Your Questions About Advice On Starting Your Own Business

Betty asks…


i am very much into photography and i have a little collection myself
it was just a thought the other day that maybe i could get my photos on prints, onto frames, and maybe on to canvas and sell them. is there any tips or advice on doing this?

Mikey answers:

Your getting there photo wise.
Reading your post .
If you want to spend the cash on getting prints made and framed then do so. Once you have a “collection” of images your VERY happy with then head out with them to the places that you think would be willing to put them on the wall with prices, your card and offer to sell. Put them up and see what happens. I know of two ppl who do this as well as go to the local out door markets and set up. One is doing very well with her images of the area. She is out all week long with her camera. She has a real feel for when the light, weather and color will work for her. It took her over 6 years to get images that sell almost every week she is out selling at the “farmers” market in the summer and has coffee houses and such where they are up year round for sale.
Not a bad thing to do at all. Keeps her out of the bars.
The other person is just starting and has a total take on hiking to the top of the mountains. He has a panarama camera and that is what he does. Works.

Find your “eye” and see if it sells.
Worst case, you have a lot of your work for your home walls.
That works too.

Mary asks…

Advice Starting a small home repair (handyman) business.?

I would like to start my own home repair business. I live in K.c. Mo. and want to do work in the metro area. Right now I’m just wanting to run this business part time. I have a full time job that I want to keep working. I’m a maintenance tech at an apartment complex. My first question:
Is it even possible to keep this job or would it be a conflict of interest?

I want to do work like bathroom refurbishment, basment refinishing, maybe deck building, painting, light plumbing and electrical. Yard work. Simple home maintenance.
What kind of Licenses would I need?
Would I need to register to pay taxes?

If I brought someone in to help, would it be better for me to have them as a partner or an employee?

I want to be able to advertise my services in the phone book and online. As well as with business cards.
Do I need to do anything extra for this privilege?

I read something that said you must register for any business operated under any name other than your own.
Does this mean that if I use my own name as the business name I don’t have to register?

Do I need to have to have an accountant?

I’m thinking that an L.L.c. would be my best bet.
I know of someone who just “went down and payed a hundred dollars and got a business permit”. Is it really that simple or should I just get an attorney to set up the business? How much should I expect an attorney to charge to set up a small business?

I don’t know anything about starting a small business, but I do know the field I have choosen. Ten yrs of experience. I apprieciate your advice on this matter, Ty.

Mikey answers:

As for confilct of interest, it may be, but the best thing to do is to check any paperwork that you signed with your current employment or ask them.

You would need a Handyman’s license. Go down to the city and obtain a license and yes you definately need to pay taxes on all the income. Also, please make sure that the place where you obtain your license explains to you up to what amount you can take on projects. I know that in the state of CA a handyman may only get projects up to $500.00 otherwise they would be required to have a contractor’s license.

Depending on if you will be forming a LLC you may have a partner, but i believe that it would mean that the person would be your business partner and not a different partner on a project basis. You may consider hiring a 1099 contractor to help you out since your business would be relatively new and you may not want to take on that liability of having and employee. (double check with your city requirements when you go to obtain your license).

You must register your business regardless of the name you use.

You definately don’t have to have an accountant, but it may be helpful to have one to ensure that your are complian with everything. And as a matter of fact, most of these questions would be best answered by an accountant.

When forming LLC, my suggestion would be that you get an attorney to help you. However, if it will be a soleproprietorship an accountant may be able to help you and it may save you some money there.

Good luck to you!

Nancy asks…

How to start your own at home business?

My mom and I are talking about starting our own at home baking and or catering business. This would probably involve having our own website. Does anybody have any advice on what we do to get started?

Mikey answers:

If you’re OK with starting really small, why not sell hot, steaming food from the back of your car?

You could build a nice business around it. You could prepare hot dogs and pot pies and bring them around to construction sites, for example. Focus on a small, niche customer base! Turn them into fans! : )

You don’t really need staff and you don’t need to invest in anything except something to keep the food warm and some flyers when you start out!

And if you need advice on starting a blog, I can help! I wrote a blog post about it here:

If you need more details, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll be happy to respond! :)

Daniel asks…

Is it better to start your own homecare business, or use a consulting company, or franchise company?

I’ve been thinking of starting my own homecare business, but don’t know if I can do it completely on my own, I’m a busy mom at home, and am looking for a business to develop, as I have a degree in business. I’m not sure if it’s better to hire a consultant to assist in the start-up or development, or a use a franchise, or maybe just wing it! Any advice will be helpful.

Mikey answers:

Franchises are very expensive both to start up and on an ongoing basis. And in something like homecare they probably won’t be able to help you that much from a marketing angle.

If you have the knowledge to start and run the business on your own do so. If you don’t work for someone else until you do.

William asks…

What would your advice be for someone who wants to setup their own business from home?

I’m in my 20′s, married and I’ve been doing on and off software consultancy & development work for the past few years. The majority of this has been freelance.

I’m at the point where I now need to decide whether to take on a full time job at a company or start up my own business working from home.

If possible, I’d love to get some tips and advice on what challenges I’ll be facing, whether at-home businesses are a good idea and whether you think they are more favorable than full time jobs.

Some of the concerns I’ve been having are:

1. Income – full time jobs offer a fixed (assured) income whilst working on your own, like freelance, is unpredictable.

2. Standard of living – A full time job will offer me twice the lower end of my current income estimates for freelance work. I haven’t operated as a full-time business before and hiring my own people to help (rather than just do it myself) may increase this amount.

Mikey answers:

First check on local zoning, and things like parking if needed, so you do not get started and find yourself in instant violation.
Next, keep your day job as long as you can, be sure your business is paying off before you cut that lifeline. One exception, if your business might be in competition with your employer, that likely violates a non-compete agreement or employer policy.
Wherever possible avoid borrowing a lot of money early, get the business going profitably first. Decide whether rapid expansion or expansion funded from profit better suits you.

Making good use of your time will be a success limiter, and to make good use of your time you need to develop your customer base no quicker than you can properly service that customer base, and not a lot slower either. Better to have some idle time than customers waiting for lousy service.

When your employer has been paying you for developing software solutions, and on going into your own business you essentially repeat some aspect of your work, you may be aghast to find yourself facing a suit for copyright infringement regarding your own creation. It need not be a whole system, just a few key components.

If you work on maintaining purchased open source software, the owners of copyrights are very likelyu to expect that you will have learned from that exposure and are applying that learning in competition with them.

Frankly it can be an awfully good way to learn, but having learned that way will expose you to a lot of scrutiny later.

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