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{How-to} Start a Successful Home-Based Business + FREE E-BOOK

Richie Norton - March 07, 2012

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Home businesses can be a lot of fun - if you start small and know what you're doing. These are seven critical elements to help you.

For a limited time only, download Richie Norton’s new E-book, Resumes are Dead, by clicking here and entering your email address to receive the download.

Everyone has different reasons for wanting to start a business at home. My wife, Natalie, and I opted to start a home-based business because we wanted 100% access to our children, and we wanted our children to have 100% access to us.

I know that a home-based business isn't for everyone; however, I believe everyone should have the know-how required to start their own business in case the “secure” job suddenly becomes unsecure.

Here are seven critical elements required to start/manage a successful home based business without going insane.

1) KNOW YOUR WHY
You simply must take the time to understand your personal “why” for starting your home based business. This why will be your guiding star as you inevitably find yourself in the thick of things.

To help you get to your why, ask yourself this question:

    •    What do I want my day-to-day life to look like?

Your day-to-day life is your life. You may want to start a home-based business to help make ends meet, pay off debt, or live a dream. However, if your day-to-day life becomes a living nightmare, you’ll quit and won’t reach your goals.

To avoid failure in your day-to-day lifestyle when starting a home-based business, try this:
    •    Narrow the specifics of your ideal day-to-day lifestyle in bullet-point form and email it to yourself as it relates to the various aspects of your life (personal, family, social, spiritual, etc). Get detailed.
    •    Print the email off and put it up on your bathroom mirror or kitchen refrigerator as a reminder so you keep your priorities straight.

With specific effort and a vision of what you're trying to accomplish, you'll be able to continually realign the way you run your home-based business based on that vision to keep you on course.

2) IDENTIFY WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO SELL
A trick online marketers use to find out what’s selling is to look for the "key words" that people are searching for online and create products and services for those people. Here's how you can do some of that research yourself to identify popular products/services and markets:

    •    Go to Google Trends and Google Insights to test out key words related to your product/service. Look for ideas of things you could sell, what people want and how others are selling them successfully.

    •    Look at top-selling items on Pinterest, Etsy, Amazon, Ebay, etc. to get ideas for products that you could sell.

    •    Go to Alltop to see what's "hot" in your industry or your subject of interest.

By studying what's out there and how other people are selling it, you'll be able to use your creative juices and identify what you want to sell and/or learn how others are successfully selling similar products/services.


3) HANG OUT WHERE YOUR MARKET HANGS OUT
Once you have your idea and you've identified the market, you want to hang out where your market hangs out. In other words, if someone is looking for your product/service, they should be able to find you easily (both online and offline).

Likewise, if you’re looking for people to buy your product/service, you should be able to find them easily. Check out this video in which I interview Chris Bennett, a professional online marketer about how to market your business on the Internet.



4) SELL SOMETHING IN EXCHANGE FOR MONEY!
Yup, to make money, you're going to have to bill people for something of value that you sell. Building an audience by giving things away for free is a good idea, however, at some point, if your objective is to make money, you're going to have to make people pay up. I say this because charging people for your work can be challenging at first, but it’s a necessity. Do you remember that one nice old lady who taught you how to play piano when you were a kid? She charged your mom.

5) START SMALL
When you're first starting your business, consider it a project. Projects can help you overcome the learning curve. Don't spend your life savings or go into debt to start an idea you haven't tested in the market. Start with a small, specific project that has a beginning and ending date. For example, let's say you want to sell a craft you’ve made. Instead of starting a full-blown business, see if you can sell one in 30 days! Then see if you can sell ten, then 100, then 1000, etc. If you can't sell a few, you can't sell a million.

6) HAVE STRUCTURED TIME
If you're working from home, you need structured time. Structured time is uninterrupted alone time to get stuff done. Structured time to do the work you need to do will help you avoid being mentally disconnected. You don't want to be thinking about work when you're with your spouse and kids, and you don’t want to be thinking about your spouse and kids while you’re trying to get work done.

So how do you find "structured time?" Everyone's situation is different. It may be getting up earlier, staying up later, getting off the Internet, turning off the TV, or working around your kid's nap time or school schedule. Be creative. Be committed. You can make it work, no matter your circumstances. 

7) GO BACK TO YOUR WHY
If you're already going crazy trying to maintain your home-based business, simply go back to your why. If your home-based business is succeeding at the expense of your family, it’s time to modify the process or quit. The ultimate goal of any business endeavor should be to enhance your lifestyle and your family, be it emotionally, monetarily, or otherwise. That said, look at your personal goals (they should be hanging up on your fridge or on your bathroom mirror, remember). Look for ways to "cut out the fat" and do only the things that are essential to make your business work.

SUMMING IT UP
Home-based businesses can be a lot of fun. They have the potential to be more lucrative than your "real job," but they can also be a complete disaster. Don't jump the gun and quit your day job to start a home-based business. Start small. Test the market. Be smart and intentional in order to ensure that your business grows in a sustainable way that lends itself to the overarching lifestyle you intended when  you first began. When you've met success, and the income is meeting your family's needs, you can carefully determine whether or not you’re ready to transition into having your home based business become your full time job. 

By identifying why you're doing what you do, performing adequate market testing, and organizing your time in a way that meets your lifestyle goals, you'll be on a wonderful path that can provide the amazing combination of money, meaningful work and freedom of time.

Have fun!

For a limited time only, download Richie Norton’s new E-book, Resumes are Dead, by clicking here and entering your email address to receive the download.

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Richie was named one of Hawaii’s Top Forty Under 40 “best and brightest young businesspersons” by Pacific Business News at age 29. He is the CEO of Global Consulting Circle and the author of the upcoming book, The Power of Starting Something Stupid (Shadow Mountain Publishing). You can follow his blog at richienorton.com/blog.

© LDS Living, 2012.
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