Home businesses have always offered a path to career success, from the earliest cottage industries through to some of today’s leading tech brands. Jeff Bezos launched his business, Amazon, from his garage in 1994; at the time of writing he’s the richest person on the planet.
Working from home works. From childminders to copywriters, entrepreneurs to educators, millions in the UK are finding that starting a home business is now more viable than ever.
Much of this is down to digital. We can stay connected with clients and colleagues wherever we are, thanks to communication tools like Slack, WhatsApp, and SMS. We can collaborate on tasks great and small using a variety of project management tools — software like Basecamp, Asana, and Google Calendar. And through social media and search engines, we can market our products and services via the same channels used by our mightiest competitors.
There are cultural reasons behind the increased appeal of home businesses, too. As more workers embrace career-hopping and portfolio-based careers, the social pressure to get a ‘proper job-for-life’ has decreased considerably.
It’s fair to say having dedicated premises was once widely viewed as a key criterion for credibility. Nowadays, however, most clients know they can get exceptional service from home-based businesses and professionals and that particular stigma has ebbed away.
For talented people who prefer to stay at home — to suit their family life, to cut costs, or for other reasons — these changes have been revelatory. So if this is something you are considering, there’s never been a better time!
Let’s take a look at some of the best home businesses to start this year:
From private flower-arranging businesses to floristry ecommerce brands, working from home is compatible with all sorts of floristry ventures. Bricks-and-mortar flower shops can be beautiful, but also burdensome in terms of staffing, bills, and real estate overheads. It’s no wonder many florists have started working from home.
Why 2018 is the right time: online selling and marketing are more accessible than ever.
Companies Made Simple’s top tip: take a leaf out of Bloom & Wild’s bouquet, and start marketing on Instagram (you can check out their spectacular profile here).
Copywriting, journalism, blogging, and most other forms of writing are perfectly suited to working from home. Freelance writers find work in all sorts of ways, including pitching articles to newspapers and magazines, bidding for work on job portals, and forming relationships with content agencies. If you have a way with words, why not give it a shot?
Why 2018 is the right time: online job portals and social media groups for writers are more abundant than ever.
Companies Made Simple’s top tip: follow the hashtag #journorequest on Twitter. You may find some great opportunities posted there.
Have you been complimented on your knack for organisation and attention to detail? If so, you might suit working as a virtual assistant. By remotely assisting with admin tasks such as uploading web content, diary management, and triaging correspondence, VAs can help distributed companies run more smoothly. In return, they can expect to benefit from flexible working arrangements and very favourable rates.
Why 2018 is the right time: VA work is only just becoming common knowledge. Get a head start while you can!
Companies Made Simple’s top tip: perfect your phone and email manner to wow prospective clients.
Whether you’re a maths whizz or a piano maestro, a cookery queen or an expert in foreign languages, just about any skill can be turned into a tutoring business. Recent improvements in web conferencing software like Google Hangouts and Skype have helped some tutors take their work completely online.
Why 2018 is the right time: portals like Tutorful are making it far easier to find tutees.
Companies Made Simple’s top tip: think about all the reasons people might want tutoring — there’s more to life than exams.
Every business on the face of the Earth can benefit from good design — so it should come as no surprise that graphic designers are constantly in-demand. There are many sides to graphic design, from creating images in Illustrator to compositing design elements in InDesign. Thankfully, all you’ll need to get you started is a little creative spark and a willingness to learn.
Why 2018 is the right time: this year marked the tipping point where over 50% of people in the world are online. That could translate into great business opportunities in emerging markets for designers.
Companies Made Simple’s top tip: work on becoming a ‘T-shaped’ professional, with deep skill in one area of graphic design, plus a few supplementary skills.
Let’s hear some success stories
Susana Mascarenhas is Commercial Director of Target Internet, a digital marketing training business she runs from her home in Jersey. “A home office enables us to dedicate time to the business without being absent from family life,” she says.
“Working digitally has also enabled us to tap into talent irrespective of geographical location. At present, we have employees and subcontractors in Spain, India, Leeds, Jersey, Brighton, Southampton and Portsmouth.”
Vicky Parry, the Creative Director of One&Other Creative, an agency based in York, can also vouch for the benefits of working from home.
Says Parry: “We work in film production, so a lot of our work is on set anyway. When we need to be together we work from our home office or a shared work space. It’s saved us a fortune and created a trust with employees that actually encourages them to work harder.
“I can’t say for sure, as we are expanding, that we won’t go back into the office environment. For me however, for a micro entity, managing our old office was a full job in itself, so it’s been far more productive for our whole team to work independently, while staying connected with regular meetings.”
Set up properly now to save on stress in the long run
From what we’ve seen, working from home can be a wonderful, exciting choice, and there are ample opportunities to make a living or build a business without so much as leaving the house.
Before you get started, we’d urge you to think about the steps you must take to form the company or set up as a sole trader. Fundamental company formation questions are best answered at the outset — and we’re here to help you answer them. If you’d like a little further guidance on how and why you can incorporate; take a look at our register a limited company page.