You’ve decided to start your own home business, perhaps because you hate your current job and loathe getting up early in the morning to travel to work every day, or maybe because you regret not being there to see all the milestones in your children’s growth. You could be approaching retirement and worrying about the lifestyle you will be forced into.

Whatever your reason, starting your own home business will give you flexibility and if done well, will bring in that extra income you are after. Even if your funds are very limited, you can still get going by starting part-time while you work your regular job. The important thing is to plan, know what you want to do and then get started. Plenty of other people have built a very profitable online business working from home and so can you!

Be aware that almost half of all small businesses fail in the first five year of operation and that your profits may not come as quickly as some advertisements would have you believe, but if you plan well, are committed to action and just keep following the steps, you will make it happen.

The following are basic steps to follow that will help you keep on the path to success with your own home business:

1. Vision

Know the big picture of where you want to go, what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it. See it in your mind, imagine that you have already reached your goal and feel how that would feel. The more emotion you put into your vision, the more likely you are to succeed. Most entrepreneurs have had such a clear vision.

2. Planning

This is where you set your goals; make them:

(a) specific

(b) measurable

(c) achievable

(d) timely, meaning they must have a deadline

3. Options

Consider all your options then decide on one course of action that suits you best right now. Some things to consider are:

(a) What kind of work can you do from home?

(b) Suitability – What fits with your skills and your interests?

(c) Costs – Work out what you can afford to spend to get your new business established and then see what home business model fits within this budget and your interests.

(d) Business structure – You can be a sole trader, form a partnership, a company/corporation or perhaps just start out as a hobby. Some of these structures cost money to set up, but may suit your personal circumstances better. As always, understand the options, then decide what is best for you.

(e) Registrations, tax and other legalities – These will depend on local regulations and the business structure you choose, but whatever they are, you need to make yourself familiar with them.

(f) Personal and family issues – It’s always best to discuss your business plans with your family, even when they will not be involved in the business side. You may need to share resources, such as computer/internet time, perhaps desk or table space if you will not have a separate office, you will probably have family commitments, but you also need to make sure you will be able to have quality time to work on your business and not be expected to drop it for other family matters just because you are at home. It’s important that everyone in the family acknowledges that you are running a business and not just toying with it.

(g) Enjoyment – You have to like this work! You will appreciate (and studies have proven) that when people really enjoy their work, are even passionate about it, they willingly put more time in, are less likely to give up and therefore are more likely to succeed.

4. Action

Consistent ongoing action, small steps + consistency = success

(a) Do something on your business every day for 21 days. This will form a habit of doing it and make it easier for you to commit your time.

(b) Prepare a brief outline for each day of the week. This lets you start right in on the task planned when you might otherwise be tempted to spend time reading emails or web surfing. The outline can be very brief, just one line for each day is OK. Your list will depend on your business and the time you have available, but could be something like this:

i. Monday – write a draft for an article

ii. Tuesday – post to your blog, send an email follow-up to your list or submit comments on someone else’s blog or a forum

iii. Wednesday – polish your article and submit to article sites

iv. Thursday – list another product on eBay or on your website

v. Friday – research for new products, articles etc

(c) The weekly planning session is also a good time to evaluate how the previous week went. If things did not go as well as you hoped, don’t be disheartened, see how you can do it better next time.

5. Repeat this cycle over and over. You do not always have to have the same business model, but the steps will apply to any model you choose.

6. Success will come inevitably when you follow this pattern.

To make it easy to remember, these steps are labelled WHY, WHAT, HOW, NOW steps (where Now means Action or DO IT!)

The importance of planning sufficiently or effectively cannot be stressed enough. If you want your business to be successful (and you do, or else why bother to start at all?), make sure you plan well and then keep taking action based on your plans.

Stop and reassess your progress periodically, make changes where you can see a better way, but keep the momentum rolling and your home business will be a success.