Thursday 26 May 2016

Ten Tips for Starting Up A Home Business

When we spoke at a recent back to work event, we listened to Debbie Blott, Founder of The DecorCafe HomeBizClub, talk about how to start a home business. We've invited Debbie to share her advice for women who are interested in starting their own home business as a route back into work after a career break.

1. Be Authentic: Taking a career break offers an opportunity to rethink what you do. The most successful start-ups are founded on passion. Knowledge builds confidence and confidence attracts customers.

Sarah Betteley, co-founder of Fruits of The Fridge, took the opportunity of her career break to change from working as a lawyer to creating catering company Fruits of The Fridge. Passionate about providing good wholesome home cooked food she has built her business on her own way of life, as someone who thinks nothing of putting together and packing up a complete menu of delicious food for a week's holiday. (see Fruits of the Fridge).

2. Create Your Vision: Be realistic about what it is you want to achieve and how much time you have to give. Is it a business to give you an interest alongside caring for your family or do you want to grow and sell a multi-million pound business?

3. Choose the most appropriate business structure: Setting up as a sole trader is quick and easy. Creating a limited company separates your personal and professional identities and protects you by limiting your financial exposure to your business investment.

4. Set Simple Goals: It is easy to be immobilised by planning and re-planning. Once you have decided what you want to achieve, set achievable goals and an action list. Review regularly as you progress.

Jane Michell, founder of the UK’s leading delivery diet, Jane Plan knows what it is like to struggle with your weight and initially trained as nutritionist to build her skills. She describes herself first and foremost as a mother of three children rather than a qualified business woman. She didn’t start with a complex business, rather she had a clear vision and some simple goals and progressed step by step. Following her passion to help her clients lose weight and transform their lives she has grown her business, from preparing weekly diets for friends from around her SW London kitchen table to more than £4 million in just 4 years. (see Jane Plan).

5. Make Space at Home: The lines between home and work can blur. Put a structure in place to ensure that you can close the door on work, ideally literally.

6. Build Your Brand: For many people working from home, your brand is you. Ask yourself what is distinct about what you do and your values and communicate it clearly and consistently.

Virginie Dunne worked as a nurse, but had to stop when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. When she began to recover she decided to retrain as a lighting designer to quite literally share her joy and shed some light and so she named her company, Splash of Light. (see Splash of Light).

7. Become an Authority: The most effective way to market your business is to become an authority. Build strategic partnerships with complementary businesses, write relevant articles for press, get involved in local online forums and spread the word through social media.

8. Seek Support: You may miss the water-cooler conversations in the office but you are not alone. Join local networks and you will find many like-minded people who collaborate and help each other. Employing a business coach or mentor provides valuable extra support in the early years. Join networking organisations of like-minded people.

9. Stay Legal and Protect Your Ideas: Don’t forget to tell the tax people that you have set up! The law is on your side and can help you to protect your ideas and business if you put confidentiality agreements, contracts and trademarks in place. 

10. Get started! There is only one way to find out just what you can do and you will learn quickly. Good luck!

About The DecorCafe HomeBizClub
Based in SW London The DecorCafe HomeBizClub is a collaborative community of people starting up or running their own home business. All about connecting, building skills and sharing ideas, they provide ongoing inspiration and support to make building your business more fun and less stressful. They welcome anybody who is interested to come along to one of their sessions to find out more.

Posted By Donna


  1. Wonderful post! Thank you for sharing this valuable advice. The internet and social media makes it so much more possible now to be present for your family and to run and market a business at the same time. It's not always easy and it does take some planning but it's do-able! I would also consider outsourcing what is sensible to hand over to someone else - like accountancy and legal work. And as Debbie says, a business coach is great for advice and business direction, as they can offer an impartial and non-emotional view of your business.

  2. Great advice! I think it is very mportant to try to separate home and work when you start a business. Modern technology enables us to be always "on" but the downtime when you are " off" is very important!

  3. Thank you Debbie for sharing all your wonderful advice. I have to add that joining a network like the Décor Café was invaluable for me. Meeting other members who were also starting up a new business adventure and discussing rising issues and successes gave me confidence and courage to persevere and keep working harder towards my goals in those early months. Thank you Debbie and Emma, thank you The Décor Café for being such an enthusiastic, fun and encouraging network club! I would highly recommend anyone who wants to start a new business from home to find a great supporting network who would encourage you to stretch a little further all the time…
    Virginie Avrillon Dunne, Lighting Designer_Splash of Light ltd


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