Starting a home business – how to make money at home
The closest most people ever get to making money at home is winning a game of Monopoly, and while putting hotels on Mayfair and Park Lane takes a lot of effort it’s worth it for all the cash you’ll earn … if only you could spend it in the ‘real’ world! But having a home-based business can be just as rewarding (although you’ll put in a lot more effort!) and these days more and more people are finding ways to work from home. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics the number of small businesses operated from home increased from 58.3 per cent to 67.5 per cent between 1997 and 2004 and while it’s not a lifestyle that suits everyone it can be a great way to balance your professional and personal life.
So, it’s one thing to dream about being able to work from home, but how do you make the fantasy a reality? The first thing you need to do is work out what sort of business you want to run. Whether you have an idea of your own or are looking into purchasing a franchise, it’s a good idea to do some market research before you commit and surveying your local area and contacting the relevant industry association can help you decide if there’s a demand for what you’ve got planned. Once you’ve found your corner of the market, you’re going to have to register your business’s name, acquire an Australian Business Number and decide which business structure suits your operation. You can register as a sole trader, partnership, company or trust and the structure you pick will determine your start up costs and affect the kind of tax you need to pay, so have a chat with your financial adviser or visit the Australian Taxation Office website for more information before you make your choice.
Next, you need to look around your home to see if it can accommodate your business. At the very least you’re going to need office space, and depending on the type of business you run you might also need parking space for clients and for any employees. Since a home business operates in a residential area you may require special permits and licences before you can begin, so be sure to check with your local council to make sure your business complies with their regulations.
When it comes to starting a home business all of these considerations are just the tip of the iceberg, so if you’re feeling out of your depth, why not consider applying for the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme? This initiative will pay you an allowance for up to 12 months also providing you with small business management training and advice you during your first year in operation. You can find out more by contacting the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations for more details and you may also want to check out www.business.gov.au for a list of grants that are available to small businesses if you’re looking for more funds to help you get started.
Another important consideration is your workday, because when you work at home it’s not hard to turn into a workaholic. While it’s relatively easy to call it quits at the end of the day when you work outside the home, it’s harder to ‘clock off’ when your office is in clear view of the lounge and you can hear your phone ringing and your email pinging at all hours. But the truth is that working all the time isn’t good for you or for your business, and you need to establish clearly defined ‘work day’ guidelines that you stick to religiously and understand that if the phone rings when you’re off the clock it’s perfectly okay to let the machine get it – after all, that’s what it’s there for!
Not everybody is suited to working at home and even if it does seem appealing when you’re dealing with the nine-to-five grind, the reality is that some people really are better off working in an office environment. But for other people it can open the door for the opportunity to do something great and profitable, and with a bit of organisation and support it can be fairly easy to set yourself on the path to entrepreneurial success … and at least you’ll be able to buy more than just a house for Park Lane with your profits!
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Tags: home business, work from home, home-based business, money management advice
Wilson Luna is an author, wealth adviser and founder of Your Family Your Money. Your Family Your Money’s goal is to simplify traditionally complex financial strategies, demystify financial jargon and debunk common financial myths, becoming every family’s first stop for financial advice, information and inspiration.