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  • Starting a home business

    Lately, I've been thinking a lot about starting up a home business. I'm already getting a decent amount of freelance work, and I'm thinking I could quite easily turn that into an actual busines, since I already have lots of the stuff I'll need:
    hardware - good computer, monitor, scanner, and tablet (the only thing missing is a good printer, and if need be, I can get actual prints done at one of a few nearby labs for the first while),
    Software - Photoshop 7,
    Business space - there's enough room in the house to have an area for "business" (i.e. taking orders, showing portfolio, storing records etc.),
    and I'll be getting webspace and a domain name as soon as I can here (So far,
    NetKnow
    looks like the most likely possibility for a host), I've pretty much decided on a name (I checked around and the name I'm planning to use along with the domain name are both available to be used), Advertising - there's various low cost of free advertising ways i know of, one of which is the community newsletter which does a feature each month on a home business in the area.Now I'm working on getting a bit of a business plan, and I need to get a price list together eventually. However, of course with a project as big as this, I have a loads of questions:

    1. is it a better idea to just work with what I've got and build up from there, or to get a loan then get a good printer etc. and pay all the other start up cost from the loan and pay it back as I get work?

    2. For a small home business, is there anything I have to do for registering my business for tax purposes etc.? this is one part of the whole business start up idea i really don't know much about.

    that's all I can think of at the moment, but I'm sure I'll remember or discover lots more as this thread goes on. Anyway, I'd really appreciate any advice, tips and
    answers to my questions I can get, I really want to get this going eventually, but I want have a very good idea of what I'm getting into and have it all well planned
    out first.

    - David

  • #2
    Hi David,

    1. Some members of this site don't like printers at all and prefer lab prints. So, I don't think you have to have a printer to start with. I didn't, but eventually bought the Epson 2200. I love it because I have complete control over the whole process.

    2. I'm not familiar with Canadian law, but in the US, you do need to have a sales tax license and/or business license. It varies from state to state. Colorado doesn't have a business license per se, but you do have to register your business with the Secretary of State. And, I had to get a sales tax license as well. The print that I include with my "service" is not taxable, but any additional prints are. (Service is not taxed, "things" are.)

    You might look to see if there's anything like the Small Business Administration (here in the US). They have TONS of info on what you need to start a business - in fact, I believe they have a Small Business Startup Kit which tells you everything you need to do to legally start a business. I imagine there is something similar in Canada.

    Good luck!!

    Jeanie

    Comment


    • #3
      Hey Jeanie,

      thanks, thats exactly the kind of info I was looking for! I'll definitely look into the Small Business Administration and see if there is an equivalent here in Alberta. (I'd be surprised if there wasn't)

      - David

      Comment


      • #4
        I see Jeanie already responded while I was writing this -- but hopefully some of the threads listed below will be worth your time. Sure wish I'd had your maturity, ambition, and smarts when I was your age! (That's my last "crack" about your age. )

        In my area, I have to register with the city to start up a business. You'll get some good responses from people here already in business, but have you looked at all the old threads in this forum? I remember that Vicki and others posted some good info last year about getting started. You're getting a good start on your preparation before you start -- that's an important step that some folks skip.

        Some of the older business related threads:

        Advice to the Beginner

        Dependent on business?

        Starting a business

        Life of a Professional Retoucher

        Comment


        • #5
          thanks CJ. yeah, I'd done some reading of posts in this forum, but I'd missed those posts so far. looks like lots of good info there.

          - David

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi David,

            I think the most important thing you need to do at this point, is to work on a business plan. It doesn't have to be 100 pages long. You can start with a few pages, then you can add to it later, if needed.

            Don't know about Canada, but in the U.S., we have free help, through S.C.O.R.E., in setting up a business, and free consulting for small businesses already in operation. Again, this can be found through the Small Business Administration. I've used this service, and it's fantastic. Canada must have something similar, and you should be able to get all the information you need through the program, if it's available. My guess would be that it is.

            Good luck
            Ed

            Comment


            • #7
              Just in case anyone is not familiar with the SCORE acronym, it stands for Senior Core of Retired Executives.

              Jeanie

              Comment


              • #8
                David, regarding Loan or No-Loan

                Depends on how quickly you ned to be up and running, what kind of income you are replacing from your current job, and whether you can pull off a gradual transition (which I think is the safest way to go into business, but will require working some double shifts) - and as a side note, set your pricing high enough that you will be able to squeek by on a slow month.

                Roger

                Comment


                • #9
                  It took quite a bit of searching, but I've finally found a link through the Government of Alberta website with lots of the info I'm going to need: http://www.cbsc.org/alberta/

                  Ed - yeah, that's definitely the first thing I have to work on, so right now I'm just trying to gather in as much information as possible so I can write up a good one to start with.

                  Roger - sorry, I should've given more info on that, it was a pretty open ended question. It's definitely going to be a slow transition, I'll be keeping my job (I only work a couple shifts a week anyway) until I'm well up and running just to be able to pay my bills (cell phone, internet etc.) and everything. As for income I'm replacing? well it's not much, it's just a bit over minimum wage. Good tip for pricing, I'll definitely have to factor that in when I'm creating my price list.

                  - David

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Glad you found something helpful David. And Roger is right about pricing. If you sell too cheaply, it's kind of hard to up your prices. People will welcome a reduction in prices before they will welcome an increase. Not only that, but if you charge a higher rate, people tend to have more confidence in you. Would you take your car to have an engine replaced to a business that will charge you $25.00 to do the job, or would you trust the guy who wants $500.00 a little more? OK, I admit it -- that's a little extreme! But you get the point.

                    Ed

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      That's a very good point Ed, I hadn't really thought about it in that way.

                      - David

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        On the pricing side of things why not offer a
                        'for the first 50 customers 10% off'
                        That way the first customers feel they are getting a bargin even if your price is high. You could also get more feed back this way as to acurate pricing.

                        Clare

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I was thinking about doing something like that, and that sounds like a good way of doing it. feedback is what I'm really going to need at first. thanks clare

                          - David

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Good luck, David. I would suggest having Quicken in your software collection. I can't keep track without it.

                            Bob

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I have heard really good things about QuickBooks Pro, it's orientated towards business as opposed to personal bookkeeping. You can do a lot with Quicken, but QuickBooks Pro gives you a business structure and capabilities "dialed-in".

                              Roger

                              Comment

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