I’ve found that fear often stops aspiring consultants from starting a consulting business–or any business–and on my blog, I talk about how to overcome those fears. I also talk about practical, concrete things you can do to start and run a successful consulting business, along with tools, tips, tricks, and techniques for automating your business and keeping costs to a minimum. The info I give is applicable to most other types of businesses as well.
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.
Publishing is dead; long live the e-reader! Now that anyone can have their work e-published, it is possible for anyone to make a fortune off their writing. The biggest recent example is the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy, but there are many authors taking advantage of the ease of e-publishing. If you love to write and are willing to do your own promotion (and having a blog can really help in that case), writing an e-book is an excellent way to make money at home.
5. Work on your business, not in your business. “There’s a big difference between working in your business and working on your business,” says Jeannel King, a visual facilitator and coach, and founder of her own home-based business, Big Picture Solutions. “A home-based business typically translates into being a small operation of one: you! In that situation, it’s easy to focus only on product or service delivery. However, it’s essential to make time to work on our business, and that means focusing on the finances, the marketing plans, the vision and strategy, the systems and processes that provide the infrastructure for our businesses to be not just successful, but thriving and sustainable.”
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.”
If you have a knack for this type of work, a degree won't be necessary. Most people want their yards tidied up in the spring, their lawns mowed in the summer, their leaves removed in the fall, and their shrubs and driveways ready for winter snow. You will also want to offer garden work such as spring planting of annuals and perennials; vegetable garden preparation, planting and fall cleanup; pest control and watering. You can offer tree care service. There is plenty to do in the yard that has nothing to do with plants: stone wall restoration, fencing, irrigation system installation.
Online sites like Etsy and ArtFire are platforms that make it extremely easy for crafters who can produce a steady supply of quality handmade items, like crocheted blankets or unique painted glassware. Startup costs are extremely low if you purchase your materials in bulk from a craft supplier, and if you can turn around orders quickly, you'll be making a profit in no time at all. It's even possible to turn your store into a full-time gig.
Everyone knows that the quickest way to learn a new language is to mingle with native speakers. If you were lucky enough to be born in an English, French, Spanish (insert any of the world’s main languages) speaking country, then missing out on the opportunity to cash in on the skills you take for granted is exactly that – missing out! Use online communication tools, such as Skype or Google Hangouts, to connect with learners and leverage your privileges. Time is money, so package your hours into teaching sessions and you’re good to go.
Organize your family time. Once your professional life is organized, you may need to consider organizing your personal life. Maybe you noticed right away, or maybe it's just becoming apparent, that you tend to work around the schedule of your family members. This is especially true if you have children. A lot of people, especially young moms, decide that they're going to quit their jobs in corporate America and work from home in order to care for their children and save on daycare expenses. But in reality, if you're serious about running a homebased business and earning a decent income, you're going to have to make arrangements for childcare in or outside the home. Otherwise it becomes too distracting. Consider hiring a babysitter so you're guaranteed five to six solid hours to get your work done.
You will need to learn how to work with all kinds of carpet fabrics, from synthetic to wool carpets. Decide whether you will take on valuable antique carpets and family heirlooms; if so, you will want to get specialized training in how to handle these carpets and the specialized ways of cleaning them. Learn how to get tough stains and odors out of carpets--such as dog and cat odors--and your services will be in great demand.
I kind of “fell into” my at home business. I was a customer of their website division a few years ago. When my husband got downsized – I closed my business and started working with my current company. It’s been such a blessing to be able to stay at home (2 girls in elementary school) and help contribute to our family. When our company started another division helping non-profits with alternative funding – it was something I was passionate about. I feel very blessed to have found the real deal with my at home businesses and in the two years I’ve been with them – it all keeps getting better.
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Try to avoid some of these common start-up mistakes: not writing a business plan; not conducting adequate market research to see if a profitable market exists; inadequate marketing; poor customer service; and poor money management and attention to your cash flow. Business mistakes are inevitable, but if you concentrate on each aspect of your home business and follow the advice of your experts, your home business will survive where others’ might fail.
During my long search for an online business, I found a network marketing company that’s just about to do its public launch. It was set up specifically to run online. In this way, you can contact only the seemingly endless supply people that have already shown interest. You don’t have to worry about those dreaded headaches of old-style network marketing. Because it’s built into the process members are freely interact, communicating and supporting each other openly online without asking whose team they are on. With the network marketing business model and the vast market on the internet, I think that a lot more people will find this option appealing.
3. Create a strong team. “Work with experts on parts of your business where you are not an expert,” says Cathi Brese Doebler, a home-based business owner for 10 years and author of Ditch the Joneses, Discover Your Family. “For example, if you are not good with computer hardware, hire someone to help you set up your computer network. Or, if you are not an expert on taxes, find a good tax advisor. Focus your business on your areas of expertise and strength, and hire experts to help you with your areas of weakness.”
Get ecommerce software. You'll need this so your customers can view your products, enter their information and make a secure purchase. The software safely stores customer information. Don't skimp in this area, since the ecommerce software you choose will make a big difference in how easy it is for customers to feel secure buying something from your store.
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.
Like birthdays, marriages happen all the time. Which means you can treat weddings as a recurring fountain of business opportunities: wedding dresses and coats, jewelers, food caterers, venue providers, photographers and videographers, performers, flower shops, travel agencies, souvenir crafts, and a host of other ventures. Now imagine if you can form a network of these service providers so you can offer engaged couples a range of hassle-free wedding packages as a turnkey business idea. The process is certainly fun (and time-consuming), but as a side business idea, the pay can be pretty great.