Getting those big ideas for your entrepreneurial spirit


Dan Dibbelt
Smoky River Regional Economic Development

Starting your own business can be a daunting prospect, especially at a time when the economy is low.

Businesses today are facing higher business taxes, higher wages and are anticipating increases in over all costs due to the new provincial carbon tax. For anyone starting a new business they have the additional worry of start up costs, whether that be rent, purchasing stock, insurance and a plethora of other expenses.

Another option to consider is to work from home, and yes there are many possibilities to consider. Naturally many think of running a day home for kids, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. There are numerous other opportunities that do not require a store front, nor do they require an investment in merchandise or equipment.

I am a consultant. I work from home. Other than basic office equipment and a car, I need little else. And while I consult on economic development, my expertise and background, consulting can cover many topics.

Consulting can take many forms and often are based on a person’s professional background. Whatever you may have done before you can look at doing for yourself from your own home.

If you worked in land planning, office management, office or home cleaning or even front office administration, there is an opportunity to start your own business.

Naturally, you will need a few business skills such as bookkeeping and of course you need good time management and some motivation. If bookkeeping is one of your strong points, perhaps that is something you could consider. If it’s not, you can likely find someone who offers that service.

A friend of mine also happens to be my dog sitter. Shirley has a client list of about a dozen dogs. She only takes small dogs and she offers pick up and drop of services. She’ll also drop my dog off at the groomers or the vets if needed. She provides dog walking services for people who work long hours and she even administers their pet’s medications. Shirley works from home and has a waiting list of clients.

Starting a home based business, can also revolve around a passion of yours, though it should be one you’re pretty good at. Some people have a natural talent at photography, writing and music. The arts can provide an excellent supplementary or even primary source of income.

More and more people are opting for amateur photographers, sometimes because it is hard to find a professional, and often times it is simply more affordable.

If you are a good amateur photographer, or a talented writer put together a portfolio of some of your work to show potential clients. If your talent is musical, spread the word you are available. Realize that as a non-professional, your rates need to reflect that, but as you gain clients and develop more skills, or as you take courses to improve your skills, your fee will increase.

Whatever your talent, skill or passion, it is important to always advise clients of your level of expertise. If you have a photography portfolio but no professional training or certification, be honest with potential clients. Your portfolio of work and your price will help the client understand what they can expect and most likely be happy with the outcome.

More and more young people are amazing with computers and software. Web pages are a must for most businesses, including the one you may start up. If you’re good at, put together a portfolio of what you have done and market yourself. Not every business can afford a professional designer, but lack the ability to do it themselves. Perhaps you have some training in dog grooming, you’re great at woodworking, or you like doing yard work, these are all great business ideas.

If you own a truck or van, perhaps you can provide pick up or hauling services. People frequently purchase items they can’t fit in their vehicle or they have a load to bring to the dump. If you’re a handyman, perhaps someone needs a shelf built a cabinet repaired or laminate installed.

It is important to remember, whatever home-based business you start, check out the laws, insurance requirements and rules governing the business you plan to pursue.

And if you need more ideas on opportunities you could pursue check out the McLennan Home-based business trade show on September 24. It will be a great opportunity to do a bit of shopping and do some research at the same time.

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