Home-based businesses are succeeding in communities – large and small -across the country, and online entrepreneurs are changing the way that the business world works.
Here are just a few of the reasons why:
1. You control your own time. Self-employment means freedom to work where you want, when you want.
2. You can pursue your passion. Being an entrepreneur allows you do what you love every day (from home!).
3. An opportunity to learn. Running your own home business requires you to wear many hats – marketing, sales, technology – and constantly learn new things.
4. Pride and fulfillment. Providing a service or a product that helps others is very rewarding.
5. You can make more money. The amount of money you make working for yourself can far exceed what you would make as a salaried employee.
6. Tax benefits. The percentage of your home devoted to business use and business expenses can be tax deductible.
7. Excitement. Owning your own business is stimulating and different every day.
8. Escape the rat race. No more 9 to 5 and living by someone else’s rules.
If you’re looking for a profitable and rewarding home based business, then starting a referral service is a great option. I should know. I’ve been operating my contractor referral business for 22 years!
Referral businesses can be operated part-time or full time from home and they don’t require a lot of start-up capital or overhead. And, with some careful step-by-step planning, you can be up and running in a matter of weeks:
Step One: Determine who you want to refer.
Take into consideration what interests you and also what would serve the needs of your community. For example, if you’re passionate about decorating or home improvements and you see a lot of new homeowners moving into your area, maybe you’d like to start a contractor referral service like mine. If there a growing number of elderly people in your community, maybe you’d like to start a referral business that helps seniors take care of home-related jobs and errands that may be difficult for them.
Step Two: Research local laws.
Investigate what the state and county business requirements are for the service providers you’re going to refer. Do your service providers need to be licensed or insured? You’ll need that information to screen the providers in your network.
Step Three: Create a screening process.
Each of the contractors in your network must be properly vetted to ensure the highest level of customer satisfaction. You’ll need to create a system and ongoing procedures for checking licensing and insurance credentials, customer service, etc.
Step Four: How will you get paid?
Decide if you want charge the contractors you refer or your clients for your service. Will you charge a flat monthly fee or will your service be commission-based? To help determine which compensation model will work best for your business, speak with professionals to get their feedback on what is fair and/or customary in your industry.
Step Five: Identify your market.
Once you’ve assembled a network of providers to refer, research who your potential customers are. Start by creating a market segmentation study that identifies the key characteristics of your prospective customers. For example, where do your target customers live? How old are they?
Step Six: Create a marketing plan.
To promote your business, you’ll need to create a marketing plan. A well-designed website with concise and informative copy is a must. To help drive traffic to your site and engage our customers, you may want to start a blog or an e-newsletter. Offline promotional campaigns include direct mail, advertising and reaching out to local reporters to generate press attention. And, networking to build word-of-mouth referrals is another great way to generate buzz about your referral business.
If you’re outgoing, enjoy helping people and think you have what it takes to succeed in the referral service business, don’t hesitate! With low overhead and substantial financial rewards, a referral service is an ideal home based business.
If you’re dreaming about ways to finally launch a business from home and need some motivation, below are ten of my BEST tips for home-based business success: (more…)
According the US Census Bureau, 13.4 million people work from home now. That’s an increase of 41% over the last decade. This significant rise in the number of people who want to work from home and own their own home-based business a direct result of technological advancements but it’s also an indication that people are looking for ways to make more money, achieve a better balance in their lives and spend more quality time with family.
Having the desire to launch your own home-based business is easy, but starting out on your own can be a bit daunting. The good news is that you can significantly increase your odds of success by making sure that you have three key things in place before you get started:
Having a mentor
to show you the ropes and guide you through your business start-up can be a valuable asset for new business owners. Researching and establishing a new business can be time consuming not to mention confusing without the guidance of “someone who’s been there”. Seek out an expert who can give you the support you need.
Plan: Operating systems
are key for businesses to run smoothly. Liability issues, a marketing plan, invoicing, customer service, etc. all need to be outlined so you can use your time efficiently and present a professional image to prospective clients. Be sure to have a plan for how your business will operate on a day-to-day basis (not to mention how it will make money!) before you start.
Discipline: Unlike traditional offices, there may be a lot of distractions when you work from home and your working hours aren’t defined for you. Even if you’re only able to dedicate 15-20 hours per week to your business, it’s important that you’re disciplined and use that time as efficiently as possible.One way to avoid getting bogged down by household tasks and family responsibilities is to have a coach who will keep you on task and help you accomplish weekly, daily and monthly goals.