Practical Tips for Starting a Home Business…
The decision on whether to return to work after having a baby can be an extremely tough one. The idea of leaving your little one in the care of someone else can be heartbreaking, but so can the thought of the financial burden it will place on the family without your weekly wage.
Luckily, there is a solution.
Starting a home business can give you the best of both worlds; allowing you to spend more time with your children, and make a nice income while you do it. A home business can utilise your existing skills, be a new idea that you have identified in a completely different market or be as simple as signing up with a party plan business. Many successful home businesses are not a “grand” idea but a practical one where someone transfers their pre-baby life, a favourite hobby or a useful skill to a more family-friendly format.
No matter what you are contemplating for your own home business, here are seven practical tips to help you get started…
1. Start early.
I can’t tell you how many times a client comes to me, in her final weeks of maternity leave, desperate to start a home business. She is terrified about returning to work, and is looking for any solution to allow her to stay at home and make money. For a home business to match the wages of a full-time job, it does take time.
There are certain businesses that can be up and running, making a profit within a couple of months, but most home businesses need at least three months to bring in a sufficient income. If you are on leave from work, get started as soon as you can – because the idea is to never have to go back!
2. Forget about finding your passion.
Why do you want to start a home business? More time with the family? Staying at home with your children? Making extra money? Whatever your reasons, they are all the passion you need to achieve your home business goal.
If you really want to know whether you have a passion for something, take something you really like doing and immerse yourself in it. Google it. Watch YouTube videos on it. Learn about the science behind it. If you find yourself getting really excited, then it’s safe to say you’re passionate about it!
If you’re not passionate about anything, that’s fine too. Just start something: anything.
Think about the things you like doing and are good at, and start seeing the opportunities to expand on them. Look around for inspiration, and then just choose something and get started. Because here’s a little secret about business:
It’s hard to understand it until you are doing it. Once you get started, chances are your mind will open up to an abundance of new ideas and opportunities, and you can re-shape your business as you learn and grow.
3. Focus on the value you create.
Rather than focussing too much on yourself and what you like doing, focus on the value you can create for potential customers. Something you know and something you are good at can add value to someone else’s life.
Whether it be helping them look good, feel good, relieve stress, have a laugh, feel safe, bond with their family, save time, and so on – you can create it. And if someone else has already done it, so what! You have never done it.
Competition is nothing to be afraid of. In fact, it shows there is a market for the product or service. If someone else is making money, why can’t you be too? Focus on how you want to help people, and start your business with that in mind.
4. Spend as little as possible.
You can start a home business with less than $200. This obviously depends on the type of home business you create, but it’s always better to start out spending the least amount possible, and grow by making sales and investing every cent back into the development of the business (otherwise known as “bootstrapping”). When you are planning your product or service, don’t go nuts spending on bells and whistles. Get what you need to make a viable business, and then focus on making sales!
5. Dedicate your time.
To achieve any goal, you need to dedicate time to it. And home business is definitely no exception!
Depending on how quickly you want to get your new business up and running, you should aim to spend at least four hours a day working on it. I spend six or seven hours a day working and I manage two kids under four. What works for me is a good routine with dedicated time periods for work during the day (first thing in the morning, over lunch / sleep time and in the early evenings). The rest of the day is spent with the kids and husband, going out and about or cleaning the house. You can have it all. You just have to make time for all of it.
6. Be aware – and wary – of home business opportunities.
Most home business opportunities are direct sales agreements. Meaning, you get a product supplied to you and you get paid every time you make a sale. Some very novel products have joined the direct sales range over the past few years; everything from chocolates to shoes, manchester, cleaning products, aromatherapy and more!
My two concerns with direct sales agreements are:
(1) It’s very hard to sell something you don’t love from the bottom of your heart. When you create a product or service from scratch, more often than not, you end up feeling deeply connected to it; meaning that selling it is easy, because you can truly see the value it provides to your customers. When you try to sell someone else’s product or service, you need that same connection. Otherwise, selling becomes difficult and you may begin to doubt yourself and your abilities.
(2) Part of the reason home business is so enticing is because you call the shots, make the decision and receive all the profits. In a direct sales agreement, there is generally someone above you – making a significant amount of money from your efforts.
So when is a direct sales arrangement a good idea?
When you find a product you really love, are happy to work with the company’s processes and commission structure, and have no interest in developing a product or service of your own. You can find more information about direct selling on the Direct Selling Association of Australia website.
7. Believe in yourself.
Gaining confidence is a chicken and egg situation. You need confidence to start something, but in reality you can only gain confidence while you’re actually doing it: learning more, getting better, developing yourself, connecting with people and so on. Don’t wait for a rush of confidence to make your dreams come true…just start!
The confidence you need will come – in abundance – as you start to turn the life you want into the life you have.
Never look at selling as selling. Look at it as a chance to enrich other people’s lives with the beautiful product or service you have created. And if you get stuck? Find a coach or mentor. Someone who has been there and done that, and can share their insights and shortcuts about how to make your home business a success.
What about you? Do you have a goal to start a home business? Have you taken any steps to achieve it? If not, what’s holding you back?
About the Author: Rachel Writes runs Goofy Smile, and provides practical coaching on how to start and run a home business. With 10 years’ business experience across numerous industries, a knack for home business ideas and a clear head for strategy, Rachel shares every tip, trick and shortcut to help you get on track for success.