10 Questions to Ask Before You Start a Home-Based Business
If you’re thinking about starting your own home-based training or coaching business, hundreds of questions have likely passed through your mind. Finding the answers to these questions is all part and parcel of the process of launching a new venture, and successfully transitioning away from the 9-5 grind that comes with working in an office. Read on for the 10 most pertinent questions you should ask yourself before you start a home business, in order to better position yourself for success.
Home-based business opportunities offer a great way for you to become your own boss, and take more control over your working life. And in today’s hyper-connected world, technology has made it easier than ever to define how and where we work, largely on our own terms. As a result, there are many viable home business ideas out there, from direct sales, network marketing, and dropshipping, to eCommerce stores, franchises, teaching, and freelancing opportunities.
The best type of home business to suit you will ultimately depend on your goals. Do you want a better work-life balance, or are you looking to become a digital nomad? Do you want a side hustle that scales quickly or a plan that achieves slow but stable success, so you can stay in the office that little bit longer? Now’s the time to think carefully about how much capital you have, and the business skills and specialties that you can apply. What are your strengths and your weaknesses? Do you need to brush up on marketing? Or how about accounting? Ask yourself these questions and more, with our top ten list below:
1. Do I Possess the Strong Desire to be My Own Boss?
Some people are more likely to succeed as an entrepreneur than others. Research has found that while most successful entrepreneurs share certain key traits such as perseverance and determination, one of the key factors in determining whether or not you’ll have a headstart in launching your own venture comes down to your desire to be your own boss. Those with a strong desire to take control of their working lives tend to do better when going it alone.
It’s not just a question of whether you’d prefer to work from home, or from a Bali beach with a Macbook balanced on your lap, but whether you want to become 100% accountable for where your business decisions lead you. If you have the drive to make this happen, you’ll be able to break free from the daily grind of working for someone else in an office environment and exert greater control over your own destiny.
2. Have I Determined What I Want to Do?
Aside from wanting to work for yourself, you’ll need to work out which home-based business opportunity you want to invest in. You might already have an idea – a store or a franchise that you’ve been dreaming of launching for years, in line with your skills and experience, or maybe you’re still figuring this out.
If you want to start a home business but don’t know what to do, it’s time to start brainstorming. Jot down all your ideas, and then head online to start researching what’s out there. You may even be surprised at the number of business opportunities available, and how low the associated startup costs can be. Whatever your goals and your current situation, you’re certain to find a home-based business idea to match your interests, with a bit of online research.
3. Who Will Help Me?
Starting your own business in order to become your own boss doesn’t mean that you need to go it alone from day dot. Depending on the type of help that you’ll need, you’ll be able to find it in many different places. Friends and professional acquaintances can offer valuable feedback, especially in early phases, as they’ll be able to assess your ideas with fresh eyes and from different perspectives. If you need advice on selling and marketing products and services, you’ll find plenty of qualified coaches online, who are well placed to assist.
In terms of the financial aspects of your home-based business idea, you could consult with a CPA or another financial professional, to draw on their expertise. Beyond ideas and financials, there are plenty of additional online services available, offering everything from website development to freelance marketing services, copywriting, logo design, and more.
4. What Are the Startup Costs Involved with the Business Opportunity?
Before investing in any home-based business opportunity, it’s worthwhile to take some time to investigate the costs involved in doing so. If you’re signing up for a home-based business opportunity offered by a company or a coach, the fees involved are usually relatively straightforward.
However, if you’re looking into a business model like dropshipping, you do need to be aware that while there are no costs involved in sourcing stock, you will need to cover your own marketing expenses. That’s why it’s essential to ensure that you understand all of the costs involved, what they will cover, whether or not they’re ongoing, and what you’ll get for your
money. Are you just buying expert advice, or do you get a presentation kit, samples, and marketing materials to help you get started quickly?
5. What Products and Services are Involved? And Would You Use Them Yourself?
When it comes to marketing and selling products or services, whether online or offline, a great deal of your success will depend on your promotion skills and the quality of the offering. If you’re not excited by the product or service you intend to sell, and wouldn’t purchase it yourself, you’ll have a difficult time when it comes to putting together and delivering your pitch. Ask yourself honestly, do you think that the products/services are worth the price, and would you buy them, even if you weren’t the rep?
At the same time, consider how easy you think it will be to sell the product/service. High-quality products from reputable brands practically sell themselves, while on-trend items can supply you with a steady stream of revenue if you get in at the right time. Consumable goods, for instance, can help you to generate regular income via repeat customers and re-orders, lessening the need for you to continually go out and find new prospects.
6. How is the Industry Performing Overall?
Once you’ve evaluated the products or services involved, and confirmed that you can see plenty of sales and income potential, you’ll need to get an understanding of how the market is responding to the associated industry. Think back to the early 2000s for a moment, to the influx of frozen yogurt businesses that sprung up across the country. From dedicated frozen yogurt stores to new menu additions, the number of shops selling the dessert took the economy by storm. And then the market burst, soon to be replaced by cupcakes, which in turn were replaced by macarons, and then by eclairs, and so on and so on.
A solid understanding of the industry and the market that you’re interested in doing business in can help you to better estimate your likelihood of success. While demand might be high for the product now, could this change in six months? Or, does the business opportunity that you’re interested in allows you to diversify your stock and pivot quickly? Suppliers with large product ranges are well placed to avoid falling into traps linked to fads and can help you to safely, easily, and regularly expand your offerings.
7. Who Are My Target Clients?
Before you develop a marketing plan for any product or service, you’ll need to think about who your ideal customer is. This means answering some basic demographic questions about your target customers, in terms of their age, gender, income level, and lifestyle choices. Knowing
your target customers well can help you to generate buyer personas, which in turn will help you to understand the motivations and the pain points your prospects will experience. Ideally, you want to address these needs and wants, and understand how the product/service will make your customers’ lives better. What need do they address, and what difficulty will they alleviate?
Once you know who your target customers are, you’ll be on a better trajectory for success. Buyer personas have been used in the marketing domain for decades, as they can help firms to better target and personalize their marketing and advertising efforts, and hone their search for new customers.
8. How Will I Market My Business?
Before you start your home business, it’s important to understand how you’ll market it. Many home business opportunities offered by firms and coaches come with some degree of marketing assistance these days, if not a complete A to Z guide. If that’s not the case with the opportunity that you’re considering investing in, you’ll need to spend some time thinking about your marketing strategy, to communicate the unique selling proposition (USP) of your product or service to the right people.
This is where you buyer personas come in handy. For example, if you know that you’re going to target middle-aged women, you can look into certain social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram, as well as fashion and ‘mummy’ blogs. This can help you to ascertain whether it’s better to focus on SEO and content marketing, whether you’d be better off investing in paid social media ads, or if you want to focus your time gaining reviews and generating positive word-of-mouth referrals in order to advertise your USP to the right people.
9. How and When Will I Start to Turn a Profit?
If you’re planning to bankroll your own marketing efforts, it’s vital that you know how and when you’ll start to turn a profit. Some home business opportunities allow you to stagger your initial payments over time, which eases the pressure of needing to turn a profit almost instantaneously. Conversely, if you’ve decided to fund your business yourself, you’ll want it to start turning a profit as quickly as possible so that you can cover your marketing costs and pay your bills.
Of course, answering this question requires you to determine how much work you are willing to put into your new business. The more time you invest, the sooner you’ll reach the stage where your efforts start to pay off. No business model is ‘set and forget’, but most respond well to a bit of creativity and to a lot of hard work.
10. Can I Switch Immediately, Or Do I Need to Wait?
When you know a bit more about when you can expect to turn a profit, you can work out the initial stages of your journey to become your own boss. While some prefer the security of a gradual shift away from their office job, to ensure that income continues to flow in while they’re setting up their new venture, others want to switch immediately to devote all their time to their business.
There are pros and cons to both methods, and only you can determine which is right which will work best for you. There’s no right or wrong way to make the switch from salaried employee to home-based business boss, but you should take into account your current financial situation, the type of business you plan to start, and how much time you can spare.
Just remember, the era of the home-based entrepreneur has very much arrived. With the right attitude, thorough preparation, and plenty of hard work, you too can build a solid and successful business from the comfort of your own home.
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