Many of us dream of being our own boss and making a success of a business. It can be enormously rewarding (both financially and emotionally), to create something that flourishes.
Starting a home business can be a fun way to provide a source of income for you and your family, whether it becomes your new full-time job or a way to top-up what you earn from your current employment.
You’re eager to get started, so how best to go about it? Take a look at the following steps, put them into action and you could soon be your own boss.
Step One: Choosing What Your Business Is Going to Be
It might seem obvious, but you need to identify what your business is going to be, or rather how it is going to manifest.
If you are interested in building a home business around clothing, are you designing and selling garments you’ve made yourself? Or are you selling kits to people so they can put these items together themselves? Maybe you’ll make videos showing how your clients can make their own clothes, and leave the sourcing of materials in their hands?
It might be that you have a keen eye for what makes a website tick, are you going to act as a consultant for other businesses? Or design sites for customers from scratch?
A good tip is to brainstorm some ideas, maybe even using good old-fashioned pen and paper, to work out the possibilities. But you’ll need something a little more hi-tech for your business itself. Which leads us to step two…
Step Two: The Right Tools for the Right Job
What might seem the most daunting part of starting your own home business is finding the right equipment to get up and running, but actually this is one of the simplest aspects of the whole enterprise.
So long as you have access to a computer and the internet (and you must, otherwise how are you reading this article?) then you can design a website either catered to you or by choosing a template, then market yourself, create a delivery system and even manage your payments. In fact, many website builders such as WordPress and Squarespace include an option to create an e-commerce function, simplifying the entire process for you!
A 101 guide to building your first website
With a smartphone or tablet, you can take your business on the move, so that you can keep in touch with customers wherever you might be! How do you find those customers? Cue step three…
Step Three: How to Market
“If you build it, they will come…” except, no, they won’t.
You need to bring your business to your customers. That doesn’t mean having to hit the streets and going door-to-door, but you do need to make use of social media sites and email newsletter services. Not only are these free (hooray!) but the reach is potentially enormous, and with the way data algorithms work, anyone with a potential interest in what you’re selling is more likely to come across your business.
The key to marketing is to write simply and to post regularly. At the very least you need to be sending an update once a day, though two or three times is better. Sprinkle in some content that isn’t directly selling to keep followers engaged (it might be simple post sharing your thoughts on something that has inspired your own creativity).
Take advantage of automated marketing services like Hootsuite, so that you can schedule the release of messages. This can be especially useful if some of your customers are based in another time-zone!
Step Four: Getting It Out There
No, not more marketing, now we’re talking about delivery. How are you going to provide what you promise? If you’re selling physical items, then research affordable mailing services and look into e-commerce sites that provide this as part of their hosting packages to reduce the cost on you or be 100% transparent with your customers about delivery fees.
Some sites, such as Amazon, offer a service whereby they fulfill the delivery for you, though this incurs an extra fee. If you’re confident that you can get the items to your customers, then perhaps start off by sending your products yourself.
If your business involves vlogging, are you making these free to view (and hopefully collecting some nice advertising revenue!), or is it a subscription service/pay-per-view?
As ever: research, research, research.
In short: work out how your customers are going to receive what you’re selling before you start trying to sell. After-all, you’re not doing this for free, this is a business and a way for you to make some money. Speaking of which…
Step Five: Money, Money, Money
You deserve to make money from your talents, so think about the best way to receive your hard-earned cash. Are you relying on services like Paypal or Western Union? Or what about those e-commerce services mentioned previously?
The most important thing is to be able to track your outgoings and expenses, to see how profitable your home business is and when might be the time to expand. There are many online accounting services that can help with this and some e-commerce sites will automatically track your money for you.
A gentle reminder: you’ll also need to keep an eye on your earnings and expenses so you can calculate how much tax you owe – you don’t want to get that wrong now, do you?
A Final Word:
Ultimately, remember that what you’re selling is you: your skills, your enthusiasm, your hard work. Be confident and through commitment and just a little bit of luck, you could see your home business thrive.