Another great question I was asked this week is “How do I start a home business?” I was lucky enough to have learned from my father who was an entrepreneur. I learned from a young age how a small business is operated and maintained. My father ran his business successfully for thirty years before retiring.
I’ve been running websites and working in music for over twenty years. I’ve had an online presence, since 2011. I’ve worked hard and invested a lot of time and money into my home businesses. They’re still a work in progress. It takes time and a lot of patience to become successful.
(P.S. – if you liked this post, make sure to check out my post on networking.)
STARTING A NEW CAREER
If you’re looking at starting a new career or if you want to earn passive income – the important thing is to do something that you are passionate about. If you’re a musician or artist – then it’s a no brainer on what your business should be focused on. Selling your own material, or booking your band for gigs, producing music for others – these are all things you can do as an artist.
As a writer, you can sell books or short-stories online. You can blog about things that you enjoy doing. If you travel, you can blog about your world adventures. If you’re into cooking, then focus on food.
If you want to create an online E-commerce store – this gets trickier. If you’re into crafts, like jewelry, you can learn to make your own jewelry and sell it online.
You may want to look into partnering up with Amazon or EBay and see what other kinds of products you can sell. But I know from experience that businesses tend to do better when you work with something you know and are passionate about.
The next step once you have a clear business plan is to create your online identity.
Your websites are crucial to a successful online business. People need to be able to look you up. Your website should clearly identify who you are and how people can get in touch with you. This is where brand names and logos are important.
If you can, register your real name with a .com domain. This costs anywhere from $3 – 25 a year depending on the service you choose. My domain name here on WordPress cost $25.00 to host via WordPress. I found two names that really fit my genre. Check this page out for more info.
Where possible, try to get a .com or .ca (Canada) domain name.
If you have a business name in mind, then register that for your domain. If you’re stuck on a name – check out some domain name generators online.
If you’re still not sure how to register a domain name, hop onto YouTube. There are lots of tutorials out there.
Creating a website
If you’re just starting out, I recommend using sites like Wix (beware of Spam), Bandzoogle for musicians, or WordPress to build your website. If you have no interest in building your own website – then hire someone to do it for you. A website should be easy to read and your brand name and logo should be easy to find.
Make sure your contact information is on the website. An email address should suffice early on in your business depending on what your market is. I’d suggest investing in a second phone line if you’re not okay with sharing your phone number with everyone online.
My music website – I use my real name for that. My real name is popular, like Smith. So registering a domain name was difficult. But I use my real name + music, on all social media platforms. This way people can find me easily.
For writing – I use a pen name. But I make sure to keep it consistent. Christensen is also a popular name. There are a few writers out there with the same name as me. One is very close – J.C. Christensen. I wish I could use my real name for writing but it would be too confusing for people who are interested in my music.
Using initials – If you choose a name like mine, make sure you are using a consistent form of your name on all social media platforms. As a writer, your book covers should also be consistent. This is also important for tax purposes at the end of the year.
Business name – selecting a business name that isn’t your name can be tricky. It seems like all the good ones are taken. Think about what your business focus is. What is your product? What are you selling? I really recommend using domain searches and using generators to help you along with this. Your business name should be clear, easy to pronounce and easy for your customers to find.
Registering your online business
When you register your business online, fill in all the appropriate tax forms and use your real name on the forms. Trust me – this will save you a headache at the end of the year. I still have yet to earn enough income to even worry about taxes. But that’s my fault – I’ve been slacking on promotions and marketing.
If you are a writer and publish your books on Smashwords and Amazon, filling out tax forms is a requirement. Same with using PayPal for business purposes.
Keep track of your business expenses
One final tip for this post, keep track of your business expenses. The money spent on registering your domain name, or your website hosts – these are all expenses you can write off as business expenses.
If you get receipts via email, then start a new folder for each year you are in business. You may want to invest in a zip drive or external drive to store these receipts in a safe and secure place. Being organized for tax time is crucial. This will help you to be just one step further ahead.
There are many more steps to starting an online business. These are just a few steps to help you get started. A business plan will help you even more. Having a clear idea of what services or products you are offering your clients is absolutely crucial. Over time, you can expand as your business grows and add more services. Be consistent in your promotions and marketing. Be consistent in your networking. If you don’t know how to write a business plan, then hop on YouTube and do a search for tutorials.
Think about what you’re passionate about. You will enjoy your career more, if it makes you happy and excited to talk about it with others.
Make sure to check out my next post – where I talk about the important of networking.