The feverish 2020 taught us many lessons. Some of them were really bitter. Many people lost their jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate reached a whopping 14,8% in April 2020.
We improved our skills in online communication and even started to find benefits in working from home and social distancing.
Indeed, every crisis not only challenges us but reveals new opportunities for growth. According to the Office for National Statistics the number of new companies created in the UK has soared in the second half of 2020. People had different reasons to start their own businesses but most of them were desperate to generate income due to the lost jobs or fear of losing them.
If this is the case and you are looking to start a home business in 2021 but don’t know how to technically do it, read on and get essential tips that will help you make the first steps in the right direction.
Generate Business Ideas
The first step for the future business operator is to decide what kind of business would you like to run. For this, you need to assess your skills and talents, match them, and do some brainstorming and research to come up with ideas for your future business.
For instance, a brief list of your talents may look like this:
- Learn fast
- Attentive to details
- Communicate thoughts clearly
Try to honestly recap your personality traits and see if a home-based business is a way to go for you. A self-employed person should be open to new knowledge and experience, highly motivated towards goal achievement, self-sufficient, self-reliable, comfortable with possible risks, etc.
Sounds like you? Perfect, let’s list your skills then.
No one is born with a well-developed skill set, we develop them over our entire life. However, when you start a home business, it’s better to build it on the skills you already have.
For instance, you may be a good writer or editor, have strong drawing, design, organizing, or accounting skills. Your talents are in your blood and if you follow your nature, your chances for success increase a million times.
Of course, you will have to learn new tricks, such as marketing or cold calling but this is not critical as long as you have solid ground under your feet.
Now, when you have a full understanding of your talents and skills, it’s time to combine both and pick out a perfect business niche.
Here is a list of ideas for your inspiration. Let’s start with businesses that are easier to start:
- Dog walking
- Selling goods on eBay
- House cleaning
- Freelance writing/editing/translating
- Virtual assistant
- Running a blog
- Home tutoring
- SMM (social media promotion) service
- Car detailing
- House painting
- Yoga classes
Want something more profitable? Consider this bunch :
- Subscription box
- Online clothing brand
- Book publishing/eBooks
- Amazon store
- Home bakery
- Jewelry Making
Managed to choose something for yourself? Perfect! Let’s move to the second base.
Find a Workplace That Meets Your Business Needs
Maybe you will be surprised but operating a home-based business doesn’t mean you have to stay at home all the time. Moreover, very often your home office simply can’t cover all your business needs due to location, legal restrictions, lack of space, unstable internet connection, family needs, and many other factors.
Probably the best suggestion here is to find a coworking space nearby. You can come there when you need to meet with customers, receive a call, or just get the work done faster to meet the deadline.
Very often modern coworking spaces offer their residents mobile apps that make your business life even simpler. Every time you need a desk or meeting room, you just open this app on your mobile phone and book it. So simple, no need to call the manager and ask anything.
To make this point with a perfect workspace crystal clear, let’s recap some of the benefits a coworking space can give to a small home business owner.
- Comfortable workplace with high-speed internet connection and access to additional amenities like phone booths and meeting rooms.
- Prestigious location to register your business and meet with customers.
- Some coworking spaces have a business accelerator and mentorship programs.
- Coworking spaces render additional services to businesses like reception, secretary, mail delivery, help with taxes and accounting, legal consultations, and more.
- Flexible and affordable membership plans. You don’t have to sign any long-term contracts. You pay only for the services you actually use.
- Membership benefits. These are usually discounts and freebies of all sorts.
- Community events. Coworking spaces often organize networking and educational events that help members acquire useful contacts and learn new skills.
To make a long story short, it will be much easier for you to run your business efficiently and reach your goals faster if you join an active community of like-minded entrepreneurs.
Make Some Rough Profit Estimations
When we start a business, we have certain expectations about its profitability. At this point, your main task is to analyze the demand and competition to figure out how much are people ready to pay for the services you are going to provide. These estimations will show if the amount of your potential earning will be sufficient to make both ends meet.
For instance, if you are going to provide writing services, you will have to compete with thousands of other writers on Upwork, FreelanceWriting.com, Craigslist, or FlexJobs. The price per article may vary from $20 for some simple roundup to $150 for some well-researched content.
You surely don’t want to fight fierce competition and exhaust yourself writing 3-5 penny-a-line articles a day. There is only one way to avoid this. Decide what makes you different and establish your personal brand.
I mean choose your field of expertise and target audience. Don’t opt for generic topics as they don’t contribute to your professional growth. Write niche-specific expert content and charge for it accordingly. This way you will get a decent reward for your effort, enjoy your work, and boost your level of expertise.
Customers will surely appreciate the quality of services you provide and very soon you will have a stable stream of orders.
Decide How Will You Promote Your Services
If you followed me till there, you are likely to know your business niche and the ideal customer already.
Beautiful, let’s sketch a marketing plan to let your ideal clients know about your services and make them buy from you. Sure enough, we are going to focus on online promotion as your customers are going to look for your services there.
- Build a website. If you already have a website, make keyword research and optimize it for search engines. Free keyword research and SEO tools like Wordstream and Google Analytics will help you with the task even if you don’t know much about SEO
- Start eBay store if you sell any type of good. Everyone is on eBay now, so you shouldn’t leave the money on the table and use all the opportunities it gives. You can use the Amazon eCommerce platform as well. If you offer services, register on freelancing platforms like Fiverr and the ones mentioned above.
- Keep information about your business current on mapping platforms like Google My Business.
- Start a blog. By publishing useful content regularly, you will attract the attention of your target audience to your site. Publish your guest posts on influential blogs in your niche. This is your legitimate way to build high-quality links to your resource.
- Join or create a Facebook group. Communicating with like-minded people on Facebook and sharing your ideas will give you an edge over competitors without spending money. Utilize the power of Facebook Live.
- Create LinkedIn and Twitter profiles. Actually, you need to be present everywhere your target audience is and post on a regular basis.
- Host YouTube videos. 75% of the entire online traffic is video today, so by publishing a video on the second largest search engine after Google, you will definitely expand your audience.
- Participate in niche-related threads on forums like Reddit and Tumblr. Answer questions on Quora to establish yourself as an authority and build trust to your personal brand.
- Follow niche-related blogs and comment on new articles published there. Give readers valuable advice and link to your own content where they can get more information. This is the simplest way to build links to your resource.
- Build your email list to generate leads. Email marketing campaigns are considered more efficient than social media posts. You can automate them with the help of an emailing platform like MailChimp to spend less time on design, analysis, etc.
- Post ads on Craiglist. Its audience is huge – something around 600 million people a month. Add images to your ads and choose the right geographic site.
- Run referral and affiliate programs. Let people promote your products for a commission. This will bring you a lot of quality leads. Besides, you can identify industry influencers and send samples of your products to them for free. If they like your offering, they will tell about you their audience on socials and you’ll get your referral leads.
- Ask customers to leave reviews about your products or services. 70% of customers trust their peers’ feedback posted online, so there is a strong correlation between purchase decisions and positive reviews. Don’t forget to respond to those reviews to enhance your positions.
Unite All the Above in a Business Plan
Even if you don’t need this document for the bank, I encourage you to create a business plan for yourself. You did a great job, now all that is required is to put all the results together and assess the chances of your business for success.
A good business plan works similarly to a real-life trial. It will reveal all mistakes and bottlenecks and help you save your nerves and money.
What to include in a business plan:
- Describe your business idea in detail.
- State your target market and main competitors.
- Describe your ideal customer persona
- Choose marketing strategy
- Plan your investments and earnings
- How will you operate your business on daily basis?
When you complete this stage, your business idea will be refined and ready for launch.
I hope this guide was helpful and now you know that the process of starting a business boils down to choosing a business idea, analyzing the competition, deciding your unique selling point, writing a business plan, lining up financing, naming and registering your business, planning your marketing, and starting to make sales.
Feel free to replicate the above steps and may your business succeed!
Helga Moreno is a marketing expert with more than 10 years of experience in the field. She is now with andcards company, helping them promote their revolutionary product, coworking space management software aimed at making coworking space a perfect place for residents.