There are many advantages to running your own business from home. Your overheads are low as you don't need to rent office or retail space, and you can choose your own hours. Best of all, you're your own boss.
The downsides are the lack of security. You'll reap the rewards, but you also have to carry the losses when you're running your own business. All of the side benefits of working for someone else disappear as well, such as paid vacations, company healthcare, and pension schemes.
If you're not dissuaded by this, however, then there are many opportunities for successful businesses that can be run from home. If you can sell through a website, then there's no need for a physical bricks-and-mortar store, at least not until your business has grown to the level where that's practical. If you've got an eye for antiques and collectible items, then you could run a successful business buying and selling online; a global market means items that can be picked up for next to nothing in your neighborhood may be worth a fortune on the other side of the world.
Catering companies or any kind of arts and crafts-based business, such as greeting cards design, are other great ideas for home-based startups. If you have tech-based skills such as website design or computer repair, you could work from home, and of course there is always freelance writing, illustrating, or graphics.
Many successful businesses started from the home of the founder, especially some of the big names in today's technological world. Apple began in Steve Jobs’ adopted parents' garage in California, building and selling computers to a local retailer. Jeff Bezos started Amazon by selling books online from his Bellevue, Washington home, where he also developed software. He held meetings in his local Barnes & Noble bookstore.
Social media, apps such as Skype, Dropbox, and Google Docs, cloud computing, and mobile technology all mean that your home office can instantly be as digitally well-equipped as any downtown media hub. As your business expands, the technology you use can grow with you. Primus provides a hosted PBX phone system that allows you to set up an internal telecommunications network for your business at a fraction of the expense of a traditional system, thanks to low SIP trunking costs.
Establish a designated workspace within your home, even if it's just a desk in the corner. This makes an important psychological distinction between your business and personal life. Similarly, set a realistic work schedule that allows you to get things done while also leaving time for errands, relaxation, and household chores. Physical exercise and fresh air are also important.
Set boundaries with family and friends. Just because you're always at home doesn't mean you're available to hang out; however, don't neglect your loved ones entirely. Make a comprehensive business plan and try to stick to it, while also being sure to meet all tax and other legal requirements.