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Business, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Improvement, Management, Marketing, Organization, Productivity, Success

Managing Client Relationships: What You Need to Know

Running a successful home business can be a very rewarding experience. That said, it can also feel complicated sometimes. You may get discouraged if you allow yourself to get overwhelmed with all the tasks and duties associated with owning your own business.

That doesn’t need to happen. Yes, when you focus on the specifics, it is true there are many tasks involved in running a business, from setting a budget to completing projects. That said, succeeding as a business owner is actually fairly simple, even if it’s not always easy. You just need to provide your clients with valuable products or services.

Thus, it’s important to focus on strengthening your relationships with clients, particularly if you perform collaborative, long-term work with clients. You don’t want to constantly win new clients, only to lose them in the near future. These client relationship tips will help. If you’re looking for ways to ensure you don’t lose the clients you earn, keep them in mind.

 

Treat Them as Unique Individuals

Don’t make the mistake of promising personalized service while treating all your clients the same. You’re much more likely to make the right impression if you get to know the individual needs of each customer, particularly for clients with high-volume needs and/or with whom you will work on an ongoing basis.

business

For instance, maybe you have a small home business developing websites and content for other businesses. Maybe one of your clients is an attorney. When they need updates to their website, you need to know precisely what their specific goals are in order to deliver a strong finished product. What type of brand do they want the website to represent? Are they focused on attracting local clients, or do they want to expand their reach? How can added content, such as a blog, help them attract more visitors?

The answers to these questions will be different for a client who is an attorney and one who sells apparel via an online store. In addition, for a client who sold apparel, you’d also ask yourself how ecommerce solutions can improve such a website. You’d ask how visuals can make the products more appealing. You’d consider how to make the site easy to navigate for people seeking specific items.

This is key. By treating each client as unique, instead of taking a “one size fits all” approach, you’ll better serve their individual needs.

 

Know How They Like to be Involved

Another factor to consider when tailoring your approach to each client is the degree to which different clients want to be involved in the process of setting goals and completing projects. For example, maybe some clients want to be actively involved. They contact you relatively frequently, they make suggestions, and they monitor your progress to ensure you’re on schedule. This type of client would likely appreciate if you got in touch with them often to provide updates or ask questions.

On the other hand, you may have other clients who prefer to outsource and truly delegate their involvement. After establishing goals for the project, they’d prefer it if you worked independently, only getting in touch with them when it’s truly necessary to do so.

You’ll make the wrong impression on the latter clients if you’re reaching out to them with every minor question and update you have. Even if you’re well-intentioned, it will indicate you aren’t accounting for their other priorities. As a result, the next time they need your services, they might hire someone else.

 

Get Personal (to an Extent)

Your initial interactions with clients will usually be somewhat formal and professional. While you don’t want to come across as a robot, you don’t want to be so casual that the nature of the relationship resembles a friendship more than it resembles a client-vendor relationship.

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That said, if you’re going to be working for the same clients for a long period of time, eventually, you want them to get to know you a bit, and vice versa. You’ll reach a point where it’s acceptable to include a little bit of personal information in your communications with them. For example, maybe you want to let a client know your availability is changing because of a family obligation. You might use this as an opportunity to share information about your family members’ interests or hobbies.

Share this kind of minor personal information, and clients may begin to feel more comfortable sharing similar information about themselves. This leads to a closer relationship in which you’re more likely to have their trust. If you are on friendly terms with your clients, it might be easier to address challenges and mistakes when they arise.

The point to keep in mind is that this is all fairly simple. Yes, it takes work to implement these tips, but the importance of client relations can’t be overstated. When you treat each client as an individual, and focus on pleasing them, you’re far more likely to succeed as a home-based business owner.

digital-marketing
Business, Entrepreneurship, Improvement, Management, Marketing, Organization, Productivity, Success

You Need to Know about These Inexpensive Ways to Promote Your Business

Running your own home business can be a very rewarding experience. That said, even if you’re a hard worker, you won’t succeed in the long run if no one knows that your business exists.

That’s why you need a marketing plan. Unfortunately, you may be on a tight budget. Getting the word out about your business can seem difficult when you don’t have the money to hire a professional marketing firm.

Don’t worry if this is the case. The following low-budget marketing ideas will help you to get noticed and attract customers without breaking the bank.

 

Emphasize Content Marketing

Content marketing is effective for many reasons. In general, however, it gives you the opportunity to reach customers on the Internet (and other platforms) in order to demonstrate your expertise and knowledge.

Creating content can also be fairly inexpensive. In many cases, all you have to invest is your time. Ideally, your goal should be to create various forms of content. It’s easier to reach as many people as possible when you have a YouTube channel, podcast, and blog.

That may not be practical in your case. Perhaps you don’t have the skills or experience necessary to create videos or podcasts. While you could hire someone to help, that’s not your goal when implementing a low-budget marketing plan.

It’s more important to focus on creating truly strong content. If you don’t know how to create a video, then focus on writing the strongest blog posts that you can. This is a more effective strategy than trying to create a large amount of mediocre content. Potential clients will be far more likely to take you seriously if they find that you’ve written several detailed and thorough blog entries on your industry than they would be if they found that you’d released countless videos, podcasts, and articles, many of low quality.

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Contribute Content

Don’t make the mistake of publishing content solely on your own platforms. While a strong blog article on your site can eventually attract attention, it may take some time for this to happen if people aren’t generally familiar with your business.

Thus, it’s also smart to reach out to others and offer to contribute content to their platforms. This can involve submitting guest articles to relevant publications or giving interviews on podcasts or YouTube channels.

It’s important to understand that convincing people to allow you to contribute may require patience. If you haven’t established yourself as a known figure in your industry (even if it’s a relatively small niche), people might wonder whether any content that you submit will be worth publishing. You need to be persistent when first reaching out. Eventually, however, you’ll start to find others willing to give you a chance, providing you with the opportunity to promote your business to a wider audience.

 

Use Free Digital Channels

The digital revolution has provided business owners with access to a wide range of marketing channels that weren’t available in the fairly recent past. Best of all, many of these channels are free.

Social media is one example. With Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms, you can regularly share updates with your followers. If you create and share strong content on social media, as well, then others might share it with their own followers, enabling you to spread the word about your business to an even greater degree.

It is true that social media marketing takes time. You need to post regularly and consistently to engage your followers. Luckily, many tools can enable you to automate your social media posting schedule. Consider this if you’re looking to save both time and money.

You should also use your social media accounts and website to encourage your customers to join an email list. Email remains one of the most effective marketing channels because it allows you to cultivate genuine, long-term relationships with customers. It’s another low-cost option that can nonetheless yield a high return on investment.

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Participate in Online Discussions

The Internet is home to discussion groups devoted to just about any topic you can imagine. Sometimes these groups are hosted on popular social media platforms (such as Facebook), and other times they exist on their own dedicated websites.

Make a point of finding discussion forums related to your line of work. Actively participating in discussions is another way to let people know that you have a certain degree of expertise in your field.

However, don’t make the mistake of promoting your business excessively in discussion groups. Doing so will make the wrong impression on potential customers. Instead, you simply want to provide value. This will enable you to build a reputation. Eventually, when you are comfortable with your reputation as a valued member of a discussion group, you can bring up your business.

Most importantly, don’t worry if you have a small marketing budget. The Internet has made it possible to spread the word about a business without spending a lot of money. These tips will help.

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Business, Entrepreneurship, Improvement, Marketing, Organization, Productivity, Success, Technology

This Is Why Your Small Business Needs a Website

If you’re starting your own home business, you need a website. Most people probably agree with this statement, but the reality paints a different picture. According to a 2017 survey by CNBC, 45 percent of small businesses do not have a website.

You might think a website isn’t necessary. If you don’t have the skills to create a website, or if you lack the budget to hire someone to build it, you may wonder if it’s possible to spread the word about your business without an online presence.

It may be technically possible, but that doesn’t mean it’s a risk worth taking. To better understand why you should invest in a website, keep the following points in mind.

 

Getting Found

Odds are good you won’t have many clients when you first start your business. People need to know your business exists before they can consider working with you.

That means you need to understand how people find businesses when they need particular goods or services. To an increasing degree, people are turning to the Internet when researching their options. The statistics may surprise you: 97 percent of search engine users have searched online to find a local business. In addition, 86 percent of consumers rely on the Internet to find local businesses and almost one-third search online for local businesses at least once a week.

The Internet is where people go to find you. Make sure they can by maintaining a website.

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Establishing Credibility

The simple fact is that consumers largely expect businesses—even small, local businesses—to have a website. Not having one puts your business in a negative light. Your business may look out of touch, unprofessional, or untrustworthy without a website.

This is because the Internet makes it easier than ever for people to research businesses before patronizing them. This research is incredibly common: some 81 percent of consumers perform online research before making a purchase. With a website, you can publish testimonials from former clients, detailed explanations of the services you provide, pictures of your products, a price list, and information about any relevant qualifications or certifications you have. Even a simple website with your name, location, hours, contact information, and a basic description of your services is helpful.

In short, a website is key to making the right impression on potential customers. When selecting a business to serve their needs, consumers want to know they’re going to be in the hands of professionals they can trust. It’s easier to prove you run that type of operation when you have a website people can use for research purposes.

A website also gives you a platform for a blog. This helps you cultivate your reputation among customers. With a blog, you can share insights and information related to your area of expertise, further cementing your reputation as a knowledgeable, capable professional.

 

Casting a Wide Net

Again, the cost of setting up and maintaining a website is a major reason some home business owners assume they may be able to succeed without one. This is particularly true when creating a website requires hiring a web designer—although business owners should keep in mind that creating a basic website may only cost a few hundred dollars, not thousands.

However, if you’re still balking at the cost, it helps to genuinely consider the return on investment a web presence can deliver. Quite simply, when you have a website, you have the opportunity to reach many more potential customers than you could without one. Similarly, your competitors with websites are likely reaching more potential customers than you. These facts are the reasons creating a website is one of the smartest investments a small business owner can make.

 

Creating a Brand

Branding is key to the success of any business. Ideally, your brand should embody your business’ identity, as if it were a person. This allows you to engage customers on a truly personal level, and to set yourself apart from competitors. There’s a reason successful entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs have frequently emphasized the importance of cultivating a brand. You may not be running a global company like Jobs did, but you can still cultivate a brand for your small business.

A website gives you the opportunity to do so. After all, a brand is much more than a logo. It’s a set of principles, a mission, and a “personality” all in one. Your website can be a useful platform for establishing your brand and communicating your values. Using your website in this capacity can help you generate and maintain customer loyalty.

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Being Available

Your success as a business owner depends on your customers’ ability to get in touch with you. Gone are the days when a “Closed” sign on a storefront doorway meant business hours are over. While you shouldn’t be on call 24/7 (this will lead to burnout), you want to ensure potential clients can always learn about and reach your business when they need to.

This is another reason you need a website. Even if business hours are over, a customer could use your website to learn about your services or contact you in the meantime.

Is a home business website an investment? Yes. That said, the phrase “You have to spend money to make money” is entirely true for entrepreneurs. More importantly, you have to spend money wisely—and a website is one of the smartest investments you can make. Create yours sooner rather than later to let people know you’re in business.

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Business, Entrepreneurship, Management, Marketing, Organization, Productivity, Uncategorized

Marketing Your Business with Email: What You Need to Know

Getting the word out about your small home business is very important. No matter how good you are at what you do, you may struggle to thrive if clients don’t know about your services.

That’s why it’s a smart idea to ask visitors to your website to sign up for an email list. Email remains one of the most effective marketing channels for any business. This is because it lets you stay in contact with people who have demonstrated some level of interest in your services.

With email, you can turn new leads into paying customers. You can also ensure that those who have made a purchase or hired you for a job in the past remember to consider you again in the future. Best of all, according to campaignmonitor.com, email marketing can deliver a return on investment of $44 for every dollar spent.

Of course, to leverage this channel to its full potential, it helps to familiarize yourself with some basic email marketing best practices. Keep the following tips in mind to maximize your success.

 

Make It Personal

Your subscribers will probably have many emails to sort through when they check their inboxes. There’s a chance many of them don’t open every single message they receive. Thus, you want to find out what you can do to boost open rates.

Simply personalizing the subject line can help. Studies indicate that personalizing the subject line of your email can improve open rates by as much as 50 percent.

The service you use to send out mass emails to your subscribers will almost certainly allow you to personalize subject lines automatically. You won’t have to send individual emails to every subscriber in order to add names to subject lines.

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Segment Your List

Not all content will be relevant to all subscribers. For example, new subscribers may benefit from a welcome email describing your services. This content would be redundant for people who have been subscribing to your emails for months or years.

Additionally, the types of services you promote might not always be valuable to every potential customer. If you offer graphic design services, some customers might need help creating logos for their own businesses, some might need book covers, some might need labels and posters, etc. You don’t want to irritate your subscribers by sending them content that doesn’t meet their needs.

You can avoid doing this by segmenting your email list into different subsets. Survey your followers to gather information about which subset they should belong to. This is yet another way to improve your email open rates.

 

Monitor Key Metrics

Don’t market blindly. Pay attention to metrics like open rates to better understand how to adjust your campaigns.

For instance, you should monitor open rates to determine the best time of day and week to send an email. As you send more content, you’ll have more data to reference. Eventually you’ll be able to confidently determine when the ideal time to send emails is.

This means you can automate the process, saving yourself a lot of time and effort. You’ll simply schedule the emails ahead of time so they get sent precisely when you want them to.

You should also include a call to action (CTA) at the end of every message. Your goal as a marketer is to encourage readers to act on your content. That may involve heading to your website to buy a product, sharing your content on social media, taking advantage of a promotional offer, etc.

Track how often readers actually follow the CTA link. Then review the emails that performed best. Study them to find out what factors they have in common. This will help you learn how to draft stronger emails in the future.

analytics

 

Keep Mobile Devices in Mind

Did you know that most people check their inboxes on mobile devices instead of computers these days? As a small business owner, that means you need to optimize your marketing emails for small screens.

Don’t overwhelm readers with large chunks of text. Break the text into scannable sections using headers and short paragraphs. You can make your emails more dynamic by including images and graphics. You won’t keep a reader’s attention for very long if you’re only including text in your messages.

Most importantly, constantly pay attention to how successful a given campaign is, and continue to research email marketing best practices. You’ll be much more likely to plan strong campaigns if you’re vigilant about learning what does and does not work.

Email is one of the most effective ways to spread the word about your business. It also increases brand awareness and loyalty. These tips will help you take full advantage of it.

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Business, Entrepreneurship, Management, Marketing, Organization, Productivity, Technology

How to Use Social Media to Promote a Small Business

Starting a small home business can be a dream come true, but you’re not going to stay in business for long if people don’t know your company exists. That’s why developing and implementing a strong marketing strategy is important. No matter how good you are at what you do, you won’t succeed without finding a way to let potential clients know you’re in business.

Fortunately, there is a variety of marketing channels at your disposal, each offering its own set of pros and cons. However, in today’s digital world, a social media marketing strategy is essential. Whether you run a freelance graphic design business or a consulting service in a niche industry, using these platforms effectively will help you establish your brand, grow a loyal following, and reach new customers.

You just need to know how to start. While not a comprehensive guide to social media marketing, the following tips will help you better understand how you can leverage this strategy to reach your goals.

 

Understanding Your Options

There are several different social media platforms to consider when you first begin to market your business. It’s worth exploring the benefits each one offers. For instance, Facebook allows marketers to target specific types of users with ads. But if your business involves creating visual work (like graphic design or photography), Instagram is the place to show it off. With Twitter, you can post more often and take advantage of trending topics to reach more customers. If you’re catering to industry professionals, LinkedIn is the best place to find them.

online business

In the long run, you’ll want to maintain several different social media accounts to enjoy the unique benefits of each. At first, it’s best to start with just two so you have the opportunity to test different marketing strategies before developing a more complex and comprehensive plan.

It’s also smart to learn which platforms your target audience engage with the most. For example, if you’re targeting younger customers who aren’t professionally involved in any particular industry, LinkedIn might not be as useful to you as it would be to someone running a consulting firm.

 

Learn to Automate

Running a small business from your home involves a lot of work, and during the early stages of growth, you may not have the money to pay for extra staff. This can make devoting time to social media marketing daunting to anyone.

However, it’s not a time-consuming as you may think. While you will have to generate content and monitor your campaigns to determine which tactics are most effective, you can also implement automation tools to make maintaining a social media presence easier. These programs allow you to compose posts and schedule a date and time for when you’d like them posted automatically.

 

Be Social

To achieve your desired results, make sure to emphasize the “social” aspect of a social media marketing campaign. That means engaging with your followers by responding to questions, liking or sharing their posts, responding to comments (even a simple “Thanks!” on a positive comment can help), and even promoting the services of related businesses in your industry. While you may not want to promote another competing business, there is the possibility of finding similar businesses that aren’t in direct competition but can help you grow your professional network.

social media

For example, perhaps you offer graphic design services to other companies. These businesses could also probably use the help of web designers, bloggers, and social media marketing specialists. Promoting these kinds of businesses and engaging with them gives you the chance to network with others who can spread the word about your business as well.

 

Share Interesting Content

Don’t use social media solely to promote your own business. For the best results, you’ll want to offer your followers a variety of valuable content, from humor to current events. People are less likely to continue following your account if you’re only posting information about your services. As an example, if you run a freelance writing business for local nonprofits, you might share information about events in the area that your clients would be interested in attending. If you run a graphic design business, you can share content about how strong graphic design can help a company attract more customers.

Remember, it’s always important to monitor your campaigns and adjust your strategy when necessary. These tips will help you get started. However, social media marketing is an ongoing process. You’ll be much more likely to succeed if you’re vigilant about tracking your progress.

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Business, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Management, Marketing, Productivity, Success

This Is What Small Business Owners Need to Know about Marketing

Starting and running a small business is a dream come true for many people. However, it doesn’t matter how talented or dedicated you are. If people don’t know that your business exists, then you won’t succeed. That’s why it’s important to develop a marketing plan that you can implement from the beginning.

Granted, the most effective marketing tactics for one business may not be as useful for another. Different industries will benefit from different social media platforms. For example, if you’re promoting a business that caters to homeowners, Facebook may be more useful than LinkedIn, which in turn would be more effective for a company that assists corporate clients.

That said, the following general information will enable you to get started on your marketing plan. You should keep these points in mind during every stage of your business’ development in order to boost your chances of success.

 

The Benefits of Social Media

social media

Social media has made it easier than ever to reach potential customers. However, it’s worth noting that social media platforms vary in terms of the benefits that they offer.

Facebook is useful because it allows you to target specific demographics. Through targeted ads, you can ensure that the people who see your marketing content are also the kinds who are most likely to buy your products or request your services.

Instagram can be highly effective for businesses whose products or services lend themselves to impressive visuals. For instance, if you’re an amateur jewelry designer who wants to start selling your creations, Instagram offers you the opportunity to show them off. On the other hand, if your business involves making any sort of improvements to homes, like painting or interior design services, Instagram is still useful as a means of displaying your work.

Twitter is a more general tool that can also boost your marketing efforts. Twitter is useful because, according to most experts, customers are more accepting of businesses that post multiple times a day on it. With Facebook, constant posting can actually annoy your followers. On the other hand, Twitter gives you the opportunity to share information and content more frequently. In addition, it allows you to take advantage of hashtags to cast a wider net.

 

Why a Social Media Calendar Is Important

Although there may be instances when an unexpected story or event gives you reason to post on social media when you hadn’t planned to do so, for the most part you’ll want to rely on a social media calendar. You can create a simple one in Excel or find samples online.

A social media calendar should include columns for every platform that you use. For instance, if your business has Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, your calendar should feature columns for each one.

Filling in the calendar ahead of time means you’ll be more likely to stick to a regular posting schedule. Just fill in what content you plan to share and when you plan to share it in each platform’s column. This will also enable you to avoid posting too frequently on a given platform.

While best practices will vary from one industry to another, you should generally post on Facebook five times a week in order to maximize your return on investment. Twitter is different. As long as you share quality posts, the basic rule of thumb is “more is better.” You should monitor the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns to find out how frequently you should post for the best possible results.

 

Understanding Content Marketing

online business

Surveys indicate that customers are growing tired of dated and intrusive advertising tactics. They want advertisements that offer genuine value rather than ones that treat them like prospects.

That’s why many business owners rely on content marketing. Quite simply, content marketing involves using branded but valuable content to offer your customers something that’s genuinely useful or interesting.

For example, perhaps your business involves interior design. You could maintain a regular blog on your website in which you share some basic, but practical interior design tips. Of course, you should share all blog posts on your social media accounts, as well.

Content marketing is effective because it provides customers with something worth noticing. In this digital age, people are constantly bombarded by advertisements. To filter through all the excess, they seek out content that’s interesting and valuable to them. This is also the type of content they’re more likely to share with their friends and family.

Your content doesn’t need to be a blog. You may find that it’s more effective to create videos or podcasts. This is another instance in which you’ll need to monitor your campaigns to determine what works best.

That’s an important point. While developing a marketing plan early is essential, don’t assume your plan won’t change. Each business and industry is different. When you implement a plan and track your progress to see where changes should be made, your odds of success will increase in a big way.

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Business, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Improvement, Marketing, Organization, Productivity, Success, Work at Home

3 Ways to Ensure That Potential Clients Know about Your Home Business

Many people who have been stuck in dead-end jobs for years dream about becoming their own boss at some point. That’s why so many try to start their own home business. In this day and age, it’s easier than ever to do so. Due to the Internet, you can create a legitimate, thriving business without having to rent out office space or hire a marketing team.

A large number of online businesses involve some form of freelance or consulting work. If you have a valuable skill or specialized knowledge and experience, you can easily sell your services to clients. This strategy is popular because it doesn’t involve creating anything. You don’t need to worry about finding space to manufacture goods and store inventory. You can perform all the work right at your own desk.

It’s one thing to create a business, but ensuring that people know about it is something else entirely. That’s why you should keep the following tips in mind. They’ll help you to attract clients so you can quit your day job and do what you love full time.

 

  1. Create a Website

graphic design

Every single business needs a website. It’s also smart to maintain a social media profile. Quite simply, online searches are how many people find companies these days. They don’t look up anything in the Yellow Pages anymore. They use Google to find people who offer the services they need.

A website allows you to promote your business and gives potential clients an easy way to contact you.

In order to make your web presence even more effective, you should consider maintaining a blog on your site that you update regularly. If this seems like more work than it’s worth, you can hire freelancers to write the content for you. In fact, if you’re not comfortable with your skills as a writer, you may want to hire a freelancer to write all of your site’s content. You want to make the right impression on clients. This means ensuring that you sound professional.

Quality freelancers also understand how to optimize content so a site is more likely to appear in online searches. Hiring one is a smart investment.

 

  1. Reach Out to Potential Clients Directly

meeting

While a website is crucial, you don’t want to passively wait for people to discover your business. Instead, you must be proactive about finding clients.

Begin by creating a spreadsheet filled out with the names and contact information of prospective clients. You can typically find them via a Google search.

For instance, perhaps you’re starting your own graphic design business. Maybe you want to focus on book covers. This is a fast-growing market due to the rise of online self-publishing. Plenty of authors who felt reluctant to follow the traditional publishing route are now selling their books directly to customers online. And while you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, it’s no secret that a professional cover design tends to result in a more successful book.

You could search for self-published authors by browsing Facebook groups and reading writers’ blogs. Find authors for whom you could create effective designs, look up their contact information (the odds are good they’ll have their own websites listing that information), and let them know you have a graphic design business and would love to create covers for their books.

Most people you contact won’t reply. Others will say they’re not interested. However, some will want to hire you. With just a little bit of effort, you can build a substantial client list.

 

  1. Submit Guest Posts

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Find bloggers who cover the industry you work in, but who don’t qualify as direct competitors. To use the graphic design example again, if you want to design book covers, find bloggers who work in the self-publishing niche. Reach out to them and ask if they would like you to contribute a guest post or interview on the topic of “why a professional book cover is important.”

Maintaining a website and regularly updating your blog will eventually result in more web traffic, although it can be difficult to build a following during these early stages. Instead, contribute posts to blogs and sites that already have a substantial following. That’s how you’ll get the word out about your own business.

It’s worth noting that none of this is very difficult. While you will absolutely need to put in some work at first to get your home business off the ground, once you have enough clients to keep you busy, you’ll realize that your dream of working from home has become a reality. Don’t quit early on because no one knows your company exists yet. Follow these tips, and pretty soon you’ll be busier than you ever thought possible.