How to Start a Green Home-Based Business

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How to Start a Green Home-Based Business

Do you long to make a positive impact in the planet doing what you love? Are you concerned about the damage to our health and environment created by many of the products and services we use? Do you want to be part of the solution, while being your own boss? Then why not consider starting a green home business to start a new life journey feeling fulfilled and happy with your career?

What is a Green Home-Based Business?

At its very core, a green home-based business is business that is run from your own home that is focused on making the world a more sustainable place. That means whatever you do – whether you produce products or offer services or consult with businesses or homeowners – your goal should be to make the planet cleaner, healthier, and more vibrant. Concepts like reducing energy consumption, cutting pollution and toxicity, minimizing water waste, and reducing resource consumption will all be part of your vocabulary as a green business owner.

Many businesses do not require brick and mortar storefronts, or downtown offices. Web innovation has made it easy to create a virtual office environment and have all employees telecommute. Tools like Google Docs make online collaboration easy, Skype allows video conferencing, Teambox or Basecamp are great for project management and the HiveDesk desktop application allows workers to clock in and out, and run reports on their hours. By running your business from your home office, you will significantly reduce your environmental footprint just by not commuting, and save you tons of money by not having to rent commercial office space.

Consumer interest in sustainability and natural living has never been higher, so now’s a great time to be thinking about how you can put your unique skills and interests into creating a green home-based business that’s great for your bottom line and awesome for the planet.

The Green Startup Action Plan is our detailed guide to helping aspiring eco entrepreneurs start a green business. The Green Startup Action Plan comes with an audio guide and a workbook designed to walk you through the process of clarifying your green business idea, writing your business plan, finding funding, and getting your business off the ground.

7 Steps to Starting a Green Business At Home

  1. Anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit and marketable skills can start a home based business. Research your green business idea. To start a business, you need to know if the market wants what you have to offer. You also need to research if your target market has money to buy your product or service. You also be really clear about what you are good at doing, what you love to do, since, chances are, you will be working a lot to get your business off the ground in the first 2 years. If you are great at accounting, but kind of hate it, definitely don’t go into business as certified green accountant, because it will start to feel like a job. If you need inspiration, check out our list of 50 green business ideas below.
  2. Get trade licenses, certification & training. Depending on what kind of business you going into, and where you are, you may need trade licenses, training and certification in order to operate. You may also consider getting some form of green certification, as this will increase the level of trust around the green-ness of your business. Green America and the Green Business Bureau are 2 organizations that certify green businesses. As you go through the green certification process, you may learn new ways of lowering the eco footprint of your home based business.
  3. Write a business plan. A business plan is a good way to think through your business and all the important areas you will need to address if you want your business to be viable – things like as your marketing plan, your financial projections, your team or board of directors. You don’t need to create a huge business plan, and make it creating the perfect plan doesn’t become an obstacle to launching your business – because your plan will change. Make sure your Executive Summary is rock solid. If you are self financing, the business plan is a great exercise, but not something to get hung up on. If you are seeking financing for your business, however, either via angel or VC investors, grants or a bank loan, you will need to present a compelling business plan as part of the application process.
  4. Apply for a business permit or incorporate. Some fields allow you to Do Business As (DBA) yourself. Other types of businesses may require a local business permit or even business zoning. You will need to research your local business requirements on your city or state website. While it’s possible to operate your business as a sole proprietor, for asset protection reasons, it may be best to incorporate as an LLC, S-Corp or C-Corp. If you are operating as a sole proprietor, your personal assets can be at risk if you are held liable for debts or damages incurred by your business. You will need to research what business structure makes the most sense for you.
  5. Set up your home office. It’s a great idea to create a space dedicated entirely to your business related activities. You can also write this area off as a business expense, though you will need to check with your accountant, as there may be requirements as to what kind of spaces qualify – for example, that your office is indeed a separate room with a door, as opposed to the corner of your living room.
  6. Create a website. Having a business website is a must for all businesses as it is your virtual calling card. It is considerably cheaper to set up a website than it is to print a brochure, and you can update it whenever you want without worrying about having to recycle your last print run. Make sure, when you build your website, to build it with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind. Never underestimate the power of web traffic. Most consumers begin researching the products or services they need in places like Google and Yelp, so you want to makes sure the website you build has strong search engine visibility for keywords relevant to your industry and is listed in all the right places.
  7. Market your new green business. Now that you have written your business plan, raised funding, gotten any necessary licenses, training, and certification, and established a web presence, now it’s time to market your business and get customers. SEO is a must, as search engine traffic is a powerful way to attract customers. While SEO traffic can take time, energy, and resources to build up, it’s long term ROI is better than any paid advertising campaign, because, eventually it becomes free, keyword targeted traffic. Web advertising is the best way to market your business as it is considerably cheaper than placing print ads AND you will have immediate metrics that indicate to you how your advertising is doing. The cheapest and easiest way to market your business, is to get listed on Yelp.com and other local directories, Google Places – if you are a brick and mortar business – so you show up in Google Maps, and using social media sites like Facebook & Twitter. Facebook advertising is considerably cheaper than Google Adwords. Setting up a Facebook Business Page and Twitter account are free.

If you need help getting your green business idea off the ground, sign up for our Green Startup mailing list below, and receive the Green Startup Action Plan as a free gift. The Green Startup Action Plan will walk you through the process of visioning your green business idea, writing your business plan, finding funding, and getting your business off the ground.

50 Green Home Business Ideas

If you’re like many people, you’re having a hard time envisioning what would count as a green home-based business. Well, have we got a list for you! Following are 50 green home business ideas you can scan to see if any are the right fit for you. Even if there isn’t a perfect match, many of these ideas will trigger you to think of unique and interesting spin-offs that could be the perfect fit for your interests and abilities.

Eco-friendly consignment shop
Eco-friendly wedding dress designer
Permaculture design business
Green toy maker
Upcycling business
Organic herb business
Green online business
Green home audit company
Sustainable architecture firm
Green game designer
Green app creator
Sustainable home builder
Community supported agriculture association
Energy financing company
Building deconstruction consulting
Home hydroponic system designer
Eco-friendly crafts creator
Green building audit company
Nontoxic cleaning product sales
Home cleaning services
Sustainable landscape design
Eco-friendly pool maintenance
Sustainable janitorial services
Vegetarian or organic meal service company
Organic bakery
Home garden consultant
Detoxify your home specialist
Green candle making
Green home business through Etsy
Natural massage therapy business
Organic orchard business
Natural, organic gift basket business
Bicycle repair business
Biofuel vehicle conversion business
Vegetable oil refining business (for fuel)
Green interior design business
Organic beekeeping business
Green event planning business
Organic lawn care business
Sustainable wedding planning business
Composting consultant business
Natural pet care and grooming services
Virtual assistant work
Eco-friendly dog walking service
Accounting services
Legal services
Home improvement
Building retrofitting
Water saving consultant
Graphic design

Green home-based businesses, as you can see, come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you offer services, sell a product, or consult based on your expertise, there’s a green home business idea out there that is the perfect fit for you.

If you need help getting your green business idea off the ground, sign up for our Green Startup mailing list below, and receive the Green Startup Action Plan as a free gift. The Green Startup Action Plan will walk you through the process of visioning your green business idea, writing your business plan, finding funding, and getting your business off the ground.

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