Communication is key

Communication is Key

One of the key things in any business is

communication, and that goes for home based businesses

as well. Often times, written communication of some

form is what brings new customers in, so you want to

make certain that you catch their eyes but don't seem

overbearing.

Email - If, like most home business, you have the

ability to communicate online, one of your biggest

tools is going to be email. You want to first of all

create an email address that is professional yet won't

make people feel threatened when they see it. It

should reflect your business and what it does, but

also make you seem approachable.

Messenger - Whether you use AIM, MSN, or Yahoo

messenger, you are going to also want to create a user

name just for your business, It's a good idea to make

sure that you have all of the available messengers.

This way, people can choose which one to use if they

want to talk to you personally. Trillian is a great

program which allows you to use all of your messaging

programs on one application instead of downloading

them all separately. As with your email, you want your

user names to be professional but not threatening.

They should reflect your business and your

professionalism.

You want the first impression that people have of you

to be a good one, so make certain that your email and

your instant messengers are professional and let

people know that you are serious about your business.

Support is important

Support Is Important

Part of having a home business is building up

business, yes, but another important part is to become

a part of a network of others who work from home.

Having a home business can be frustrating at times,

especially if your friends and family aren't

supportive, so it's always a good idea to get in touch

with others who are going through the same types of

things that you are going through.

One of the best places to go for home business support

is the Internet. It's full of message boards and

forums for people who are in the home business and who

are talking about the ins and outs of working from

home.

One thing that should be noted is that this is not a

place to go and promote your home business, although

there are probably threads that allow you to do that.

Everyone on the message board or forum has a home

business. This is a place to go and talk to other

business owners and to find out what works and doesn't

work.

The first thing that you will want to do is to

introduce yourself. Usually it's acceptable to say

what type of business you have as part of your

introduction, but make it short. After you have

introduced yourself, go through the different threads

to see if any of the questions that you have are

already being discussed.

Be sure to check the board or forum rules, but it's

pretty much universal what is expected of those that

join the boards, and what is allowed.

Keeping schedules in home business

Keeping Schedules in Home Business

When you are starting up a home business, it's easy to

ignore the alarm clock and get up whenever you want to

get up. You are your own boss, you should be able to

keep the hours that you want, right? Wrong. This is a

misconception that many who are going into the home

business have.

It is true that you are your own boss, but if you work

from 9 to 5 one day, and then don't get up until noon

the next day, people won't take you seriously.

When you are setting up your home business, the first

thing that you should do is to pick a schedule and

stick to it. This way your customers know when they

can reach you. This is good for business, and will

help keep your customers coming back.

When you sit down to plan out your business hours,

figure out a starting time and a closing time, and

factor in time for lunch as well.

If you were working in an office environment, you

would take a lunch break so set an acceptable amount

of time to be at lunch and stick to it.

You don't have a time clock that you have to go by,

but you will have customers who are counting on you to

be available during the hours that you set.

Just as it's important to stick to your time for

starting, it's just as important to stick to your time

when you will be closed for the day.

It's easy to want to check your email, but unless you

are talking to a customer when the time comes, don't

spread yourself too thin by going over time.

Keeping yourself business oriented

Keeping Yourself Business Oriented

For most home businesses, the computer and the

Internet are an integral part of the success or

failure of the business.

However, just like when you are at work, there's

always the temptation to check your email, talk to

friends online, or play a game when you are not busy.

However, just like at a job that you commute to, this

should be something that should be avoided when you

are working at your home based business.

One way to help avoid doing this is to set up an

account on your computer that is just for your home

based business.

Set up an email that is just business, set up an

instant messenger that is just business, and use the

web browser to just do things that are part of the

business.

The temptation is still there, of course, but if you

start doing this right away you will find that it's

not so difficult.

The other reason that setting up an account that is

separate for your business is good is because when you

are doing things that are personal on the computer you

will be less likely to work during your 'off' hours.

One of the biggest mistakes that people who work from

home make is that they are 'always' working. They

never allow themselves time to be 'off the clock'.

This isn't something that is healthy, and it's

something that should be avoided. Having a separate

account on your computer helps to prevent this from

happening.

Networking is important

Networking is Important

One of the biggest assets you will find when you are

in a home based business is networking with other

business owners. Not only are they a great source of

encouragement, but they can also lead to more

business.

When people are selling products, such as jewelry or

candles, a lot of times what they will do is to have

an online party. Everyone goes into a chat room, and

it's just like a regular party, except it's online.

Something that people will do is that they will trade

parties in the network. Let's say that you sell

jewelry, and someone else in the network sells

candles. The two of you talk, and you agree to do a

candle party for her if she does a jewelry party for

you. This way the both of you benefit from the

experience, and hopefully the two of you make some

sales.

Just like with a regular party that is held in

someone's house, it's important to give your hostess a

thank you gift for holding the party for you This way,

even if she doesn't buy anything, she still gets to

see what it is that you have to offer and will keep

you in mind for the next time that she wants to buy a

product like the one that you are selling.

Networking is an essential part of having a home

business, and can be very profitable if you take time

to get to know those in your network.

So many products, so little time

So Many Products, So Little Time

One of the problems that people run into when they

have decided that they want to sell a product as their

home business is what type of product do they want to

sell? There are a few questions that they can ask

themselves in order to help them choose a product.

1. Is it something people will buy?

One of the best ways to know is to ask your friends

and family. These are going to be your first

customers, and it should be something that they are

interested in.

2. Is it popular because it's a fad?

A good example of something that is a fad is Harry

Potter. It's very popular now because the last book

came out and the movies are still big. But are people

going to still buy Harry Potter merchandise five years

from now when the movies are done?

3. Is it something you believe in?

Let's face it. It's hard to sell something if it's

something that you don't like or wouldn't use

yourself. You want to make your sales pitch sound

believable and let people know that you truly believe

in your product.

4. Do a lot of people sell it in your area?

The competition for sales can be bad enough without

selling something that everyone else is selling.

Once you have asked yourself these questions, you will

be able to narrow it down more and find something that

you can sell and sell successfully.

Is the home business legitimate

Is the Home Business Legitimate

When someone is looking for a home business, one of

the things that they worry about is whether or not it

is legitimate. After all, there are a lot of scams out

there on the Internet that promise a lot but deliver

very little. So how do you know whether or not a home

business is something that is real, or just a way to

get your money?

Research - One of the best ways to know whether or not

a home business is legitimate is by doing research. Go

on the Better Business Bureau's website and see if

it's listed there, and how long it has been a member

of the Better Business Bureau. You also want to see if

there are any complaints about it. This is one of the

most reliable ways to see if the business is

legitimate.

Talk - Another way to find out if the business venture

you are considering is a good one is to talk to others

who have done it. But only do this after you have

checked the BBB website for the business, because the

Better Business Bureau has nothing to gain or lose.

It's very important to check out anything that looks

too good to be true, because it probably is.

Unfortunately there are a lot of people who enjoy

taking advantage of those who are too trusting. So

stay one step ahead of them and make sure that you

find out everything you can about a business before

signing up.

Advertising your home business

Advertising Your Home Business

Once you have started your business, the next thing

that you are going to want to do is to advertise your

product or service so that you can get more customers.

Again, one of the best places to do this is the

Internet.

Email signature - One of the best places to advertise

is on your email signature. It's a non threatening way

to advertise your business, and sometimes people click

n it without even realizing what it is. Don't make ti

long or complicated, just let them know what it is

that you do.

Networks - There are plenty of networking sites around

that allow home business owners to advertise their

products and services. It's a good way to connect with

others and meet some new friends, as well as find new

clients.

Blog - If you have a blog, advertise your business on

your blog! Make sure that you choose good, solid

keywords, and that you let people know what it is that

you are selling. Make your advertisement stand out,

make it noticeable, and make it interesting.

Forums - Not only are forums a good place to meet

people, but they are also great places to advertise.

There are forums that are set up simply for people to

advertise their goods and services, and you will never

know what you might find there.

No one will know what it is that you are selling or

offering by way of products and services unless you

tell them. These are just a few of the ways that you

can get yourself noticed.

How to dress for success in home business

How to Dress for Success in Home Business

We have all seen the advertisements on the Internet

about working in your pajamas, setting your own hours,

and other things that entice us to want to work from

home. But even though you aren't going anywhere, you

should still remember that you are a business person.

The first thing that you should keep in mind is that

you should stay away from working in your pajamas. If

you are in your pajamas, what are you thinking about?

You are thinking about sleeping and that does not

motivate you. It makes you want to crawl back into bed

and not get anything done.

Instead of wearing your pajamas, wear something that

would be considered business casual. Even if you are

the only one that sees you dressed that way, it will

make you feel like you are working instead of just

doing something from home.

Something that those who work from home run into is

that their friends and family don't think that they

have a real job because they are sitting home in their

pajamas and slippers, while the rest of the work force

goes to work in suits and skirts.

If you dress in business casual and someone does stop

by, it will show that you are serious about your job,

and that you have a - real - job. It will make you feel

better and it will make them feel better as well. When

you look like a professional, you will feel like a

professional as well.

Setting up your home office

Setting Up Your Home Office

Before you can start your own home business, the one

thing that you should do is to designate a place for

you to work. The area that you work in should be free

of distractions and have a computer, a desk, a phone, a

connection to the Internet, and, if possible, a

bathroom. This way you will have everything you need

until you take your lunch break.

Something to remember is that you are 'at work' in

this area. An ideal solution is to have every

distraction taken care of. This means that you have

someone looking after your child, if possible. If your

child is younger than school age, hire someone to look

after them during the day.

This may seem strange since you are working at home,

but would you take a baby into your office with you?

Probably not - your boss wouldn't allow it. Having

someone look after them while you are working ensures

that you will get everything done during business

hours.

If your children are school age and old enough to

understand, let them know that you are working, and

that you should only be disturbed if it's an

emergency. If they are still young, have someone watch

them after school.

This may seem like an unnecessary expense, but if you

are talking to someone on the phone they won't take

you seriously if they hear a crying baby in the

background, or children fighting. You want to make

yourself seem as professional as you can so that

people know they can trust you.