During these trying times, there are still business opportunities to be had. If you can’t go to work outside your home, maybe it’s time to take the plunge and go to work for yourself. If you’re not sure where to start, there are a ton of resources you can find online. However, it’s important to do your due diligence. Jumping in blindly can be costly.
1. Determine the Type of Business
Before you get started, you have to determine exactly what it is you want to do. Do you want to try out the life of a freelancer, do some writing or design work? Or, would you rather focus on a specific niche, such as a t-shirt business or offer a service such as SEO to customers looking to grow their online presence? There are a myriad of avenues you can take, you just have to become an expert in the subject matter.
Let’s take, for example, starting a t-shirt business. What kind of shirts will you offer? Will they be sublimated, will you use vinyl or screen print them? Consider the type of equipment you’ll need and whether you’ll need to learn how to use them. If you want to offer SEO services, you have to learn the business inside and out. With all of the resources available online, it’s certainly possible. Order a few books, read up on the techniques and implement this on your website first. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’re ready to market your services.
2. Do Your Research
Research is the keystone to any successful business, whether you’re starting your first or your hundredth. There are certain key factors you need to know before you open your proverbial doors. The first thing you want to do is determine who your target audience is, that is who your customers are likely to be. If you sell baby clothes, for example, your target audience is expectant couples and parents, even grandparents. However, if your service is SEO, your target audience is going to be website owners.
Other research should include your top competitors and what marketing strategies they employ. While you don’t want to mimic their plan, exactly, knowing how they succeed can provide some insight into how you can mimic that success.
3. Market, Market, Market
The old-age adage “build it and they will come” doesn’t work here. With literally billions of websites on the internet, if you don’t market appropriately, you will be lost. So how do you market? First, you need to know who you’re marketing too, which is part of your research stage, addressed above. Once you’ve identified your target audience, you can tailor ads and keywords to drive your audience to your website.
If you sell retail goods, you should have a plan for each season. Learning how to create an effective holiday campaign, for example, is essential. An effective plan will set you aside from your competitors, and this is one more good way to do that.
4. Master Social Media
It seems like everyone and their mom, grandma and aunt, are on social media these days. You’d be a fool not to have a presence. Facebook and Instagram are two invaluable business tools you need to master. Aside from creating effective marketing ads and reaching your target audience, it’s a great way to keep in constant touch with your current and prospective customers or clients.
Social media may seem simple to use at first glance, but there are analytics you’ll need to monitor. Both sites also offer paid ads, which show up in the feeds of the target audience you specify when you create the campaign. It’s an effective way of reaching customers who may not have heard of you before.
5. Be Willing to Adapt
One thing that’s critical when it comes to running your at-home business, is that you need to be able to adapt. If a method you’re using isn’t working, you need to be willing and able to implement changes quickly and efficiently. Don’t hang onto a plan that isn’t producing just because you like it. Be adaptable, and don’t be afraid to call in experts when necessary. They can give you a much-needed boost when all else fails.
During your downtime, instead of sitting idle, put your skills to work — or learn new ones. All you really need is an internet connection to get started for a service-based business. Retail services will involve start-up capital, but there are resources for that, too, and the Small Business Administration can help you on your way.