Starting and running your own business from home is an opportunity we didn’t have years ago. Working out of your home can be extremely lucrative, and it’s ideal for seniors who don’t want to invest a fortune or who don’t want to do work that’s too strenuous. Plus, in many cases, all you need is a good computer, an idea, and a plan to put it into action.
Start with an Idea
Before jumping in, the first decision you have to make is what type of business you want. E-commerce is one of the easiest business models that you can start with a low to no investment, and there is an abundance of online resources that can guide you through the process. Even within the world of e-commerce, there are several ways your idea can take shape. If you’re crafty, you could sell your goods online. If you have a love of antiques and collectibles, the website Profitable Venture recommends becoming a reseller.
Another option to consider if you don’t want to keep stock is to start a dropshipping business. With the dropshipping model, you can choose from all kinds of product categories to list and sell through your site. The main difference from other online sales is that you don’t have to buy inventory; instead, a third party will ship orders directly to your customers. If you’re looking for a business model that’s easy to start with low overhead and low risk, this is the way to go. The most important thing is to research dropshipping options before starting, especially when it comes to which products you want to focus on and the categories that have the most potential.
Make It Official
Setting up an online business is less complicated in many ways than a brick-and-mortar, but you don’t want to skim over the legal details. In addition to getting advice from your lawyer, you can also get a feel for the basic legal requirements online. Start with a business name and determine the legal structure, such as an LLC or corporation. You will then need to file paperwork with your state and obtain a federal tax ID number.
Work Out a Business Structure
Besides determining an official business structure for legal purposes, you will also want to create a plan for how to operate. For example, if you’re selling your handmade goods, do you want to join an online marketplace like Etsy or build your website?
If you want to do business online but you aren’t sure about setting out independently, have you considered working collaboratively or as a contract worker? One idea is to provide proofreading or editing services. Just like going into e-commerce, this type of job allows you to work from home with the flexibility to work around your schedule. Another idea is to become an online teacher — you could provide English lessons, tutoring services, or teach a musical instrument.
Nail Down the Logistics
Once you know what your general business structure will be, it’s time to get to work! We love this guide from Lifestyle Business that details setting up your website, from purchasing your domain name to choosing a platform and method of processing payments. When you’re choosing a platform, some people prefer to hire a web developer or designer to build a site from the ground up, while others like to go with the simple option of using a theme through a company like WordPress. If you’re hiring a web professional, look to online staffing agencies for candidates. Online job boards have a variety of American freelancers for hire, no matter what type of web work you need to be completed.
Last but not least, you need a strategy for setting yourself apart. Getting on the web is the first step, but you need a marketing strategy, including having the right features on your site, to get traffic and sales.
You can’t expect your new business to take off without the effort to make it stand out. However, starting a home-based business is much less work, and it requires a lower startup cost than a traditional retail business. Retirement is a time for flexibility and relaxation, but it’s also an opportunity to delve into a new venture!
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Article Contributed by Carla Lopez.