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Starting a home business is one thing, but forming it into a successful home business is another. No matter if you are a 'get your hands dirty' kind of person, prefer to work with computers or numbers, or even travel the world, there is a business idea waiting for you to take it in the palm of your hands. Sure, starting a home business requires grit, determination, and in most cases, long hours. However, once you see your first payment, booking, or inquiry come through from a client, the feeling of satisfaction will be like no other.
All of the hard work it has taken to see your home business become successful will only motivate you to make it better and drive sales. Success can never be guaranteed, but there are some steps you can take to ensure your business is as successful as possible. In saying that, personal qualities and attributes, such as motivation, determination, and hard work, can go a very long way in your success.
If you're stuck on how to get started, read on as we explore how to start a successful home business. It all begins with knowing yourself and what interests you.
Assess Your Attributes and Talents
First of all, assessing your personal attributes and values is critical to your business success. Begin by separating your strengths from your weaknesses, and focus on your natural talents. Perhaps you are the creative type who enjoys designing, or maybe you prefer to create masterpieces with your hands. Are you determined, motivated, open to ideas, and learning? Whatever your skills and attributes may be, be sure to note them down to you have a reference point throughout the process. In fact, not only will these points come in handy during the planning stages. They will also help you reflect and act as guidance once your business is established and successful.
Next, jot down your personality characteristics. This will help you identify whether you are suited to self-employment or not. If you are open-minded, patient, motivated and comfortable with taking a risk, then you are well on your way to creating a successful home business. Even if you don't fall into any of the above categories, simply being open to failure, and having the will and motivation to learn from it is all you need.
Above all else, the ability to remain true and honest with yourself right from the offing in will help you make the most appropriate choice. If you bound by rules and quite tentative, maybe this could be the time to change some of those traits!
Which Niche Is Right For Me?
This is the question you will need to ask yourself next. Choosing a niche, or industry, that is based around your passion and skills is vital to success. For example, if you are the creative type, maybe a clothing business or online art shop is the business for you. Or, if you prefer face-to-face work, consulting, bookkeeping, or business contract work could be the basis of your new successful home business.
Just below the attributes section, pop down some skills you have. In addition, it could be an idea to note what skills you would like to learn in pursuit of your business venture. If you need to brush up on any skills in the process, it is only a few clicks away. You will find that as you write down your interests and skills, you'll begin to branch skills off to the side. These skills are ones that will generally flow naturally as your business proceedings take shape, such as cold-calling and marketing.
In saying that, if this is your first time starting a business, it is important to stick to what you know. What I mean by that is not to float too far out of your comfort zone and/or knowledge base. Rather, use the skills, talents, and attributes you already have to build the perfect business base for your chosen niche. However, if this is your second, third or fourth time in starting a business, it is okay to try something new and perhaps progress your skills, talents, and knowledge to start a business in a niche you never expected.
You have your skills and interests jotted down, now it's time to start generating business ideas. This is a process that can take quite a long period of time, but one that can be highly rewarding as you will see your business start to come to life. When coming up with ideas, combine your skills and attributes with employment history so that you can have some idea of what you are getting into.
Keeping with the same piece of paper as your skills and interests, write down some business ideas that encompass your skills, attributes, and work history. As you list different ideas, you'll begin to realise which ones you will enjoy, and which ones you can keep for another day.
Can Your Business Idea Be Successful At Home?
It must be said that not all business ideas are suited to a work-from-home environment. Factors such as geographic location, family, local rules and regulations, logistics, and work style all play a part in determining whether your ideas can lead to a successful home business.
For creatives, if you decide to open an online clothing store, you probably won't have the right equipment or sufficient space at home to operate efficiently to maximise profit. Instead, consider forming a relationship with a manufacturer who has the same creative mind as you, get the clothing sent you your home address, and ship from your home. Or, simply set up a dropshipping store on a site such as Shopify whereby items are automatically shipped to the clients' address upon purchase.
For those looking at a more customer-facing business, or a one that involves the comings and goings of clients, your home as a base. Travel around the city as required as opposed to clients coming in and out of your home. This helps with safety and privacy concerns, more than anything else. Also, clients may not feel comfortable attending a meeting at a private home, and would rather meet at a cafe or in their office.
Regardless of your business ideas, ensuring they are suitable for the home office rather than needing a separate office is critical. Or if this isn't feasible, try and opt for a business that allows you to work remotely the majority of the time, even if it isn't 100% of the time.
Calculate How Long It Will Take To Achieve Profitable Results
Once you have come up with a suitable business idea, the next step is to predict the likely profit of your business. This is also where your business idea comes into play. For example, you might be highly skilled and talented in a particular niche, but if people aren't willing to pay for your offerings, then you'll need to go back to the drawing board and choose a different idea. That isn't to say you have to choose a completely different niche, but rather a different business idea centred around your chosen industry which may have more scope to a profit.
There are two critical questions to ask yourself during this phase:
- Am I able to attain an income that will allow me to live?
- How much interest will there be in my offerings? Will I be able to keep up with the demand?
It is also important to know, going into your new venture, that your business will likely not make revenue immediately. It will take time. How much time, only you can say, however, allow yourself a specific timeframe, such as 1 or 2 months, where you expect no profit while your business is still in its early stages. After this period is over, setting a monthly income target is the next step, and try to ensure this target is non-negotiable in either meeting or exceeding these set numbers.
Tell The World Your Idea
Telling the world about your brand new business is the final step before planning. Why does marketing come before planning? Because it will help you gauge if there is a demand for your idea. In today's abundance of technology and social media, it is easy to get carried away with spending money on marketing. A few dollars here and a few there quickly adds up.
To begin with, consider setting up a social media account and posting regularly on there about your passion and perhaps some sneak peeks of what your new business will entail. As you may be aware, a social media account and posting on these platforms is completely free, so this is a great way to start spreading awareness of your business and/or ideas. This can be considered as market research, and from this, you will be able to tailor your paid marketing strategy to a similar audience.
When your business is live on the market, don't be worried if you are only making a few sales here and there, once the word-of-mouth gets around that your product or service is worth people's pennies, you will see sales increase! Therefore, it is important that you select your marketing techniques wisely. And, if your budget allows, choosing a trusted referral firm to help bolster sales quicker and in larger quantities could be a beneficial idea.
Plan Your Business
Jotting down personal attributes and interests in planning, yes, but now is the time to actually plan your new successful home business. Your traits, skills, talents, and chosen ideas will all be taken into consideration to help your business come to life. Creating a plan is helpful for more than one reason, too.
The first reason is that if need be, having a well set-out business plan will help obtain a business loan, however, try to avoid taking out such a loan if necessary. A plan also helps you see, on paper, if your idea has the potential to become something successful, and in turn, will allow you to make a living.
Your business plan should include 6 major points:
- Summary of your idea
- Market research (target market, product/service demand, etc)
- Your ideal client?
- Marketing plans
- Financial aspects (non-profit period, monthly targets, budgets, etc)
- Logistical operations
Once you have the above 6 steps set out concisely and methodically, it is then time to commence the required research. Following the plan step-by-step will allow you to see how your business will run, and sure it is only written down on paper, but it can help you envision what your business could look and operate like when it is up and running.
As we have discussed, by no means is setting up a successful home business easy. All of the hard work, determination, and sacrifices that have gone into setting up your business will pay off soon enough, and you will be able to live the benefits of working for yourself, from home. It is important to remember that it isn't uncommon to need to tweak certain aspects of your business as you go along, so there is no need to worry if this is the case. Simply identify where the issue is, and work to improve that particular area.
If there is one more piece of advice from this article, it would be this. Don't critically compare yourself to another business owner in a similar industry. It is okay to briefly look at what is working and what isn't for them, but don't look too closely into their operations or business model. Every one of us is different, so comparing yourself to perhaps a competitor will have a negative impact on your business venture. Rather, focus on yourself and your business goals for the ultimate success.
By following the above steps, you will be able to dive into your personal and professional thought processes to help you identify what will work and what won't as a business for you. Moreover, you will always have a reference point to your skills and attributes which will help remind you of the journey.