I see it time and time again: The number-one challenge faced by brand-new small online business owners is a lack of traffic. Obviously, if your website isn’t getting any traffic, you’re not generating any sales. And what’s worse is that without traffic, you can’t test the key components of your sales process. And if you roll out a large traffic campaign before you’ve tested your site to make sure it converts maximum visitors into buyers, you risk losing sales and looking unprofessional to potential business partners and affiliates.
I think the biggest killer of new ventures is good ideas. A good idea sparks the imagination, causes the founder to invest heavily in a dream, and much of that investment goes into building filters to bad news, which ensures you will be way too overconfident and prevents you from transforming a good idea into an idea that works. The end result can get pretty ugly, and usually involves uncontrollable crying. (That’s right. Real men cry.) As an idea man, I have learned the hard way to distrust my ideas. Better to start with some problems worth solving that I am uniquely able to address and build a simple MVP prototype with no expectation that it will work. Then find out what is wrong with it, fix it, repeat.
As Paul and Sarah Edwards noted in their book Working from Home, successful home-based business owners are usually good at what they do and enjoy doing it. It is also helpful to be independent, self-sufficient, and flexible. Other keys to success include being able to sell oneself and the business, and staying on top of personal and business finances. Since it is often difficult to associate being at home with working, home-based business people must be able to maintain boundaries between their personal and professional lives. In addition, they require a great deal of self-discipline to overcome the sense of isolation, frequent distractions, and lack of motivation and concentration that commonly affect those working from home.
Make sure you are buying items that are highly sellable, meaning that you there is a large market so you won’t have to wait years to find a buyer. And be disciplined enough only to buy items that allow you plenty of markup for resale. Specialization, or at least having most of your products fit your specialization, is highly likely to increase your chances of success.
Like other forms of self-employment, home-based businesses face a number of challenges relating to financial management and tax compliance. Part of the business plan that is prepared prior to forming a home-based business is a financial plan detailing how much it will cost to begin the new venture and keep it running. After the business has been established, it is vital that the entrepreneur set up a good bookkeeping system to manage cash flow and ensure compliance with tax laws. Bookkeeping systems can be manual or computer based. Experts also recommend that entrepreneurs set up a separate checking account for their home-based businesses in order to better document business expenses. Canceled checks, paid bills, invoices, sales slips, receipts, and other financial documentation should be kept on file in case of an audit. Another important aspect of financial planning for a home-based business is tracking working capital—the difference between current assets (cash, accounts receivable, and inventory) and current liabilities (operating expenses, debts, and taxes)—in order to maintain a realistic picture of where the business stands financially.
Bartering or work trade arrangements are options to obtain items or services you cannot afford. You can join a barter exchange, or make your own arrangements with other entrepreneurs. It is best to have a contract between both bartering parties. Keep accurate records, because the IRS considers bartering of business goods or services as taxable sales or income.
1. Create a work environment you feel good in. And that includes investing in professional office equipment and furniture. “Everyone is vulnerable to repetitive stress injuries from using office equipment,” says Paul Robert Edwards, coauthor of Working From Home as well as a Small Business Development Center consultant. “So take care to get things that fit you ergonomically. Particularly important are your chair and your keyboard.”
I have owned several Internet business’ and the one thing that I have learned that I tell people is start out small and work to big. Give yourself time to grow, see what works, and build some cash flow. I was so excited and had so many “big” ideas when I started my last business that I flew out the gates with guns blazing. This cost me time and money that I didn’t really have yet.
Remember to avoid cheap web hosting services that seem to be so attractive. There are so many disadvantages that come with cheap website hosting. I have had so many clients that were enticed into hosting for like $27 (Ush 100,00) per year and later discovered security vulnerabilities, no customer care and very slow websites. So be careful when choosing a web host.
Once the home-based business gets off the ground, many entrepreneurs tend to go to the opposite extreme and overcommit themselves. In their need to attract clients, they become uncomfortable turning down work. But unlike people who work for a large employer in an outside office, home-based business owners cannot leave their work behind and go home, because home is where their work is. As a result, some entrepreneurs work too many hours and abandon their personal lives, resulting in stress and burnout. Instead, experts recommend that home-based business owners set up realistic work schedules in order to reinforce the boundaries between their personal and business lives. It may be helpful to establish the following day's schedule the previous afternoon and prioritize the activities. The schedule should be realistic and allow for inevitable interruptions. Some experts claim that an important factor in successful time management for home-based business owners is arising early in the morning to get a jump start on work. Others stress the importance of dressing comfortably yet professionally in order to establish a positive psychological state for working. Although these methods do not apply to everyone, it is important for home-based business people to find a pattern that maximizes their productivity and stick with it.
Non-profits, universities, hospitals and other community organizations all have a great need for grant money to supplement their budgets, but grants are notoriously tricky to write for the first time. If you have experience writing grants or are willing to learn how to do it by practicing your skills without pay for a few non-profits, you can start a lucrative freelance grant writing business. According to eHow, grant writers can make anywhere from $40, 300 to $67,000.
When Disbrow set up her business, she says jumping through the hoops was pretty easy. Her city required her to register her business and fill out a few pages of paperwork. “They just want to make sure you’re not running a dentist office out of your garage,” she says. “But if I hadn’t known about the requirement for registering, I could have gotten in trouble.”
If spending hours pinning images of gorgeous table arrangements and bouquet ideas on Pinterest is your definition of a perfect job, then you will make an exceptional wedding planner. Sharp project management skills and an eye for detail are pretty much the most important requirements for this job – no fancy diplomas to stop you from breaking into this industry! You can sell your consulting services, wedding decorations, game packages, personalised gifts – the list of possibilities is endless (well, almost).
Do you spend more time packing and unpacking your luggage than most of the people you know? Then you might be onto something! Travelling is one of the greatest passions of this age – the crazier and more nomadic, the better! If you have a knack for organising memorable, authentic trips and enjoy the process of creating exciting day-to-day plans, why not do it for money? Become a travel consultant to help adventure-seekers plan their unforgettable holidays from A to Z and enjoy every second of your working day.
Just about every company has a website that has the potential to collect data from its customers. Furthermore, many businesses store their customers' data, personal information – even credit card numbers – in their company computers. But, how many smaller firms can honestly say they know the data is safe from identity thieves and hackers? Most small companies can't afford to hire a full-time data security specialist. That's where your home-based security consulting business comes in. If you've got a background in IT, you could be working as a consultant helping small businesses shore up their data security.
Getting beyond the decor of your office, it’s important to fill your workspace with the proper tools. Opinions vary, but generally your home office essentials should include a computer, a second monitor so you can multitask if necessary, backup for your data, a printer, and a scanner. Other home office must-haves: good lighting, virtual or traditional telephone service, a surge protector, a fire safe box, a shredder for sensitive documents, and an uninterruptible power supply. Even if a paperless office is your goal, you might still need a file cabinet to neatly store the inevitable documents that will otherwise pile up in your office.
The solution is simple: Buy traffic through PPC search engines. Pay-per-click advertising is the easiest way to get traffic to a brand-new site. It has two advantages over waiting for the traffic to come to you organically. First, PPC ads show up on the search pages immediately, and second, PPC ads allow you to test different keywords, as well as headlines, prices and selling approaches. Not only do you get immediate traffic, but you can also use PPC ads to discover your best, highest-converting keywords. Then you can distribute the keywords throughout your site in your copy and code, which will help your rankings in the organic search results.
If editing and advising college students on how to write compelling 500 word essays on topics such as "You were just invited to speak at the White House. Write your speech," seems like a compelling business idea to allocate your free time towards, trust me—tons of parents will pay you to edit admissions essays and offer constructive feedback for their children. Be careful not to blur the ethical line of actually writing their essays, but serving as an editor to help them convey their message can become a great side business idea that has the potential to spread by word-of-mouth referral in your community.
Are you ready to start your own successful home-based business? Whether you’re doing business at home or away from home, it helps to set up an LLC or other business structure to protect yourself from liabilities and boost your business’s credibility. When you’re ready to form your business entity, Incfile can help you for as low as $49 + state fees.
I have researched around the internet for the best proven sequence that will guarantee success when you’re starting a small online business and the following list has resonated with every article I had to read. And to affirm you that it works, the Entrepreneur says thousands of small online businesses have used this sequence to romp up their online revenue.
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.
4) Financial independence – When you learn how to generate profits online, you’re teaching yourself how to become financially independent. As you start selling products online successfully you can scale up your business. By repeating this process, you have the potential to create multiple streams of income. With an internet business, your income isn’t dependent on the number of hours you work. “To be successful online, you have to be nimble and evolve where the opportunities are. You have to layer revenue streams,” says Angelo Sotiro, CEO and founder of DeviantART.
To do what you love, you first have to know what kind of work you really want to do. This requires intense introspection and an understanding of which kinds of work get your creative juices flowing and which kinds dry them up. Doing what you love also sometimes requires that you ignore what other people want you to do for a living. You may decide, for example, that you’d really like to start a recording studio in your home, but your spouse or best friend may think something more practical, such as buying into a fast-food franchise, makes more sense. Ultimately, you must decide what you’re going to do for a living — even if it means you can’t work at home.
If a customer complains, it may be hard not to take it personally, because it is your business. Establish set policies or procedures to handle any complaints, whether it is a refund or a revision of your products or services. Consult with your lawyer for the proper wording and posting. Survey customers often for feedback, so you can head-off complaints.
People respect those who know more than they do. By specializing, you assume the role of a presumed expert, even if you’ve just started your business. It makes good business sense for your clients to hire an expert instead of someone less experienced. By avoiding the mistakes and dead ends that someone with less experience may make, your clients could end up spending less money by hiring you — even if your hourly rates are higher.
If you sell baby clothes from a small city centre shop in London, your target customers will likely be very different from a rm selling cloud-based software to SMEs in the UK. The key thing is to define who your products or services are for. How old are they? What are they interested in? Where do they live? Armed with that knowledge, you can really start to develop a solid content strategy.
And in terms of #4 (Being Different), I can still remember driving home from a pretty boring ed policy conference in Lansing, MI, and thinking, “Geez, why did I go to this?” when it hit me: I can be different by bringing a somewhat irreverant, non-freaked out approach to education (and, in particular, the standards that I’m niched into). There are 3.5 million teachers in the USA, and if even 10% of them are like-minded folks who simply refuse to freak out with Chicken Little dances, that’s a great market.
If you know how to make jewelry, there’s really no reason not to sell it. Handmade jewelry has long held appeal for collectors and admirers alike. The biggest challenge to setting up a jewelry business might be running the business itself—just making beautiful things won’t be enough to sustain the operation. Study up on what it takes to run a jewelry business and then make it happen. A great place to start is online with sites like Etsy and eBay
It’s one of the first ideas people have when they think of starting a business: making and selling crafts. That means there’s lots of competition. The good news, though, is that people just love crafts. But be careful. Don’t just sell anything and everything. Define a product line and choose a distribution channel (online, craft fairs, etc.), and stick with your plan. And, of course, be creative.
A home-based business is any enterprise for which the principal administrative and managerial activities take place within an individual's personal residence. People start home-based business ventures for a wide variety of reasons. For example, some people are forced to leave the corporate world as a result of downsizing or early retirement, while others leave voluntarily out of a desire to be their own boss, to avoid the hassles associated with commuting, or to facilitate caring for children or elderly relatives. Whatever the reason, home-based businesses have become a significant trend in recent years. Once viewed as a way for an unemployed person to make some money until a "real" job came along, home-based businesses are now taken much more seriously. Today, home-based businesses run the gamut from consulting firms and advertising agencies to photography studios and free-lance writing services.
It’s a well-known fact that America’s small business owners are movers and shakers. They come up with innovative products and services; they employ about 50% of all private sector workers; and they persist even during tough economic times. But what might not be such a well-known fact is that most of them do all of this without even leaving their homes.
Timing is a little trickier, as there’s no hard and fast rules to stick to. The goal posts shift between sectors and platforms, but try to think about the typical routines of your target market and post when you think they’re most likely to be online. The key is to test and learn which posts perform best and align your timing to that. Use a free tool like Hootsuite to make the process of scheduling posts a bit easier too.
Techies can hedge their bets by doing some trouble-shooting work, too. On the service side, "the margins can be high because you're not competing with global operators," says Avron Barr, principal at Aldo Ventures, a software technology consulting firm in Aptos, Calif. Taken together, the "software publishing" bucket--which the IRS takes to mean both coders and help-desk types--boasts an average 14% pretax margin.
The type of business you have, its size, and the amount of risks concerning liability or other possible threats will determine the insurance coverage you will need. Insurances include those that can be attached to your present homeowner’s or vehicle policies (if your vehicle is used in your business); separate commercial business policies; employees’ insurances; disability, life, and health insurances for you; and other specialized ones. Talk to a licensed insurance agent who represents numerous carriers to find the best policies. If you need health insurance, local business owner organizations usually have discount group plans for members.
There’s more to being a coach or personal trainer than just being fit and loving to exercise. Finding a specialization is important, and licenses might be required for certain types of coaching roles. For instance, a friend in Boston obtained US and European soccer-coaching licenses before opening a successful one-on-one soccer-instruction business.
75. Invest in a time management class. “This is what I tell people to do before they do anything else,” says Tim McGraw, a home-based marketing strategist and copywriter. “It should be considered your ‘first day at work.’ I highly recommend a full-day seminar from the likes of Franklin-Covey or the American Management Association. It will be the best $300 you invest to launch your business, you will walk away with tools in hand—paper-based as well as software applications—and it will instill habits that will serve you through your career.”
You are not going to be able to start a manufacturing business in a residential neighbourhood, for example, and any business that involves a lot of clients coming and going is sure to upset the neighbours. See What You Need to Know Before You Start a Home Based Business for more about the factors you need to consider before starting a business in your home.
Great post. My husband has been selling used books on-line for 10 years…It’s not enough to fully support our family of 6, but it does afford us a lot of flexibility. We both work other odds and ends spot jobs and it ends up working out. We have also had the flexibility to be volunteer managers at a church camp in the summer. (Right now the camp can not afford a manager) I’m pioneering a women’s conference and event ministry. I’ve always been very greatful for the freedom we have. My husband helps at the kids schools, apointments are easy to make, and the stress is less. It’s been a sacrifice in some ways but worth the gains in time and flexibility for sure.
The German Economist Schumpeter once said that there are “no original ideas”, only new combinations of old ones. Curation of curiosity-fueling content is an intriguing and little-known business model. One of the best success stories out there is Brainpickings – a platform that describes itself as “an inventory of cross-disciplinary interestingness, spanning art, science, design, history, philosophy, and more”. The subscription-based model and successful utilisation of affiliate links have turned the blog into a self-sustaining business.
YouTube is the third largest site in the world, so there’s no surprise that video is becoming one of the main communication mediums for businesses of all types and sizes. If you have video filming or editing knowledge, it won’t take you long to build your clientele. Everything from video production workshops and video editing services to soundtrack libraries and DIY tutorials can appeal to the business world. Producing video might be one of the most attractive online business ideas with lots of creativity and challenges.