home-based business

Expert answers to home-based business questions

With so many of us working from home these days, the small business landscape has changed. Maybe your team is slowly starting to return to the office, or maybe you’re exploring the idea of remote working in the future. Maybe you’ve become inspired to start a home-based business of your own.

Our GoForth Experts have fielded lots of questions about home-based businesses over the years, and have answers about topics such as zoning, permits, the home-based business lifestyle – and more! Here are a few home-based business questions our expert entrepreneurs have answered:

Have a question of your own? Search our database of over 1,000 small business questions and find answers from our expert entrepreneurs.

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Small business inspiration: Inklings Paperie

party-small-businessAt GoForth, we know that being creative and open to new ways of thinking can be a great source of small business inspiration. That’s why we love the story of Inklings Paperie, an American company based out of Michigan that creates customizable scratch-off greeting cards, telegrams, and lunchbox notes, as well as other paper goods.

Inklings owner Lindsay Henry has a background in corporate design. After friends began to ask her to design bridal and baby shower cards and games for them, she realized that there wasn’t much new and exciting going on in that space. According to her website, “I learned that 27% of bridesmaids consider shower-planning their least favorite part of being a bridesmaid, and that only 7% consider it one of their favorite parts.”

In an interview with WXYZ Detroit, Henry describes her a-ha moment, after creating scratch-off cards and games for a baby shower:

“People loved them, they were responding well to them, asking if we had different designs and I thought, wow, there’s really an opportunity for a beautifully made whimsical games and cards that people were looking for, that were different and unique.”

Henry opened her Etsy shop in 2010, and her home-based business has grown to include full-time staff. Inklings products are sold in stores across the US and around the world, and have even been featured in celebrity swag bags at the 2012 Emmy Awards!

Approximately 60% of new business ideas come from our own work experience, and the story of Inklings Paperie is a great example of an entrepreneur using her creativity and professional background as a jumping-off point for success in entrepreneurship.

You can watch a video interview with James and get a behind-the-scenes look at this unique small business on WXYZ’s website.

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From the archives: Forty-three small businesses you can start from home

Do you want to start a home-based business in Canada? Are you unsure whether your ideal business can even be run from home?

Check out our mega-list of 43 small businesses you can start from home – including things like event planning, music instructor, carpenter, even pet groomer!

As always, be sure to check with your local and provincial Powers That Be to make sure you’ve got all the necessary permits and licenses in place to operate your home-based business!

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Working from home advice from real entrepreneurs

home_officeWhen you work from home, it’s incredibly important to keep your work and your home separate as much as possible. You don’t want your business life to damage your family life, but at the same time you don’t want your family life to interfere with your business’ success.

We asked some entrepreneurs just like you for their best work-from-home tips. Here’s what they had to say:

  • Check with local requirements and zoning regulations to make sure that your business can be run from your home.
  • Install a separate phone line in your office to truly keep your business separate from your home life (and to make sure your kids don’t inadvertently make a sale on your behalf!). You should also have a professional voicemail system, separate from your family or personal voicemail.
  • Set specific start and end times for your work day. Decide on your work hours and stick to them.
  • Try to stay committed to a set schedule as much as possible to avoid any chance of not spending enough time on the job, or not spending enough time with your family.
  • Try to make your work area as professional and motivating as possible. Keep the office work-related, and try to avoid having any kids in your home treat it like their own play room. Consider having something inspiring or motivating in your work area in order to remind yourself why you’re working so hard — whether it’s a favourite quote, a photo of a dream vacation spot on your desktop background, a major financial goal written in big flashy letters, or a dream board filled with pictures of things you’d love to have.
  • If you have to do any renovating for this home office of yours, make sure you keep records of everything. Keep track of your utility bills and mortgage payments so that you can deduct these expenses when it comes to tax season.
  • Consider using a virtual office service. This will allow you to rent a mailbox at a downtown location so that clients will see a more sophisticated address when sending packages. These companies also usually rent out boardrooms for meetings at a downtown location. If necessary, you may also be able to hire a virtual assistant who will answer your phone calls in a professional manner before connecting the call to you at your home office.
  • Make sure that your office has a door and can be a quiet environment when you need to get down to business. Avoid distractions as much as possible.

For more tips on working from home, check out these past blog posts:

Tip of the Month: Working from Home

Perks and snags of internet or home-based businesses

Tips for staying organized from working from home

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Two mompreneurs share their small business stories

Working from home has become a very attractive option to working moms who want to stay close to their families. These “mompreneurs” face the normal challenges of running a home-based small business, but have the kid factor to deal with as well. So how can a mompreneur juggle family and a successful small business?

Schellene Clendenin talked with two moms who run their own small businesses to get some tips for other entrepreneurs. Check out Mompreneurs: All Jugglers, Multitaskers and Communicators Welcome in GoForth Institute’s Entrepreneur Library!

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