Starting a Cottage Food Business

Starting a Cottage Food Business

food business
Photo by Elevate on Unsplash

One of the things that recent times have taught us is that you have to rely on yourself in life. Many people have become unemployed recently and it looks like jobs that pay simply will not be coming back. Our thriving economic boom has suddenly gone bust, leaving so many without the money to pay for basics like food and rent. Numerous business sectors have been affected by the downturn. The airline, tourism, and hospitality sectors have been decimated as stay-at-home orders became the norm. Even now that these orders have been lifted, we are still seeing visitor counts that are just a fraction of what they were before. Other industries have furloughed large numbers of workers. In this current environment, you have to look for ways to adapt going forward.

Fortunately, there are options that allow you to create a home-based business that can thrive in these times. Most states have cottage or homemade food laws that allow entrepreneurs to prepare and sell some food items that they make at home. Although laws vary by each state, in most cases the foods you can make must not contain ingredients that could easily spoil and the item must not require refrigeration. Even with these restrictions, there are a wide variety of items you can create and offer to a marketplace hungry for comfort food. You can bake delicious bread and cookies or prepare specialty jams and preserves. It’s also possible to make tortillas, biscuits and other baked goods that do not contain meat fillings, cream or custard. Some cottage businesses specialize in candy and chocolate covered nuts and dried fruits.

food business
Photo by ZACHARY STAINES on Unsplash

Use Technology to Save You Time and Money

In order to promote your cottage business and get the word out about the wonderful food you offer; you’ll want to create a website that showcases what you have to offer. Free online programs such as Pixlr will help you create beautiful images for each item you sell. You’ll also want to run some targeted social media ads that focus on reaching consumers in your immediate geographic area. In your new venture, you’re also going to have a lot of online meetings with prospective suppliers. Most likely, you’ll connect via Zoom and do videoconference calls. It’s important to have a record of what was said and what agreements were made. Fortunately, you can transcribe Zoom meeting content by using a transcription service to save time and go from video to write up in seconds.

Get the Proper Certificates and Licenses

As a home-based business that’s producing food, you are going to need to make sure that you have the required permits and licenses. While the rules differ in each state, in general, you may need both a business certificate and your business license. The certificate helps assure the area health department and the general public that you know how to safely prepare and store food. With your business license, you are registering with the city or county so that they can collect a fee from your venture and can also assure you that you pay the required sales tax on the products you sell. It also helps them know that you are aware of all local rules for your type of enterprise.

Jenny Fulbright

Jenny Fulbright

Jenny Fulbright is a writer for PowerHomeBiz.com.

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