When people think of starting a small business, most of us will think of ideas that we can carry out completely from home. For instance, you might get involved in dropshipping products around the country, or you might consider an online service such as writing, designing or even translating for people remotely. These are fantastic ideas for small at-home businesses, but nobody said that a small business from home can’t offer practical services.
These days, “work at home” is a familiar term that is almost exclusively used for people that work entirely on a laptop. That’s simply not the case and there are loads of ways to incorporate more practical services into your at-home business. So in this post, we’re going to take a look at how you can start a small at-home business that involves more than just a laptop.
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What kind of practical service are you going to offer?
First, decide on what kind of service you’re going to offer. This is an open-ended question with lots of great answers, so here are just a couple of examples;
- Gardening services to local homes
- Handicrafts such as knitting or sewing
- Renovation services to homes in your local area
- On-site security system installation
- Traditional art commissions
- Interior design consultation
These are just a couple of great at-home business ideas that involve practical services. As you can see, it’s much like any other business with the exception that the heart of your operation is in your home and not an office or store.
Would you prefer to offer finished products instead?
Alternatively, you may want to consider making your products at home and sending them to buyers instead. For example, you can start selling handicrafts on websites such as Etsy, you can make your own website, or you can take commissions for products which are then sent to the buyer across the country.
Offering services from home or on-site
The other option is to offer services on-site. As per the ideas above, this can include things like offering gardening services, renovation services, on-site security installations, or even pet sitting services. There are lots of options and it’s down to your own creativity and skills to find something that is suitable for your needs.
Funding your small business idea
Next, you’ll want to consider how to fund your small business idea. Since it’s something relatively small and practical you typically don’t need much to get started. There’s no need to rent an office or hire many employees (if any at all) so you can usually start with a budget.
Obtaining the equipment and materials you need
However, there are a couple of expenses that you’ll need to consider such as paying for a website or buying specific tools and materials to carry out your work. Obtaining these should be your first priority if you don’t already have them. There’s also the option of renting them if you want to start on an even smaller budget.
When it comes to funding a side hustle, it’s important to remember that you can usually write off some of those expenses when it comes to taxes. This can be a great way to save money on large expenses, such as power tools for a renovation business.
Finding other local businesses to work with
Lastly, you’ll want to look for other local businesses to work with, especially if there’s a chance that your projects can get quite large and complicated. For example, if you’re offering some kind of renovation services or window repairs, then you may want to work with a scaffolding service that offers aerial relocation to ensure you don’t interrupt a household’s services while you perform your work. There are lots of local businesses that you may want to contact and discuss contracts with, especially if you’re going to be relying on them a lot.
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How to find customers for your business
The next hard part is finding customers for your business. Even if you only work locally, finding customers can be one of the trickiest parts of starting a small business. However, there are a couple of ways to make this easier, though it heavily depends on the type of business that you run.
In general, if you’re offering local services such as gardening, pet sitting and repairs, then you’ll want to look at local platforms where you can market yourself. This can include a local newspaper, it could involve putting flyers through people’s doors, or even handing out your business cards to local stores and residents.
You can also complement this with online services. For instance, adding your business to Google and having a website is a great way to be discovered, especially if you have a great website and social media connections already.
Don’t neglect to use the internet to build a digital presence
And when it comes to growing your business, make sure you focus on building a digital presence. There are many facets to this such as growing your website, getting on social media to engage with your audience, and creating helpful content on your website’s blog. With so many different ways to build a digital presence, it can often take a long time and you might be overwhelmed by the decisions you have to make. As such, it can help to work with a marketing company that works specifically with smaller companies.
What if it doesn’t work out?
The biggest worry that comes with starting a small business is dreading what happens if it doesn’t work out. Whether you fail to grow your business or if it never gets a single customer, these are real fears that will result in a lot of wasted money.
Admittedly, there’s no guarantee that your business will succeed, so this is something that you’ll need to accept as a potential risk. With that said, if you’re willing to put in the work and do your research before making big decisions, you can always come out on top with your resilience and dedication.