Out of work? You’re not alone. Thousands of people across the US are suddenly jobless due to coronavirus quarantines and state mandates closing bars, schools, restaurants, retail stores and more. Many are unsure when—or if—they’ll be able to return to their jobs. In the meantime, people still need money. One option to get by in these hard times? Start a home-based business.
Home-Based Businesses You Can Start Today
What kind of business can you start fast that will help you make ends meet? Typically a service business you run out of your home is one the easiest and least expensive types of business you can form. The social impact of the coronavirus has created a few immediate needs. You may be able translate these needs into a business like the examples below:
- Cleaning business
Right now, businesses have an obligation to their employees and customers to deep-clean and sanitize their spaces to help prevent coronavirus transmission. Worried homeowners are searching for deep-cleaning options as well. There simply aren’t enough cleaning businesses to meet current demand. A home-based cleaning business can be started with minimal resources—reliable transportation, a good stock of cleaning supplies, and protective gear such as gloves and masks.
- Personal shopper
Grocery stores are a madhouse. Shelves are empty and customers are volatile. Some people are afraid to go to the store. Others are quarantined and can’t leave their homes. But people need food. Medicine. Diapers. Toilet paper. Soap. If you have a knack for tracking down hard-to-find items or if you’re able to pick up grocery orders to deliver to quarantined clients, you could start a personal shopping business.
Schools are closed across the US, and parents are worried about their kids falling behind. If you have a particularly strong skill that lines up with popular educational curriculum—such as math, robotics, history, or English—you might considering starting an online tutoring business.
- Your dream business
It’s also possible you already have a business idea in mind. Maybe you’ve even done the legwork and have developed a business plan, but you just haven’t had the time to devote to running a business. If you’re stuck at home out of work, now is the opportunity to get started!
How to Start a Business Fast
With bills piling up, odds are you want to get your business up and running as quickly as possible. Luckily, there are only a few key steps to take before you’re ready to go.
- Get the Word Out
Yesterday, you were a bartender. Or a substitute teacher. Or any one of a number of jobs that have been shut down. So you have to let people know what you’re doing now, what you offer, how they can contact you, and how much you charge.One of the fastest ways to contact a large number of people looking for these kinds of services is with online classified-style ads, like those on Craigslist. You’ll have to pay for the ad, but it’s likely worth it to reach a wide audience. People are used to turning to classified ads to find help. Note that people also use ads like these to request help—so be sure to check current ads so you can respond if someone is already seeking your service!Reaching out on social media is another key step. A general post can at least get the word out to friends and family. There are often low-cost options to advertise as well. For example, Facebook has an option to boost posts to increase circulation—prices vary, but you can often get a small boost for around $5 or $10 dollars.
- Protect Yourself with an LLC
Suppose you forget to lock up when you’re cleaning an office and the place is robbed. Or maybe someone claims you gave them coronavirus when you dropped off their groceries. You could potentially be sued—and lose everything you have.By creating an LLC, you can significantly minimize personal risk. An LLC has liability protection. This means that your own personal debts and assets are separate from those of your business. So if someone sues your business, your personal assets (like your house or car) are typically safe.To form an LLC, you file articles of organization with the state and pay the state fee. Or, if wading through formation paperwork is slowing you down, you can skip this step and hire us to start your LLC. Sign up takes just a few minutes, and we include registered agent service, a free operating agreement and more.
- Apply for an EIN
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is an IRS ID number for your business. You’ll typically need this number to open a bank account. You’ll also need an EIN if you hire any employees. EINs are free from the IRS, and it takes just a few minutes to apply for an EIN online.
- Open a Business Bank Account
Your business will need its own bank account. This is important for keeping your business and personal finances separate—which is essential for maintaining your liability protection. Most banks require an EIN and a copy of your articles to open an account. Some banks may also require an operating agreement or a resolution to confirm you have authority to open the account. It’s a good idea to call ahead to confirm what you’ll need to show the bank.
- Get a Business License (if required)
Licensing requirements vary widely. Some states, like Washington, require pretty much every business to get a license. In other cases, individual cities or counties may require a business license. Usually a quick check of your city and county websites will confirm whether or not you’ll need one. Typically fees are low, and you can apply online or by mail.
Boom. Five steps and you have a business ready to start bringing in much-needed cash in these uncertain times.
Need help getting started? Northwest Registered Agent is ready to help you start your business today!