Many people want to work from home rather than in an office. The freedom from commutes, bosses, office politics and more all drive this desire. Whatever your personal reasons are, if you wish to start working at home (or if you already do), these tips can help you get more from the experience.
#1 – If you have any experience running a business, whether that’s an online business, a traditional small business or any other home based business, you realize that you aren’t “bossless”, instead you have many “bosses”. The most important of which is you. If you are relying on your productivity to fuel your home based or online business, it’s critical that you stay motivated and productive, managing yourself just as you would an employee you were paying! Anything less, you are cheating yourself.
#2 – It’s important to advertise and market your home based or onlinebusiness. This will bring you more customers which means more money for you and your business. Free “advertisement” can be done by blogging about your products and/or using a social media sites like Facebook or anyplace that you can talk about your business and what you do. The critical part is talking, every day you are open for business, and giving yourself the opportunity to connect to new clients in whatever method you choose.
#3 – Become your own business expert. This goes back to talking about your business and showing people your expertise while gaining new attention for your products or services. Write articles relevant to your business, and put a link in the byline or author box to your website (like you see with mine below). Include your email address if possible. Look for opportunities to speak about your expertise through online or in-person seminars. Offer to speak for organizations whose members can benefit from your products, and offer the group a share of your sales proceeds. Always be looking for opportunities to talk about what you have to offer!
#4 – Make sure you respond to any customer inquiries in a timely manner. This goes back to that “many bosses” comment in tip #1. Keep track of your messages to make sure every question gets answered. This will show customers you care about your business so they will continue to do business with you for their future purchases or business needs AND feel comfortable enough with your professionalism to recommend you to their friends and business contacts.
#5 – If you plan on selling products from your home business online, you must be sure to choose a good merchant account. A merchant account will enable you to accept credit card payments both online and offline, including mobile, in person transactions if you sell in places like fairs, meets, tradeshows, etc.
A top-of-the-line merchant account should have totally secure transactions, be able to be integrated into your shopping cart software, and should deposit payments to your bank account in a timely manner.
#6 – If you plan to sell online, make sure your web site and hosting has the capability to host an e-store. Customers like the convenience of being able to purchase an item over the internet; sometimes it is refreshing to be able to quickly get what you need without interacting with anyone. You will also be able to sell your product to people who would not have a chance to order it otherwise.
The keys are easy to navigate, secure and integrated with your order processing systems so that you can get paid quickly and get the order delivered just as quickly! Those are key, critical components of successful online ecommerce sites.
#7 – If your home business entails ingredients or supplies, purchase them in bulk from a wholesaler every chance you get. Buying your supplies at wholesale prices will reduce your overhead, which should increase your profit. When you buy wholesale you may even be able to lower your prices for promotional sales, while still making a nice profit.
The key here is to always be looking for ways to get the most for your dollar while holding onto the quality you or your customers require. Successful home and internet based businesses can still be a “smart shopper” and reap the rewards from a little extra comparison effort.
#8 – Record keeping. When running a business from home be sure to save every receipt from expenses incurred such as mortgage, energy, phone and insurance payments. The expenses incurred in maintaining your home can often be included in your deductible expenses when filing your taxes. The percentage of your home used for the home business is the percentage of the expenses you can deduct from your taxable earnings.
Keep excellent records for your home business. Starting an entirely separate checking account for your business will help you keep track of your balance, expenditures and any patterns in income or loss. This is also a great way to avoid trouble in the future, should your business be audited at any point.
#9 – Finally, remember when you work from home, it isn’t hard to lose the separation between home life and work life. Find that balance by creating clear, separate work and personal life areas by establishing a specific work zone, as well as setting clear work hours to leave time for your personal life. You should realize that there are many ways to boost your productivity working from home.
Tap into what others who have gone before you know about owning and running a home based business. There is a wealth of information available to help you pave the way and I invite you to join me in my social media channels to discuss these ideas in further detail and more! Your path to a successful jump to your own business is waiting, let’s make it happen!