filmmaker
Business, Entrepreneurship, Management, Organization, Productivity, Success, Technology

This Is What You Need to Remember to Start a Successful Home Business

Although starting your own home business can certainly be an exciting and rewarding experience, it’s no secret that creating a side business requires hard work. Additionally, many small business owners fail to achieve any early success because they haven’t planned thoroughly or established key procedures beforehand. As a result, they become discouraged, abandoning their projects before reaching their full potential.

This doesn’t have to happen to you. The following general tips will help you boost your odds of success during the crucial early stages of your business. While you’ll still need to invest a significant amount of time and effort to attract clients and grow your side business into a legitimately rewarding venture, you’re more likely to reach your early goals if you keep these key points in mind.

 

Establish Essential Processes Early

planning

As your business grows, you’ll need to develop ways of tracking the status of projects, enhancing your marketing campaigns, managing client relations, and much more. These needs will arise later. You can address them as they arise, since it can be difficult to anticipate what processes will be the most effective before you’ve reached those key milestones.

No matter what kind of business you start, though, there are some basic processes you’ll want to establish right away. This includes setting a schedule. Make sure you adhere to closely to whatever schedule you establish. Otherwise, it becomes easy to neglect your business in the critical early period of growth or, alternatively, focus on your business to the exclusion of other aspects of your life (which is also unsustainable).

You also need processes in place to track your expenses and revenue. You’ll probably have to invest some money upfront to get your business started. That may include purchasing materials, paying for a website, and perhaps recruiting some freelance help. At this stage, you’ll probably lose money rather than turning a profit, but it’s important to have a way of comparing how much you’ve spent to how much you’ve earned.

 

Start Simple

Having a partner can be a big help when starting your own home business. A partner can share the workload, defray some of your initial expenses, and perhaps compensate for areas where you lack the necessary experience or skill. You might also have the funds at this early stage to hire freelance or part-time help.

Odds are good, though, that you won’t have a large team of dedicated employees to rely on during the early stages of growing your business. Thus, even if you have ambitious plans for the future, in the beginning you want to keep things simple. Don’t offer a dozen services if you only have the ability to realistically focus on one or two right away. You can offer more services later, after your business grows and you have the ability to bring on the help you need.

Right now, focus on one problem you plan on solving for your target demographic. Doing so also makes it easier to adjust your approach if you find out there isn’t enough of a market for that particular service. Many small business owners find out that the first year or so of running a small business involves making changes to their strategy as they learn more about what their customers need. By only focusing on one or two core services, you’ll prevent your business from growing too unwieldy for you to make any necessary adjustments.

 

Emphasize Consistency

baking

It’s true that many people who start small businesses are operating from a disadvantage at first. They often have traditional employment, and thus can’t maintain full-time hours—at least not until the new business grows big enough for them to quit their day jobs.

This can make it difficult to serve your clients to the best of your abilities. You can compensate for this by being as professional and consistent as possible, especially during the early stages. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to run your business in between tasks at your day job; this is unfair to both your new business and your current employer.

However, when you are scheduled to work on your side business, answer emails and calls as efficiently as possible. Make sure you always communicate in a professional manner and focus on offering quality service. Too many people, eager to make more money, take on more work than they can handle during these early stages. This can result in poor quality work and have a negative impact on your reputation among clients during a key stage of potential growth.

Of course, these tips aren’t the only points worth keeping in mind as you start your business. There are many additional steps you should take to maximize your chances of success. That said, these tips are still essential. If you want your business to thrive, remembering them is key.

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Business, Entrepreneurship, Management, Organization, Productivity, Success

Own a Home Business? You Need to Hear These Success Stories

Building a small home business can provide you with the opportunity to make extra money doing something you love (or at least something you know you’re good at). In addition, it can also give you the opportunity to pursue your true dreams. However, you shouldn’t fall into the trap of believing that your small home business will never turn into anything bigger than that. Your venture doesn’t need to remain a side gig forever. Plenty of major companies started out as home-based organizations. While there’s no guarantee that your business will reach the same heights as they did, the following examples demonstrate that it’s not impossible to turn the work you do on the side into a thriving success.

 

Apple

apple logoThese days, Apple is one of the reigning tech giants. Every single day, you probably see people using Apple products, and there’s a good chance you use their products every day yourself.

It’s easy to forget that this business, which has customers in virtually all corners of the globe, started out as a seemingly impractical venture in a garage.

Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne, three friends with an interest in computers, developed the Apple I as nothing more than a project for hobbyists. Jobs, however, foresaw an emerging demand for personal computers. This was back when computers were mainly used by businesses, governments, and technology enthusiasts. Many were skeptical that the average consumer would want to own one.

This didn’t stop Jobs and Wozniak from making a deal with a local electronics store to provide 50 Apple I units. Working tirelessly, the pair (with the help of friends) built all of the units right out of a garage in the home of Jobs’ parents.

In other words, one of the biggest tech companies in the world started at someone’s house with a relatively small order from a single client. Now, Apple is a household name.

 

Amazon

amazonlogoAmazon is another company that nearly everyone has heard about. Like Apple, it also started out in a garage.

Jeff Bezos originally conceived of Amazon as an online bookstore. This was during the ‘90s, when the idea of ecommerce was still new. Thus, anyone starting this type of business was often forced to start out small.

Along with a few employees, Bezos ran the initial operation out of a garage. As sales increased, the company expanded, offering more than just books.

Now it’s the premier online retailer. People use Amazon to purchase everything from food to furniture, and Jeff Bezos is now one of the richest people in the world. But, despite these massive achievements, Amazon’s origins remain modest.

 

Google

googlelogoGoogle is such a well-known company that its very name has also become a commonly-used verb. You probably “Google” information every single day. It’s by far the most successful search engine in the world.

That’s not how it always was. Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, thought it would be useful if there was a web service that made accessing online content as easy as possible. Working together, the two developed Google out of a garage they rented from a friend. It’s now one of the biggest success stories in the tech industry.

 

Spanx

spanxlogoYou don’t need to start a tech company to achieve you dream of transforming your home business into a major operation. You just need an idea, and some drive.

Spanx is a perfect example. The company’s founder, Sarah Blakely, developed the idea for the product in her late 20s. Up until that point, she had never even taken a business class. She’d spent seven years selling fax machines door-to-door after graduating from college and had just moved out of her mother’s house.

Yet, Blakely knew her idea would appeal to other women. She invested $5,000—her entire life savings—into the project, running it out of her apartment during the early stages. At this time, sales were still low, and she continued selling fax machines to make ends meet.

It took a lot of effort, but Blakely was able to get her product into the hands of the right people, launching a major brand and becoming a billionaire in the process.

This is the kind of success story worth paying watching. Blakely had no special qualifications. Again, she readily admits that she had absolutely no legitimate business experience whatsoever. Still, driven by the strength of her idea, she recognized the value that her product could offer women and worked from her apartment to turn her vision into a reality.

There’s no reason to believe you can’t do the same. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with building a home business that will always just be a side gig, if you do have plans to grow it into something bigger, you shouldn’t dismiss those dreams. These examples prove that it doesn’t matter where you start. All that really matters is that you take steps to reach your goals, no matter how big they are.

business
Business, Entrepreneurship, Management, Organization, Productivity, Technology

This Is How to Find Clients for Your Small Business

Thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever to start a small business from home. In fact, if you’re diligent and provide quality service to your clients, it’s possible that your small business could reach a point where you have the opportunity to transition it to a full-time endeavor. If the business you start is based around a passion, or at least something you enjoy doing more than what you currently do for a living, that could be a dream come true.

That said, in order to grow a small business, you can’t simply serve your clients reliably; you also need to find a decent number of clients. For some people, this can seem like a daunting task.

It doesn’t need to be. The following tips will help you get started if you’re not sure what steps to take to attract customers. Although you still need to do the work of contacting clients and proving they should hire you, this information will make that crucial first step much easier.

home business

 

Start Local

There are many different types of home businesses. Perhaps you’re going to offer freelance writing services. Maybe you want to do graphic design. If you’ve developed expertise in a particular niche thanks to your education or career experience, you could start a small consulting firm.

No matter what route you take, starting local is one of the best ways to find clients in the beginning. That’s because you may already have some sort of relationship with local businesses that could make use of your services.

For example, perhaps you want to write blogs for clients, helping them market their businesses and boosting their online presence. Start by thinking of businesses and professionals in your area you’re already familiar with, especially those that can clearly benefit from your services. Pitch them directly. Working with clients you already know at the beginning helps you establish your reputation. While you should always strive to deliver quality service, your initial clients may be more understanding about minor setbacks during the early stages if they already know you well.

Additionally, developing a positive reputation locally helps you branch out and find clients elsewhere. You just need a starting point from which to grow.

 

Find Clients Online

Sites like Upwork.com and Freelancer.com connect small businesses with clients. They’re filled with daily posts from people and organizations that may need your services. Thus, they are useful resources for people building their own small businesses.

That said, there is often stiff competition for jobs on these sites. You may send out numerous proposals and pitches before you receive a response from a potential client. This is particularly common for small business owners and freelancers who are just starting out. Because they haven’t yet had the opportunity to cultivate a positive reputation, they find it challenging to obtain clients.

Don’t get discouraged. This is part of the process, and the more time you spend pitching clients, the greater the odds you’ll start to find people who are willing to work with you. Do right by them, and they’ll help you find more work via reviews, testimonials, and referrals.

computers

 

Create a Website

Having a website for your small business is essential. It gives people a way of contacting you, and it indicates you’re a professional. On top of that, a website can help clients find you on their own.

Including a blog on your site can help you obtain new clients. Blogs demonstrate your expertise in your line of work. Best of all, you’ll increase the chances of a potential client finding you via a Google search since search engines prioritize pages that are updated regularly. This allows you to attract business in a relatively passive way. While you will need to maintain the site and keep the blog updated, you won’t have to actively seek clients if your site is impressive and ranks fairly high in online searches.

That’s one major goal you should strive to reach as a small business owner. Although you may never reach a point where all your clients seek you out rather than the other way around, you should try to reach a point where more of them find you.

Doing this requires serving the clients you do have to the best of your abilities. Again, the tips listed here will certainly help you find people and businesses that need your services. However, in order to keep your clients, you need to make good on your initial promises.

home business
Business, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Management, Organization, Productivity, Technology, Work at Home

Don Gayhardt Shares Tools You Need to Start a Home Business

Starting your own home business isn’t just exciting; thanks to services and technology that weren’t available just a few years ago, it’s easier than ever. After all, most small business owners start out on a budget. Odds are good you don’t have the money to hire a large staff or invest in expensive office equipment.

With the following recommendations, you don’t need to. While these services won’t guarantee success, they do make it much easier to run a small home business when you don’t have a lot of time or money to spend right away.

 

PayPal

paypallogoAlthough there are many online payments services available for sending and receiving money, PayPal is one of the best ones for business owners. That’s because it’s simply one of the oldest. As such, PayPal has a larger number of users than many of its competitors. On top of that, PayPal lets you send invoices to clients. Many other payment apps aren’t quite as business-friendly, devoted less to invoicing and more to sending small amounts of money to family or friends.

It’s also worth noting that PayPal recently released PayPal Here, a response to the popular Square device. Like Square, PayPal Here essentially serves as a portable cash register, which may be ideal if your small business takes you outside the home to trade shows or similar events.

 

Squarespace

squarespacelogoIt’s not easy to run a successful business these days without a website. Luckily, you don’t need substantial coding experience to develop one. Squarespace allows users to create professional-quality websites with ease, thanks to its pre-generated templates. You can alter the templates to ensure the site’s visual identity matches your brand, and you can incorporate important features like a blog, store, or contact form.

Best of all, Squarespace’s pricing is substantially lower than a web developer’s. Because you can edit the site whenever you like, you don’t need to contact your developer and wait for them to respond. You can make any necessary adjustments yourself as soon as you decide you need to.

 

Canva

canvalogoQuality graphic design is a must for any business. Your website, social media accounts, and promotional materials should all feature professional, brand-appropriate visuals because, unfortunately, most people do judge a book by its cover. Even if you deliver reliable service to your clients, you’ll find it difficult to attract more business if your branded visuals look like the work of an amateur.

That doesn’t mean you have to hire a graphic design specialist, however. Canva is a free graphic-design platform (although the paid business version offers additional features) that makes it incredibly easy to create impressive posters, social media posts, banners, and other materials, all featuring high-quality images. Though the site makes it very easy to get the hang of basic graphic design, it also provides templates for each type of document you wish to create, allowing you to simply insert your own images and text without altering the layout.

 

RescueTime

rescuetimeThose starting a small business from home likely have a day job on the side that eats up most of their time. Even if that isn’t the case, it’s easy to get distracted without a supervisor to keep them on task.

That’s why it helps to use an app like RescueTime. It works by tracking the amount of time you spend using various applications or websites, and then provides reports that help you better understand where you’ve been wasting time, so you can make adjustments in the future.

 

QuickBooks

quickbookslogoWith QuickBooks, you have everything you need to track your small business’ finances, an important tool to have, no matter what type of business you’re starting. The fact is, there’s a good chance you’ll spend some money to maintain and grow your business. With QuickBooks, you can compare expenses to earnings. Using this tool consistently ensures you won’t make the mistake of limiting your potential revenue by overlooking areas where expenses could be reduced.

If you run a business that involves working with multiple clients, you can also use QuickBooks to track your invoices. You may be surprised how easy it is to forget about unpaid invoices when you have to focus so much on other aspects of running the business. You need a tool that will help you stay on top of all payments, both those you’ve made and those that should have been made to you.

Although you’ll probably need to implement other products and services as your business grows, those recommended here will be very helpful at the start. Often, too many of us fail to create the small businesses they want to because they feel they don’t have the resources they need. Thanks to these products, you no longer have that excuse.

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Business, Entrepreneurship, Management, Organization, Productivity, Technology

How to Start Looking for a Business Partner

Founding your own home business can be a very rewarding experience, but it can also be very challenging. In fact, starting any kind of business if you’ve never done so before is difficult. Trying to create a business that you can run from home while also staying on top of your day job can be such an intimidating prospect that many people choose not to even try.

Don’t give up before you start simply because you feel you don’t have the experience (or time) to get your small company off the ground. If you’re not sure whether you have the skills necessary for this undertaking, you may benefit from working with a business partner. You’ll be much more likely to persist during the sometimes difficult early stages of building a home business if you can share the burden with someone who has your drive and a set of skills that complements your own.

Of course, finding the perfect business partner is not easy. To help narrow your search to the most viable options, you should keep the following tips in mind:

 

Consider Coworkers

Many experts recommend choosing a business partner with whom you already have a positive working relationship. This is especially true if the business you plan on starting is in some way related to your day job. You’ll be familiar enough with their work drive and skills to not be surprised by their conduct at any point.

employees

While you may be very close to your best friend, if you were to try and start a business together, you might find that he or she doesn’t have the same work ethic as you. This could prevent you from making progress on your company, and even cause irreparable damage to the relationship. However, you shouldn’t completely exclude friends and family from your search.

 

Determine What You’re Missing

Again, you may want to take on a partner to bridge any gaps you believe you lack regarding any resources or skills necessary for launching a successful business. Therefore, it’s a good idea to determine what skills and resources you bring to the table and, conversely, figure out what you lack. This makes it easier to identify people who would make effective collaborators.

For example, perhaps you want to start a freelance graphic design business. You may have the talent required to meet client demands, but you might need help marketing your business, managing your finances, maintaining a web presence, and so on.

An ideal solution is to find someone who fills in those gaps for you. In these instances, it may be appropriate to look to family members or friends. Just be careful and honestly assess whether anyone you’re considering shares your professional values and goals. You don’t want an important relationship to suffer because you didn’t take the time to ask yourself if someone would truly make a strong partner. Moreover, if you’re going to choose from family and friends, limit your options to people whose work ethic you’re somewhat familiar with.

You could also find a partner online by looking for online communities or job boards that target the kind of person who has the skills or experience you need. Although freelancer sites like Upwork generally involve hiring people for one-off projects, you may be able to find a candidate on these sites who is eager to partner with you to grow a business.

 

work from home

 

Consider Your Significant Other

Working with your significant other could be risky, or it could be rewarding. It all depends on how honest you are about your relationship.

If you’ve maintained a healthy and positive relationship for years, there’s a good chance that you and your romantic partner share a mutual respect. Perhaps more importantly, you’re likely very comfortable dividing responsibilities and communicating with one another.

These are important qualities in any business partnership. You need to be able to work together without either one of you feeling like he or she is being taken advantage of. If your significant other has the skills needed to help you start a business, you may want to team up with him or her. Doing so offers the added benefit of shared goals; it’s pretty safe to assume that your romantic partner has an interest in seeing your company succeed.

These tips will help you get a better sense of what type of person you should look for in a potential business partner. However, it’s important to remember that this isn’t a choice you should make without thinking it over carefully. The right person can make or break your business. The most important thing is to find someone you can trust.

home business
Business, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Management, Productivity, Technology, Work at Home

This Is How You Can Come Up with a Home Business Idea

Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to start and run your own business from home. Whether you plan on turning your business into a full-time enterprise or you simply want to make some extra money on the side, with just a few tools, you can indulge your entrepreneurial ambitions.

Of course, having the tools to start a business is not the same as having an idea for one. You may know you’d love to be your own boss and work from home, but you might have no idea how to get started.

Don’t get discouraged. Coming up with an idea will take some time, but if you put in the effort, you can generate a plan that may turn into a legitimate business. To start, keep these tips in mind.

idea

Assess Your Abilities and Experience

You’re probably not going to succeed in your goals of running a home business if you start one that requires a skillset you don’t possess. Thus, if you’re struggling to come up with an idea, you should start the brainstorming process by listing all the skills you have that may be valuable. While doing so, review all of your previous work experience and try to determine if you’ve acquired expertise in a particular area.

For instance, if you have a reputation as a strong writer, you could start a freelance business. If you have artistic talent, you may be able to provide clients with freelance graphic design services.

It’s important to incorporate hobbies into your list. Many people who enjoy creating arts and crafts projects in their spare time eventually discover that people want to buy their creations. Although not all hobbies can generate business ideas, you may be surprised by how many can.

The most important point to keep in mind during this exercise is simple: spend more time on it than you think you should. People often find it difficult to list their skills at first. They think they don’t have much experience or expertise they can leverage into a money-making enterprise. However, if you spend a decent amount of time trying to grow your list, you’ll likely find you actually have more valuable skills than you initially assumed.

abilities

Determine What Resources You Have at Your Disposal

Some people who start home businesses choose to take out loans to fund them. Of course, this involves some degree of risk. You need to decide whether or not you’re confident enough in your idea to take that kind of chance.

If you’re not, you likely won’t have a lot of money for equipment, employees, and other resources. You’ll need to take stock of what resources are already available to you.

Luckily, you can start plenty of home businesses on a limited budget. If you’re starting a freelance writing, graphic design, or even consulting business, it may be possible to do so with nothing more than a computer and a fast internet connection. As your enterprise grows, you can hire others to work for you or invest in additional equipment.

Either way, it’s very important to be honest with yourself at first. Don’t take financial risks for which you are unprepared. Once you know what resources you currently have at your disposal, you can more easily determine what type of business to create.

resources

Write Down 10 Ideas a Day

This is a tip from serial entrepreneur James Altucher. It’s also a surprisingly effective exercise.

Each day, set aside a little bit of time to list 10 different business ideas. Don’t stop until you’ve reached 10, but don’t censor yourself because you assume an idea isn’t strong enough to be worth putting on your list.

James Altucher himself admits that when he started doing this, many of his ideas were bad. The goal isn’t simply to come up with 10 business ideas you can develop into profitable enterprises. Ideally, this exercise will yield a strong idea at some point, but that probably won’t happen right away. Instead, this exercise will help you train your mind to start looking for business ideas in your daily life. The longer you practice it, the easier it will be to start seeing the world the way an entrepreneur sees the world.

These tips are primarily useful because they help you overcome the hurdle that prevents so many people from succeeding in their goal of working from home. Too many people give up early because they assume they simply don’t have any ideas. If you actually spend the time to brainstorm, this won’t be a problem.

 

writing
Business, Education, Entrepreneurship, Management, Organization, Productivity, Technology

Here Are the Best Tips for Entrepreneurs Designing a Business Plan

For many entrepreneurs, choosing to finally go into business for yourself is an exciting decision that is the first step toward accomplishing a lifelong dream. While many people who choose to establish their own company have likely conceptualized a business idea long before they ultimately choose to go into business, not all are aware of the early steps they must take to set their company successfully in motion.

If you are a new entrepreneur who has recently settled on a business idea, your first order of business is research—entrepreneurs must thoroughly investigate the market they are about to enter to test the viability of their business concept. After this initial research comes the first true step you take toward officially establishing your company: the creation of a business plan. Listed below are eight useful tips to help you write a business plan that successfully serves your new company.

 

  1. Consider your audience.

The first thing to do when developing a business plan is to think about the primary purpose the document will serve. For example, if your main goal is to find funding for your company, you will want to write a business plan that caters to potential investors. Conversely, if you already have the capital you need to get your business started, and instead need to attract a client base, you will want to design a business plan that answers a different set of questions than those investors would ask about your venture. Determine what you want to accomplish before you sit down to write, and then keep your audience in mind as you develop your plan.

client phone call

  1. Start with a vision.

Begin your business plan with an explanation of your company’s values, mission, and short-term goals. A simple outline that demonstrates your overarching vision for your venture will give your readers a succinct idea of the business and set them up to better understand the details you provide further in the document. If you aren’t comfortable expressing a vision for the company and would like to be more direct, start the document with a simple executive summary that explains your company’s basic purpose and achievements to date.

 

  1. Demonstrate your research.

Once you get into the details of your business plan, make sure you demonstrate the extent of the research you conducted prior to writing. What’s most important to convey is that there are people willing to pay for your product or service. Include information about the market size, contrasting its current status and its projected growth for the future. Show that you’ve studied your competition and make it clear how your company will enter the market, what hurdles it may confront, and how it will overcome them. In contrast, if you are pioneering a whole new category of products or services, explain how you’ll be able to successfully create a market for your company.

meeting

  1. Be cautious in your financial projections.

Financial analysis is an important part of creating a well-rounded business plan, especially if your primary use of the document will be to attract investors. When you do assess your budget and create a financial forecast, stay realistic and root every projection you make in reality, rather than your own feelings. You may have high hopes for your enterprise, but those who read your business plan need to see your idea as credible, which can only be done if you back up all of your numbers with facts. No matter how ambitious you are about your company’s potential, try to be conservative with your estimates and realistic about your financing needs. If you’re inexperienced in working with financial data, enlisting the help of an accountant for this aspect of your plan can help immensely.

 

  1. Introduce your team.

If you have brought other management employees on board before your company has been fully established, include their credentials in your business plan. This doesn’t have to be an extensive section of the document, but it should represent the work that each person has done prior to joining your team and what he or she will contribute moving forward. Many investors are keen to see this information; it’s sometimes said that investors invest not so much in ideas, but in people. They have to trust you and your team—your experience, passion, and diligence—before they will give you money.

employees

  1. Use visuals.

Break up walls of text within your business plan by including helpful visuals that illustrate key concepts. Consider using graphs and charts to make a powerful impact on your readers when communicating numbers. Include pictures of products or samples of advertising within your plan to give your audience a better idea of what your business is about and how it will function. These elements can strengthen the overall impression your business plan makes and encourage the audience to feel more confident about your ideas.

 

  1. Get creative.

Though your business plan should demonstrate a commitment to professionalism throughout, don’t be afraid to get creative with elements like template or design. Weed out unnecessary information, but include personal elements that show your readers who you are and what kind of entrepreneur you will be as you lead the company. A few unique elements can go a long way toward grabbing the attention of investors or customers and make your business seem more authentic.

insight

  1. Get an objective opinion.

Once you’ve finished your business plan, make sure you have an objective third party review it before you present it to anyone within your professional network. Even if you feel completely confident about the work you’ve done, having another person with experience look over your work can help identify potential weaknesses and raise questions that end up making the plan even more compelling.