Whenever someone asks how I started my own home business, I’m careful to explain that my situation was somewhat unusual. I’ve talked about how I started working for myself here in a previous post. Long story short: I stumbled across a forum discussing ways to make money working from home as a copywriter (that’s what I do). I replied to ads posted on various job boards and Craigs List and before I knew it I was in business, actually earning enough from one client to pay our bills.
That‘s no usually how it works (although I certainly wouldn’t be the first person who started a business that way). It’s good to have the confidence and self-motivation required to take such a giant leap, but a successful business also requires lots of planning and preparation – especially during the early stages. Here are a few tips that can help you reach your goal of self-employment:
Save as Much as You Can
When you’re self-employed, the only person you can rely on to earn a living is you. If you aren’t marketing your product/service to keep clients coming, you won’t have the money you need to pay your rent, utilities, buy gas and food. If you get sick there is no sick pay. You also have to provide your own insurance and retirement savings. It takes about five years for the average business to become profitable. In the meantime, it would be nice to have some financial cushion.
Unfortunately it can be difficult for most of us to set aside extra money when there’s not much left over after paying the bills each month. I have a friend whose goal is to be self-employed by 2012. Her husband is an accountant so they are tightening the budget so that his income covers their monthly living expenses while hers is put away into a special savings account. Her goal is to live on one income while building up one year of savings before she goes solo.
Sit down and crunch numbers to figure out the least amount of money you can get by on each month. Stick to it and set aside an extra into savings. Here are a few resources that can help you stretch your dollars a little further each month:
Cool to Be Frugal
Living on a Dime
Start Out Part-Time
Keep your day job and moonlight as an entrepreneur on the side until you build up enough sales to float you month to month. This is a good option if you are the sole breadwinner in your household. It allows you to maintain a safety net while you test the waters as a home business owner.
Create a Business Plan
No business is too small for a business plan. You plan can be one page informally scribbled down in a spiral notebook. The point is to set some goals and objectives so you create action plans for how to reach them.
Be Honest: Is Self-Employment Really for You?
Working a home sounds great in theory. You don’t have to leave your home to earn an income. You don’t even have to change out of your pajamas when you work! The truth is working at home isn’t for everyone. It involves lots of time and work; making mistakes and learning from them, and a never ending continuing education – learning about and implementing things you know nothing about on your own. Not everyone will be comfortable with this. Are You?
Muslimahs Working at Home was created to provide women with a financial alternative to earning an income outside of the home. Our objective is to share resources and tools needed to operate a successful, home-based business.