Whether to generate supplemental income or profit from a hobby, people continue to start side businesses despite an uncooperative economy. Many people are fed up with trying to spend less and be thrifty as they wade through economic tides. Instead, they are taking the initiative to start a side business and make more money.
If you are interested in starting a home business, or just starting a side business to make extra money, here are six tips to help make your dreams a reality.
Make Your Hobby a Business
Most people who start a new business from home design it around a favorite hobby. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Are you a keen fisherman? Do you knit? Anything you enjoy doing has a business element. Whether it is tying flies for fly fishing or creating adorable baby hats, your hobby can make money for you. Decide what it is you’re passionate about. Then get creative and find ways to sell it.
What is your Form?
All businesses have a form. Most people who start a new business on the side make it a sole proprietorship. No paperwork is involved in forming this type of business. You just open up shop! However, if you want to form a form such as an LLC or limited partnership, you will need to complete the necessary state paperwork provided by your state’s business division.
Prepare Your Taxes
Regardless of what you decide to do when starting a side business, the IRS will be interested in your money-making efforts. Thus, it helps to prepare for your IRS filings right away. Decide on your business form. Will you be a simple sole proprietor? Or perhaps form an LLC?
Whatever you do for your business form, contact the IRS for a separate tax filing number, also known as an Employee Identification Number. Whether or not you will actually hire employees after you start a new business, your IRS number will help you file your self-employment taxes and regular annual tax filing.
Write a Business Plan
Starting a side business requires a plan. All businesses, whether it’s Fortune 500 or your hobby, need to have a plan to succeed. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy textbook size. Just write what you wish to accomplish in your side business, what your goals are, and how you expect you’ll achieve them.
Build a Website
Having an online presence will greatly help your new side business. It can be a simple website with static information, or interactive with java and flash scripting. However, starting a side business is not complete without your website.
Get the Word Out
No one will buy your products or services if they don’t know about them. After you start a new business, it’s time to start marketing. Talk to your friends, family and co-workers. Tell them you’re in business and to get the word out. Use free advertising on your local Craigslist. Post flyers on local community bulletin boards. There is an abundance of free or cheap advertising opportunities online.
Starting a side business can be daunting, but it is quite easy once you know what steps you need to take and just start taking each step one by one.