How to Start a Digital Home-Based Business and Earn Money
Welcome to the next installment of the Home-Based Business Series. If you missed part 1, you can view 5 profitable home-based business ideas I profiled here.
This week I'm going to be going into detail about how to start a digital business and the different types of businesses you can start from home along with how you can earn money early on.
Digital home-based businesses are trending these days and doing well. The best thing about having a digital business is that you can literally work whenever you want. If you feel the urge to work at 2 a.m., you don't have to worry about leaving your home or working within certain office hours.
As an added benefit, home-based businesses are super easy to start and require little to no start-up costs.
Let's discuss a few profitable home-based businesses in detail.
If you have a valuable service you can offer, a freelance business may interest you. You can write, perform virtual assistant tasks, design graphics and websites, do marketing and advertising or whatever your niche is, all from home.
To start freelancing, you don't really need a special degree although having experience does help. To find clients, you need to do a combination of building your network and send pitches. You can answer ads for projects, or even do your research and reach out to clients individually.
The great thing about freelancing is that business can pick up really fast. One minute, you have a lot of time on your hands and your scrambling to find clients. Then the next, you're fully booked.
Starting a blog can be a great hobby, but it's an ever better business idea. Often times, people start blogs for fun then monetize them later. Thus, you don't really have to start a blog with the intention of turning it into a business.
However, there are so many cool ways to monetize your blog while still remaining authentic so it's worth a try for any blogger. You can team up with brands for paid sponsored content. You can try affiliate marketing to promote products and services you like that would benefit your audience and put ads on your site to generate income as well.
You can also create your own products to sell from your blog or offer your services from your website. Personally, this is how I launched my freelance business and started a double business with blogging and freelancing for more streams of income.
Again, blogging requires little start-up costs outside of having a computer and high-speed internet. You can use many blogging tools for free at first, but you must start out with a self-hosted blog (and not one on Blogger or WordPress.com if you wish to earn money from it).
Getting into digital sales is another profitable home-based business idea. You can either sell other companies products online, sell items you find or buy at resale stores, or create your own products.
If you're looking to sell other items like books, Cash 4 Books is a website that allows you to sell used textbooks.
In general, you can sell pretty much anything on Amazon or Ebay. However, keep in mind that these sites do take a small cut out of your profits whenever you sell something through their site.
What I love about Amazon is that you can automate your shipping when you sign up for their Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service. With Amazon FBA, you send your items to their warehouse where they can be packaged and shipped off whenever you make a sale. That way, you're not going to the post office each day and you can focus more on listing items to be sold and handling other areas of your business.
What You May Need to Get Started
If you want to successfully run an online business, you'll need a few materials and supplies to get started although it won't nearly be as much as if you were running a business with a physical location.
I've already mentioned a few things you need to run an online business, but here is a general list of everything all in one place.
To get your home-based business up and running, you'll need:
- A computer – preferably a quality laptop since you'll be depending on it each day
- High-speed internet connection – don't skimp when it comes to your internet connection because it could cause issues with operating your business. Plus, you can deduct internet expenses around tax time.
- Printer/scanner – This isn't a must, but you'll probably need one sooner or later. I use this one from Amazon. You can search on Amazon for a good deal.
- Website and related expenses – you may want to set up a professional website and while you can do this for free in some cases, it still might cost money depending on what you're looking for
- Product/inventory – If you are running a home-based sales business, you may need to invest in product initially so you can start selling it
- Accounting software – Used to track your income and expenses. I recommend using a service like Freshbooks, GoDaddy Bookkeeping or Quickbooks.
- Advertising budget
How to Set Your Digital Home-Based Business Up
Once you have a great business idea, you may be wondering how to get it off the ground. First, you need to decide which expenses you'll have right off the bat and prepare financially for those.
Then, you actually want to do some market research and determine who your clients/customers will be and how you want to market to them. Sometimes you can implement no-cost marketing strategies while other times, you may need to pay for a little advertising to get started.
Next, you can write out a detailed business plan including the mission of your business, who your target market it, how you plan to earn money, what risks might be involved, etc. This business plan will definitely help you stay on track.
Hopefully, you won't need to find additional funding or take out a loan since digital home-based businesses require very little start-up costs.
Depending on when you want to legitimize your business, there may be some legal work that you need to take care of. If you want to start an LLC, S-Corp, or another type of business, you can check out LegalZoom for more information about how to get started.
Finally, you'll want to consider setting up a professional website to showcase your services or products. If you are just selling items online, you may not need a website, but for freelancing and blogging, this is a must obviously.
Starting a digital home-based business is not super difficult and can be done without a ton of start up costs making it an effective and low-risk way to earn a living. If you want to start a digital home-based business, my best advice is to start it on the side of your current job so you can see how much you can earn first.
Have you ever thought about starting a digital home-based business?