Starting home business? You must have these 7 things!

This is a brief article touching on some of the most important things you need to think about when it comes to actually starting a home business. My focus with this website, and this article, is Affiliate Marketing or Online Marketing.   I titled the article:   Starting Home Business Starting home business

That is because I work from my home, from vacation, from wherever I am if I choose, and it is always on my schedule. A successful home business online requires only a laptop and an internet connection!

If you are not familiar with exactly what Affiliate Marketing is, the entire process of affiliate marketing is explained in my article here:  INTERNET AFFILIATE MARKETING – DEFINITION & ILLUSTRATION   If you are not familiar with the affiliate marketing process, you can take a look at that article to get an understanding.  Feel free to bookmark this site and come back to see all the great material, and free resources, that I share with you on these pages.

So let’s get started with the ten things you must have for your new business:

1. You must have goals

Starting home business

Look, it’s great to be impulsive sometimes, but when it comes to making money online, you want to have real short-term and long-term goals. Please keep in mind that once you start making money from your website, you will have to claim taxes on that income. You will need to keep records. Get organized and be positive. Positive that if you do this right, you will make real money. So what’s the end goal here? Do you want to be making $100 a month or $15,000 a month? Do you want to retire and do this full-time, or do you want to build it and sell it?

Set some goals. Do some short-term goals, i.e. to have one website with 20 pages built in 2 months. This is just an example. Everyone is different with different amounts of time to designate to this pursuit, so you need to set your personal short-term and long-term goals. Long terms goals can be out six-months, a year, perhaps 5 years.

Goals are Adjustable

You may set a goal of 20 pages in two months and then find you’ve completed 20 pages in one month. Adjust your goals going forward once you have an idea of how long it will take you to accomplish certain tasks.

Let’s treat this, from Day 1, like a business.



2. You must have a schedule

Starting home business

This is absolutely critical. For me, my schedule is pretty much whenever I’m not obligated to help someone, babysit my grandchildren, or attend social gatherings with family or friends. This is my passion, my enjoyment, and my income, so you will find me here, researching and writing content whenever I have free time. What about you? How much time do you have to devote to this business?

What I want you to do is write down, on paper, on a calendar, in your phone, I don’t care, but write down on each day the block or blocks of time you plan to devote to working on your business. Treat this like it is a job, and you have to show up! When someone wants to intrude on that time, you can simply say, “Oh, I can’t at that time, I’ll be working, but how about later that same day?”

Plan your schedule a week in advance and be realistic. You do not want to burn out because you will never get in front of your computer to work again. So be real. You can always work “overtime!” If you truly center your niche around a passion of yours, then you will truly be successful because you really will make your “work” schedule a priority in your life because you will enjoy it!

3. You must have time

Starting home business


I just discussed this above about being realistic about your time, but in reality, you really do have to devote a big chunk of your time to developing your website and getting it going if you want to make money from it. So how quickly you begin to make that money depends on how much time you can put into it.

Sometimes we have to prioritize our time, right? How important to you is getting your online business producing income? I would say the more important it is to you, the more time you will find to work on it. It’s funny how that works!

4. Your niche must meet these criteria

Your niche. I will talk about that a lot here, so if you want a detailed explanation about niches, you can read my article about that here:   WHAT IS A NICHE AND HOW TO CHOOSE –  This article will explain all about a good niche, but just briefly here I will tell you that the “niche” is your theme, your subject, the topic of your website. Examples would be BESTDOGFOOD.COM or FINDHAIRPRODUCTS.COM – it can literally be anything. My one niche is youthful lifestyle. That’s it – I can write about exercise, mental health, beauty products, vitamins, food, you name it! It’s a great niche.

Starting home business

So here’s the criteria for your niche, you have to have one of the following:

1) have a great passion for the subject (niche)

2) know a lot about the subject

3) want to learn about the subject

Let me explain why you must have one of these three criteria to be successful at affiliate marketing.  TIME!  Your time. You won’t want to devote a lot of your valuable time building a website about women’s stockings and socks if that is really not your interest. So think carefully and read the article about how to choose a niche. It will really help you narrow that down.

5. You must keep track of your posts

If you are just starting out, I know you can get multiple websites with Wealthy Affiliate for free, but I suggest you focus your efforts on one website to begin with, and then, once you have a good handle on posting regularly, and your site has 20 or more posts, you might consider adding a second niche website, depending on your time.

If you have multiple websites, this becomes even more important because you have so much to keep track of, and it can start to get confusing.

I use Excel sheets to keep track of everything. They are searchable (you can literally search your computer for keywords, and it will pull up every document and picture in your computer with that word or phrase in it! Therefore, using excel is the easiest way to quickly retrieve data. With Excel, you can put links into the excel sheets for all your posts and your affiliate links for all your products, and you can color code them all, so I find Excel to be an extremely useful tool. I will continue to share my excel spreadsheets throughout future posts on this subject. Be sure to subscribe to this website, and then you’ll receive an email whenever a new post is made.

I’ve placed a screen capture below here that you can take a look at. I brought it way down small so I could get most of the columns in. You will see on the left side is the title of the post and the date it was posted. Next are the number of comments (post comments for that article), and then comes my marketing area. Each column represents a social media platform, and I put in a date and highlight the box if the article has been shared on that platform. The comments columns represent whether I have requested comments from my fellow members in the Wealthy Affiliate community.

Comments build your credibility with Google and enhance your ranking in the search engines. Starting home business

Starting home business


6. You must meet the terms of your Affiliate Agreements

This is one of the most important things you must do if you are to be successful as an Affiliate Marketer. You have to read and understand your various Affiliate Agreements. This agreement sets terms under which you must adhere or the merchant can revoke the agreement and ban you from ever being their affiliate again.

You should keep a copy of each affiliate agreement on your computer in a folder. Just open a word document, a notepad, whatever you can paste content onto and save on your computer, and name it [NAME OF COMPANY] – AFFILIATE AGREEMENT and do this for each company you enter into an affiliate agreement with to sell their products. Now go to their affiliate agreement, which you will probably find in your account with them, or in an email from them, or reach out to your representative for the company to obtain a copy for your folder, copy and paste the entire agreement onto the word doc. Save this in a file, you can read below about how to set up your files on your computer. Super easy.

READ EACH AGREEMENT and adhere to it to the letter. Err on the side of caution because the last thing you want is to lose your ability to sell products for a large distributor that could potentially have made you thousands of dollars. Be wise and, again, treat this like the business you want it to be!

I have affiliate agreements for all products that I link to on this website.  You can read my affiliate disclosure here:  AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE

7. You must keep organized files on your computer

It is important for you to keep documents on your computer. I am going to be doing an article soon regarding setting up the documents on your computer. You have to be organized.

So as an example of my file structure, I have a folder labeled AFFILIATE MARKETING in my DOCUMENTS area. Inside the AFFILIATE MARKETING folder, I have several folders, one of which is labeled AFFILIATE COMPANIES. Inside this folder I have a folder for each company, so for example, I have one that says AMAZON.COM on it, and inside it I keep the individual folders for each product I sell through my affiliate agreement with See an illustration below of my computer filing system.

Starting home business


Inside each individual company folder I keep the affiliate agreement and then I keep a folder for each individual product I am marketing for that company. I keep the pictures, the affiliate links, the HTML code, whatever information I have for that product to market it, I keep it.

BONUS:    You must have guidance and education on the business

Starting home business

Even experienced affiliate marketers sometimes fall short of their true potential because they really don’t have the proper guidance, tools or education regarding this business. That’s why I recommend throughout this website that you use the Wealthy Affiliate platform to get you going. You want to have an education about how to do each step in detail so that you do it right.

The Wealthy Affiliate platform takes you step by step in detail, with videos literally showing you exactly how to do it, you could open a new window, go to your website, and follow it exactly for each task, they make it that clear. You will learn exactly how to set up your free website, and it’s all free. They don’t even ask for your credit card information.  Now, you can always upgrade to their Premium Membership, but if you want to maintain a free membership, you can do that for as long as you want and maintain your websites. It’s a great way to get started because there are numerous financial benefits to working with them as far as optimizing your website.

If you want to know more about Wealthy Affiliate, read this article here:

Starting home business


I am a member of the Wealthy Affiliate community, and I can tell you, there is nothing but value in the entire platform.  I have been marketing online for many years, and I have tried many programs to help with my online businesses.

With Wealthy Affiliate, I have yet to discover a down side to the program, and I highly recommend it personally.   Read all about the platform and then when you do sign up, please post on my member wall and let me know.  I’d love to hear from you!

Comments Welcome

Starting home business

Please be sure to subscribe to this website, and you will then receive an email notification whenever a new article is published. I am here to bring you up-to-date information on the world of affiliate marketing, so if you have any questions or want to leave a comment, please do so in the box below!

I would really like to hear about your new business idea!

You can also email me at

Starting home business

Babs Wagner

Born in Texas, raised in upstate New York, I have been marketing for my entire adult life.I have decided to share all the information I have gathered on what works in affiliate marketing, and what doesn't because I want to let the world know that working online gives you the freedom to work from anywhere, and that is exactly what I do!

Starting out can be tough, I know, so I will also be sharing lots of free resources to get you going.I am dedicated to providing this information to my readers, and I hope you always feel free to reach out to me.

Thanks for visiting my page!


  1. This is a comprehensive article laying down the steps that affiliate marketers must take to succeed online. First you need a goal and to treat your online marketing as a bonafide business, and not just a hobby. This step is essential. Setting a schedule is extremely important in my online business because if I don’t set aside blocks of time to write or work on my website, I’ll likely get distracted. 

    Many people think that affiliate marketing doesn’t require much time and effort, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. It requires large amounts of both, along with a huge dose of dedication and commitment. I’m happy to know that my niche fits the requirements you outlined, I do have quite a bit of knowledge under my belt, which makes creating content a pleasure rather than a chore. 

    Finally, guidance and education are key, and I’m so blessed to have joined Wealthy Affiliate because it has taught me the skills I need to be successful online. Thank you for this great post!

  2. Hi Babs, I totally agree with all of the 7 things that you list.  I try to set goals for myself and what I want to achieve with my online business, but I mostly set short term goals and need to work on long term goals.  Setting a schedule is very important, and sticking to it.  Often when you work from home there can be many distractions, and it’s hard to find time to work on your business., but like you mentioned it is your job and you need to show up and do the work.

  3. You have outlined what you need very well. I did learn that I should be using spread sheets or excel I really liked that idea. Bookmarked your site I found a lot of useful information in your article that can help me. Thank you

  4. You seem very well organized.  This is very valuable information.  

    I agree Wealthy Affiliate is one of the best programs out there.With access to tools like Jaaxy and a whole community of helpful people.

    Anytime that you need help there is someone there to reach out to.  You can ask all the questions that you want and find that there a lot of people willing to help.

  5. This is exactly what I need today. A reminder that website development really needs huge chunks of time. Sometimes when other demands get the better of me, I get stressed up because I’m not spending enough time working on my site. So I guess I really have to make time for this, turn down some social gatherings, etc. Basically prioritizing things, so that I don’t become an octopus, with too many things on my hands. 

    And I must say, I am TRULY impressed by how organized you are! From the excel spreadsheets to the documents folders in your computer, I really have so much to learn from you! In comparison, I’m just a big mess, haha! I don’t have any sense of organization at all, just write and post whatever comes to mind, share on social media if I can ever find some time, and that’s it, that’s me.. I’ll be looking forward to your future posts on excel spreadsheets. 

    1. Thank you for reminding me – I am going to do a page on excel for you guys.  I’m going to incorporate more on file organization.  I think file organization is so important.  It makes it so easy for me to write my blog posts and gather important research all in one folder.

  6. Babs,

    I think you have articulately outlined a way for someone to start thinking about starting an online business. I personally had to take some of the advice for myself. I too have a website on WA, but my goals arent really crystal clear. I Want to dedicate time to my website like you have to yours. It looks extremely professional and it looks like youve done a great job already with valuable information and comments on your site. I wish you the best of luck!

  7. These seven points are all important and helpful when it comes to affiliate marketing. You do need to create the time and put in the effort. Wealthy Affiliate is a great place to learn from and to get support from a friendly community, this really makes a difference and makes you feel that you are not on your own. For anyone starting out, it can be daunting to know where to begin, but this platform is fantastic. 

  8. Hi Babs,

    This is a well organized informative article.  On a personal note.  I work for a web design company and the owner describes his goals in each staff meeting.  Also, he uses a daily schedule / calendar to organize his time.  I’m new at affiliate marketing so choosing a niche was a harder process than what I thought it would be.  I like your criteria for choosing a niche and the fact that TIME is so crucial when building out your niche.  I had not really given any thought to organizing and keeping track of posts, but, your method, using Excel, is very creative.  Finally, I agree with you that Wealthy Affiliate is the best way to learn affiliate marketing.  The training and community of experts has been a great benefit for my learning process.    


  9. Great article you have written here. I have people asking all the time what are the first things they must do and know when starting their own at home business, and you nailed it. You MUST have goals. I set both short term and long term goals, and review quarterly to see what I have met, what I have not, what strategies I need to implement to make changes if I have not met my goal, so that I can meet it by next quarter. I write it all down on pen and paper, and put the actionable steps of those goals into my planner/calendar. Being able to see all the goals laid out on a calendar planner is so helpful in making your own schedule, because you know when you’re busy working, when you’re available, and there’s no conflicts. I think building boundaries with family and friends is also important. I think because we work from home, sometimes people think, well you can work any time, and sometimes family and friends can cut into the allotted time we have set for work. I think as important as family and friends are, we also need to establish with them that we DO indeed WORK from home, and there’s a time for everything. Knowing what time you have to invest into your home business is essential. I wanted to make sure my work did not cut into family quality time, so I would work when my daughter was napping, at school, and after she went to bed. It looks different for everyone. I love your excel sheet. I personally use TRELLO for organizing and keeping track of blogs. I love it, keeps me so organized and on point from start to finish. And YES, computer file organization is so important! I also have mine completely categorized and organized. Overall, I can vouch for Wealthy Affiliate, definitely an amazing community with lots of tools and resources for those seeking to start their home business as an affiliate marketer.

  10. This was a great article!  I think the content was well organized and detailed to express key aspects of starting an online/at-home business.  The graphics were relevant and eye-catching and I really felt like I walked away learning more about how affiliate marketing has essential benefits as well.  I have bookmarked your page and will use it as a reference from time to time as I have not found another site that has broken things down the way you have.

    Thanks for sharing!


  11. I also use a spreadsheet to run my business, and as you say it is a very useful tool.

    I don’t go to the extent of colour coding like you do but my data is organised in a way that I understand, and I think that is important.

    In my previous business ventures I re-organised completely the data structure of a small business so that they could actually find their data. Previously they had all of their data in one folder!

    Now whilst I am preaching the virtues of data organisation I must admit that my personal and business scheduling isn’t up to scratch. You are right about this being important too, as I find frequently that I jump from task to task with no particular plan in mind. We can’t all be perfect, but to be successful in business these things must be continuously worked on, don’t you agree?

    I will follow your site to gain some more knowledge from you and apply it to my business.

  12. Hi there, very informative article! I liked the information and thought they were really good tips, especially the setting goals part. I personally do affiliate marketing and can personally say it seems like a great way to make money, I’m currently working on building out my website. What is your favourite part of affiliate marketing?

  13. This is a great outline for anyone looking to start in the online business world. It’s refreshing to see a website with real information on how to get started, and not just some scammy sales page. I totally agree with the steps you’ve written out here. 

    Letting people know that creating a successful online presence isn’t done over night is really setting them up for success right out of the gate. You are actually helping others by offering these steps and all of these free resources. Also, this information is right on time, as so many people are looking to work from home.

  14. I fully agree that having a schedule and goals is very Important as it can help you become MUCH more productive, which will let you start becoming successful that much sooner.

    Also as the bonus tip you mentioned (having proper training) is just as important because you can be the hardest worker in the world , but if you’re building a business online all wrong, it won’t make any difference.

    Anyways thanks again for these great tips and I think everyone can learn a lot from what you wrote! 🙂

  15. I always have believed it is a good day if you learn something new. Being an affiliate marketer you are always learning something new, and this article did that.

    I HATE not being organized. Drives me insane!!! Keeping up what products you have posted about can and will be hard after a while. Your system is amazing. I wanted to say thank you so much for sharing that.

    Aside from the organization, all of your tips are DEFINITELY a must. Keeps you on task, motivated and organized. I like to write my goals down and post it somewhere in my work area to remind myself what I am aiming for as to not lose track of that. Sitting down to write something and havingtroubles finding the right words can be frustrating. Having my goals in front of me helps.

  16. Hi Babs! You have a lot of useful content on your site! I have been reading some of your posts and in each one I find valuable things concerning affiliate marketing or earning income online.

    Particularly these 7 tips are very helpful. The 6th and 7th have put me to think. I’ll go over and check those agreements you mention. I don’t want to violate them. And as time goes by and we start to write more posts, and promote more products, things will get a bit disorganized. It’s important to create these folders you suggest from the very beginning. Thank you very much!

  17. Hi Babs, your article was great, I just save it on my favorite bar, so many good tips, I just started on my online marketing business and I love how clear and well done your post is, I am also using wealthy affiliate as my source for marketing training, it is one of the best system online. I hope to see more of good information soon, good luck to you !!

    1. Good luck to you in your new venture!  Please come back often.  You can subscribe on the sidebar, and you’ll get notification of any new posts.   – Babs

  18. Thank you for sharing the tips! Using Spreadsheet has never come across in my mind, you are a genius!! I need to be more organized from now on. Luckily, my website is still very new so I can easily start filing all the links 🙂 The only challenge that I have now is mostly time, I will organize my time better so I can spend quality developing my site. 


    1. Time is something we all struggle with.  Make a list of what you want to accomplish and time block so you get the most important steps completed first.  I am going to be writing an article on time management, so be sure to subscribe to the site so you don’t miss it.  I will be giving my readers some valuable tips.   – Babs

  19. Great content once more Babs.

    Many people think that this whole online thing is not a business, they never treat it as such, and then they end up failing and complaining that they have been scammed.

    In order to succeed you need to devote time and energy. Lots of it or maybe all of it!

    There no other way around.

    The training you follow is very important. Without the right one, the chances of failing increase dramatically.

    I’ve looked around, and Wealthy Affiliate is by far one of the few truly legitimate programs out there.  I’ve seen nothing but good reviews online.  It’s been around a long time.


  20. Hey Babs,

    Great post with important points to take care of your business besides offering knowledge base for affiliate marketing.

    Goals are important and tracking the goals digitally are even equally or more important.

    I love the section of affiliate disclosure: knowing it and keeping a track of it. 

    I have read so many people are impacted by it, even losing affiliate partnership.

    Thank you for teaching and creating awareness about important stuff. 

    1. Yes, people often forget to run their business like a business.  Taking the time to keep track of everything is very important.  Thanks for stopping by, Anusuya!   – Babs

  21. Hi Babs; Very informative article. I agree that a thriving business must have set goals Something that is workable.

    I do believe that the more time that you spend in business will determine the level of success you will get from the company.

    I admired your use of Excel on your site. I never even think of such powerful input into my business.

    The way you set it  will prove rewarding in the long run. Keep up your excellent work Babs   Shallom,


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