Starting a Home-Based Business

Tips and tricks for making a profit with a home-based business.

| 2013 Capper's Farmer Winter

  • Turn a passion for baking into a home-based business.
    Photo By Karen K. Will
  • If you have a flock of chickens, a home-based business could be as attainable as adding a few more laying hens, and selling the eggs to friends and businesses in the community.
    Photo By Karen K. Will
  • If baking muffins and cookies is your specialty, begin your home business with those products. Once you have a grasp of organization and inventory, and you have a customer base, expand your offerings to other baked goodies.
    Photo By Karen K. Will
  • Packaging is an essential key to success and should not be overlooked. Presenting your products in simple but elegant boxes and bags will highlight the quality product inside. Use plain brown boxes and white bags with an understated stamp for a beautiful presentation.
    Photo By Karen K. Will
  • Homemade pretzels are a rare find, even in local bakeries. The European specialty is not as difficult to make as you may think, and offering them on your product list may draw customers far and wide. Consider pairing them with a spicy homemade mustard.
    Photo By Karen K. Will
  • You may find yourself with leftover loaves of bread, and this is the perfect opportunity to repurpose them into homemade croutons.
    Photo By Karen K. Will
  • Never give customers a chance to question your kitchen’s cleanliness — keep the counter, sink and all surfaces clean.
    Photo By Karen K. Will

The homesteading life is centered around the home: producing things at home, finding entertainment at home, living off the land. With life being centered on the home and farm, we’re reluctant to be employed away from it. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to expand your skills into some kind of home-based business. It wasn’t that long ago that farm women always earned a little side cash (remember “egg money”?) from their home-based endeavors. A few hours a day or week can turn into the week’s grocery money, or easily pay some or all of the utility bills. Working from home also allows you the luxury of not completely detaching from other home-based duties, such as homeschooling, tending to livestock or pets, cleaning, cooking, laundry or other jobs. It’s possible and quite simple to make some cash doing something you love from home.

If this idea appeals to you, take inventory of your talents, interests and limitations to determine which skills could be turned into a business. Also ask yourself how much money you want (or are able) to put into starting a small business, as well as how much you’d like to reasonably make. Look around — what are you doing already that others might pay to acquire?

If your small flock of chickens lays good eggs, perhaps you could expand the flock and sell the extras. If you have a green thumb and produce bushels of garden vegetables every year, perhaps you could plant even more and start up a roadside stand, a booth at the farmers’ market, or even a small CSA. If you make your own soap or sew your own drapes, maybe one of those skills could be developed into a marketable business.

Homesteaders are remarkably talented, handy people, and others who are not, or who don’t have the time or interest to do these things for themselves, will spend money or barter to obtain a piece of that handmade ingenuity. If your product is high quality, reliable, and packaged well, chances are folks will line up to get it. 



Organization

One of the most important factors in running any successful home-based business is organization. Without the structure of a boss, fellow employees, an office schedule, and a time clock, an unorganized individual will soon falter. You must be self-motivated, detail oriented, and have the ability to stay organized. Keeping track of necessary inventory and projecting needs far enough in advance are very important. Running a business from home requires you to make optimal use of your time since you’ll need to juggle multiple priorities (business and personal) at once — there are no paid vacations or holidays here!

Baking as a Model

When it comes to home-based businesses, baking for profit is age-old. It also happens to be the business that I’m in, so therein lies my experience. However, it isn’t hard to extrapolate the following concepts to other areas, especially those that rely on the farm or homestead aspect for success.






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