Working from home can be quite the challenge if you don’t take the steps necessary to make it work
Step 1: Set Your Weekly Work Schedule.
When working from home decide whether you are going to be full-time or part-time, and then schedule your hours accordingly. The best practice is treating it like your regular 9-5. For example, if you sell makeup and or beauty products out of your home, you should start cold calling at nine in the morning and marketing via social media.
Just because you work from home does not mean you don’t have to treat it like a normal job. You should set aside time to promote your business, to complete book keeping, to create marketing strategies, and to follow-up with previous customers.
It is true, that most people choose to work from home to get away from the strict structure of a 9-5, but until your business is up and running successfully, in the beginning you must dedicate more time to growing it.
Step 2: Get Dressed For Work.
Hopefully, if you have decided to work from home, you have a home office. When you wake up in the morning to go into your home office, dress as if you were going to work, this will help you have a more productive morning and day. Also, if your business requires you to meet with client’s throughout the day, you will already be dressed for the occasion.
Step 3: Avoid Distractions.
If you have set your work schedule, stick to it. Don’t let family and friends distract you, let them know what hours you have designated to your business. If you are marketing your business via social media, do not get distracted on unrelated post; stay focused on your objective.
If you are a stay-at-home-mum, schedule your work hours for times when the kids are at school. If you have younger children that are not school-aged, create a play area within your home office that will keep them occupied without distracting you.
Also, as a stay-at-home-mum it is a good practice to not mix business with housework. If you must complete housework set aside a separate time from your business hours. In order, to have a more productive workday you should eliminate as many distractions as possible.
Step 4: Create a Work Environment.
If possible, create a home office. Not only is it a tax write-off, it helps the productivity of your business. Your office should be equipped with all the things you need to have a successful home-based business. A desk, computer, printer, and phone are must-haves for a home-based office.
Step 5: Stay Organized and Be Consistent.
It is important to keep your work area organized. Maintain and keep an up-to-date daily planner. Keep track of your incoming and outgoing operational expenses. Most importantly, if you have found a successful technique continue to incorporate it.
5 Ways to Unleash the Market Leader in Your Business
Being a market leader personally is important but being the market leader in your business is very important. I get asked what I attribute to my success in starting and running a successful business, and my response to that is easy. You have to be the market leader in what your business offers or does. You have to be different.
If I’m looking for an electrician to do some work around my home and I look online, which electrician will I choose? They all look the same, same offerings and similar prices. You need to position your self as the market leader to catch that potential customer’s eye when they come along.
There are many ways to do this but I’m going to share with you 5 tips to help you stand out from the crowd:
1. Dare to be different.
It amazes me when I see the same old boring thing in the same industry selling the same old thing. If you’re different you could stand out enough to get that new customer on board. One way to do this is to have exclusive products.
Most business in the same industries have the same products and services, so look outside the box and get a unique product. When someone is looking for a certain business they will look at your business because it’s different and stands out from the crowd. It’s not as hard these days with international buying markets. Get online, source something and call it your own.
3. Write a book about what you do.
Writing a book about what you do in your business is the quickest way of standing out. How do I know? Because I did it in mine. I wrote Confessions of a Locksmith: an insiders guide to securing your home and business.
This helped secure me as the market leader in my industry. I call it a business card on steroids. Is a book too big a task, maybe even a detailed information booklet you can hand out at events or even when you do quotations.
3. Be a member of am accredited organization.
Being a member of a well known accredited organization sets your business one step ahead of your competition. I know within my business in the security industry this is a must. People need to trust you. It could be the difference to get you over the line.
4. Be the go-to speaker in your industry.
Never knock back a talking gig for your industry. Always put yourself for ward for speaking events like at your local council, radio, school functions or trade shows. This will ensure you being front-of-mind. I do this a lot in my business today. For example, I was asked to go on radio from one talk I did.
5. Get on YouTube.
Start doing videos online. You can do them on your smart phone and upload them straight away. There are simple editing software tools too, so it doesn’t cost a fortune like it once did.
You can do videos on such things like, what your business is about, what you offer, where your business is located, products videos, instructional videos, specials of the month, the list is endless. It’s also a great way for the customer to get to know you before they use your business. So what are you waiting for?
The 6 Most Common Myths About Working From Home
Myth #1: It’s easier than working at an office.
Yes, it does get easier in terms of far less distractions and being able to take much more relaxing and fun breaks when ever you want. But those perks are dwarfed by how big of a challenge maintaining self discipline and keeping your self accountable actually is.
With nobody being there and watching you, you’re going to have to resist the urges to take breaks all day long. So before you decide you want to work from home, decide whether you have enough self discipline to pull it off.
Solution: Self-discipline is exactly like muscles. You build it gradually over time. The moment you stop practicing it, you actually fall behind. Become a hardcore devotee of self-discipline. This is powerful and once you do manage to improve this critical life skill, it’ll immediately translate into all the other aspects of your life .
Myth #2: It’s better for your work-life balance.
This one actually might be true in some cases, but often it is not. Especially if you are/want to become a freelancer or you want to start your own business. When you work a 9-5 in an office, your job usually stays at the office. When you leave at 5, you can relax now that your work is over. Upon arriving home, you change the environment and you change your state of mind.
But when your home is your work place, this distinction is no longer there. Your mind starts associating particular areas and items at your home with work. What this can often lead to is your life and work mixing together.
Since now you’re at your home office most of the time, you have that ability to shift your work past 5 PM or whatever the finishing time you’ve intended. It’s very easy to end up having your work pile up at the end of the day because you’ve taken that extra long lunch break or went to the gym in the middle of the day.
Solution: Learn where and when to draw the line between life and work. The ability to draw the line between work and play will allow you to be more effective at work and enjoy your time off more thoroughly.
Myth #3: There are too MANY DISTRACTIONS AT HOME (so it’s difficult to work efficiently].
While offices are often notorious for distractions like phone calls, people interrupting you in every possible way, unnecessary meetings and others, working from home comes with its own set of other distractions.
Think kids, pets, family members, and household chores piling up. There’s almost always an errand to run, some stuff to fix around the-house, or a garage to re-organize. It’s very easy to ignore your job when your house is messy. ‘I’ll get back to work. Right after I make the kitchen perfectly organized’.
Solution: This goes back to Myth #1 and working on your self-discipline. If you can also tame your perfectionist’s incentives and focus on simply getting the work done at the cost of your home not being thoroughly organized, you’ll be golden.
Myth #4: You can do whatever you want, whenever you want.
Depending on your type of job, your schedule will become more flexible. To some extent. You will still most likely be required to work certain hours – this way your boss and your colleagues know when they can contact you.
You’ll most likely have to interact with some customers too. Unless they’re in a different time zone, you’ll want to contact them during the usual daily business hours.
So while yes, you’ll be able to pop out for that doctor’s appointment or a visit to the bank, you’ll still be tied by the boundaries of a 9-5 job world. (Unless your services are intercontinental or exceptionally none time sensitive. Then you’ll certainly have more freedom!)
Solution: Don’t let your midday periods off-work affect your responsibilities. Become a proactive and avid scheduler and plan in advance to make up for any time off work during business hours.
Myth #5: You’ll miss out on networking.
There usually isn’t a busy water cooler at your home, and even if there is one, none of your colleagues would be swarming around it. But so what? It’s not the ‘90s anymore. Face-to-face networking is becoming less and less important and people are increasingly more active on social media. Heck, there’s a separate social media service for everybody’s needs now.
Facebook – for family, classmates and general purposes; Linkedln – for your professional network; and Instagram – for anyone interested in snippets about your life. As well as Twitter – for keeping up-to-date with all the buzz in your industry and social circles. The list goes on and on. Fill out your Linkedln profile.
Start a blog, either a personal one or on some specific topic. You probably already have a personal brand on the Internet whether you want it or not. Develop it consciously. Follow people you like, get introduced to friends of friends.
You’ll be surprised how small the world nowadays is. As to face-to-face networking? Join local events related to your field and hobbies. The results are quality networking opportunities; you’ll get to meet new people and see people you don’t have the chance to see everyday.
Myth #6: Since you’ll be HOME, YOU WON’T NEED CHILDCARE.
Sounds like the most natural consequence, right? Wrong. Yes, you’ll be closer to your kids, but you’re still going to be working. And it’ll be much harder to be completely distraction-free in this regard.
You’ll probably be trying hard to get focused and get a good deal of work done while your kid will be crying for attention. Life shows that most successful people who do end up working from home 9 times out of 10 spend money on childcare anyway (or have some family member take care of their kids).
Solution: Put your child in daycare, hire a sitter, ask a relative to help or do a babysitting swap with a friend. You can certainly try to balance being closer to your offspring and getting work done efficiently; however, you’re probably going to need some major help anyway, just like you would if you were working at an office.
Working from home certainly isn’t for everyone, but most people could certainly do better while working from home by realizing some common pitfalls and learning how to overcome them. Much of the problem solving described here really boils down to one’s organization skills and having a robust system to keep track of all the to-dos.
7 Things to Do to Position Your Home Business for Success
Running a home-based business takes a definite commitment of time and energy. Working from home involves putting in place a quality marketing strategy designed to build your customer base. You must think like a corporate marketer in many ways when it comes to promoting your small business. It will thrive when you take definite steps to position it for success.
Here are 7 things you can do now to build your home business:
1. Set specific goals.
Understand what you want your home business to achieve. Don’t start and then run your operation on a whim-hoping for the best. Set specific goals concerning sales, expenditures, inventory to carry, and such.
Precise goals help you budget properly. You find you use your resources more sensibly. Goals keep you from being distracted by unproductive activities that can hurt your business. Goals help you focus on activities designed to grow your business efficiently.
2. Know your products and your customers.
Whatever you’re selling, you must know your products inside out. In this way, you can define their benefits properly to your customers. They will come to you looking for solutions; they will expect knowledgeable answers.
Understand everything you can about the products you sell so you’re perceived as an authority and expert in what you offer. Know exactly what customers want regarding your products. They expect great value when they buy from you.
Therefore, know what motivates them to buy the products you offer. Knowing ‘motivations’ helps you focus your advertising and promotions to answer their concerns. This leads to actual sales.
3. Create effective marketing communications.
Many books exist on marketing communications strategies. For your home business, succinctly, it’s getting the attention of your target market. Upon getting their attention, you impart useful information to help them make informed buying decisions.
You can start right now crafting first-rate marketing communications. These can be e-mails, social media posts, brochures, newsletters, blog posts and more. The focus of each communication piece must be satisfying customers’ needs. Consequently, create each message from your customers’ point-of-view.
4. Present a consistent business image.
The hallmark of any respected and reputable business is its image. It’s what customers’ perceive your enterprise as being. The best companies consistently and coherently present themselves to their niche market. You must do the same as a work-from-home entity.
Present your business consistently in all your marketing communications. Have your business name, logo, colors, and such uniformly displayed in your emails, letterhead, brochures, pamphlets, print ads, social media backgrounds, and business cards. Showing your home-based business as an organized entity across all your marketing channels is a sign of professionalism.
5. Focus on customer loyalty.
It’s great to make a sale to a new customer. It’s even better to make repealed sales to regular customers. Therefore, concentrate on building customer loyalty. Get to know your home business customers and communicate with them regularly.
Moreover, exceed their expectations when it comes to customer service. Offer a top-notch loyalty program that recognizes them as valued customers and rewards them appropriately. Loyal, repeat customers are the lifeblood of any business.
6. Be active on the Web.
The Internet is where the action is today. People look for businesses, products, services, deals, coupons, and more everyday online. Your home business can be online and it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune to be there.
A simple blog promoting your business can be very effective. Additionally, contribute to forums suited to your niche. Share useful, relevant content on social media. Follow those who interest you; they may follow you back. This is an organic way to build your home business and gain exposure for what you offer.
Even in doing all of the above, you eventually have to ‘ask’ your target audience to lake action. After all, you are selling products and services. After providing useful information to people, via marketing communications that help them make buying decisions, you have to ask for the sale. It’s a required part of doing business.
Do it in a respectful, dignified way, highlighting benefits you provide. Be confident in your ‘asking’, knowing you’re providing real solutions to customers who want their needs met.
Implement these 7 initiatives to position your home business for continued sales and profits. Don’t jeopardize your home business by not giving it the credit it’s due. Although you’re operating from your residence, you must approach your business with the vision and discipline that the big companies do.
How to Make Money Online at Home and Have Fun
How to make money is on every one’s minds and fingertips as they type the words into Google. Today, there are 557,000,000 people doing exactly that.
Over the years there have been various popular money making ideas. I remember looking at importing paintings from China and selling these; some were very accept able paintings of seascapes, landscapes animals and copies of places, and famous paintings, sold with “guaranteed fakes” written across the back!
Another popular idea was to turn a photo of your pet into a painting, both available from local artists and artists in other countries.
I also remember surveys on street corners were all the rage, later there were surveys online, which are still popular. Then there was a spate of get rich quick videos where gurus said they were making millions and had a magic formula. I think there are still some circulating.
Meanwhile membership-websites sprung up where people like Andrew Reynolds and others told you they knew how to make money online. I actually bought one of his very early manuals and a whole load of videos. Admittedly I didn’t do anything with them or perhaps I would be a multi-millionaire like him now.
Recently I watched a webinar talking about the latest membership sites and how with this latest tool they could be set up in minutes. Interesting but I think it will take a lot to beat affiliate marketing with a really good mentor to set you on the road to success.
The beauty of affiliate marketing and the system it uses is the fact it has a tried and tested formula, a proven plan not trial and error. Initially you don’t even need your own website; you direct traffic to your mentor’s sales pages. You have your own affiliate link to track your customers, which is how you get paid.
Some mentors even do much of the marketing when you have introduced customers into their system, often the customers make repeat sales as they become interested in the niche and want to learn more.
There could also be training offered in various marketing techniques. Of course it is the mentor’s interest to help you as it is their products you are interesting your customers in. It is a win-win situation in which you help each other as you learn the techniques and get paid.
This is a simple entry into online marketing as long as your mentor has quality products and a proven and successful marketing plan; you also gain the added support of other members of the group and the advice of the mentor, so that starting online isn’t so scary!
I enjoy learning the new marketing techniques, different methods become popular and more successful, the internet is always changing. I find watching your business grow and develop both fascinating rewarding and fun, and working at home and being my own boss, with time freedom is great, and of course extra cash is also rewarding!
So if all this sounds tempting, do some research into which niche appeals to you, you will find other articles I have written on different aspects of working online, suggested traffic methods etc.
Top Ten Tips – Choosing An Affiliate Network To Promote
There are so many affiliate programs and networks available that it can be a veritable minefield when it comes to choosing a suitable product to promote. Hopefully in this article we will be able to provide you with some useful tips for choosing your affiliate network or program.
1. Paper Sift: Our first tip is to list and paper sift potential networks and products. This is easily done by making a long list of prospects and just deleting anything that looks remotely amateurish, unprofessional or downright dubious. This will provide you with a viable shortlist.
2. Hobbies & Interests: When starting out as an affiliate marketer it is often best to choose a product to promote that you have an interest in. This could be a hobby a work related product or anything that sparks your interest. The real main advantage here is your enthusiasm for the product will be at an all-time high.
3. Quality: This is linked to the first tip, but here you will be carrying out a more in-depth analysis of the network and its product. Quality always sells and the price is not usually a problem: this is great for commissions.
4. Referrals & Reviews: Before you sign up or take on any affiliate product do some due diligence. Go online and do some initial research, check out the forums, blogs, look at reviews from other affiliates etc. If there is anything negative to be said about a network then you can be sure it will be mentioned repeatedly online.
5. Market Growth: This one is not always so easy to predict. Try to associate yourself with products that arc current and have the potential to grow. Such products will be welcomed and promoted by the better networks. Old outdated and products of poor quality will not appear in the top networks.
6. Residual Income: You want to be well rewarded for your efforts as an affiliate marketer, so don’t consider any program that offers no residual income or a residual income that doesn’t compensate you for your time and effort.
7. Pyramid Schemes: Be very careful of joining networks or programs that offer multi-tier commission payments. Some of these may be perfectly legitimate as MLM (Multi Level Marketing) is a recognized business practice, however there are many “red ribbon” type packages that promise the earth but require you to fill someone else’s bank account before you receive any payment.
Products associated with such schemes are also usually of inferior quality. With such networks, you may have to fill minimum quotas before getting paid anything, just be very careful.
8. Resources: It’s very important that you select a network or vendor who will be able to provide you with as many tools and resources as are necessary for you to promote the product or service. This will include sales letters, banners, possibly product training videos etc.
The better networks and product vendors all go out of their way to provide you with as much help as possible, after all it’s in their best interest.
9. Customer Service: This one is very important. Does your network or vendor provide customer service? Large networks will be able to provide ongoing 24/7 customer service, but smaller vendors will only be able to provide simple email backup which will probably only last for a few short months.
10. Continuity: When a network provider is able to offer ongoing customer service, new product supply and generally display growth then you can take heart that this network or program is a professional setup that will have your interests covered.
Commissions offered may not be anywhere near as high as some of the less scrupulous vendors but by using a professional you will be building a long-term business. It’s imperative that you make yourself aware of the type of network or program that you are joining. The bottom line is that it is your reputation and authority as an affiliate marketer that is at stake.
How To Successfully Start An Online Business
One of the most common questions that I get asked by people is that I want to work from home and make money but I don’t know what to do. This is an excellent and extremely important question to answer before one even invests a cent in internet marketing.
Why? Because if you don’t know what you want to do or how to achieve your goal you will fail like thousands of other aspiring entrepreneurs out there trying to make money online. In some cases, you will be broke before you have even launched your online business.
The first thing to determine before you spend a cent is what am I knowledgeable and passionate about. Is it books, food, sports, computers, animals, traveling etc. This is extremely important since you want to have a business that you love working on. If you love working on it and have the expertise, you will begin to make money over time.
Once you have narrowed down your interests, you want to focus on a niche market. So if you are passionate about food then you can start an online business to do with food. What areas of food interests you: diet and nutrition, recipes, organic food, healthy snacks, cooking, etc.
Now that you get the picture, the next step is how do you go about launching this business and what are you going to sell: my expertise or other people’s products? You could do one or the other.
If you choose to sell your expertise then you can have an affiliate marketing website promoting anything to do with your niche market by promoting other people’s products and services. You get paid every time some one visits your website and clicks on an ad to buy those products and services or just visits an advertisers site.
Drop shipping is another excellent option, and also a very solid business model once you go with the right drop shipping company. What’s nice about drop shipping is that you will have your own website and company selling other people’s products and they handle all of the shipping for you.
There is no overhead or inventory involved. You only need to set up a merchant account to take credit cards and they handle the rest. You only pay for something (wholesale prices) once some one buys from your site, and you pocket the profit.
There are many reputable companies out there that will build you an affiliate niche, turnkey or drop shipping website for a reasonable price, with no hidden costs. You only need to pay for a domain name and monthly hosting fee for your site. If you choose to be a drop shipper you will have a minimum monthly merchant account fee.
5 Things to Avoid When Affiliate Marketing
We all strive to think more positively and avoid negative thinking in our lives. There is a right way and a wrong way to affiliate marketing as well. This article will outline a few of the negatives; pointing out five things you should avoid doing in your business.
1. Do not try to do every type of affiliate marketing.
You need to stay focused. Do not divide your attention or you will not master any of the marketing techniques. It is very challenging to do article marketing if you are also trying to set up membership sites or designing blogs for other people. You will be better off choosing one type of affiliate marketing and sticking to it. Become an expert one technique at a time.
2. Avoid “shiny object” syndrome.
There will be plenty of distractions when you are working online. It is easy to check your email and open up a plethora of offers with all kinds of get rich quick schemes. Do not get sucked into these types of “shiny object” offers. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Focus on your marketing techniques instead. Set aside 30 minutes a day to read emails and stick to this schedule or you will spend more time reading emails than working on your business.
3. Do not believe everything you read.
This is a matter of common sense. Unfortunately, there are a good deal of scammers on the internet, claiming to have made millions of dollars online when in fact, they have not.
Always check your sources and if you are looking for tips or advice, check out some forums that have experienced affiliate marketers who would be happy to answer questions or give opinions without trying to sell you something.
4. Avoid selling.
People do not like being “sold to” especially when they do not know who you are and you have not built a relation ship with them or have their trust. Do you like to open an email just to be hit with “You need to buy this product because…”? Of course you don’t, nobody does.
A better option is to talk about a product and provide people with good information and value. Be honest, tell the pros and the cons of the products you feature.
5. Do not give up.
The people who are the most successful at affiliate marketing are the ones who refuse to give up. They continue to work at it day in and day out. Persistence is a key factor in affiliate marketing and what pays off in the end. Be consistent and continue to work on your business daily.
Your hard work will eventually pay off. The only true failure in affiliate marketing is giving up. Decide on a specific type of affiliate marketing, stay focused and avoid “shiny object” syndrome.
Do not allow yourself to get distracted by empty promises, rather, learn effective marketing techniques. You can make a good living in affiliate marketing, just don’t give up.
WORDPRESS – What, Why, Where and How
What is WordPress?
Word Press is web-based software that allows you to create websites or blogs. It is an Open Source project, which means there are hundreds of people all over the world developing it. WordPress started as a blogging system, but has evolved to be used as a full content management system and more through thousands of plugins and themes.
Why use WordPress?
WordPress is used by millions of people because it is easy to work with and flexible for just about any kind of website or blog. It provides content management, giving you the ability to update your web site without knowing how to program.
The WordPress platform is free, search engine friendly and in most cases scales well between large monitors and mobile devices. It can handle different types of media including images, audio and video content.
What are themes and plugins?
Themes are templates which can be installed within WordPress to make editing your website or blog easier. Most of them come with their own control panel through which you can customize your website without knowing how to write code – change font and background colors, create slide shows and add other cool elements such as audio and video.
There are thousands of free and affordable themes available – eCommerce, photography, magazine style, portfolio, membership, review, gallery, video and many more.
Plugins are pieces of software which add extra functionality to your WordPress website. Most of them are free and simple to install. However, if you are after a more sophisticated website you can buy plugins which offer more advanced features. There are thousands of plug ins available for just about any thing you want to do.
Here are some plugins you may wish to consider when setting up a WordPress website:
Back up plugins – Backup Buddy, BackUpWordPress
Security plugins – iTheme or Wordfence Security
Lead generation forms – Gravity Forms, Contact Form 7, MailChimp
Social sharing plugins – Shareaholic, AddtoAny, Share Buttons by AddThis
SEO plugins – Yoast SEO, All in One SEO Pack, SEO Ultimate
Ecommerce plugins – WooCommerce, WP eCommerce, WP EasyCart
Where to upload a WordPress Website?
You can either create your Word press website and have it hosted on the WordPress.com site or install it on your own webhosting account. Having a self hosted WordPress site give you more flexibility and allows you to expand functionality through the use of plugins, which the WordPress.com site does not allow.
There are many hosting companies that offer easy WordPress set up and installation – check out Dreamhost, Hostgator, HostPapa and BlueHost.
How Do I Get Started with WordPress?
Although WordPress is easy to use once it is set up, you will need to understand how it works. There are many free video tutorials which you can find on YouTube – these will show you everything from installing WordPress, basic steps, such as adding new pages, formatting your content to adding videos and images.
You will also find lots of useful information on the WordPress website!
If you are really serious about learning all that you can in an easy step-by-step process, then check out WordPress, it offers exceptional functionality and flexibility and is relatively easy to use. If you find the initial installation and set up process overwhelming, get your website designer to do it for you.