Easy Steps for Making a Small Home Business

January 31, 2013

 

For many years now, you’ve been dreaming of opening up your own business in the home. Something has been holding you back, but now those restraints are gone; you are ready to engage in this endeavor. What steps do you need to take to increase your risk of success?

 

Set a Practical Budget
With every business, no matter how small or the location, some start-up costs are going to be associated with it. Even if you just need to purchase business cards and a suitable sign for the window, these items still cost money. Furthermore, if you are working at home, you’re going to need to calculate the increased heat and energy costs. It’s better to overestimate than to underestimate.

Marketing Yourself Early
In the beginning, your business is probably going to based off of a lot of people who you know personally and individuals who they know. Therefore, before you even open the doors to the business, it’s important to make your mark known. If you’re going to be leaving your full-time job for this endeavor, then you want to have clients coming to you on the first day. Use social media to connect with other individuals, and start to post some flyers around town. Furthermore, you should have a page where people are able to view the products you made.

Hiring Other People
Another major decision you need to make is if other people are going to be involved in your business happenings. You and your spouse or best friend may decide to go into business together. At the very beginning, you may not have the funds to hire anyone else; however, down the road, you could set some money aside to have an assistant. Going into a business completely alone is difficult. What if you are sick one day? What if an emergency comes up? You do not want to lose out on a full day of money, so it’s important to have someone else involved in the business happenings.

Paying Your Taxes
Now, when you set up a business, you need to speak with your financial adviser about how you are going to pay your taxes. For example, let’s say that you are self employed, which is the most likely case. You’re going to have to send taxes to the government, both state and national, on a quarterly basis. In the event that you do not do this, you are going to wind up with a huge and overwhelming tax bill when April comes around. To avoid getting yourself into financial problem, be prepared to start setting aside money from the very first transaction that you make.Starting a small business from home means that you’re soon going to be working at a job that you really love. It’s important to stay focused on your job. Working from home can be difficult, especially when you are just starting out. However, remember that this has been a dream of yours for awhile, and it is finally coming to life.

Author Pam Johnson started her degree in Entrepreneurial Management with the Cheapest Online Associates Degrees and followed is up with a four year degree and a start up company of his own.
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Create a Fast, Free Website with Wix

January 16, 2013

Your home business needs a website – fast and cheap.  Here is a great idea – Wix.com.  For testing purposes, I built and published a test website within 20 minutes.  Wix provided a one page site for free and muti-page sites are available too with Home, Bio, News & Events, Books, and Contact pages.   If using the free version, you will have to accept minor advertising, a horizontal banner ad at the bottom of the page.

After completing the editing, click on publish and answer a few basic questions to complete the SEO process for search engines.  The test web page I created is http://homepreneurs.wix.com/home .  Click on that link and it will take you to:

Homepreneurs Wix Page

homepreneurs wix site

Read the rest of this entry »


Why The Interest in Pinterest?

April 3, 2012

Pinterest is now the third largest social media site behind Facebook and Twitter.  So, what the heck is the buzz about Pinterest, how does it work, and can it help my home business?  Pinterest is one of the latest social networking services that allow users to connect by sharing pictures, videos, photos, and other media by using a virtual “pinboard.”   Pinterest also connects to Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter, giving registered users an option to share within the larger virtual social networking world.

“Pinterest is a virtual pinboard. Pinterest allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.  People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and share their favorite recipes.”[i]

Source: etsy.com via Emily on Pinterest

Pinterest uses virtual “pins” and a “pin  it button” to post media that users want to share with friends or the public.  Users can in turn re-post or “re-pin” images found on their own pinboards.  Pinboards are generally themed so that pins are easily organized and found by other users.  Users can allow other users to add to their pinboards or comment on existing pins.

Can Pinterest help my home business?  Definitely.  Pinterest is growing at an exponential rate.  As of January 2012, Pinterest had about 12 million unique visitors, the fastest social media site to achieve that mark.[ii] Marketing, branding, and sales are excellent uses of Pinterest.  The sheer number of users, a simple user interface, and an ability to host multiple types of visual media makes Pinterest an ideal choice for testing new products and gaining potential customer feedback.  Much like other social media sites, Pinterest is dynamic and easy to modify as circumstances demand.  This flexibility is an advantage for home business; owners can monitor and change Pinterest postings throughout a day.

Pinterest is the latest phase in social networking and is too large to dismiss.  Its demographic – 80% women (ages 35-44) in the United States[iii] – is documented and allows for targeted marketing.  (UK numbers are considerably different with more men than women and a younger age group).  Do you have pictures or video of a new product you want opinions on?  Pinterest may be exactly what you need.  A good website for Pinterest marketing tips is located here.

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

References


[i] Retrieved 4/2/2012 from http://pinterest.com/about/help/


Starting a Craft Business – Research the Market

February 28, 2012

Homepreneurs recently discussed creating a home business from Arts and Crafts.  We believe this market is growing, cost-effective, and a business option for many.  Arts and Crafts can be done part-time, full-time, by the employed, retired or semi-retired.  Liam Hughes Shard Jewelry – recently featured as a Homepreneurs success story – is a full-time artisan.  Liam created a market niche in unique fashion accessories with shards of broken pottery.

Liam is one of many artisans that turn a hobby into a full-time business.  The steps needed to do this are not difficult, but require time and effort.  The process below is a typical research model for any interested in making a business of a craft or art.

1)     Self–appraisal:  what are your skills, interests, and motivation?  Can you carve, weave, paint or reshape existing materials into a saleable product?  Think green and recycling for the last point.

2)     Marketability:  simply, will people want to buy your creation?  Is the market saturated with similar items or do you have something unique or uncommon?

3)     Research:  surf the Internet for similar products.  eBay, Etsy, and assorted craft websites are good places to look.  Check out local craft shows and see if your product is shown.

4)     Pricing:  can you expect to cover your costs and earn a profit with your intended price point?  We will cover price setting in detail in part 4 of this series.

5)     Time:  how much time are you willing to put into this effort?  Consider all time spent: making the product, marketing, attending craft shows, updating websites, packing and shipping the product, buying or obtaining materials to make your product.

6)     Solo or partnership:  are you assuming all the responsibility for this endeavor?  Often, a partner is helpful for dividing the responsibilities.  The profit is halved of course, but you should be able to produce double the amount or spend half the time.

Creating a new product is exciting and personally rewarding.  Crafts allow individuals to express their ideas in visible form and may be a wonderful relief to the 9-5 rigors of daily work schedules.

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


Making Money on eBay

February 8, 2012

This post is a follow-up to the frequently visited article on creating an eBay storefronteBay is a very popular – and potentially rewarding –  business model, inexpensive to start-up, and easy to run.  eBay provides many helpful suggestions, tips, tools, and user forums to help both buyers and sellers.  eBay is also a classic example of a work from home business that even works while you sleep.

eBay may be the most powerful on-line money-making resource.  As mentioned below, 97 million active users use eBay as of early 2011.  Including both buyers and sellers, full and part-time, eBay is the world’s largest online marketplace  Many people dream about working from home; very few are truly successful.  Could an eBay business model offer a way for many to achieve a viable work-at-home goal?

eBay World Wide Stats

With more than 97 million active users globally (as of Q2 2011), eBay is the world’s largest online marketplace, where practically anyone can buy and sell practically anything. Founded in 1995, eBay connects a diverse and passionate community of individual buyers and sellers, as well as small businesses. Their collective impact on ecommerce is staggering: In 2010, the total value of goods sold on eBay was $62 billion — more than $2,000 every second. (1)

Anyone can make money on eBay with a product to sell, a computer, and an Internet connection.  Individuals don’t even need to own a computer or have broadband access; local libraries and community colleges provide these resources for free.  eBay represents the ultimate in business equality:  Sellers are retirees, employed, laid off, college degreed, white-collar or blue-collar persons.

eBay is very attractive from a marketing standpoint.  Buyers are automatically drawn to the site to search for both specific and general products, from printer paper to antique clocks to real estate.  The challenge is finding a product that drives traffic to your listing.  As with any new business, initial challenges exist, but with experience one can become a very good seller.

A good seller views the marketplace from a buyer’s perspective:  What items are popular, needed and/or desired?  What information does the buyer want and what requirements (e.g. free shipping, no reserve) are key to the potential purchaser?  Register initially as a buyer and research the products to better understand the selling process and marketplace.

Here are some tips directly from eBay’s “1-2-3 Start Selling” page:

Get Ready to Sell

> Research similar items

Search or browse through similar items and completed listings on eBay to see how other sellers describe similar items and what categories they typically list similar items in.

> Take a digital photo of your item – make sure it is clear, and upload extra pictures if necessary.

> Calculate postage and packaging costs.  Buyers want to know up-front the total cost of what they’re buying, and you don’t want to end up out of pocket.

Sell, Sell, Sell!

> You’re now ready to list your item.

> Click the Sell button at the top of any eBay page, and this will take you to the Sell page. Enter the name of what you are selling in the yellow search box and click “Sell It”. You will now be guided through the listing process.

> If you are not registered on eBay, you will be asked to register. If you haven’t sold before, you will be asked to create a Seller’s Account.

Complete the Sale

> Make sure you deliver – both in the literal and the figurative sense. Track your sales in My eBay so you know where you are. Send your buyer an invoice by email (PayPal prepares this for you automatically if you use it), and once you have received payment post and pack your item well, and dispatch within the time you committed.

> Make sure you deliver great customer service too – email buyers to let them know you have dispatched their item and include tracking or insurance details, if relevant. Follow up on any questions or concerns they have, and don’t forget to leave fair and accurate feedback.

Congratulations! You’re an eBay Seller. (2)

– By Dion D. Shaw

Dion D Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs

Homepreneurs.  New Day.  New Opportunity.

References:
1) http://www.ebayinc.com/who
2) http://pages.ebay.co.uk/sell/basics/start.html

eBay is a trademark name with all rights reserved.

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 – 2013


7 Ways To Promote Your Business Online For Free

January 25, 2012

Every business needs promotion, regardless of size. This is especially true for the home and small business ventures that don’t have large box stores or sell online.  The big question: what are some effective yet cost-effective ways of marketing?  In the article, 7 Ways to Promote Your Business Online for Free, Kim Bhasin brings out several suggestions that are fairly easy and FREE.  Free does not mean cheap, ineffective or any less valuable.  To the contrary, many of Bhasin’s suggestions use the Internet as a communications media.  Using the Internet allows for potentially huge audiences and customers.  Nothing in history compares to the power and reach of the Internet as a marketing medium.

————

7 Ways To Promote Your Business Online For Free

By Kim Bhasin

You may not have wads of cash to spend on marketing in the early stages of your startup, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t effective ways to get your brand out there.

Before the Internet, small businesses only had a few ways to market their products cheaply, through methods like printing out fliers or sponsoring little local events. Now there are all kinds of opportunities out there on the Web—you just need to know where to look.

Here are seven ways to promote your business online that won’t cost you a dime:

1. Use the three big local listing services

Registering your business with Google Places allows it to be found more easily on Google searches and it shows up on Google Maps. All you have to do is fill out the form and register, then get your business verified through their confirmation process, which can be done either with a phone call or snail mail. Yahoo! also has a big database of businesses called Yahoo! Local. It’s free, and is certainly worth the few minutes it takes to set up. Microsoft’s Bing has a similar service that’s easy to sign up for.

2. Embrace social media

Social media isn’t just a tool to gain exposure—it has now become a necessary time investment for every business to make. You can tie in ads and offers on your Facebook page and have a direct channel with your customers on Twitter. Networking on LinkedIn—both at the personal and company level—can be another way to help your startup.

3. Start a blog

A blog not only helps your company get its name out through followers, but is a way to connect with your consumers more directly. But remember that one of the major keys of blogging is to keep your stream updated as frequently as you can. A dormant, abandoned blog is worth nothing.

4. Put up multimedia on YouTube and Flickr

YouTube provides a free way to distribute creative promotional videos, but in order to succeed you must put up content that people want to view and are relevant to your business—a simple ad will not work. A Flickr profile can also help by giving you one place to compile all the photos for your business, and allows you to link back to your website.

5. SEO your company website

Search engine optimization cannot be underestimated in the world of constant Googling. Pick up a book or head over to an online how-to-guide on SEO and make sure your site is primed for performance on search engines.

6. Press releases

Every time your business does something newsworthy, don’t hesitate to shoot off a press release—maybe folks will pick up on it. They’re a powerful media tool to use to help generate publicity, and having free distribution of them is a bonus. There are dozens of websites out there that you can use for your press releases, such as PRLog and 24/7 Press Release.

7. Join a relevant online community and contribute

Every niche has communities online that you can get involved in. But just signing up for a forum and posting every once in a while about your business isn’t beneficial for anyone, and will likely just annoy people. Actively contribute and build a rapport with the community, while keeping your business out of it. Passively promote your business by putting a link in your signature or mentioning it only when the context is appropriate.

Kim Bhasin is a reporter for the War Room section of Business Insider. Previously he worked for a financial and strategic management consulting firm.

He is also currently a graduate student in Business and Economic Reporting at New York University. Kim holds an MBA in Strategic Management from Pace University and a BSc in Business Administration from Sacred Heart University.

Article Source:

 

http://www.openforum.com/articles/7-ways-to-promote-your-business-online-for-free?intlink=us-openf-nav-ymal-t9a7pv4r6

 

Homepreneurs.  New Day.  New Opportunities.

Start Your Business Planning Now

January 22, 2012

Chris Gattis left an excellent comment on Homepreneurs blog today: “…Most small business start-ups begin with bootstrapping techniques to offset a lack of cash. However, many hopeful entrepreneurs are sitting on the sideline waiting on the economy to get better before starting. Now is a great time to get started. The generally down economy will keep you focused on finding sales and keeping costs in check. Once the economy picks up, and it will in time, you’ll have an organization and systems in place ready to leverage for growth.”

In our opinion, Chris is right on target.  The economy is still down, but starting to show signs of life.  Planning for a small or home business should start now.  As suggested, bootstrapping – to help oneself without the aid of others – is cost-effective and an educational way to learn all aspects of running a business.

Following the idea of bootstrapping, we’d like to suggest some resources and articles that can help you in this effort:

Financial

This is often the biggest issue when considering entrepreneurship.  Here are some suggestions to consider:

Use personal savings to start.  Ask family members if they can add a little here and there, look at CrowdFunding options, read these articles for startup funding options and creative funding ideas.

Benefits

Next to financial concerns, many younger entrepreneurs are concerned with medical benefits.  This is a valid concern, given the lack of national heathcare in the United States and the high cost of buying medical plans for yourself and perhaps a family.  If you currently have a job and are planning on quitting to start your own business, take the COBRA option from the employer.  This will cover medical costs for up to 18 months though you will pay 102% of the personal plan cost.  Paying for COBRA coverage will be far less expensive than an independent plan.

Consider a hybrid of working part-time and running your business on the side.  Hompreneurs recently posted 2 lists of companies that provide benefits for part-time employees.  For as little as 20-25 hours per week, one can get medical coverage and more while working on your dream.

You may also consider starting a business on the side while working your full time job.  This allows you to maintain benefits and financial health while starting the business you’ve always wanted.

Business Ideas

Startup ideas are easy for some, very difficult for others.  Homepreneurs lists dozens of home business ideas for you to consider or perhaps spark an idea of your own.  Here are a few highlights:

8 Great Work-at-Home Business ideas

Starting a Business in a Rough Economy

Home Healthcare Business Options

Home Business Options with Good Income Potential

and for part time business:

Part Time Jobs at Home

Business Resources on the Internet

The Internet is a home business and small business owners best friend, confidant, and resource for information.  The article about free or low cost Internet resources will help guide you and suggest technical and business assistance.

Marketing and Branding Your Product

Successfully launching a business requires considerable effort in marketing, branding, and getting exposure for your product or service.  Here are suggestions for low cost marketing, and bootstrap branding.

Many resources are available to help the novice – or experienced – entrepreneur plan and launch a business for as little startup capital as possible.  We suggest using this free one-page business plan to get started and put your ideas on paper.

We hope this list of resources gives you ideas for a business and provides some helpful tips.  Best wishes for your success!

By 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


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