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When you’re looking to start a home-based food business, there’s so much to think about, from the best food products to sell online to how to build your website. You need to look at the competition in your area to help you decide what you’re going to sell as well as consider your own preferences and what you love to cook.
When looking at how to start a small food business at home, you need to consider how to price your food and how to package it, especially if you’re selling it online and you need it to arrive in top condition.
To ensure you’re selling food legally, you’ll need to set up a business, choose your Doing Business As (DBA) name, get the right sort of insurance for your home food business, and make sure you have a plan to ensure success.
You can sell food from home and online, depending on your state but, as with starting any business, preparation is the key.
You can find out more in our mini-guide on How to Start an Online Food Business.
When you’re thinking about how to sell food online, one other thing that you must look at is whether or not you need a permit to sell food from home. There are rules on selling food from home which come under cottage food laws or food freedom laws that regulate sales in the U.S.
Things do change, sometimes rapidly, so you need to check with your local Department of Health or Department of Agriculture to see what you need to comply with in your area.
Depending on your state, and sometimes even your county, you may find that you need to tailor your home kitchen to suit food preparation, including having separate equipment for your business and for cooking for yourself. Some states require a separate hand washing sink, some states ban pets from the kitchen, and yet others will need a whole kitchen sink’s worth of paperwork before you can get started, including a kitchen layout plan, list of your ingredients, recipes, and more.
You can find more help by joining our online community, The Kitchen, where you can chat with other home cooks and bakers, swap tips, and network with other food businesses, just like yours.
You’re not just doing this as a hobby, so hopefully, you’re also looking for help on how to make money selling food from home. Well, you’ve come to the right place. Here we’re going to help you with marketing resources to help you get attention and bring in the dollars with your home food business.
You could use sites like Canva for making outstanding graphics to show off your business and promote that you’re selling homemade food online. While you can pay for the pro version, each site has a free version that does more than enough to get you started. You can create recipe cards to pin on Pinterest, images and memes to go with your social media posts and blog posts, and more. You can make well-branded graphics to promote the product of the week, to promote any offers, and to show off what you’re making for Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, or other main holidays and events.
On that note, take a look at these handy events calendars:
You’ll find all sorts of unusual and interesting national and international days and months that you can use to spark ideas for blog posts, tailored products, and other promo ideas.
Did you know, for example, that 25th February this year is National Pancake Day, or that 12th April is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day? You could create a special dish around each day, write a blog post to talk about the day and what you’ve made, and share it on social media.
One other thing that can get your website found and attract the right clients is Search Engine Optimization or SEO. Getting your SEO right can push your site to rank higher in the search engines and get you found on local search, just where your potential customers are looking. Don’t panic if you’re not a tech genius. We’ve got you covered with our handy blog post, SEO Tips to Get Your Local Food Business In Front of Customers. Moz also has a guide that takes you from absolute beginner through everything you could possibly want to know about SEO.
Get more ideas on how to sell food from home from our blog post, How to Grow Sales for Your Online Food Business.
One other thing that we highly recommend is taking advantage of food selling websites, such as Castiron. We provide a free platform where you can quickly and easily create your food business website and get selling home cooked food to the public in no time. And we help you track inventory and allergens, such as eggs and gluten, you can take online payments, track customer information, and we’ll even help you sell with automated email, social media, and SEO tools.
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