Running a Home-Based eBusiness
Question - What do Apple Computer, Hershey's, Mary Kay Cosmetics, and the Ford Motor Company all have in common?
Answer - These well-known corporations all started out as "Home-Based Businesses". In fact, more than half of all U.S. businesses alone, are based out of an owner's home.
Starting, and managing, a Home-Based Business (or side-biz) has many rewards - as well as a few challenges. This Blog Post will provides tips that will help you learn more about ... working out of your house ... starting a Home-Based Business ... managing your business, and your time.
Leaving corporate North America, to run a Home-Based Business, is the ideal situation for many people, especially in today's global economic (and political) climate.
Advantages - There's no obnoxious boss breathing down your neck ... no more boring meetings to attend ... no 45-minute drives in rush hour traffic.
Yes, 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 mainly you, your computer, and the typical distractions of home.
As you pursue the Virtual Wealth Lifestyle, towards FINANCIAL FREEDOM ... let's explore the realities - and some tips - of running an Online business ... Parts (1) & (2):
(1) Working Your eBiz - from HOME
Here are some great tips for efficiency, time management, and success:
(1) Structure Your Day - The problem a lot of Home-Based Business owners have is that they no longer have a boss standing over them, making sure they get their work done - or a tangible start and end of each workday. They need a Road Map.
It's easy to let time slip by as you head to the refrigerator, catch a few minutes of TV, or dive into a project first thing in the morning, neglecting the other tasks you need to perform to keep your business running smoothly.
(2) Create a System - Ideally, set up one that mimics what you had in the workplace. Arrange your day so you have a start and finish time, with certain hours set aside for specific activities. A general rule is to spend the first hour of the day prospecting for new clients. Send your e-mails, write your letters, and make your phone calls first thing, so you don't forget to do it later.
(3) Use Outlook - or some sort of 'contact management' software to serve as a visual reminder of what you need to accomplish that day. Live and die by your to-do-list. Try to have everything crossed off by the end of the day. Even your children should know that, if they want you to do something for them during working hours, they have to put it on your to-do-list - or it will never get done.
(4) Stay Connected - Carry an organizer wherever you go. If you're still using a Day Planner, or similar dinosaur, consider upgrading to a Blackberry, or other high-tech gadget. You don't need to go crazy and spend a lot of money, but invest wisely in something that will hold everything you need and allow you to instantly access it on the go.
Another good idea is to not keep all of your information in one location, such as the hard drive of your home computer. Keep your data hosted on a virtual exchange server so you can access it anywhere that has an Internet connection. A big misconception about Home-Based Business owners is that they stay at home all day, every day. And as you know, that's just not always true.
(5) Organize Your FAMILY Time - Once your business / 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 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 Home-Based Business, and earning a decent income, you are going to have to make arrangements for child care, in or outside the home. Otherwise, it will become far too distracting. Consider hiring a baby-sitter so you're guaranteed five to six solid hours to get your work done.
(6) Motivate Yourself - Sit down and set some goals for yourself. You no longer have quarterly reviews or progress reports, so it's important to keep track of whether or not you are making progress in your Home Business. It's one thing to set small goals, like completing your to-do-list ... but ideally, you also should set goals to motivate yourself to succeed.
Hopefully, by now, you're making as much, if not more, money at your Home-Based Business than you were at your former job (or, if it's a side-biz, you're satisfied with your progress). If you aren't, begin by setting a goal to 'raise the bar' to increase your income by a couple of thousand a month. Once you've met a goal, make time to reward yourself by doing something fun, which brings us to the next tip.
(7) Take Time Out for Good Behavior - It's not uncommon to find yourself working 60- to 70-hour weeks. But the good thing is, you can reward yourself ... if you want to sneak out and see a movie at two in the afternoon, nobody's going to tell you not to do it. You have that freedom, and the flexibility, as a Home Business owner.
It can be very tempting to work all the time when you start seeing how successful your business has become, but know when to relax. You've already established a smooth-running business. Take a break every now and then so you don't get burned out
(8) Be a Jack-Of-All-Trades - There are a "lot" of roles you play as a Home-Based Business owner: You're the CEO - president - secretary - office manager - and tech support. Learn the basic skills of running an office, including how to troubleshoot some rudimentary technical problems. You don't need to become an expert, but make sure you have a basic understanding of tech support issues, bookkeeping, etc. (or outsource those issues that make sense to).
(9) Network - Network with other Home-Based Business owners, in either a formal or informal setting. This is a good way to find service providers, leads, and potential new clients. Surrounding yourself with people who also "work from home" will give you the support you need, and refer you to people who can help you grow your business.
(10) Incorporate the FIVE (5) 'ABILITIES' - See this excellent guide => Click Here
(11) Consider Moving OUT of Your Home - For a lot of people, working from home is more of a launching pad. In the beginning, many business owners work from home in order to keep overhead low. If you should have more than one person, with different roles, working from your home office, you should ideally be working in separate rooms.
It can be difficult having two people work side-by-side - even if those two people are spouses, and love each other very much. It's distracting for anyone to have someone three feet away from you talking on the phone. Be prepared for expansion. At the point when your business becomes so successful that you cannot efficiently work close together, start considering moving your office outside the home.
(2) Running a SUCCESSFUL Home eBiz
There is a proven sequence of STEPS you can follow to guarantee your success when you're starting or running a Home-Based Business Online.
STEP (#1) - Find a NEED -- and FILL it
Most people who are just starting out make the mistake of looking for a product first, and a market second. This is the "reverse" of what should happen.
To boost your chances of success, start with a market. The trick is to find a group of people who are searching for a good SOLUTION to a pressing PROBLEM, but they are not finding many results. The Internet makes this kind of market research easy:
Visit Online Forums to see what questions people ask, and what problems they're trying to solve.
Do Keyword Research to find keywords that a lot of people are searching, but for which not many sites are competing.
Check out your potential competitors, by visiting their websites, and taking note of what they are doing to fill the demand. Then, you can use what you have learned and create a product for a market that already exists - and do it better than the competition.
STEP (#2) - Write Good COPY -- that SELLS
There's a proven Sales Copy FORMULA that takes visitors through the selling process from the moment they arrive to the moment they make a purchase:
Arouse Interest with a Compelling Headline
Describe the Problem your Product / Service Solves
Establish your Credibility as a Solver of this Problem
Add Testimonials from People who Have Used your Product
Talk About the Product / Service, and How it Benefits the User
Make an Irresistible Offer
Make a Strong Guarantee
Create Some Urgency
Ask for the Sale
Throughout your copy, you need to focus on HOW your product or service is uniquely able solve people's problems, or make their lives better. Think like a CUSTOMER, and always be asking ... "What's in it for me?"
STEP (#3) - Design and Build your WEBSITE / BLOG
Once you've got your market and product, and you've nailed down your selling process, now you're ready for your small-business WEB-BLOG design. Remember to keep it simple. You have fewer than five seconds to grab someone's attention ... otherwise, they're gone ... never to be seen again. Some important tips to keep in mind:
Choose One or Two Plain FONTS, on a WHITE Background
Make your Navigation Clear and Simple, and the Same on Every Page
Use Graphics, Audio or Video - only IF they will Enhance your Message
Include an OPTIN Offer (Lead Magnet) so you can Collect eMail Addresses
Make it Easy to BUY - no More than (2) Clicks between customer and checkout
Your Website is your Identity + your Online Storefront - make it Consumer-Friendly
STEP (#4) - Use Search Engines to Drive Targeted Buyers to Your Site
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is the fastest way to get targeted traffic to a brand-new website. Yes, there is some "risk" - but It has two advantages over waiting for the traffic to come to you "organically". First, PPC ads show up on the search pages immediately, and second, PPC ads allow you to test different keywords, as well as headlines, prices and selling approaches.
Not only do you get immediate traffic, but you can also use PPC ads to discover your best, highest-converting keywords. Then you can distribute the keywords throughout your site in your copy and code, which will help your rankings in the organic search results.
STEP (#5) - Establish an Expert Reputation for Yourself
People use the Internet to "find information". Provide that information for free to other sites, and you will see more traffic and better search engine rankings. The secret is to always "include a link to your site" with each tidbit of information.
Give away FREE, expert content (up front). Create articles, videos or any other content that people will find useful. Distribute that content through Online Article Directories, or Social Media sites, or in Forums, etc.
Include "Share" / "Send to a Friend" links about valuable content on your website.
Become an "active expert" in industry Forums and Social Networking sites where your target market hangs out.
You'll reach new readers. But even better, every site that posts your content will link back to yours. Search engines love links from relevant sites, and will reward you in the rankings.
STEP (#6) - Use eMAIL MARKETING to Turn Visitors into Buyers
When you build an Opt-In list, you're creating one of the most valuable ASSETS of your Online business. Your customers and subscribers have given you permission to send them e-mail follow-ups. That means:
You're Giving Them Something They’ve Asked for
You're Developing (Hopefully, Lifetime) Relationships with them
The Response Process is 100 % Measurable
It is Cheaper & more Effective than Print, TV or Radio because it's highly targeted
Anyone who Visits your Site - and Opts into your List - is a very Hot Lead. And there's no Better tool than E-MAIL for Following Up with those Leads, to build the Trust Factor
STEP (#7) - Increase Your Income via Back-End Sales + Upselling
One of the most important Internet Marketing strategies is to develop every customer's "lifetime value". At least 36 % of people who have purchased from you once,will buy from you again - IF you follow up with them. Closing that first sale is by far the most difficult part - not to mention the most expensive. So use "back-end selling" (your Biz Opp, etc) - as well as "upselling" (a higher priced item) to get them to buy again:
Offer products / services that complement their original purchase.
Send out electronic Loyalty Coupons they can redeem on their next visit.
Offer related products / services on your "Thankyou" page - after they purchase.
REWARD your customers for their loyalty, and they'll become even more loyal.
Note (1) The INTERNET changes so fast that one (1) year Online equals about five (5) years in the real world. But the principles of how to start, and grow, a successful Online business haven't changed at all.
If you're just starting a small business Online, stick to this sequence. If you have been Online awhile, do a quick review and see if there's a step you're neglecting, or never got around to doing in the first place. You can't go wrong with the basics.
Note (2) - See Special eBook: "Virtual Wealth MASTERY" for more tips => Click Here
BONUS - 101 Secrets to Running a Successful Home-Based Business => Click Here