It may sound difficult to go from the so-called sharing economy to owning a proper business, but the truth is you’re almost there. You’ve got a skill to sell — whether it’s marketing, writing, designing or consulting — not to mention a growing list of clients you’ve found on the web. Now it’s time to establish yourself for the long-term while boosting efficiency and revenue. Here’s how to do that.
Without a commute, you can afford to spend a little more time in bed, but don’t go overboard. WHY Magazine recommends keeping your alarm clock out of arm’s reach and splashing yourself with water to get you on your feet.
Know where you’re going or you’ll never get there. This means posting realistic short- and long-term targets that you can measure, such as a number of new clients or increase in monthly revenue. You’ll have to take a close look at what you’ve done in the past, then eliminate what didn’t work and expand on what did.
Manage Your Time
You should have a schedule ready when you begin your day. That will ensure you don’t miss any deadlines while working more efficiently without any stress. It should include time to find new clients as well as keep the old ones satisfied. As for office hours, feel free to experiment with split shifts or other arrangements that match your rhythm, but find one you can stick to.
Establish Your Space
If you’ve got a spare room, that’s wonderful. If not, don’t fret. Find a quiet corner and block it off with modular walls or dividers to create your at-home workspace. There are DIY solutions if you don’t feel like spending a lot of money. Remember, this is your zone, so don’t be afraid to tell family or housemates that it’s off limits when you’ve got your nose to the grindstone. Otherwise, you might not be able to focus.
The television could be your worst enemy, so make sure it’s not in the same room as your desk otherwise you’ll always be tempted to tune in. And don’t forget about the ultimate timesuck: social media. Fortunately, there are website blockers to keep you focused on your work and not your digital social life or cat memes.
Buy the Right Stuff
A technical malfunction in the middle of finishing off a project is the last thing you need when trying to build a solid reputation. Nip that problem in the bud by getting a quality computer. An expert at the Guardian says bigger is better for home offices. And don’t be too stingy when it comes to reliable accessories such as cables and a mouse.
Settle Your Accounts
A simple Excel spreadsheet may work for now, but that may not be enough when things start to pick up. Entrepreneur.com suggests having your year-end financials and taxes done professionally while keeping your own books using specialized software to manage everyday income and expenses. This will allow you a quick glimpse of how close you are to your targets.
Start by establishing an online presence such as a website or a blog where you can showcase your portfolio. Rather than spending countless hours convincing clients of your talents, you can save time by letting your work speak for itself. Don’t forget those who have already been sold. Your current clients make excellent future clients for additional services.
Meet New People
Don’t make the mistake of staying in your home office, no matter how cozy it is. Venture into the outside world of networking events and trade shows to meet new clients and potential partners. Just make sure to follow up on any contacts you make by adding them to your database and your schedule.
Now you’re getting serious and hopefully a bit wealthier as well. Remember to stay organized and dress for success.
Image via Unsplash.
Setting up your own business may seem simple. But when you’re trying to build your business from home, you need to be especially organized. Home-based businesses require even more patience, attention to detail, and a drive to succeed. Not to mention having the right tools and tips to help your business thrivel. With this in mind, here are a few measures worth considering to ensure success if you’re going to be running your business from home.
Create a Logo That Will Capture More Customers
Building a home-based business is all about building your brand. Customers connect with businesses that appeal to their own sense of style and creativity. So before you launch your website, make sure you have a logo that will set you apart from the competition. Logo design may seem like a simple process, but coming up with a design that attracts customers is actually pretty challenging. So if you are not a graphic designer, you may be better off taking advantage of a online logo design tool to guide you through each step of this crucial process. You can even get creative with fonts, colors and layouts.
Build an Attractive Website That’s Simple to Use
Once you’ve crafted a magnetic logo, you need the right website to show it off. For your online business to thrive, it’s absolutely critical for your website to be top-notch. One look through these e-commerce site examples and you will see why customers need to be wooed by the appearance of your website. These sites reflect the style of each brand and leave customers wanting more from the very first page. Aside from visual presence, your website also needs to have functional features. Around 94 percent of online customers rate navigation as their most desired feature, so make this a top priority when building a website for your home-based business.
Simplify Transactions With Trusted Payment Tools
Not only do customers want to shop with merchants that reflect their tastes and energy, but they also prefer to do business with merchants they can trust. That’s why your payment systems have to be secure, while also being simple enough for you and customers to use on a daily basis. There are several online payment solutions you could use for web sales. For any face-to-face transactions, you should look into getting a credit card processor so you can confidently ring up sales involving any form of payment, and easily print out or send receipts from a single device.
Promote Your Business With a Social Media Presence
Having a streamlined, alluring website cannot be your only online effort. These days, small businesses are made and broken by how they promote themselves through other online channels. Social media marketing can be a lucrative, and free, tool for small business owners to use, especially when growing a new venture. You’re likely already using Facebook to connect with customers, but consultants can gain clients using LinkedIn as well. So figure out which platform will best serve your business needs and focus your efforts there.
Find Employees That are Passionate About Your Business
Many home-based business begin with only a single staff member: you. While it is possible to grow a successful business without additional staff, for many business owners, this isn’t a realistic goal. If you find yourself in need of reliable employees to help your business thrive, you will need to master the art of job interviews. It can be tricky to know which questions to ask to single out the strongest candidates, as well what interview questions could land your business in legal trouble. Consider the aspects of a job candidate that most interest you and draw up a list of questions. For example, what combination of hard and soft skills are absolutely critical to help you fill the role? Questions like these need to be at the forefront of your mind when you’re meeting with candidates.
There is so much that goes into founding and operating a successful home-based business. With this list in hand, however, you at least have a good idea of where to start. Focus on developing your brand and building connections with customers, and you will have the foundations of a booming home-based business venture.
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Being your own boss is exactly as wonderful as it sounds. I get to make my own schedule, take free time when I need it, and choose my own projects based on my interests and goals. However, by far the biggest difficulty that comes with being self-employed is the challenge of maintaining inspiration and motivation when working from home.
This may sound strange to office workers. After all, in 2016, Forbes reported that 51 percent of employees believe they would work better from home than in a traditional office. Surely, finding inspiration when you have control over your work environment should be simple? Well, not quite. The challenge lies in creating an environment and a schedule that works for you specifically, and this takes quite a bit of trial and error.
These are the things I have learned through this process.
Designing My Ideal Home Office
Your home office should be tailor-made to your needs, and it should be designed to maximize productivity and inspiration. First, focus on the practicalities, such as productivity. Your office should have everything you need to work without distractions, quality equipment that will not fail you five minutes before a deadline, and comfortable furniture that you can work on for hours.
Then, you can focus on the things that inspire you. This is where it gets personal. Some people love surrounding themselves with motivational posters, others prefer family photos, and some like a shelf full of books. One thing that everyone should have is a few houseplants, which are known to boost productivity and well-being by up to 50 percent.
Finding My Schedule
One of the most exciting things about working from home is the flexibility. Want to work from your bed in your pajamas at 10 pm? No one is stopping you. However, you may soon find this freedom to be more of a curse than a blessing — at least I did. It’s often difficult to find motivation when you don’t have any regularity or discipline. Structuring your workday is less exciting, but it’s ultimately far more productive. For me, the classic nine-to-five (with some give on either end and the occasional Friday off) ended up being the best solution.
Working from home can be very lonely. Even if you hate the small talk, meetings, and constant distractions that come with an office (and many people do), you may find yourself missing it when you are spending your days by yourself. This is why you need to seek out socialization during your day. Call a friend, invite someone for lunch, or schedule in a group exercise class. You should also aim to meet with clients and collaborators in person whenever you can, which doubles as a chance for socializing and a good business practice.
It’s very easy to get bogged down with the everyday details of the job and, in the process, forget why you are doing this. When this happens, it becomes difficult to find the motivation for daily work because I have lost sight of the overall motivation for my career choices. A combination of both short-term goals and larger long-term goals is the most effective way to keep your everyday job in perspective while working towards something concrete. Visualizing your goals on a vision board and placing it in your office is a great way to remind yourself of why you are doing this when you can’t see the bigger picture.
Working from home can be one of the most rewarding and productive experiences of your career, whether you are self-employed or simply working remotely for a company. However, the biggest challenge is that it is completely up to you to make it so. You are in control of your work environment, schedule, and daily interactions, so it’s only by proactively planning that you will achieve your goals. Don’t worry — it’s not as difficult as it sounds.
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