Many hardworking employees long for the flexibility of a home-based business where they can set their own hours, avoid maddening rush-hour stress and develop business strategies for clients based on their own experience and acumen.
In 2014, the Intelligence Group conducted a survey that found more than 72 percent of millennials wanted to be their own boss yet less than 11 percent were actually self-employed. In 2016, the United States Census Bureau reported that the major reasons there are not more millennial-owned businesses is due to a lack of guidance in how to achieve the dream and the need to retain a steady paycheck. The work-from-home dream is within reach at any age but there are several things to consider before leaving a financially secure position.
Finances Perhaps the biggest fear in becoming an entrepreneur is ensuring an income that replaces or exceeds the current one. Before seriously considering a shift to self-employment, sit down with financial records and a calculator. How much money does the business have to make to generate a living wage? How much is needed to get the business started? What are the weekly operating expenses going to be? These are important questions an entrepreneur needs to be able to answer. These calculations help determine if the business venture is viable.
Personal Discipline and Work Ethic The bottom line of being the boss is stability, dedication and determination. Running an at-home entrepreneurial business means providing superb customer service, keeping a level head in crisis situations and working under pressure on a regular basis. Time management skills are essential in staying organized in order to meet deadlines and keep track of time, money and projects.
Don't Leave the Day Job Too Soon Unless there is a conflict of interest with a current employer, continue working with a stable income. Building a solid client base and generating an income from it takes time, so plan on spending extra time on nights and weekends building the business.
Set Up Shop Working from home has challenges that include setting up an office that promotes efficient production, a private space that is quiet and one where regular working hours are established and respected. This space may be claimed as a business expense at tax time, so it's important to establish that the area is used for business only in order to do so.
Launch the Business Becoming a legal entity is serious business and one to use for guidance is from the Small Business Administration. This guide provides information on developing a business plan, managing day-to-day operations and ways to keep the business growing.
There are several choices to make when structuring a business, such a sole proprietorship, partnership or S corporation. Each of these structures has pros and cons with regards to composition and tax requirements. It's essential to get quality, one-on-one guidance from a number of professionals to ensure the business is on solid ground from day one.
Keep Moving Forward Building an initial clientele is the launching catalyst from a full-time employee to a full-fledged entrepreneur, but work tends to ebb and flow. To keep the work and income steadily flowing in, establish a regular time each day or every week to cultivate new clients even when work is plentiful.