Get started building a successful home business

Do you want to regain your financial independence?

You can do this by building a successful home business.

I’ve been running a small business from home for the last 9 years with a friend.

I love the flexibility it gives me because I can work it around my children, and my friend fully understands my geographic and time limitations. (As I do his.)

But part of the reason I love it so much is that I make my own income from it. This is money I can do what I want with, without that guilty feeling I should be buying family essentials instead. It gives me financial independence.

It’s a wonderful feeling!

And if I can do it… you definitely can! More than anything else, it takes buckets of determination. You don’t need tons of money or qualifications. It’s easier than you think.

However, when people are asked why they’ve never done it, despite wanting to, there are three major reasons.

3 common reasons for not starting a successful home business

Three of the biggest reasons people often give for not starting their own successful home business are lack of time, no money, and limited skills.

Many stay-at-home mums I know definitely talk about the latter. We often feel the world of work was so long ago that we wouldn’t be of any use, except for those jobs considered ‘unskilled’.

However, I think the coronavirus pandemic has shown that there’s no such thing as ‘unskilled’. Unqualified, maybe, but not unskilled. With so many people being classed as ‘essential workers’, it highlights just how much we need ‘unqualified’ people to make the world go round.

And also, remember that running a business is not that different from managing a home. It’s about managing the trade-off between the scarce resources of time and money. When this is done well, it’s the difference between running a business and making a success of one.

A successful home business needs the same amount of strategic planning as any other successful business. It doesn’t matter whether you’re wanting to start an online store or bricks and mortar café, the early stages need good planning, great organization, and lots of hard work.

The very best way to start a successful home business is to use your time and money wisely, accept you won’t know everything when you start (or ever!), plan your journey, and go for it!

So, how to tackle these 3 reasons for not getting started?

Time is the first factor to consider when creating a successful home business. Picture of St Stephen's clock tower in London, housing teh bell, Big Ben.

1. Time

There’s no getting around this one. If you want to make a go of it and run a successful home business, you have to make the time.

And I mean to make the time. The pile of dirty laundry, this morning’s washing-up, that last Game of Thrones episode…may all have to wait to allow us to get done what we need to do.

It’s sometimes a psychological hurdle, no doubt about it, but priorities are important.

I don’t always get the breakfast washing up done until lunch. But, I will have made that phone call to the accountant and had an otherwise productive morning.

One of the downsides to running a successful home business is it’s easy to forget you’re at work unless you have a strict routine. If I was going out to work, I would be unlikely to wash up before dropping the children at school. Working from home is no different!

Despite the external pressure, it’s not true that we can do it all. Don’t burn yourself out but devote time and energy to your business.

Just do it!

I mean it! Just do it.

People often spend time reading up, doing courses and getting qualified. But, in actual fact, unless you need a specific qualification to be able to practice, like an accountant or a nurse, there’s a huge trade-off between education and action.

I got it wrong with this blog. I wanted to know all about WordPress and Google before even starting to write. It took a whole year before I began typing out my first post, by which time I’d forgotten much of what I’d read to start off with! Learning as I blog has been a far more productive use of my time. And it’s so much more fun.

So, don’t fall into the trap of trying to educate yourself too much. You may end up not getting started at all!


2. Money

Money. This is a biggy.

Many people believe it’s too hard to raise money for a start-up. It’s true that if your idea needs money, then you will have to spend time finding it.

But, it comes down to determination. If we really want to succeed, we’ll find the time to raise that money!

Crowdsourcing is really common now. I know many small business owners who pitch their ideas using Crowdsourcing and get some really good results. Family and friends who believe in you are other possibilities. Or perhaps working part-time on a temporary basis is an option.

One thing I do know is that if we don’t try, we’ll never know how easy or difficult it is to raise money. Even worse, our ideas won’t come to fruition! Don’t believe everything you hear. Often it’s better to find out for yourself.

No doubt finding the money takes commitment, personal sacrifice, and a willingness to fail. But, it’s definitely doable if we put our minds and energies into it.

In fact, there are plenty of home business ideas with low start-up costs. People do all sorts – virtual assistants, Etsy shop owners, or event planning, to name a few.

However, as with everything, there is a trade-off. You may have no, or little, money initially, but once you’ve invested your time, money, and effort, you’ll become successful. And then you’ll have a lot more!

We have to start with what we have. Plan what we think we’ll need and then work hard to earn it. Staying focused on the end goal is key.

It’s definitely not easy, and we shouldn’t expect it to be. However, I usually find that if something’s worth doing, it’s that very hard work that rewards you in spades!

We’re not always going to have everything we need, and it may be a lot of effort to get it. But that’s life.


3. Skills for a successful home business

One of the great things about creating a successful home start-up business is just that – it’s a start-up!

It’s you, or a small group of other talented and hard-working people, starting something from nothing. That’s a pretty big thing!

Successful businesses definitely require a lot of skills. But you don’t need to do it all yourself. You may have a friend who’s an accountant, a social media manager, or a virtual assistant, and who won’t mind helping you out to get started.

That’s how I learned to bookkeep. My husband and his friends needed someone to help them with their own ventures. We had a new baby – I was desperate to use my brain for other things. So, I taught myself bookkeeping and am now a part-qualified accountant. (For my sins…)

The skills can all be learned on the job or outsourced. Use the skills you have, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Who knows, you may have a friend – like me – who’d love the opportunity to learn something new for you.

A successful home business is about more than being book-smart. It’s about working hard and stepping out of your comfort zone, learning as you go.

Think about what skills you have, especially those ‘unqualified’ ones I mentioned earlier. You know…those ones people really need! Find out who the people are who need them – these are your customers.

Build a successful home business by learning to negotiate and networking

Two of the most important skills when building a successful home business are learning to negotiate and networking. Women are generally great at both. We like to meet people and chit-chat, and we are used to negotiating with toddlers…

Use your well-honed abilities to do these! You’ll bring on board new people who may have the skills or ideas you need to get your successful home business started.

Assembling your team is what building your skill base is all about. You don’t have to do it alone.

Sell your vision to those who you need to help you. Often, it’s your time and your passion, not your money, that will sell your idea and make people want to help you.


How to build a successful home business

Making the most of your time, money, and skills is where strategy comes in.

Be under no illusion, no matter how ‘easy’ people say it is to build a successful home business, it’s all about your strategy. A good strategy will make the path to success smoother. But, even great ideas will be destroyed by a bad one.


Your strategy is your plan of action designed to help you reach those long-term business goals. It uses what you can offer in terms of time, money, and skills and turns it into a usable framework for success.

There are books, academic journals and degree courses focused on this topic! But remembering what we said about too much education earlier, the strategic framework for a successful home business can be broken down into 6 questions:

  1. What is your goal for your business?
  2. What market are you competing in? Who are your customers?
  3. How is your business going to compete with others? Are you cheaper or different?
  4. What skills, money and other resources do you need?
  5. Where are you now?
  6. How can you move forward?

Your plan should use where you are now as your starting point. Research your home business idea and work out what you’ll need to achieve it.

Don’t be afraid to use others for advice, encouragement and to help you make your best decisions. and always ask for forgiveness, never permission!

I often find it easier to break a long-term plan down into smaller achievable chunks.

For example, decide on a business goal to achieve in the week (from your strategy). Divide the tasks into smaller, actionable steps. Then fit those in with your schedule.

I always make ‘to-do’ lists. For example, yesterday, my list was:

  1. Do monthly cash flow;
  2. Change house insurance; and
  3. Clean the bathroom.

However, over the course of a week, both my business and home tasks get done.

One point to always remember is that your strategy is only ever a guideline. Sometimes things will go wrong. But, when you’re clear about what you need to achieve, you can make alternate plans.

The bottom line…

Creating a successful home business is about passion, plans, and determination. It’s less about skills or money.

If you’re worried you don’t have the resources or skills that you need, think about where could you be today if you started a year ago. Where can you be this time next year if you start now?

Focus on your goals. Find the time. Plan your approach and prioritise your tasks.

Remember that your time and energy are scarce resources. Use them wisely. Don’t be afraid to take advice to help make good decisions.

Running a successful home business is like running a successful home. It’s about communication, networking, and negotiation. And, it’s also about managing the trade-offs between your time and resources. Fundamentally, it’s about thinking economically.

Go for it!

What advice would you give someone who wants to run a successful home business? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

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2 thoughts on “Get started building a successful home business”

  1. I just read this post Rachael – I agree with all you’ve said and it’s so good to have these things in black and white! There is always a trade-off I’ve found. And flexibility and dedication is key. Really enjoyed reading this!

    • Thanks so much, Emily. I’m glad you enjoyed the read! I completely agree with you – flexibility and dedication are essential. It’s all about the long game.


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