Running a home business isn’t as easy as many people want to tell you. There’s a lot of work involved and you probably aren’t going to get rich. Honest. If it were that easy to get rich, I’d long since be there.
But the worst part is how many mistakes you’re going to make as a home business owner. It doesn’t matter how hard you try to figure it all out. You’re going to make mistakes. We all do.
1. Not wanting to spend any money.
So many people want to start a home business with no money at all. They’ve heard that you shouldn’t pay for a work at home job and apply that principle to their home business. Too bad things don’t work that way.
Well, that’s not entirely true. There are free ways to build a home business. They’re just going to take longer and you won’t have control over some of the parts of your business that you really should be maintaining control over, such as having your own website and domain name.
Home businesses are much cheaper to run than other sorts of businesses for the most part, but they’re still likely to cost you something. Domain name. Hosting. Pay per click advertising costs. Website design costs if you can’t do it yourself.
Plus many other places you can spend money and probably should as you build your business. As you start to earn more money you should plan on spending some money just for help with the little things that you don’t directly earn money from. You might be paying a bookkeeper, a virtual assistant, a website designer and so forth. You might start paying for more kinds of adverting to really get your business name out there and help it grow.
Done right these are investments in your business. Done wrong….
2. Spending too much money on your home business.
It’s at least as easy to spend too much as too little on your home business. Once you realize the power of hiring someone else to do the things that you don’t enjoy so much it can be easy to spend more than your business income can support.
Never spend more on your business than you can afford to. This amount will vary tremendously as your business grows and as the economy changes.
Everything you spend on your business is a risk. You may not get that money back. Your goal is to get that money back and then some, but there’s no guarantee that it will ever happen. Don’t risk more than you and your family can afford.
As I said above, a home business doesn’t have to cost much. If you’re only using free advertising methods such as article marketing, Twitter and so forth your only monthly cost may well be the cost of your hosting. Add in the annual cost of your domain name and that’s still pretty cheap.
3. Trying to be someone you’re not.
Maybe it’s a habit from working outside the home, but a lot of people try to act more formal than they should when they run a home business. They want to sound like a bigger company.
Sometimes it’s the personal touch that really wins out. And that’s where your home business ought to excel.
Don’t pretend to be a big company. Don’t pretend to have a bunch of employees. Represent yourself as who you are, whether you’re a blogger with just a few subscribers or you’re already having a ton of success with your business.
Running your business from home has become more common in recent years as technology makes it easier. Many companies are used to dealing with people who are working from home. While you don’t want the kids to interfere with phone calls or anything, most will understand the occasional interruption.
In online businesses such as blogging it’s particularly important to be seen as a real person. Have fun with it. Delight in your business and show that it’s a pleasure to you to do whatever it is you do. Share some of the challenges you face as appropriate. Just be real and admit that what you do isn’t all daisies and unicorns.
If someone wants more professional, they probably want a bigger company. Why ruin your fun and delight in what you do to please people who won’t want to do business with you anyhow?
4. Trusting too much.
It would be nice to be able to trust everyone online. It really would. For that matter it would be nice to be able to trust everyone in the real world. You know that’s just not going to happen.
If contracts are appropriate, get a contract signed. It’s not a guarantee that everything will work out as stated in the contract, but at least you’ll have something if you need to take things to court.
If someone’s telling you that x is a great way to earn money, grab that salt shaker. You’re probably going to need it. There are amazing numbers of people out there willing to say that their way is the next great way to earn money from home, and most of them aren’t precisely honest. To put it mildly.
5. Failing to make your business valuable to others.
Your business had better to valuable to you. Otherwise why bother? But if no one else sees value in what you’re offering, why would they bother coming to you?
6. Failing to change with the times.
Keeping up with the times is tough. Believe me I know. There’s always a new way to do different parts of a business, but deciding which changes are worthwhile is not easy.
Just think back a few years ago before Twitter came on the scene. If you use it now, you may know how great it can be for driving interested traffic to a site. It’s great for networking with people who may be potential customers of your business or may be able to help you grow your business. It’s quite the tool.
It wasn’t so many years ago that Twitter didn’t exist. Now it has helped many people to communicate about their business better, form joint ventures and do a lot more. If you aren’t using it, you are quite possibly missing out.
There are many other ways that your business may be needing to change and grow. Doing things the same way you did last year isn’t the best way to grow in many cases.
The great part about an online business is that there are so many ways to test these changes. You can quickly track what’s working and what isn’t. There’s less guesswork and more data available to you if you care to use it.
7. Ignoring your intuition.
You started your home business because you believed in yourself. You trusted that you would be able to make things work. Why ignore that as you run your business?
If someone is trying to sell you information on a way to grow your business and it just doesn’t sound right, your intuition is probably informing you quite well. If you think a particular client or customer is likely to be trouble, don’t be surprised if it happens if you take their order anyhow.
Your intuition won’t always be right, of course, but if something in you says things aren’t going quite right you should probably pay attention.
8. Trying to be everything to everyone.
So many people have no idea who their target market is with their home business. They may have even been told that everyone they meet is a potential customer.
Every product, every service has a target market. If you want to succeed in your business you need to figure out who they are and how to reach them.
If you’re in network marketing, forget the old bit of trying to sell all the time to family and friends. That’s a great way to alienate people if you take it too far.
Instead focus on who is really likely to like what you’re offering. Do some research on who spends money on what you have to offer. Look at what other people in your industry are doing. Think hard about what it is you’re doing and what you’re offering.
Having a focus with your business doesn’t mean you’ll be selling less. You’ll probably sell more when you have a focus because what you’re doing is really speaking to the people who are targeted.
9. Stressing over mistakes made in the past.
You’re going to make mistakes in your business. We all do. But you need to get over that.
Don’t stress over the mistakes you make. Learn from them. Figure out what went wrong and what you should do to make it go right next time.
Sometimes this will mean making some big changes. Other times it will just be a small thing. But if you obsess over the fact that *gasp* something went wrong, you’re not focusing on the solution. You’re going to waste your time thinking about things that aren’t going to help your business grow.
You aren’t going to get everything right at first. You aren’t going to get everything right ever. But if you are aware of the mistakes you make and keep working on improving your business, they don’t have to be a huge problem.