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  • #964258
    Robert Gerrish
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    Here at FSHQ we’ve been noticing something of a spike in traffic to our ‘start a business from home’ areas. No great surprise really.

    My inbox is also getting more than average activity, notably from would-be soloists considering starting a home business.

    One of the trickiest questions to answer is “I’d like to start a business from home, what do you recommend?”

    So dear forum community, will you help me? I’d love to hear your responses to such a question. My tendency is to avoid specific recommendations and instead look internally for what drives each individual.

    What’s your take on this? My hope is that your responses will create a discussion that we can direct people towards…and that will help them AND ease my inbox!!

    Robert

    #1004185
    competitions
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    robert_gerrish, post: 3242 wrote:
    One of the trickiest questions to answer is “I’d like to start a home business, what do you recommend?”

    That’s a hard question, I don’t think one size fits all and personally I would think it has to be something you have a genuine interest in and or genuinely enjoy doing.

    If that isn’t possible, you may as well still ‘be working for the man’ as could offer more security and if that isn’t possible (in this economic climate), make sure it’s something you know about or learn quick!

    #1004186
    LeelaCosgrove
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    I think one of the things to think about is what you want to invest in terms of capital.

    If the answer to that is – minimal money, just time – you’re probably better off looking at an online based business.

    This doesn’t have to mean a shop-front (although drop-shipping is something you can look into if you want to do retail) – it can mean any kind of services that you sell over the internet.

    E.G.

    It took me AGES to realise that my writing business is, in many ways, an online business. I have many clients I’ve never met and only talk to via email. I deal with all of my contractors online.

    Sure, I provide a service – but I run the biz from home and predominantly online.

    So, the first step is to look at your skills and look at what the market needs.

    A LOT of people are looking at taking on freelancers and contractors right now due to the economy …

    I would make a list of everything you know how to do … and then do a brainstorming session of everyone you can think of who might need someone to do that …

    Try and be creative with it … I mean, a lot of people might be able to be VA’s, but that market is quite crowded with people right now …

    I would definitely recommend finding a niche … if you have particular industry experience or if you know some people in an industry who might need your help, that can be a good way to start …

    And of course if you’re just starting out and you’re interested in becoming a writer, you can contact me … because I’m always looking for more writers to sub-contract to!

    #1004187
    tildavirtual
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    What are they good at? What do they enjoy doing on a regular basis? What are they passionate about? What type of work have they done before?

    As we all know owning our own business whether it be brick and mortar or online is hard work. We have our ups and we have our downs. It isn’t something to jump into lightly and it certainly isn’t a get rich quick scheme. We all do what we do because we love it and are passionate about it.

    They need to look inwards before they can even begin to think about setting up a business, then research, research and research!

    Regardless of what type of business people start, in my humble opinion, they will need a variety of skills and not just an internet connection or a computer. If they don’t have some marketing knowledge, time management skills and financial skills in addition to those they need to run their business, people will find it all very difficult very quickly.

    #1004188
    Burgo
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    This really is something that can be answered very easily.

    ‘What do you want to do’

    ‘Then DO IT’

    To me if a person asks what he/she should do they are notsuited for soloism.
    Whatever they do they will fall prey tp the not successful syndrome.
    They will waste your time and theirs in trying to find a quick fix solution thatwont work for them as they are not really interested. theywant someone like you to do it all for them so the can reap the profits.

    Am i of the beam this is a reality show not TV

    ps hope i didnt slurrrrrr my words have enjoyed a few wines tonight

    #1004189
    peppie
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    Robert, may I suggest that you forge a link with an organisation like Eastern Suburbs Business Enterprise Centre (Sydney) and the NIES scheme that they run. I may be wrong, but I think you may be aware of it because I suggested to David Baumgarten that he refer participants to Flying Solo and he told me that he had already had contact with you.

    For everyone else in case you are not aware, NIES is a federal government scheme for helping out of work/on the dole people to start a business. You propose a new business idea and if they like you and accept you into the program you then do a 6 week crash course on small business management in which the trainers also help you to create a business plan. At the end of the course you present your plan and finished business proposal to a panel of independent business types and if you pass that you get to be on a mentor support program for the next 12 months, all the while getting the dole as well.

    A few years back they also opened up the program to over 50s who did not qualify for the dole and could finance their own costs for the 15 months of the scheme. I did that about 2 years ago and although I had been involved with businesses and associations for donkeys years I did learn a lot that I wish I had many years ago.

    I hear that the benefits of the program seem to depend on the provider and I have to say that I really had no complaints about what we got at Eastern Suburbs Business Enterprise Centre, but I would recommend finding out for yourself at one of their introduction sessions.

    I believe they also provide other consultancy services for existing businesses and I think some of that is government sponsored also. Here is the site link for anyone who would like to see more http://www.easternsuburbsbec.com.au/esbec/NEIS/

    They also sponsor a number of networking events and training sessions in conjunction with some similar organisations around Sydney.

    #1004190
    Burgo
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    He used to run an organisation called Business Buddies, which was a voluntary operation where by people like you and me with a business background would help small business people who were having a touch of trouble. Like a mentoring programme. Yes I remember him well.

    #1004191
    Robert Gerrish
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    Some fine responses all, thank you.

    Paul – the NEIS program is indeed a good recommendation for those who fit the bill and it’s run in many regional centres, mainly through the BEC network. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Patrick – I remember the Business Buddies concept well. Some years ago one of the services I offered was business naming and BB was one of mine, at the time I was on the Board of David’s BEC…a small world isn’t it?

    Robert

    #1004192
    Sef
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    It goes without saying that the first requirement is passion.
    The second requirement is drive.
    And the third requirement is skill
    If you haven’t got all three in big doses, forget about starting a business

    However the right personal attributes will not guarantee business success
    The biggest bit of advice I can give is to plan, plan and plan.

    For a business to be successful you need:
    A marketing plan: What is my demographic? Is there a need for my product/service? What is my competition?
    A sales plan: How will I approach people? What advertising do I need
    A financial plan: How much start up capital do I need? What is my projected cash flow?
    A resource plan: Can I run the business by myself, do I need staff, do I need other resources (IT, legal, accounting)
    And most importantly an exit strategy. I don’t know the latest numbers but only 1 in 10 new businesses survive the first year. What if the business fails? Maybe set a maximum debt position above which you pull the plug? Can I return to my old job? (Never burn your bridges!)

    I am sure there are plenty of books and websites with far more detail, but it is my believe that too many businesses are started without adequate preparation. A loose idea, lots of excitement and plenty of friends saying “you’d be great at that” are not a solid basis for going solo.

    #1004193
    ray_223
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    My advice (and if you search through the forums I say it on almost every post!) is to get your product or service in front of potential customers as quickly as possible (and preferably with as little expense as possible)!

    Once you start getting a few customers use their feedback to build/improve.

    No one can (reliably) predict if your idea will be successful, the only way to know is to do it and see how it goes.

    —-

    What follows are minor details compared to my first point:

    * Spend as little money as possible until you can prove that your idea is sound and has potential.
    * Find / develop a Unique Selling Proposition (USP). You need to be the best in some way to be successful. Even if you have to find a small niche to be the best in.

    This next one is a personal preference – and goes against what everyone else recommends:
    * If you can’t find a business in an area you have a passion in, find one that pays the bills. I get a bigger kick out of running a business in an area that is pretty much boring then I got working for someone else in a more interesting area!
    Developing marketing strategies, developing new products, getting and keeping customers, learning and developing business processes give me more satisfaction then working for someone else.

    There are far more boring and uninteresting jobs that need doing then exciting and interesting jobs. It is much easier to be outstanding in an “unsexy” business areas then be moderately successful in a “sexy” business area.
    You still can’t “hate” your day to day work though … I wouldn’t suggest someone who hates animals to operate a dog wash service as an example.

    #1004194
    No mans land
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    I would highly recommend a transition. This is very dependant on the time constraints of the particular business you wish to instigate.The home business is also very dependant on your current hours consumed by your current position.
    If you can afford the hours in both use your current position as a means of underpinning financially your new venture.
    Dumping the old for the new “home” business at the same time requires financial support for both infrastructure purchase and income to get the ball rolling.
    If you have a spouse at home not working that could assist very flexibly with the transition period you have the ability to build until you can step in when you don’t need the trainer wheels.
    The other option is leaving your current position to take up a full or part time position with a small business in retail or one similar to yours gaining experience and at the same time keeping a modest revenue while you get your own business up to speed.

    Have a plan for what your doing. Establish your costs. Do a SWOT analysis. Put it all on paper. Do analysis of how much you will earn. See what your competitors do. Find a successful one and replicate it with your improvements.

    And of course what the others said.

    #1004195
    Publishing428
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    We recently did a blog about this on our website, here are our tips:

    1. I’ll start with the boring one that is on these sorts of lists all the time – Think about what you enjoy doing. Hobbies, interests, things you love to talk about or read up on. Do you prefer physical work or would you prefer an office setting? Do you want to work alone from home or with other people at a different location than where you live?

    2. What skils do you have? What skills do you wish you had?

    3. Look through a guide book at different courses. If anything grabs your attention then maybe doing some study to learn something new could lead to you doing something completely different to what you do now or maybe you could build on the skills and knowledge you already have.

    4. Browse through some phone books, websites, forums to see what other businesses do.

    5. Ask family and friends what they think your strengths and skills are. Have you ever had anyone say to you, “You would make a great radio announcer” (Or chef or electrician or whatever)

    6. Ask family and friends what they think your weaknesses are. For example, if you are an impatient person then there is no point becoming a counsellor or therapist where being patient and listening to others would be the most important part of your job. I mean sure you could do it, but you wouldn’t make much money.

    7. Look up websites that have “A day in the life of a….”. Look up a career that interests you and read up on what is invoved.

    8. Think about previous jobs you had and what parts of it you enjoyed doing. When I was a recruitment officer I was responsible for putting together an employee newsletter. I absolutely loved doing it and now that is what I do full-time.

    9. Be inspired by your dreams. We are here for a good time, not a long time. Do what you love.

    Hope this helps,

    Lynda & Jayde

    #1004196
    kathiemt
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    Like most others here, Passion would have to be at the top of the list, or close to it. I live by the saying (I heard Mike Jeffs say it years ago) “Whatever your passion is, that is your vision” and I have to agree with that. If you’re good at something but not passionate about it, then it will be easy to let go when the going gets tough – and it does get tough, often!

    I was asked at a seminar I spoke at the other day, how do you stay motivated? How do you keep it going? I told the lady ‘set goals’. If you know what you want to do, are passionate about it, but don’t make any plans or set goals, it’s kind of like travelling somewhere without a roadmap – you don’t know where you’re going! Goals will help fuel the passion – especially during the down times! Past achievements to look upon will help confirm where you’ve been and what you’ve succeeded in too.

    So, three things from me:

    1. Passion
    2. Set goals
    3. Recognise past achievements

    Cheers!

    #1004197
    Burgo
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    Would you believe an email came in to day from;

    Become A Business Buddie!
    We are now calling on passionate and successful individuals to pass on their knowledge and experience to assist businesses owners two years or more with specific issue relating to their business. This is an issue based mentor program that with each issue will be no more than 3 months duration.Most cases will be solved within 3 months.We are looking for expertise in all areas of operating a business. Business Buddies will operate in all Local Government areas of our Business Enterprise Centre.

    Please register your interest via email, including contact details, and a brief outline of your relevant industry experience to trevor@clearlybusiness.com.au

    #1004198
    Carole
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    Interesting Burgo,
    Last week I did a “Starting a Small Business Workshop” with a fairly local council. It was only $30 for 3.5 hours and I received a voucher for a free mentoring session. I am seeing the mentor I picked next week. The workshop was good and provided a great handbook as well. We also had free parking for the duration. Quite impressive.

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