Hobby or Home Business?
By: JoAnna Gilford
Another telecommuting option is to create your own home business. The happiest people are the ones that are doing what they enjoy! What about you? Do you have a hobby that could be expanded into a small home business? Almost any type of hobby can be turned into a business with low start up costs. First, define your hobby. It is something you are very knowledgeable about? Are you current and up to date? Would you be more successful on a local level? Is there anyone in your area with a similar business?
Start up costs can vary. Check with your local government agencies for regulations and licensing in your area. If you rent, you may need the permission of your landlord to operate a home business out of your apartment/house. If your hobby is food related, make sure your first stop is the Health Department.
Your first step in announcing your business! Business cards can be relatively inexpensive. Pass them out to everyone and always drop a couple in those restaurant containers that give away free lunches. Stationery, printed envelopes and flyers are not necessarily a must right away. You can create your own on your PC. Always use a high quality paper for a more professional look.
Know your market and your competition
Who are the ones that will be interested in your product or service? Ineffective advertising could be from not knowing who to advertise to. What companies are already providing your product or service? Are they successful?
Be meticulous in your record keeping. Staple receipts for expenses in a daily diary along with the date, an explanation and total amount spent. A little work now will save you headaches at tax time and keep you up to date with your profits.
Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
A lot of small business have plants and flowers in their waiting rooms and greeting areas. If you have a green thumb, check into maintaining plants in small offices. You could expand on this idea by growing your own plants and selling them directly to the office or changing them out seasonally by contract. Check local civic organizations and associations for leads.
Tracing your roots and heritage is exciting, and doing it yourself is half the fun! Consider being an advisor to people just starting out. You can save them a lot of time and effort by knowing how to start, where to look, and by sharing all the "insider's info" on digging through court records. This business could be expanded to literally anybody, anywhere!
Creative with soap and shower gels? Your market could be upscale local bed and breakfasts, (maybe a trial size shower gel with your label on it?) gift basket makers and the general public. Check out flea markets in your area, is it feasible to set up a booth?
We've touched briefly on some key points in setting up your hobby as a home business, there is plenty more you will need to know. Mistakes are a learning process and you are bound to make mistakes in the beginning. Don't beat yourself up! Learn from them and keep working. Research your hobby well and assume you will work very hard to get your first account or sale. Start small and set obtainable goals. For additional resources and information, follow these links:
- Digital Women: http://www.digital-women.com/
- Small Business and Work at Home Ideas: http://www.boconline.com/
JoAnna Gilford manages www.realjobsonline.com, a resource for those who seek real work at home employment. Featuring a free ezine: "Telecommuting Job of the Day", published 5 times a week with jobs, tips, scam alerts and telecommuting articles. To subscribe by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org