How To Start a Business

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Building your own business from the ground up is an exciting opportunity, but it can also be challenging.

Follow the 10 steps from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to starting a business. You’ll learn about writing a business plan, determining the legal structure of your business, and more.

Avoid common mistakes and get advice from experienced small business owners who want to help. Local SBA partner organizations offer free access to mentors and trainers.

The following tips and checklists can help you with other important parts of the process.

Self-Employment and Working from Home

You are self-employed if you operate a trade, business, or profession either by yourself or with a partner.

Find out the basics of self-employment to help you succeed in the small business world:

Work from Home

Are you thinking about basing your business out of your home? The Small Business Administration’s 10 Steps to Start Your Business includes the licenses and permits you need to run a home-based business.

Home Office Deduction

If you use a portion of your home for business, you may be able to take a home office tax deduction.

Work-at-Home Scams

Learn what to watch out for to avoid work-at-home scams. In one common scam, you may be tricked into paying to start your own internet business. These scammers will keep asking you to send money for more services related to this fake business opportunity. To file a complaint about a scam, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Federal Government Telework Guidelines

If you’re a federal employee looking for information on teleworking, visit www.telework.gov.

Note: The federal government never charges a fee for information about, or applications for, government jobs. You can search and apply for federal government jobs for free at USAJOBS.

Commercial Driver’s Licenses

A commercial driver’s license (CDL) allows someone to drive vehicles used for business, like tractor trailers and buses. State motor vehicle agencies issue CDLs to drivers, if they pass state tests. Apply for a CDL with your state motor vehicle agency. States determine the:

  • Application process
  • License fee
  • License renewal cycle
  • Renewal procedures
  • Reinstatement requirements after a disqualification

States issue classes of CDLs. The classes determine the types of vehicles that a CDL holder can drive. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets requirements for motor carrier companies and the state motor vehicle agencies.

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