This article was authored by Jeanne Heydecker and originally published on the Woomentum network.
Everybody wants to start their own business from home. How can you create a business to capitalize on that? Let’s start with the basics. What are you good at? What is your experience? If you are an expert in say, accounting, you could offer virtual accounting services to home-based businesses. Perhaps you don’t have any specific expertise but you’re pretty good at MS-Office or Google’s Suite, you could offer to be someone’s virtual personal assistant. You would have to be pretty good at problem solving and you would be limited due to not being local to do things like picking up packages at FedEx, and other errands, but you could certainly update the person’s schedule, set appointments, transcribe documents, etc. Figure out what would be useful.
I would also look at companies like taskrabbit.com and such to see what types of jobs are popular and at what price. They have a section for office administration, research, and event marketing. I’ve heard that people can make pretty good money making fake video testimonials for companies there, but let’s be ethical about this. I wouldn’t do it. Perhaps public relations might be more to your liking. You’ll need contacts and good experience in a particular industry to make that work, but it’s a good service to offer home-based businesses, especially if you have a background in the industry prior to having kids, becoming the trailing spouse, etc.. Agencies tend to be quite expensive, but you could bring in five or six clients paying $200 to $500 each a month.
Bear in mind, it will take time to get jobs, and and even more time to reach enough recurring revenue to build your business. At-home businesses are very price sensitive. You want to aim at bringing in four times your costs to build a sustainable business.
The four times your costs is a rule of thumb I use for service-based businesses, particularly for startups and non-recurring business models. That extra profit margin enables you to weather the bad months as well as help you expand if you need to hire temporary workers for a particular project, etc. Once you start hiring employees, your costs increase and you’ll need more revenue to keep that margin in place. Cash flow is hard to manage at a bootstrapped startup and making payroll can literally keep you up at night. Keep an eye on expenses, always be looking for new opportunities, and ask for real testimonials from happy clients.