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I have an idea for WAHM business but am wondering about all of the big issues. Like taxes and stuff. Do you have to do taxes on a WAH business? Are there other issues that I have to worry about before starting my business? Any help from you or any website would be appreciated! Thanks so much! I cant wait to start!! B)
Drum roll please... The big thingy that I wrote up that some of you are probably getting sick of seeing because I post it all the time! Anyway, this ought to help get you started. I am more than happy to answer any questions either here or you can PM me! I love helping others get started!
Your First 10 Steps to Starting Your Own Online Business
Starting my own business is one of the most exhilarating things I have ever done. I loved working on my website and watching it come together. I loved the feeling I had when I got my first order, and my second and my third… I love it when I send off a package to a customer that contains an item that I worked hard to make and that I am proud of. And I love it when a customer emails me to tell me how much they love my item.
In the few months that my business has been running, I have enjoyed the experience thoroughly, but one thing is certain-building a business is a challenge! In building my business, it has been so helpful to me to talk to other work at home moms and I have learned so many things that I wish I had known when I started out. So, I have put together a simple list of ten things to get your business started to help you get that business up and running. There are a million little details that you have never thought of that are sure to come up, but that is part of the fun! Here are some basics to get your started.
#1 of course is to think of an idea for your home business. There are so many ideas out there and all it takes is a little creativity. What do you do well? What do you like to do? Has anyone ever told you that you have a particular talent for something or that you could sell something? Rack your brain, and your husband’s brain and your friends’ brains if you have to-there is certainly an idea out there that is perfect for you!
#2 Start researching other businesses online that are similar to what you would like to do. Look at many websites and get a feel for what others are doing and what you could do to improve on other’s ideas, how you could differ from what they are already doing. The more sites you look at, the more your own ideas will start to flow. Look at layouts on sites, products or services offered, pricing, policies, and all other aspects of the websites to get a feel for what you will need to include in your own.
#3 Create your website. You will first need to create a company name. Think of something that is simple to remember, yet catchy and fun. If all goes well, this name could stick with you for a long time-so make it a good one! Run a search to determine if the name you have chosen is already taken. (This can be done easily by simply using any domain registration site.) You will then need to register it. You will also need to choose a web host-the person or company that will host your site. This is an important aspect to consider, as there are many options. Some web hosts are free-those hosts, however, usually include advertising or popup on your site and may not include your own domain, but a sub-domain instead. There is a wide range of pricing for web hosts. Some include templates to help you build the site, others include built in shopping carts, etc. Explore your options before you take the plunge. Be sure to check out the sites geared specifically towards hosting WAHM businesses as they may be helpful to you.
#4 Build your site. This is where things can get complicated-at least they did for me because I had no experience in this area. Again, look at what others are doing. Find sites that you like and figure out what is working for them. At this point you will probably want to either create your own graphics and logo, or pay someone to do that for you because they will be a major component of your website. There are many online businesses out there that charge reasonable fees to create graphics and/or build your website for you if you choose to do it that way. If you are selling a product, be sure to have good pictures of the product on the site. If you are selling a service, perhaps you can provide examples of similar work you have done in the past. Be patient while building your website. It takes work and tweaking, but in the end, you should have a site that you can be proud of. Have others critique your site, look for errors and help you improve it.
#5 Make yourself legal. The rules and regulations for running your own business vary for every state, but most states make it simple to find out just what you have to do in order to be legal. Simply run a search for your state’s small business department to determine what you need to do. For example, because I am a sole proprietor (meaning I am the only person running the business) in Wisconsin, I needed to fill out a Register of Deeds form stating that I will be doing business under the title My Sweetdreams Baby. The form had to be notarized and filed and the total cost was $11. Also check into tax laws in your state.
#6 Open a bank account for your business. This is something I did not do in the beginning; instead I simply used my day to day account. However, I quickly found that attempting to track my business expenses and profits against my household’s budget was a mess and opening my own account for the business made things much more simple. If you plan to have customers make payments online you will also need to setup online payment options such as Paypal or credit cards.
#7 Prepare your workspace and office supplies. Getting organized can really help you feel like you have control over your business. Create an area in your home where you can keep all of your supplies, paperwork, and business items. Even in a small home this can be accomplished if you get creative. (What used to be my coat closet is now my “office.”) Gather needed supplies such as shipping supplies (one thing I learned early on in my business endeavors is that you can order free priority mail shipping supplies from the USPS-a big help if you plan to ship items), business cards, products, or any other supplies that apply to your business.
#8 Create a good filing and tracking system. When the orders start coming in, you are going to need a good way to track your income versus your expenses. Even before the orders come in you need to track your expenses for tax purposes. Create a good system in which you can be sure to keep receipts, maintain the status of various orders, track costs for supplies, etc. This may take a little work to figure out the best way and what will work for you. Make sure that it is a simple system that won’t eat up valuable work time.
#9 Launch your site and begin marketing it! This is where it gets exciting, but it can also get discouraging. Get your name out there. Tell people you know that you have started a business, because they will tell their friends. Offer a sale to get people to your site. Join message boards and forums to make online friends who might be interested in your site or just might know someone who is. Don’t expect traffic to your site right away, but go ahead and be happy if you get it. Link swap with other sites that are similar to yours. This is a good way to increase your search engine ranking. Be sure to submit to search engines and explore search engine optimization! (That would be a whole new article though!)
#10 Tweak, tweak, tweak. There are so many things that you haven’t even thought of yet that you will have to change, improve, get rid of, etc. Potential customers will email you with questions you had never even thought of. You will notice things that aren’t working well that you want to discontinue or find things that you wish you were doing that you want to add! This is the excitement of running a business-there is always something to do.
Remember, these are just 10 steps to get you started. Starting a business takes a great deal of work and there is plenty more that will need to be done to get you going, but this should give you a great start. Most of all-enjoy what you are doing!
Amber-Mommy to Nathan (2) and Jack (3 months)