If you’ve always fancied the idea of becoming your own boss, with the right skills and drive, it’s actually simpler than you might think to set up a home business. You could put your talents and entrepreneurial spirit to good use and hopefully make some extra cash on the side. If you establish a name for yourself in the field it could even turn out to be very lucrative. It’s essential to commit to developing a robust marketing strategy and boosting your presence online, however. If you’re considering setting up a home business, here are a few steps to get you started.
Find your niche
First of all, you need to find a profitable niche. If you haven’t got any specific ideas for your freelance business, don’t worry, you can find your field by making a list of your skills and resources and researching the market. Perhaps there’s a talent you’ve always wanted to showcase such as selling your own homemade creations. The important thing is to pick something that aligns with your interests and passions. You can then figure out an appropriate target audience based on buyer personas.
Research your competitors
Once you’ve decided what type of business you would like to set up, the next step would be to research your competitors. This will give you an indication as to whether there’s demand in the market for your products or services. You can also use the best competitor analysis tools to evaluate your competitors marketing efforts and customer satisfaction. This should give you enough data to help you gain a competitive edge.
Register your business
Now that you’ve done your research and are ready to start you need to register your business online. You can find out more information about this on the official government website but it’s simple to do. You can start trading straight away. You’ll need to decide how you want to label your business, for instance as a limited company or sole trader. It’s important to ensure that everything is above board, but if you start off working as a solo freelancer the process is quite easy.
Open a business account
One important thing you need to do to protect your finances is to open a business bank account. Use this account for all business transactions as this will be much easier when you are audited for tax purposes. You can simply pay yourself from this account. Keeping your business and personal finances separate is also a good idea in case of any legal or insurance issues. You’ll ensure your personal assets are safe at all times as they won’t be affected by any issues with your business.
Set up your home office
If you are planning on working from home you need an ergonomic workstation to work comfortably. Working at a computer all day can put a strain on your eyes, back, and neck, and it’s necessary to maintain the correct posture. Consider investing in a chair with back support and some new ergonomic equipment such as a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. You also need to have sufficient lighting to work well. If you’re setting up a workshop, take this into consideration as well. Freelancers are entitled to a tax credit for certain home office features so it might be an idea to look into this.
Invest in the right tools
Set aside part of your budget to invest in the right tools. The tools you need will depend on the type of business you run. If you’re planning on selling homemade products you should also invest in quality materials as this could be an important selling point. Instead of investing in more expensive tools you could also consider outsourcing certain services. For instance, if you require detailed designs or engraving for your products, you could outsource these from time to time. As your business starts to grow you could also outsource the entire fulfillment process from storage, to packaging, to delivery. This will help you cope with the rise in demand and increase in inventory.
Build a professional-looking website
To ensure you establish yourself well online, you need a professional-looking website. Your website is the first place most potential customers will go to learn more about your business. This means it’s essential to optimize for user-experience as this will help it get recognised by search engine algorithms as well. If you want your website to rank higher on the search engine results pages it needs a logical structure, engaging keyword-rich content, to be fast-loading, and user-friendly. It might be worth investing in professional web design to ensure you get the most out of your site.
Create targeted marketing campaigns
You also need to find multiple marketing channels to promote your business. Social media is a great tool as it’s a cost-effective way to build brand awareness. You need a social media marketing strategy to reach out to more customers. It’s essential to create targeted campaigns that appeal to the right audience. You could also try using paid Facebook Ads, as the targeting tools are very specific and effective.
Aim to get referrals
Another way to promote your business is with referral marketing. You could set up a referral campaign on social media or with email marketing. Send your previous customers an incentive such as a discount in exchange for recommending you to a friend. Here is a complete guide to referral marketing with more tips and ideas. Referrals are often the way small startups and freelancers get new business at the beginning and it’s a cost effective option. Email marketing and posting on social media are both free if you DIY them.
Make goals for the future
Even if you’re starting small, it’s still important to make goals for the future. If you imagine your business growing, how will you cope with the rise in demand? Setting up your own business can be very exciting and if you get off to the right start, who knows where the future will take you.