If you are interested in starting a business, or taking over one, you face a daunting task that carries a level of risk and excitement not possible in the ‘employee’ world.
If the financial independence of self-employment appeals to you – no boss, no income limits as to time and wage, and the ability to let your personal drive determine your compensation – then you will no doubt be eagerly going over the many options available to release you from your current job.
However, the rush of financial excitement must be tempered by the necessary cost of time, money and effort in properly setting yourself up independently.
Despite income claims made by business opportunity companies, or competing businesses, you must be ready to accept the reality of not seeing personal income for several months – or even years.
Starting a self-employed business on the side, while keeping regular employment as your financial security, is a wise method of ensuring your income.
Another option is to have substantial savings that permit you the freedom to pursue your dreams unencumbered with other employment. However, the savings must also be capable of carrying the costs of developing a business along with providing for your material needs.
Do you also recognize the time that is required in starting your own business? In some ways it is almost unnecessary to bring up the point since your passion will likely drive you to spend many hours in your pursuits. If you have other obligations; family, job, social etc. then you will have to consider if you CAN devote the time needed to get your business off the ground.
Having discussed both money and time, you must recognize that there is much more effort extended BEFORE a business is profitable than at any other time in your business. Yes, once you are getting work and are satisfied with the income level you may be very busy indeed but you will then be compensated for it. When you are still cultivating your business – marketing, doing free jobs, searching for clients and customers – you may not be seeing any income, or a very meager one, which makes your EFFORTS seem immense.
Do not falter! If you come to the point when you are working your hardest and doing everything your business requires but still not seeing monetary results, you may hit a psychological wall. This is where truly entrepreneurial individuals see an obstacle to overcome as opposed to a dead-end to their hard work. Passion for their work and the strong desire to work for themselves overcomes any perceived barriers and moves them to keep going and ultimately becoming very successful.
By persevering you will certainly see the fine fruits of your labors and prove to yourself and others that the benefits of self-employment far outweigh the mediocre status quo of the typical worker’s daily grind.
1. Contact the websites you are currently linked to to optimize the links. Ask them to change the “click here” to another anchor text containing relevant keywords since the anchor text encourages people to click the ad.
2. Monitor the websites 404 statistics. Keep track of the links that are old or misspelled URLs. Google has a great tool for tracking URLs and links.
3. Create a “link to us” link on your website. This provides information for others to link to your site including anchors, URLs, and logos. Keep this page updated with current information and additional links.
4. Use spell check and grammar checker to correct any errors. The users will notice when you have errors in your links, pages, and content.
5. Search the internet for other sites that mention your website but are not linked to your site. Contact them to have them link your site.
6. Post comments on blogs with a link to your site in your signature line. When you add comments that are relevant and informational you will build traffic.
7. Make sure your navigation is spiderable by the search engines. Use anchor text or image text to increase the search engine results.
8. Use a sitemap on your website. Link all the pages on each page with the sitemap for a user friendly site.
9. Link your site to relevant topics on other websites. Link to the important pages on the site.
10. Link to sites with high search engine rankings. They will drive traffic to your site.
11. Check on the sites your competitors are using. Get the same links to add to your site.
12. Post comments from clients that are positive to add the trust and interest of future clients.
13. Create a free eBook containing your expertise or niche. Offer the eBook as a gift for people viewing your site who provide their personal contact information.
14. Teach an online seminar regarding your expertise. You should be considered an expert in your field and will attract people to the webinar. Post announcements of the seminar.
15. Use Google AdWord’s content to build your network with other sites with relevant products and content.
16. Join an affiliate program that promotes and sells the same type of product. Add links to your website.
17. Add a “donate to charity” link to your site. Describe the charity and how you donate the proceeds received. Pick a charity that people are willing to donate.
18. Submit your URL to social media sites to promote your products and services. Make sure the sites have quality services and products offered on their sites.
When you utilize these strategies to your website you will begin to see profits from the increased traffic.
When you make the decision to earn income from the internet you will need to go through a set up process to be ready for business.
Following are the basic steps in setting up for home business success.
The key to your business success is your attitude.
Treat your business like a business.
This is critical whether you are working part-time or full-time. One of my colleagues is a mother who works from home around her family. She has always put her family first whilst at the same time developing her business. She says, “I work part-time, but I have a full-time attitude.”
Put another way, “If you have a hobby attitude you will have a hobby income, if you have a business attitude you will have a business income.”
You can be successful working part-time and you can be successful working full-time but it is highly unlikely that you will be successful working in your “spare time”.
2. Working Environment
A space that you can call your own, free from distractions for your scheduled time.
A comfortable chair and organized desk.
Stationery supplies as required. For example:
– hole punch
– sticky tape
– note book(s)
– a simple filing system
– ring binders
– manilla folders
Consider the value of a broadband connection. Your time is valuable and a broadband connection can allow you to get more done in a given time frame.
Develop a schedule that works for you, your family (or “significant others”) and your business. When you allot a block of time for work then use that time for work. Equally important is to schedule time for your other commitments – family time, self education ( reading, listening and viewing), “health time” (exercise, cooking and eating), and leisure time. During these other times don’t work. After all if one of the reasons to work from home is to spend more time with your family then you don’t want your working at home time to consume your family time.
You are working for yourself and your schedule (by your choice) is your “boss”. When you have people calling you or dropping around unexpectedly or maybe out-of-town visitors may want to catch up with you then you need to make a choice. Are you committed to your own business success? What will be your choice in these situations? Only you can decide what is important to you.
In a family environment you may need to negotiate with your partner and children to have your business time agreed upon, during which you will not be interrupted. Put this schedule prominently somewhere so all family members are aware of your work schedule.
4. Describe Your Business
Be able to describe your business concisely; a powerful one or two sentence description that someone can repeat in describing your business to others. A unique and memorable tag line can also be invaluable for promoting your business.
5. Know Your Product or Service
Once you have selected your product or service to sell, it may or may not be something that you use yourself but you need to know your product intimately. If you are selling ebooks then know the content and its value. If you are selling software then use it know it “inside out”. You will develop a reputation of providing quality information and because of your product knowledge you can become the preferred supplier.
It is not practical to use certain products (for example a woman may choose to sell man’s shoes or vice versa) in which case the seller won’t be a product user, however the seller can still know the benefits and features of the product intimately.
Use good record keeping practices.
This may involve a consultation with a tax advisor who can let you know about the optimal way to set up your financial records and what records need to be kept. Your advisor will also recommend record keeping systems and you can find out what software may simplify this aspect of your business. Additionally your obtain advice on the best arrangement for your bank accounts. You will most likely be advised to have a separate bank account.
You will also need to keep track of your various logins, usernames and passwords. A very handy little software tool for this is Treepad available as either the free Lite version (without password protection) or the commercial Plus or Biz versions. http://www.treepad.com
There are other useful tools for this also from a simple paper notebook to free and commercial password keepers. One popular solution is Roboform that will remember your login details and can automatically fill out your login and other registration forms. http://www.roboform.com
7. Computer Protection
Your computer is the lifeline to your business dealings and must be protected including the data that is stored.
You need a virus scanner, personal firewall, anti-spyware and anti-adware and preferably an email scanner with the ability to delete suspect of spam email from the server before it is downloaded to your computer.
Some suggestions are:
AVG Anti-Virus: http://www.grisoft.com
Spybot S&D: http://www.safer-networking.org
Mailwasher Email Scanner: http://www.mailwasher.net
8. A Domain Name
You will most likely need a domain name for your business and one cost effective registrar is GoDaddy, http://www.godaddy.com.
9. Payment Processing
You will need a way to process credit cards; that may be using services such as:
– PayPal https://www.paypal.com
– Storm Pay http://www.stormpay.com
– 2 Checkout http://www.2checkout.com
– Clickbank http://www.clickbank.com or others.
This is the most economical way to get started. Once your business picks up you may need to look into your own merchant account for credit card transactions.
Consideration may also be given to other forms of online currency such as eGold http://www.egold.com
10. Email accounts
Once you have your own domain you can use an associated email account. This can further assist in the promotion of your business and promotes a more professional business image.
As a final comment on continuing in your internet business, conduct your business ethically, provide extraordinary service and be proud to put your name to the products or services that you are selling and you will be on track to developing a sustainable long term internet business.
Everyone wants traffic to their website. It is not always easy to get more people to visit your site. There are ways to generate the desired traffic. It takes being creative and innovative sometimes; yet here are several ideas that will help.
1. Use Flickr. Social photo sharing drives people to your website. Add good tags to the photos so they attract the members on the site. Write a post in your blog and add the link to the Flickr site. The two sites will work in unison to draw traffic to your site.
2. Join a social bookmarking site. Share your favorite sites with other people sharing the same interests. Include your website. The social sites are like a specific search engine for many people. Add the bookmarks to your blog site to increase your internet traffic. Add interesting links to relevant products that the users are searching for. The more interesting links you have bookmarked the larger your following will become.
3. Start blogging. Join several sites where you comment on the blog posts. Add your URL with posting. Keep in mind you are commenting on your posts so remain focused on the topic since you do not want your posting to be deleted or considered as spam. You want to appear knowledgeable and someone others can trust.
4. Use forum signatures for promotion of your site with a live link. Use topics with great information and link them back to your sties. The more information you provide the readers the more they will rely on you for your new information. They will return repeatedly to read what you are posting.
5. Add widgets, themes, and extension to your site. There are many free additions that will enhance your site. Make your site interesting rather than the typical boring website. Make your site user friendly and exciting. Users want to see and experience new things, give it to them with your site.
6. Use your friends to know your business and have them help spread the word about your website. They can use their personal blogs, websites, and contacts to increase your website traffic.
7. Use industry specific sites to add links and networks with by contacting the websites. Many are willing to join the cause to help your build your website traffic.
8. Expand your exposure by adding podcasts to your site. Include audio and video that is interesting and intriguing.
9. Submit your feed to blog site directories. The feed will drive traffic from another site to your site.
Last but not least:
10. Submit articles to article directories, using the resource box to drive traffic to your site and establish strong backlinks to your site; for the Search Engines.
When you do your traffic building, it is not really about the traffic but offering what the readers want. When you reach out to them with information and products you service a valuable purpose.
Not so long ago, when the computer was first mass-produced for selling to the public, a lot of industry experts predicted that nobody will want a box that does nothing besides handling data and hogging up the entire garage. They were obviously wrong – nearly every household will have at least one computer in the US, and most even have two or three desktops!
This little bit of history tells us that no matter how good your product is, you cannot earn even a penny from it if you have a lousy salesperson. Likewise, no matter how good your product is, you cannot sell even one copy of it with a weak salesletter. Hence, it is vital to have a compelling salesletter that will pull the prospect right into it and see clearly the benefits that are presented against the very reasonable price you are charging.
A good salesletter will first catch the attention of the reader by resonating with the reader’s needs and desires. That’s why you often see headlines such as “Have you ever felt…” or “Does … sound familiar”? They work because they empathize with the reader’s needs, problems or desires. The Internet is like a very busy freeway and everyone’s in a rush. Only a strong headline like that in big, bold letters will stop your target audience dead in their tracks to read through your salesletter.
Once you’ve obtained your reader’s attention, you want to spend the first few paragraphs on telling your story – how you have gone through what your reader probably has, the agony of the whole experience, etc. Once you get your reader thinking “he’s one of us”, you would be perceived as an understanding individual offering a solution and not an anonymous marketer looking to sell his product.
Next, you have to elaborate on the benefits of the product you are selling. List them all on a piece of scrap paper until you have quite a long list; then write your salesletter from there. In your salesletter, highlight the benefits in point form and elaborate on each benefit. Be sure to point out how your product helps the reader instead of pointing out the features of the product. For example, instead of saying “this gizmo cures headaches”, say “this gizmo can relieve your headaches”. Make it relevant to the reader.
Then, write a paragraph or two on how the reader’s life could be changed if the problem he is facing can be totally solved with your product. It is important to use very descriptive words so that the reader can fall into the imagination more easily.
Last of all, make a strong call for action! Your final objective is to make your readers buy your product, so it is important to make a final, strong call for action, be it “click the Buy button”, “whip out your credit card” and so on. Do not make the mistake of forgetting such an important step after coaxing your reader through the lengthy paragraphs.
As an online merchant, your customers cannot see your face. They cannot hear your voice when you are recommending your products, and they cannot see the emotions on your face when you are telling your customers what benefits they can derive out of your products.
The Internet is a level playing field for every Internet marketer and merchant out there. The sheer connectivity means that you can reach every individual in the world. You are not limited by geographic constraints and anyone can be your customer or client.
This is precisely why you should overdeliver. When every competitor of yours has access to everyone in the market, your only way of winning the battle is to overdeliver, again and again. When you overdeliver, you present yourself as a person with the customer’s interest at heart. You become a trusted friend and not a greed-driven marketer out looking for their money. Overdelivering is simply your only way to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
You can start overdelivering by providing superb support for your customers. How many times have you been turned away with rude answers when asking about a certain product you purchased? Compare that with the number of times you have been provided very good service, as if you’re being helped by a personal friend. The ratio is just off balance, proving how scarce good customer support is. By providing excellent support to your customers and answering to their every needs patiently, you will gain customers that are fiercely loyal to you because they know you have their best interest at heart.
When you provide excellent customer support, you’re already ahead of most of your competitors. Take it a step further and think: in what other ways can you over deliver to your customers?
One very good way is to give your customers a pleasant surprise when they make a purchase from you. For example, if a customer buys your cooking utensils, you might throw in a bonus recipe book for them. However, do not use the bonus as an incentive for the customer to buy your products. Your products must be good enough to make the customer buy it in the first place, and the bonus must serve as a surprise element; you must not announce it in the product catalogue.
The final way is to build a long-lasting relationship with your customers. If a customer buys regularly from you, you should send greeting cards during birthdays and on every holiday, be it Christmas, New Year, Easter, even Chinese New Year! Your customer will again remember you as a friend, not a business associate, and will favour you above other merchants because of the warm relationship.
So, remember to start overdelivering today!
Preselling is the work you must start doing before you release and sell your product; that’s why it’s called pre-selling. It’s the work you do to convince your to-be-customers that your product has great benefit and only a fool will pass your offer without purchasing — all this without actually “selling” the mentioned product.
Preselling can be seen as selling yourself to the customer before you sell your product. When you sell yourself to the customer, you are making your customers think “okay, this guy is not one of those greedy marketers. He’s actually here to help me out.” so that they will let their guard down and listen to your sales pitch.
Preselling is also the art of building up anticipation. If a friend told you his chronic headache has been solved overnight by “some new medicine” but did not mention what it really was, would that leave you wondering what the medicine really is? More so if you’re having a chronic headache yourself! That’s why by mentioning a benefit which would get your prospects’ ears perked up again and again but not really revealing what the solution is, you will get your prospects dying to hear what you have to say next as you reveal slightly more about the solution each time. When you finally uncover the whole thing, your prospects will be crawling all over your website looking for the buy button!
However, preselling is not just about unveiling your product bit by bit. In fact, that was only one of the various ways one can presell. For example, you might run a weekly newsletter on acne problems and coincidentally you have just written this great ebook called “10 Ways to Solve Acne Woes Once and For All”. In your newsletter, you can presell by including a snippet or two from your ebook and mentioning it as a viable solution to acne problems. If people get good advice from your newsletter, they will perceive you as an expert on acne problems and naturally will be curious to find out the ways you can teach them to solve their problems.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to giving value to people before you ask people to buy something from you. If you can help people to solve their problems, they will, more often than not, be very willing to buy products from you.
If you are using links to build your website, you know it is very time consuming. There has to be another way to get the links without you spending time asking to use the links on your site. There is a way to do this process. There is a strategy that has ten steps you can use.
To use link building, you find target websites. You review to decide if you think it is worth adding the site to yours. You research the contact person then send them a request to use their link. You sit and wait for their response.
There are many things you can to do to build your link popularity without sending out direct requests.
Here are some tips for getting the links:
Join an online discussion group and forum. Begin to be an active participant. When you join the community you will be able to spot the people who are building a productive business. When you create a strong relationship with these people, they will ask to link to your site. They will want to be linked with another profitable business.
Make a notice on your website where you state you want more links. In the statement, ask for the links and add a spot for the person to write the linking code to their site that uses keywords phrases in the text. Use a statement similar to “If you find this site helpful, add your link so others can also benefit from this site.”
Publish a regular newsletter. Post the content of the newsletter on your site. Include a statement in the newsletter “If you have enjoyed the newsletter, please include a link to your site.” Include your URL in the statement.
Publish articles on other sites such as ezines, informational sites, article banks, and media sites. There are many article sites on the internet so simple Google “article submission sites” and use the sites to broadcast your message in the article.
Use well written content on the site and with all your publications. It is an old method but it is very effective. The better the content then you will attract people to your site where they will see your message about adding a link to your site.
Submit your site to legitimate award sites. When you share your site with these sites you will be amazed the great responses since you have great content on your site. They will want to link to your site.
Volunteer to become an editor for several directories. You then write reviews for the sites of your own sites where you will have opportunities of getting to know the market better. When you know the market better you build a better network of peers.
An online business consists of many essential components: website design, product creation, payment processing, salesletter, affiliate programs and so on. How about coupling that with sales and advert tracking?
When a lot of Internet marketers start out with their small home based businesses, they have totally no idea that their businesses could grow into “something that huge”. One-man eBay stores grow into full-fledged online shops run by a team of dedicated salespersons, logistics and customer support personnel. At the end, you can never manage every little aspect of your business when it grows to a certain extent, and that is when outsourcing comes in handy.
However, care must be taken to choose the right people to outsource your tasks and equal detail must be paid attention to to provide the best working environment for greatest productivity. The tasks you should outsource to people are those mundane and repetitive jobs like answering emails, keeping track of stocks and sales figures and so on. This ensures that while you hand some of your responsibilities to other people, they have the least chances of screwing up because the jobs they are handed are easy and straightforward. In contrast, never let others make decisions that will greatly affect your business if you do not want to risk losing your business overnight.
While you have to hire people on wages for some jobs such as book keeping, some jobs can also be accomplished by outsourcing to freelancers. For examples, you can get ghostwriters to write good content for your website and you can get freelance designers to spice up your merchant site. You do not need to hire these people on a regular wage because once their job is done, they do not have much follow up work to do for your business. A good resource for freelancers would be http://www.elance.com and http://www.rentacoder.com, where freelancers and buyers have transactions on a per job basis.
When your business reaches a certain extent, you will start to find it hard to keep track of everything and this means time to outsource. Think of it this way: you may lose a little money to hire other people to do some of your daily tasks, but you earn more money from the increased productivity.
When you have a website you need to drive traffic to your site. There are several techniques to use to obtain traffic. Here are some of the techniques used.
1. Search engine and directories are used by internet users to locate their desired information. When you submit your website with the search engines and directories you add the exposure your site needs to allow people to locate your website. The practice of adding your site to the locations providing your URL to their results generates traffic. You will need to make your website specific to the needs of the internet users with relevant keywords, Meta tags, and images to attract the traffic based on their search requirements.
2. Pay-per-click directories draw traffic to your site when you advertise and the users click on your ad. Use services such as Overture.com and Google AdWords bid on the advertising. Within the advertisement, use specific terms to describe your business or website in a few detailed descriptive words.
3. Publish your own ezine with interesting facts and information about your website and business. You can include promotions, discounts, and surveys to entice the traffic to visit your site. Most ezine articles allow the writers to include their URLs and links within the article. The added information allows the users to click on the links to be directed to the websites.
4. Publish articles on other websites with relevant products and services. Include a link to your site in your signature as well at the end of the article. Make the title catchy to make the readers want to click on your article. Add a hook in the article to really grab their attention.
5. Advertise in ezines with banner advertisements directed at your target audience. Run the ads at least three times to get the traffic. To increase your exposure, advertise about seven times so your audience sees your ads more. Add a tracking system to your ads so you know the number of clicks, where the traffic was derived from, when they clicked on your ad, and to see how the advertising is working or where you may need to modify the ad content.
6. Place ads on other websites. Research the sites relevant to your business and products. Contact the site about adding an ad to their site. They will generally allow you to place an ad especially if you offer link exchanging (your link on their site and their link on your site.)