Running your very own small business from the comfort of your own home is the dream for many people. No boss, no office politics and no commute. It’s much easier to set up now than it ever used to be, thanks to readily available software and services that let you do almost anything remotely. Still, there are a lot of things that you need to think about before you dive in, it’s not always as simple as people think – even just trading on eBay carries a variety of legal obligations.
The Tax Man
Wherever you are in the world, you’re likely to be paying a variety of taxes on your business. From VAT to income tax, there are a lot of things to think about, and you absolutely must get it right. It’s no fun, but you’ll need to sit down and work everything out before you get started. Using an accountant is an option, though expensive, and there are lots of free resources out there that can help you get started. Getting this bit wrong might cost you a lot of money down the road, and it’s not worth giving a lot of attention.
If you’re renting a property currently, then it is vital that you check your contract, because for most tenants, it’s not possible to register the business where you are now. Instead, you’ll need to pay for the privilege of using somewhere else. This is inexpensive and readily available, but nonetheless an important consideration. Many people will actually bundle this in with a virtual office that can also take calls and things like that. Even if you own your own house, it might be worth using a different, more prestigious address as your postal contact.
Your home insurance is simply not going to cover anything that’s connected with the business, so you will need to get a new, separate policy. This will cover all manner of things, from your office equipment, to making sure that you’re not financially ruined if the actions of your business cause financial damage to another. It’s a legal requirement in most places, and will be invaluable if anything bad happens. Read about all of the other things that you might need cover for here.
Don’t make the mistake of trying to set up your home business in a hurry, but don’t be out faced by the requirements either. A few weeks or months of laying out the framework and making sure everything is done by the book will really help as you grow. You’ll be able to go about your business knowing that you’re safe if things should go wrong.