Today, I have a guest post by Jack Simms, his contact details below the article. Please join me with your comments and discussions on this article!
A Guide for At Home Entrepreneurs or the soon to be
Today, millions of Americans are retreating from traditional office environments and finding refuge working from home. In fact, many people who have more traditional jobs report that they long to work from the comfort of their home one day. Interestingly, many of those same people really haven’t given much thought to the kinds of businesses that might thrive in a residential environment or the logistical requirements of starting an at home business. Therefore, this article addresses some of the important issues every budding at home entrepreneur should consider.
Types of Jobs You can Perform from Home
Those who work from the comfort of their homes generally fall into one of two categories:
- small business owners
Telecommuters generally work for someone else; that is, they are employees who answer to a boss and typically use technology (phones and email) to communicate with coworkers and management. In contrast, the entrepreneurs in this second class of at home workers developed an idea for a business and decided to conduct it from home.
Rather than making the long drive to the office in rush hour traffic, millions of American employees work out of a virtual office. These employees hook up to the internet first thing in the morning, sometimes still un-showered and in their pajamas. While some find that a lack of interaction with coworkers can be isolating, others thrive in an environment where they can set their own schedules and toil away without someone breathing down their neck or distracting them in the adjacent cubicle.
Although every company’s business model does not lend itself to telecommuting, more and more employers are embracing the concept. Why?, one might ask. Of course, there are many different reasons, but two are obvious. First, forgoing traditional office space can translate into financial savings for employers who don’t have to shell out money each month on rent. Second, allowing employees to work from home can boost morale and keep the staff happy.
Some common jobs that people perform from home are:
- Data entry
- Customer service
- Medical transcription
- Bookkeeping and accounting
If you are specifically on a quest for at home employment, make sure to do your research. Because so many Americans yearn for the flexibility of working in the comfort of their homes, the number of scams out there is mind blowing. A simple google search (or a scan of the junk folder in your email account) will confirm that fact.
Original Start Up Businesses
Working from home can be a great option for entrepreneurs who have an original idea for a business but aren’t yet ready to launch it on a grand scale. Opening up the business from your home may be a financial necessity for some startups, or it may just be a wise economic decision based on the circumstances. Indeed, most small business owners are initially shocked by all the initial costs involved with opening a new business. Therefore, starting from home can allow you to test the waters and get the kinks out of your business plan before you obligate yourself in a long-term lease or overextend yourself in other ways.
The naysayers may claim that one’s home contains too many potential distractions for adequate focus on work. And, to be fair, some who’ve traveled along this path have had difficulty avoiding the lure of the television or ignoring the family debate in the next room. Indeed, working from home is not for everyone. However, if the circumstances are right and you are the kind of person who can remain focused despite routine household distractions, working from home may actually make you more productive. In fact, some reports suggest that individuals operating their businesses from home are more productive than their counterparts working in traditional offices.
Some of the common small businesses operated from home:
- Freelance writer
- Day care
- Various IT businesses (web design and support; general IT repair and maintenance)
- Bed and breakfast
- Small catering businesses
- Various landscaping businesses (landscape design; general lawn care; container gardening and plant nursery)
Factors One Must Consider Before Starting an at Home Business
When you have an exciting idea about a new business venture, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the creative process and forget about the boring details. However, the wise entrepreneur always remains grounded and does not lose sight of the logistics involved with opening a new business. The following items must be addressed before you make your home office a reality.
- Legal Organization – Will you operate as a sole proprietor or an LLC? Or does an S corporation make more sense for you? Perhaps a limited partnership would be appropriate if you have multiple owners.If you don’t know the difference between any of these legal entities, that’s the good sign you need to retain an attorney to advise you on the most appropriate method of business organization for your new venture. Even if you are, in fact, familiar with the different options for business organization in your state, consulting some professional guidance is prudent. Indeed, although most states have forms posted online and permit non-attorneys to submit their own organizational documents via the internet, great care should be given to these kinds of decisions.
- Tax Considerations – After you recruit an attorney as a member of your business startup team, a tax advisor should be one of the next slots you fill. Tax laws change constantly, and even if you’ve previously been capable of filing your individual income taxes yourself, chances are you need an expert to help you understand the tax implications of how you operate your business (check out the green parking council example).
- Local Laws – Do you need a business license to operate your home business? Do any local zoning ordinances impact your decision to work from home? If you haven’t asked these questions yet, you do so as soon as possible. Typically, local officials are glad to help small business owners ensure that their plans are on the up-and-up.
- Neighborhood Considerations – Particularly if your home is newer, chances are it may be subject to restrictive covenants and governed by a homeowners’ association. Restrictive covenants often permit homeowners to operate businesses out of their homes, so long as the business is an ancillary (and not the primary) use of the property. However, consulting the actual document is imperative to make sure you do not violate any of its provisions.
When Your Business has Outgrown Your Home
Although some folks open a business with long-term plans to operate it from home, some types of businesses, if successful, will outgrow a typical residential environment. The point at which you need to move into a more traditional commercial or retail location may vary depending on the circumstances. For example, if you have clients visiting you on a regular basis, having them show up at your house may not create the professional image you want to project. In addition, if your business grows to the point at which you need to hire multiple employees, a home office may start getting crowded. On the other hand, if you conduct business exclusively electronically or by phone, perhaps you’ll never need to leave the comfort of your home. And showers may remain optional.
Jack Simms has been providing research on issues of interest to home buyers and owners for LeadSteps.com’s Online Mortgage Rates business for three years. Prior to his involvement with LeadSteps, Jack was a real estate professional providing marketing services to realtors in northern California. Jack’s research for LeadSteps’ Mortgage Rates Website is driven by his desire to better explain the complicated decisions involved in both home ownership and the purchase of a home.