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How to Sell Food From Home

If you're like many people who were displaced from their careers as a result of the pandemic, you may be in no hurry to rejoin the rat race — and you may be doing a lot of daydreaming about how to start your own business instead. You probably also know that starting a business involves substantial financial risk as well as significant start-up costs. If you've always dreamed of starting your own food-based business such as a bakery or cafe, it's likely that you're feeling more discouraged than ever about these types of business ventures, especially since the pandemic shone an extremely bright light on just how vulnerable these businesses are.

However, you don't have to give up your dreams of owning and operating your own culinary business, and you can do so without the risks and red tape of going the traditional route. Many talented culinary professionals who worked in restaurants, cafes, bakeries, etc. prior to the pandemic, as well as those without any specific industry experience, have decided to open home based food business rather than enter or return to the post-COVID work environment. Here's what you need to know:

The Benefits of Opening a Home-Based Food Business

For those who can manage their time well and have good organizational skills, there are many advantages of owning and operating their own home culinary business. You'll be able to set your own production schedule, won't have to commute, and won't have the stress of working for someone else. But there are less obvious benefits as well, including the following.

Increased scalability

Home based businesses are usually able to ride external twists and turns better than their traditional counterparts. If there's a downturn in the economy, for instance, you'll be able to scale back more quickly, and you won't have to continually hire and lay off employees to accommodate market fluctuations. Additionally, you'll be able to pivot to accommodate customer preference and culinary trends, and in the case of a resurgence of COVID or another public health crisis, you'll be going strong when your counterparts are struggling.

Increased opportunity for growth

Unless you're a star chef or happen to inherit a substantial amount of money, culinary jobs tend to top out after a few years. With your own business, you can control how large or small you want it to be and what direction you want it to go in.

Increased life satisfaction

Most people who develop their own home businesses report having a better work/life balance and an increased overall sense of satisfaction with their lives. If food is one of your passions, it'll also provide you with a creative outlet.

By now, you're probably wondering how to sell food from home. Here's what you need to know.

How to Start a Cottage Food Business

The regulations and rules for selling food from home vary per state, so be sure to look up your state's cottage food laws. You may need a business license, and your kitchen may have to be certified by your local health department. Laws governing selling food from home are typically different for different types of food as well. In general, the requirements for getting a permit to sell food from home are reasonable and easy to achieve.

Selling Homemade Food Online

Home based food businesses are usually allowed to sell to individuals rather than to other businesses. Traditional sales venues include farmers markets, swap meets, community fairs and festivals, and roadside stands. However, it's important not to overlook online marketplaces as a source of customers for your products. There are any number of food selling websites you can use, and you can also start your own social media page to promote your business. Most people use a combination of these.

How to Market Food Products Online

The first thing any fledgling entrepreneur in the culinary field needs to know is that quality visuals are essential to successfully selling homemade food online. Accurate but flattering photos of food make mouths water far better than even the most tantalizing prose. Those who can afford it should consider hiring a professional photographer. The other essential element in crafting a successful cottage food business is a good app for selling home cooked food.

The ideal app for selling home cooked food online should cover everything from inventory management, online payments from customers, real time notification of orders, and compliance with all applicable local, state, and federal rules and regulations. Think of it as a silent business partner who handles the heavy lifting involved in the administrative side of the business while you do what you do best — create delicious food.

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