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This is a guest post by Bob Hartzell
The digital marketplace has made it possible for untold thousands of individuals to launch a home based business with the computer as the front office, communications system, and the marketing tool. For people selling internet related services such as website design, writing, or multimedia development there is a vast marketplace for computer based services that has arisen with the Information Age.
Working at home with your computer as your creative tool makes it much easier to launch a home based business today, even though the competition is much broader than it was five years ago. You can grow the business at your chosen pace and grow into your role as a business executive at the same time. Perhaps the most important thing to realize is that you are a business executive; you’ll be making decisions from a management perspective even if your business is in its early, early development stage.
1. Start out with a separate bank account. This one may seem obvious but it’s easy to launch a home business without all of the trappings that most businesses have and in the case of accounting, it can quickly get confusing. You’ll be filing taxes as a self-employed person; you should have a business account for expenses and income.
2. Find a market niche where the competition fits. What we mean here is that if you are offering a service, say consulting, graphics, or writing, price your services at a level that will put you up against professionals with similar ability. There are web designers of many calibers; if that’s what you do compete with those who are at your level of work quality. People who have more sophisticated skills will win a bidding contest; on the other hand if you’re competing against those with basic skills for a simple job, you’ll probably be overpriced.
3. Fold the intangibles into your pricing. It’s a common suggestion that self employed individuals incorporate such costs as health insurance into a job estimate because historically it’s part of the compensation provided by an employer. For today’s home entrepreneur, it’s worthwhile considering such costs as child care and house cleaning services as part of your overhead.
4. Give your presentations a professional look. Many if not most home businesses today conduct daily affairs over the internet. Your correspondence, invoices, and job estimates should present as if they are on professional letterhead on the screen and when they are printed out. If you are shipping product on a disk or as a paper presentation, invest in envelopes and stationery that feature your business name and address.
5. Invest in a domain. You don’t necessarily need a sophisticated website but it’s worthwhile having one that outlines basic services and especially, your experience. One of the earmarks of an established professional is an email address that incorporates the business name, rather than gmail, hotmail, or one of the other public email services.
6. Understand the value of social media. Even if you choose not to use the social media platforms for marketing purposes, you should understand how they fit into today’s commercial activities. Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube all have substantive roles in the business world, roles that are expanding with amazing speed.
About The Author: Bob Hartzell has been writing for five years about education and other life essentials on a variety of websites. Much of his recent work has been about master’s degrees and their value in career enhancement, in recognition of the fact that the job market has gone completely off the tracks in the last decade.