Do you ever get the feeling that you’re living your life on someone else’s terms, not your own? This feeling is pretty common, and it’s why many people decide to ditch their day job and start a business instead. But starting a traditional small business can be scary, especially if you have limited funds or experience with entrepreneurship. If you feel stuck in this situation, the answer may be to find a comfortable middle ground – running an online business from home. Here are some tips to help you on the journey.
Choose the Right Business Model
Running a business from home has become the new normal for thousands of people who are done with the 9 to 5, but that doesn’t mean all online businesses are created equal. One business model that’s in high demand today is e-commerce, especially since the coronavirus pandemic has led people to do even more of their shopping online.
Not only is online shopping at an all-time high, but it’s also easier than ever to build and launch an online business. As with anything else, researching your options here is the key to success. For example, you’ll want to choose an ecommerce platform that fits the niche you’re in, as well as how you want to operate. With the different platforms you can choose from, you may want one that’s tailored to highlighting a single product, or if you don’t want to keep stock, you may want one that works with dropshipping.
Once you’ve decided to start your business, it’s time to decide exactly which type of business entity you want to establish. Our recommendation is to form a limited liability company because it will protect your personal assets should any legal problems arise in the future. Having an LLC also makes you eligible for opening a business bank account, which makes keeping track of your business finances much easier.
If you want to learn more about business models, pick up a copy of Business Strategy Essentials You Always Wanted To Know. This book explores business concepts and strategies and discusses the practical approach for application by businesses and working professionals.
Hire the Right Support Staff
Even when you use the best online tools, most entrepreneurs reach a point where relying on their own skills holds them back. Our suggestion is to hire freelancers for those roles that are outside your skillset (or that you simply don’t have time for). Qualified freelancers are easy to find by searching an online job board, and you can find the right person for any task you need, from web design to hiring your own virtual assistant. Besides the flexibility they offer, Small Biz Resources explains how hiring freelancers is also an affordable way to get the help you need without committing to full-time staff.
If you hire freelancers or other staff that work remotely, one thing to keep in mind is the importance of communication when managing a remote team. Maintaining effective team communication is easy with an app like Slack, but good communication also comes from how you use these platforms. For example, apps like Slack allow you to create different channels, so you can have one channel that’s team-wide and a different one for project-specific communication. Then you can use the newsfeed as a way to keep everyone up to date on crucial information that the whole team needs access to.
If you are worried about managing the staff performance and conflicts, refer to a book like Human Resource Management Essentials You Always Wanted To Know which provides detailed insights into managing employees. The book discusses many strategies and tactics needed to effectively manage human resources thereby leading companies to profitability and success.
Set Yourself Apart
The world is full of online entrepreneurs, and even though there’s room for competition, you’ll be most successful if you set your business apart from the others. Start by choosing a niche product or service, and make sure it’s one that fulfills a need. Then focus your marketing efforts on reaching customers who are in your niche.
Knowing your target market, as well as reaching it, is part of what it takes to differentiate yourself, but the other part of the equation is to go above and beyond with customer service. To do this as an online business owner, The Balance Small Business recommends exceeding expectations and focusing on customer service over selling.
For additional reading on this subject, delve into Digital Marketing Essentials You Always Wanted to Know. The book explores an array of different topics in a way that’s both deeply informative and easy to understand. The book could be the resource you need to help you achieve your marketing goals
Don’t overlook this tip just because you don’t see your customers in person! If anything, providing excellent service and connection with your clients is even more essential when you aren’t face to face. Running a successful online business IS hard work, but the tradeoff that comes from ditching your day job is 100 percent worth it.
Photo credit: Unsplash