This article is tailored to fit a good friend of mine. I met her at the tender age of 7 out on a curb. Nice, pleasant memories throughout my childhood and beyond when I think of her! 🙂
She’s been my best friend ever since that summer day out on the curb and I’m now given the chance to offer her my best tips to starting a home business. How extraordinary!
When you’ve got talent and creativeness, what else do you need to start a business? A LOT! lol
SEE THE 12 BASIC TIPS BELOW TO FIND OUT WHAT ALL IS REQUIRED AFTER THE MARKETING SECTION
Pics Are Included After The End Of The Article That Showcase My Friend’s Talent
The niche I will be covering is party planning and decorating for large events. From what I’ve seen on Facebook, this lady, (my friend and a grandmother too) has unique talents. The pics at the end will certainly sell themselves. No expressions required! Although she will tell you that her grandbabies was and IS a huge portion of her inspiration.
However, inspiration, talent and creativeness is only the beginning. Those elements to starting a home business doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.
Well let’s rephrase …
Those unique gifts DO get your feet in the door! And, that speaks volumes for success
Marketing: It’s all about HOW you market!
Social Medias: Where is everyone on the Internet today? Ahh yes, Facebook and Twitter! These are the two most popular of all the social media platforms. However, there is also Google+, Linkedin and Pinterest. I definitely suggest both Facebook and Twitter. The others are in general a personal preference. The two platforms (I use) are Facebook and Twitter. For me, FB started out mainly for family. However, as you can see, I use it for business as well. 🙂
Always be courteous and polite on social media sites and never ignore any conversations. You must follow up with all your contacts! Be professional, be friendly, and post daily.
Please Note: There is a neat little freebie and organizer for using social media platforms. See the #12 tip below (toward the end of this article). When you start using it, you will absolutely love it! Simple and easy. Hootsuite
Youtube – Vlogging: This is video marketing. It has become quite the handy marketing method if you’re into video promotion. And like anything else, it’s a personal preference. If you have a bubbly personality and very outgoing, this may be something for you to experience with.
I was inspired by this gal, a friend and business associate … Lynn Terry – http://www.lynnterry.tv/. I suggest you watch a few of her videos. She’s an inspiration!
Message Boards/Forums: I used to not let a day go by without networking and marketing on a select few of message boards. However, they are not as popular as they used to be since all the new social medias came on board. A lot of these boards will let you include a link or two (only in your signature). It’s unethical and also considered spamming if you include your website links in the body of your posts. Your account will also more than likely, be deleted for doing this.
As with the social medias above, you will need to be courteous and polite and also, engage in friendly conversation. Answer questions, (if you have them), and offer your best tips. Please don’t join a message board ONLY to post your site/blog links and leave! You are there to be professional, read and learn, network and get to know other home business associates. By doing this, you are more inclined to pick up new clients.
Use Google to search for message boards that will relate to party planning, hosting, decorating and home business.
3 Quick Tips About Joining Boards:
1. Get in the habit of using the same username and password for all of them. It’s best to use your real name as your username. By using the same password, you will of course remember it when logging in each time you visit them.
2. Also, look for active boards with active members. Scan through all the latest topics covered. If you see that the last topic covered was back in 2008, move on! You get the idea?! 😉
3. It’s professional to use a photo of yourself (if the forum owner approves of photos).
Simple Marketing – Word Of Mouth: Finally, we come to the last marketing method that should be mentioned here. However, it’s definitely NOT the least effective! Word of mouth … a big personality and a warm smile go far when you’ve got a business to get off the ground. It also helps a great deal if you get creative with some business cards that you can freely hand out. If you know a lot of people and have plenty of friends, the odds are in your favor. You see the domino effect?
Always keep in mind, you can certainly use your evening hours to conduct business. Or any given day that your boss lets you work from home. And you know, the parties themselves are usually on weekends or evenings.
Below are the basic tips I was referring to, some of them definitely goes without saying. However, I have to list them. 😉
One Dozen Basic Tips For Starting a Home Business While Still Working Outside The Home
#1 Make sure the type of home business you desire to establish is evergreen, (forever high in demand). The niche being discussed here is for sure! There will always be a necessity for celebrating, hosting and making events memorable.
#2 Please don’t leave your day job BEFORE your own business is established! I so negligently say this and we’ve all heard it a million times, but the fact of the matter is, a shocking population of people do exactly that. And of course it’s these people that end up doing the belly-up dance. Given the state of the American government, just don’t do it! lol You can work a brick and mortar job and also start and run a home business on the side. It depends on how bad you want a (100 % home business) as to how hard you work at it and promote a home business.
#3 Your number one desire is of course pleasing customers. (One that goes without saying), however, I still needed to include it so that I wasn’t leaving any pertinent details out of this article.
Yes, it’s still “The customer is always right!”
#4 You’ll want to study current designs when it comes to decor and designing for your clients. I love victorian things and my son calls MY THINGS “So 80s!” Believe it or not, there are still some people that like the 80s themes. Be prepared for anything from client to client and study up on current designs.
#5 You will of course need to do a heap of research on the pricing online and also your neighborhood. What you charge is totally your call, however, you must stay updated on pricing in order to remain competitive. Pricing will vary, as to pleasing your customers and the specific theme and type of event.
#6 Create a blog or website. The majority of people online go with a blog. Blogs get indexed in the search engines much faster. Always make new content KING! Google will indeed love you whenever you create new content on your blog or website. This can be recent party details, photos and also articles. The more content you create for your blog or website, the better the search engines will be able to find you.
One last tip about Google…
Google likes text in regard to new content on your site rather than photos/graphics. In fact, Google doesn’t even recognize graphics unless you include the “alt” tags.
Of course, when starting a party planning and decorating business site, you WILL be using your best photos, just use them sparingly. You will need to use them on a “portfolio” page. This will be a page where you list all your best clients, and then attach a photo with each one.
The two most popular blog platforms are Blogger.com and WordPress. Blogger.com has always been free of charge and you can place anything on your blog that you want. You can display affiliate links, Adsense ads, etc.
Important About WordPress: It’s important to know the difference from wordpress.com and wordpress.org. With WordPress.com, you cannot place affiliate links or ads. However, it’s free, no hosting fees required. When you purchase hosting for a domain name (yoursite.com), you can freely install WordPress.org onto your website/blog. With WordPress.org, you can place ads and pretty much anything you like.
Domain Registras: Namecheap.com or GoDaddy are both great for purchasing domain names. There are yearly fees. However, most of these prices are at minimum low.
Hosting: When it comes to monthly hosting, Hostgator is by far the most user and customer care friendly that I’ve found. I’ve always heard back from them on the same day that I’ve contacted them over any issues I’ve had regarding my websites. Also, with Hostgator, you get unlimited websites for one low price. You can also choose to pay yearly instead of monthly.
Of course if you go with Blogger.com, you won’t have to worry about fees, unless you decide to transfer a domain name onto Blogger.com. There are several people that do this. Again, personal preference.
#7 When it comes to creating a title for your blog or website, don’t use Jane Doe’s (your name) Party Planning Services! If someone is searching for party planning or decorating tips on Google, they certainly won’t be typing in any specific names. They will search generic, for example: party planning ideas, party planning tips, decorating and party planning or party plan designing. Just so you get the idea. You want to be found on search engines, and using your name in the title would not be feasible.
#8 No matter how much experience you have, it is suggested that you take a decorating or party planning class. You will definitely learn new things and skills that follow all the trends. Now some people say, “Don’t pay attention to trends, go full speed ahead with what you’re passionate about.” This is a personal preference, and always go with your gut instincts.
#9 Taxes: Save every last (no matter how small) receipt you acquire from creating your business. Everything from computers, phone bills, paper, ink, to web hosting bills and auto gas bills. You can write off a percentage of your home office space, electric bill, and business supplies as well. Even if you purchase a new or used car for your business, yes, you can write that off too. Everything counts; don’t leave anything out that you think you can write off. If in doubt, (it’s suggested you do anyway), make an appointment with your tax advisor and talk.
#10 You will definitely need a Paypal account, (if you don’t have one already). I’ve used Paypal for years and have never had an issue. It’s easy, secure and the only electronic transaction payment form I’ve ever used.
Do read all policies and spam issues to keep your Paypal account safe. I suggest changing your password at least once per month. Or, you can do this as often as you see fit. Another small tip about Paypal: When logging into your account, please make sure you use this page https://www.paypal.com Instead of http://www.paypal.com Always use the (S) to prevent account hacking!
#11 Computer mobility: My favorite Internet item is by far my Ipad! You can pick up free Wifi in quite a few places (other than your home). The mini Ipads are fairly new on the market. Smart phones are also an excellent choice when you’re out and about away from your home-base computer. Laptops, I personally don’t like so much. Mine crashed frequently. Others swear by them. So, there is a personal decision with web mobility.
#12 Some FREE resources for your home business
Hootsuite.com: This free social media management service has been a life saver for me! When I discovered I could post to Twitter and Facebook all from one easy window and with ONE SINGLE POST, I certainly thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. Pardon the idiom! lol And on top of that, your posts can be scheduled. For example, if you wanted to take off a whole week, or go on a vacation, you can schedule your posts. How cool is that??
Evernote: This free little program is excellent for organizing your documents. It’s a life saver for project management. Evernote is also phone friendly.
Freshbooks.com: Free invoicing software
Filezilla: This is a free FTP (file transfer protocol) for transferring, downloading and saving files from your website. It’s excellent for doing website backups. Note: This is for (paid version) websites. For a paid version, you pay for hosting and obtain a domain name. (yoursite.com).
There are also all kinds of free tutorials you can access just by doing a careful search on Google for your business. Make Google.com your best friend! There is not a day that goes by where I don’t use it. It’s by far the best search engine on the net!
At the end of each year, carefully access all your paper work/electronic details and ask yourself, “Am I at a point where I can actually quit my brick and mortar job?” OR…you can do this every six months, or however often you think is best.
Also, you can have a serious talk with your boss about letting you work at home more often. The extra mobility will of course let you have more time for your new home business adventure.
I certainly hope this article was helpful, (not only for the person I tailored it for), but ANYONE that is interested in beginning a home business while working outside the home.
Much success to you! 🙂
Now To Those Pics I Promised
You can find out more about Gail at Her Facebook Page
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