Home office can be defined as a specific area in a place of residence that is used as an office in which the occupant(s) activities are geared toward the achievement of certain commercial goaals and objectives.

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!

The Culprits of Email Marketing Failures


When EM campaigns fail

Whether you are already involved in an email marketing campaign or you’re simply considering the possibility of launching an email marketing campaign it is important to understand that email marketing (EM) does not always work as effectively as expectations may set forth. This means that sometimes, despite your best efforts, or sometimes in spite of your best efforts, the email marketing campaign you create will either not generate the degree of success you anticipated or may not generate any success at all for a variety of reasons.

Some of these reasons may be a lack of interest from your target audience, failure to properly execute your email marketing strategy, poor planning of your strategy, or poor execution of that strategy. This article will take a look at some situations in which email marketing is not effective, and will offer some suggestions for dealing with these situations.

Let’s consider for a moment the reason that a lack of interest from target audience members can result in a failed email marketing campaign. It is already a known fact that some target audiences have often been the recipients of offers and information in which they have absolutely no interest or use for; this occurs when marketer(s) fail to complete sufficiently adequate research that would otherwise identify those offers, and that content which the particular audience(s) have expressed interest in.

Importance of research

So that having been said it is critically important that before you – as an email marketer – invest time, energy and money into an email marketing campaign, you might find it worthwhile to hire a consultant and task him/her with conducting market research which should provide valuable feedback such as demographics for the target audience and information on the probability of these target audience members being responsive to email marketing. This last piece of information in particular should help the business owner to determine whether or not s/he should pursue email marketing as an advertising option.

In other wordsm, if market research indicates that members of your target audience are not likely to purchase the products or services you offer online, or they don’t even use the Internet to research these products or services, investing in an email marketing campaign is not worthwhile. You may enjoy a small degree of success from this marketing effort but it is not likely significant enough to warrant the time and effort required to achieve this small degree of success.

Another aspect of email marketing which can cause your marketing campaign to result in failure is the inability to properly execute your marketing plan. Attention to such execution of whatever marketing plan you have in place is important because even the best formulated marketing strategy can flounder if you are not able to properly execute the steps required to accomplish the plan’s objective.

Sloppy work spells doom

For example, you may plan to use digital newsletters – or ebooks – as a critical component of your email marketing campaign; but if these digital information products do not appear to be professionally designed and written, or they frequently arrive late and do not offer valuable information, readers are not likely to invest in your products or services based solely on these digital offerings. In each aspect of your email marketing campaign, you should strive to ensure that information you provide to your email recipients is informative, accurate and interesting, if not compelling. This type of copy is more likely to pique the interest of readers.

Finally, poor planning can cause an email marketing campaign to falter. For example, if you were to issue a component of your email marketing campaign hoping to generate a huge interest in your products and receive a great deal of interest, you should be well prepared and have the ability to sell your products. Not having enough stock on hand after you undergo a marketing effort can be a critical mistake because potential customers may lose interest if they have to wait for the products.

Poor planning = less profits

This is just one example of poor planning causing problems; but poor planning can cause a host of different problems including potential customers losing interesting, the creation of confusion regarding your products and services and even potential customers being angered by your email marketing. In any scenario under which poor planning – and/or poor execution of a solid plan – can be identified as the reason for failures of email marketing campaigns, the results will almost always be loss of potential and existing customers which, when translated, is a loss of revenue and profits for your business.