Vision and Self-Discipline: How to Start a Home-Based Business

It’s the dream of countless people who sit in a cubicle or office every day wondering what it would be like not to worry about getting to the office by 8 am and not having to feign enthusiasm during company meetings. According to the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, plenty of Americans have decided to find out for themselves what it’s like; today, home-based businesses account for 50 percent of all companies in the United States.

Some find out the hard way that it’s a serious personal challenge requiring lots of hard work and determination, as opposed to a way to sleep in late every day. What’s more, it’s not for everyone. A home-based business requires tremendous self-discipline and concentration. Consider the following points and whether this sounds like something you’d like to pursue.

Getting Off the Ground

Maintain your perspective if you’re determined to give it a try. Would-be home-business owners often get too caught up in the trappings of owning a business and focus solely on coming up with a clever name, a jazzy URL, fancy logo, business cards, and so on. Always bear in mind that drive, passion, and a strong work ethic are what see you through.

Others focus on a business niche they have little experience in because it sounds cool.

As you consider where to focus your efforts, keep a firm grip on common sense. If your background is in accounting, quitting your eight-to-five gig and becoming a public relations professional probably isn’t going to be your best bet. Instead, concentrate on your personal competencies, as well as strengths you can leverage and build on.

You’ll also need to determine what business niche makes the most sense for you. This is a decision that requires plenty of homework so you know what potential customers are looking for and what makes other businesses in this niche successful. Bear in mind that in the beginning, most of your customers will probably be people you’ve known, worked with and represented in the past, individuals who know what you can do. This is especially important if your intention is to become a consultant, so focus in an area with which you’re very familiar.

Your Target Market

Determining your target market will confirm whether there’s demand for what you’re offering and help you fine-tune a business model. Figure out who’s most likely to want/need your service or product and begin narrowing it down from there and determine your demographics (i.e. age range, income level, gender, etc.). Once you’ve worked out a target market, you can focus your marketing efforts and figure out what differentiates you from the competition.

Start Planning

A well-conceived business plan will help you secure the funding needed to start your business. It should address operational and financial matters as well as plans for outreach and growing your business. When you have these aspects hammered out, a professional, easy-to-navigate, informative, and responsive website should be the next order of business. However, unless you’re very computer savvy or have design experience, seek a professional web designer who can put together an attention-grabbing site that makes an indelible impression on prospective customers. This is your digital storefront, primary marketing tool and a chronicle of your business, so it needs to be very well thought out and beautifully executed.

Being Productive

Working at home takes some getting used to. Focus and discipline are important, so set up a home office that’s free of distractions. Keep TV screens, gaming consoles, and wall clocks out of view, and establish specific work hours each day.

Persistence can carry you a long way as a home-based business owner. It can take a little time to get any business off the ground, so don’t get discouraged in the early stages. Stick to your game plan and believe in your idea. And if you begin to lose motivation, think back to that cubicle, office politics, and the eight-to-five grind. 

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How to Use Color Psychology to Boost Conversion Rates

From our friends at Design Advisor…

Color functions as metaphor, a statement and a great way to convey a message. Look no further than the latest music videos, movies and magazine covers to realize that behind any great design lies well thought-out, strategic use of color schemes. There is no reason why you too shouldn’t think of color strategically for your next marketing campaign: it will help you sell, as well as make it easier for customers to recognize your brand in the future.

To help you do that, the folks at Design Advisor have devised a great infographic showcasing 40 facts about color psychology that will help you convert website visits into purchases. Companies such as supermarkets, law firms and fast-food chains have been doing this for ages – it works!

Their infographic goes through a long list of colors noting which industries they are typically associated with and mentions example of well-known companies that use each color in their marketing strategies (Have you ever noticed that most fast-food restaurants use red?). It also provides advice on which colors to use and which ones are better avoided depending on the type of business you’re designing for.

For instance, black is usually associated with elegance, authority and power. It is commonly used by luxury product companies selling tech, automobiles and clothing and notable examples include Jaguar, Mont Blanc and Chanel. On the other hand, steer clear of black if you are selling food or health care.

Whilst black exerts authority, white is commonly associated with perfection. White is also often used in advertising to denote cleanliness and coolness. It is a popular choice for healthcare providers and charities since these companies wish to establish that they are clean, in either a literal or metaphorical sense.

According to the infographic, color accounts for 60% of a decision for or against buying a particular product. So don’t waste any time – start thinking about what your brand’s message is, and how you could utilize colors to reflect that.

Click here or on image below to view infographic.

Calculating Lifetime Customer Value

From our friends at CleverTap

Key performance indicators can vary greatly between businesses. Some companies will actively focus on optimizing revenue per employee, while others give more attention to customer acquisition cost. One metric that should be acknowledged and understood by every company is customer lifetime value.

Customer lifetime value is the projected profit a company expects to earn from the average customer. This requires computing the average sale amount, the average number of sales, and the average duration a customer remains loyal. Multiplying these figures together with the profit margin results in the customer lifetime value.

Focusing on customer loyalty and retention will naturally lend itself to increase customer lifetime value. When you consider the cost to acquire a new customer far exceeds the cost to retain an existing customer, the benefits of optimizing customer lifetime value becomes evident. Our friends at CleverTap have put together the following visual guide to help optimize your customer lifetime value.

calculate customer lifetime value example

Should I start a side hustle? (infographic)

From our friends at Self Lender…

As of 2016, the average student loan debt neared $40,000. With the increased difficulty of landing a well-paid, full-time job straight out of college, graduates are struggling to earn a living.
In order to better manage the cost of living with shackling debt, grads have started working side hustles to make ends meet.

A side hustle is an additional, flexible job that allows you to earn supplemental income while taking classes or working a full-time job.

Self Lender provides 7 reasons why people need side hustles in this economic climate. To help you get some ideas, they put together 51 side hustle options for recent grads. Check out the infographic below to discover if you should start a side hustle.

4 Ways to Reduce Stress at the Work Through Practicing Self-Care

Work is the biggest source of stress for most small business owners and busy professionals. As work piles on and the stress starts to bury you, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t have to be this way. Instead, check out some self-care practices below to help you prevent work-related stress.

Blow Off Steam
When you are not working, it’s important to leave work at the office. Give yourself time in the evenings where you are not checking email and not trying to cross a few more tasks off your list in your home. It may sound counterintuitive, but letting yourself unwind decreases stress and anxiety, according to Healthline.

Find ways to help you relax. Though it may be tempting to grab a few beers with some friends, be wary. Alcohol and substance use can actually increase stress and anxiety. Instead, turn toward healthy self-care practices. Find a hobby such as reading, running, knitting, or cooking. Spending time with friends and family can also greatly reduce stress.

Make Lists
Staying organized is a great way to reduce stress. At the start of your day make a list of the things you would like to accomplish by the end of the day. Entrepreneur recommends ranking your tasks and put the things you need to get done that day at the top of the list, this way at the end of the day you’re not scrambling to get things done. Plus, as you start to cross things off you’ll see how much you’ve gotten done.

If there is a particularly overwhelming task you’re expected to get done, try breaking it into smaller, more manageable steps. This will help you feel like you’re making progress. It is also a good idea to figure out what type of worker you are. Some people feel better knocking off a few easy things right away, while others prefer to tackle the biggest task first thing. Do what naturally works for you.

Walk Away
When your to-do list is growing so long you feel as though you are drowning, sometimes the best thing to do is to walk away. Go on a quick walk around the block to clear your head. Giving yourself distance can help you relax and allow you to come back to work refreshed. Much like exercise, your mental health needs time in between tasks to recover. Sometimes even five minutes surfing the Internet can be enough.

Learn to Delegate
The idea that ‘No task is too small’ may sound like you should be able to handle everything, but this mentality can quickly lead to a burnout, and your quality of work may suffer. If you have the time for something small, that’s great. But when you don’t, it’s OK to say no. Your boss and co-workers don’t want you taking on more than you can handle. In fact, that they’ll respect you for knowing your limits.

Do not be shy about delegating either. Save your energy for the big things. Administrative tasks, social media and payroll are easy things to give to someone else, especially if they do not fit into your specific set of skills. Think of it as playing to your strengths. You will be more productive and less stressed if you are doing what suits you best.

Take Care of Yourself
Above all, you need to take care of your well-being. Do not let stress and anxiety rule your life. Practicing self-care is a great way to tune into your needs. Allow yourself time to unwind, don’t take on more than you can handle and fine-tune your body.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.