Starting a home business is easy; keeping it running in the long term is almost impossible. With the exceptions of people like Scott Adams (Dilbert comics) and Stephen King (horror writer), the number of people who start businesses at home and succeed is meager. Often, a home business either fails or transitions into something else. With that in mind, here are some things you need to consider.
1. Where Are You Getting Your Clients?
Selling is the hardest part of any small business. As odd as it sounds, your product should be your last consideration. Where you are getting your customers from should be your primary focus. Before you set up your business, try to secure 20 pre-orders. If you can do this, then you may survive the business world.
If your business is not the type you can sell pre-orders for, then you could consider working your business part-time. Maybe designate 15 hours per week to your new company and see if you can fill up your time. If you can, then try expanding your working hours a little, even if it means scaling back your work hours at your regular job.
2. What Are Your Lowest Estimated Starting Costs?
You are going to have to start with as little money as possible. Any money you have needs to go towards overheads in the initial months when you have very little income. Do not start with the most highly sophisticated color printers when you can get fantastic deals on monochrome printers. Do not invest your start-up money on new equipment when second-hand equipment is so much cheaper.
3. Can You Keep Your Regular Job?
Perhaps one of the most uncomfortable questions you should ask is if you can keep your regular job. Home businesses often need years of subsidy, which you can earn yourself from your current job.
This is especially true if you wish to promote your business over the long term. Advertising has the lowest ROI because you can spend thousands and get nothing in return. Once your home business is up and running and able to provide a consistently sufficient income, then you can consider quitting your day job and working your home business full-time.
4. How Will You Push Yourself to Keep Going?
Starting out is fun, exciting, and new, but after months and even years of working, your motivation starts to lull, and many have a hard time coping with the daily grind. Many people quit, slowly grind to a halt simply because self-management is tough.
One way you can counteract this is by setting long-term goals. You will have to grind every day to stay in business, but if you feel like you are moving towards a bigger goal, then the grind becomes more tolerable. It feels more like you are climbing the mountain rather than jogging on the spot.
5. Are You Just Looking for a Change?
Most small businesses fail, with most of them failing within two years, and the most common reason is that the people starting them do not understand the realities of starting a business from scratch. Some have romantic or naive ideas about what is involved, but mostly people start a small business because they think it offers something they do not already have.
In many ways, starting a business for them is the same as running away from their problems. Staying at home may get you away from your problems at work, but it will create a whole new batch of hurdles for you to overcome.
Interesting related article: “What is a Startup?“