Working from home is a growing trend in North America, but for many people, it feels like no more than a dream. Despite the fact that 90% of the population wishes they could work from home at least some of the time, most people feel like they have no choice but to stick with their 9 to 5.
There are many common reasons that prevent a person from taking the leap to work-from-home life. One of the biggest challenges of all can be just figuring out what kind of business to start!
The good news is there are more opportunities than ever before to start a home business! But sorting through all the information on the internet can get really overwhelming quickly.
If you’re having trouble figuring out where to start, these 7 steps will help you determine which work-at-home business could be best for you!
1. Decide how much time you want to work per week
Seems like a basic question, but it’s important. Are you looking for side-income or something to replace your full-time job? Are you a stay-at-home mom whose priority is to find work that provides the flexibility you need to raise your young family?
Deciding ahead of time how many hours per week or month you want to work will help you make a decision on your business as you learn more about the various options. It will also help you determine out what kind of hourly rate you’ll need to make in order to make it worth your while. Some work-at-home jobs pay better than others!
Keep in mind that some businesses do take longer to get up and running and require a greater commitment of time per week. The good news is that many businesses can be successful at generating side-income with just a few hours a week!
2. Determine what your skills are
Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. The great thing about starting a work-at-home business is that you can choose something that’s best-suited to your skills!
The first step is to determine what your strengths are and then look for a business idea that would utilize them well.
If you’re not sure what your skills are, take out a notebook and pen and try these exercises:
- What do you have job experience in? Write down your duties and then circle the ones you excelled at. Are any of these transferable skills?
- What do your friends and family say you’re good at?
- What are your soft skills? These are personal attributes like critical thinking, adaptability, tenacity, and being highly organized. (In my opinion, these are even more important than your job experience!)
You can also try taking a personality test to help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. I like 16Personalities for this because once you complete the test, it provides a detailed summary of where you shine best in different areas of your life, including your career path.
Of course, you can and should always learn new skills as a budding entrepreneur, but having a solid grasp of your innate skills can help you get started.
3. Research different business ideas
Once you’ve evaluated your skills, it's time to do some research on various work-from-home industries to see what best matches up with your skill set.
Find out what the average hourly income is for the business and if that is in line with your hourly commitment.
Reading reviews for online business courses is a great way to get ideas. Course reviews not only give you an idea of what the courses entail, they also lend some insight into what it will take to be successful in that business. (And if you are ready to invest in your skills, the review will help you decide if taking that course is a viable option!)
Jot down the top five businesses which you think match your skills best.
4. Consider what you’re interested in
You can be skilled at something, but if you hate doing it, it’s not going to be a viable business option. Don’t discount what you’re actually interested in doing!
Starting a home business can be an incredibly rewarding journey, but it’s not without its challenges. And while you don’t need to be passionate about an industry in order to do well, it really helps to pick something you enjoy to keep you motivated throughout your journey.
Next to your list of businesses that best match your skills, start another list with the top five business ideas which interest you.
5. Sample a few options
Between the list of business ideas that best match your skills and the list that best matches your interests, you should have an idea of what kind of home business you’d like to try your hand at.
If you’re still not really sure what you want to do, don’t worry! It’s pretty normal and sometimes you have to give something a try before you know if it’s right for you or not.
A great way to “kick the tires”, so to speak, is by taking an intro course to the type of business you’re interested in. This gives you a chance to learn more about the industry you’re interested in without having to jump into it blindly.
Fortunately, there are tons of free intro-courses you can take for free! (You can find a list of our top recommendations here.)
After the intro course, you’ll not only have a better idea of what the business entails, but you’ll have gotten to know a bit more about the course’s teacher and credentials. From there you can decide if the online training they offer is worth investing in.
While it is possible to start a home business without investing in a course, it really helps fast-track your success while avoiding pitfalls that may be time-consuming or even costly.
(Click here to read ideas on how to budget for the training you need!)
6. Be prepared to learn as you go
Even after you’ve chosen the type of business you want to start, you may still not be sure exactly what type of services to specialize in. For example, a virtual assistant business can offer any number of services.
If you’re not sure what to zero-in on right away, that’s okay! Your business will evolve as you learn.
Start by offering a few services you know you can do well. As you learn more about online business, grow your skill set, and gain credibility, you’ll be able to increase your offerings (and your rate!) for a more robust business.
7. Get started!
Although there is a lot of home business ideas out there, you can avoid becoming overwhelmed if you break your research process into these simple steps.
After deciding what business or side-hustle to start, the next most important thing is to actually start!
It’s common to put off starting due to fear of failure or uncertainty in your ability to make it work. But my only regret in starting a work-at-home business is that I didn’t begin sooner.
Remember that the sooner you start, the sooner you will achieve your dream of working from home!
If need some more help deciding on what kind of business idea is right for you, sign up below to take our free quiz!
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What’s stopping you from starting a work-from-home business? Or if you have started a business, how did you decide on it? Drop a comment below!