your business expenses. This will come in handy come tax time, as you will almost certainly be able to deduct certain expenses related to operating your business.
Starting a small business after retirement is a great way to give yourself a little extra income, even if mobility issues prevent you from getting around quickly. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be expensive, and any talent that you have holds value for anyone that doesn’t share your abilities. Your options are truly endless. But don’t jump into the process without thinking it through, and don’t proceed without a functional website and an understanding of local zoning laws!
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