Step-By-Step Guide to Starting a Home-Based Tailoring Business

If you can sew, you can earn! By converting your simple sewing talent into a home-based business, you can earn a good amount of monthly income with very little initial investment. If you are already sewing your own clothes, then you obviously own a sewing machine. But converting it into a business will require proper planning. Here’s an easy step-by-step guide to starting a home based tailoring business:

Identify your strengths

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Are you better at sewing women’s outfits or can cope with unisex and male outfits too? Also, besides cutting and sewing a garment, do you also know a little embroidery, piping, lacework, patchwork, cutwork, etc. that would give your tailored outfits a more professional look? You must identify and hone these skills so that you can offer a wider range of services.

Do you have the necessary equipment?

Does your sewing machine have the facility for stitching materials of different thicknesses? There will be some clients who want a thin cotton shirt and others who might want you to sew a denim jacket. Also, there are many sewing machine brands that have the capability for machine-embroidery. If your machine does not have these facilities, then you will have to make an initial investment in a new professional sewing machine and practice on it for a few days before you go public.

Collect the accessories

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You will need a selection of colored threads (reels or bobbins), two sharp scissors (a big one for cutting the cloth and a small one for cutting the thread after stitching. Use the old stock of reels to practice the different embroidery stitches.

Do self-advertising

tailored dress

Whenever you can, try wearing outfits that you have stitched at public events, like at the church, a wedding, a birthday party, christening, or even casual shopping. Each time, just mention in casual conversation that you have sewn the dress or top. Continue this trend for a few weeks.

Market your tailoring business

After people have started to notice and admire your outfits and sewing talent, you can ask your family, friends, and acquaintances to mention your name as a talented tailor. Word-of-mouth is the easiest no-cost way to market your home-based tailoring business.

Expanding the business

If you wish to go global, you can design a simple blog that showcases your talent. There are several automated platforms (like WordPress) where you can develop a blog without the help of skilled IT professionals. Put up pictures of the previous work done and advertise that you can sew the same item for others once you have their measurements.

Note: For mail-order business, you must put up a guide on how to take measurements so that they don’t make mistakes. If they don’t mail you the correct measurements, your sewing will go wrong and your reputation will be at stake.

Running a successful business from home can be a very fulfilling experience. If you are good at sewing and needlework, then you can be an ace home-based tailor by following these simple steps.

Can the Indian Middle-Class Afford International Baccalaureate Schools for their kids?

 

In the last ten years the number of International Baccalaureate schools in India has risen tenfold…from 40 to over 470. These schools usually follow a curriculum prescribed by International Baccalaureate, Cambridge International Examinations or Edexcel. Some CBSE and ICSE schools also follow a combination of local and International curricula.

COST OF ADMISSION IN IB SCHOOLS

Let’s look at the fee structure of the top six IB schools in India for admissions to Playgroup, Nursery, KG-I and KG-II, Grade-I:

Name of school One time fee

INR approx.

Recurring fees

INR approx.

Woodstock School 2,65,000 7,90,000
Ecole Mondiale World School 6,10,000 6,90,000
Doon School 3,50,000 9,70,000
Scindia School 3,22,000 6,75,000
Mayo College (IB school) 4,00,000 5,91,000
Welham Boys School 3,01,000 6,00,000

Fees for upper grades are even higher.

One would expect the fee structure to be a deterrent but in reality there has been an increasing demand for IB schools. The apparent reason why parents are willing to pay such high sums is – so that their children can follow an education system that is similar to the one in the U.S. or UK. The ultimate goal is to be eligible for admission in one of the top Engineering, Medical or Business Schools in the world.

Not surprisingly, there is a waiting list for admissions even to Playgroup in some of the top International Baccalaureate schools in India. The probable reasons are:

  • The schools have a high standard of education and state-of-the-art infrastructure,
  • They students develop the ability to think independently because of the interactive study sessions,
  • The co-curricular activities that involve creativity, action and service (CAS) improve the global and local awareness of students,
  • Subjects like humanities and fine arts help to develop hidden talents of individual students,
  • The children develop non-academic skills like setting goals, strategic planning, organization and implementation,
  • The kids learn soft skills like cooperation, sharing, compassion, etc,
  • Education in a reputed IB school makes it easier to seek admission in highly ranked colleges and universities across the globe,
  • In some cases for snob value.

Another important reason for this paradigm shift was the pressure on students in local schools for better and better grades; leading to increasing cases of school dropouts and student suicides.

CAN THE INDIAN MIDDLE CLASS AFFORD IB SCHOOL EDUCATION FOR THEIR KIDS?

Of the 400+ schools, the fees of all the IB schools across India are not as high as the top six. Even so they charge a lot more than the local schools.

Nationalised banks in India offer educational loans only in cases where admission is sought in an ICSE, CBSE or state board school. But one can avail of a personal loan from banks or private finance companies depending on your family income and capacity to pay back the loan. Parents are willing to make sacrifices to give their children the best education. Personal loans at affordable rates have made it possible for middle class parents to opt for International schools for their kids over state schools.

Central Board, Delhi Board and state board schools will have to considerably revise their curriculum to match the International schools. From the current trend one can safely say that the culture of International Baccalaureate schools in India is here to stay.

IMPACT OF VALUE ADDED TAX ON SMALL BUSINESSES IN THE UAE

Impact of VAT
Impact of VAT on small businesses in the UAE

United Arab Emirates, previously considered a tax haven, has introduced 5% Value Added Tax (VAT) from 1st January 2018. The statutory authorities have stipulated that any firm having an annual turnover of Dh375000 or greater is required to register for VAT. In the recent months there has been a scramble for registration, considering the hefty fine of Dh20000 for non-compliance.

Small business owners and middle class families are worried about the rise in prices and how it will affect their standard of living.

TIPS TO SAVE TAX DESPITE VAT

As individual enterprises, companies will incur VAT at every stage in the supply chain. But one of the benefits of value added tax is that businesses which purchase goods and services from each other can register as a group for the purpose of taxation. One representative firm can take on the responsibility of complying with the regulations. The companies remain separate entities and the handshake is limited to tax liabilities. This is especially beneficial for small businesses as it prevents duplication of tax.

Restructuring is another way to reduce the effects of value added tax on business. When a company is purchasing raw products on a regular basis from another firm for further processing; the two can join forces to form one entity. The cost of purchasing raw material reduces to 0%. The funds saved can be used fruitfully for statutory tax compliance.

Following a traditional pattern of tax savings, small firms must invest in employee group health insurance schemes. Even if the organizations have to pay premiums, the long term effect is good. When employees are insured they feel safer in the workplace. This will result in improved efficiency, higher production and better annual turnover; thus compensating for the tax burden.

LONG TERM BENEFITS OF VAT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

Up until a decade ago, the authorities in UAE had depended solely on escalating prices of crude oil to generate revenue. With the rising popularity of alternative fuels, there has been a steady reduction in demand for petroleum. It is imperative for the GCC countries to look for other sources of revenue to maintain the same standard of living.

Any palpable decline in the standard of living that global tourists expect of the UAE; will mean less tourists and consequently reduced turnover for businesses. Small enterprises rely heavily on tourism for sustainable income.

According to the Undersecretary to the Ministry of Finance, His Excellency Younis Haji Al-Khouri, with 5% VAT the anticipated revenue is AED10-12bn in the first year itself.

This will definitely have a positive impact on the economy as a whole. The revenue can be used for improving/maintaining infrastructure, enhancing tourism and making businesses more self-sufficient.

DISADVANTAGES OF VAT

To cover the burden of VAT businesses will have to increase the prices of their products and services. The tax will be passed on to the consumer. Some firms may lose a few of their clientele. But this negative response will last for a short period. Most buyers are creatures of habit. If they are accustomed to certain goods and services they will definitely return.

HOW TO AVOID NON-COMPLIANCE

Whenever a company has to comply with tax related statutory regulations, it has to maintain numerous records that clearly define:

  • Working capital and cash flow,
  • Operational costs,
  • Stages of supply chain,
  • Marketing strategies and pricing,
  • Accounting and taxation.

Documentation and reporting will increase the annual expenditure of the small concern.

On the other hand, the VAT imposed in the UAE will promote transparency and honesty among the business community and will improve the credibility of small business firms. This will in turn lead to a more evolved economy, better customer relationships and increased profits.

Therefore, it is crucial for small business owners to be well informed about VAT. Computation of value added tax is not an easy process. The best way to avoid any non-compliance issues is to seek professional advice. An advisor can help the firms with the complicated procedures of registration for VAT and related documentation, without jeopardizing their current business goals and objectives. In this transitional phase, firms specializing in Value Added Tax advisory are the safest bet for small businesses.

Successful Home Tutoring Business – Lucrative Hobby No.4

home-tutoring

A great way to switch from a regular office job to freelancing is to set up a home tutoring business. Whether it is for extra cash or because you want a change in career, tutoring can be very lucrative. In short, it is the best micro business with potential for macro returns. So here’s a step-by-step guide on how easy it is to start a successful home tutoring business:

1.Identify your skill

To teach someone you must have some level of expertise. Identify the subjects you excelled in school. Of these, focus on the ones you enjoyed learning. Make these subjects your area of expertise. If you are comfortable about teaching high school chemistry, you must aim at children from middle school to high school in order to get more students.

Note: Keep your house spotlessly clean because a shabby house will reflect on your tutoring skills when parents come with prospective students.

2. Publicise your business

Give your business a name and also create a nice logo online. Through family, friends and social media publicise your tutoring business. With due permission of the school authorities, post advertisements of your tutoring business on the notice boards in the local schools. You can also insert classifieds in the local dailies for additional publicity.

3. Check the competition

Check online or through friends the fees that other teachers in the area are charging for home tutoring. This way you know the size, experience, expertise and prices of your competition and you can set your hourly rates accordingly.

4. Start with locals

To begin with, start by teaching local students at your house. Initially take on students only at weekends. If not, fix a mutually suitable time and teach each student individually. You can slowly expand into taking a small batch of students at a time.

5. Identify the curriculum

Keep yourself up-to-date on the latest revisions in curriculum. You may need to make a small investment in books for ready reference.

6. Plan for expansion

As the number of students increase, you can afford to invest some more into the business for long term benefit. Identify a free space in your home that can be converted into a workstation. You must also:

  • Buy and install a PC with wifi connectivity so that you have easy access to the Internet.
  • Enrol in an online course to get the necessary certification for additional qualifications.
  • Learn online on how to carry out e-tutoring.

7. Publicise on the Internet

Register your home tutoring business on sites like e-hometutors.com or firsttutors.com so that you get regular e-tutoring jobs. It is now safe to chuck your job and take on more work. As different nations have different time zones, you can get e-tutoring jobs throughout the day. But continue with a few local students (through e-tutoring) to maintain a grip on the local scene.

8. Provide progress reports

Set goals for students and work with them to achieve the goals. Give the parents feedback on the child’s progress at regular intervals. Keeping them in the loop will keep the students more focused and will also improve your credibility as a tutor.

Being a freelance tutor or online tutor gives you the opportunity to choose a schedule for tutoring that fits in well with your household chores. The home tutoring business is a micro enterprise which requires minimal investment but has the potential to give you a fair-to-excellent monthly income depending on the time you can devote to tutoring. And yes, don’t forget to check up your tax liability.

FROM BURNT OUT MOM TO HOME BASED BUSINESS WOMAN

burnt out mom burnt out mom businesswoman

If you are a burnt out mom, this is just what you need. You have gone through different phases of being a mom – from compulsive zealot, to exhausted drudge and on to resentful living martyr! You don’t get free time for any of the fun things you did before the kids came along. Here are some ideas to bring back that spark in your eyes; and you can change from a burnt out mom to a home based businesswoman.

STAGE 1: TAKE UP A HOBBY

A hobby? How will that make you a businesswoman. Patience! Did you like photography as a teenager? Do you have a collection of your pictures? Recollect the activities you enjoyed most in your teens and as a young adult.

Now decide what time of the day is slightly slack? Is it at 11 AM when you are alone at home and most of your morning chores are done? Then keep that time of the day for your hobby. The idea is to incorporate it into your daily schedule. Discuss it with your family and get their insights on what would be a fun thing to do.

Be creative and experiment with your hobby so that you have some samples ready. For example (depending on your hobby) crochet patterns, pencil sketches, paintings, artwork from recycled plastic, making showpieces from old newspapers or grocery bags, etc. If it’s photography, sort, categorise and organise the pictures into albums, and so on…

STAGE 2: MONETISE HOBBY

Let us now presume that you have sufficient experience to turn your hobby into a business. What you need to do is:

  • Simplify your household chores so that you have a little more time to devote to the budding business,
  • Keep a few samples of your work ready (or digital images) to show prospective customers,
  • Publicise your talents through relations and friends,
  • Put up images on Instagram with a note about your business,
  • Publicise it on your social media profiles.

SOME LUCRATIVE HOBBY IDEAS

The hobby ideas suggested below are those that I have actually witnessed. Many women among my friends and acquaintances were once overworked mommies but are now running successful home based businesses:

PAPER CRAFT

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You are probably wondering if I am crazy! But a friend of mine, Rachna, has just turned her paper craft hobby into a very lucrative business. She started out by just making greetings cards for relatives and friends. Then she got orders for making gift articles like pictures frames and also for gift wrapping. She is now a specialist in gift-wrapping wedding trousseau and return gifts. Her children are in college and she has a full time successful career in her home-office.

BEAUTY SERVICES

grooming

My cousin Prabha has always been self conscious about her looks and was very well groomed. But when the children came along she let herself go. She felt depressed and a feeling of uselessness was setting in.

Fortunately, destiny came to the rescue! Our college mate asked if Prabha would apply makeup for her. She had a wedding to attend and couldn’t get an appointment at her usual salon. That was a big opportunity! Prabha has never looked back ever since. Today, she runs a full-fledged home beauty salon.

I have also suggested other lucrative hobbies like photography, home based catering services, and personal grooming classes in my previous posts under “Hobbies”.

So ladies, please make time for yourself. Evolve from a burnt out mom to a successful home based businesswoman. You owe it to yourself…

 

CATERING SERVICE – FROM LUCRATIVE HOBBY TO FULL TIME CATERER

 

 

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Since you are reading this post, obviously you are a foodie and love cooking. This is second post in the series of lucrative hobbies. We have already seen how amateur photography, can become a profitable side business. If you consider cooking to be fun, then a home based catering service is the perfect way to earn a little extra on the side. But here we go one step ahead…we shall see how a hobby can turn into a full time business.

HOW TO START A CATERING SERVICE

 

Let me tell you what Radhika, my friend did. She was working as a software engineer in a mid-cap IT company, earning a reasonably good income. She saw how most of her colleagues craved for homemade food. Living in PG accommodation and eating in restaurants day and night can really make one homesick. So she decided to start a catering service stage by stage.

Stage 1:

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Radhika spread the word among her colleagues, relations, friends and neighbours that she would take party orders at weekends for a small group of 6-12 people. Meanwhile, she also planned some menus. Since she always cooked her own meals she was able to calculate an approximate cost per person. Adding a little extra for home delivery, she arrived at a quote that was really affordable. She began experimenting with different types of cuisine and offered variety.

 

Meanwhile, she enrolled for culinary arts class for two hours a week. Here she learnt salad decorations and presentation of different dishes. She realised that people evaluate a dish with their eyes before they are willing to taste it. So presentation is king in the catering business.

Stage 2:

As her orders increased she needed help. Sometimes she would have multiple orders over the weekend. Some clients asked for customised dishes. Add this to her regular job; and she was obviously finding it difficult to cope with the pressure.

Easy solution – she roped in a couple of college students living nearby to help her with tedious tasks like chopping, grating, grinding, etc for a reasonable fee. They were happy to earn some pocket money and she was happy to have help. Besides, they brought in more business.

Stage 3:

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Now Radhika decided that she had a sufficiently large client-base to sustain her catering service over a long time. So she chucked her regular job and decided to go full time into catering. But party orders were still limited to weekends. So she started providing tiffins or lunch boxes on weekdays too.

IMPORTANT REQUIREMENTS OF A FULL TIME CATERING SERVICE

Radhika was operating her catering business from home but she had a full time staff of two helpers in the kitchen and a delivery boy to carry the tiffins over to numerous clients each day. Earlier, it was just a small lucrative hobby. Now it was time for legal compliance.

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She looked up on Google and read the local **Health Department’s regulations pertaining to licenses for small businesses. One of the requirements of the Department was inspection of the place where the food is stored and cooked, and also how it was packed and delivered.

catering 1

Once she had complied with the legal requirements, it was time to focus on business expansion. Networking is another aspect that is very important when you are running your own business. So Radhika never missed a party. In fact, she did this right from the start. She attended and monitored the service at every party. In that process she met more potential clients.

The proof of her success is in the fact that she now needs a full time accountant as well! Radhika’s part time hobby of providing catering service had turned into a full-fledged small scale business. I won’t be surprised if she branches out into corporate catering. If she can do it, so can you…

**Before you decide to go full time, please remember to comply with the local government regulation pertaining to a small scale catering service.

VERIZON ACQUIRES YAHOO – IS IT ALL GOLD AND GLITTER?

 

Acquisition-COLLAGE

After a lengthy saga of bidding Verizon acquires Yahoo at $4.83 billion. This includes Yahoo’s content, search, mobile and advertising activities. Verizon already owns AOL, so everyone’s looking forward to some earth-shaking changes. Hopefully, the sale marks the beginning of a new era for Yahoo.

THE PLUS SIDE OF VERIZON-AOL-YAHOO CORPORATE SYNERGY

When you want to put two and two together to make 5 or even 10, that’s synergy! The purpose of an acquisition is to join 2 forces to get a combine power that is far greater than 4. With Verizon’s acquisition of Yahoo, the positive effects will be:

  • Streamlining their processes by eliminating duplication of processes,
  • Combining technologies to provide enhanced web and mobile services,
  • Acquiring skilled workforce of Yahoo,
  • Sharing distribution channels for their combined goods and services.

WHAT ARE THE CONCERNS NOW THAT VERIZON ACQUIRES YAHOO?

Marissa Mayer in her press release has predicted a very positive future after the Verizon-AOL-Yahoo combine. The acquisition will bring together Verizon’s mobile technology AOL/Yahoo’s search, email, video conferencing, social and advertising technologies under one roof. But when Tim Armstrong of AOL mentioned the words collective synergies, it was bound to make the workforce of Yahoo feel jittery. In the present situation there are some worrisome questions that will arise, like:

  • What happens when there is conflict in corporate culture between the three merged giants?
  • Is there guarantee that some Yahoo employees will not lose their jobs?
  • Will there be a major reshuffle of staff duties and responsibilities following the consolidation?

Yahoo is a pioneer in web portals and search engine technology. Let us hope that the three combined entities are able to bring about a revolutionary change in Internet and mobile technology without drastic changes in the workforce.