Home Business Success Story – Homespun Webs

June 10, 2013

Home business success stories are found everywhere. I was fortunate to make a contact on LinkedIn – Sarah Hagens – that owns and operates a successful website design business from her home in rural Alberta, Canada.

An ongoing learner, Sarah continues her education to improve her skills and product offerings. As a solo entrepreneur, wife, and mother, her story is remarkable and inspiring. Sarah brings talent, motivation, and a can-do attitude to the table. She was gracious enough to sit down and answer some questions about her story for us.

Thank you, Sarah!  Homepreneurs wishes you and Homespun Webs the very best of success in your future endeavors!

Homepreneurs: Why did you start your own business?

Sarah Hagens:

I graduated university as a teacher, moved to rural AB to work, married and started a family. After my second child was born, childcare and managing a full-time teaching career was too much for our family. I took a LOA to give our family time to re-group. We decided it was best for our family for me to stay home. I knew that I needed to do something, so began to explore options that favored my skill-set, knowledge and interests. I came across a one-year, online training program for Website Design – sounded like the ad was written for me lol. I signed up for the fall and graduated the following spring, and voila, my home-based career was born!

homespunwebsmasthead-Copy

Read the rest of this entry »


Create a Website Step-by-Step

April 25, 2012

Most businesses need a website today: large, small or home business for marketing and name recognition.  Some individuals want their own website to showcase accomplishments, resumes or pictures of family.  This checklist walks through the basics involved with domain names, web hosts, design, and publishing a site.

Domain Names

-        A domain name has 2 parts: the left side is a second level name – IBM, Microsoft, and Apple are examples.

-        The right side is a top-level domain.  .Net, .Com, .Org, .Edu and .Gov are common top-level domains, though many others exist.

Second level names should be descriptive or represent an idea.  Simple and brief is best with minimal special characters.

Check availability of domain names using companies like Network Solutions, GoDaddy or Register.com.

Register the domain name with a domain name registrar.  GoDaddy charges $11.99 per year for registering a domain.

Select a Web Host

A web host is a service that provides virtual storage for your website.  Web hosts also provide access to the Internet so your website is seen by others.  Click here for a list of top 10 hosting providers.

Research different hosting types and select a host that meets your needs and budget.

Some key elements for web hosts may be:

-        Amount of space needed.  This may be the number of pages, files, pictures, etc.

-        Bandwidth.  Bandwidth measures the amount of traffic (visitors) a website can handle.

-        TOS.  Terms of Service varies by web host provider.  Some may not allow adult content or material that is not original.

-        Technical support.  A good web host has knowledge technicians available 24×7 to help with the most basic questions.

-        Price.  Shop around for the best deal.  Google search for web hosts to compare pricing.

-        Reliability.  Strive for 99% uptime.  A down website will not sell product or services.

-        Options.  This includes a secure shopping cart if the website sells a product or service.

Design the Site

Choices here include: self-design, a template provided by the host or a web designer for hire.

Determine how you want the website to look: casual, contemporary, professional or artsy.

Research the Internet for website templates that fit the design you want.

Add and create the content.  Many hosts and sites allow drag and drop editing to simplify design.

WYSIWYG.  What you see is what you get.  What shows on the design page is identical to what is published.

Publish the Site

After the design and content are complete, publish the website.  Publishing allows a website to be available publicly on the Internet.  Web hosts will provide a simple publishing option.

Caution

Once published, a website is on the Internet forever.  The site may not be active, but the page(s) will remain in cache for a long, long time.  Don’t publish anything that others shouldn’t see.  Drunken fraternity or sorority pictures from your college days may haunt you in future years.

By Dion D Shaw

Dion D Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs

Homepreneurs.  New Day.  New Opportunity.

Disclaimer

Homepreneurs does not endorse nor have any relationships with any of the services listed.  Homepreneurs receives no compensation or consideration for its suggestions.  Homepreneurs strongly urges all interested parties to conduct research and accepts no responsibility for any losses incurred.

© Homepreneurs 2010 – 2012, All Rights Reserved

Image Credit: info1.com


Work at Home Positions for Full-time College Students

January 4, 2012

This question was posted by Ethen on our Twitter site this evening: What would you say is the best work at home position for a full time college student?

An excellent question, Ethen that requires questions of you:

- What is your major/interest?

- Do you plan on using this job as a resume builder in addition to making money?  If so, you’ll want to do something related to a potential future position.

- What is your skill set?

Answering these questions will help you in your search.  To get you started, here are some possible positions to review:

1) Social Media Consultant – you are probably well-versed in Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites.  Businesses – especially small ones – will outsource Twitter and Facebook updates.  College students are great choices for this because of their technical savvy.

2) Website design and programming – for the same reason as above, small business or non-profits will hire staff on an as-needed basis rather than invest in employee overhead.

3) Writer – if your career goal involves communications, this is a great resume starter.  Many marketing firms and local or online publications can’t afford to hire full-time writers, so they depend on freelancers to fill the gaps.  A good source is Emily Bennington and Professional Studio 365

Other options include some previously covered on this blog: Jobs via the Internet and simple work at home freelance jobs.

And still another idea is anything that makes life easier for the elderly, disabled, and those with limited time.  Snow removal and landscape services are good thoughts.

I hope these suggestions help, Ethen.  Please let us know what works and what doesn’t!

Regards,

Dion D Shaw

Dion D Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs

Homepreneurs.  New Day.  New Opportunities.

Disclaimer

Homepreneurs does not endorse nor have any relationships with any of the services listed.  Homepreneurs receives no compensation or consideration for its suggestions.  Homepreneurs strongly urges all interested parties to conduct research and accepts no responsibility for any losses incurred.

© Homepreneurs 2010 – 2012


Homepreneurs Success Story – StellaredgePR

November 27, 2011

Homepreneurs is fortunate to meet some very talented entrepreneurs through this blog.  If appropriate for this forum, we love to share their success stories.  For this post, we were able to interview a web designer – Lindsay Coats – that we’ve worked with on other website projects.  I have seen Lindsay’s work and can attest to her ability to manage projects, work within a budget, and deliver the requested product on-time.  Lindsay not only has creative talent, but she is people-oriented and essentially an extension of your business.

This superior customer service combined with a self-motivated and can-do attitude has made her successful and constantly adds to her clientele. We sat down with Lindsay and asked her 11 questions to see what makes her design business a success:

1) Why did you start your own business?

I had a professor in college, Dr. Gary Ernst, who was very influential in my decision to start my own business. He guided me in the basics on opening my business and gave me the confidence to know that it was even possible.

Over the years, I have had four different home-based businesses. In every case, I started my own business because I love to create… and you can only create so much for yourself before you get bored!

With regards to my current business, Stellar Edge PR (formerly Lindsay Shannon Design), I began self-learning web design while working for my parent’s greenhouse in 1996. It was fairly early in the days of the Internet so things were not nearly as polished and complex as they are now, but it was thrilling to put something together building up all the different pieces and learn as I went.

2) How long has your business existed?  (When was it formed?)

 I worked as a freelance artist from 1999-2007. During this time, I was also employed outside of the home but did web design on the side to earn extra money and fulfill my desire to create. When my son was born in January 2007, I had to make a very important decision – go back to work or officially start my own business (Lindsay Shannon Design). It was a big risk, but it has definitely paid off in so many ways. 

Stellar Edge PR launched in April 2011 when I took on a partner, Sin Van V, and expanded my services beyond just web design.

3) What industry is your business in?

Stellar Edge PR is a public relations company. We provide a full-service offering of event planning, marketing, design, promotions, social media services, and public relations.

4) What are the greatest challenges you face?

One of the hardest things about working from home is balancing my schedule. With two small children (ages 3 and soon to be 5), it is sometimes a struggle to manage everything. Also, it’s hard to shut off. With email and everything being so accessible, it is hard to NOT work sometimes.

5) What advantages does self-employment provide?

 One of the main reasons I started my business was to have the ability to be home with my children. I have spent the last 5 years watching them grow and I love that I was able to be there for all their milestones. Yes, it involved a lot of late night working, but it’s all been worth it. Now that they are older, I can focus more on my business while still allowing myself time to enjoy my family.

Another advantage is the capability to work from virtually anywhere. My parents and my husband’s family all live in different states so it is wonderful to be able to go visit and still work when we are there and not have to worry about being back to work on Monday.

6) Do you have any tips/suggestions for those considering entrepreneurship?

Prepare yourself for months of hard work and not a lot of payoff. There are a lot of things that must go in to a business before you can get anything out of it – marketing, website, business cards, accounting software, materials/inventory, etc. depending on your industry. These are up-front costs that are hard to avoid, but they will allow your business to run smoothly and successfully. Also, think about the future. Even if you plan to start small, keep possible growth in the back of your mind and as you make decisions think, “How will this change or affect my business if I’m more successful?”

7) Do you use social media at all (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)?

Yes. Social media is an important part of marketing and branding any company. It’s interesting to interact with my clients on a different level and create a community of people who have similar interests. This allows for exchange of information and a wonderful opportunity for networking and referralsLindsay and StellaredgePR have a Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/stellaredgepr and Twitter page: http://twitter.com/#!/stellaredgepr

8) Where do your greatest number of customers come from?  Word of mouth, networking, social media, advertising.

99% of my work has come from word of mouth. My biggest goal has always been to be an affordable option to working with a major marketing firm. I pride myself in working within a budget and truly becoming an extension of someone’s business allowing them the opportunity to implement a true marketing plan without having to hire someone internally. When you do that and do it well, people talk.

9) If you could change one thing when you started, what would that be?

I wouldn’t change anything. Everything I have encountered along the way has been a learning lesson and has made me the successful business owner I am today.

10) What are the rewards of self-employment?

Personally, I am able to fulfill the drive to create and I enjoy helping others with my skills. Also, I am happy that I can help provide for my family while still doing what I love.

11) What sources do you use to fill in your knowledge gaps? Why?

I have a network of professionals that I have worked with in the past that I am able to consult when I have questions about certain projects. Also, now that I’ve taken on a partner, we are able to bounce ideas off of each other to create an even more dynamic package for our clients. In addition to my human counterparts, I can always count on Google! ;)

Lindsay Coats is an owner of Stellaregdepr, a growing company that specializes in event planning, marketing and design, promotions, and PR and social media.  Stellaredgepr is on the Internet at these sites:

http://www.stellaredgepr.com
http://www.facebook.com/stellaredgepr
http://twitter.com/#!/stellaredgepr

By Dion D. Shaw

Dion D. Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs.

Homepreneurs.  New Day.  New Opportunity.

© Homepreneurs 2011


Website Development on the Cheap

August 30, 2011

August 30, 2011 -

An interesting question came into Homepreneurs Twitter page this evening from follower Pink:

“Hi I was wondering if you have any tips for me. I have an idea for a website no home computer at moment just iphone but I am determined.”

This is probably a more common issue than one might think.  Many people have great ideas, but with limited resources to make them happen.  We’ll take this post to address her concerns and see if we can help:

1) Many web development applications are available for the iPhone.  Do a Google search (GIS) for develop a website using iPhone; millions of hits will come up.  I’d suggest looking only at the first couple of pages of results.

2) Check out the iPhone apps available from the iPhone store.  Applications like Microsoft Office 2010, Keynote, and Quickoffice are examples of application that may assist webpage development.  The Apple store has thousands of other possibilities too.

3) Depending on one’s financial situation, consider hiring a freelance programmer.  Websites like www.guru.com, www.elance.com, and www.odesk.com have programmers that are looking for work.  Prices range from $15/hour to $100/hour at first glance.  Be careful hiring these people: get the project scope in writing, ask for references, and schedule project progress review dates and times.

Finally, if the iPhone is not satisfactory for development, use computers available in public libraries and colleges.  Open source software – Kompozer comes to mind – is free and provides a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor.  Many free open source templates are available for free and or minimum cost.  Templates save time in designing and constructing a website.

I hope this information is helpful, Pink.  If other readers have alternative suggestions, please add them and I will gladly update this list.

By Dion D. Shaw

Dion Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs.

Homepreneurs.  New Day.  New Opportunity.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 22,682 other followers

%d bloggers like this: