Having children can be a very time-consuming task. Especially for families that are only starting, taking care of children can be a handful. There are many things to do, and there seems to be no fixed schedule. Feeding, changing diapers, and cleaning up after their mess takes a lot of time. New parents also have to deal with having no experience and thus struggle with these tasks.
It’s often a common scenario when one parent stays at home to take care of the children while the other one works full time. Another problem arises in this situation since the income will be reduced in half, yet the expenses will still rise. To curb this problem, stay at home parents are now turning to having a business they can do at their home. It might not earn the same as working in a company, but it can still help defray expenses. If you’re thinking about starting a home business yourself, here are some pointers you can use.
Study the Market
Since you will be staying at home, this means that your area of work and market will be severely limited. Of course, you can’t also leave the children since that’s why you stayed at home in the first place. A home business simply requires you to use your creativity and think outside the box. You have to assess the needs or demands of the market – your neighbours or the people frequenting your area. For example, if you live in a warm place, you can start serving refreshments or sell cold treats for passersby. It doesn’t need a huge capital, and it’s something you can do at your home.
Know Your Skills
After you have decided what the local population need in you place, next step is to think about the skills you currently have. You may have some experience regarding making clothes or sewing, so you can open a small tailoring shop. You can alter clothes or make (simple) clothes in your free time. A small business doesn’t require an advanced degree, or a degree for that matter. What matters is your skill and experience in that field.
One of the things you should consider before you open up a home business is to check if there are any zoning laws that prohibit opening a home business in your area. If you’re confused and it just doesn’t make sense to you, you can consult with law firms or your friends who are knowledgeable.
Another thing that you should take the time to learn is about taxation laws. Home businesses are still subject to tax, though on different terms. This will help prevent any run-ins with the law that could result in a criminal conviction. If you’re also not sure about this, then you can sit down and talk with an accountant for the necessary documents or procedures for your home business.
Have an Office Area
Even if your business involves food, you can’t solely rely on your kitchen table. There are also receipts or forms which you need to keep track of. Filling out and organizing paperwork needs a dedicated space for it. If you don’t have an extra room for this, you can create a partition in your bedroom or other rooms.
In creating a home office, try not to get carried away. It can be fun and exciting when you’re buying furniture and outfitting your makeshift office with the necessary amenities. However your range is only for a small business, not a company. You don’t need all that fancy gadgets or a complete set of office supplies. Buy what you need, and discard what you don’t need.
Always Be Professional
One of the advantages in working at home is the convenience and comfort. You can easily work in your pajamas or casual clothes. You should bear in mind that you’ll be catering to potential customers or potential business partners at one point so you need to look professional. Having a meeting in casual clothes makes people question your credibility and professionalism. If necessary, you can even arrange meetings in other locations (near your home) if you need to.
The same also goes with answering phone calls. If they’re calling about your business, always try to maintain a professional tone all throughout the call and don’t make it seem like you’re just chatting with a friend. Their purpose is business and you should give them that.
A common difficulty for home business entrepreneurs is advertising. Just because you already have an office and the necessary supplies doesn’t mean that customers will just find their way to your doorstep. Advertising is a necessity, but traditional means can be expensive for a home business.
What you can do instead is to look for other ways to advertise your business. For example, you can start small first and tell your neighbors about your business. Once you get regular customers, they will do the advertising for you. Word of mouth is one of the most effective ways to advertise without heavy costs. You can give rewards for customers if they successfully refer someone to you. This way you can encourage referrals and also take care of regular customers.
Another method of cheap advertising is through the internet. A lot of people are using social media sites more than 80% of their waking hours. You can take advantage of this statistic and advertise online. You can create social network profiles about your business, or post in your local area’s forum sites.
Because your office and home is at the same place, it’s very easy to mix them both. Though this works to your advantage, it can also have some detrimental effects on your business. For one, it’s easy to lose track of all your spendings or earnings. Keeping track of all the paperwork is no fun, and when faced with another option to play with your children or watch TV – you know the result.
Another problem is when people easily distract you from your work. Since you’re at home, it’s very easy to contact you over the phone or when friends drop by. This can interrupt your schedule resulting in backlogs or errors on your part. What you can do to remedy this is to clearly establish boundaries and inform your friends or family members about your schedule. Letting them know which times you are available and which times you are busy will also give them an idea about how busy you are. They will also be able to understand that they can’t just drop by whenever they want.
Starting a home business is a very feasible option for stay at home parents. However it’s not as easy or as lucrative as it seems. As what our business tips for stay at home parents have shown, you need to have a healthy mix of work and personal time for it to work. Setting your priorities straight will help you achieve your goals while giving you time for your family as well.