You've already received some great advice here "T" so we'll see if I can add anything to it:
1) Don't just "take your chances." Please, for your own sake, cover your bases on the legal side of things. I know that in my city (in Canada), when you buy a business license for a home based business (and maybe even for a commercially zoned location), the newspaper runs an ad letting everyone know. This way, if your neighbours complain and you are in fact operating the type of business you said you were going to, the city can say "you were told" (kind of). Perhaps I'm a little bit conservative, but why risk your life dream just to save some steps in the beginning? So not worth it.
2) Buy a business license, register/protect your name, incorporate if you think it's necessary, talk to an attorney, get service contracts drawn up, etc etc. It's a drag but really, again, soooooo worth your time and money (just get a good lawyer who won't hose you. LOL).
3) Do you have a business plan? Even just a brief one? There are lots of good templates around the net to get you started and the process of putting together a business plan will force you to answer some important questions now rather than on the fly later (like while you're dealing with a tough customer but have no idea what your modus operandi is).
Some of the things that a business plan should cover (again, it doesn't have to be a dissertation, just organized, succinct, somewhat original):
- your key business objectives (why do you want to do this? what are your long term goals?)
- how you will meet those objectives, including a marketing plan
- a well defined target market (marketing)
- how you plan to attract and retain that client base (marketing)
- price strategy / promotional strategy / service portfolio (marketing)
- legal structure
- projected startup costs (this always
- proforma income statement including forecasted expenses
- cashflow projection for at least the first year of operations (no cashflow, no business ... probably one of the biggest reasons small busiensses have to close their doors before their 5 year anniversary: they're busy as h*@l but can't pay the bills. Cashflow is different than revenue or profit!
That should get you started
... but keep the questions coming!