- How to Work Online From Home
Here is exactly how to work online from home. You need to follow the following steps, which are, truth be told, much the same as beginning an offline business. There are just certain things you can do when working online that are either far less expensive, much faster to do, or both when you're working online than when you have a traditional business.
How to Work Online from Home – Step 1
Find your target market. The importance of this step cannot be understated. One of the key mistakes made by Internet marketing beginners, and too many business beginners of all types, is that they find a product or service they like and decide to market it. That's great, but if you like mud hut remodeling, your market is going to be small, poor, and without Internet connections. Not a good choice for your online business.
If you want to work online from home and be successful at it, you must first research the market. That means find a market that is hungry, better yet, starving, for something, then feed them exactly what they want. That is the largest secret to success in business, weather online or off. After your preliminary research you want to determine one other thing; how much competition is there in your market? While you can make large amounts of money in any hungry market, choosing an under served market is much better, especially if you're just beginning your work from home journey. Once you've found your target market you can proceed to step 2.
How to Work Online From Home – Step 2
Once you have a hungry target market you can begin step number 2; find something to sell them. You can choose a product or service, physical or virtual. You really have a few key decisions to make in this step.
● Do you want to market a product or service?
● The advantages of a product are that once it's created it can be sold by the creator or any one the creator gives selling rights to for as long as the marketing is successful. The disadvantage is that it has to be created, and if physical, stored and distributed.
● The advantage of a service is that it doesn't have to be created. The vendor (you, the online business owner) can simply begin providing the service to clients. Examples of popular services that people that work on line from home online provide are web development, search engine optimization (SEO), marketing, business and/or marketing consulting, copywriting, and accounting / financial planning.
- Do you want to develop your own product or market someone else's?
● Pros of developing your own product -
● Your own product will give you complete control of every aspect of it, including pricing strategy, advertising and marketing strategy, and the content and function of the product itself.
● Your own product will allow you to retain as much of the profit as you want. You can keep it all or trade some of it away as an incentive for others to market your product. There are many examples of successful marketers giving lucrative commissions if they are selling digital or virtual products. In fact this strategy, affiliate marketing, is one of the proven paths to online marketing success (from either side).
● You own it in its entirety. This is the most important aspect of creating your own product. All the other advantages flow from this.
● You build the customer list, potentially one of the most valuable parts of your business, especially if you decide selling is part of your exit strategy.
● You have the ability to begin with very limited start up costs, but typically there will be some marketing costs.
● Cons of developing your own product -
● It takes time to develop your own product
● You may not have the expertise or writing skill to develop your own product
● You have to deal with customer support issues, such as customer service calls, returns, and refunds. This can be expensive and time consuming, depending upon the type of product you develop. There are ways to mitigate much of this, such as automating much of the CS process and overdelivering content to minimize returns, but such things can never be completely eliminated.
● If it's a physical product(s) you have warehousing, inventory, and fulfillment issues to deal with.
● Some of the disadvantages of developing your own product can be mitigated by outsourcing if the funds for doing so are available. For example, you can outsource the actual product creation if you've found a hungry market but lack the expertise to develop a quality product fill their needs. This will result in a quicker time to market and a high quality product.
● Pros of marketing someone else's product – Basically the advantages and disadvantages are the reverse of selling your own product / service.
● You have no support issues because you actually don't sell the product(s) yourself, you simply refer customers to the vendors website and are paid a commission on any sales your referrals generate.
● You have the ability to begin with very limited start up costs, but as with selling your own product, you can spend significant marketing funds.
● Cons of marketing someone else's product -
● You have no control over the product you're marketing. Although there are many advantages to just being able to begin marketing without any product development costs or time, the disadvantage of having no control over the products is a major disadvantage.
Imagine spending weeks or months developing and fine tuning your marketing efforts (You have to develop your website(s), advertising, get backlinks to your site, publicity, and any other supporting content, test everything, test it some more, and get any marketing agreements in place that you may have supporting your efforts) only to have the vendor either change the payout (these rarely change for the better), drop their affiliate program, or drop you as an affiliate. Ask any affiliate marketer. This happens all the time, for a variety of reasons.
How to Work Online From Home – Step 3
After you've made the decision about what you'll be marketing when you wok online from home, you can move on to step 3, how to market your product and / or service. It is essential you make an actual marketing plan. This is rarely done by most beginning marketers, who tend to treat online marketing as a hobby, rather than an actual business. Part of this is due to the fact that few beginners have any formal business training. In addition, many beginning marketers just think they'll use their online business to earn a few extra buck and supplement the income from their day job.
This kind of thinking is a huge mistake. With a bit of planning and some vision, your online business can easily relieve you from the daily commute and limited income of your current job, but that will be much less likely if it's not treated as a real business. So the bottom line is that you need to develop an actual marketing plan. You can alter it as circumstances change and your business develops, but the important thing is tat you make that marketing plan and address the following questions:
● What will you be marketing?
● Who will you market it to?
● How will you market it to them?
● Will you advertise? If so, how. You have several choices for online advertising. Many people use pay per click (PPC) advertising. It's fast, and has the potential to drive large quantities of qualified prospects to your website in a hurry. You can advertise on many well targeted web sites and you'll only pay when someone clicks on your add and goes to your website (hence the term pay per click). Its is not as easy as it sounds however and many beginning, and in some cases more advanced, marketers have lost their shirts and their advertising budgets in a hurry by stumbling blindly into a PPC campaign.
● You can also use banner advertising, where an attractive banner is placed on a website with visitors that you'd like to attract. The disadvantage is that many people have become ad blind and you may not get much good traffic from your efforts. The advantage is that is can be relatively inexpensive. If you get no traffic however, it is actually very expensive on a per visitor basis.
● Will you use an affiliate strategy?
● This can be the cornerstone of your success. You'll forgo some profit on the front end, but you will have a large and active sales staff out there selling your product for you. It doesn't take much to see how a few strong affiliates can generate significant numbers for you.
One of the major advantages is that even though they send you the customer, the customer buys your product and is actually your customer, so you will have them on your greatest asset, your customer list. Once they're part of your list, you can market to them for years in some cases. In many cases the value of the customer on the back end is far higher than the initial sale.
That’s why so many Online marketers say “The money’s in the list.”, and they’re right. You’ll have the ability to market new products to your existing customers, which, if they loved your first product, should be an easy sale.
How to Work Online From Home – Step 4
This is the most tedious step in developing your online business. It’s no coincidence that “testing” and “tedium” both begin with the letter ‘T’. Although testing can be boring and dreary, it can easily be the difference between your success and failure online. It’s one of the huge advantages that an online business has over a traditional business. You can easily test between two different ad headlines for example, and have meaningful results in a few hours or days. In an offline business that could take weeks or months, and you may still not get the accuracy that you’d get from using online testing methods.
There are so many variables that you need to test it can easily be overwhelming, especially for beginners. You can get significantly different results from headline changes, ad copy changes, colors, web content changes, different product names, pricing, different payment systems that you accept, and so on. Sometimes there can be little difference, but other times a seemingly minor change can make more than a few percentage points difference. Add a few of these “minor” changes up and you can easily see 50% - 100% increases in sales. You can also significantly lower your ad spend and raise ad efficiency by through testing. If you weren’t doing structured testing you’d either not make any positive changes, or not know exactly why you were seeing improved results.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of How to Work Online From Home.