There are many people who fantasize about having their own business from home, and while some have made it a success, many more have failed in their quest for this ultimate freedom. The reality is a business based from your home is a tremendous undertaking and that means you must do a few things that you may take for granted in an actual workplace. However, the goal is making sure that you can have success in this endeavor. Doing so means you need to have a massive amount of discipline and the willingness to do unpleasant things in order to make your dream of working from home exactly that – a dream and not a nightmare.
There are several tips that can be applied, but one of the first things that you should think about is your e-mail handle. The truth is your e-mail handle is the first thing your clients and potential clients will see of you. If your e-mail handle is unprofessional, you will dissuade potential clients from patronizing your business. When you decide to work from home, the first thing you should do is set up a professional e-mail address. Your online web presence demands this. A professional e-mail address can be as simple as firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a simple way to make yourself look professional – clients worth your business won’t trust someone with a Gmail or Yahoo e-mail address, though your e-mail could be powered by Gmail or Outlook. As long as the e-mail handle is a variation of the example above, you will have no problems making the case that your business is a professional enterprise.
Here are five tips that will help you turn your home-based business into the success that will fulfill your dreams of working independently.
Stick to Your Schedule
The first thing you will notice when working from home is that you can set your own hours. For many, this is the main reason why they like the idea of working from home. That said, you need to have hard and fast hours because it will instill the discipline to get the job done. This is something that is non-negotiable. There are a few reasons for this adherence to a schedule. The first is that when you adhere to a schedule, you are creating work time and private time. You don’t want work to bleed into private time and vice versa. This is essential for maintaining a healthy work-life balance. The second is you condition your clients that you will be responding within a certain timeframe. Doing so will help you make sure that clients have reasonable expectations and feel the scarcity of your time, and that will cause them to pay more for the time you are available, and thus increase profitability.
Create a Space in Your Home that’s Professional
In today’s world, you are most likely not going to be spending time seeing clients face to face, unless you are doing much video chatting. That said, the last thing that you want is to video chat from an area that looks as if you are in the middle of a frat house. Set up part of your home – at least the area that clients can see – as something professional. Furthermore, this dedicated office space will help you get in work mode when you are present within it while going into puttering around the house mode when you are not in the office. Setting a workspace keeps you on task, so stay away from TVs and other distractions in that workspace.
Maintain Professionalism at All Times
You never know who is going to be a client, so when you are in public you should be armed with two things – your business cards and your professionalism. When you conduct yourself like a consummate professional in all areas, you are promoting your business by promoting its best asset – you. The key to making this work is always having professional written communication. Don’t end e-mails with closing salutations like “Cheers”, for example. Also, make sure that you are always delineating what you are doing and keeping client expectations realistic. Underpromising and overdelivering is the key method for displaying your professionalism when interacting with clients. Language and actions will carry the day.
Use Social Media for Marketing
Regardless of what your business is, you should use social media for marketing because it is free and it has the largest reach, especially if you are correctly targeting your social media marketing strategy. The best part is you don’t have to work too hard to learn about social media marketing and effectively deploy it. Hubspot is a great resource to learn about social media marketing. Another great strategy is tagging satisfied clients on your posts and showing pictures of your work, if applicable. At the end of the day, what you will do is build the same word of mouth reputation that all businesses covet, but thanks to social media you’ll have a larger reach. This is essential for success and if you use social media marketing the entry cost is low and the return on investment is quite high.
The hardest thing about running a business from home is you can get discouraged easily when things don’t go your way. At an office, you may have a boss or a colleague that picks you up when you don’t make a sale or something similar. The reality is you’re the biggest cheerleader you have at home. You need to constantly pick yourself up off the floor when things don’t go your way – and at first, they won’t. Stay dogged and stick to your plan. Tweak it as needed, but don’t scrap your plan wholesale after a bad month. Persistence is the key to success in any endeavor, and in a business that is based from your home, this is doubly true. So, hang tight in the tough times and when the clouds break, you will enjoy the fruits of your labor from the comfort of your home.