Many people dream about having their own home business in order to escape the hassle of commuting, friction with overbearing bosses and the stress of the corporate workplace. In the good old days, the ideal home business was some kind of mail-order business. However, in today’s world an Internet-based business offers the best way to gain flexibility and economic independence. If you are not sure how to go about it, take a look at the following steps which all home based entrepreneurs must take:
Determine what you want to do 1. Determine what you want to do
You know you want a business that is yours and based in your own home but you may not be sure what exactly you want to do. No one can decide this for you. You must pick an area of activity where you have a bit of knowledge and most importantly, a passion. After all, you are probably leaving your day job because you were not happy with what you are doing. Don’t pick another type of work that will be a misery, rather pick something that you enjoy doing.
For example, if you are an avid athlete, maybe you will want to sell sports supplies, or some kind of information product concerned with sports. When it comes to online selling you have a choice: to sell a physical item that can be shipped, or to sell an electronic item such as an ebook or a service, such as proofreading or editing. Brainstorm and pick your area of interest and then follow it up until your business idea becomes clear.
Set up your home workplace 2. Set up your home workplace
If you want to work at home you will need a separate area where you can work efficiently. It doesn’t have to be a large office, but it has to be a place where you can work without disturbance. Once you have carved out your working area, you have to equip it. The minimum is an up to date computer with a good connection to the Internet. You will probably need software such as an html editor, an ftp program, and an art or photo editing program such as Adobe Photoshop. A good accounting program will also be required once you get rolling and the money starts flowing in.
Make sure that you have a back up income 3. Make sure that you have a back up income
Setting up a successful home business is harder than it looks and harder than the advertisements would have you believe. In the first months you may not make any money. Budget some money to cover the initial period when sales are likely to be zero or very low, and plan your first year realistically so that you can survive during the starting period.
Pick a proper domain name and register it at a reputable registrar
Your domain name is your brand name and it will become your online identity. The name should describe what you do and it should be memorable. Another thing to consider when deciding on a domain is to try to include a search keyword that your likely customers would use when finding you.
Many of great domain names are already taken. The best way to find out is to go to one of the reputable registrars such as Godaddy, Yahoo or Directnic and put your idea into the search box. You will find out if the domain name is available and also find alternatives. Don’t be tempted by low cost registrars that are not well known. If they fold, then you could have trouble maintaining your domain name.
Find a reliable hosting service for your business
As with the domain registration, choose a hosting company that is well known and that has good customer support. Check to see if they have 24 hour phone service or an online chat service. Pick up a hosting package that has enough space for your needs. Generally most websites only use a small portion of the web space that is offered. If you are not sure which package to get, ask the sales departments of a few of the leading hosting firms to see what they offer.
Design and Promote Your Website
Your website is your store-front. It is your sales representative and it is your business suit all in one! You can make a good impression with a professionally designed site, and whatever you invest in a good design will be repaid later on. So don’t skimp on your website, have it designed professionally or purchase a striking web template and customize it to fit your needs. But even the best website can’t bring you sales unless it is promoted online. Advertise your site with paid ads, through high search engine place, by participating in online forums and by distributing articles with a link back to your site.
Follow these six steps and you will be on your way to fulfilling your dream of having a home-based business.