Starting a home business during a crisis for many people may very well be their path to security. These are certainly challenging times with great impact to the economy and our lives. For many, it is a true time of crisis. Many have lost a job. Others may be concerned they are at risk of losing it. And business owners have been negatively impacted. If you have recently lost your employment as a direct or indirect result of the pandemic – or any crisis for that matter – it can be difficult to find another job right away.
These are often times when starting your own business temporarily or permanently, may be the best option. Starting your own business is a way to bridge the income gap and gain some financial stability. But, it’s also a way to bring joy, motivation, and a sense of pride and ownership of your life.
For many careers, you can take your expertise and start consulting or freelancing from the comfort of your own home. And with very little to no upfront investment! This article walks you through the simple, low-risk steps for Starting a Home Business.
Benefits of Starting a Home Business?
A home business is one that is based out of your home. However, the customer doesn’t come into your home or even associate you with working at home. The customer facing business is likely either you or an online storefront. That said, you are primarily based out of your home, at least at the start.
There is of course some risk with starting your own business. But in times of crisis, the benefits often far outweigh the risks. Here are just some of the benefits you can expect from going out on your own:
You are in the driver’s seat! You can control the strategy, the focus, the schedule. Ultimately, you are in control of your career and your own life.
Ability to create your work-life balance
Pick the people! Whether it’s the team that you work with or the clients that you take on, you can decide who, when, and where is the best fit.
Focus on what makes you happy.
Get things done more efficiently. You don’t have to sit in meeting after meeting or present to 20 different groups to gain alignment before moving forward with an action.
What Business Should I Start?
When starting a home business, the first question to ask is whether you want to stay in your current career. For example, if you are a Marketing Manager, do you want to use your marketing expertise to consult for other clients? Are you an attorney, website developer, engineer, accountant, project manager, finance manager? These are all examples of professions that you could do on your own for private clients. You can have a very lucrative career consulting on your own. Consulting or freelancing isn’t the only way to use your expertise. You could alternatively sell your services online through courses or webinars.
Or, is there something even more specific within your current job that you excel in? Perhaps in your Finance Manager profession you are an expert with developing financial documents and can work with small local businesses to help them develop their own. Or maybe you create templates for anyone to purchase online? Or maybe you just mastered a certain software and can teach others to use it?
You can, of course, pursue another passion all together! There is no rule that says you cannot change your career path completely. Scarcity Breeds Innovation! Allow yourself to be creative in the ideas for what you do next. Is there a hobby that could turn into a business? Have you been playing guitar all your life and can teach kids?
How to Legally Start a Home Business
Once you have your new business idea, it’s time to formalize it. This means legitimizing your business though state registration so that all legal, financial, operational, and transactional activities fall under your legal business name. Registering your business not only legitimizes it, but also gives you privacy and liability protection. It is also important when looking to create business accounts, such as banking, online payment gateways, and more.
Here are the 5 first steps to formalizing your business, but there are still more, such as opening a business bank account. For more details and subsequent steps, read How to Start & Run a Business From Home. You can also check out: LLC vs. C-Corp: Best Business Structure for my business.
Step 1: Choose your business structure
The business structure that you choose will determine how your company operates. It will also determine your legal liability, certain taxes, and what rules and regulations you must adhere to. Choosing the right structure is therefore extremely important. There are many different types of business structures. Click Here to learn more about the different types of business structures.
Step 2: Choose a Name For Your Business
Your business name is important because it is often the first interaction that someone will have with your business. It should convey what the business does in a professional and credible way. Your business name must be unique – it cannot be used by any other operating company in the state. Once you have settled on a company name, run a comprehensive name search. This is to make sure you aren’t infringing on naming rights. Finally, check with local regulatory bodies to see if there are any other naming regulations to take into account.
Step 3: Designate A Business Address and a Registered Agent
These are technically two different steps and it’s important to understand that they are different. However, they can be the same and be tackled at the same time when using a Virtual Office Address .
A Registered Agent is required to file your company with the Department of State. It is an individual or entity formally responsible for receiving legal and State correspondence for your company. As such, this is a secondary address that needs to be provided. Certain Virtual Office providers, such as Starhub, offer you Registered Agent services. The benefit is that your Business Address and your Registered Agent address are one in the same. This makes things much easier for you!
Step 4: Apply for an EIN/ITIN
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a unique 9-digit number used for taxation purposes. This number is required to open a business bank account or conduct any tax-related or financial operations. Your Registered Agent may apply for one on your behalf. A social security number, or ITIN if you are not a U.S. resident, is required to complete the application for an EIN. If you are not a U.S. citizen and need to apply for an ITIN, visit the IRS website here for a list of required forms and acceptable ways to submit your application.
Step 5: Obtain Licenses and Permits
You will need to apply for the required permits and/or licenses. These will depend on the nature of your business activities and your operating location. Businesses are subject to municipal, county, state, and federal licensing requirements. Regulations vary by state, county, and business activities. For information on federal business licenses, visit the Small Business Administration website.
A Virtual Office Makes Starting a Home Business Even EASIER!
More and more, Entrepreneurs are starting businesses out of their homes using a Virtual office. A virtual office is a low-risk, low-investment way to legitimize and help grow your consulting business. It gives you a professional physical business address. This address can be used to start your business, receive your mail, and publish on any and all business communication. In addition to a physical office address and registered agent services as previously discussed, a virtual office can provide you with other key benefits.
Office Space as Needed
It can be difficult to focus on your business from your home with so many opportunities for distractions. Family members, pets, backlogged chores or repairs, and easy access to television and other devices are just a few examples. A Virtual Office gives you access to a physical work space with coworking desks, private offices, or even conference rooms. These types of shared office spaces can increase your productivity by providing you with a working area that is quiet, structured, and free from life’s distractions.
With so many entrepreneurs using Virtual Offices today, when you join, you have exclusive access to a network of like-minded people. These are professionals that often started out right where you are and would love to impart their experience and knowledge. You can tap into this network to learn from their success and the mistakes they made along the way. It’s also a great way to get client referrals!
Professional Services to Help You Grow
A Virtual Office can set you up early for money and time saving services when you start to need them. A Virtual Office not only gives you a physical address, but it can offer a comprehensive package of online business solutions. Mail Management and Virtual Receptionist services are two of the most notable services. You can manage your important mail remotely and request actions such as scans, forwards or shreds. A virtual receptionist is a live person that can answer your dedicated business phone number. You will never miss a customer service call or potential client inquiry with a virtual receptionist.
At Starthub, we offer comprehensive virtual office solutions. We’ll even give you your first month FREE. Just click here to get started. You’ll receive a prestigious mailing address in downtown Miami, dedicated mail handling services from a talented team, and an innovative digital platform to receive and direct your mail. Plus, 24/7 customer support. For more information on why Starthub is the best choice for your virtual mailbox, click here.