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.
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.
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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