Working from home seems like a luxurious dream job: no commute, no suits or dress codes, and absolute flexibility with your daily schedule. Stop right there. Did you realize that working from home successfully requires a lot more effort than it may appear? Absolutely. But, you can pursue this career path with a few key tips for business survival.
Diversify, Diversify, Diversify
A successful work-from-home business must constantly evolve to survive in the long run. For example, you may sell handmade dolls to local businesses. What happens if those businesses are fully stocked with inventory? Your business must have a plan B, C, and D (and preferably more) to sustain low sales periods. Begin diversifying by not only selling to local businesses, but selling to individual residents in the area. You can also research community art gatherings, such as jewelry and farmer’s markets. Swap meets are another outlet to consider for more visibility in the marketplace.
Diversification also applies to work-from-home entrepreneurs that use blogging and freelance writing as an income source. It is unlikely that a business will survive by writing or blogging for one specific website: write for a number of different websites on various topics that interest you. Passion for a subject will automatically flow through the words to the reader, allowing you to become a successful writer from home.
Every successful work-from-home entrepreneur has a network of colleagues: vendors, customers, and competitors. Strike up conversations with everyone you interact with; friendships will blossom and possible earnings can be obtained. For example, you may run low on battery inventory for a homemade product and your vendor states that they cannot get the batteries to you for several days. If you have an established networking colleague at the vendor’s business, it may be possible to call in a favor for this particular dilemma. Many times, a friend made through networking can speed your order through to keep you competitive in the marketplace.
Networking also works for the freelance writer. Writing opportunities emerge on various websites, but not everyone will be eligible. However, if a colleague sees this opportunity and you do not, he or she can notify you in time to apply for the position. Many successful freelance writers find work through forums and blogs as they become friends with many different people around the world.
Regardless of the product being sold, from handmade garments to the written word, the final quality of the product must be as close to perfect as possible. Handmade items should be free of defects; you should visually inspect each item for any loose parts. If the item is to be shipped, invest in sturdy cardboard boxes and bubble wrap to ensure that the item reaches the customer intact. You can show your professionalism by adding a packing list with detailed descriptions of the item or items. Quality, not price, will keep customers returning for more sales in the future.
As for the written word, quality is also key; do not plagiarize any text, whether it is online or in print. Writers pride themselves on their creativity and uniqueness. It is quite possible to fail in a work-from-home business if any work is plagiarized. Customers will not trust another written piece from you.
Research and Education
If you have any qualms about a product’s construction, such as building a printed circuit board item, you should always research the issue before releasing it to the customer. Education is key in a successful home business; you should be sure about your product and its abilities. Do not release any products that you believe to be malfunctioning just to fill an order; it can easily damage your business in the future.