With the world encouraged to stay at home and truly be digital, plenty have taken the opportunity to start a online business.

And so, whether you need the extra income or simply have been interested in creating a business for a while, there’s no better time to explore the entrepreneurial field than today. But where do you start? Today, I’ll be discussing the steps you need to consider when starting a successful online business at home.

Step 1: Figure Out Your Skills and What You’re Good At

Businesses are easier built with a team. However, with the current state of the world, you’re likely to find yourself working alone for much of the beginning stages. As such, it’s important to discover your strengths as an entrepreneur and when and where you can pivot and hire others.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a background on the subject. After all, there’s a wealth of resources online that can help. Many of today’s best entrepreneurs learned their trade through online degrees and courses as they cover many different facets of business. There are a wide variety of courses available for every budget and skill level so shop around to find one that works for you. If you don’t have much time to spare or want to learn while you work, you can choose short online classes instead.

By discovering, honing, and utilizing your entrepreneurial strengths, your business will already have an advantage in that aspect.

Ready to take the leap of passing on the tedious parts of the business? Get a team of trained and dedicated assistants to handle your operational business tasks without the hiring headaches. Check out TruAssist so you can focus on what matters.

Step 2: Stay Compliant

As your business is growing you’ll need to keep your business in good standing year after year. That can include the big things you don’t want to miss that are not limited too:

Pay Your Annual Taxes - Your annual taxes must be paid online or mail and based on the specific due dates in your state.

Keep Your State, County, and City Licenses Up-to-Date - Your business license will need to be renewed each year. As far as county and city licenses go, you will need to look into these individually.

**Renew Your Registered Agent -**Most registered agent services require you to renew your contract on an annual basis. However, if you are using VPM’s free registered agent service, you don’t have to worry about this step.

This leads me to the next point.

Step 3: Open Business Bank Account

To make sure your personal assets are protected while you maintain your liability it’s critical you open and maintain a business bank account. If you’re currently combining business purchases on your personal credit cards (like office furniture, supplies, travel etc.) you’re not only increasing the risk of your assets being taken away in case of a lawsuit, but also tax season will be a mess. You don’t want to miss out on money with business write offs or spend hours going through your transaction history.

Protip: business banks require a physical address for proof of address. You can use your home, commercial office, or TruLease.

Alternative financing refers to other methods that are “designed to deploy capital very quickly” and offer more flexibility than loans. Some examples include purchase-order financing (or paying your suppliers after customers have purchased your product) and merchant cash advances (or immediate cash in exchange for a portion of your future sales). Carefully think about what type of financing your business needs and look into the option that works best for you too.

Step 4: Establish Your Business

Much like building a brick-and-mortar store, you need to establish your business address. Your business address will be public so it’ll be listed on your website, invoices, shipping return addresses, and all communication. That’s so many places your business address is searchable! Think of all the strangers and angry customers that can find you, yikes!

There are plenty of business address options, but PROTIP I don’t recommend using your home address if you care about protecting your privacy and exposing your personal oasis.

My recommendation get a virtual mailbox as your business address! You are asking what is a virtual mailbox? It gives you a permanent business address where you can use it on business documents, website, emails, invoices all those public places (keeping your home address safe) AND the ability to manage your business remotely with services like check depositing, shipping, mail forwarding all from your device. Plus, you’ll be seen as more legitimate and trustworthy as customers see a commercial office instead of your home address.

After you’ve signed up for your virtual mailbox then you’re ready to continue to focus on your business and selling your product.

But That’s Only The Beginning

A business’ goal is to grow. After everything has been said and done, it’s important to plan your next steps. Look into building a team that you may divide your responsibilities with, expanding your offerings, and more. Work on your social media presence to reach a broader audience. If you have the extra revenue, definitely look into paid ads and other marketing campaigns to advertise your products.

Running a business is no walk in the park. You’ll constantly be competing for your market’s attention, be affected by industry trends, and run into a couple of challenges along the way. But as long as you continue to make plans for every business decision, adapt, and hire the right people, you’re well on your way to true success.

Ready To Start Your Business?

A critical part to forming your home business is taking it from a sole proprietorship to an LLC.