Home-Based Business

Making money from home

Americans are starting companies, especially home-based businesses, in record numbers. The idea of creating something that generates income while also providing the personal freedom of working from home is tempting. It's no wonder that almost 18 million households in the United States operate some sort of home-based business. Although 90 percent don't have any employees, it's a revealing look at the entrepreneurial ambitions of many in this country.

Plenty of successful businesses got their start at home. Sure, there comes a time when you need to move into larger quarters, but until then, why not keep the overhead to a minimum by operating out of the spare bedroom? If you're unsure of your ideas and their long-term viability, a home-based business is a great place to experiment with your concept. Instead of using start-up funds for fixed costs like rent, they're more appropriately spent on marketing, sales, and product development-the vital aspects of any business.

An added bonus of starting your own business at home is that you can start small. If you have 10 products in mind, you can develop one to begin with so that you can do it part time while continuing to work at your regular job. Often, people start businesses with unrealistic expectations and poor preparation. By limiting growth early on, you can focus on doing a great job with what you've got, and in the end, you'll experience far more success. Starting a business is difficult enough without spreading your resources too thin. The key to growth is producing positive cash flow as early as possible. Businesses can't be successful without it.

Although keeping costs low in the early days of your home-based start-up is important, it's equally critical to secure the talent you need to be successful. Don't hesitate to hire or partner with someone you feel is the key to your business. Further, while frugality is helpful in the beginning, adequate start-up capital will allow you to overcome financial setbacks that occur. Shortfalls are one of the most common reasons for small-business failures in the United States. Don't put yourself behind the eight ball before you've even begun; have enough in the bank.

The most important piece of advice when starting your own home-based business: don't do it for the money at first. If you're not 100 percent passionate about the products or services you sell, you'll have a hard time hanging in when times are tough. As Marsha Sinetar once said, "Do what you love; the money will follow."

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