48. Cloud-based scheduling software: StormSource Software is one such option. Some of its features include self-scheduling, which allows individuals to book their own services online; automated email and text message reminders sent prior to scheduled appointment times; online customer payment options; record-keeping and reporting capabilities; and e-marketing functionality. And because it’s cloud-based, it’s accessible from anywhere.
Building a solid customer base is much easier said than done. At the heart of the process is creating an organization that values its current customers and goes out of its way to ensure their satisfaction and happiness. Customers are smart — they can tell whether they are high or low on a company’s list of priorities. If they sense that you don’t care much about whether they do business with you, they’ll likely jump ship as soon as another company that really does care about them comes along.
I have always loved a bargain and enjoy shopping around for the best deals before committing to a purchase. Over the years, I have negotiated with suppliers for the best prices and services for my clients. Now, I had to do it for my own business. As a small start-up, funds were initially low – and at times non-existent – so committing to long-term contracts was not always practical.
There are many advantages to starting a home-based business, including lower overhead and the ability to ramp up slowly. And it’s important to point out that starting off at home doesn’t limit your growth potential. In fact, the long list of large corporations that started as home businesses includes: Amazon, Disney, Google, Hewlett Packard, Ford Motor Company, and Mary Kay Cosmetics.
Larger companies can hire an agency or full-time staff member to run their Facebook and Twitter accounts, but small businesses often have to handle their own social media marketing. With so many responsibilities, business owners are often too busy, overwhelmed or undereducated about the importance of social media to spend time developing and implementing a great social media strategy. As a consultant, you can help them determine the best tactics, posting schedules and content for their target audience. As their follower count grows, so will your business.
Structure your day. The problem a lot of homebased business owners have is that they no longer have a boss standing over them making sure they get their work done, or a tangible start and end of each workday. It's easy to let time slip by as you head to the refrigerator, catch a few minutes of TV, or dive into a project first thing in the morning, neglecting the other tasks you need to perform to keep your business running smoothly.
If you understand design and have a passion for décor, a career in interior design could be a great path for you. While you may not technically need a formal education to be an interior designer, having a bachelor's degree in interior design will definitely give you a huge leg up in the field. But if working for a design firm doesn't feel right to you, try running your own interior design business from your home.
11. Don’t underestimate the importance of branding. “Branding is the most important thing when building an identity for your company,” says Michael Di Pippo, founder of Penfishingrods.com. “The objectives that a good brand will achieve include delivering the message clearly, confirming your credibility, connecting your target prospects emotionally, motivating the buyer, and [securing] user loyalty.”
Without realizing it, I skipped over doing the good work of pinpointing my target market and ideal clients, defining my brand and my offer, figuring out my Why, etc. I studied audience-building and content marketing tactics and put a lot of work into growing a community from the start, but because I wasn’t clear myself on the purpose of my brand, I didn’t have a consistent message to share with that community to build trust and gain their interest in any kind of offers.
This is a great time for a concierge business or errand business startup. In many areas where there is significant development in the luxury market (residential and commercial), you will find increasing opportunity for concierge service providers. I remember my first job as a residential concierge, which helped me start a concierge business from home. The knowledge I acquired while employed by an established concierge business set the groundwork for my long-term career as a concierge business entrepreneur and author.
Darlene – How did you grow your mastermind group? I totally see the value in this but haven’t had much luck trying to get something going myself. I’m currently working on forming a local tribe (geographically speaking) with the idea that meeting in person might be really beneficial to us all although we’re all in different blog categories. How did you form your group? Who gets invited? What are the perks to membership? I would love to know!
Mild spoiler alert: Viewers of the TV drama Orange Is the New Black might remember that the show’s main character made amends with one of her fellow prison inmates by making her a soothing lotion. Hopefully you won’t find yourself in prison, but if you find yourself wanting to start a home-based business, consider hand-making soaps and lotions yourself.
But be wary. Food service—even a delivery service, which is the most likely scenario for home bakers, as opposed to setting up a storefront—comes with built-in risks. Prepare yourself, and read up on your local insurance requirements. And don’t be afraid to start out by making just one or two really great treats. Consistency is more important than variety in the baking business.
Ask your accountant and/or local IRS agents about filing tax forms, tax payment schedules, obtaining an EIN number, and allowable deductions. Have your financial advisors setup an organized business record keeping system with software that enables you to monitor your cash flow. Set up a business bank account and a merchant account if you will be accepting credit cards for payments.
While the spiders do index sites and pages that haven’t been submitted, you certainly don’t want to leave this to chance. A spider might find your website and index it next week–or it might be two years before that finally happens. So take the time to submit your site to be sure you’re included. Once your site’s been submitted, expect it to take two to six weeks for your listing to appear.
4. Work where you’re most productive, even if it’s outside of your home. “Sometimes home is not the right place and work is not the right place—even when they are the same place,” says Stephanie Staples, a personal coach and motivational speaker. “I need a third location. For example, a donut shop, library—somewhere that even though other things are going on, I don’t have to pay attention or care about it. It is the power of the third location; I think differently, work differently, act differently there, and it really helps me.”
Become an affiliate marketer. There are many companies and webmasters who use affiliate programs to boost their online sales, and most of these affiliate programs are free to join. When you sign up for an affiliate program, an affiliate link with a unique affiliate ID will be assigned to you. The affiliate link is used for marketing the products of your merchant. When a visitor buys an item through your affiliate link, you earn affiliate commission.
You make money with ad revenue. Your first step is to create a YouTube account and start uploading videos. Then you enable monetization on your YouTube settings. Basically, this gives Google the go-ahead to include short AdSense ads with your videos, which you've seen if you’ve watched a YouTube video. When viewers click on those ads, you get paid.
Formal planning can help ease the transition for a person starting a home-based business. By being aware of the potential pitfalls and creating a plan to overcome them, a home-based business owner can significantly increase his or her chances for success. The main planning tool recommended by experts is a business plan. A formal business plan, which is generally created in anticipation of starting a new business venture, includes a description of the business; a statement of purpose; information about the business's structure, organization, and management; a marketing plan; and a financial plan.
Do you have items lurking around your household that you could sell on eBay? Figure out your asking price and decide whether to auction it or put it in your eBay store. Then decide if you want a minimum bid and how long you want the auction to last. You will want to establish a PayPal account to use for transactions. The eBay website provides all the information you need to know to get up and running with an eBay business. Chatbots are offering creative new ways to help businesses with these functions.
Take time out for good behavior. It's not uncommon to find yourself working 60- to 70-hour weeks. But the good thing is, if you want to sneak out and see a movie at two in the afternoon, nobody's going to tell you not to do it. You have that freedom and flexibility as a home business owner. It can be tempting to work all the time when you start seeing how successful your business has become, but know when to relax. You've already established a smooth-running business. Take a break every now and then so you don't get burned out.
10. Avoid going into business before you know you have a winning idea. “A good way to vet this is also a method of bootstrapping: Apply for grants. If your idea is good enough to become a successful startup, it’s good enough for someone else to help with development,” advises Amy Baxter, founder of MMJ Labs, which makes reusable, inexpensive products for personal pain control. “Programs such as local university incubators, Huggies MomInspired, Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards, and even Small Business Innovation Research grants can bankroll part of your R&D.”
In the U.S., ecommerce spending totalled $97.3 billion in the second quarter of 2016 alone, an increase of 4.5 percent from the first quarter of 2016 (U.S. Census Bureau News). Online sales in the United States are expected to reach $523 billion in the next five years, up 56% from $335 billion in 2015, Forrester Research Inc. says. Canadian companies sold more than $136 billion in goods and services online in 2013, up from $122 billion a year earlier, according to Statistics Canada. Obviously more people than ever are shopping online.
Fences are everywhere. And they don't last forever, so they need to be repaired and replaced with a certain amount of frequency. The most common fence material is wood. However, vinyl has become a popular fence choice due to its longevity and relative freedom from maintenance. Wrought iron is another common fencing, especially in urban environments. You can have fun shopping for vintage wrought iron fencing at salvage yards.
Becoming an Uber driver has quickly become a great way for people to get their own business off the ground. You will need to pass a background check and have valid instate driver’s license and auto insurance. The process is pretty painless and will get you rolling on your own business. Many people start as an Uber driver to pay the bills while they work on another business that they are more passionate about. Check out our post to learn more about Uber driver requirements.
Many families with kids, including single-parents, have very limited time resources, creating a demand for part-time child care providers (and a business idea opportunity for you). If you love kids and have some spare time, you can earn plenty of side income by looking after children while their parents are away. Just be sure to identify the particular age group you're comfortable caring for and you’re all set after any necessary certifications. Establishing a home-based daycare center capable of servicing six or more kids is also a lucrative way to really expand upon this business idea if you have the right environment for it.
Sure, there are plenty of businesses offering social media consulting services, but you can stand out from the crowd by focusing primarily on networks that are still gathering steam with businesses. Facebook and Twitter are still the top networks, but businesses tend to struggle the most with more visual platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and Snapchat. All of these platforms have huge audiences, but many businesses don't realize how big they really are, how effective they can be and how to make them work for their niche. Snapchat has more than 158 million users per day, according to Business Insider. Instagram has more than 500 million daily active users, according to Statista, and Pinterest has more than 200 million.
Set up a merchant account. Service businesses in the past had to generally rely on cash or check—setting up an entire credit card processing system was a thankless, expensive task at best. Using a service such as PayPal makes it possible to accept virtually any form of credit or debit card for your services, and includes dispute resolution should the need arise (and it will arise).