Running your own business while working from home might sound like a dream that's too good to be true, but if a home-based business is part of your vision, know that you are not alone! There are many positive statistics and trends right now that show home-based business as a category being set up for big successes.
Of course, in order for your home-based business to succeed, you will have to be self-motivated, passionate, and offer a product or service that customers want to buy. But the good news for individuals is that never before have so many digital tools been available for small business owners.
Whether you work as a solopreneur, consultant or marketing professional, sell products from home through online platforms like Amazon or perform other home-based business activities, there are more ways than ever to get the word out about your business. Let’s take a look at statistics, predictions, and trends that home-based business owners should know to navigate the competitive landscape in 2018 and beyond.
Welcome to the “Freelance Economy”
In addition to opportunities for entrepreneurs and self-starters, there are a growing number of flexible jobs for those who don’t want to work a traditional 9-5 role. The rise of the “gig economy” or “freelance economy” is opening up great home-based business opportunities for people with professional skills and entrepreneurial hustle. Even organizations that typically hire full-time workers are increasingly offering remote positions for workers who live in other cities, or those who can easily perform their job functions from home.
According to the New York Times, about 43 percent of the U.S. workforce performed some work remotely in 2016. It is estimated that at least 50 percent of millennials work as freelancers, and the majority of the workforce will soon join them within the next decade. In fact, more and more freelancers are doing so by choice rather than by necessity.
This rise of remote work and the growing comfort level of employers to hire independent contractors (or let employees work from home) is creating new opportunities for solopreneurs to start their own home-based businesses. Whatever kind of internet-enabled skills or expertise you have, rest assured you can almost certainly turn it into a home-based business.
Personalized and AI-Driven Marketing
Small and home-based businesses can be more productive than ever before thanks to the rise of personalized and artificial intelligence (AI)-based marketing tools. The idea of AI technology being available to a home-based business owner may seem far-fetched or too expensive to manage. But many experts predict that AI-driven CRM (customer relationship management) platforms, social media tools and other software functions will be available to small business owners in 2018 and beyond.
These new technologies will help home-based businesses offer the same kinds of efficient, personalized customer service experiences that larger companies can deliver — at the same volume and at a lower cost without an army of employees. For example, software such as Acquisio can help home-based business owners optimize their digital marketing efforts across multiple platforms.
Sole Proprietorships Remain the Most Common Small Businesses
The Small Business Administration reports that around 50 percent of small businesses are home-based firms, including 60.1 percent of firms without paid employees. Sole proprietorships are by far the most common types of these businesses, according to the same data.
Yet there are several benefits to forming a single member LLC for your home-based business. Whether you want to become a freelance writer, sell products on Amazon, work as a consultant in your area of expertise, or any other home-based business activities, consider using inexpensive LLC formation services to protect your personal assets from business legal liabilities. Incfile offers easy LLC formation packages.
The Concept of a Workplace Will Continue to Change
The annual Staples Workplace Survey recently found that the concept of “workplace” is continuing to evolve, which is opening up new opportunities and credibility for home-based businesses. For example, a mere 32 percent of employees spent all of their time at work in the office. What’s more, a significant portion (43 percent) said that the option to work remotely is a “must-have” for today’s workers.
The study also found more data that reinforces this direction toward a heavily remote workforce. Perhaps the most eye-popping statistic is that only 27 percent of millennials spend all their work time in a traditional office. What does this mean for your home-based business? It means that the idea of having a traditional “office” or storefront is less important than ever before. If you have a good website, a social media presence, a network of contacts on LinkedIn and other online assets, it doesn’t matter anymore if your business is conducted out of your house.
Top Types of Home-Based Businesses for 2018
Entrepreneur recently published a list of 75 jobs you can do while working from home. Many of these careers are relevant to starting a home-based business as a freelance professional, and even easier to perform with digital tools available to freelancers.
For example, there are a wide variety of marketing roles you can perform from home, as well as accounting and bookkeeping services. Careers in information technology, such as web design and tech support, also lend themselves well to becoming a home-based business. Depending on your career experience and expertise, you could always start freelancing on the side! (Just make sure not to run afoul of any non-compete or “no moonlighting” agreements with your day job.)
Rise of Ecommerce Can Fuel Home-Based Businesses
With the rise in ecommerce platforms and the decline of brick-and-mortar retail stores, home-based business owners have more opportunities than ever to create an online marketplace and sell products from home. The rise of ecommerce means you no longer need to invest in renting commercial real estate, and you don’t have to rely on your own local community to find a market for your products — you can sell to customers all over the world.
You may not realize it, but you probably already know someone who sells their own goods or resells existing products on an ecommerce platform, such as Amazon, Etsy or eBay. By 2019, ecommerce sales are expected to top $3.3 trillion globally. You can be a part of this substantial growth in online retail sales right from your home office!
Are you ready to make your home-based business dream come true? Incfile can help you start a business, form an LLC or reorganize your existing business structure. Even if your business is home-based, we’ll help you set up an official legal business entity to protect your personal assets and build your business credibility. Talk to Incfile today! Our incorporation experts can help you evaluate your options and move forward with confidence.
Ben Gran is a freelance writer from Des Moines, Iowa. Ben has written for Fortune 500 companies, the Governor of Iowa (who now serves as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture), the U.S. Secretary of the Navy, and many corporate clients. He writes about entrepreneurship, technology, food and other areas of great personal interest.