How to Take the Plunge and Start Your Own Business

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January is the time of year when lots of ambitious entrepreneurs decide to start their business. Starting a business can be a risky proposition, but it’s always exciting to start out on your own and let yourself be the one making the decisions. In order to have a successful business venture you need the right resources and help, including checklists, tools and services you will need.

If you’re ready to take the plunge, make sure you have everything in line before your business is up and running. There is a lot of groundwork that needs to be laid before you can even find your first customer, so make sure you have everything lined up before you start your business.

  • Create your businesses identity

You need something that sets you apart, and your logo and brand image are what represents your business. They are the most recognizable, tangible part of your business. Before you start a business you need to create a unique, standout logo for your business identity.

  • Select your legal status

Depending on how your business will be structured, you will need to form a legal structure. Some of the most common legal statuses are incorporated (Inc.) and limited liability corporations (LLC). Decide what type of business model is right for you business before you begin.

  • Get some customers online

Your potential customers are out there…online. You need to create a solid website, have it submitted to search engines and even start some small advertising campaigns. If you can establish an online presence, your business will see sales in no time.

  • Paying your employees

There are payroll services available that will calculate checks and taxes; it’s one of the easiest ways to pay employees. You can find plenty of suppliers online that will make it easier to write paychecks all on your own.

  • Manage your finances, seriously!

Make sure you keep an eye out on your finances, money does not grow on trees but it sure as heck burns like them. You can blow through a pile of cash quickly without even paying any necessary bills or expenditures. Get a solid accountant or software that will manage your finances correctly.

  • Enable credit card transactions for your company

Look up some merchant services account companies. They enable you to run a credit card online, through you computer or over the phone. It’s a simple process that doesn’t require that much information from you, but really helps out with generating revenue. Most people pay for goods and services online through credit cards, they aren’t shoving cash in their modem, so make sure you have the ability to process their transaction. You might also consider PayPal as they also have merchant services for a monthly fee and a transaction fee. Your bank may also provide a merchant service with less fees (mine does… I just made the switch- what a savings!).

  • Have a brick and mortar store

If your business requires it, have a physical location, but if you’re starting an online company a website is all you need. Just have point-of-sale equipment so that you can process payments as they come through the store. Tracking and maintaining customer records allow for faster processing times, this allows you to estimate future expenditures.
Having and running your own business has its ups and downs but in the end, if answering only to yourself is a strong motivator for you, then I would say GO FOR IT!

Working from home is the goal of many people. I understand. I work from a home office as well. It is great when you don’t have to dig your vehicle out of a foot of snow to get to work in the morning, or sit in traffic for two hours on the way home. There are lots of cons as well, but that’s for another post. So, if working from home seems like the right choice for you and your family, what is the next step?

From stay-at-home moms looking to supplement the family income to entrepreneurs hoping for a chance at a better life , work from home opportunities often seem like the perfect solution. Finding a position that allows you to work from home is possible, if you know where to look and how to apply. Cutting through the scams is just the first step. As a job seeker looking for an opportunity to work from home, you must be web savvy, able to articulate your skills online and tenacious work ethic.

Finding the perfect online job means sorting through fraudulent offers and scams. Many of the most “promising” opportunities require you to invest money, sometimes several hundred dollars before gaining access to the details of the opportunity. In other cases, the opportunity, which ‘guarantee’s’ income in the thousands of dollars per month simply do not live up to the hype. The best way to avoid these types of false opportunities is to carefully search for opportunities. Instead of using keywords like ‘work from home’ use keywords and phrases like ‘telecommuting’ and ‘virtual.’ This will allow you to find real opportunities.
While many online opportunities request a real resume, most simply request you start the process by filling out a form. This presents a problem for many job seekers who are concerned with safety. Avoiding giving sensitive personal information should always be foremost in your mind. Never send information such as your social security number via online form. It is also a good idea to set up a separate email address for the purpose of online job seeking. In general, be leery of any opportunity that requests personal information early in the process.
For opportunities that request a resume, job seekers are encouraged to take advantage of all the tools at their disposal. Attaching portfolios or examples of your work is a great way to make your resume stand out. You’ll also want to add or attach a cover letter to briefly and professionally introduce yourself to the reader. No matter what the job is, highlighting organizational skills and self-motivation throughout your resume is critical as it sets you up as an ideal independent contractor.
In many cases the next step is a phone interview. Take this opportunity to highlight your personality, goals, ethics and belief system as they relate to working independently. Be sure to respond to all emails and phone calls promptly during the entire hiring process. Remember that once hired your primary contact with your employer will be via phone and email, so it’s critical to establish yourself as a prompt and courteous potential employee.
Working from home can be a viable career choice for many people, but only if they carefully select opportunities to avoid scams. Be prompt, professional and courteous in all your online dealings to increase the likelihood that you will land a plum at home job.