The birth of a child can shift family priorities, leading some parents to choose to stay home with their child. However, economic demands make it difficult for even one parent to leave the workforce and stay home to care for a child. Instead of an all-or-nothing situation, some parents are creating a home-based business so they can continue to be available to their children while still generating an income.
Starting a home-based business allows parents to stay home with their children.
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Step 1: Decide what kind of business you will start.
Think about your skills, education and talents. If you’ve been working outside the home, review your job description and identify the areas where you excel. Some on-site jobs can be transformed into a home-based career. For example, if you are a teacher, you could launch a tutoring business. A day-care worker could watch children in her home. Your interests should also play a key role in your home-based business. For example, if you’ve always loved candles or makeup, consider becoming a consultant for a direct-selling company such as PartyLite candle, Mary Kay, Inc. or Avon, just to name a few. Becoming a consultant for a direct-selling company allows you to create your own schedule and sell widely recognized products in a relaxed setting such as a friend’s home. Another benefit is that you dictate how much or how little you want to work.
Step 2: Generate a list of resources, including child care, you’ll need to launch your company.
Any new business requires a comprehensive business plan, and a home-based business is no different. A solid business plan includes a detailed list of financial and equipment needs, a marketing plan, financial projections, a detailed product description, a comparative analysis of the competition and an exit strategy. When calculating expenses, include child care if you plan to work full-time. Although you are launching a home-based business to be with your child, consider who will watch your child while you are working. Older children may not require child care, but you may need assistance if you have an infant or toddler.
Step 3: Research government regulations and licensing for your home-based business.
If you have an in-home day care busines or are creating food at home, you must be licensed by the state and the local health department. Several states require that you obtain a home occupation permit for your home-based business. This is especially important if you will have customers or employees coming to your home on a regular basis. Contact your local government to obtain zoning information and instructions on applying for a permit.
Step 4: Execute a promotion and marketing strategy.
Launch a website and create business cards and an advertising flyer. Include contact information on every piece of promotional material so prospects will know how to reach you. Network and talk to everyone you meet. Hand out your business card while running errands, at the pediatrician’s or at a Mommy and Me class. Ask for permission to post your flyer on bulletin boards at area businesses. For example, if you are running a dog grooming company, ask your veterinarian or the local pet store if you can post a flyer or leave business cards. Don’t forget that exceptional customer service is your most powerful marketing tool. Hold your product and service to the highest standard to ensure that current customers will tell their friends and family about you.
Step 5: Identify an exit strategy.
Create a five- and- 10-year plan for your business. Include where you hope your company will be financially and how big you want the company to be. An exit strategy also helps you set goals and gives you direction for the business. Perhaps you only want to work from home for a set number of years, then return to the office; include that statement in your business plan.