Leaving corporate America to run a homebased business is the ideal situation for many people: There's no boss breathing down your neck, no boring meetings to attend and no 45-minute drives in rush hour traffic. Working from home can be a rewarding experience, but it's easy to forget the basic rules of running a successful business when it's 10 hours of just you, your computer and the distractions of home.
Long term: Persistence. The idea of a business overnight success is as uncommon as the proverbial three-dollar bill. In reality, the latest craze or hot item is most often the result of years of hard work and perseverance. In the case of Johnny Goldberg and his Spinning exercise craze, it took more than five years from the time he developed the idea until Spinning broke onto the national scene in a big way. Johnny could have given up many times along the way, but he didn't, instead pushing his idea until it eventually caught on with the exercising public. You might have the greatest idea since sliced bread but, if you aren't willing or able to hang in with it for the long haul, then you'll potentially miss enjoying the gold at the end of your rainbow.
Think blogging is no longer a viable source of income? Think again. Tens of thousands of bloggers (including yours truly) are creating profitable content on topics as diverse as scrapbooking, home cooking, travel, film, lifestyle, business, personal finance and more. And we're growing our blogs into six-figure businesses thanks to a combination of email subscribers, affiliate marketing, blog sponsorships, and other revenue streams. Your first step with starting a blog is quickly getting the technical side of things handled (my free master course on blogging will show you how), and then both understanding what your audience craves and learning how to attract those readers online.
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.
Check your local authority’s zoning and permit regulations pertaining to home-based businesses. These can vary widely from area to area. Most are concerned how your business will impact your neighborhood such as customer parking or shipping traffic. Check, too, with state or federal agencies for required licenses or requirements your business may need.
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.
There's an audience for everything, whether it's making dollhouse furniture or creating organic dog food. With a specialty e-commerce store, you can reach those customers who are seeking your specific products. All you need is a web-hosting service with an integrated shopping cart feature or with e-commerce software, and your business will be operational in no time. You can even work with vendors to ship products to customers on your behalf, which means you don't need to own a lot of inventory. [See Related Story: A Small Business Guide to E-Commerce Shipping]
The process of gathering information and writing a business plan helps the entrepreneur take an objective, critical look at the business idea and its chances for success. A home-based business may be related to an individual's previous occupation, but may also be based upon a hobby or the discovery of a unique business opportunity. In any case, the idea should be evaluated with an eye toward market potential and competition. Once the business is up and running, the business plan sets forth goals and standards for management and serves as an operational tool to measure progress. Although there are many ways to start a home-based business—including "moonlighting" while employed full-time, working part-time for an employer and part-time at home, and just taking the plunge—planning is important to all of them.
Be genuine. Yes, your blog is supposed to make money. But you can’t make marketing pitches all the time. Focus on useful content so that your readers come to know, like, and trust you. Then they will naturally click on your advertising or buy the products you recommend. In this era of the internet and social media people are looking for authenticity.
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.
Instead, you’ll be following a proven strategy for maximizing views of multiple videos on a regular basis. You’ll be creating useful content…something engaging that people want to watch. And it works in many, many different niches. It could be a how-to video, a talking-head video on a topic of interest to people interested in your niche...the sky is the limit.
Then you can move on to more immersive sales education through online courses like Sales Training and Prospecting on Udemy, The Guide to Pitching and Selling Clients on CreativeLive. Once you're ready to put your selling skills to the test, check out Angel List and see if any sales position opportunities align with your interests—the last thing you want to do is get stuck selling products or services you're not interested in. However, by starting out your sales career as a side business idea, that gives you the flexibility to easily change courses if you ever need to.
My biggest mistake has been in thinking that I cannot start building an email list because I am broke. The old adage, “it takes money to make money” can make you stop thinking creatively. Even without money to join programs, there are many webinars and podcasts where info is given away. You have to open your mind and admit you cannot do it alone, # 8, and apply “where there’s a will-there’s a way.” I am still struggling but I believe I will be like #Chris Hufnagel below sooner than later.
Your business will experience normal fluctuations in its sales and profits; however there are some signs that should alert you to possible trouble. If sales are down consistently, do a customer service questionnaire or survey; or check if you have lapsed in your marketing efforts. If your cash flow is negative, meet with your accountant to see if you can cut back on expenses and pay down or eliminate any business debt. If you find you have too much business and are not ready to hire help or outsource work, consider adjusting your prices so you can work less and earn the same or more. Consult with your experts whenever a serious problem arises so you can deal with it before it gets worse.
Most community colleges offer some level of engine-repair courses. Another way to learn would be to take a part-time position at a repair shop or a rental facility where you could learn on the job, although you will want to be open about your plans. You should be prepared to work on push-behind lawn mowers, riding lawn mowers, generators, garden tools such as rototillers and edgers, chainsaws, wood chippers and snowblowers. You need to decide whether you'll want to take on bigger jobs, such as tractors, snowmobiles and ATVs; space may be your decision-maker.
If you have an eye for quirky stuff, maybe running a mystery object shop could help you combine the thirst for curious things with a steady source of income. TheSomethingStore and Muddy Creatures are nailing the concept of a surprise purchase that taps into the explorer instinct many of us possess. There’s no exact science or skill fueling this business idea – let your imagination go wild…
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!