While many people welcomed 2021 as the year to start over fresh and recover from the difficulties of 2021, there are those who believe that the new year is just a continuation of the events of the previous year.
To an extent these people are correct. We should anticipate a residual effect from the damage the lockdowns wrought on economies worldwide. It will take time for industries to recover and get back on track to profitability.
And that’s the question you must ask yourself:
“How long will it take for things to go back to normal so I can earn a regular income again?”
There’s no clear answer to that question because the new normal has made the business environment more uncertain and ambiguous. And for that reason, you should not wait and assume the new normal is just “normal”.
It’s business as usual in 2021!
Take control of your financial independence and make money this year by setting up a home-based business.
Step 1 – Come Up with a Business Idea
Here’s a question that always stirs debate – or an argument:
“Should you follow your passion or should you find a business that makes money?”
And here’s a diplomatic way to answer this question:
Find a business that makes you happy and motivated every day and has the POTENTIAL to make money in the future.
Sometimes your passions can limit you. At the same time, becoming an entrepreneur isn’t like winning a lottery. You’re not guaranteed financial success.
The guiding rule when starting a business is to find a product or service that creates value or gives benefits to a target market.
Conduct preliminary research and identify products and services that are in high demand in your area. The product or service must be relevant, useful, and practical given today’s conditions.
For example, according to Criteo, these products have been selling well since 2020:
- Exercise Bands
- Outdoor Furniture
- Pet Products
- Gaming Equipment
- Baking Items
- Sleep/Lounge Wear
- Shaving/Grooming Kit
Should you sell these products as well?
You could – or use the list as a basis for selling other products that are similar but cater to a specialized niche. A case in point would be to capitalize on the home gym trend and sell adjustable dumbbells or kettlebells instead of resistance bands.
Step 2 – Prepare a Business Plan
Once you’ve identified a product or service to sell, prepare a business plan. A standard business plan consists of 5 sections:
- The Executive Summary – Summarizes details about the ownership and the products and services to be offered.
- Business Overview – Discloses information about your company such as business type, office address, and contact details plus your mission statement.
- Products and Services – Discusses the types of products and services you’re selling and identifies factors that prove there’s market demand.
- Market Analysis and Strategy – Presents an empirical, data-based analysis of market demand, a breakdown of market demographics, and outlines the strategy for attracting potential customers/end-users.
- Financial Projections – Includes sales projections, projected cash flow, and loss/income statements, and cash disbursement schedules.
Don’t put this off! A business plan acts as your blueprint for building your business. It keeps you on-course if you find yourself veering away because things aren’t going as planned.
Step 3 – Register Your Business
Registering your business legitimizes your enterprise. Clients and customers prefer to deal with entities that are registered with the state and local government and have acquired the necessary permits to operate.
Find out if your home-based business should be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or a government agency such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
From there, you’ll have to acquire licenses to allow you to operate a business from home. There are 5 types of licenses that you might need for your home-based business:
- General Business License – Authorization to conduct business within your local jurisdiction.
- Professional License – Some states require certain types of home-based businesses such as a daycare center, hairstyling salon, and financial services to secure a professional license. Check with your local government office if the type of business you plan to set up at home needs a professional license.
- Health and Safety Permits – If your business sells products that are flammable or if you receive clients and customers to your home, then you have to secure health and safety permits.
- Sign Permit – If you plan to advertise your home-based business by posting signs, you’ll first have to get the requirements from your local government. There will be guidelines on the size, location, and whether the use of lights will be allowed.
- Sales Tax License – The sales tax license may be part of your General Business License. If it’s not, you’ll have to secure one for your business from your local government.
Step 4 – Put up a Website
Now that your business is registered and authorized to operate – let’s get to work!
And the first order of the day is to put up a website.
Your business license will state your residence as the address for your business. But your business address is the URL that potential clients and customers will click on when they run a search on the Internet.
If the URL is the business address then your website is your office or retail store on the Internet. The website is where people go to:
- Learn more about your business
- Find out the products and services you sell
- Read valuable content for personal information or research purposes.
- Field a question or address a concern
- Buy products and services
According to a survey made by the National Retail Federation (NRF), while brick-and-mortar stores enjoyed a higher-than-expected 8.3% increase in holiday sales, online sales grew faster at 45.3% on a year-to-year basis.
Research firm Digital Commerce 360 believes that the comparatively higher increase in sales for online retailers confirms the change in consumers’ buying behavior because of continued fears about contracting the virus.
Therefore, to improve your chances of becoming successful, you must have a website for your home-based business.
We’ve helped many home-based businesses get started with their website. Give us a call and we’ll show you how Mountaintop Web Design can develop a website for your business that’s mobile-responsive, fast, functional, optimized for search, and very easy to use.
Step 5 – Organize Your Business
Even though your business runs from home, it still needs different departments to function properly.
Here are the 6 essential functions of a business:
- Human Resources
- Information Technology
- Customer Service
When you’re starting out, it might be possible to oversee these functions yourself. However, if the business starts to pick up, you’ll have less time handling these tasks in favor of running the core functions of the enterprise.
You might want to consider outsourcing the functions to a qualified third party such as an outsourcing company, specialized freelancers, and virtual assistants.
Outsourcing saves you money because you only pay for productive hours or actual hours worked. If you outsource to a remote location outside the United States, you can reduce costs further because the labor cost is much lower.
Thus, by outsourcing services, you can reduce costs and increase productivity at the same time because you can allocate more hours to handling the tasks that add more dollars and cents to your business’ bank account.
Step 6 – Build an Online Presence
To drive more traffic to your website, you have to build an online presence. Some home-based businesses open a Facebook business page plus another social media platform to widen their reach.
A more effective way to build an online presence is to invest in Digital Marketing by hiring an experienced Digital Marketer or an agency.
Digital marketing is the process of using digital technology – Internet-based platforms and apps – to accomplish a specific goal such as to drive traffic to a website, build the brand, establish the reputation of the business as a valuable resource, or generate sales.
The digital marketing toolbox consists of the following:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Content Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Video Marketing
- Paid Ads
An experienced Digital Marketer can send up a team to run the DM campaign. The team may consist of the following skills:
- Digital Marketer (Project Manager)
- Content Writer
- Social Media Marketer
- Graphic Designer/Artist
The Digital Marketing team can put together a campaign strategy that can help you meet your business goals. To run a successful campaign takes consistency.
For example, you must post content on social media from Monday to Friday:
- What type of content should you post? Will it be a blog, an infographic, curated content, or a video?
- Who will create the content? A 1,600-word, optimized, and well-researched blog will take approximately 4 hours to complete.
- Who will engage with your followers?
- Who will answer the inquiries posted on your chat support platform?
As you will see, managing a Digital Marketing campaign can take up a lot of time. We recommend outsourcing it to a qualified agency. At Mountaintop, we’ve done Digital Marketing for clients with great results.
If you’re interested, give us a call, and let’s discuss how we can package web design services with digital marketing.
Step 7 – Set Up Your Home Office
While your website and Digital Marketing are being set up, let’s shift our focus to setting up your home office.
Your home may be your castle – but it’s now your place of work. Similar to a castle, the home office must be fortified against distractions and enhanced for maximum productivity.
- Buy a new PC or laptop – Yes, you can always upgrade your computer but consider a new one an investment in your business. The PC or laptop must be dedicated to your business and not be used for anything else.
- Secure your Internet speed. Your bandwidth would depend on the type of business you plan to run. To give you an idea, it will take 2 minutes to download large files with 1.5mbps and only 10 seconds with 20mbps.
If you’ll be downloading large files or regularly accessing videos, you need at least 3mbps. It would be great if you can strike a deal with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) where you can get 10-20mbps without added cost.
- Download all the necessary software. To run a home-based business efficiently, you’ll have to download software to carry out different functions. For example, you can use Asana as a project management tool and Slack to communicate with your team.
- Buy ergonomic furniture. You’ll be spending most of your time in the office. You might as well make yourself comfortable.
Ergonomic furniture is designed to reduce stress on your lower back, shoulders, neck, and joints. It can be considered an investment to keep you healthy so you can stay productive.
- Remove all distractions. Put your mobile phone away while working. You can keep it inside a safe or locked drawer. Inform your family about your working hours so that they’ll know when they can’t disturb you.
As much as possible, have everything you need in the office before you start working on the day’s agenda. That includes coffee, water, and healthy snacks.
You can always check up on your phone messages and your family’s needs during your intermittent breaks.
Step 8 – Network!
Regardless of the type of home-based business you’re running, networking should be a constant activity.
Networking has many benefits that can grow your business:
- Find clients
- Establish connections with people who can help with different areas of your business
- Build strategic partnerships
- Generate important leads
- Gain valuable knowledge from experts in various fields
- Get first-hand information on trends, developments, and upcoming events
- Be referred to other people or companies that need your products or services
Even if your home-based business has become successful, keep networking. You can network via social media channels such as LinkedIn and more industry-specific platforms or do it the old-fashioned way by attending trade shows, networking events, and business forums.
Step 9 – Track Your Business Performance
Last but not least, and perhaps most importantly, keep track of your performance.
- How is your digital marketing campaign performing?
- Has your website received significantly more traffic?
- Are you generating a lot of leads?
- What is your sales conversion rate?
- Where is the bulk of your traffic coming from?
- What types of content are generating the highest amount of engagement?
The advantage of managing a home-based business in the age of digital is that you can easily track performance simply by accessing data analytics from your website and social media pages.
With analytics, you can pinpoint which strategies and processes are working or yielding the highest ROI and which ones are not. Using these numbers, you can review your budget with more certainty and determine how you should allocate your resources.
Why wait for things to go back to normal when it can be business as usual? You can start earning good money in 2021 by setting up a home-based business right now.
Not only will you do yourself a favor by creating new streams of revenue but you’ll be helping other people who cannot access your products and services.
It’s never too late to start. All you have to do is take the first step. In time and with persistence, you can have a financially rewarding career as an online entrepreneur.
Before taking that all-important first step, let your fingers do the tapping and give us a call. We can help you set up a website for your home business and get your digital marketing campaign started.
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