So, you want to start a home-based business
Aging Matters

Working in your PJs, and setting your hours is like a dream. By gaining clarity you can turn it into reality.

A home-based business offers perks and the headaches of working. I've owned and worked for several home-based businesses with varying degrees of success. All were learning experiences that brought me insights into how to define success.

Keep in mind, I don't refer to businesses such as Avon, driving for Uber, or selling someone else's product or service to earn a commission. Instead, it's a product, skill, or service that you uniquely provide to a customer base.

Do you think you are ready for the challenges of a home-based business? Write out your answers to each question. There is no right or wrong answer and you may need to research.

  • Do you have a place to run a business? What do you need to run one? A computer, printer, FAX, internet, telephone, a small filing cabinet for your banking papers, tax records, copies of customer orders, and possibly mailing supplies, and materials related to your business. The dining room table might seem like a good place to work and the china cabinet as storage but if you have to move work away so you can sit down and have dinner, it probably isn't. Choose a space where you can "close the door" at the end of the day.
  • Do you have a service or skill that people will pay for? Do research to see who the competition is, what they are providing, and what are they charging. Can you provide a more personalized service or value? Are you charging enough to cover expenses and earn a fair wage? If you don't make a profit and pay yourself a fair wage, it's not a business.
  • Do you have a product that people will buy? Do you have to invest in products to sell? Amazon, Cafe Press, and eBay have wholesale departments to buy products in bulk and resell. They will even ship products and handle payment collection for a small fee. They will send you a check every month based on sales. If you decide to carry inventory at home, do you have storage space and a place to prepare items for shipping? We live in an "instant" world and people want their orders tomorrow so have daily access to a mailing source.
  • What are the legal and tax regulations? This varies state to state, county to county, even locally. Do you need a resale license? Do you have to collect sales tax? Do you need to be bonded? What licenses do your city, county, or state require? Check with your insurance company for coverage. Usually, a simple rider will cover a business and inventory. If you are a renter or have an HOA, will they require a permit? Check to learn about tax-related obligations.

Can you manage time? Are you organized? You must separate the business from the personal life.

Guest columnist: Joyce Teal, a former educator, marketing and events manager, and life-long creative.

Part of the Aging Matters Weekly Syndicated Column

Aging Matters is a weekly column tackling everyday challenges that our growing elderly population and their loved ones face. It is also published in a variety of syndication partners including newspapers all over the country.

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