HOW TO START A SIDE BUSINESS

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You may find yourself needing to earn additional income after your separation or divorce.  A side business is a potential way to do this.  First off, try to decide on the type of business you want to start.  If you can’t decide what type of business to start, make a list of the skills and/or hobbies that you have and select the top three that you enjoy most. Once you decide on the type of business you want to start, perform preliminary research to see if starting this type of business is feasible.  Performing research should help you determine if there is a need for your business, how much to charge for products and/or services, how much revenue you can expect to earn, how much competition can you expect to have and how much does it cost to get started.  For the time being, try to start a side business with the resources at your current disposal. This gives you a chance to prove your business works before you seek any investment. 

It is a good idea to prepare a business plan for any type of business you are thinking about starting.  After working and teaching in the business and accounting arena for almost 40 years, I know the importance of having a good business plan.  Periodically update your plan.  Eventually, your business may grow to the point where you need to secure funding from a bank, lending institution, or investors.  This type of funding usually cannot be obtained without a business plan.  A business plan is like a road map that shows you how to get from point A to point B.  If you cannot prepare a business plan, by all means, seek assistance.  SCORE is a good place to start.  SCORE is a network of volunteer, expert business mentors that assist individuals with starting and running a business free of charge. They are affiliated with the Small Business Administration (SBA).    The SBA also has resources to assist with preparing business plans and starting a business.  Check out my resources page where you will find links to SCORE and SBA. You will also find links to potential side jobs and businesses requiring low start-up investments.  So, I got you covered.

Try to surround yourself with a professional support network.  It is a good idea to join a group of like-minded individuals.  Potential groups can be found at meetup.com, LinkedIn, and Facebook.  Professional networking groups can be a good source for exchanging goods and services.  It is also a good idea to have a mentor.  A good mentor can assist you with avoiding some of the pitfalls of starting a business since he or she has already been through the start-up phase.  Eventually, you will need to decide on the legal form of your business.  The more common forms are sole proprietorship, partnership, C or S corporation, and limited liability company (LLC).  Lastly, decide on the bookkeeping or accounting system you will use.  The importance of maintaining good accounting records cannot be stressed enough.  Some tax preparation companies will charge a bookkeeping fee if your records are not in order when it’s time to prepare your taxes.

By Emmerstine Mackie

Divorce Coach for the Seasoned Woman