Everyone dreams of being their own boss, and of not being stuck in the terminal 9-5 drudge of a corporate drone. Plenty look at starting their own business, but are frightened by what could go wrong. So many businesses fail, and they seem to require so much expertise. And if that was not problematic enough, scammers abound promising great riches for little work as long as you send them a few hundred dollars for “training courses” or “supplies.”
But while there is no such thing as a free lunch in this world, the Internet and its democratic nature has made it so that ordinary individuals can find interesting work, or perhaps start their own businesses with minimal start-up capital. Here are some ways to make such a business work, and finally become the master of your own fate.
1. Idea First, Money Later
A common refrain for starting any business is that you should never start a business to make money. The reality is that you will not be making money from Day 1. You should start a business because you are passionate about something and you want to solve a problem. Once you prove you have a product which can solve this problem, you can find a way to start making money as a result.
I would observe that this is personally true from my experience as an online writer. When people ask me how I got into this, I often remark that I started writing for free for a long time, and eventually I started getting paid once people noticed my work. The passion leads to money.
The good news is that there are plenty of ideas for a home interest business such as this one from Business Town. As you look through these ideas, do not pick the idea which you think will be the most profitable. Pick the idea which sounds the most interesting to you.
2. Begin a Content Marketing Strategy
No matter what idea you pick, you will have to prove that you can solve a problem better than your competitors. A great way to show you can is with content marketing.
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.” That content can take the form of blog posts, videos, or social media posts. It can be about your company’s history, your product, or solutions for customer’s everyday needs. For example, a car mechanic business may provide a short video on how to do an oil change. It may lose some business as less customers come in for oil changes, but gain it as it shows its commitment towards helping customers.
High quality content means more than good blog posts or videos. Make sure you have a well-designed website which loads quickly and is mobile friendly, and that content is posted regularly. Content marketing takes work, but is low-cost and can earn a loyal following.
3. Hire and Delegate
If you want your online business to go anywhere, you have to hire people. This may sound obvious, but too many new online businesses owners are worried about hiring and depending on people and thus try to do everything themselves. That road leads to burnout and your business’s eventual collapse.
You can rely on short-term contractors and freelancers through websites such as Upwork to find people for tasks such as designing a website which you may lack the know-how to do. But do not be afraid to hire workers for the long term and trust them without looking over your shoulder. And while this may sound like a good idea for a home-based business benefits, do not hire friends and family. They will almost certainly take it personally if you have to rebuke them for their mistakes, and it can destroy your friendship and business.
4. Network, network, network
You should already know the benefits of networking in general, but networking becomes even more important when you are running a small home-based business. By getting in touch with other businesses at social events, they can direct you to clients you might have never found on your own. You can form a symbiotic relationship with all small businesses, completing projects which would have been difficult to accomplish by yourself. Even if another business is a competitor, there is always room for cooperation.
in the age of a globalized Internet, small home businesses should start by
thinking locally. Check out your local chamber of commerce or other, similar
institutions. Speak to friends and family, and from there learn about other
local businesses which could help your efforts to grow. No matter what stage
your home business is, there are always new people to meet who can take you to
the next step.