Starting your own business can be an exciting new venture, and the holidays offer many opportunities for creative money-making pursuits that you can do remotely.
If you’re finding that you have more free time, or need to bring in some extra cash, the holiday season could be a particularly good time to explore some creative ideas.
Advantages to Starting a Home Business During the Holidays
There can be many advantages to selling goods and services in a remote holiday business. Some of these include:
Opportunity to Rebound and Create
A holiday business can be a good option for those who lost work. Economic uncertainty opens up many novel needs, including challenges related to celebrating the holidays safely. A small business can be an effective way to introduce creative solutions to issues consumers are currently facing.
Online Shopping Potential
In 2020, there was a tremendous growth in e-commerce activity, which continued into the holidays. In fact, in its annual holiday shopping survey, the National Retail Federation (NRF) found that 44% more consumers shopped online-only during Thanksgiving weekend in 2020 compared with 2019.
You might be able to take advantage of potential tax deductions by starting a business before the year is over. A home business could qualify you for benefits such as the home office tax deduction.
Saving on Startup Costs
You can potentially reduce some of your startup costs by making the most of the holiday sales. Many goods and services are offered at a reduced price during the holidays, which means you can likely find discounts on needed business and home office equipment and supplies.
Disadvantages of Starting a Home Business During the Holidays
Besides the general stress and commotion that often accompanies the holiday season, there are other downsides you may want to consider before deciding to start a new venture. Some things to be aware of are:
Starting a business isn’t a lighthearted decision. It requires a lot of research, planning, and dedication, and it can be a big undertaking during what is already a busy time of year.
Brand Awareness Challenges
It takes time to get a new business up and running. Generating awareness of your business and building a customer base doesn’t happen overnight. You may find you’re missing out on some of the holiday rush because potential clients don’t know about your company.
When identifying potential customers, think broader than just holiday shoppers and families. Are there other businesses that could use a service you provide? What about hotels or restaurants?
The 2020 holiday season was especially unpredictable. Both the number of consumers who shopped over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and the amount they spent this year dipped slightly from 2019, according to data from the NRF. The organization’s holiday study also found that the number of Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday in-store shoppers dropped by 55% and 37%, respectively, from last year.
Be aware that your sales may drop as consumer buying habits shift after the holidays. While the holiday season can be an ideal time to jumpstart your venture, if you want to maintain your business beyond the holidays, make sure to keep the bigger picture in mind. You’ll want to have year-round demand for the product or service your business offers.
5 Great Home Businesses to Start During the Holidays
The uniqueness of this year’s holiday situation lends itself to novel business opportunities. With a little creativity, you can put a spin on traditional holiday businesses to make sure you’re safely meeting the demands of the current market. Here are some suggestions for how to make money during the holiday season.
1) Home Decorator
Holiday budgets that used to be spent on travel are now being used toward celebrating the festivities at home, according to a retail survey from Deloitte. The study found that anticipated spending on travel is down 34% year-over-year, while non-gift items such as home furnishings and seasonal decor are on the rise, up 12% from 2019.
This could be an opportunity for offering your services as a home decorator, helping people to get their houses ready for the festivities.
One option would be to go into clients’ homes and do the decorating for them, taking precautions to stay safe, of course. Another potential business is to offer holiday decorating tips remotely. You could do individual Zoom sessions with customers offering suggestions specific to their home, or you could host remote classes giving advice for adding holiday touches to the home or making festive floral arrangements.
2) Virtual Party Planner
Help families coordinate fun virtual get-togethers. As a virtual party planner, you could suggest different ways to make holiday video calls special. Maybe there are games for remote families to play, or you could book a virtual entertainer.
Perhaps each household could receive a basket of goodies that they all open at the same time on the call. Your business would be to help people organize and find different ways to promote a sense of togetherness during the holidays, while staying apart.
3) Homemade Crafts and Gift Baskets
Sell your creations online as holiday gifts. You could also choose to focus on more festive options like selling homemade stockings, wrapping paper, or wreaths.
Another potential idea is to start a business assembling gift baskets. You could offer varying types of gift baskets centered on different themes such as homemade items, locally sourced goods, or holiday treats.
4) Delivery Service
Nearly 51% of holiday shoppers feel anxious about shopping in-store, according to data from Deloitte’s holiday retail survey. Shoppers are opting for contactless shopping experiences, with 73% planning to have items delivered, marking a notable increase from 62% last year. In addition, the preference for curbside pickup has more than doubled year-over-year.
You could start a business picking up and delivering people’s holiday goods to them. Beyond just gifts, people need all sorts of things during the festive season—consider expanding your services to include wreath and Christmas tree deliveries.
5) Winterizing Homes
There is plenty of maintenance that needs to be done to prepare a home for the winter season, especially in places that get snow. You can offer your services to help people winterize their homes, from tasks such as snow shoveling, storm window installation, chimney sweeping, or even Christmas light installation. There’s a variety of to-do’s that homeowners need help with in preparation for the holidays.
Whatever holiday business you decide to start, customize it to fit your skill set. Think about what you’re good at or have experience in, and how you can use that expertise to meet a current need.
How to Start a Remote Business During the Holidays
Here are some holiday small business tips based on recommendations from the U.S. Small Business Administration to give you an overview on how to get your business up and running during the festive season:
- Conduct market research: Look at the market to determine if there’s an opportunity to monetize your idea. If you want to run your business year-round, make sure there’s a demand beyond the holidays.
- Write your home business plan: A business plan is a roadmap for success. Starting where you’re currently at, identify where it is you want to go, and then list what you need to do to get there. The Balance offers a helpful guide on creating a home business plan.
- Organize your finances: Your business plan will help you determine how much you can expect to invest in starting up your company. This will allow you to take steps to identify where that money will come from.
- Decide on a business structure and name: How you choose to structure your business will affect your registration requirements, taxes, and liability.
- Take care of legal details: Register your business, get federal and state tax ID numbers, make sure you have all of the licenses and permits you need, and open a business bank account.
- Get a marketing plan in place: Take advantage of holiday shopping habits and create a plan that ties your business into holiday buying. If you’re wanting to continue your business past the holidays, make sure to update your marketing plan accordingly.
Important: Hit the ground running. To make the most of the holiday market, you’ll need to take action right away and ensure that customers know you’re open for business.
The Bottom Line
The holidays can be an exciting time to launch a home business, and the shift toward remote festivities has opened up a realm of new enterprise possibilities. Make sure to consider both the advantages, as well as the drawbacks, to starting a home business during the festive season.
If you’re looking to continue your business venture beyond the holidays, you’ll want to broaden your view and keep the bigger picture in mind.