How to Start an At-Home Business
For five years before my divorce I worked from home and actually made money. It started with a burning desire to accomplish three things which were to write, to find out more about children’s events in my area and to promote them. So I bought a laptop with my tax return money and quit my full time job. First I created a blog. Which became a website. I did the graphics, wrote the content, figured out social media, created a newsletter and sold ads to local businesses to support my work. It was a little rustic in the beginning but a total learning experience. I got better putting it all together but it was when I explained to my advertisers what I was doing I realized there was a need for them to learn how to do it too. The whole digital component of marketing was new to everyone. No one was helping the main street accounts I was selling ads to. My focus shifted from my website for families to marketing consultant for businesses. I had a new business model. And that’s where I really started making money.
If you like working in an ever-changing environment and are a problem solver (two traits every parent shares!) become a marketing consultant. There’s plenty of demand. Just google any local business’s name and within five tries you’ll find a potential new customer! Here are the basic components of what the job involves:
Websites: The is the online home. (Almost) anyone can create an affordable quality site. What differentiates the good from the bad is changing content. Most business owners don’t have the time to update their site. This is where you come in by providing consistency in service. Once you’ve proven yourself, then you can make changes and upgrades and go for the gold. There are plenty of affordable templates to use that are just quirky enough most people will give up. When you consistently update you’ll be on top of this.
Blogging: The heart of digital marketing is content. If you can write, take a picture, make a video with your phone, or record your voice, you can do this. One blog post will increase the ability of the website to be found. First create the blog, send it out to top tier subscribers, post it to social networks, link it in an email, find other sites to publish it. You can even use it as a white paper to give or sell to potential customers. All of these steps create the inbound links you need to drive traffic back to the website, where the action happens.
Email lists: If a site has nothing else to generate sales, such as a shopping cart or “donate now” button, it needs a place to capture email addresses. The email list is where anyone who is interested in the product starts the journey to purchase. A captive audience. If they’ve signed up they want something. Build the list and work it.
Email marketing: Email marketing is the most effective and least expensive way of reaching a customer. And if a typical business can’t keep their website updated, they’re most likely not using whatever list they’ve collected to send out emails. There is so much opportunity to sell this service and show your worth as a marketing consultant. But just like updating a website, you need to be consistent with this practice too. Click here for more on why email marketing works from this Forbes article.
Social media: Some would say this is the fun part of marketing. But when you drill down and focus on the metrics, I would say it’s also the most challenging. Check out this article by Hootsuite, a social media planning tool, about tracking metrics. There’s more to it than simply posting!
Analytics: After all this hard work, now comes the reward. Analytics show how many people came to the site to read the blog and then joined the mailing list, bought an item or signed up for an event. It also gives information about all the other factors to these components such as where did they come from, how did they get there, how long did they stay on the site, what system they used, etc. In learning curve terms, it can be as simple as doing math or as mind boggling as calculus. But it’s the bottom line and without it there would be no way to measure results. And why do you want to measure results? To prove your worth and get paid more and attract bigger and better clients!
This is a basic overview of what’s involved with the digital part of marketing from way back when the two terms were separate. Now they’re under the same umbrella of marketing. It all works together. When I first started I thought I should go back to school and get a master’s degree in social media. Then I realized I had everything I needed right in front of me on my laptop. In the beginning I was afraid to admit I didn’t know something but it soon became quite clear that no one is a digital expert because it changes daily! Now I use “not knowing” as a selling tool. How great is that?! If you would like to find out more about how you can get started, contact me here for a free consultation.