Working from home is ideal for many people. The hours are flexible, and there is no commute. If you have a skill that you can use to make money online, it is fairly simple to set up a home based business. Whether you are an expert in your field and can consult via the web, or you have merchandise for sale, there are a few things to keep in mind for starting your online business.
Naming Your Company
The first thing to do is choose a name for your business. This business name may include your personal name, but using your name isn’t required. Begin by listing several names that will identify what you have to offer your potential customers. Next, order the names by preference. Finally, using your state’s website, determine whether or not your chosen name is already in use. If not, register it. If it’s already taken, try the next one on your list. Costs vary depending on where you live, but you can expect that there will be a fee involved.
Some local cities and counties require that you have a permit to operate a business within their boundaries. It may not matter that your place of business is your home or that your customers live in another area. This information can usually be found on their website. Naturally, you can expect a fee for this as well.
Your state and county websites should also contain information about required sales taxes. You’ll need to find out about collecting them from customers and paying them to the state, city and/or county. If you are selling merchandise to someone in a state with sales tax, you may be required to collect and pay tax to that state.
Setting Up a Website
There are three basic parts to setting up a website. First, you need someone to host your website, and you need a domain name. Next, if you plan to accept payment through your website, you’ll need a system to accommodate this function. Finally, the website needs to be built.
One well known web hosting site is www.godaddy.com. Another site that sells web hosting is www.yahoo.com. A domain name (the internet address for your website) can also be obtained from either of these sites. Searching the internet for other hosting and domain providers is also an option.
There are two simple ways to accept electronic payment through your website. I think the simplest and least expensive way is to use PayPal. They will accept credit card payments for you, and they provide everything you need to link your site with your PayPal account.
Building your website is something you can do with the help of software created for this purpose. Yahoo provides free template-based software that is easy to use. Another option is to hire a web designer to build your site for you.
Now that you have the structure in place for your internet business, you need to promote your business. This can be done by purchasing internet advertising, or in any way you would promote a non-internet business. Networking, word of mouth, trade journal ads, mailings, and phone calls are all effective ways to promote your business. If you are selling merchandise, the online auctions might be worth considering.
Running an internet based business from home will take just as much time to make successful as any other business. However, your hours will be more flexible and the start-up costs can be much lower when you work out of your home.