So You Want To Start A Business From Home
It’s over 20 years now since I decided I wanted to start a business from home and I count myself blessed that I chose that path.
There is no better way to have a brilliant life / work balance than by running a great little business from home
Working from home has allowed me to…
- Do more or less what I want, when I want
- To see my kids growing up and spend time with them rather always being “too busy”
- To earn great money
- To have fun along the way
But above all it has given me freedom.
Freedom from office politics, a daily commute, incompetent and unrealistic bosses (yes, I still remember all of those) and freedom tomake my own decisions. Sure, some were mistakes but they were MY mistakes and not some loser in the office for whom I had to carry the can!
But tell me, why do you want to start a business?
Oh dear, oh dear!
Surely you know the economy is in a mess, there are rules and regulations to contend with, staff issues, premises, stock and supplier problems and of course, around 25% of start ups go out of business in the first year! And that’s just those on record, not the “work from home” try it and see brigade.
Incompetence is the given reason for a massive 46% of those businesses who fail in the first 4 years. (See this interesting article for background stats – just look at some of the specific pitfalls, in particular “lack of planning” & “taking advice from family & friends”).
Despite the stats about business start-up failure rates I honestly believe ANYONE, regardless of age, education or experience can be massively successful if they are prepared to do what it takes.
But, that doesn’t mean simply putting up a website and waiting for something to happen.
Your first step should be to think very, very carefully about your reasons for wanting to start a business.
Do you really know what will be required?
Do you have any knowledge of running a business? I don’t mean “doing” whatever service you’ll offer, I mean the other aspects: book-keeping, ordering stock, taking orders, marketing, customer service, technology – the list goes on.
Michael Gerber talks about the “technician with an entrepreneurial seizure” and he is spot on. Just because you’re a great hair stylist or plumber or mechanic doesn’t mean you’ll be great at running your own business offering those services. You’ll find yourself spending more time running the business than doing what you are already good at.
Is that what you want?
Or are you a true entrepreneur?
Having suffered from the “technician with an entrepreneurial seizure” issue myself when I first started a business, I know how soul destroying it ends up being.
With 20 years experience of working from home I now have it down to a fine art, but it did take me a few years to figure it all out.
And, of course, when I started there was no such thing as the internet!
Those first 10 years or so would have been so different if I was starting again today, especially with the benefit of being able to do business virtually anywhere in the world without the need to travel.
It’s funny though, you learn things along the way and it is difficult to look back to the time you didn’t know them!
What I mean is that now…
- I wouldn’t consider using anything but WordPress for my site(s)
- I wouldn’t spend money on business cards or logos or expensive web designers (at least not until I knew my concept worked and was generating money)
- I wouldn’t dream of starting a new site without adding some way of adding my visitors to an email list;
- I wouldn’t think of adding Adsense or any other form of outside advertising on the site;
- I wouldn’t waste valuable time or money outsourcing my content writing;
- I wouldn’t believe most of what I read I needed;
- I’d keep everything simple & based on sound business sense;
- I’d ignore all the latest fads.
“Above all, I would copy what successful people running the same type of business I wanted actually DID to get started”
…and by that I mean, I wouldn’t copy somebody running a business empire with offices and staff and all of the associated problems – no matter how successful they were.
No, I’d find somebody doing exactly what I wanted, an easy to run, profitable business that was run from home without staff and offices and overheads AND one that works even when the owners isn’t there.
A brilliant little business!
But back to you – you’ve decided you want to start a business from home – but do you know what to do?
If you’ve read this far, it is safe for me to assume you don’t, or at least you’re not sure, or else you’d be off doing it!!
So here are my top tips:
- Think very carefully about whether you are really cut out to run a business. If you’re not prepared to put in the time and effort required don’t even start.
- Commit to only “following” one strategy to start with
- Don’t over-complicate anything
- Follow tried and tested models and not the latest fads or tricks
- Use WordPress for your site
- Get a site live with a method to capture your visitors details from Day One
- Seek help with anything you’re not confident you can learn quickly
- Treat your potential customers with respect – don’t just think of them as “traffic”
- Find ways to provide more value and thus income for yourself from each customer
And remember, do not chase numbers – look for quality.
Plan what needs to be done and work ON your business everyday BUT ensure it is something that is moving you forward – not wasting time on say Facebook convincing yourself it’s building your business.