Starting your own sole-trader or small business is an exciting time. When you’ve got specific skills and services that people want to pay for, being your own boss can give you a lot of flexibility. Read on for a list of small business ideas you can start from home.
Small business is booming in Australia
In Australia, a small business is defined as having 0 to 19 employees or a turnover of under $2 million. Here are a few facts that illustrate the opportunities for enterprising Australians:
- More than half of the 2 million small businesses in Australia are sole-trader businesses.
- Small businesses contribute more than 33 percent of total industry value added to the economy each year.
- 83 percent of small businesses in Australia provide a service.
- Women own or manage about 34 percent of small businesses.
That’s a lot of people who have created their own business selling their skills, services and products. Are you going to be one of the next people to start a business?
If you have a skill, you don’t need a ton of money to start your own business. All that’s needed for these nine small business ideas is a strong work ethic, access to a computer and a good Internet connection. Communication skills are a major plus.
9 small business ideas you can start today
Tired of your job? Start one of these service-based home businesses in Australia.
Virtual assistant, transcriptionist, data entry clerk.
Social media manager.
If you’re lucky enough to have one of these nine skills, your prospects are better than you think. Read on for details.
1. Virtual assistant, transcriptionist, data entry clerk
Virtual assistants answer emails, schedule meetings, and make travel arrangements, among other tasks. Transcriptionists listen to recorded messages such as doctor’s notes and type them in, while data entry clerks enter data into a database.
2. Bookkeeper, accountant
Bookkeepers can do data entry, payroll processing and banking reconciliation for multiple clients. Accountants provide services relating to taxation and financial dealings; they also advise on record-keeping and compliance issues. The difference between the two? Bookkeepers focus on recording financial data, while accountants are expected to analyze and interpret that data, producing reports when needed.
3. Writer, editor
Writers and editors produce or oversee the production of blog posts, website content, technical manuals and an array of advertising material ranging from videos to social media campaigns and annual reports. This is another extremely mobile profession; all you need is a laptop and a reliable internet connection.
4. Social media manager
Social media managers identify content topics and create content like videos, posts and tweets in order to reach their clients’ target customers via social media channels. Duties include creating, curating and managing images, videos and written assets as well as reporting. Social media managers also monitor and respond to comments on their clients’ social feeds with an eye to cultivating leads and sales.
5. Marketing specialist
Marketing specialists design promotional strategies and brand campaigns for their clients, overseeing all marketing activities — from direct marketing to PR and social media. They’re responsible for pursuing new market opportunities, managing the marketing budget and executing campaigns for clients.
6. Graphic designer
Graphic designers create visual materials in both print and digital formats, including magazines, TV ads and websites. Sole-trader graphic designers are often hired by busy agencies and businesses to produce a wide variety of advertising assets. Duties run the gamut, from initial concepts through to client presentation and production of finished art or assets.
7. Web developer
Web developers, also called web designers or webmasters, combine creativity and technical skill to design, build and maintain user-friendly websites and web pages. Duties range from designing basic websites to developing advanced interactive features.
8. App developer
Application developers create, test and refine software applications that allow users to complete specific tasks — from downloading music to completing banking tasks on their mobiles. Responsibilities include creating, testing and programming apps for computers, mobile phones and other digital devices.
9. Online tutor
Online tutors help students with a variety of academic subjects via the internet. Training programs for this job are few, so web tutors often start out as in-person tutors or classroom teachers. If you have classroom experience, starting this flexible service is a natural progression.
Starting your small business
One of the simplest models of starting a business is as a sole trader. It’s a simple premise:
- You do something well.
- You advertise and provide that service.
- People pay you for the service.
Setup costs are usually low. You can run this business model on the side of full- or part-time employment at a company, until your side business is making enough for it to become your day job. Once your business is doing well, you can delegate tasks to contractors, take on employees or launch into a company structure to grow your business.
Most sole-trader service businesses can be run from a home office or coworking space. With the convenience of digital communication, you can service customers from all over Australia and potentially, across the globe.
If you’ve got the right skills, you can start your own business with very low output in the beginning. To get started, download a free Digital Business Kit from the Australian Government, including a course to learn how to market your business online.
Steps to registering your business
To decide if your business idea is viable, you should start by creating a small business financial plan and marketing strategy and define who your customers will be. If your plan checks out, you can start the business registration process online from the comfort of your couch.
It’s a good idea to consider these three steps together. Ideally your business name and business domain name will be related to each other; plan them together right from the beginning. An exact match between domain and business name can be helpful in establishing authority and getting customers to your website.
1. Apply for an ABN
You can apply for a sole-trader Australian Business Number (ABN) online. If you’re not sure if you’re eligible for an ABN, you can check the requirements here or ask an accountant. Here’s a list of information you’ll need to collect before registering for an ABN.
2. Register with ASIC
Next, register your business or trading name with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
3. Get a domain name
Search for your preferred small business domain name and register it with GoDaddy. Even if you’re not ready to set up your website, buy the domain name when you register your business name. That way it’s your property and no one else can use it. Then you can take your time to build your website later.
Find a great domain name now
Let’s say your name is Joe Bloggs and you’re a graphic designer working on your own.
- You’d register your sole-trader ABN to be connected to your personal tax file number, under your name “Joe Bloggs.”
- Your ASIC-registered business name might be “Joe Bloggs Designs” and your business bank account might be named “Joe Bloggs Trading As Joe Bloggs Designs.”
- Your business domain name might be JoeBloggs.com.au or JoeBloggsDesigns.com.au. It’s a good idea to register both domain names to prevent anyone else from using them. You might also want to register the .com versions if they’re available.
With a little forethought, you can set your business up with a strong brand identity from the start.
Start your own business today
If our list of small business ideas has inspired you, why not take the next step? When you’re ready to register your business, search for your perfect domain name and secure a memorable combination of business name and domain name. And don’t worry if your first choice isn’t available. We’ve got plenty of tips on how to choose an alternative if your dream domain name is already taken.
We wish you all the best with your new venture!
The above content should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.