How to set up internet business at home requires following several steps, including some things related to your product and marketing. Other steps are focused on the legalities of setting up your business. With this type of business, you get to work from home, using your computer and website to reach customers.

You may find it exciting to work from home building an internet business, and it's a fairly inexpensive way to start a new career or just make a little extra cash. You can provide a service using a website, or use the site to list products you have for sale.

Strategy for Success

Even with a lot of advantages to enjoy, there are also challenges with starting a home internet business. Plus, most internet-based businesses fail. If you want yours to be a success, you need a few things:

  • A detailed plan
  • An eye-catching website
  • An effective strategy for marketing your product or service

What Are You Selling?

The things you know or do are good places to look for business ideas. Consider ways to use your skills to create something customers would value. Consider using things like web design skills or hobbies you enjoy doing. Ask yourself if you want to work completely online doing something such as writing, editing, or designing website graphics. Also, think about the amount of time you want to invest in this business. Craft-based work, for example, is easier to do on a part-time basis than business consulting.

Perform Market Research

With your product or service in mind, it's time to start searching for information about the market. This is essential to finding out if there's a demand, or need, for what you plan to sell. Some things to consider while researching the market include:

  • Competition: Check around to see how much competition there is, and how similar or different your offering is from the competition's.
  • Take time to survey some potential customers to hear their ideas on your planned offerings.
  • Determine if there's an unmet need in the market, possibly even one you hadn't considered before you researched.

Think About Your Business Model

Some types of businesses don't work in the online format. Businesses that are heavy on inventory, require a lot of employees, and are manufacturing things aren't always a great fit for online businesses.

Some businesses that are ideal for home internet businesses, and that require only a low startup investment, include:

  • Blogging
  • Making jewelry
  • Making crafts
  • Accounting
  • Researching and data mining
  • Graphic design

Almost any business that's heavy on creativity or technical know-how using computers is a good fit for an at-home internet business.

Internet Business Startup Costs

The type of business you start online and how much you're able to do on the website yourself create a lot of variation in how much it costs to get started selling online. If you're offering merchandise, like books, you'll have inventory needs that require funds. Service-based costs might be lower, with your only costs being the funds you need to perform your service.

Costs Most Online Businesses Incur

There are four costs that are fairly universal to online businesses. Those costs are:

  • The cost of the site: This includes hosting and the domain name. The average cost of hosting is between $7 and $19 per month. Things affecting the cost are your site's size and the amount of technical support the hosting provider offers.
  • Email marketing: Email marketing services cost around $20 each month, and it's a popular method of advertising your product.
  • Shopping cart and payment options: If you're selling online, customers need a way to choose what they want and pay. There are some credit processors that are free to install but charge for each transaction.
  • Website design: If you can do it yourself, you can save money on this, or you can choose a site that designs websites at no cost. For professional design services, however, there is typically a fee ranging anywhere from $70 up to $5,000.

With all these other considerations handled, be sure to spend a bit of time determining the ideal legal structure for your business, registering your business name, getting your tax ID number, and making sure you have all the licenses and permits you need to operate your online home business.

If you need help with setting up an internet business at home, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Stripe, and Twilio.