How Do I Start a Home Business?

Written by Elena Fawkner

Continued from page 1

If you follow step 2, chances are, if you hearrepparttar same things repeatedly, you've found potential unmet needs or needs that aren't being adequately serviced by your competition. After all, ifrepparttar 117966 need is being met, it won't be repparttar 117967 subject of repeated questions.

4. Inventory your experience, interests and competencies

In order to decide what to focus on in particular out of a group of potential unmet or under-met needs, take account of your experience, interests and competencies. People are generally good at what they enjoy and are interested in, after all.

5. Fillrepparttar 117968 unmet or under-met need

Once you've identifiedrepparttar 117969 unmet need(s) in your sub-category, you can start thinking about how your business can fill that unmet need.


At this stage, you need to take your business idea and survey your niche market and your competition.

If you have competition, can you be better? If your market is dominated by a few large, well-established players and you really don't bring anything new or different torepparttar 117970 table, thenrepparttar 117971 competition is probably going to be too stiff. Onrepparttar 117972 other hand, if that competition is focused onrepparttar 117973 high end ofrepparttar 117974 market leavingrepparttar 117975 lower end largely uncatered for, then this could well be an excellent niche for you.

The bottom line is to identify your best competition in your niche and decide whether you can be better.

Only if you believe you can berepparttar 117976 best in your niche should you proceed. If not, keep looking until you find a niche perfectly suited to your particular blend of experience, interests and competencies in which you can berepparttar 117977 absolute best.


Once you've identified your niche and surveyed your market and competition and are reasonably confident you can be at least as good as your best competitor, it's time to get down to brass tacks.

This is where you take your business idea and shape it into a battle plan. Formulating a business plan is goal-setting for your business. For a more detailed treatment of writing a business plan, read "Puttingrepparttar 117978 Plan Back Into Your Business Plan" at .

Once you've thought through and recorded your business plan you should have an extremely thorough understanding of your industry andrepparttar 117979 challenges you must overcome to make a success of your business. Take your business plan and establish objectives, goals (which support attainment ofrepparttar 117980 objectives) and tasks (which support attainment ofrepparttar 117981 goals).

Put your tasks and goals into action to achieve your objectives. Decide where you want your business to be in five years time and work backwards until you have 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 year objectives and goals to support them and tasks to supportrepparttar 117982 goals. The end result should be a daily to-do list of things that will directly lead you closer torepparttar 117983 achievement of your goals and objectives.


Once you have your daily to-do list, DO IT! The best laid plans of mice and men are useless if not translated into action. It's action that will propel you and your business towards success. Mere thoughts and plans are necessary but insufficient. They must be translated into activity.


If possible, transition from whatever you're doing now into your business. Testrepparttar 117984 waters, in other words. If you're currently in a paid job, stay there and run your business part-time, takingrepparttar 117985 risk on someone else's nickel until you can be confident this thing's going to float. Know when you're better off devoting your full time and attention to your business (i.e., know when an hour of your time is worth more when spent invested in your business than your job) for that isrepparttar 117986 time to shift into full-time entrepreneurship.


Finally, makerepparttar 117987 leap with faith and courage. Sure, you'll have moments of self-doubt, thoughts of "can I do this?" when you're wondering whererepparttar 117988 next order's going to come from and you think back torepparttar 117989 nice, safe, secure paycheck you used to be able to count on in your job. But recognize these insecurities for what they are. They are your mind playing tricks on you. You can do anything you set your mind to. You just have to want it badly enough. So, whenrepparttar 117990 time comes to makerepparttar 117991 leap, do it and hold nothing back. Your success or failure is up to you alone. There are no excuses.

So, in answer torepparttar 117992 question "how do I start my own home business?", it's quite simple really. You do what it takes.

Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online ... practical home business ideas for the work-from-home entrepreneur.

So You Want to Be a Freelancer ...

Written by Elena Fawkner

Continued from page 1

=> Approach Your Cold Market

Once you've approached your so-called "warm market", it's time to start onrepparttar cold. Start by gathering up a list of businesses in your local area or industry that you think would have use of your services. Prepare a letter of introduction and send it, together with your business card, to your list of prospects. Your letter of introduction should make if very clear why you are writing. Identify yourself andrepparttar 117965 specific skills that may appeal torepparttar 117966 reader and why.

Follow up in a week with a telephone call to make surerepparttar 117967 materials arrived safely. Ifrepparttar 117968 other person is approachable, try and strike up a conversation about what you could do forrepparttar 117969 business. Otherwise, thankrepparttar 117970 person for their time, ask them to keep you in mind for future work and calendar to contact them again in 30 days' time.

Continue to work your market like this. Remember, persistence pays off. Don't be discouraged if you receive little warmth or interest in response to your approaches to your cold market. It takes time and persistence. Just don't take it personally. A good way to approach it is to tackle a fixed number per day. Start out by making a list of, say, 300 businesses you want to approach. Develop your list fromrepparttar 117971 Yellow Pages, local library andrepparttar 117972 web to start with. Calendar to approach 10 businesses a day forrepparttar 117973 next 30 days. That means ten calls a day, followed by 10 letters of introduction (together with a copy of your brochure/resume and business card) and a follow up phone call a week later.

Where there is interest, you may be able to schedule a meeting. Where there is no interest, schedule for a further follow up call in 30 days. If there is still no interest, schedule for a further call in 90 days. Or maybe you would prefer to do something else to stay in contact. A good way is to publish a newsletter for your clients and colleagues. Make it relevant torepparttar 117974 recipient and it's a good way of keeping your name in front of your prospects. A quarterly newsletter is probably frequent enough. Send it, with another of your business cards, to your list and, over time, you will see that it will start paying off inrepparttar 117975 form of business.

=> Samples

Another idea to think about is to produce a set of samples of your work; a portfolio if you will. Make 8.5 x 11 copies of your work and keep them in an artist's portfolio for presentations when you're able to arrange face to face meetings with potential clients.

=> Advertising and Promotion

Next comes advertising. If you're a website designer, possibly your best advertisement is your own website. But don't stop there. Advertise inrepparttar 117976 publications your target market reads.

Another good way to generate business is to join associations and groups affiliated with your industry. Chambers of Commerce are a good place to make handy contacts.

You will probably find that inrepparttar 117977 early stages of your freelance career you spend more time marketing yourself and your services than you spend actually working. There's a financial cost to that, of course. How do you finance your marketing if you don't have any money coming in? For this reason,repparttar 117978 early days will be lean and mean. Make sure you haverepparttar 117979 financial wherewithall to survive this period.


You will only make money as a freelancer if you charge more that it costs you to dorepparttar 117980 work in terms of your time, expenses and materials. Factor in a profit component to every job you quote for and make sure that that profit component is in ADDITION to an allowance for your time. For more on pricing your services, see "Pricing Yourself To Get and Stay In Business", at .

Some freelancers charge byrepparttar 117981 hour and others byrepparttar 117982 project. In reality, you will probably use a combination of both methods depending onrepparttar 117983 nature ofrepparttar 117984 job andrepparttar 117985 client.

You can get an idea of current market rates by surveying your competitors. Don't be obvious about it though; competitors are, naturally enough, reluctant to divulge information about their businesses to their competitors. So you'll probably need to employ a bit of subterfuge here by posing as a potential customer, for example. In fact, it's in your legal interests that your competition doesn't give you pricing information if it knows you're a competitor. Such conduct can be construed as price fixing which can land both of you in extremely hot water. So, keep it safe and use circuitous methods of obtaining pricing information from competitors.


A question often asked by freelancers is "do I need a contract?". Well, to start with, once you've negotiated a deal with a new client you have a contract. The question is whether it's oral or in writing. An oral contact is just as enforceable as a written one butrepparttar 117986 problem becomes one of proof. How do you proverepparttar 117987 terms of your contract if all you have is one person's word against another's? For this reason, a written contract is always a good idea. It needn't be anything too elaborate. In fact, even an exchange of letters will do. Just be sure to includerepparttar 117988 basic terms:

=> Describerepparttar 117989 job

What must you do to performrepparttar 117990 contract? Be as specific as possible here and try not to be open-ended. "Create a website for client" is too vague. What would you do ifrepparttar 117991 client came back after you'd finished and said, "but there's no shopping cart, there's no feedback form?" and you hadn't quoted your time for these things in strikingrepparttar 117992 price? Better to say, "Create website at client's direction consisting of (a) home page; (b) products and services page; (c) order page; (d) shopping cart and (e) feedback form". By requiringrepparttar 117993 client to be very specific about what it is they want from their website, how they want it to look etc. you can go a long way to avoiding misunderstandings caused by vagueness.

=> Setrepparttar 117994 price

State in unequivocal termsrepparttar 117995 price you are to receive forrepparttar 117996 job. This can be either a project cost such as $5,000 or an hourly rate such as "$150 hour or part thereof; minimum of ten (10) hours" or whatever.

=> State time for performance

Performance means not only when you will complete your part ofrepparttar 117997 bargain (i.e. deliveringrepparttar 117998 completed website torepparttar 117999 client) but whenrepparttar 118000 client must complete his or hers (i.e. by paying you).

Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online .... practical home business ideas, resources and strategies for the work-from-home entrepreneur.

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