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Running an Online Business from Home!

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One of the real advantages of an online business is that they tend to be very portable.  

But if you are planning on running an online business from home, there are one or two things you should consider before you can reap the benefits of working where ever you happen to be.

creating an online home business

The infrastructure that you need will vary depending on the type of online business you are planning to start it pays to analyse your business needs and investigate any legal or community requirements before you commit to using your home as your base of operations.

For some, all you will need initially is a domain name and hosting,  and if this is you, running your online business from home will be a breeze.

But you will still have a couple of things that will need to be addressed if you want to be truly successful.  Others will need more than a corner of the lounge room for their business.  

For example, if you are running an online store, you might need an area to store inventory and pack your customer orders. Or maybe you have a service business and clients will be popping into your "home office" to meet with you.

Is the Location and Space within and Around Your Home Suitable for Running a Small Business Online?

If you are living in a high-density area in rented accommodation, breeding pedigree dogs and blogging about it to create interest is, running your online business from home is probably not a good idea.  But you could manage a blog about growing herbs in your kitchen, or how to successfully live with a toddler!

While you are planning your new business consider how much room will you need to operate the business.

Are You Planning on Selling Hards Goods Online?

If you are living in a high-density area in rented accommodation, breeding pedigree dogs and blogging about it to create interest, operating your kennel and online business from home is probably not a good idea, but you could manage a blog about living with a toddler!

While you are planning your new business consider how much room will you need to operate the business.

Do you need a production area or warehousing for hard goods?  Is your yard or your shed big enough for what you want to do? And what about your neighbors?

Is your business going to be noisy or are your customers need to come to you? What about parking?

When it comes to selling hard goods, most of these businesses are either cottage industries or re-sellers. So basically you will be either be a small manufacturing businesses producing small specialized or hand crafted items or a retailer on-selling goods that you buy in.  

Either way, you are going to need an area large enough to produce the goods, store them until they are sold and then to pack them when you have to send them to your customers.  

Is your property going to be large enough to incorporate your business and still be a comfortable living space for your and your family?

Selling Digital Products, Becoming a Social Media Influencer or Blogging for Profit?

Even if your products are purely digital or online, you still need to consider your space requirements.  If you are creating digital products, you will need a place to work.

If you are producing instructional videos and you are aiming for high quality, you will need to set aside a fairly decent amount of space for a studio area.  Lighting, backdrops, cameras, auto-cues all take up room. 

If you are blogging about products you use, you will need somewhere that you can test and possibly store the products you are writing about.  If you have a content site about a hobby, pets, or your favorite sport...

Do you have room for any equipment you use, or do you need an area to display what you create?  You space requirements will vary from one online business to another and it is important to factor them in at the planning stage.  

Operating an online business from home can save you a considerable amount of money, if you do not have the space or if you are unable to have a home business, you might have to source alternative accommodation for your business, and that will come at a cost.

Talk to Your Local Council About Any Restrictions on Operating Your Online Business from Home...

If you are planning to start a small online business from home you may have to look into obtaining the relevant permits and approvals.

If you are planning to operate in a regulated industry, for example the building trade, you will need to be certified by the governing body and hold the relevant government permits. In many cases you will need to obtain approval from your local council or municipal authority to operate your business in a residential area, especially if you will have customers coming to your home.

Decide on Your Working Hours and Stick with Them...

One common issue for home based small business owners is to differentiate between work hours and personal time.

How many hours a day, are you going to work on the business?

What times of day will you start work each day and when will you knock off for the day?

If you do not set specific times, you are opening the door to temptations. You may be tempted to procrastinate, and your family and friends will be tempted to interrupt you whenever it suits them!

If you are starting a small business don't let the fact that you are doing it at home allow anyone to take it less seriously! Set your business hours, tell your family and friends that you are not available during those times and enforce it! 

Work Space vs. Home Space...

At the moment my work-space is a chair in the lounge room. I am sitting here surrounded by books and files with the computer on my knee and believe me, this is definitely not the ideal work situation for a home based small business!

If you are serious about starting a small home business, set aside some dedicated space to work in. Preferably somewhere with a door, so that at the end of the day you can shut the door on your business and your business 'stuff' will remain undisturbed until you return to work the next day.

If you can, organize dedicated equipment for your business. If you need a computer to run your business, buy a second one specifically for the business so that you do not have to share with your partner or your kids!

Get a second phone line, one for the family and one for your business, and train everyone who lives in your home to either ignore the business phone when it rings, or to answer the business line in the correct way!  As mentioned above, when you are at work, be at work. Let the answering machine get any calls to your home phone line, and let your family and friends know that you are working.

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