Individual skilled in a specific field or area working independent of established “salaried job” setting. Best described by the term “spirit of the entrepreneur”, this type of person is known to carve out his/her own niche, call his/her own shots and work according to his/her own schedule.

The Home-based Business Phenomenon

Present-day American dreams

Present-day American families have the same dreams shared by families a few decades ago; buy a home, provide for the health and welfare of their children, and send those children to college. But the price tag for fulfilling these dreams climbs higher and higher every day, making it much more difficult to achieve the same standard of living that families enjoyed in past decades.

It used to be that a husband went off to work in the morning and the wife stayed home doing household chores and taking care of the kids; but the days of one-income households are long gone and both parents must now go out to work – when they can find it.

However, as the old familiar adage suggests, “necessity is the mother of invention” and accordingly, many enterprising single moms & dads, and even husband & wife teams are finding ways to stay home, and still earn a living via opportunities that are springing up all over the country as a result of the tremendous growth of an industry that makes work at home possible.

The Home-Based Business (HBB) industry has made it possible for anyone with some basic skills, a computer and Internet access to start a business at home. For example, an individual with a background in word processing can create his/her own in-home word processing business.

Getting started

Before you begin your Home-Based Business however, it is important to do your research. Find out what kind of software program will be most suitable for the type of business you intend on doing. You will also want your computer system to be compatible with your clients and customers.

Next, look at the make-up of your industrial area. An arts community, or a thriving business area? By checking out the demographics of your area, you can make a decision regarding the type of advertising you want to use.

In the beginning, you will want to try all sorts of advertising. Neighborhood newspapers are an inexpensive way to advertise, but they usually only published on a weekly basis and that may not be enough to keep the clients rolling in. You can put your name on the bulletin board at your local supermarket and pass out flyers door-to-door in large office buildings or other business complexes.

Although it may be more expensive than neighborhood newspapers, you may want to run an ad in your local daily newspaper (in the business services section). Church bulletins and university newspapers that sell advertising may also be a relatively inexpensive way to go. You should also get your business cards printed up right away; and don’t let a client walk out the door without one or two business cards. Repeat business and word-of-mouth may well be your best advertising tool.

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Whatever methods you choose to employ in your advertising, do yourself a favor and track the responses. Put a check list next to your telephone and whenever a call comes in (whether you get hired or not) ask the prospective client where s/he found out about you. It won’t take long for you to discover where your most cost-effective advertising comes from and when you know that, you can punch it up and drop the ones that aren’t doing anything for you.

Do your homework!

One telephone call will be the only opportunity you have to sell your service. If you hesitate when asked a price for a particular project, you will probably lose the job so do your homework. Call the competition and ask what they are charging. If the competition is out of your immediate geographic area (and you are therefore not a threat to their livelihood), you may want to be straight with them and tell them you are starting a home-based business in their field and ask for their input. You may be surprised to find them willing to help out with important information.

Keep in mind that there are myriad of tasks that need to be undertaken in order to establish the fundamental operations of your new home-based business. Whether you expect to get clients from the Internet or not, it is necessary to set up your business in a manner that will accommodate local clients/customers. So business letter heads, envelopes, forms, business cards, invoices and other paraphernalia will be necessary.

It will also become necessary to establish your pricing policies and have them available upon inquiry. Depending on your business, you could set a basic rate which can be a flat rate or a percentage.

For example…

…Using the business of word processing for a pricing example, a prospective client may call asking what you charge for 4 single-spaced pages. Your answer might be $45.00 per page straight text and then when the client comes, you discover that what s/he has is 4 pages of extremely complicated tables – definitely NOT STRAIGHT TEXT.

By not making firm pricing commitments over the phone, you will have the flexibility to charge a more accurate price when a client brings you something other than what you were expecting.

Elaborating further on the word processing example, to some clients a resume may be a single spaced page, but it takes a lot longer to type than a business letter and you will want to charge more for resumes. You will want to establish an hourly rate for tables, transcription and other more time-consuming jobs.

Always keep in mind that your pricing will change as you become more familiar with what your clients demand, and you may find yourself doing a lot of list maintenance and merge letters, or you may be doing work primarily for doctors, or attorneys; so you need to have a good basis for your pricing… but be flexible.

There are several home-based business models you can choose from, each one giving you the same flexibility to create your own USP (Unique Selling Proposition), as well as your own operational balance sheet. After all, the income & expense aspect of any business is usually an excellent indicator of that business’ prospects for success or failure; and truth be told, no business – new or old – start out with failure as an aspirational milestone. Therefore, it is success to which they aspire and choosing the type of home-based business to launch could make all the difference.

Choice of business types

The two business types that came to mind – based on my own – experiences are: Promotion and Distribution. You can choose to be a promoter or a distributor in addition to all the other choices that are available; but I have provided a glimpse of each vocation with the help of two other publishers whose knowledge of the topics is unquestioned.

According to a What is Promotion? article published to the Slide Player website, “Promotion is any form of communication a business or organization uses to inform, persuade, or remind people about its products and improve its public image. Product Promotion: 1) Explains the major features and benefits of its products (especially in relation to competitors), 2) tells where the products are sold, 3) advertises sales on those products, 4) answers customer questions, and 5) introduces new products…”

…And Distribution is described in the following manner: After a product is fully developed and offered at a competitive price, it must be delivered to an identified target audience. The place element of the marketing mix is where product production and distribution channels are decided and planned. The decisions made in this step directly affect the types of communication that are used to tell the target audience about a product.” This description is provided in the article, What Is the Difference Between Place & Promotion in the Marketing Mix? Written by Tim Burris for the Chron website. And there are so many more!

A Few Rules and Practical Tips for New Entrepreneurs

It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur–in the last decade, technology has leveled the playing field and propelled an entrepreneurial revolution. As an entrepreneur, you now have more access to information that enables you to make more intelligent choices more quickly. You have an advantage over big businesses in that you’re lighter, more flexible, and faster on your feet. You can target new markets more quickly, and you can turn on a dime.

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But being a successful entrepreneur requires that you look at the big picture and follow a plan through from beginning to end. Rieva Lesonsky, editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur Magazine gives some practical guidelines that can help you when beginning your own enterprise:

First – Don’t Quit Your Day Job.

Consider starting your business part-time, especially if it’s online, while you’re working and have a steady income. It usually takes six months to a year to get a business going and you don’t want your ability to make your house payment to hinge upon your company being an overnight success. Start with what you can manage, financially and time-wise, and scale up as your business grows.

Second – Find Your Niche.

The days of general stores are over. Particularly online, consumers are looking for stores that specialize. You have to find a need–something a specific group of people want, but can’t get at the big chain stores–and fill it. Advises Lesonsky, “You can’t compete with the big guys, so you have to find where the big guys aren’t and go into your niches.

Third – Have an Online Presence.

Even if you’re not planning to start an online retail business, consider that the internet can still play a valuable role in your company. Having an online presence eliminates the limitations of physical location and broadens your customer base by, literally, millions. It’s also a great tool for promoting yourself and letting people, even in your own area, know that you’re there, and what you’re doing.

Fourth – Refuse to Quit.

Successful entrepreneurship requires creativity, energy, and a drive to keep going when you fail. Few people realize that before Bill Gates created the extremely successful Microsoft 3.0, he created a Microsoft 1.0 and 2.0, both of which flopped–but he kept at it. And that determination and refusal to give up is what will separate successful entrepreneurs from unsuccessful ones. Says Lesonsky, “Arm yourself with optimism to get beyond the ‘No’ or the trouble. There’s nothing wrong in failure–just don’t repeat the same mistake!”

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Is There An Ideal Time To Publish Your Articles?

The Password Creation Handbook!
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Today’s post is special for a couple of reasons. First it has brought back some memories about my own early days on the Web; and Second it is a rather inspiring account of the author’s own recollection of his early Web publishing efforts. When you think about it, the vastness of this Internet community/marketplace could be very intimidating.

My memories – as conjured up by the article I’m about to share with you – are vivid and, as a Web marketer going on 5 years with a pretty decent demand for my articles, I share the following article with the knowledge that, in order for any entrepreneur or marketer to be successful on the Web, s/he MUST be able to communicate effectively with the community; and the best way to be effective is to be honest to yourself and your audience.

Here’s the entire article – which was shared with me – authorized for republishing by, and with a few words of introduction from, my reliable copywriting buddy at the Copywriter’s Roundtable:

Today, I’ll share what might be the weirdest (and best) invitation you’ll hear all year. But first, a challenge. This comes to us via our Kiwi pal and fellow copywriter, Sean D’Souza. What’s the challenge? By way of explanation, I happen to know that a lot of you guys are not just aspiring copywriters… but aspiring writers in general. Sean, too, was once in your shoes.

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And then he did something about it. Today, he’s going to challenge you to do something about it too. Even if the kind of his writing he’s recommending ISN’T something on your wordsmithing bucket list, I encourage you to read on — simply substitute the kind of writing you want to do with the kind Sean talks about here.

Sean, take it away…

WHEN’S THE RIGHT TIME TO PUBLISH YOUR ARTICLE?
by Sean D’Souza

Imagine a daughter who’s about to utter her first word. For a long time her expectant parents have been waiting to guess what that first word would be. Would it be ‘dada’ or ‘mama’? Or something else altogether? And then she says it! There are whoops of joy. Except this daughter is not really a baby. She’s a woman at the ‘ripe, old age’ of 35. And there’s nothing wrong with the woman at all.

She was just waiting for the right moment to say her first word. Yes, I know it’s a ridiculous story But it’s not any more ridiculous than you waiting for the right moment to publish your article. As we go through writing articles, we believe that our articles aren’t quite good enough to post on our websites or blogs. So we salt them, in the hope that we’ll write better articles in the future.

If I’d waited for the future, you wouldn’t be reading this article. When I started writing articles way back in the year 2000, I struggled with my articles. I didn’t feel they were good enough. And besides I had one massive problem. I felt like a fraud, because I was a cartoonist and knew nothing about marketing. But I’d read an article in the Reader’s Digest when I was a child. The title of the article was “Be brave and mighty forces will be with you.”

So I gave in to mighty forces. I published my articles. And to my surprise, others not only wanted to read them, but wanted to publish them as well. And while it took us over a year back then, over a thousand people subscribed. One thousand people were reading my ‘crappy’ articles. And it didn’t stop there. I then wrote this document called The Brain Audit. It was only 20 pages long, including some fillers. And at first it was a trickle of customers that bought it, but soon we had hundreds of people buying it.

I’m sure you’ve heard this story before, but we had sold over $50,000 worth of The Brain Audit in that form; And it was only then that it got upgraded. (Today The Brain Audit is 180 pages and far more polished); but what if I had waited for the perfect moment? What if my articles still needed polish? What if I had believed that The Brain Audit was too anorexic to publish?

Be brave! Go ahead and publish your stuff. And then be surprised, just like I was.
The article ends, hope you liked it.

Note to the reader: John at Copywriter’s Roundtable has invited you to sign up for $78 worth of free gifts at the Copywriter’s Rountable. John is a very reliable, down to earth and principled individual, so you WILL get your gifts when you sign up.