Question: Can you Make Food at Home and Sell it?

Posted by Damian Roberti on

It is Damien Roberto, and I am here to give you guys answers and questions to your food. Entrepreneur, questions, answers and questions. Well, that was a good one. All right. So if you guys did not know that we do have a podcast, you can actually stream us on multiple channels. We are on speaker Spotify, iHeart radio. You can also find us on Google podcast, cast box, Deezer, podcast, addict, pod chaser, and many other outlets. So I'll actually have links down below. If you did not know that we had a podcast, you can now follow us in, simply listened to us on the go. We have over 200 episodes uploaded already, and we've got nearly I think, 50 or 60,000 downloads. So thank you guys for the support on our podcast. So in this podcast, I wanted to cover a few questions from you guys.

These are actually questions in regards to starting a home-based food business. This is something that a lot of people since, of course last year are either out of work or looking to make additional money. And this is a great way to do that. So the question that I had of course, very, very simple. Can you make food at home and sell it? So, yes, of course you can make food at home and sell it. There are a cottage food laws, which are in place. These are laws that are set up by state and they allow you to actually produce certain food products. Now, the trick to this is though that it can not be a potentially hazardous food product as it's known. And these are items that are actually considered time sensitive or temperature sensitive. These are things that either have to be held at a certain temperature, or they have a time issue as far as their expiration, or they'll go bad in a certain period of time.

They have to be refrigerated or not. So mostly, yes, every single state, I believe New Jersey is the only state that doesn't currently have cottage food laws on the books, unfortunately. And if I'm wrong, please do let me know down below in the comments, but out of all of the the states that I'm aware of as far as cottage food, that is it. So can you make food from home and sell it? Most definitely. It is a great way to create a side hustle or even a side business, which could eventually evolve into something bigger and greater being online even, or getting into a commercial facility and moving on from there. So what can you make predominantly these are baked good items. Some, some states allow you to do salsas spices, herbs, even tea and coffee. Businesses can be done from home depending on your state and the best way to look this up to give you guys a really quick reference, go to Google type in the words, cottage, food law, and then the name of your state.

Okay. But between the first, second and third of findings, the first, second or third Google searches results, those are going to actually have information from the state. You want to look for kind of extension or a domain name. That's going to be directly from your state. There'll be more specific. Now down below in the descriptions, as I mentioned, I'll have links to our podcast, by the way, if I had mentioned that already, but check out our podcasts there, and then I'll also have a few links to other videos. We've actually done a few cottage, food state cottage food law videos on our YouTube channel as well. So you want to check those out. Okay. so once you create the food, how do you actually create a business? Number one, you need to have a business license. Now under cottage food law, multiple states do not require this.

Okay? You don't necessarily need to have a license per se to do this. And that's actually one of the great things about cottage food, but I highly recommend you get a business license, get business insurance. You need to get these for layers of protection and you need to also incorporate yourself. So you need to create some type of LLC S Corp, C Corp, whatever use that you choose to do, I would prefer. And I would recommend to you based on my own experience, that you would definitely need to get into an LLC. It's a very simple way to form. And if you're not sure how to, you should also check out Inc file. There they are right I have a discount down in the description. I'll have a link for them. Let's one of the resources that I recommend to a lot of people to definitely take a look at.

And you can actually incorporate yourself in your state, literally less than 10 minutes. Okay? But even though the state doesn't require you, even though you want to sell food from home, you should definitely have these insurance. You should have LLCs. You should have these as layers of protection, legally. Why? Well, let's say you prepare a product, or even if it's a trail mix, it doesn't matter if it's a spice blend or if you're doing herbs or a hot sauce, or even their salsa. And your state allows you to do that. And you go to a farmer's market, somebody gets sick, guess what? That's going to fall on you. Okay, that's going to be you. And that's on your responsibility. Okay. Then just because you're a cottage food, doesn't exempt you from the liability factor with a food business. So I highly recommend to do this, even though, again, as I said, most states don't necessarily require it.

Now some do, some states are pretty stringent about selling food from home, and they're going to require you to have a business license and even insurance. Okay. Even if you go to farmer's market, there are some farmer's markets that you'll go to our local events or festivals or fairs. They're going to require some proof of either insurance or even a business license that you have to show the, believe it or not, because farmer's markets can dictate their own rules and regulations. Of course, they have business rules and they have zoning issues with the state and local city and counties, of course. But at the end of the day, they can call the shots. So farmer's markets say, look, you're going to start a food business from home. You want to sell this great, bring your products in, but you need to show us proof that you're a business.

Okay. And you don't have that, or you incorporated, and you don't have that. I mean, so all of these things, even sometimes proof of insurance farmer's markets, because they're going to want to pass that liability onto you. It doesn't fall on the farmer's market for responsibility. If somebody gets sick or has an allergic reaction. Okay. So how do you promote and how do you market a home-based food business? That's the next question? So that's a great question too, as well, because you're local. Now, I would say turn to Facebook specifically, Facebook. Why? Because you can specifically set up a page dedicated to your home-based food business and you can do it within the zip code that you're at. You could do it within the county or city. And then that way you can actually update that you go to local farmers event, that's down the street.

You can let everybody know who follows you on Facebook page. That I'm going to be at this one on Saturday. Then the next Saturday I'll be at this other event, or I'll be at this festival. There may be a food truck event, and you can set up a tent and sell food products. So marketing through Facebook and creating your own page, tap into local Facebook pages. Okay. There's community pages dedicated to obviously the community that you live in. You want to be a part of those communities because it is a great free way. Plus getting great exposure locally to let people know, Hey, I have a home-based food business. I can make food from home and sell it at local farmer's markets. Now I realized I started my business, check us out. We're doing jams or jellies, whatever it is. But marketing through Facebook specifically, Twitter is a little different.

I don't think you can necessarily tap into that for a localized way to market. Facebook is such a, a great social platform for the local businesses and local groups. If you have a church group that you're associated with locally, and they've got thousands of parishioners to be a part of that group, okay, let people know, Hey, come out, support me. I'm going to be at the farmer's market right next to the church or whatever it may be. But local is localizing your marketing campaigns and localizing your marketing ideas is going to help you with your local home-based food business. Okay. So Damien, what exactly can I sell it? Like how much can I sell a year now? That's another great question, too. Every state dictates how much you can sell as a home-based food business. If you're starting to make food from home, or you're selling food at fairs and farmer's markets or local events, they're going to dictate how much you can make.

Some states have a very low minimum, believe it or not, or maximum. Unfortunately, some of them around six, seven, 8,000, even 10,000 Florida, for instance, just when I believe from 50,000, up to 225,000 or 200,000, which is amazing. Some states have unlimited. They don't even limit you. I believe. And I could be wrong. A double checked a couple of days ago Texas or Arizona has a limitless amount of amount of money that you can actually make. And if I'm wrong, please let me know down below in the comments or let me know on our podcast, but definitely do that. You need to check into how much you can make. Why? Well, because eventually you're going to have to take, take that and you're going to have to pay taxes on that income. So be aware that you are a business, even though you're a cottage food business, even though yes, you could definitely, you know, selling fruit from home is, is something that's been prosperous for me.

Listen to "How do you Price food products to sell_ How to Calculate Food Cost for a Recipe" on Spreaker.

I've been making a lot of money doing it. I've been doing great. Do you need to be aware that eventually you're going to have to pay taxes on that? Okay. Down the road, the IRS will allow you actually, when you first start, you can pass that income through as an LLC, you can pass that income through as your own social security number. Okay. But you do have to account for your income. And once you hit that maximum, then you need to probably start looking into a commercial kitchen and renting it because you've maxed out what the state has allowed you to make every year. And that's something you definitely don't want to overdo because then you'll end up getting a little bit in trouble for that too, as well. So next step, if you're going to sell food from home, how are you going to package it?

This is something that a lot of people don't realize, but you do obviously need to package your product. And if you're going to create a small food business from home, that is something that's a starting point. You know, you're not going to be there forever. If this is your passion and you love to do it, you sure you're going to be in a commercial kitchen. You're going to be online. And maybe even retail stores, believe it or not. Even some states allow you to sell food directly to retail stores. As a matter of fact, that's something that I believe the state of Florida does as well as the state of Florida is very lenient on the types of laws they have for cottage food businesses. So if you can make a product to get home and sell it locally to retailers, even restaurants or sell it as the cafes or coffee shops, you need to have a package.

You need to have a logo and you need to have a brand. Now, all this may sound like, wait a minute. Now this is getting complicated. It's not exactly down below in the description. Take a look also I'll put this on the podcast and then also put it on our YouTube. I'll upload this on YouTube, but you need to also definitely take a look at getting a brand or a logo created on fiber. It's very inexpensive. It does not cost much. I've actually done. I think now we're up to about 30 or 35 times. I've used fiber for different projects. Get yourself a logo on there. You can get one even for 15 to 20 bucks on the low end. And they're pretty decent to get started. And remember, you can always change and evolve that, but the packaging, whatever the product is that you're making, do you need to think, is it a bag?

Is it a plastic container? Is it a squeeze pack? If you're doing spices, is it a glass bottle, spice, a bottle? Or are you doing a plastic one? How are you going to seal it? Lid. All of these things are other things you need to think about when you're doing a, a food business from home. And the idea that you can make money at home selling food is a good one, but you need to make it look professional and you need to carry yourself as that. Don't do it at something like that. You know, I'm just trying to do it to make a quick buck real quick for the next couple of months. And then I'm done. If you really want to do this as a business, you need to take it serious and you need to do that as well. So packaging logo branding, next up website.

Yes, you do need to have a website, even though you're a home-based food business. If you're selling food from home, you should have a website. You know why? Because it adds validity to what you do. It validates what you do as a business. And it's going to make you look more professional. Okay? So there's no sense in doing this in a way that's people are not going to take you serious. They're not going to buy your product. It's just like any other product or service. If you bring yourself to marketplace and you look professional doing it, people are going to take you serious and you can actually expand your business. So having a website allows you to be ready in a sense for e-commerce. Now you can't create an e-commerce website just yet from home because you can't legally ship food, overstate lines, that's illegal, but you can create a website that is informative, that it lets people know who you are and what you do.

And even the backstory. One of the biggest reasons why food businesses succeed or fail is their backstory. People love to hear the stories, the story of how you started, what you had to overcome. Why are you doing this? Why is this food product such a passion of yours? Maybe it's the recipe you've had for four generations, whatever it may be. It doesn't matter. But those backstories on your website gives people even more motivation to buy products from you or meet you at that farmer's market. Plus you can use a website to update every day that you're going to be at a certain you know, this coming weekend. I'm going to be at this event X event. I'm going next weekend in March and April. I'll be here, here, here. It's a very good way to keep in contact. Plus you can link your Facebook and all your social media accounts with your website.

And that of course has some SEO benefits too, but that's a whole nother podcast. So you've got that done. You've got your license. You get your insurance, take yourself seriously. If you're going to start selling food from home, yes, you can do that. Go to Google, find out specifically what your state allows, see how much they're gonna allow you to do. And then if there's any other permits or legalities and things that you need to do to take care of those and get started, of course, any, any entrepreneur experience is always going to be a challenge. You're not going to have answers every single time. I'm 12 years into doing this. And I still have a ton of questions about what to do this one. So constantly learning and understanding of the entrepreneurial experience and journey is definitely going to take you far. You need to be patient.

You need to enjoy the process. Don't always look towards the end goal. The point from a to B the middle part is the most important part. And that's the part that you actually should be aware of. You should love the process. Get excited about getting a permit, get excited about the bag, get excited about your logo. Every aspect of it. That's, what's driven me to create six e-commerce businesses and I've gone from nothing and even overcoming financial hardships with my wife to try to start this business and now into multiple six-figure businesses that we have. It's not an easy road, trust me, but if you've got to get started on it, but I can definitely tell you this. If you change the direction of what you're doing now, because you don't like it and you dread it so much 10 years from now, if you continue to do the same thing you're doing, are you going to be happy?

Probably not. If you've taken a risk and enjoy the ride and you enjoy the excitement of starting a business, thinking for yourself, being an entrepreneur, trust me, it's gonna be much more fulfilling than you can ever imagine. Money may come and go. It's not about that. It's about the excitement of doing something that you really want to do. Plus you just doing it, not having to go to a job and have someone tell you what to do. You have the ability to think for yourself and do what you'd like to do. So I'll wrap up this podcast. And as always, like I said before, you guys definitely check out marketing food online. I've got those links down below for, or the, the handful of different places you can find us online as well. And soon we'll be on apple. I've applied to get our podcast on apple. I haven't got back word yet, but we're on multiple multiple platforms right now, which is good. So I'll see you guys on our next podcast and check out our YouTube channel. I'll upload this onto YouTube and you guys can definitely enjoy that content as well.

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