Starting a home-based business can be liberating for people who have always worked for someone else. However, there’s plenty to learn as you get started: how to get your first clients, learning what goes into becoming a consultant, and how to stay productive when you’re the boss.
How to find customers
Some of the startup requirements of setting up a business are simply a series of checklists: get a business license, launch a website, register as a business, etc. What can often slip through the cracks is learning about how to find your first customer.
When you start your new business, marketing is a vital aspect of becoming successful. You might have the best business idea of all time, but it won’t translate to an income if you can’t find clients or customers to support you. Come up with a bulletproof marketing plan to get started, and be sure to follow it.
Your online presence is important during the early stages. To have a strong presence, invest time into building out your social media pages with contact information, photos, and videos if possible. You’ll need to make your website look great as well, and be sure to set up an online store if you’re selling goods.
Becoming a consultant
If you have a well-developed network and are an expert in your field, becoming a consultant is a great option for a home-based business. Hubspot recommends that after you’ve decided on your area of expertise, set goals for what type of consulting you’ll offer. Be sure you have a website that clearly outlines your services and what you offer, and get certified. Work your networks, set your rates, and be sure to establish a reasonable workload for yourself.
Working from home can feel like a luxury at first, but when you’re working to start your own business, it requires putting in quite a few hours, especially in the early stages. To ensure productivity, set regular hours for yourself so you can settle into a routine. Once you eliminate your commute, you’ll find you have far more time in the day to buckle down and work, just don’t overwork yourself. Remember to also utilize list-making and goal-setting to keep yourself on track.
While many businesses can be run with the bare minimum of a laptop and internet connection, you’ll want to think about what tools you can use to help you run your business seamlessly.
Even though many things can be done paperless these days, quality printers are essential when you need to print out contracts for clients or if your industry requires you to keep printed records. You’ll also need gear like a webcam, a security plan to avoid data breaches and software for business management and communication.
You should also consider how to use apps that will make your business more mobile-friendly. Accounting software apps such as Xero can help you manage your accounting needs, while Microsoft Office can keep you connected through email.
After running the show solo for a while, you may find it’s time to hire out for help. Whether it’s in the form of bookkeeping, marketing, web development or even virtual assistance, freelancers can be a great way to outsource talent without racking up lots of overhead. Finding the right candidates is easy if you look to a site like WorkHoppers. Their refined matching algorithm can take out a lot of guesswork and sifting by connecting you with the perfect freelancer for your needs.
Regardless of what type of business you want to start, be sure you start intentionally and with a solid plan for finding customers. Do some market research and utilize social media to help you find your audience. If you’re consulting, be sure to set strong goals for your work, and keep a regular schedule to stay on track. And, if you find that you need help down the road, consider freelancers as a great option to grow your business.
Amy Collett is creator of Biz Well, a website that helps professionals and entrepreneurs build and strengthen their personal brand.