5 questions to ask yourself before you start a home business

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Many like the idea of working for themselves but it is for some it is not all it is cracked up to be. Its hard work for starters and often not as flexible as you think. However, if you plan right you can make a home business work for you. But this blog is not about how to run a successful business its about determining if you should be in business for yourself.

There are great advantages of working for yourself like:

  • flexible work hours
  • work where you choose

You would think the list is longer but you cant really say work where you want, when you want, how you want and with who you want unless you are really lucky. If you want to be successful you will need to work when your clients need you and for as many hours as it takes. Sometimes you have to work with people clients you dont like because they pay you. Working where you want is not always possible either as most people think working from home is easy but it can be very distracting and renting a room outside the home can be expensive. 

Here are 5 questions you should ask yourself to determine if you should start a home business:

  1. Do you have the right space to work in? For some this might even be working outside the home in the clients office, for others it will be at home or from their car. It is important to have a comfortable place to work and a secure place to store stock, files and tax documents. If you are going to work at home then make sure it is free from disctraction and ensure friends and family know your work hours are not socialising hours. Setting up a space to work is not cheap. Find out how much office furniture will cost so you have things like a suitable computer, software, printer, laminator, chair, shelving, filing cabinet, mobile phone.....yes there are lots of things you might need. If you cant work from home then find out how much it costs to rent some space locally. 
  2. Are you best when you work with others or on your own? Chances are that you wont enjoy working for yourself if you like to work in a team. However if you have people you can get together with to bounce ideas off and get advice from you might be ok. You may want to consider having a business partner if you like working with others but like the idea of working for yourself. This comes with its own headaches though so its important to think this through. 
  3. Do you have a head for all the aspects of running a business? Marketing and Sales (including social media), packaging and shipping, tax, invoicing and all that goes with managing cashflow, business planning, customer service (including complaints) and Website design. If you dont have all these skills maybe a business partner would, you could outsource it or learn to do it. If you have to learn to do it you need time and money. If you pay someone to do it then you will save time but it will cost you money. 
  4. Do you know if there is a market for what you want to sell ?No point in you being the only one sold on your idea. This point is related to point 4. You will need to do some market research and get to know your market. Are you prepared to take the time to do this?
  5. Do you have back up money to ensure you can survive for 3-6 months? If workign for yourself involves you quitting your day job then you will need to cover all your regular bills for 3-6 months while you get started. If you dont have this then think about starting smaller. Make a plan to do some learning about things like social media marketing, web design, cash flow, developing a business plan, reduce your work hours and work part time while you build your business up. 

If you have a passion for starting a home business of your own it doesnt have to be instead of your day job. It could be as well as if you harness the power of social media and online marketing. My hope is that you ask yourself these questions to determine if you should start a home business.  Sit down now and make a list of what you need to do if you want to have your own business. I hope you have found these questions helpful. 

Kerri Bainbridge

One half of the Anywhere Team NZ


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