9 Things I’ve Learned Since Starting Twelve Home-Based Businesses Over The Past 25 Years

I’ve just come from networking in a couple of ‘female entrepreneur’ Facebook groups where I came across a lot of questions about the reality of starting a small business from home.

So I thought I would pop in and write this blog post to have a little honest chat with you.

What is the reality of starting a home business? Picture: Woman smiling at camera with arms folded.

I’m guessing that you want to start a small business from home (or you’re seriously thinking about it), but you’re still very vague as to what this actually entails.

I personally believe that even thinking about and making the decision to start a home business is a big feat in itself.

And now that you have made the decision, you’ll find that you have a lot of research to do.

This is the reason why I created this website – to help people like you learn everything there is to find and start a small business from home, all in one place.

So please feel free to browse this website to learn about starting a home business as a complete beginner.

But to get back to the question “What’s the reality of starting a small business from home”, let me share some of my wisdom, experience, and knowledge of starting and running over twelve home-based businesses over the past 25 years.

1. Distractions, Distractions, Distractions

The first thing you’ll notice is that yes, there’s lots of free information available, especially online when it comes to choosing a business idea through to getting your business off the ground.

But this free information can also be a bit of a ‘time-suck‘ because you soon get bombarded with dozens and dozens of business ideas – and this ends up being a big distraction.

If you’re still looking for your perfect business idea, then I recommend that you read this post on doing a self-assessment exercise to help you find the best business idea suited to you.

2. Lies or Exaggerations

The other thing to be aware of is that, unfortunately, you can’t and shouldn’t believe what everybody says online.

I’m thinking more when you look at YouTube videos about starting various online businesses.

There are dozens of videos saying “Make $543.41” each day with dropshipping / an Etsy store / Print-on-Demand etc..

These YouTubers aren’t being totally honest with you, and they’re likely hyping people up for video views so they can make money from ads based on how many people watch their videos.

3. Don’t Follow Someone Else’s Dream

This is another trap I’ve found myself in.

You see someone making excellent money with a particular business, say freelance writing or becoming a virtual assistant. And so you decide to follow suit and jump into that same business model – because if it can work for them, it can work for me, right?

Not necessarily.

A particular business idea might work for one person because they have:

  • A different personality to you.
  • Lead a different lifestyle.
  • Have different goals.
  • Have more time on their hands.
  • Don’t get stressed easily.


So here, you would run a business based on someone else’s dreams, goals, and aspirations.

Being a freelance writer (or whatever) might work for that one particular person, but it might not be the best-fit business idea for you.

4. Do a Self-Assessment

This is why I always emphasize to do a self-assessment before you decide on a particular business idea.

When you know your strengths, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes, it makes finding a business idea much easier.

Related Reading:

SiteNote: I have a whole section dedicated to doing a self-assessment, including exercise worksheets, inside The Home Business Roadmap.

5. Have a Business Mindset

For years, I found it very difficult to have the confidence in myself to get into the mindset that I was a business owner and running a business.

Looking back now, I think that I had the opinion that I was simply trying out a new side hustle. Whilst this isn’t a bad mindset to have, I should have had more confidence in myself knowing that I was going to set up and run a successful business to get me nearer to my financial and lifestyle goals.

So believe and have confidence in yourself and your new home business venture!

6. Understand That It’s Not a Sprint

Again, this goes back to those YouTube channels saying that you can earn $xxx a day within 30 days.

Don’t believe this.

Running a home business, offline or online, is a long-term project.

Ask yourself this question, do you want to be an opportunist or a business owner?

Opportunists look for short-lived get-rich-quick schemes, whilst business owners look at a long-term strategy for their business success and also incorporate their business into their lifestyle.

Running a successful business is always a marathon, not a sprint.

7.  Create a Business Plan

I’ve run both offline and online businesses, and when I first came ‘online’, I didn’t realize that I needed to create a business plan.

I think that this goes back to not having the right business mindset which I’ve just mentioned above.

But I wasn’t alone. I don’t think anybody who was trying to start an online business back then thought that they had to create a business plan either – the Internet and running an online business was still too new to realize this.

But now with experience and wisdom behind me, I recommend creating an informal business plan, even if you start an online business.

Related Reading: How To Create a Winning Business Plan for Your Home Business

8. Be Willing To Learn

Starting any new home business will require a steep learning curve.

And from my experience, I think online businesses have the biggest learning curve because of the technological aspects related to them.

So be prepared and willing to learn a bunch of new things, but also look at this as a new and exciting phase in your life.

As Einstein’s famous saying goes “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” 

So to get different results, you need to learn and do new things.

9. Determination Not Motivation

I’ll finish off with something else that I’ve learned over the years which I think – once I understood this – was a game changer for me.

I always thought that you had to have a constant stream of motivation to get tasks done when starting a new business, but I was wrong.

Motivation comes and goes, and it’s very hard to get back when it goes.

Determination, however, is what sets the successful people apart from the unsuccessful.

You need to have dogged determination to push through the hard times when you’re feeling unmotivated, frustrated, experiencing low moods, and overcoming challenging obstacles.

How Do You Get Dogged Determination?

By knowing your why.

Why do you want to start a home business in the first place?

  • To quit your 9-5?
  • To earn more money from home?
  • To spend more time with your kids?
  • Dream holiday, car, or house?
  • To semi-retire early?

Whatever your why is for starting a home business, keep referring back to your why when you are experiencing challenging times running your new business.

You can be hanging around waiting for motivation to come and engulf you again, but you could be waiting a long time.

Or, you could keep referring back to your why which, in turn, will give you the drive and determination to push on, no matter what.

To Summarise

So as you can see, the reality of starting a small business from home has some ups and downs associated with it – but I’m sure you knew that it was never going to be plain sailing.

A lot of the obstacles will be with your mindset of finding your perfect business because there are so many distractions online when it comes to people throwing dozens of business ideas at you.

So do a self-assessment, find your perfect business idea, and then write out an informal business plan.

This way, you will be able to stay on track a lot easier than if you just ‘wing it’ as you go along.

Oh, and don’t forget to find your WHY for starting a home business so you can adopt that dogged determination I’ve just been talking about.

Good luck!

The Home Business Roadmap

I thought it would be appropriate for me to mention my ebook here because if this is where you are at now, not knowing what steps to take to start a home business as a beginner, then this is the logical next step for you,

I wrote this book specifically to help women (or men, if you’re reading this) to find and start their dream home business from scratch.

The first part of this book helps you get into an essential business mindset. You then do a self-assessment (worksheets included), and then you are presented with a list of over 70+ home business ideas divided into categories.

>> Learn more about the Home Business Roadmap here.

You then match-up your self-assessment with with the business ideas listed – you are guided to do this with the help of the worksheets.

Upon completion of this exercise, you will eventually come up with the perfect home business idea that is suited to you.

The second part of the book is your business planning stage, where you plan out your pricing, marketing, and business systems.

A business planning toolkit is included as a free bonus.

As you can see, this ebook – plus free bonuses – is very practical and hands-on.

This is intentional; so it will encourage you to start taking action to help you get your new home business off the ground and make a profit for you within weeks.

>> Learn more about the Home Business Roadmap here.

Related Resources

Here are the resources mentioned in this post: