Create a stylish and functional website. Elegant or funky, classical or hipster, your online store should reflect what you’re selling. No matter what your style is, it's important to give off a professional air. Since you won't be able to earn people's trust in person, your website will have to do the selling for you. Your site should be engaging, and most importantly, easy for customers to use when they're ready to make a purchase.[4]
Another starting point is to have an idea that very few people other than the founders can actually build. These technical feats provide a natural defense against competition. Remember, every hard problem you solve drops a massive obstacle in front of anyone who’d want to replicate you. Certain problems haven’t been solved because none of the few people smart enough to do so have made it happen. Look at something like Google, which co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were technically capable of building at a time when not many people were. Back then, there were very few people smart enough to build their own search engine let alone imbue it with software that could crawl and rank the entire World Wide Web.
Yet another common problem encountered by home-based business people is frequent distractions that reduce productivity. In fact, distractions are everywhere for people who work from home. When faced with a difficult work task, it sometimes seems far preferable to run the vacuum, clean out a closet, walk the dog, have a snack, take a nap, raid the refrigerator, pull some weeds in the garden, or do any of the myriad other things that need doing around a normal household. In addition, people who work from home lack the motivation that peer pressure can provide in a regular office. They also face spouses and children who demand time and attention, as well as friends and neighbors who call to chat or stop by to ask favors.
Other steps in the process of forming a home-based business include selecting a legal structure, filing a fictitious name or "doing business as" statement, and obtaining any needed permits or licenses. The entrepreneur should also evaluate the risks associated with the business venture and make any necessary arrangements for health, life, liability, property, or business interruption insurance. Since it is sometimes difficult for a home-based business to be taken seriously by customers or creditors, it may be helpful to communicate a professional image through stationery and business cards, a separate phone line answered with a formal greeting, and distinct working hours.
The only thing better than the smell of grandma’s chocolate-chip cookie recipe baking in the oven is watching cash roll in as customers order those delectable treats. Home baking is an approachable business idea in that it involves doing what you’re probably doing a lot of, anyway, if you love to bake. You probably have all the equipment and expertise you need to get started.
Perhaps you love children. Perhaps you have children of your own and the idea of taking care of a few more for part of the day appeals to you. Child-care needs continue to soar in the United States. Many people prefer the option of their child being cared for in a home environment while they are at work, opposed to a more institutional-like setting. These things mean that a homebased childcare business can get off and running immediately.
Even the portrait and general-interest options, though, aren’t really for beginners. Photography businesses can be complex operations, with lots of equipment required and years of portfolio and relationship building necessary to really get steady income flowing. Still, if you’re a hobbyist already, starting a photography business as a side operation is a great way to make some extra money and possibly begin a career change.
Additional legal matters you will want to check pertaining to your business may include advertising guidelines and labeling requirements regulated by the Federal Trade Commission; complying with labor laws if you have employees – U. S. Department of Labor; abiding by environmental regulations – U. S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA); and paying business taxes – IRS. SBA provides a guide to federal government rules and regulations.
If you’ve mostly been buying print ads, consider web-based ads. If you have tried Google Adwords, you might want to try to advertise on Bing or Facebook. Try sending out a newsletter by email, and don’t forget about social media. If you have a B2B target market, you could start your own business networking group. The key is to always try at least one new marketing technique. If it works, great, keep doing it. If it doesn’t work, try something else. Entrepreneurship is about experimenting with new ideas.

If you have experience with marketing, SEO or a knack for getting people excited about the products and services you use on a regular basis, think about refining your skills and putting them to work as a small business marketing consultant in your region—especially if you can become a local SEO expert and can help local clients rank higher in their search results as your side business idea. Businesses of all sizes are in constant need of bringing in more customers, which is where you come in with your business idea. Start by pitching some of these small business marketing ideas by Brian Downard and you'll be sure to impress the first set of clients you begin working with in your area.
To locate sites that might be interested in your content, e-mail other website owners in your industry–be sure to choose sites that receive attention and visits from your target market–and invite them to use your article on their site or in their newsletter at absolutely no cost. Many site owners need fresh content, so they’ll be more than happy to post your articles–and it won’t be long before those articles start driving traffic back to your site.
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